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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Haggis or tripe today, sir?

Jonah Goldberg has offered his take on where the Tea Partiers where while George W. Bush was expanding government and spending money he didn't have. (See "Tea parties a delayed Bush backlash.")

Concerning W's Big Government Republican proclivity, Goldberg wrote:

Conservatives didn’t necessarily bite their tongues (remember the Harriet Miers and immigration fiascoes), but they did prioritize supporting Bush — often in the face of far nastier attacks than Obama has received — over ideological purity. Besides, where were conservatives supposed to go? Into the arms of John Kerry?

This perfectly illustrates the problem. With our two party system, we are given two bad choices: Expand government a lot, or expand it slightly less.

As long as we accept two bad choices, we'll keep getting them. If you keep buying tripe for lunch because the only other option is haggis, guess what you'll keep being offered? Tripe.

You can gag it down while you tell yourself, "well, it sure beats the hell out of haggis."

We need more options. We need to be creative. The two party system ain't in the Constitution. Neither is plurality voting. My immediate suggestion is adoption of approval voting.

I'm open to ideas. I'm begging for ideas! Bring me ideas!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

HB 1351 - Payday Lending in Colorado

Colorado HB 1351 would limit the interest rates "payday lenders" can charge. The bill made it out of the House, and now moves on to the Senate. Representative Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, supports the bill. According to the Denver Post (Payday-loan bill passes in House), Rep. Ferarandino said
"This is about the cycle of debt people find themselves in with payday lending. We're allowing people to overleverage themselves, causing bankruptcies."

In other words, we are allowing adults to make their own decisions. Rep. Ferrandino and the supporters of this bill believe they are smarter than the patrons of payday lenders, and want to stop these people from exercising their own judgment.

Oppose this bill. Support freedom.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A common disconnect among statists

Denver Post columnist Susan Greene is one of my favorite progressives. Her columns are uniformly thoughtful, even when I disagree with one of her statist positions.

In her column today, "Apathy adds insult to injury," she calls out the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) for its, well, let's just call it ineffectiveness. (A blogger less polite than me might have used the word incompetence.)

Greene describes how the state agency has "stonewalled" a legitimate complaint, "failed miserably to offer any recourse" and mocks DORA's claim that "consumer protection is [its] mission."

Once again she thoroughly and effectively describes the uselessness of a government health agency. Somehow, however, she still favors government takeover of our health care system (see "Health care cruel even to those who do everything right.")

I can not see this as anything but a complete intellectual disconnect of a very smart person between (1) the recognition of the ineffectiveness of government programs and (2) the desire for more government programs.

Statists of every strip - "progressive" to "conservative" - regularly display this disconnect.

Greene demonstrates a "progressive" example. Some "conservatives," however, regularly lambaste the government for its ineffectiveness when it comes to social programs, then jump into the government's lap when it comes to issues like the Patriot Act, expanding police power to search citizens, warrantless wiretapping and the regulation of private consensual acts of adults.

Classical liberals (modern libertarians) understand that the state should have less power over the individual and not more - in every single solitary instance.

Classical liberals understand that individuals are imperfect - but that the state forces imperfection upon them.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The script for my "robo-call" to AFP members - See you all Monday.

Thousands stood up at Tea Parties across Colorado on Thursday to send a message to our elected officials that November is Coming. Unfortunately, President Obama is not going to wait to push his big government agenda,

Hi, this is David Williams, Denver Director of Americans for Prosperity. Join me on Monday in Denver on the West Steps of the Capitol at 5:00pm to learn about the intrusive global warming regulations that the administration is trying to force on the American people through the EPA…without a vote of Congress.

Bring out your family and friends for great speakers and dinner and send Senator Bennet a message: Stop the EPA Power grab or we will hold you responsible for the lost Colorado jobs and higher prices!

Press 1 now to let us know you’re attending this free event tomorrow night in Denver. Or Go to regulation reality dot com to register. That’s regulation reality dot com.

Paid for By Americans for Prosperity

Denver Tax Day Tea Party - 3 of 6 - David Williams, Libertarian Party - ...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tea Parties, Jane Norton, Ken Buck and the GOP

For U.S. Senate, I will be voting for whomever emerges the winner of the primary between Libertarian candidates John Finger and Maclyn Stringer.

Looking at the Republican primary, however, is interesting. The contest, for practical purposes, is between front-runners Jane Norton and Ken Buck. I could not support Norton. She supported Referendum C as Lt. Governor of Colorado and she has John McCain's support. She is a certified Big Government Republican.

Buck says all the right thing concerning small government. I hope he has the fortitude to back up his words. The problem is, however, he does not have a record to critique like Norton does. He is a District Attorney, not a legislator. He has not had to make tough votes on tough issues. He can make promises, but he has no small government resume. As a DA, he has not had the opportunity. That is not his fault, but it is a fact.

I am generally wary of DA's in political office. They come from a "law and order" background, and tend to support government intrusions into our Constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. There is a tension between the peoples' Fourth Amendment rights and the government's legitimate need to preserve order. I personally would like to see the tension resolved in favor of the Fourth Amendment. Law enforcement types generally - and I said "generally" - do not.

Buck has lots of Tea Party support, and I understand why. He talks the talk - but he's never had to stroll the stroll. Forgive me for being cynical about another Republican making small government promises. Talk is like Ramen Noodles: Cheap and unfulfilling.

Republicans have not been faithful to their purported love of liberty. Republicans have betrayed liberty more frequently and with more partners than Tiger Woods has betrayed Elin. I will no longer be a cuckold.

Others are willing to believe that, this time, the Republican candidate actually means it when he promises to be true. I hope Buck is up to the task of resisting the temptation.

Unfortunately, it probably will not matter. The Big Government Republican Politburo has annointed Norton the candidate - and she will be annointed. Buck outnumbers Norton in grassroots activists by a lot. Norton, however, outnumbers Buck in bucks. According to the Denver Post, Norton has four times the campaign money that Buck has.

The power of the politburo's pocketbook will prevail. This is part of the systemic problem with out political process. We do not need "campaign finance" to keep people (including the people that form unions, corporations and other organizations) from making donations. We need a new voting system. We need to strip the two-party duopoly of its power by giving people more than two choices for such important offices.

Approval voting meets both of these goals. With approval voting, small government candidates would not be forced, as a practical matter, to run under the Big Government Republican banner.

Under our current system of plurality voting, Buck is going to lose the Big Government Republican primary. Buck supporters will then be told by the politburo that they can either vote for Big Government Republican Norton or the Democrat. Any system that results in such a choice is not worthy of existence.

I invite all the Buck supporters to abandon the Big Government Republican Party once Buck is officially discarded by the politburo. Yes, that will help the Democrat win. But we have to look beyond 2010. We have to look ahead to the next generation and the next. If we really want our grandchildren to live under a free nation, we must reject the current failed system and its process. We can, and must, replace it. We can not enable the process, even if the withdrawal might be painful

If we enable the current broken process, we are part of the problem. In fact, anyone that votes for another Big Government politician just because they have an "R" by their name IS the problem. You will have given your sanction to Big Government by voting for a Big Government candidate.

Don't waste your vote like that.

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." --John Quincy Adams

===

The same analysis applies to the Tea Party support of Dan Maes for governor. The Big Government Republican politburo has annointed Scott McInnis. McInnis will be the Big Government Republican candidate.




The Colorado Supreme Court and the CU gun ban

The Colorado Court of Appeals overturned the University of Colorado's gun ban on campus. (Special shout out to my friend Jim Manley, the lawyer who argued the case on behalf of the good side.)

This is a triumph for freedom.

But the Colorado Supreme Court may undo the victory. No appeal by the university has yet been taken, but it is certainly a real possibility. Given the progressive, anti-constitutional make-up of the Colorado Supreme Court (see Clear the Bench Colorado), one might think a reversal of the Court of Appeal's ruling - and a reinstatement of the gun ban - would be very likely.

The Colorado Supreme Court, however, understands politics. Four of the worst offenders of legislating from the bench are up for retention election in 2010. Clear the Bench Colorado is an organized effort to educate voters that these justices can, and should, be removed from office. The movement is picking up steam.

If an appeal is taken, and the Supreme Court overturns the Court of Appeals' decision before the November election, opposition will undoubtedly galvanize at the right time. Reinstating a gun ban before the election would greatly reduce the chances of retention.

The Supreme Court will not, for that reason, announce such a decision at such an inopportune time. However, if it wanted to take some of the steam out of the Clear the Bench movement, might they affirm the Court of Appeals' decision just before the November election?

Are they that politically motivated? They might be. If they get past 2010, then they are not up for another retention vote until 2020.

Keep an eye out on this one...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It all looks good if you only look at the credit side of the ledger

The headline story in today's Denver Post ("Orion rockets back to life") claims that the federally-funded Orion spacecraft project "produces about $300 million in annual revenue."

It leaves out, of course, that the $300 million in annual revenue is taken from taxpayers, for a net effect on the economy of, roughly, say . . . about $0.




Saturday, April 10, 2010

John Paul Stevens, abortion, and the Constitution

With the impending retirement of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens*, abortion will once again be the topic du jour - for the next several months.

There are two separate and distinct issues in the abortion argument that are invariably merged together by both the "pro-choice" and "pro-life" camps. They are:

1) Should abortion be legal?
2) Is there a right to abortion in the United States Constitution?

That these two completely different questions are treated as synonymous in the debate is a sad commentary. It is yet another example of how we, as Americans, think that whatever our particular policy objective might be, that we must impose it on others by the force of law.

Within the context of the abortion debate, the process works like this: No matter my answer to the first question, my answer to the second question must be the same. This does not follow and is intellectually sloppy. The rationale is that if one believes in something as a matter of public policy, then the foundation of that public policy must be found in the Constitution. That line of reasoning is a non sequitur. It is nonsense. It is simply wrong.

The answers to both questions are absolutely and completely independent of one another.

Personally, as an answer to the first question, I have an absolutely weak and unconvincing belief that abortion should be legal for the first trimester. As to the second, I can state unequivocally that there is no right to an abortion in the United States Constitution. The "right" was created out of whole cloth by justices that felt it was their duty to set policy - and not interpret and apply a written document with specific words with specific meanings.

If the Supreme Court had actually followed the Constitution in Roe v. Wade, the federal government would be out of the abortion issue all together, and each state would have to address the issue. This horrifies the statists, of course, because it is much easier to control us all from D.C. than it is from 50 different state capitol buildings.

--------
* Yet another example of a "progressive" statist championed by a Republican. Stevens was nominated to the bench by Gerald R. Ford.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Tea Parties, third parties, and small government.

I love the Tea Party movement. I spoke at the event on tax day 2009 before about 8,000 people and am scheduled to speak at the upcoming event on tax day 2010.

Claude Ford, of Arvada, asks a question about the movement in his letter to the editor published in today's Denver Post. (See "Faces of the Tea Party," second letter). It says:

The outrageous policies of the Bush administration have led directly to the financial and economic collapse we are experiencing now. Columnists Mike Littwin, Paul Krugman and other fine journalists sounded the alarm bell on the impending perils of these policies.

Were letter-writer Nanette McBride (April 3) and other Tea Party-goers asleep for eight years? Their failure to protest then makes their protests now seem far more political than patriotic.

Claude Ford, Arvada


Regardless of his approval of Paul Krugman, Mr. Ford's overall point is correct. There was no Tea Party movement while George W. Bush and the Republicans outrageously expanded government.

There is, however, a political group, formed right here in Colorado, that has been speaking out against both Big Government Republicans and Democrats since 1971. The Libertarian Party has been around for decades and will be around long after the last tea cup is put away.

Believers in small government have a home, and it is not the party of George W. Bush, John McCain, Jane Norton, Bill Owens or Scott McInnis. That a political party can espouse small government, yet consistently support Big Government candidates, is absurd. But the joke is on the rank-and-file Republicans who actually believe in small government. And I know there are lots of you out there.

After the GOP nominates Big Government candidates, the GOP politburo will look at you and say, "What? You have to vote for our Big Government candidates. What ya gonna do, vote for the Democrat? You have no choice. HA HA HA HA."

You do have a choice. The two party system is not in the Constitution. Neither is plurality voting, which keeps the two-party duopoly in power. I hear well-meaning people say, "well, we have a two-party system and we just have to live with that."

Hogwash.

Did Sam Adams say to his cousin John, "we live in a monarchy and we just have to live with it." Hell no, he did not. They fought. For years and years. And were eventually victorious.

Join the fight against all Big Government politicians, regardless of the letter after their name. Do not accept the false choice of the Big Government Democrat or the Big Government Republican. If you do, you perpetuate the problem. I know you want to solve the problem.

Let's have some tea.

Greed has nothing to do with it

The Denver Post has a front page story today concerning housing foreclosures. It features a sad story about a man in the Vail Valley who is losing his house. (See "'Big boy' mess rolling downhill, hitting locals").

The man, Harry Cessna, says
"I sat here — happy and content in my little home — and watched all these big boys play with money, and I saw how greedy everyone got, selling and going bigger and selling and going bigger. Now I'm getting punished along with the rest of them."

I feel for Mr. Cessna. However, the "big boys" playing with money has nothing to do with his foreclosure. As the Post reports,

Harry Cessna admits he has struggled to make payments on the modular home he bought in Gypsum in 1989 with his soon-to-be wife.

He was late a couple of times as he helped his wife fight cancer for two years, a battle she lost in 2007. Without her salary, Cessna, a house painter, could barely make payments on the acre-lot home bought for $55,000.

The story is very sad and Mr. Cessna deserves our sympathy. But he is losing his house because he lost his wife's income and he could no longer afford the payment on his mortgage. Evil fat cat greedy "big boys" in loud pinstriped suits lighting cigars with $100 bills did not have a thing to do with it.

Anecdotes and personal stories sell newspapers. They do very little to address the country's economic problems, which stem from well-documented government intervention in, among other things, the housing market.

Hyperbole much?

ESPN.com's headline right now concerns Tiger Woods' return to competitive golf today at the Masters. It says

WAIT OF THE WORLD

As popular as Tiger is, most of the world could not care less.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Hey, Coach K, we don't hate you 'cause you're GOOD...

"If you want to hate us because we have kids who go to school, graduate, play solid team ball and win a lot, go ahead."
-Dook Coach, Mike Shashefsky.

Mike, I don't hate Dook for those reasons. I hate your team for these reasons:

1) You teach your team to flop like soccer players. Or fish on the floor of a boat.

2) Your encourage your team to slap the floor on defense as if that's "hustle" or something. It's showboating.

3) You whine at officials like a little girl.

4) You curse within earshot of kids like you are Tiger Woods.

5) You attempted to intimidate students at Dook's student newspaper when they were critical.

6) Your team plays in a rat-infested fire-trap that most YMCA's would be ashamed to call home. (Somehow, people think it is a great gym. It's not. I've seen the Heels play there. I'm sure Cameron Indoor Stadium was really something - before electricity and indoor plumbing really caught on.)

7) When Christian Laettner blatantly stomped on Kentucky's Aminu Timberlake, you blew it off as no big deal.

8) During your worst season as coach at Dook, (2-14 in the ACC) you decided to bail on the team and made an assistant take all of the losses off of your record. I imagine your back would have felt much better if you were en route to another NCAA tournament bid.


10) I went to Carolina.

Friday, April 02, 2010

The government's war on the poor continues.

The Obama administration will require all new cars in the US to get 10 more miles per gallon than they do now by 2016.

This will drive up the cost of cars. The government admits new cars in 2016 will cost $926 more under these new standards than they would otherwise.

If they admit to an increase of $926, you can bet the increase will be substantially more. Rich people will just write a check for the difference. Poor people will not. They can not. The government says "no big deal." The new standards will actually save you money.

According to the government, we will all save $3000 in gas money over the life of the car. If this were true, government force would not be required.

Whenever the government says force is necessary for people to save money, they are spewing nonsense. They do not care about saving you money. They care about control over what you can buy.

They know better than you. You are too stupid to know that you can save money. Therefore, the government must pass a law requiring you to save money.

It is absurd on its face. It is tripe. And too many of us say, "Thanks, oh benevolent state, for the tripe. It is so tasty."