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  • Archive for May, 2013

    Worthwhile Reading & Viewing

    Posted by David Foster on 22nd May 2013 (All posts by )

    Former FDCI head Sheila Bair says that low interest rates are hurting, not helping, the economy

    Boring, narrow, think-alike apparatchiks.

    Educational credentialism and the landed aristocracy.

    The irreversible decline of Sears

    Rita King is not impressed with Marissa Mayer’s ban on remote work at Yahoo

    How volatility boosts career resilience

    Seven characteristics of creative people

    Stephen Hawking’s warped moral calculus

    19 emotions for which English has no words

    AT&T predicted the future in these 1993 ads…but how many of these possibilities-turned-actualities was it really able to convert into sources of revenue and profit?

    The CEO of Siemens USA thinks young people should seriously consider careers in manufacturing. (When he talks about high-level executives at Siemens who started as apprentices on the shop floor, I have to wonder how many of these success stories are in Siemens USA versus Siemens in Germany)

    Some vintage air travel photos

    The 22 most beautifully secluded places in the world

    Posted in Aviation, Business, Economics & Finance, Education, Human Behavior, Management | 17 Comments »

    The IRS: End It, Don’t Mend It

    Posted by Lexington Green on 22nd May 2013 (All posts by )

    America 3.0 will not have Federal income tax. Or so we hope.

    The recent disclosures regarding the despicable malfeasance of the Internal Revenue Service provide support for a specific argument we make in America 3.0.

    In a recent WSJ article entitled A Brief History of IRS Political Targeting, James Bovard provides a damning quote the book A Law Unto Itself: The IRS and the Abuse of Power (1990) “In almost every administration since the IRS’s inception the information and power of the tax agency have been mobilized for explicitly political purposes.”

    The assertion that IRS employees in Cincinnati embarked on a localized rogue operation was preposterous on its face. The IRS employees did what their bosses told them to do. There is no incentive for a low level bureaucrat to do anything innovative and spontaneous, ever, for any reason. This case is no exception.

    The problem here is not personnel. It is not whether the directive to harass Tea Party groups originated in the White House. It is not whether firing someone as a ritual sacrifice will assuage the public.

    It is much bigger than that.

    The IRS is structurally and inevitably a pathological organization that is destructive of our liberty. The people who work there, without regard to their personal morals, face pernicious incentives. That is one of the most poisonous things about bureaucracy. Ordinary, decent people end up participating in destructive policies and processes with no personal malice and even with little or no personal fault.

    The power the IRS possesses, like every power granted to government, will be abused. And the IRS possesses enormous power, and the temptation to abuse that power will prevail, inevitably and frequently and destructively.

    That is why, in our book, we argue for the abolition of the IRS.

    The information routinely gathered by the IRS on law-abiding citizens is abusive and out of step with liberty and privacy. The routine gathering of personal information on every taxpayer is an affront to the letter and spirit of the Fourth Amendment. Yet we have come to accept this as normal and tolerable.

    It isn’t, and we shouldn’t.

    The required disclosure of personal economic information required in filing tax forms constitutes perhaps the largest single invasion of civil liberties in America, violating the spirit of the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against search and seizure of personal information without a judicial warrant. … Ending income taxation will end this circumvention of the Bill of Rights, one which has been used again and again to political advantage by unscrupulous presidential administrations.

    Repealing the 16th Amendment, ending the income tax, and abolishing the IRS are indeed ambitious goals. At the moment, they appear to be impossible goals. Americans are not yet ready to think this big. But these are goals worth pursuing, and what is possible is not set in stone. Today’s impossible can become tomorrow’s inevitable.

    Destroying the files of the Internal Revenue Service would be the largest restoration of privacy since the destruction of the records of the East German Stasi and other Eastern European secret police services, possibly more so since the Stasi spied only on part of its population but the IRS is interested in everyone who makes any money at all.

    Replacing the existing code with a VAT or sales tax would require different rules and procedures, and eliminating the existing IRS and creating a new organization from scratch would be a step in the right direction.

    We should begin thinking and planning today for a successor method of Federal taxation, and a new organization with no track record to fund the smaller, more focused, more transparent federal government we will need for the 21st Century, the era of America 3.0.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments »

    San Jose IRS Protest

    Posted by Jonathan on 21st May 2013 (All posts by )

    Submitted by a reader:

    IRS and RICO sign in San Jose

    Posted in Obama, Photos, Politics, Tea Party | 3 Comments »

    When Nixon Meets RICO, Obama’s Real IRS Problem

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 21st May 2013 (All posts by )

    Over the week end of May 18-19 2013 the Obama Administration official Dan Pfeiffer went out and spun the IRS scandal saying “The law is irrelevant”. On the contrary, the law is very much relevant to the IRS scandal, including prohibitions against specific acts by IRS personnel and more general laws of which the ones to watch concern private civil actions for damages under the federal Racketeering, Influence and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act (18 USC 1961, et seq.) and Civil Rights Act (42 USC 1983, et seq.). There is every possibility that the victims of the IRS’s suppression of Obama political opponent free speech rights will sue the IRS and individual IRS employees under the civil rights and civil RICO laws for a $150-to-$650 million legal payday.

    Remember, _THE IRS CONFESSED_. There is no argument that it admitted some of its actions concerning Tea Party organization tax-exempt applications were unlawful, i.e.., illegal. It is obvious that the IRS and its staff engaged in an organized multi-work unit, multi-state, plus Washington DC Headquarters, wide conspiracy to suppress the Tea Party. The IRS unlawfully applied special rules to Tea Party applicants that it did not to others and that conspiracy prevented them from exercising their free speech rights for the 2010 and 2012 election cycles.

    It also is very clear that the IRS — via the questions it was asking the Tea Party and other religious non-profits — was busy creating a quite extensive Nixonian/Ailinskyite ENEMIES LIST for future use in intimidation and the depriving Obama Administration political opponents of their Constitutional Rights.

    Those are classic CONSPIRACY AGAINST RIGHTS (18 USC 241) and DEPRIVATION RIGHTS UNDER COLOR OF LAW (18 USC 242) violations.

    See these criminal federal civil rights statutes, whose violation gives rise to civil liability for damages too:

    Conspiracy Against Rights (18 USC 241)
    If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or

    If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured—

    They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.”

    and

    Deprivation Rights Under Color of Law (18 USC 242)
    Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both;

    and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.”

    That is the criminal side of things.

    The problem AG Holder is going to suffer obstructing discovery in civil rights and civil RICO lawsuits against the IRS is that criminal prosecutions and civil suits for damages proceed in tandem. The civil suits aren’t stayed by criminal prosecutions on the same subject, let alone by criminal “investigations” short of prosecutions.

    The IRS “Special Group’s” delay of tax exempt status prevented Tea Party NGO’s from fund raising and participating in two political cycles (2010 and 2012) by educating “low information voters” as to the political issues of the day, like the National Rifle Association does. The NGO’s whose applications for tax-exempt status were slow-rolled can claim “trade and business” damages under Civil RICO provisions of Federal law. And the Supreme Court of the USA decided decades ago that criminal acts by the Federal government “under the color of law” do not qualify for sovereign immunity under the Federal supremacy clause of the constitution.

    To quote a lawyer I know –
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Civil Liberties, Crime and Punishment, Current Events, Elections, Health Care, Law Enforcement, Obama, Politics, Tea Party, The Press, Uncategorized | 24 Comments »

    America 3.0: “Future’s so bright we have to wear shades”

    Posted by Lexington Green on 20th May 2013 (All posts by )

    Glenn Reynolds, in addition to writing a foreword for the book, has a column in USA Today about America 3.0, the soon-to-be-published book by Jim Bennett and myself.

    The book’s authors, James Bennett and Michael Lotus, argue that things seem rough because we’re in a period of transition, like those after the Civil War and during the New Deal era. Such transitions are necessarily bumpy, but once they’re navigated the country comes back stronger than ever.
     
    But as Bennett and Lotus note, the problems of America 2.0 are all soluble, and, in what they call America 3.0, they will be solved. The solutions will be as different from America 2.0 as America 2.0 was from America 1.0. We’ll see a focus on smaller government, nimbler organization, and living within our means — because, frankly, we’ll have no choice. Something that can’t go on forever, won’t. If America 2.0 was a fit for the world of giant steel mills and monolithic corporations, America 3.0 will be fit for the world of consumer choice and Internet speed.

    Yes, correct!

    Do read the whole thing, please!

    Prof. Reynolds was also kind enough to link to his article on Instapundit, including a link to the Amazon page.

    You can pre-order either the hardcover or the electronic version.

    Posted in America 3.0 | 4 Comments »

    Another (apparent) Case of Politically-Driven Government Abuse of a Small Business

    Posted by David Foster on 20th May 2013 (All posts by )

    Catherine Engelbrecht and her husband own a small manufacturing business.

    Catherine dared to express political opinions and organize political activities which were not to the liking of the Obama administration and its left-wing allies. Very quickly, Engelbrecht Manufacturing found itself facing inquiries from the IRS and the FBI and OSHA and the ATF.

    Read Catherine Engelbrecht’s story here.

    Of course, we can’t be sure–and Catherine can’t be sure–that these investigations were politically-motivated. Maybe the aggregate of separate actions by separate agencies was merely a matter of chance. It seems about as likely as being hit on the head by a meteor, but it’s possible.

    And it is specifically this impossibility of knowing what is really behind discretionary activities on the part of large and powerful government bureaucracies (absent legal action forcing the agencies to reveal their internal documents and discussions, which most people will not be able to afford) that makes this sort of thing so frightening.

    I don’t think any seriously-informed person can doubt that a climate of intimidation is being driven by the Obama administration. Obama has clearly brought some of the toxic aspects of Chicago political culture to Washington with him, and these are added to the end-justifies-the-means philosophy which is a staple of leftism in general.

    As long as Barack Obama is in office, I don’t see how anyone can feel reasonably assured of fair and nonpolitical treatment by any federal agency.

    Catherine Engelbrecht says the harassment has forced her to seriously reconsider whether her political activity is worth the government harassment she’s faced.

    “I left a thriving family business with my husband that I loved, to do something I didn’t necessarily love, but [which] I thought had to be done,” she says. “But I really think if we don’t do this, if we don’t stand up and speak now, there might not [always] be that chance.”

    Posted in Business, Civil Liberties, Obama, Politics, USA | 22 Comments »

    James C. Bennett to Speak at Western Conservative Summit, June 17, 2013

    Posted by Lexington Green on 20th May 2013 (All posts by )

    We are pleased to announce that James C. Bennett will be speaking at the Western Conservative Summitt 2013, sponsored by the Centennial Institute and Colorado Christian University.

    Jim will be speaking on Monday, June 17, 2013 at . His topic: Envisioning America 3.0, CCU Beckman Center, 8787 W. Alameda Avenue Lakewood, CO.

    Where is the voice of practical optimism to counter worries from both left and right that the USA faces irreversible decline? One such voice is that of James C. Bennett, historian, economist, space scientist, and futurist. Based right here in Colorado, Bennett is the originator of the Anglosphere concept and a Centennial Institute fellow. Join us on Monday evening, June 17, at 7:00 p.m. in the CCU Beckman Center to hear about the important new book he co-authored with Michael J. Lotus,  America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century – Why America’s Greatest Days are Yet to Come.

    Jim’s talk is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

    Posted in America 3.0, Announcements | Comments Off on James C. Bennett to Speak at Western Conservative Summit, June 17, 2013

    Kipling: McAndrew’s Hymn

    Posted by David Foster on 19th May 2013 (All posts by )

    Lord, Thou hast made this world below the shadow of a dream, 
    An’, taught by time, I tak’ it so – exceptin’ always Steam. 
    From coupler-flange to spindle-guide I see Thy Hand, O God –
    Predestination in the stride o’ yon connectin’-rod. 
    John Calvin might ha’ forged the same – enorrmous, certain, slow –
    Ay, wrought it in the furnace-flame – my “Institutio.” 
    I cannot get my sleep to-night; old bones are hard to please;
    I’ll stand the middle watch up here – alone wi’ God an’ these 
    My engines, after ninety days o’ race an’ rack an’ strain 
    Through all the seas of all Thy world, slam-bangin’ home again. 
    Slam-bang too much – they knock a wee – the crosshead-gibs are loose;
    But thirty thousand mile o’ sea has gied them fair excuse….
    Fine, clear an’ dark – a full-draught breeze, wi’ Ushant out o’ sight, 
    An’ Ferguson relievin’ Hay. Old girl, ye’ll walk to-night! 
    His wife’s at Plymouth…. Seventy-One-Two-Three since he began – 
    Three turns for Mistress Ferguson…. an’ who’s to blame the man?
    There’s none at any port for me, by drivin’ fast or slow,
    Since Elsie Campbell went to Thee, Lord, thirty years ago. 
    (The year the ‘Sarah Sands’ was burned. Oh roads we used to tread, 
    Fra’ Maryhill to Pollokshaws – fra’ Govan to Parkhead!) 
    Not but they’re ceevil on the Board. Ye’ll hear Sir Kenneth say: 
    “Good morrn, McAndrew! Back again? An’ how’s your bilge to-day?”
    Miscallin’ technicalities but handin’ me my chair 
    To drink Madeira wi’ three Earls – the auld Fleet Engineer,
    That started as a boiler-whelp – when steam and he were low. 
    I mind the time we used to serve a broken pipe wi’ tow. 

    The whole poem is here.

    Posted in Poetry, Tech | 6 Comments »

    Party Bike In London Traffic

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 19th May 2013 (All posts by )

    20130519-115618.jpg
    While across the pond in London I saw these blokes pedaling some sort of “party bike” (there is an entry in wikipedia for it with a similar photo on Tower Bridge) through London traffic. Apparently there is one sober guy who steers and everyone else drinks and likely occasionally pedals. I saw a few of them and as they went by the pedestrians lots of people hooted at them or tried to give some sort of hi five or British equivalent. In River North we have the party buses (trolleys) these seem more eco-friendly, I guess.

    By the way I am trying this blogging for the first time with an application through my iPad so if it looks a little funky I will get better over time.

    Posted in Britain, Humor | 2 Comments »

    Commander In Embarrassment

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 18th May 2013 (All posts by )

    This photo has been making the rounds lately; the leader of the free world in (yet another) awkward moment.

    I first saw this when watching the news with my wife, and I blurted out – “did they really need to have the Marine hold that umbrella? How insulting to the Corps. It doesn’t look like it is even raining very hard.” My wife laughed and said (wisely) “why on earth would you expect anything different from Captain Zero?”.

    And what in blazes is the President doing touching that Marine? If he wants the umbrella adjusted, couldn’t he just ask him to raise it a bit higher?

    I also noted to my wife at the time that it is likely against uniform code for the Marine to hold the umbrella, and that was proven to be correct (no males in any US armed services are allowed to hold an umbrella while in uniform). However, I am sure that following orders (especially from the CIC) outweigh that detail, and the Marine did what he was told. As always.

    But, you know, sigh.

    This last five years have been absolutely brutal for Obama and his handlers in all sorts of public situations, over and over and over. The President’s handlers either are just a bunch of idiots, or Obama is simply not listening to them. They have no understanding of what the cameras will capture, how things will look ahead of time, or what protocol even is. Someone in that office should have seen the forecast and mentioned to the President that if it rains, would he perhaps like a STAFFER to hold an umbrella for him, or does he simply want to be tough and soak up a raindrop or two, or (insert many non embarrassing options here).

    But no. Again, we get another breakdown and millions of people get to point and laugh or shake their heads in disgust at the President and his staff for being insensitive, and just downright lazy and dumb.

    It makes me worry that the whole damned administration is run like this. Amateur hour at the White House, as a friend of mine recently said.

    Posted in Just Unbelievable, Military Affairs, Obama | 39 Comments »

    History Friday: Stranded in the Death Valley

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 17th May 2013 (All posts by )

    When gold was discovered in the foothills of California’s Sierra Nevada in 1848, it didn’t take very long for word to get out. From the eastern United States, California was then a six-month journey by mule trail or covered wagon over land – that or a long sea voyage around South America, or two sea voyages broken by a short but disease-plagued trek across the narrowest part of Central America. The sea voyage was expense, the overland journey a bit less so – and it probably seemed much more direct, anyway.
    Two young Gold Rushers who hit the trail in the spring of 1849 were William Manly and John Rogers; young and adventurous single men who had come by separate means as far as Salt Lake City. Manly already had an eventful trip just getting that far. From an account written much later, he seems to have been a broad-minded optimist, good-humored and above all – adventurous. He and some companions had decided to venture down an uncharted river in canoes – and only an encounter with some helpful Indians prevented them from going all the way – down an uncharted river and into a deep and impassible canyon. With one thing and another, they had arrived too late in the season to consider crossing the Sierras by the Truckee River Pass. This was three years after the Donner Party – which served as a Dreadful Warning to all wagon train parties considering a mountain passage late in the trail season.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Society, USA | 12 Comments »

    Abuse of Power

    Posted by David Foster on 16th May 2013 (All posts by )

    Professor Anne Hendershot, a sociologist, was targeted for an IRS audit in 2010 after she wrote a series of articles, mostly in Catholic publications, that were critical of Obamacare. The IRS summoned Professor Hendershott to a meeting to discuss the “business expenses” associated with her writing. Hendershott reports that the IRS agent wanted to know “who was paying her” and barred her husband from attending the inquiry, even though the Hendershotts file joint returns. Hendershott says that she was so traumatized by the experience that she stopped writing about political topics, which presumably was the intended effect.

    “It was clear they didn’t like me criticizing the people who helped pass Obamacare,” she said of the audit,” later adding, ”The IRS is very frightening.”

    In addition to creating stress and fear, Hendershott said that the experience came at a great emotional and financial expense for the family, noting that even after the audit the government sought more information from her.

    (excerpted from PowerLine and The Blaze)

    Of course, she can’t prove that she was targeted politically (or couldn’t until now, when subpoenas directed against the IRS may force the revelation of such information.) And that is precisely what makes the power wielded by the IRS and other Federal agencies so frightening. An individual can be sentenced to a Kafkaeqsue subterranean passage of indefinite duration, at the discretion of low-level officials in a local office, Cabinet officials in Washington, or mid-level bureaucrats anywhere in between. Hence, the maintenance of individual freedom requires that Federal Government activities be conducted with a high degree of integrity and respect for law.

    What apparently happened to Professor Hendershott should not be happening to anyone in America.

    Obama says he is “angry” about the IRS political activities that have been revealed. Sure, he’s angry about the political impact of the revelations on his administration. But is he angry that the activities occurred in the first place?

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Britain, Civil Liberties, History, Politics, USA | 26 Comments »

    America 3.0 Now Available on KINDLE and NOOK

    Posted by Lexington Green on 15th May 2013 (All posts by )

    We have received many requests for an electronic version of our upcoming book America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century-Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come. We are happy to announce that there will be an electronic version of the book.

    You can now pre-order the Kindle version via Amazon.

    It is also available for pre-order for the Nook via Barnes & Noble.

    (Cross-posted on America 3.0.)

    Posted in America 3.0, Announcements, Book Notes | Comments Off on America 3.0 Now Available on KINDLE and NOOK

    Cascade

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 15th May 2013 (All posts by )

    And so it begins; at first a trickle of rocks falling down a steep mountainside; then more and bigger rocks, and then half the mountainside comes away and falls away in a mighty roar, the earth trembles, and White House spokes-minion Jay Carney is probably looking around desperately trying to figure out what hit him. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Civil Society, Conservatism, Leftism, Obama, Taxes, Tea Party, The Press, USA | 21 Comments »

    America 3.0: The Authors Receive Their Copies

    Posted by Lexington Green on 14th May 2013 (All posts by )

    Mr. Bennett and Mr. Lotus received their copies of America 3.0 yesterday.

    It is was strange, in a good way, to hold the thing in my hand, after all this effort.

    I went back and looked at some old emails, which contains lines like “I am staying here today and tonight until I am done with Ch.5,” or Jim saying “I am working through the weekend, pretty much. Will take a break Sunday for the Broncos-Chargers game.” One funny thing is that we thought we would not have enough words, but we ended up having plenty.

    In any case, I can now swear on oath that I have seen it, it exists, and if you order one, it looks pretty good, it’s legible, and it feels nice in the hand.

    Cross posted at America 3.0.

    Posted in America 3.0, Announcements, Book Notes | 11 Comments »

    Heed the Voices

    Posted by Lexington Green on 14th May 2013 (All posts by )

    IRS Intimidation Forced Founder to Shut Down Tea Party Group.

    Progressive Group: IRS Gave US Conservative Groups’ Confidential Documents.

    IG report: ‘Inappropriate Criteria’ Stalled IRS Approvals of Conservative Groups.

    During the 2012 election cycle the Internal Revenue Service did not act as an objective, nonpartisan arm of government subject to the rule of law.

    Instead the Internal Revenue service acted as an arm of the Democrat Party, engaged in harassment, intimidation and opposition research for partisan political purposes.

    The result of the most recent Presidential election, in the key state of Ohio, was impacted, possibly decisively, by this intentional, partisan, coordinated, unlawful activity.

    Yet this entity, the Internal Revenue Service, will imprison you if you disobey it.

    There are “voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity … that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner.”

    Heed the voices.

    Posted in Anti-Americanism, Big Government, Crime and Punishment, Politics, Public Finance, Tea Party, USA | 6 Comments »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on 13th May 2013 (All posts by )

    J.V. DeLong in a comment at The Right Coast:

    Maybe it was a bad week for the Obama administration — and maybe it was a fine week.
     
    If the Obama-ists weather these scandals with no damage except squawking from the conservatives, then they will know that they are invulnerable, and are free to use the IRS, the regulatory agencies, and the legal system to harass all enemies without limit.
     
    The real test is of the Democratic Party. Does it stand with the Republic, or has it turned into a Leninist party that controls the government according to the will of the Leader? Based on the performance of the Dems at the Benghazi hearing, the latter seems the case.

    Posted in Big Government, Current Events, Leftism, Obama, Politics, Quotations | 12 Comments »

    The Common Law, Free Markets, and Voluntaristic Rather than Coercive Order: Three Great Things That Go Great Together

    Posted by Lexington Green on 13th May 2013 (All posts by )

    In America 3.0 we discuss the origins of the common law, and how it was well-suited to adapt inductively to changing conditions, in contrast to the more top-down Roman law that predominated on the Continent.

    This recent post on the John Wilkes Club blog, makes this point nicely:

    There is no eschatology in the common law: its purpose is to reflect changes in the cultural, social and economic structure, not to direct them towards an objective preconceived in the minds of cultured and erudite elites for our betterment. Likewise there is no eschatology in free markets: they are a tool for the allocation of goods and services according to ever-changing consumer preferences, not for directing them towards some imaginary ‘ideal’ allocation. Not only is there no ethical basis for the social and economic coercion which rational, artificial, imposed order inevitably involves; but also, because even a benevolent genius is trapped in the prison of imperfect information described by Hayek and others, it does not work.

    The post cites to The New World of the Gothic Fox: Culture and Economy in English and Spanish America by Claudio Veliz, a great favorite of ours, and concludes in Hayekian fashion: “… the ability to manage the modern welfare state is not just beyond any particular person, but beyond anybody … .”

    Quite so. And that why is it is failing. And that is why the next iteration of America will be flatter, more networked, less coercive and better, cheaper and faster at everything that matters. But we have to get all this detritus out of the way, first … .

    Cross-posted on America 3.0.

    Posted in America 3.0, Anglosphere, Book Notes, Britain, Civil Liberties, History, Libertarianism, Quotations, Society, USA | 5 Comments »

    Fabric Geometry

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 13th May 2013 (All posts by )

    Center section of a quilt on display two Saturdays ago at QuiltFest, in Boerne, Texas.

    Posted in Photos | Comments Off on Fabric Geometry

    Obama’s IRS Management Problem

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 13th May 2013 (All posts by )

    The Obama administration has a huge “management problem” with its spin of the nakedly partisan and highly illegal IRS denial of Tea Party non-profit tax status. One that makes the IRS scandal an “on-going criminal conspiracy” in the RICO sense and places “Nixon offense” impeachment charges in Pres. Obama’s future.

    This is the IRS Tea Party Case Timeline Courtesy of ABC News:

    http://abcnews.go.com/images/Politics/Appendix%20VI%20and%20Appendix%20VII.PDF

    This is my list of the Cincinnati, Ohio and IRS HQ management positions involved in Tea Party cases by title, location and first date mentioned from the linked document.

    1. Determinations Unit Group Manager (Ohio?) [1] — 1 Mar 2010
    2. Acting Manager, Technical Unit [1] (Ohio) — 16 Mar 2010
    3. New Acting Manager, Technical Unit [2] (Ohio) — 1 Apr 2010
    4. Determinations Unit Program Manager (Ohio?) — 25 Apr 2010
    5. Determinations Unit Area Manager (Ohio?)– 26 Oct 2010
    6. Technical Unit manager (Ohio) — 16 Nov 2010
    7. Senior Technical Advisor to the Director, EO (IRS Washington DC) — 13 Dec 2010
    8. New Technical Unit Acting Manager [3] (Ohio) — Jan 2011
    9. Acting Director, Rulings and Agreements [1] (IRS Washington DC) — 1 June 2011
    10. Director, EO. (IRS Washington DC) — 29 June 2011
    11. -Title or titles unknown- in EO function (IRS Washington DC) Headquarters office — 5 July 2011
    12. IRS Chief Counsel (IRS Washington DC) — 4 Aug 2011
    13. New Acting Director, Rulings and Agreements [2] (IRS Washington DC) — October 2011
    14. New Acting Group Manager “of the team of specialists” (Ohio?) — March 2012
    15. Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement (IRS Washington DC) — 8 Mar 2012
    16. Senior Technical Advisor to the Acting Commissioner, Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division (IRS Washington DC) — 23 Mar 2012
    17. Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement (IRS Washington DC) — 23 Mar 2012
    18. Senior Technical Advisor to the Acting Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division Commissioner (IRS Washington DC) — 23 Apr 2012
    19. Director, Rulings and Agreements (May be same as #10 above, IRS Washington DC)– 17 May 2012
    20 -Title(s) Unknown- Quality Assurance Unit (Ohio?) — May 2012
    21 -Title(s) Unknown- Operations Unit (Ohio?) — May 2012
    22. New Acting Determinations Unit Group Manager [2] (Ohio) — 15 July 2012

    In August March 2012 then IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman testified before Congress that the IRS was not harassing or making a special effort to deny Tea Party affiliated organizations their non-profit tax status. The above list either makes IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman a liar or a sock puppet for Obama administration IRS appointees who did lie. Douglas Shulman is going to need to lawyer up regardless.

    The fact that there were, by my count three different “Manager, Technical Unit” and two “Determinations Unit Group Manager” in Cincinnati, Ohio involved over several years makes this Tea Party witch hunt anything but a “local IRS unit run amok.” This was an on-going criminal conspiracy involving IRS senior management over a matter of years.

    A class action RICO lawsuit by the Tea Party against the IRS is very much on the table and the IRS won’t have sovereign immunity for “criminal actions taken under the color of law.” That point about federal government criminality was decided decades ago in various US Government high level nuclear waste dumping law suits before the Supreme Court.

    Impeachment of President Obama for IRS-related “Nixon Offenses” is now on the table.

    Note — This is the 3rd 4th Update of this post

    Posted in America 3.0, Anti-Americanism, Big Government, Conservatism, Crime and Punishment, USA | 16 Comments »

    Conspiracy Theories

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 12th May 2013 (All posts by )

    Last week was a week for the conspiracy theories. First, we had Benghazi and the hearings which interviewed career State Department officers, most of whom probably vote for Democrats. The fact that they were ordered not to talk to Congressmen and denied any attempt at help when under attack, even from as close as Tripoli, invites speculation about motive. Peggy Noonan, a little unusually, hits this one out of the park.

    Since it is behind a pay wall, I’ll quote a few bits.

    What happened in Benghazi last Sept. 11 and 12 was terrible in every way. The genesis of the scandal? It looks to me like this:

    The Obama White House sees every event as a political event. Really, every event, even an attack on a consulate and the killing of an ambassador.

    Because of that, it could not tolerate the idea that the armed assault on the Benghazi consulate was a premeditated act of Islamist terrorism. That would carry a whole world of unhappy political implications, and demand certain actions. And the American presidential election was only eight weeks away. They wanted this problem to go away, or at least to bleed the meaning from it.

    That sounds about right to me.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Elections, Health Care, Islam, Medicine, Middle East, Military Affairs, National Security, Politics, Tea Party, Terrorism | 12 Comments »

    Who could have ordered Benghazi edits?

    Posted by TM Lutas on 11th May 2013 (All posts by )

    Sometimes it’s the dog that doesn’t bark that is interesting. The Benghazi attack talking points and their morphing from a discussion of Al Queda terrorism into a witch hunt against a dodgy film maker was designed to protect someone. The question is who? Who was worth embarrassing the US diplomatic and intelligence corps and discrediting us with the Libyan government who knew what was going on? The two popular figures are Barak Obama because, as President, he was in charge and Hillary Clinton because, as Secretary of state, she had responsibility over embassy security. But we all seem to be overlooking a third possibility. Vice President Biden was explicitly put on the ticket to give gravitas and experience to guide President Obama in sticky situations where he might not have experience. What if, 4 years into Obama’s presidency, Biden was still fulfilling that role and he took charge and completely blew it?

    Obama would not want his continued reliance on Biden for urgent matters of national security to come out during his reelection campaign. Biden would be looking to bury the affair and dirty up his 2016 expected rival for the presidential nomination. Clinton would be the logical choice to spill the beans through anonymous leaks and cut outs. She hasn’t yet, which makes the theory less attractive but doesn’t knock it entirely out of consideration. She could have played out the scenario and not liked where it led for her own future regardless of whether it is true or not.

    This is speculation but at least some of the media dogs chasing the story should have chased down this angle and asked the relevant questions. None seem to have done it.

    Posted in National Security, Obama, Politics | 26 Comments »

    “College Grads: It’s a Different Economy”

    Posted by Jonathan on 10th May 2013 (All posts by )

    This is very good:

    There are opportunities, but they require a deep understanding of risk and security. A livelihood with day-to-day low-level insecurity and volatility is actually far more stable and secure than the cartel-state one that claims to be guaranteed.
     
    The burdens of Fed manipulation and the cartel-state rentier arrangements will come home to roost between 2015-2017. Those who are willing to seek livelihoods in the non-cartel economy will likely have more security and satisfaction than those who believed that joining a rentier arrangement was a secure career.
     
    There is a price to joining a parasitic rentier arrangement, a loss of integrity, agency and independence. Complicity in an unsustainable neofeudal society has a cost.

    Read the whole thing.

    (Via Lex and ZeroHedge.)

    Posted in America 3.0, Big Government, Economics & Finance, Education, Political Philosophy, Predictions, Public Finance, Society, USA | 9 Comments »

    Jerusalem Skyline

    Posted by Jonathan on 10th May 2013 (All posts by )

    The Moses Montefiore windmill at Yemin Moshe at sunset. (© 2012 Jonathan Gewirtz / jonathan@gewirtz.net)

    Posted in Israel, Photos | 3 Comments »

    History Friday: The Great Siege of Elm Creek

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 10th May 2013 (All posts by )

    As the Civil War raged in the east, the western frontier went up in flames, along the Sierra Nevada, and from Minnesota to Texas. With the attention of both the Union and Confederate militaries focused on eastern battlefields, there was nothing much to restrain the Indians, except the volunteers of various western communities. Late in 1864, as the Confederacy stumbled through it’s final agony, a massive Indian raid flashed through Young County, Texas. An ambitious young Comanche chief, Little Buffalo hungered for the plunder and prestige accrued to him by a successful raid into the white-settled country at the headwaters of the Brazos River. Who would stop them? The Federal soldiers were long-gone from Fort Belknap, leaving only a few companies recruited for frontier defence – and Little Buffalo planned to avoid them. All during the fall of 1864, he talked up the possibilities to his fellows and their close allies, the Kiowa. By mid-October, he had gathered a raiding party of seven hundred or so, and they poured south, into the scattered holdings along the Brazos and Elm Creek where about a dozen families had settled. Many of them – the Fitzpatricks and the Braggs had taken the precaution of barricading their houses with a palisade of logs. The commander in charge of frontier defense had seen that another palisade with blockhouses at the corners protected settlers living there. A second fortified place was called Camp Murrah. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History | 5 Comments »