January 19, 2005

More on “disenfranchisement”

“‘Disenfranchisement’ actually means being denied the vote, but Democrats of late have started using it as a dysphemism for ‘losing’.” —James Taranto

You don’t see Republicans and others on the right whining about being “disenfranchised,” do you? But don’t think it doesn’t happen, because it does.

The difference between the two is that the Democrat disenfranchisement-whining is always targeted at voting areas controlled by Democrats, which seems to be an irony of enormous proportions. On the other hand, when Republicans get disenfranchised, it seems to be in those same voting areas controlled by Democrats. It’s rather difficult for the minority party in a voting area to disenfranchise the voters of the majority party, but the Democrats don’t seem to notice this. They just ramble on about being disenfranchised. My theory is that the Democrats are following the old playbook of “if you repeat it often enough, it becomes truth.”

posted by retrophisch at 06:28 PM in liberty
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Clint not big on Moore

“Michael Moore and I actually have a lot in common. We both appreciate living in a country where there’s free expression. But Michael, if you ever show up at my front door with a camera, I’ll kill you. I mean it.” —Actor and Director Clint Eastwood

posted by retrophisch at 06:23 PM in liberty
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The lie of Social Security “transition costs”

Lawrence A. Hunter:

In Social Security, the current generation of workers pre-funds its retirement benefits by making contributions to the program in the form of a tax taken out of every paycheck. In exchange for this tax, the government promises to pay the taxpayer, when he retires, precisely defined benefits, which are specified in law by formula.

The amount of money paid in payroll taxes would be more than adequate to pre-fund workers’ retirement benefits were it properly invested, but it is not. In effect, the federal government borrows the payroll tax payments of current workers to pay the retirement benefits to current retirees. But unlike ordinary government debt, the debt obligation owed to workers through Social Security is not quantified and memorialized by the issuance of bond, note, or bill certificates to the workers. Nor is it formally recorded as debt on the balance sheet of the U.S. government. It is real debt nonetheless.

What pundits have labeled the “transition cost,” is really the short-term cash-flow crunch that will happen when workers are allowed to invest a part of their Social Security taxes in personal retirement accounts rather than loan that money to the government to pay the benefits of current retirees.


This cash-flow problem, however, does not arise because personal accounts create new (i.e., “transition”) costs. To the contrary, the cash-flow problem arises because the government would be borrowing less. Every dollar of a worker’s Social Security payroll tax contribution invested in a personal retirement account is a dollar less debt the government owes to the worker and would otherwise have to pay back in the form of future Social Security benefits.

The above URL may require a paid subscription. Mr. Hunter’s essay on Human Events is a shortened version of one he wrote for the Institute for Policy Innovation, but I have yet to find it.

posted by retrophisch at 04:46 PM in liberty
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About that election

Speaking of the 2004 election—where the Republicans retained control of the White House and gained seats in Congress, despite the fact that “the majority of Americans” want the Democrats and Ted Kennedy to speak for them—why does no one in the Democratic Party or otherwise on the Left acknowledge that the voter-disenfranchising districts they’ve been whining about non-stop for the past two months are all controlled by Democrats. It’s kind of hard for the minority party to do the disenfranchising, no?

posted by retrophisch at 12:37 PM in liberty
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Democrat logic

“Democrats may be in the minority in Congress, but we speak for the majority of Americans.” —Ted Kennedy, D-Massachusetts

This, of course, explains why the Democrats lost the Presidential election, and lost seats in both houses of Congress. Because the majority of Americans voted for them, you see.

posted by retrophisch at 12:19 PM in liberty
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Since we’re talking about other nations

…why don’t we see what a Founding Father thought about caring what other nations think of America?

“It is very imprudent to deprive America of any of her privileges. If her commerce and friendship are of any importance to you, they are to be had on no other terms than leaving her in the full enjoyment of her rights.” —Benjamin Franklin

This includes the right to defend our national security, at home, and abroad, without interference, collaboration, or permission from any other nation.

posted by retrophisch at 12:02 PM in liberty
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About those pesky French

The best thing we can do about the French? Ignore them.

John J. Miller:

Condoleezza Rice, now Mr. Bush’s nominee for secretary of state, was quoted in 2003 as telling colleagues that the United States should “punish France.” This is a tempting tactic, for it holds out the promise of vengeful satisfaction. It was also the motive behind the recent campaigns to boycott French products. Unbeknownst to most of the participants, however, the consumer strategy was tried without much success in the 1960’s. In truth, Paris isn’t worth a boycott.

Thinking otherwise only buys into the Gaullist claim that France should occupy a place of reverence in the community of nations. But why should its views matter any more than, say, Italy, whose population and economy are nearly the same size? The United States may choose to work with France on a few areas of mutual diplomatic interest - Haiti and perhaps Iran - but in general, the marginal amounts of aid and peacekeeping help Paris can offer hardly merit concessions on our part. And if France threatens to undermine American interests with its Security Council veto, we should call its bluff, pointing out that such behavior merely weakens the institution that is the prime source of France’s undeserved prestige. (Despite all the bluster, France has not used its veto power unilaterally since 1976.)

Moreover, making an example of the French is precisely the wrong approach because it elevates France in the eyes of the world’s anti-Americans, who will always be with us. The one thing France and the neo-Gaullists can’t possibly abide is being ignored. Perhaps that’s punishment enough.

posted by retrophisch at 11:58 AM in liberty
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Every man’s duty

“It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage, and such only, as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.” —James Madison

But of course the Founding Fathers were a bunch of atheists who didn’t want any speck of religion in the public square…

posted by retrophisch at 07:42 AM in liberty
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January 13, 2005

It depends on what the definition of liberal is…

James Taranto:

A hilarious take on the subject of media bias comes from Hugh Downs, formerly of ABC’s “20/20,” in an exchange on the CBS scandal with host Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country”:

Scarborough: Is there a liberal bias in the media or is the bias towards getting the story first and getting the highest ratings, therefore, making the most money?

Downs: Well, I think the latter, by far. And, of course, when the word liberal came to be a pejorative word, you began to wonder, you have to say that the press doesn’t want to be thought of as merely liberal.

But people tend to be more liberated in their thought when they are closer to events and know a little more about what the background of what’s happening. So, I suppose, in that respect, there is a liberal, if you want to call it a bias. The press is a little more in touch with what’s happening.

So you see, it’s not that journalists are biased, it’s just that they know more than everyone else and thus are “more liberated in their thought”! Don’t you feel silly for thinking they were arrogant elitists?

posted by retrophisch at 01:26 PM in liberty
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January 09, 2005

A senator after my own heart

We need a few more Peter Fitzgeralds in the Senate, and the House. Like the article says, if all 100 members of the Senate were like him, nothing would get done, but if we had ten or fifteen, more might actually be accomplished for the good of the nation.

The notion of prophets being viewed without honor in their native land is an ancient one, stretching back to the book of Mark in the Bible. Here’s hoping that tradition doesn’t hold true this time. While residents of Illinois celebrate the remarkable rise of Barack Obama they should also recall how much better their state is for the fact that Peter Fitzgerald didn’t give a damn if he was re-elected senator.

posted by retrophisch at 01:07 AM in liberty
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January 08, 2005

Stopping the next terror attack at home

Stella Rimington:

So we are more likely to get hold of the end of a planned terrorist attack if we have our ear to the ground in the right places and that means human sources of information in, not the caves of Afghanistan but the Islamic bookshop in downtown New York, the extremist mosque in North London or perhaps the college in Paris. It means sensitizing the public to be alert for the sort of thing to look out for—comings and goings at night at the lock-up garages, the apartment occupied by a group of young men where the blinds are always kept drawn. There may be perfectly innocent explanations, but the public needs to know how to report its concerns and to be made to feel welcome when it does. From just those humble beginnings many a successful counter-terrorist operation has resulted.

posted by retrophisch at 11:06 PM in liberty , national security
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The Schwartz is weak in this one

Barry Schwartz:

There are three arguments being made in favor of privatizing part of Social Security. First, the Social Security Trust Fund needs money and privatization will, in the long run, increase the amount of money available to retirees. Second, privatization will give people choice, and choice is good. And third, “it’s your money,” and you ought to be able to do with it as you wish.

Each of these arguments is dubious, or disingenuous, or both.

To use a popular phrase from the 1950s and ’60s: “What a pinko leftist commie.”

First, it doesn’t take an economist, much less a professor of psychology, to figure out that 401K plans are giving better long-term return rates than Social Security. So actually, yes, Mr. Schwartz, privatization would put more money in the Social Security Trust Fund.

Second, yes again, Mr. Schwartz, privatization, of some level, would give people more choice over how to save their retirement money. With my 401K plan, I have a range of funds to choose from. Should I not make as much money at the end of the year, that is as much my fault in picking a particular fund as it has to do with the fund manager’s choices in the companies placed within the fund.

Finally, it is my money, you pompous, socialist twit. I can see the money coming out of my check and being deposited in to the largest legal Ponzi scheme (as an accountant I am fond of likes to refer to Social Security—hi, Fred!) in existence. The money I don’t see is the matching funds my employer has to put in to the largest legal Ponzi scheme in existence. Money that I could be taking home with me, money I could be investing in something with far better long-term returns, money that would generate me more in a simple savings account than I will see back from Social Security when I’m 80, or whatever the age will be when I retire.

I should be able to do with my money whatever I wish. If I want to work on my retirement funds by going down to the dog track and betting on the one that does his business just before the race, then that’s my business. If I want to dump it all in my best friend’s fad-of-the-moment business, that’s my business, too. It’s not your job, Mr. Schwartz, to ensure that I have money to live on when I’m old. It’s not the government’s job, either.

I’m not saying a partial or total privatization of Social Security is the answer. I’m saying that a President and members of Congress need to put the good of the nation before their re-election bids and have the guts to kill Social Security. Pick a year, grandfather in all persons born in that year, and the rest of the population is on its own. There will be a generation or two that will have to both fund Social Security and pay for their own retirements. I would hope there is a generation or two willing to do that, if it means their children and grandchildren wouldn’t have to worry about funding the largest legal Ponzi scheme in existence.

posted by retrophisch at 04:48 PM in liberty
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Australia to UN: Thanks but no thanks

I am sure to the chagrin of globalists and the looney left, the Howard administration has determined that it will go it alone when it comes to delivering Australian aid to the its tsunami-plagued neighbors in Southeast Asia.

Australia will reject United Nations control and implement its $1 billion aid package to tsunami-ravaged Aceh in partnership with the Indonesian government.

The decision to go it alone is at odds with a US move yesterday to disband its “Coalition of Compassion” group and hand co-ordination of relief efforts to the UN.

Mr. Howard said the Government was not interested in international agencies, including the UN, delivering the Australian aid.

“We’re going to deliver it directly,” he said.

Would that President Bush had shown as much spine when it came to dealing with the swindler Annan and the off-the-top-skimming UN.

[With thanks to Johnno on World_SIG.]

P.S. Johnno added, in a follow-up e-mail to the list:

When you hear certain “charities” quoting “8 or 9 out of every ten cents will get to the victims…..”

Then, of the present donations in excess of $6B, $600M - $1.2B is a hell of a lot of money not being used for its intended purposes. The more “middlemen” that can be cut out of the loop means more food into the mouths of those that desperately need it.


posted by retrophisch at 01:31 PM in liberty
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But there is no media bias 4

In its ongoing quest to provide the best, most comprehensive, non-partisan news possible, CBS has re-hired Donna Dees as a senior press representative. Ms. Dees will be responsible for the CBS Evening News, the CBS Evening News weekend editions and Face the Nation.

You will recall that Ms. Dees was the “concerned stay-at-home mom” who organized the “grassroots” Million Mom March in 2000, with absolutely no help from the myriad celebrities and other “talent” she came in to contact with during her previous stint with CBS, 1987-93.

posted by retrophisch at 12:32 PM in liberty
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January 04, 2005

About that U.N. relief effort


Well, we’re heading into Day 7 of the Asian quake/tsunami crisis. And the UN relief effort? Nowhere to be seen except at some meetings and on CNN and BBC as talking heads. In this corner of the Far Abroad, it’s Yanks and Aussies doing the hard, sweaty work of saving lives.


The UN is taking credit for things that hard-working, street savvy USAID folks have done. It was USAID working with their amazing network of local contacts who scrounged up trucks, drivers, and fuel; organized the convoy and sent it off to deliver critical supplies. A UN “air-freight handling centre” in Aceh? Bull! It’s the Aussies and the Yanks who are running the air ops into Aceh. We have people working and sleeping on the tarmac in Aceh, surrounded by bugs, mud, stench and death, who every day bring in the US and Aussie C-130s and the US choppers; unload, load, send them off. We have no fancy aid workers’ retreat — notice the priorities of the UN? People are dying and what’s the first thing the UN wants to do? Set up “a camp for relief workers” one that would be “fully self-contained, with kitchen, food, lodging, everything.”

The UN is a sham.

When are we going to get a president and enough members of Congress with the guts to cut off funding to, and remove from our soil, this useless and irrelevant “organization”?

[With thanks to Gunner on World_SIG.]

posted by retrophisch at 01:26 PM in liberty
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The Mismatch Game

“Blacks are the victims of law school programs of affirmative action, not the beneficiaries.” —Richard Sander, UCLA law professor and economist, father of a biracial son, lifelong Democrat, a liberal on most issues, with a long record of involvement in civil rights issues, including housing segregation.

Mr. Sander set out to prove that university affirmative action admissions practices were benefitting blacks, and arrived at the precisely opposite conclusion.

posted by retrophisch at 01:18 PM in liberty
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December 30, 2004

Religion and the Common People

Note to the ACLU and other leftists:

“That wise Men have in all Ages thought Government necessary for the Good of Mankind; and, that wise Governments have always thought Religion necessary for the well ordering and well-being of Society, and accordingly have been ever careful to encourage and protect the Ministers of it, paying them the highest publick Honours, that their Doctrines might thereby meet with the greater Respect among the common People.” —Benjamin Franklin

posted by retrophisch at 08:17 AM in liberty
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December 29, 2004

U.N. Regime Change

Claudia Rosett:

If all this starts to sound a bit dizzying, a bit amorphous, a bit too complicated after a while even to bother about anymore, that, dear reader, is precisely the problem. The Secretariat has had a year of gagging contractors, threatening the jobs of whistle-blowers, and pounding out letters to the editor explaining that the Secretariat should not be blamed for anything because it is in fact responsible for nothing—though somehow more money, especially from the U.S., is always wanted. A few senior officials are now due to depart. Several thick reports on various fronts are due to be filed, and perhaps here or there a head will roll.

But to suppose that the United Nations will reform itself from within is to miss the eerie unreality of the place. It is not simply changes in some of the staffing that are needed, or U.N. commissioned reports recommending that the U.N. “reform” by way of doing even more of whatever it does already. What’s needed is something that among sovereign states we have come to call regime change—the basic alteration of a system that in its privileges, immunities and practices resembles rather too closely some of the dictatorships that still pack its ranks.

posted by retrophisch at 11:05 PM in liberty
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December 28, 2004

A pro-Christian rabbi on the ACLU

Rabbi Aryeh Spero:

It should be obvious by now that the Bill of Rights forbade only Congress from making national laws establishing a religion, not however local communities and their majorities from voting to express their religious ethos. Unique to America is the ideal that what may be forbidden to the “Feds” is permitted on a local level. The term for this special American legal and social concept is: local control.

But even if some wish to extrapolate Jefferson’s metaphor of a “wall of separation” between church and state onto local communities, how does the display in winter of a sparkling Christmas tree, or a freely-chosen Grace before meals, or the acknowledgement of the Ten Commandments as the basis of the American legal system, and the existence of a God-believing, heterosexual Boy Scout troop “establish” a national religion?


Would Americans allow their home-town sports teams to be exiled by the whim of a few loud contrarians? Never! Why so, then, their courthouses, boy scouts, village squares and parades?

Perhaps Americans all over are allowing this to happen to their civic culture because they have been brainwashed into believing that their beliefs, values, and institutions are “chauvinistic” and exclusive; that the majority must self-immolate in the name of minority rule.

Our innate goodwill has been exploited. The ACLU-clique is relying on our continued confusion and timidity as well as our apparent lack of will to fight back.

posted by retrophisch at 09:45 PM in liberty
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Respect vs Tolerance

Lionel Shriver nails it:

Freedom of speech that does not embrace the right to offend is a farce. The stipulation that you may say whatever you like so long as you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings canonizes the milquetoast homily, “If you can’t say anything nice. . . .” Since rare is the sentiment that does not incense someone, rest assured that in that instance you don’t say anything at all.

The concept of religious “tolerance” seems to be warping apace these days, and we appear to forget that commonly one tolerates through gritted teeth. It is rapidly becoming accepted social cant that to “tolerate” other people’s religions is to accord them respect. In fact, respect for one’s beliefs is gradually achieving the status of a hallowed “human right.”

I am under no obligation to respect your beliefs. Respect is earned; it is not an entitlement. I may regard creationists as plain wrong, which would make holding their beliefs in high regard nonsensical. In kind, if I proclaim on a street corner that a certain Japanese beetle in my back garden is the new Messiah, you are also within your rights to ridicule me as a fruitcake.

This is part of the cultural battle currently being waged: the Left would have us believe that tolerance equates to respect, when one has nothing to do with the other. We must tolerate the white supremacists among us—provided they do not resort to violence or other criminal activity—but that does not mean we have to respect what they stand for.

Christians are getting battered about in this country in many cultural arenas, and that’s okay from a freedom of speech standpoint. The problem is when the Christian’s freedom of speech is squelched by these very same leftists slamming the Christian, accusing him of being the “intolerant” one.

posted by retrophisch at 06:00 PM in liberty
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A Very Good Year

Pete Du Pont:

Boston Red Sox fans celebrated a World Series victory for the first time in 86 years. Weekly Reader grade school students can celebrate being better pollsters than Zogby, Fox and CBS: in October, as in 11 of the previous 12 elections, they correctly picked the winner of the presidential campaign. And SpaceShipOne became the first private craft ever to reach space—71 miles above the earth. So 2004 was a very good year in America.

It was a good year too in Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Iraq. On the other hand, it was a very bad year for the United Nations, Russia, establishment American media and the liberal Democratic Party.

posted by retrophisch at 02:13 PM in liberty
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December 24, 2004

Contempt for the electorate

Tony Blankley:

It’s not that the Democrats lost an election; obviously both parties have lost numerous elections. But never before in my memory — which goes back faintly to 1956 — has either party in its loss reacted with such venomous contempt for the American people.

When we conservatives got shellacked in 1964 — with Goldwater losing 61 percent-39 percent to Lyndon Johnson — we knew we had a lot of work ahead if we were going to educate the public to our views. But I can honestly say that although I remember thinking that the public was misguided in its judgment, I never hated or felt contemptuous of the majority electorate — of my fellow countrymen.

This dominant sentiment of the Democratic Party elite — that scores of millions of Americans are categorically unacceptable as fellow countrymen — is evidence of a cancer in the soul of that party. These Democrats, quite expressly, are asserting that “Christers,” people who believe in the teachings of Jesus as described in the inerrant words of the Bible, are un-American, almost subhuman. Some of these Democrats would rather secede than stay in the same country with such people. If they were in the majority with no need to secede, what would they do? Their bigoted and absolutist view of religious people is at least a second cousin to the Nazi view of the Jews.

posted by retrophisch at 04:52 PM in liberty
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Explanation + research = vilifcation in Australia

Robert Spencer:

There are some hints that the outcome of the case was virtually predetermined. When during the trial Scot began to read Qur’anic verses that discriminate against women, a lawyer for the Islamic Council of Victoria, the organization that brought the suit, stopped him: reading the verses aloud, she said, would in itself be religious vilification. Dismayed, Scot replied: “How can it be vilifying to Muslims in the room when I am just reading from the Qur’an?”

With religious vilification laws now coming to Britain and no doubt soon also elsewhere in the West, Scot’s question rings out with global implications, and must be answered. If it is inciting hatred for Muslims simply when non-Muslims explore what Islam and the Qur’an actually teach, then there will be a chill on reasonable public discussion of Islam — a public discussion that is crucial to hold in this age of global jihad terrorism. Such laws actually make Muslims a protected class, beyond criticism, precisely at the moment when the Western republics need to examine the implications of having admitted into their countries people with greater allegiance to Islamic law than to the pluralist societies in which they’ve settled.

To criticize is not to incite. The courageous ex-Muslim Ibn Warraq calls upon Muslims to “admit the role of the Qur’an in the propagation of violence.” If they do not do this, what end can there possibly be to the jihad terrorism that is inspired, according to the terrorists themselves, by the Qur’an? What will keep jihadists from continuing to use the Qur’an to recruit more terrorists, right under the noses of fatuous Westerners like Judge Higgins who would prefer to pretend that what they use in the book isn’t really in there?

posted by retrophisch at 10:46 AM in liberty
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