Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
To be fair to President Obama, though, I don't think many politicians deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. Nelson Mandela deserved it for his efforts to end apartheid, but few others. For the most part, politicians create war and oppress individuals, and free people acting out of love improve the human condition. That should be acknowledged.
Cross-posted from halc.us, written by Junta member Benito.
On September 26, 2009, Tina Benkiser, now former Chair of the TX GOP, announced her resignation to join the re-election campaign of Texas Governor Rick Perry as senior advisor. According to the announcement made on Rick Perry’s website, her new role in the campaign was chosen because “she will be an important voice in promoting our message of fiscal responsibility and limited government.”
Perhaps, but it is more likely that Benkiser was tapped because of her significant, yet waning, influence with TXGOP leadership and strong Evangelical support. Since 2003, Benkiser enjoyed success in flooding the TX GOP with Social Conservatives. Now, Benkiser’s new role in the Perry campaign indicates a direct appeal to Evangelical Christians. Benkiser, an evangelical herself, has energized the social conservative base during her tenure with the Texas GOP, but her success in this arena alarmed many party faithful since evangelicals have been portrayed as being myopically concerned with social issues while tolerating fiscal and civic mismanagement.
Additionally, during the 2008 primaries, Benkiser, along with many GOP leaders, alienated the party’s liberty movement. She was accused of repeatedly breaking TX GOP rules to block their attempts at party reform through a genuine return to principles outlined in the platform. This even elicited a “fair convention” mini-movement, complete with shirts that bore the expression, “The GOP Rules! Let’s follow them”.
A Fresh Start for the RPT
Enrique Rangler, A-J Austin bureau chief, believes Benkiser’s move out is just what the GOP needs to begin rebuilding. He may be right.
“If Benkiser had run for another term next year, Tom Mechler of Amarillo, Mark McCaig of Katy and others unhappy with her leadership would have challenged her.
Mechler, who remains a candidate for party chairman, and McCaig, who is no longer running because Benkiser is bowing out, wanted to oust her because under her watch Texas Democrats have made significant gains, especially in the House.
Yet, the prospect of a nasty power struggle was one some GOP loyalists – already worried about the damage the Perry-Hutchison fight may do the party – feared.
“The resignation of Tina Benkiser from the Republican Party of Texas provides a great opportunity for Texas Republicans to begin to right the ship,” said Debra Medina, who is also seeking the party’s nomination for governor. “The Republican Party of Texas is in serious trouble and more of the same will not save us.”
Benkiser’s social conservatism included a culture war against Mexican immigrants. Immediately before the 2008 convention, she commented on immigration restrictions saying, “We believe that we are in a war for our culture, and our activists understand that the principles that we believe in are the principles that will make Texas a better place and make the lives of Texans better every single day.” Declaring war against the state’s fastest growing minority, however, runs counter to attempts by the party to reach out to Hispanics.
In what appears to be an attempt to reach out to hispanic voters, Perry’s campaign has hired Austin-based advertising agency, LatinWorks. The Austin company will be “helping on a number of message delivery issues, including Hispanic outreach,” said Mark Miner, spokesperson for Perry’s re-election Campaign.
While some would hope that new RPT leadership would be more inclusive, perhaps the most room for improvement would be in how the business of the party is run. When Benkiser took over the reins of the state party, the party had $194,500 cash on hand and $70,000 in debt. She leaves the party with $52,000 cash on hand and $258,200 in debt. Running a party can get expensive, but to be fair to Benkiser, no one has ever accused her of being a fiscal conservative.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
“The constitutional amendment to prohibit the taking, damaging, or destroying of private property for public use unless the action is for the ownership, use, and enjoyment of the property by the State, a political subdivision of the State, the public at large, or entities granted the power of eminent domain under law or for the elimination of urban blight on a particular parcel of property, but not for certain economic development or enhancement of tax revenue purposes, and to limit the legislature’s authority to grant the power of eminent domain to an entity.”
This is a rather narrowly-written amendment, but it represents a significant increase in property rights protection. The amendment was written in direct response to the Kelo v. New London Supreme Court case. This case ruled that an increased property value, and subsequent increased property tax take, was a public use, and therefore private property could be transferred from one owner to another if the new owner would pay more property taxes than the current owner. In the Kelo case, the City of New London, Connecticut, took Suzette Kelo's (and many of her neighbor's) home and gave it to Pfizer because the complex that Pfizer would build would be be valued higher and worth more in property taxes than the homeowners in the neighborhood. Proposition 11 would effectively prohibit governments in Texas from using eminent domain to take land for anything other than explicit public purpose. Eminent domain is one of the most anti-liberty powers that governments have, so it should be strictly limited. Prop 11 would apply some necessary common sense restrictions to that power.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Now some of that is overstated hysteria, especially the last clause, but a lot of that is true. Deforestation and habitat loss, especially in Central America, is causing more environmental damage right now than all the carbon dioxide that humans have ever produced. Fresh water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource, and the air quality in China and India (among others) is becoming dangerously bad.
As the UN climate summit in Copenhagen approaches, exhortations that "we must get a deal" and warnings that climate change is "the greatest challenge we face as a species" are to be heard in virtually every political forum.
But if you look back to the latest definitive check on the planet's environmental health - the Global Environment Outlook (Geo-4), published by the UN two years ago - what emerges is a picture of decline that goes way, way beyond climate change.
Species are going extinct at perhaps 1,000 times the normal rate, as key habitats such as forests, wetlands and coral reefs are plundered for human infrastructure.
Aquifers are being drained and fisheries exploited at unsustainable speed. Soils are becoming saline, air quality is a huge cause of illness and premature death; the human population is bigger than our one Earth can currently sustain.
With all of these very real problems, why do environmentalists, especially government environmental regulators, seem so focused on whether the world is 1 degree warmer or 0.8 degrees warmer in 100 years? None of the real issues offer them governments the kind of opportunities for control that Carbon Dioxide emissions control does. Free enterprise, with developments in desalination technologies, can make a major dent in the fresh water shortage. Governments can preserve habitats, but landowners often do a better job, and land preservation doesn't offer government much behavior control. Western governments can't do much about China's and India's air quality. But humans emit carbon dioxide everywhere they go and with every thing they do, so carbon dioxide regulations offers governments control over everything in everyone's life.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Good, um, afternoon, children of America. Thank you for, uh, letting me speak to you today. I'm going to talk to you about how you can be as successful as me, if you just work hard, have the right connections, and worm your way into the right, uh, elite circles. First things first: to all of you in public schools (which I would suppose would be all of you, since I can't imagine to many homeschoolers or private school kids wasting their time on this), get out now. Just like I had to do. Indonesian public school wasn't going to allow me to get where I wanted to be, so I moved back to Hawaii and enrolled in the best private school in the state. In the United States, with the politicized Department of Education that we have, you're at an even bigger disadvantage in public schools. Now, some of your parents don't have the money and are wondering how to pay for private school. Well, just get your, um, millionaire banker grandmother to twist some arms and get you a scholarship. It worked for me.
Some of you won't to listen to me, and will stay in those horrible public schools, but that's okay. Not everyone is cut out to be President or even a University of Chicago Law Professor or Community Organizer. We'll need you on welfare or in low-paying service jobs to help bully, I mean, influence voters.
While you are at your elite private school, make sure that you make all of the connections that you can. They will help you get into an elite liberal arts university, maybe even in the Ivy League. This is important, because to fully understand the direction of the country, you need to understand the evils of capitalism, and the best way to learn that is from the wealthiest communists in the world. Columbia and Harvard, and other important universities attract many great professors whose families have made so much money that they really understand the inequality that capitalism brings about, and who really want to tear down the opportunities for other people to have to suffer from having so much. Understanding the evils of capitalism will help you be a leader in this new America that we are trying to create. Make sure that you develop strong relationships with your most, um, radical professors, as these will help you succeed in Party politics in the future.
Now some of you are worrying how to pay for this elite education. Don't worry about that now. Just borrow the money from the Government, who will have the Fed print it out for you. If you learn well enough, you can move to Chicago, become a community organizer, do great work for the Party, and have someone else pay your student loans for you.
I thank you for your time, and, um, tell your parents that you need the healthcare bill to pass.
This August, the teenage unemployment rate — that is, the percentage of teenagers who wanted a job who could not find one — was 25.5 percent, its highest level since the government began keeping track of such statistics in 1948. Likewise, the percentage of teenagers over all who were working was at its lowest level in recorded history.... Increases in the minimum wage may have made employers reluctant to hire teenagers, said Marvin H. Kosters, a resident scholar emeritus at the American Enterprise Institute.Now, I'm pretty sure that the car wash where I got a job at 15 would still hire some of these teenagers part-time (I did survive a minimum wage hike while I was there - $4.25 to $5.15), but it has been shown over and over again that the effect of a minimum wage hike is to disallow the lowest quality, poorest, entry-level workers a job. I'm glad that the New York Times is at least reporting well-supported economic theory.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Still, no matter the official position of our government, we as relatively free Americans should offer our support and our prayers
Monday, June 1, 2009
I certainly think ballot integrity is a worthy cause, but right now, in Texas, it's a solution looking for a problem. There are rumors every year of voting irregularities in the Rio Grande Valley, and in some of the inner-cities, but most investigations seem to find only small amounts of localized fraud. I don't pretend to know how the inner mind of any of our state party leadership works, but, to me, the only logical reasoning for this was to win a public relations by getting Democrats on record "supporting voter fraud". Unfortunately, the Democrats might have even won the PR battle, as the media and much of the public seems to have accepted the Democrats ridiculous claim that Voter ID would disenfranchise legitmate voters.
On the other hand, Texas has many opportunities for real, meaningful reform: Some would like a plan to replace all of the very high Texas property taxes, which unfairly target small farmers, independent ranchers, and the elderly, with a small increase in the sales tax. Others have talked about replacing the anti-business Margins Tax with a 1/2% increase in the sales tax. (To their credit, conservative Republicans and Democrats in the legislature temporarily increased the exemption on gross receipts from $600,000 to $1,000,000 this year, with no help from the Republican Party.) Still others have talked about ending the diversion of gasoline tax money away from transportation, so that needed highway, rail, and port projects could be funded without increasing taxes. The Republican Party was nearly silent on all of these issues. They were completely silent on all of these issues until it looked like a gasoline tax increase might be passed, and they panicked and quickly threw together an opposition. I'm sure that those who care most about enforcing the border, civil liberties, religious liberty, parental rights, or health freedoms could give a similar list of worthwile legislative pushes that fit within Conservative ideology.
Although they have lost much of the goodwill and support that was fought for over many years, Republicans in Texas are still a majority, hold majorities in both houses of the Legislature, and hold every state-wide elected position. With that kind of clout, they should be able to pass meaningful reform that makes a real difference in citizen's lives. Overall, it was a pretty forgettable legislative session. There were many efforts to quash liberty, like the nearly-passed statewide smoking ban, but overall, not much good or bad legislation passed, and the status quo won. Still, I wonder how many conservative victories we could have had, if only we had a Republican Party with vision.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Inspired by a recent trip to the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, I again read the Texas Declaration of Independence penned in 1836. Again, those timeless words struck me to my core. This time, however, I made good on my internal promise to update that fine document. My initial attempt is available for your viewing pleasure on my personal blog. Comments are welcomed!
At the most, it's over the top. At the least, it's food for thought. Hopefully, however, it will spur us into action--in a higher gear.
God bless the patriots!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
The atomic bomb, and later development of the hydrogen bomb, has raised the threat of assured-destruction of anyone who starts a major war against a nuclear power. With all due respect to my hero, Barry Goldwater, it is not "just another weapon". To this day, no nuclear power has ever attacked another nuclear power directly, despite some of them being enemies: United States - Soviet Union and Pakistan - India, specifically. There is always a threat of nuclear arms falling into the hands of a suicidal madman, and we should work to prevent that. But for most countries and world leaders, even crazy ones like Kim Jong-Il, the threat of mutually-assured destruction is enough to keep them from using nuclear weapons. Even with world-dictator visions, the threat of France destroying Berlin and Munich at the push of a couple of buttons would have given Hitler second thoughts. And conventional weapons have advanced to the point that a non-nuclear world war could be even more destructive today.
Now I'm not necessarily saying that the steps President Barack Obama have taken so far are wrong. Just because the United States needs nuclear weapons to prevent world war doesn't necessarily mean that we need 10,000 of them, or 2500 on trigger-alert. A country having an enormous nuclear arsenal is like an individual having a 50-gun personal arsenal. The increased safety beyond having enough weapons to protect yourself is almost nil, and might be outweighed by the marginally increased chance of accident. It might be possible to reduce the size of our nuclear arsenal significantly, and save some money in the process. He might even get to 5% of his desired $100,000,000 in savings by reducing the arsenal to some more reasonable size. It's just that his vision is dangerous, and would kill any eventual prospect of world peace.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Enter Tony Blair. The United Kingdom's Prime Minister was young, vibrant, moderate, reform-minded, and incredibly popular. There were newspaper articles about his meetings with the teachers of his children. He was seen as a man of the people, a Prime Minister that common people could identify with. In 1997, under his leadership, the "New" Labour Party had given the Conservatives their most devastating defeat ever. And importantly for President Bush, PM Blair wanted Hussein gone as much as he did.
It didn't exactly work as planned. Instead of PM Blair's popularity gaining support for President Bush's invasion, it killed PM Blair's popularity. The United States and United Kingdom had allies: Canada, Australia, Georgia, Spain for a while, and (don't forget) Poland, but many important, reliable allies like France and Germany refused to join the party. PM Blair was called as a Bush-loving neoconservative in his home country, and his support eroded to the point that he stepped down from his post in 2007.
Seven years later, while the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are still being fought, the world has turned its attention to the worldwide banking crisis and recession. During the first days of the recession, the world seemed to want to work together. When credit froze up, most major countries bailed out their banks, expanded deposit insurance, expanded their currency supply, and did what they could to insure that bank failures were minimized. One leader wants to do more. Much, much more. UK's Prime Minister Gordon Brown fully believes in a government spending a country out of recession, and is prepared to print as many Pounds as it takes to do it. If the UK destroys its own currency to inflate itself out of recession, it needs its trading partners to do the same, or it will destroy the standard of living for UK citizens. Unfortunately for PM Brown, many of the UK's trading partners are refusing to spend their way out of the mess, and are preferring to clean up their regulatory systems and provide a growth atmosphere for a market recovery. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France is off fighting windmills of competing currencies, and many of the rest of the G20 leaders from PM Stephen Harper of Canada to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany to libertarian-leaning President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic (current EU Presidency) are taking a more conservative approach. PM Brown doesn't have the respect, and certainly doesn't have the popularity to convince them.
Enter United States President Barack Obama. He's young, vibrant, liberal, and incredibly popular. He's easily the most popular world leader right now. Some European commentators have said that his "Barackness" will convince their citizens and politicians. In November, he and his Democratic Party gave the Republicans their worst defeat in years. And importantly for PM Brown, President Obama wholly endorses the idea of governments spending their way out of recession. At this week's G20 meetings, PM Brown is counting on President Obama's popularity to give him cover and gain support for the borrow-and-print-to-recover economic plan. They will gain some support, but the President and the Prime Minister need most or all major trading partners to agree to go along, or their plan doesn't have a chance of making life better for their citizens. If France, Germany, China, Japan, or Russia decide to play a different game or take their ball and go home, PM Brown doesn't get cover, he takes President Obama down with him. If "Don't Forget Spain" becomes the next "Don't Forget Poland", President Obama's popularity will fade quickly.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Sure, between the Federal Reserve and Congress $180 Billion of future taxpayers' wealth might have been wasted on AIG in two bailouts. Sure, untold tens of billions of dollars of that passed right through AIG and went to banks in Europe and Asia. Sure, these coordinated actions by Congress and the Fed has propped up zombie banks that destroy untold billions more wealth. But Congress is going to tax the bonuses on people work for AIG Financial Products, and make more than $250,000 per year, at 90%. If this action isn't challenged and ruled unconstitutional, they are going to get back 90% of some portion of the $170 Million in bonuses that represents less than 1/10 of 1 percent of the money that they've wasted on that one company this year. Good thing they're looking out for us and our children.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
1. Earmarks are a tiny part of the overall budget. - Agree completely.
2. Cutting earmarks out doesn't take away from the budget. - Mostly true, but it ignores future costs. If you request $750,000 for Houston Memorial Hermann HealthCare system for Life Flight operations center in an earmark, odds are that is going to have ongoing costs. And as we know from New Orleans, if the Federal Government builds it, everyone expects the Federal Government to maintain it.
3. Earmarks add transparency to the budget. - Not true at all anymore. Since the Coburn-Obama Act in 2006, every dollar spent by the government is tracked at USASpending.gov. (Yes, I know that the bank bailouts aren't being tracked here. I think that's illegal based off this act, and I'm pretty sure that's the only off-the-record spending.)
4. Earmarking is a responsibility of Congress. - Not in any historical sense, and not Constitutionally. Since the beginning of the Republic, the Congress set the budget for the executive departments, gave them laws, and let them spend the money to execute those laws. More importantly, most earmarks, such as $25,000 to install security cameras at Fox Run Apartments in Victoria, are for specific welfare, and not general welfare as required by Article I Section 8 of the Constitution.
5. What's considered an earmark is confusing - An earmark is a line item in a budget that directs Federal funds to a specific project. That's not really confusing to me. Dr. Paul's example of a weapons system would be an earmark if picked by Congress, and not an earmark if picked by the Pentagon.
6. The Federal Reserve is worse than all earmarks, and should be audited - Agree completely.
The fact is that earmarks allow all sorts of things to be passed that would never stand on their own. Congressmen get to add things for their district, as long as they vote for things in other districts. It's an I'll-scratch-your-back-if-you'll-scratch-mine system that is rotten to the core. The fact is that as bad as bureaucracies are, they have laws that direct them in how they spend their money, and they have bid processes that get rid of some of the waste. Congress is making up the laws about spending as they go, and they may or may not have a good bid process.
Now I really don't have that much of a problem that Dr. Paul requested the earmarks. If he had said, "The people of the 14th district of Texas pay a lot of taxes, they've been devastated by a hurricane, and I'm going to make sure that some of their tax dollars come back to help rebuild," I wouldn't have a problem with it. But he defended the corrupt earmark system, and that's where he loses me.
Here's a solution for Dr. Paul: The one-subject-at-a-time rule. Congress has operated under this rule before. The concept is this: Spending must be passed on a by-department basis. No omnibuses. You can't fund National Park bathrooms in a Highway Administration bill. I know Dr. Paul's friend John Culberson supports this. Dr. Paul needs to get on board as well.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
In his campaign and inaugural address, Barack Obama cast himself as a moderate man seeking common ground with conservatives. Yet, his budget calls for the radical restructuring of the U.S. economy, a sweeping redistribution of power and wealth to government and Democratic constituencies. It is a declaration of war on the Right. The real Obama has stood up, and lived up to his ranking as the most left-wing member of the United States Senate....
...Where the U.S. government usually consumes 21 percent of gross domestic product, this Obama budget spends 28 percent in 2009 and runs a deficit of $1.75 trillion, or 12.7 percent of GDP. That is four times the largest deficit of George W. Bush and twice as large a share of the economy as any deficit run since World War II. Add that 28 percent of GDP spent by the U.S. government to the 12 percent spent by states, counties and cities, and government will consume 40 percent of the economy in 2009.
We are not "headed down the road to socialism." We are there.
Buchanan concludes his article this way:
The president says he is gearing up for a fight on his budget.
Good. Let's give him one.
I'm with you, Pat. My pitchfork is ready.
Monday, March 2, 2009
The Unanimous Declaration of Independence made by the
Delegates of the People of Texas in General Convention at the town of
Washington on the 2nd day of March 1836.
When a government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty and property of the people, from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and for the advancement of whose happiness it was instituted, and so far from being a guarantee for the enjoyment of those inestimable and inalienable rights, becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression.
When the Federal Republican Constitution of their country, which they have sworn to support, no longer has a substantial existence, and the whole nature of their government has been forcibly changed, without their consent, from a restricted federative republic, composed of sovereign states, to a consolidated central military despotism, in which every interest is disregarded but that of the army and the priesthood, both the eternal enemies of civil liberty, the everready minions of power, and the usual instruments of tyrants.
When, long after the spirit of the constitution has departed, moderation is at length so far lost by those in power, that even the semblance of freedom is removed, and the forms themselves of the constitution discontinued, and so far from their petitions and remonstrances being regarded, the agents who bear them are thrown into dungeons, and mercenary armies sent forth to force a new government upon them at the point of the bayonet.
When, in consequence of such acts of malfeasance and abdication on the part of the government, anarchy prevails, and civil society is dissolved into its original elements. In such a crisis, the first law of nature, the right of self-preservation, the inherent and inalienable rights of the people to appeal to first principles, and take their political affairs into their own hands in extreme cases, enjoins it as a right towards themselves, and a sacred obligation to their posterity, to abolish such government, and create another in its stead, calculated to rescue them from impending dangers, and to secure their future welfare and happiness.
Nations, as well as individuals, are amenable for their acts to the public opinion of mankind. A statement of a part of our grievances is therefore submitted to an impartial world, in justification of the hazardous but unavoidable step now taken, of severing our political connection with the Mexican people, and assuming an independent attitude among the nations of the earth.
The Mexican government, by its colonization laws, invited and induced the Anglo-American population of Texas to colonize its wilderness under the pledged faith of a written constitution, that they should continue to enjoy that constitutional liberty and republican government to which they had been habituated in the land of their birth, the United States of America.
In this expectation they have been cruelly disappointed, inasmuch as the Mexican nation has acquiesced in the late changes made in the government by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who having overturned the constitution of his country, now offers us the cruel alternative, either to abandon our homes, acquired by so many privations, or submit to the most intolerable of all tyranny, the combined despotism of the sword and the priesthood.
It has sacrificed our welfare to the state of Coahuila, by which our interests have been continually depressed through a jealous and partial course of legislation, carried on at a far distant seat of government, by a hostile majority, in an unknown tongue, and this too, notwithstanding we have petitioned in the humblest terms for the establishment of a separate state government, and have, in accordance with the provisions of the national constitution, presented to the general Congress a republican constitution, which was, without just cause, contemptuously rejected.
It incarcerated in a dungeon, for a long time, one of our citizens, for no other cause but a zealous endeavor to procure the acceptance of our constitution, and the establishment of a state government.
It has failed and refused to secure, on a firm basis, the right of trial by jury, that palladium of civil liberty, and only safe guarantee for the life, liberty, and property of the citizen.
It has failed to establish any public system of education, although possessed of almost boundless resources, (the public domain,) and although it is an axiom in political science, that unless a people are educated and enlightened, it is idle to expect the continuance of civil liberty, or the capacity for self government.
It has suffered the military commandants, stationed among us, to exercise arbitrary acts of oppression and tyrrany, thus trampling upon the most sacred rights of the citizens, and rendering the military superior to the civil power.
It has dissolved, by force of arms, the state Congress of Coahuila and Texas, and obliged our representatives to fly for their lives from the seat of government, thus depriving us of the fundamental political right of representation.
It has demanded the surrender of a number of our citizens, and ordered military detachments to seize and carry them into the Interior for trial, in contempt of the civil authorities, and in defiance of the laws and the constitution.
It has made piratical attacks upon our commerce, by commissioning foreign desperadoes, and authorizing them to seize our vessels, and convey the property of our citizens to far distant ports for confiscation.
It denies us the right of worshipping the Almighty according to the dictates of our own conscience, by the support of a national religion, calculated to promote the temporal interest of its human functionaries, rather than the glory of the true and living God.
It has demanded us to deliver up our arms, which are essential to our defence, the rightful property of freemen, and formidable only to tyrannical governments.
It has invaded our country both by sea and by land, with intent to lay waste our territory, and drive us from our homes; and has now a large mercenary army advancing, to carry on against us a war of extermination.
It has, through its emissaries, incited the merciless savage, with the tomahawk and scalping knife, to massacre the inhabitants of our defenseless frontiers.
It hath been, during the whole time of our connection with it, the contemptible sport and victim of successive military revolutions, and hath continually exhibited every characteristic of a weak, corrupt, and tyrranical government.
These, and other grievances, were patiently borne by the people of Texas, untill they reached that point at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue. We then took up arms in defence of the national constitution. We appealed to our Mexican brethren for assistance. Our appeal has been made in vain. Though months have elapsed, no sympathetic response has yet been heard from the Interior. We are, therefore, forced to the melancholy conclusion, that the Mexican people have acquiesced in the destruction of their liberty, and the substitution therfor of a military government; that they are unfit to be free, and incapable of self government.
The necessity of self-preservation, therefore, now decrees our eternal political separation.
We, therefore, the delegates with plenary powers of the people of Texas, in solemn convention assembled, appealing to a candid world for the necessities of our condition, do hereby resolve and declare, that our political connection with the Mexican nation has forever ended, and that the people of Texas do now constitute a free, Sovereign, and independent republic, and are fully invested with all the rights and attributes which properly belong to independent nations; and, conscious of the rectitude of our intentions, we fearlessly and confidently commit the issue to the decision of the Supreme arbiter of the destinies of nations.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
Of course, they'll have to borrow a lot of money to do all of this, and they're already pretty deep in debt, so they'll have a summit to discuss their profitability plan. In it, they'll promise to reduce losses by half in 4 years. They'll do this by 1) praying that sales recover somehow, 2) raising prices by 20% on Hummers, Cadillac SUVs, and Corvettes, and 3) eliminating any incentives available to their high volume fleet customers.
After all, this is the business plan that President Obama and his administration of the best and brightest has produced for the Federal government. It should work swimmingly.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
The first from San Francisco, where the Planning Commission refused to allow American Apparel to open a store in the Mission District. According to Caille Millner:
It is too easy to make fun of the people who packed Room 400 in San Francisco's City Hall to stop American Apparel from opening a store on Valencia Street in the Mission District last week.
They are not serious people. They live in a world where facts like 27 vacant storefronts on Valencia Street and 9.3 percent unemployment statewide and nearly 600,000 jobs lost nationally last month do not matter. The few who read books know no authors beyond Naomi Klein. They do not believe that the world has changed since the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle. This accounts for both the static nature of their vocabulary - "no formula retail!" is their death chant, though anyone who has picked up a newspaper in the last five months could tell you that there isn't a single retail establishment with a formula today - and the juvenile nature of their worldview. They do not want to see businesses be successful. They do not want the Mission District to be welcoming to different types of people.
What they want is magic.
The word "magic" kept recurring during the hours of public comment at the Planning Commission meeting where the American Apparel store's permit was up for a vote. "Valencia Street is a magical place," one speaker said. Another claimed that "Our neighborhood is a dream, a delicate flower." Others spoke of American Apparel as a "parasite" on their "ecosystem." Several local business owners testified that it was their "dream" to operate in such a "magical" place, and noted, with horror, that they might have to make alterations to their business plans if a new store opened in the area.
Next, in Chicago, Walmart proposed building 5 new stores. Chicago has only allowed one Walmart to be built inside the city so far. It employs 400 workers at an average of $11.25/hour, roughly average for unskilled workers. You would think that, during a recession (depression?), Chicago would welcome 2000-2500 new decent jobs, and a retailer that consistently lowers prices to serve poor citizens. Chicago's planning board refused to rule and punted to city council. Chicago alderman are fighting it tooth and nail, because of objections by big labor.
Finally, in Beaumont, they've banned mobile food stands. According to Junta member Shane, who was at the council meeting and heard testimony to get the moratorium overturned, the objectors were all full service restaurant owners. These taco stands and barbecue stands provide cheap, quick lunches, and are frequented by the poorest workers in the city, many of them immigrants.These three examples are all vastly different, but they have one thing in common. By abusing the zoning privileges of a city, they all will reduce choice for their citizens and will lower the standard of living for the poorest of their citizens.
Friday, February 13, 2009
I understand that you are have trouble filling the position of Secretary of Commerce. I'm sorry, but I can't accept either. Unlike Governor Richardson, I have never traded government contracts for campaign contributions, but like Senator Gregg, I tend to think that our beliefs about the Federal Government's role in Commerce are irreconcilably different. Thank you for your consideration.* I am truly honored.
Good luck finding someone honorable that agrees with your ideology on Commerce. It may be difficult.
* - President Obama hasn't notified me about consideration for any Cabinet position. At the rate he is going through candidates, I assume my name is coming up soon.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Forty-four percent (44%) voters also think a group of people selected at random from the phone book would do a better job addressing the nation's problems than the current Congress, but 37% disagree. Twenty percent (20%) are undecided.
When it comes to the nation's economic issues, 67% of U.S. voters have more confidence in their own judgment than they do in the average member of Congress.
Fifty-eight percent (58%) agree, too, that "no matter how bad things are, Congress can always find a way to make them worse."
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
For his main point though, Obama's defense of using massive government spending for stimulus is based on junk science. I don't remember him using the analogy, but the typical one used for this kind of stimulus package is "priming the pump". His idea is that the government can spend a lot of money on projects for a while, and that will create confidence, spark consumption, and at some point, spark private investment will create more long-term jobs. It's an idea right out of Lord Keynes' General Theory. The problem is that the theory has never been supported by evidence in the real world. During the New Deal, despite 5% of the workforce being employed by the CCC and WPA, unemployment remained relatively constant. The jobs created by government were almost completely offset by jobs destroyed in the private sector. We got some nice National Parks' buildings from the CCC, and nice paintings on Post Offices from the WPA, but no economic growth. Over the past 15 years or so, Japan has had a similar experience.
We will get some good infrastructure projects out of the spending bill and some wasteful ones. Some people who have lost their finance job that won't come back will get to stay in their house a little longer than they would earlier. Some state and local governments won't have to cut as many programs. What we won't get is stimulus.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Answer: About $100,000,000,000 of future taxpayers' money. That's the amount of money that Democrats cut out of the $800+ Billion pork/welfare/state bailout/Medicaid/public art/maybe a little bit of infrastructure bill to get Arlen Specter, Susan Collins, and Olympia Snowe to jump in with both feet. The bill that Congresscritters are calling a stimulus bill, despite the fact that Congressional Budget Office calls it harmful to the economy over the long term. (I figure that John McCain was holding out for another $15).
You've seen them in action. 61% of the Senate, and 56% of the House will shackle an enormous national mortgage to the the feet of their children to grow their own power. It is taxation without representation.
(Thread title borrowed from Tom Coburn's excellent op-ed on the same topic.)
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 6
A RESOLUTION affirming States' rights based on Jeffersonian principles.
SPONSORS: Rep. Itse, Rock 9; Rep. Ingbretson, Graf 5; Rep. Comerford, Rock 9; Sen. Denley, Dist 3
COMMITTEE: State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs
This house concurrent resolution affirms States' rights based on Jeffersonian principles.
Whereas the Constitution of the State of New Hampshire, Part 1, Article 7 declares that the people of this State have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves as a free, sovereign, and independent State; and do, and forever hereafter shall, exercise and enjoy every power, jurisdiction, and right, pertaining thereto, which is not, or may not hereafter be, by them expressly delegated to the United States of America in congress assembled; and
Whereas the Constitution of the State of New Hampshire, Part 2, Article 1 declares that the people inhabiting the territory formerly called the province of New Hampshire, do hereby solemnly and mutually agree with each other, to form themselves into a free, sovereign and independent body-politic, or State, by the name of The State of New Hampshire; and
Whereas the State of New Hampshire when ratifying the Constitution for the United States of America recommended as a change, "First That it be Explicitly declared that all Powers not expressly & particularly Delegated by the aforesaid are reserved to the several States to be, by them Exercised;" and
Whereas the other States that included recommendations, to wit Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Virginia, included an identical or similar recommended change; and
Whereas these recommended changes were incorporated as the ninth amendment, the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people, and the tenth amendment, the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people, to the Constitution for the United States of America; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring:
That the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General Government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a General Government for special purposes, -- delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force; that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral party, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress; and
That the Constitution of the United States, having delegated to Congress a power to punish treason, counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States, piracies, and felonies committed on the high seas, and offences against the law of nations, slavery, and no other crimes whatsoever; and it being true as a general principle, and one of the amendments to the Constitution having also declared, that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people," therefore all acts of Congress which assume to create, define, or punish crimes, other than those so enumerated in the Constitution are altogether void, and of no force; and that the power to create, define, and punish such other crimes is reserved, and, of right, appertains solely and exclusively to the respective States, each within its own territory; and
That it is true as a general principle, and is also expressly declared by one of the amendments to the Constitution, that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people;" and that no power over the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, or freedom of the press being delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, all lawful powers respecting the same did of right remain, and were reserved to the States or the people: that thus was manifested their determination to retain to themselves the right of judging how far the licentiousness of speech and of the press may be abridged without lessening their useful freedom, and how far those abuses which cannot be separated from their use should be tolerated, rather than the use be destroyed. And thus also they guarded against all abridgment by the United States of the freedom of religious opinions and exercises, and retained to themselves the right of protecting the same. And that in addition to this general principle and express declaration, another and more special provision has been made by one of the amendments to the Constitution, which expressly declares, that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press:" thereby guarding in the same sentence, and under the same words, the freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press: insomuch, that whatever violated either, throws down the sanctuary which covers the others, and that libels, falsehood, and defamation, equally with heresy and false religion, are withheld from the cognizance of federal tribunals. That, therefore, all acts of Congress of the United States which do abridge the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, are not law, but are altogether void, and of no force; and
That the construction applied by the General Government (as is evidenced by sundry of their proceedings) to those parts of the Constitution of the United States which delegate to Congress a power "to lay and collect taxes, duties, imports, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States," and "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers vested by the Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof," goes to the destruction of all limits prescribed to their power by the Constitution: that words meant by the instrument to be subsidiary only to the execution of limited powers, ought not to be so construed as themselves to give unlimited powers, nor a part to be so taken as to destroy the whole residue of that instrument: that the proceedings of the General Government under color of these articles, will be a fit and necessary subject of revisal and correction; and
That a committee of conference and correspondence be appointed, which shall have as its charge to communicate the preceding resolutions to the Legislatures of the several States; to assure them that this State continues in the same esteem of their friendship and union which it has manifested from that moment at which a common danger first suggested a common union: that it considers union, for specified national purposes, and particularly to those specified in their federal compact, to be friendly to the peace, happiness and prosperity of all the States: that faithful to that compact, according to the plain intent and meaning in which it was understood and acceded to by the several parties, it is sincerely anxious for its preservation: that it does also believe, that to take from the States all the powers of self-government and transfer them to a general and consolidated government, without regard to the special delegations and reservations solemnly agreed to in that compact, is not for the peace, happiness or prosperity of these States; and that therefore this State is determined, as it doubts not its co-States are, to submit to undelegated, and consequently unlimited powers in no man, or body of men on earth: that in cases of an abuse of the delegated powers, the members of the General Government, being chosen by the people, a change by the people would be the constitutional remedy; but, where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy: that every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact, (casus non foederis), to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits: that without this right, they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgment for them: that nevertheless, this State, from motives of regard and respect for its co-States, has wished to communicate with them on the subject: that with them alone it is proper to communicate, they alone being parties to the compact, and solely authorized to judge in the last resort of the powers exercised under it, Congress being not a party, but merely the creature of the compact, and subject as to its assumptions of power to the final judgment of those by whom, and for whose use itself and its powers were all created and modified: that if the acts before specified should stand, these conclusions would flow from them: that it would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights: that confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism -- free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence; it is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power: that our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go. In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution. That this State does therefore call on its co-States for an expression of their sentiments on acts not authorized by the federal compact. And it doubts not that their sense will be so announced as to prove their attachment unaltered to limited government, whether general or particular. And that the rights and liberties of their co-States will be exposed to no dangers by remaining embarked in a common bottom with their own. That they will concur with this State in considering acts as so palpably against the Constitution as to amount to an undisguised declaration that that compact is not meant to be the measure of the powers of the General Government, but that it will proceed in the exercise over these States, of all powers whatsoever: that they will view this as seizing the rights of the States, and consolidating them in the hands of the General Government, with a power assumed to bind the States, not merely as the cases made federal, (casus foederis,) but in all cases whatsoever, by laws made, not with their consent, but by others against their consent: that this would be to surrender the form of government we have chosen, and live under one deriving its powers from its own will, and not from our authority; and that the co-States, recurring to their natural right in cases not made federal, will concur in declaring these acts void, and of no force, and will each take measures of its own for providing that neither these acts, nor any others of the General Government not plainly and intentionally authorized by the Constitution, shall be exercised within their respective territories; and
That the said committee be authorized to communicate by writing or personal conferences, at any times or places whatever, with any person or person who may be appointed by any one or more co-States to correspond or confer with them; and that they lay their proceedings before the next session of the General Court; and
That any Act by the Congress of the United States, Executive Order of the President of the United States of America or Judicial Order by the Judicatories of the United States of America which assumes a power not delegated to the government of United States of America by the Constitution for the United States of America and which serves to diminish the liberty of the any of the several States or their citizens shall constitute a nullification of the Constitution for the United States of America by the government of the United States of America. Acts which would cause such a nullification include, but are not limited to:
I. Establishing martial law or a state of emergency within one of the States comprising the United States of America without the consent of the legislature of that State.
II. Requiring involuntary servitude, or governmental service other than a draft during a declared war, or pursuant to, or as an alternative to, incarceration after due process of law.
III. Requiring involuntary servitude or governmental service of persons under the age of 18 other than pursuant to, or as an alternative to, incarceration after due process of law.
IV. Surrendering any power delegated or not delegated to any corporation or foreign government.
V. Any act regarding religion; further limitations on freedom of political speech; or further limitations on freedom of the press.
VI. Further infringements on the right to keep and bear arms including prohibitions of type or quantity of arms or ammunition; and
That should any such act of Congress become law or Executive Order or Judicial Order be put into force, all powers previously delegated to the United States of America by the Constitution for the United States shall revert to the several States individually. Any future government of the United States of America shall require ratification of three quarters of the States seeking to form a government of the United States of America and shall not be binding upon any State not seeking to form such a government; and
Monday, February 2, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Amtrack train stop - $750,000
Block grant reinvestment zone housing - $5 Million
Landfill hydrogen project - $5 Million
Public Safety Headquarters - $272,000
Bus stop rehabilitaion - $1 Million
The current Amtrack station in Beaumont is a slab, because it gets no passengers. It's near my office, and I see the train stop there when it does in the afternoon. They could triple their ridership and still not get passengers on every stop. But it has nothing to do with new riders. The
mayor's justification was, "We want to move it to a nicer area so when the train stops in Beaumont, the passengers get a better view." She has called this her highest priority for stimulus money.
I have no clue whether housing block grants are needed, but it seems that every city asks for them every time Federal money is offered.
The landfill hydrogen project is a cool project. They reform the methane as it comes off the landfill and sell the hydrogen to local refineries. This project is already funded and will go forward without Federal funds. They're just asking for Federal dollars because they might be available.
I don't know anything about the Public Safety Headquarters. From the amount of the funds request, I think they're going to build a house for the Police Chief.
Bus stop rehabilitation is the only project of the bunch that is a good idea and not currently being progressed. Most Beaumont bus stops are just benches, and I often see people waiting for the bus out in the pouring rain. I'm really skeptical about the amount of economic stimulus it will
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
In 2008 Dollars,The entire Space Program through the Apollo Era cost $288 Billion over 18 years.The entire Interstate Highway System Project cost $425 Billion over 35 years.The entire New Deal cost $500 Billion over 18 years.