Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rule Four in San Francisco

Every shooting misadventure I hear about involves violation of at least one of the Four Rules of gun safety.

In this story from the Chronicle, cops in San Francisco shot at a suspect, missed, and hit two bystanders. This shows us the reason for Rule Four,  Be sure of your target and what is beyond your target.

To the obvious question, "What were the officers thinking," the obvious answer is, "They weren't."

The suspect was uninjured.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fair Play To Obama

I do not believe claims that Obama is intentionally working to tank the American economy, by following the radical Cloward-Piven strategy. I am no fan of Obama but this seems to me an unwarranted charge. For it to be true, we would have to prove the same against all the European heads of state. Europe has the same kinds of problems we do: The governments spend too much, borrow too much and lack the political courage to make changes that are big enough to amount to more than halfway efforts at reform.

Since Europe has the same problems, we would need a worldwide conspiracy theory to explain why all the governments are headed by Cloward-Piven radicals. It's ridiculous.

What Europe and America are finding out is that government programs for social welfare--public solutions to private problems--are double whammy poison. These programs suck money out of the production economy. At the same time they take labor out of the economy, to the extent that people take government money instead of working for the things they need. When a good intention has two bad effects, we ought to reconsider whether the intention is as good as it seems.

The recipients of government largess are not the whole problem, though. We have too many government workers, busy about too many affairs and costing us far too much. Recognize this quote? It's from the Declaration of Independence. "He [King George III] has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance."

Of course there will always be some people who must live on charity, for they can be nothing else, the very crippled, the profoundly retarded, the thoroughly insane, the deathly ill, the very old. That has always been so. It is not at issue, and that is where the issue sometimes becomes confused. Here or abroad, any talk of cutting and eliminating programs is met by hand-wringing references to throwing these truly helpless people, friendless, into the streets to die. This is always a straw man argument, for no one suggests doing that.

It is sometimes said that we cannot cut social payments to the rest of the recipients either, or the poor will riot. Many attribute the recent disturbances in England to plans to reduce payouts.  But there is something odd about this whole line reasoning. If the poor are hale and hearty enough to riot they are fit enough to work at steady jobs.

But--it may be said--that's heartless! There aren't jobs for them!

And why are there not? Economies with high ratios of public spending to GDP have chronic unemployment, or low growth, which is the same thing. So it becomes a vicious cycle in which the poor do not have work because government has become inclusive of everyone's needs.

So, no, Obama isn't a secret radical intent on destroying the economy. He is simply in a trap that he can't figure a way out of, and he is not alone.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Snitch Watch

The Obama administration has launched a new web site where right-minded followers can report media, net traffic and rumors unfavorable to the Prez:

This begs the question of how you tell an "attack" from the usual, and necessary, debate that happens in elections. Is it an attack to say Obama is massively confused on basic issues to do with the economy? Or is that a legitimate thing to say, if you think it?

The attackers featured on the site today include rival candidates Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, and broadcaster Glenn Beck. You can also click a link to get "the facts," such as:

By providing assistance to auto companies, President Obama saved more than a million jobs and prevented the American auto industry from collapsing.

The Affordable Care Act promotes quality, affordable health coverage for all Americans, regardless of the industry they work in or their union status.

I hope this is all transparent to American voters: It is an attempt to put a patina of truth and fairness atop the same old spin doctoring. It has a worrisome aspect, though, despite its apparent silliness. It invites Obama supporters to be snitches: To point the finger at fellow Americans for saying things which they have, last I checked, every right to say. This new effort at election spin resembles, though in a half assed way, the 'official truth' of totalitarian regimes. Good Obama supporters will go to the web site to find out what to think when they hear something that confuses them; the Orwellian note in all this is clear, but muted by overtones of farce.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Train Wreck America

The country's financial course is unsustainable. The way I visualize it is as a train on a track. We need to get off the track we are on, and switch onto another. Yet we continue to rumble past the switches that could head us toward safety, as government shows a lack of political will to do what is necessary to live within its means, which means within our means. Washington continues to spend money nobody has.

Representative Maxine Waters, long a proponent of generous government spending, is now calling for a trillion dollar jobs program. She is one of the most vocal proponents of a particular vision of government: To right wrongs and solve problems, the government must spend money. Lots of it.

She is not alone; there are many who share this vision, of a world where things are put to rights by the strong hand of government intervention, including the wielding of vast sums of public money.

I am not sure what Rep. Waters would say to it, but some of her fellow liberals plainly believe something like this: The reason stimulus spending has failed is that we have not done enough of it. The reason previous jobs programs have been failures, to the point of being ridiculous, is that we have gone too cheap on them. That is to say we should throw good money after bad. The money spent did not have its intended effect; the answer is to spend more. It doesn't make sense to me, but then I am not a member of congress.

What Republicans have done so far is not encouraging either. They have staved off a small tax increase and slightly slowed the increase in government spending. Of course, this made the Democrats howl like it was the end of the world, but it really was peanuts when you compare it to the total size of the problem. After the 2012 elections the Republicans hope to have more clout. They may have a great deal more. But even in the past years of their ascendancy they have not really been about shrinking the government.

The people we elect to look out for our interests, of both parties, are asleep at the switch. There is not the moral courage on either side of the aisle to say stop, enough, we are on the wrong track. The government is spending money the taxpayers do not have and may never be able to repay. If you think about this you know where things are heading: Right where they've been going all along. We are headed for the end of the line, and picking up speed.