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Monday, March 19, 2012

Santorum - Republicans no longer the party of Goldwater and small govern...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Herman Cain v. Eric Holder on brainwashing

"It's just brainwashing ... pure and simple."
          Hermain Cain on "progressive" methods, November, 2011.

"We need to do this everyday of the week and really just brainwash people."
          Eric Holder, January, 1995

Friday, March 09, 2012

"I beg your indulgence, my liege."

The subjects line up, waiting their chance at a meeting with the king. Each has a desire. Each hopes the king will be moved by his presentation and deign to grant his wish. No one can be sure what moves the king. Oftentimes  he seems moved by mere whim. But the subjects know if they do not ask, they have no chance. So they line up, they bow and scrape, and they beg.

It is a good thing such foolishness is a thing of the past.

What? It isn't? You mean this still goes on?

It is true.

It happened yesterday, in Denver. Six applicants begged the state for millions of dollars. The role of king is now played by the Colorado Economic Development Commission, a political board filled with political appointees by politicians. This board has the power to dole out millions of dollars. This largesse is ostensibly for local governments, but the money will end up with private contractors and other private companies.

For example, the city of Aurora seeks a state indulgence worth $123.8 million. The city is asking on behalf of Gaylord Entertainment Company, a private company with a market capitalization of $1.4 billion. Gaylord wants to build a huge, fancy hotel in Aurora, but will not do it without the government gift.

The theory behind this "Economic Development" is that tax breaks encourage business growth. Of course, that is absolutely true. But why do only those with the means and desire to scrape and bow and beg before the state board qualify? Why do politically connected applicants have to justify their business plan to a political board of political appointees? Why does Gaylord have the backing of the Aurora City Council for its massive project, but the mom and pop dry cleaner gets no support for any "economic development" of its business?

Because mom and pop do not have a "government relations" department. Because mom and pop do not have and can not afford a lobbyist. Because mom and pop do not have the time to put together a fancy power-point presentation for a group of politically connected appointees. Because mom and pop are too busy working. Because mom and pop are busting their butts earning money and not standing in line for a government gift.

Statists like to justify state action like this in the name of "fairness" and "equity." There is nothing fair or equitable about the king's whims.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Perrish Cox, Harvey Steinberg and keeping the state in check

I think the biggest statewide news of the day [Friday] is that former Denver Bronco Perrish Cox was acquitted on two counts of sexual assault of a victim unable to assess her condition. I of course have no idea of what actually happened over that Labor Day weekend in 2010, but everything I heard in the media made it look pretty bad for Cox.

Cox, Demarius Thomas and the accuser and others had been out partying, then came back to Cox' apartment. At that point, stories differ. It seems, however, that the  accuser contacted Cox the next day and asked if they had “intimate contact.” Cox denied any such contact. Vehemently, it appears. As it turns out, the accuser found herself pregnant shortly thereafter and DNA showed Cox to be the father. 

I thought it looked pretty bad. But Cox' lawyer, Harvey Steinberg, must’ve done a tremendous job.  Cox was looking at 2 years to life in prison.

There are no winners in a case like this. But I give major props to Steinberg for making the state prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt before it can lock someone in a cage. The state has an awesome power.  It can take your life if you are convicted of a capital crime, it can certainly keep you locked up. It is important that someone makes the state prove its case. Even if the defendant appears to be guilty as sin – we can never let the state skate on its responsibility to use its power in a constitutional manner.

When we start to let the state slide – because we think someone is obviously guilty – there is nothing to stop the state from sliding when you get accused of something. 

Economic Development: Letting the politically connected feed at the public trough.

Denver Post editorial page editor Curtis Hubbard describes the Colorado Economic Development Commission as "doling out grants under a law intended to bring new visitors to the state."

In other words, the Commission will be giving public money to people, whom in the exercise of its considerable discretion, it deems worthy. More simply, they give free money to people they like.

And people wonder why corruption in government exists? "Economic Development" is code for  "corporate welfare." It is corporatism. It enables the rich and politically connected to feed at the public trough.

The corporatists have succeeded so well they have people lining up to defend this nonsense. "It's good for the economy!" they say. No, it's good for the guy with his name on the check drawn from the public treasury. He can buy another boat with it.  With your money. And he ain't gonna ask you to go water skiing with him, either.

State mandated "affordable healthcare" may be a great idea - but it ain't a "right."

Freelance writer Lisa Wirthman has a long defense of state involvement in health care in today's Denver Post. (See "Health vs Faith: The debate over insurance for contraceptives.")

One early paragraph in her column sums up the issue and explains why she is wrong. She asserts

While freedom of religion demands careful consideration, so does the right of low-income women to receive safe and affordable heath care.

The fundamental error should be obvious: there is no "right of low-income women to receive safe and affordable health care." None. Zero. Nada. Her entire analysis is based on a falsehood.

There are no "positive rights."

The Future of Freedom Foundation explains it well in an article by Sheldon Richman, "Wrong Rights." In oversimplified terms, a "positive right" is an entitlement. If, for example, Wirthman is correct and there is a right to receive safe and affordable healthcare, then someone has an obligation to provide that healthcare. The person asserting the right is entitled to the healthcare and it necessarily follows that someone MUST provide it, whether they wish to or not. There can be no moral justification for forcing someone to act against their wishes. That is the basis for tyranny.

"Oh, sure," some say, "maybe it's a teeny, tiny bit of tyranny, but it's really no big deal because we are all better off  as a collective when some people are forced to act against their will." If the danger of such thought is not evident, well, then nothing is.

Wirthman argues that society is better off when it provides "safe and affordable healthcare" to everyone. Maybe so. On the other hand, maybe the best way to do that is by voluntary action and not the use of government force. We can have that debate.

But without a fundamental understanding of "rights," any debate is pointless. It is like arguing physics with someone that rejects Newton's Laws of Motion.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

"Full speed ahead!" The RTD light rail scam

Westminster City Councilmember Mark Kaiser is displeased with the possibility that RTD will not build the Northwest corridor line through his town.

In the March 1, 2012 edition of the Westminster Window (page 7), he complains that the people of Westminster were promised a train, and, by God, they better get one. He wrote, "It is not a system unless it is built as promised and as the voters approved in 2004."

Like all too many, Kaiser focuses on only part of the promise. He sees the shiny train that was promised. Unfortunately, he is blind to the price tag that was also promised.

In 2004, voters approved a price tag of $894.6 million for the light rail expansion. Now RTD says the price tag is actually $1.7 billion. Like a modern, twisted version of Admiral Farragut, Kaiser says "damn the price tag, full speed ahead!"

Kaiser's refusal to acknowledge the cost is a refusal to acknowledge reality. This blindness is a common affliction of statists - they want something, damn it, and cost means nothing. Costs are irrelevant to those with  this affliction. In the real world, however, costs matter.

Voters were duped in 2004. Giving RTD more money in 2012 would be like giving Bernie Madoff more money to invest.

Hopefully voters, despite the blindness of some, will not be played the fool again.