Archive for July 2016

Thought for Sunday   Leave a comment

“The wisest thing in the world is to cry out before you are hurt. It is no good to cry out after you are hurt; especially after you are mortally hurt. People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late. it is often essential to resist a tyranny before it exists.”
G.K. Chesterton, Eugenics and Other Evils: An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State

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Posted July 31, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense, Uncategorized

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President Obama: “We Don’t Look to Be Ruled” | Jeffrey Tucker   Leave a comment

Jeffrey Tucker’s analysis of Obama’s speech is spot on, except he only lightly touches on how Obama has been the most dictatorial president we’ve had in our lifetimes. He started his presidency with a statement that can be summed up with “Sit down, shut up, elections have consequences.” He has ruled us as he sought to do … as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both seek to do. Lela

 

It’s not the promises of an iron fist that speak to us, but rather the opportunities provided by freedom.

Source: President Obama: “We Don’t Look to Be Ruled” | Jeffrey Tucker

 

Here’s what fascinates me about political rhetoric: when a politician really seeks to be as compelling as possible — to entice people into moral sympathy with a vision, to elicit trust from the voters, to touch the very core of our aspirations for life and politics — the language of liberty serves the cause best.

Freedom is what inspires and ennobles us.It’s not the promises of an iron fist that speak to us, but rather the opportunities provided by freedom. It is not the power of politics they emphasize but the power of people on their own.

We’ve seen it often over the decades but rarely more poignantly than in President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. Here we have a president who has spent eight years constructing an apparatus of executive rule, pushing out the boundaries of government imposition as far as possible, in every area of life, most conspicuously in education, surveillance, foreign policy, gun rights, and health care.

And yet, when it comes time to make a case for his party as against the Republican Party, and to make the case for his chosen successor, he gives us these awesome and inspiring words:

We are not a fragile or frightful people. Our power doesn’t come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order. We don’t look to be ruled. Our power comes from those immortal declarations first put to paper right here in Philadelphia all those years ago; We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that together, We, the People, can form a more perfect union.

That’s our birthright — the capacity to shape our own destiny.That’s who we are. That’s our birthright — the capacity to shape our own destiny…. America has never been about what one person says he’ll do for us. It’s always been about what can be achieved by us, together, through the hard, slow, sometimes frustrating, but ultimately enduring work of self-government….

My grandparents explained that they didn’t like show-offs. They didn’t admire braggarts or bullies. They didn’t respect mean-spiritedness, or folks who were always looking for shortcuts in life. Instead, they valued traits like honesty and hard work. Kindness and courtesy. Humility; responsibility; helping each other out….

Demagogues will always fail in the end.That’s why anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end.

That’s America. Those bonds of affection; that common creed. We don’t fear the future; we shape it, embrace it, as one people, stronger together than we are on our own.

Exactly: we don’t look to be ruled. Our value as a people comes not from the top down but from within — from character, resilience, decency, all of which emanate from freedom itself.

Now, you can read that as an attack on Donald Trump, which it surely is. But what is the best way to achieve that? Where is Trump most vulnerable? President Obama found it: Trump aspires to be a strongman, and America is not about that. It’s a very effective critique, even if it emanates from the wrong source. For the Democrats to make such a critique is hypocrisy of the highest order.

Are we really supposed to pretend that the top-down imposition of Obamacare never happened? That Common Core didn’t come to dominate American education? That Obama played no role in the vast expansion of digital surveillance? That Obama’s (and Clinton’s) foreign policy did not extend the mindless war-making of his predecessors and did not unleash unholy hell all over the Middle East and Europe, setting off a catastrophic refugee crisis and spreading the terror threat throughout the world?

We look to be free of rule.Yes, we are supposed to forget all that. And if we set that aside, there is a wonderful lesson to be learned in the newest iteration of Obama: we don’t look to be ruled. We look to be free of rule.

It has also been generally true that presidents give their best – and most liberty-minded – speeches in the twilight days of their power. Think of George Washington’s Farewell Address and his remark that “the great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.” Consider Eisenhower’s final warning that “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” Or Reagan’s final speech, reiterating the vision of America as a “Shining City on a Hill,” and proclaiming: “Countries across the globe are turning to free markets and free speech and turning away from the ideologies of the past.”

Eventually, they see through the myth of power.We might ask ourselves: why do powerful people turn to liberty-oriented themes in the last days of their power? Perhaps it is because, in the course of their rule, each of these people gradually discover that ruling is not all it is cracked up to be.

They arrive in their offices with grand ambitions, the perception of a public mandate, and huge plan for making the world conform. What they face is a vast and implacable bureaucracy, a legacy of centuries of lawmaking, a professional class of managers and fixers at all levels of government, an army of special interests and lobbyists who are ready for war to the knife over the slightest changes in the operations of government, and a populace who just never seem to get with the program.

And there are only so many hours in a day. What presidents must probably discover is not how much power they have, but rather the opposite: how much power the apparatus of government has over them. Between all the meetings with dignitaries, the travels, the speeches and public appearances, the flattering of big shots that swirl in and around the White House at all hours, they are wholly dependent on their advisers, who are in turn dependent on theirs, who are in turn dependent on theirs.

When presidents finally get a chance to act, they make a hash of it.And yet there are moments when presidents do seem to act with genuine authority extending from their own volition. Bush invaded Iraq, and look what that did to the world. Obama threw himself behind Obamacare, with the conviction that a vast array of experts had vetted the system and pronounced it good. The whole thing blew up and wrecked much of what was good in American healthcare. The legacy of his signature legislation is so unpopular that mention of it was reduced to just one oblique reference in his convention speech.

So, yes, the experience of governing can be truly humbling. I can’t imagine the trauma that this is going to cause Trump, whose only experience has been in bossing people around in the private sector in businesses he owns. No one in particular owns government, and the bureaucracy is never more implacable than when faced with someone who purports to be in charge of them.

If presidents were to be honest with themselves, they would have to admit that they were fools to believe that the government, much less the whole nation, could be ruled by their will alone. It’s preposterous to believe that 300 million people — each person with a mind, heart, will, soul all his or her own — can be ruled by anyone.

Someday I hope to read an honest autobiography of a former president:

I arrived flush with anticipation of changing the world. Crowds screamed my name and cried out for me to bring justice, fairness, equality, and happiness to the country. I discovered over time that I personally had very little power at all, and the little I did have was dangerous because the results were nothing like what I had anticipated. I pretended to be important. I kept up appearances. People doted on me constantly.

And yet I learned, gradually, that I was just one man, and the system swallowed me completely. And that’s probably a good thing too because, in the end, I’m no different from anyone else, no more or less capable, no more or less knowing and brilliant. My main talent was in campaigning and here I excelled. As for governing, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Or as Obama beautifully summed it up: “We don’t look to be ruled.”

Posted July 29, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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Most of Europe Is a Lot Poorer than Most of the United States | Daniel J. Mitchell   Leave a comment

America isn’t perfect, and Europe isn’t a failure, but Europeans are not obviously better off in the long-run from big tax and welfare policies.

Source: Most of Europe Is a Lot Poorer than Most of the United States | Daniel J. Mitchell

Posted July 29, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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Walking Off the Cliff … Together   Leave a comment

So, I still won’t be voting for a major party presidential candidate this November. This is my impression of Hillary’s acceptance speech from last night.

Let me explain that I didn’t waste a lot of time listening to the DNC this week. I had better things to do than listen to Bill Clinton lie about his relationship with Hillary. We all remember Paula, Monica and all the other women, Bill.

I listened to Hillary’s speech last night while bleaching my kitchen counters preparatory to Brad bringing home the year’s salmon. We’re running a slime line tonight and I’ll bet we’re better at it than Queen Hillary could ever be.

The first half of it came off as extremely paternalistic. I felt like I was a child and she was my mother talking down to me because I was too dumb or naive to understand what she was saying.

Do go back and listen to it on YouTube. If you didn’t notice it before, now that I pointed it out, I bet you will.

Don’t talk down to me, Hillary! I hold a Master’s degree and I would lay down money that I’ve read more books on a greater variety of subjects than you have read. I’ve even read some science books, though not all of them were the NEA-approved propaganda you prefer. I’ve even read your ghost-written books. How do I know they were ghost-written? I’m a writer and there’s this little thing called “voice”.

Maybe it’s because you haven’t read enough books, you don’t know that the country is not what you think it is. The Revolutionaries did not envision a united country from sea to sea. They were each supporting their own state as separate countries working together. If you’d actually ever read any of their writings, you’d know that. Not all, but many of them were individualists who voluntarily chose to cooperate with one another. Above all, they deeply mistrusted government. Madison, seeing the handwriting on the wall from monarchists like Hamilton, helped to create a wonderful republic and then regretted it later, saying it was doomed to failure because the government was already growing dictatorial and power was flowing to Washington.

You won’t appeal to the voters who are flirting with Trump if you pretend the country isn’t in enormous trouble. You talked about “all the improvements” since Barack Obama took office, but those of us out here in reality land know that it’s all smoke and mirrors paid for with $12 trillion in national debt that is now acting as an anchor that has stalled the economy. And there is nothing government can do to fix that except get out of the way because government CAUSED that by spending too much money, increasing regulation and not listening to the productive half of the population.

I’m not voting for Trump, but at least he has a basic understanding of economics and the business cycle. His “plan” is light because it appears to consist of getting out of the way of business so that the economy can heal itself. Meanwhile, you’re promising more of the economic meddling that caused the current mess.

I trust Gary Johnson more with the economy than I do either one of you because of his record in New Mexico.

You talked up your foreign policy experience, but for me, your record shows that you’re a warmonger who destabilized several countries and then left them to deal with the mess you caused so you could claim we need to beef up our military in order to fight a war that should never have happened. It makes us more unsafe here at home and when we travel abroad. Your actions as Secretary of State spread ISIS across North Africa. That’s wonderful experience if I wanted someone to lead us through World War III.

The second half of her speech was less paternalistic, but more frightening. When she screeched “Your cause is our cause” to Bernie Sanders with that Wicked Witch of the West voice, she did draw some wild cheers from the crowd of socialists. The reason why Bernie looked like he’d been strapped to the electric chair may be that he had just resigned from the Democratic Party and registered as an Independent. Did Hillary know that? I doubt it. What does it mean? I’m not sure. I hope it means he’s decided to launch an independent campaign.

I do know why the crowd went wild. Hillary was promising them the moon … except she doesn’t own the moon. Nineteen trillion dollars in debt assures that we can’t afford any of those wild promises. They were unaffordable when the economy was strong and growing. They are even more unaffordable in our current condition.

The “together we’re stronger” theme sickened me. I’m a pretty cooperative person in my personal life. I like working on teams, but that’s not what Hillary means, of course. That would be a voluntary association and Hillary wants us to all walk in lockstep over the cliff of her choosing. As long as we’re in it together, the abrupt stop at the bottom might be cushioned by those who hit the ground first. And there’s no choice. If you disagree with the group decision, you can’t opt to go your own way. No, it is the cliff and no other option.

America was founded on a form of individualism. Go read the Founders’ writings and you will see that I am telling the truth. Each man individually lived his life and VOLUNTARILY cooperated with others to accomplish tasks that one man could not do alone. Sometimes states cooperated with other states to accomplish tasks no one state could accomplish. When the group wanted to go in a direction the individual disagreed with, the individual was allowed to go their own way and pursue their own interests. Our voluntary associations was one of the things de Toqueville (who Hillary misquoted a lot last night) admired about America.

Speaking of misquotes – Hillary’s only real nod to Christians was to quote a Methodist dogma of “Do all the good you can, for as long as you can, to as many people as you can” which has been said to originate from Jonathan Edwards. It didn’t. He said “Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” The fact that she doesn’t know this just makes her look careless and stupid. It’s like the former “Christian” boss I had who would quote Poor Richards’ Almanac and say it was scripture. I knew it wasn’t. He didn’t. Guess what I thought of his “Christianity”?

An important difference in the two crowds should be noted. I am opposed to the shouting of political slogans. There’s a brainwashing effect to it that I’ve always found distasteful. So, when the RNC crowd was shouting “USA, USA, USA”, I felt like puking. But … BUT, last night as Hillary was saying “be wary of anyone who says ‘I alone can fix the problems'”, the DNC crowd was chanting “Hillary, Hillary, Hillary.”

I find that ironic. The candidate calling for unity is the center of a cult of personality while the candidate who is the “divider” appears to have fostered unity in his followers.

‘Affordable Care’: Higher Premiums, Higher Deductibles, Worse Healthcare | Michael F. Cannon   1 comment

The “affordable” plans make consumers pay higher premiums and more out of pocket costs.

Source: ‘Affordable Care’: Higher Premiums, Higher Deductibles, Worse Healthcare | Michael F. Cannon

Posted July 29, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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No, the Rest of the World Doesn’t Use ‘Single Payer’ | Eli Lehrer   Leave a comment

There’s plenty of reason for free marketers to be skeptical of proposals, like the ones emanating from Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and hinted at by Republican Donald Trump, that would create a single-payer healthcare coverage system in the United States.

But, if only because these proposals have resonance with the public, they’re certainly worth debating. A rational debate depends on getting the facts straight and there’s one fact that both left and right often get wrong: “single payer” healthcare of the sort Bernie Sanders proposes isn’t universal in the developed world and the US system isn’t particularly free-market by the standards of peer nations.

Although definitions vary slightly, a single payer healthcare system is one where a single entity — a government-run insurance plan — pays all bills for a variety of medical care, and private payment for these same services is more-or-less banned.

Source: No, the Rest of the World Doesn’t Use ‘Single Payer’ | Eli Lehrer

Speaking to the Voters   Leave a comment

So I fact-checked Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, but I didn’t say much about what he had to say. Tonight we get to hear Hillary’s acceptance speech and I wonder if she’ll actually try to reach the voter or just stick with her elitist paternalism.

First, Donald — please don’t yell at me for 75 minutes. I’m not that excited about you anyway, but that was hard to take. You did prove, however, that your lung capacity is greater than Hillary’s, which is a good thing if someone is looking for a healthy president. I’ve heard that you’ve never smoked and I assume that includes marijuana. Judging from Hillary’s draw-string mouth, I think she cannot say the same thing.

But onto the point of this article. Trump’s speech mostly resonated with his listeners — even people like me who won’t be voting for him. Brad has decided to vote for Trump because of the issues he touched on in his acceptance speech.

People feel that the country is on the wrong track. The latest Real Clear Politics data shows 69.3 percent of those surveyed believe we’re on the wrong track. That’s the highest rate since the Carter administration, which should tell us something. It does not benefit politicians to tell us that everything is great, as they are doing at the Democratic National Convention this week. Things are NOT “getting better”. Only Washington elites who are insulated from the consequences of their policies believe things are getting better and absolutely no well-informed person I know believes next year will be better than this year if we continue the same failed policies of Barack Obama. I do know some educated fools who haven’t seen that handwriting on the wall.

Crime and violence are serious concerns of many people. While I think that’s over-hyped by the grow-the-government types, Trump promised to be a “law and order” president. There is strong belief that race relations have deteriorated since President Obama took office. Citizens fed up with police brutality are now attacking the police. While the violence is 100% wrong, I get the sentiment. Poor children are trapped in failing public schools and Democrats won’t let them escape. Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, promise school choice. Terrorism is on the rise at home and overseas while our military focuses on the inclusion of transgender and women soldiers. Veterans are not being adequately cared for. Trump touched on all of those hot spots.

Speaking to blue collar “Reagan Democrats,” who haven’t had a significant pay raise in years, or who are unemployed or underemployed, Trump said, “I am your voice.” And in a great turn of a phrase, he pointed out that Hillary wants us to recite “I’m with her” in a show of unity while Trump announced “I’m with you.”

The establishment and the media are united in their opposition to Trump, claiming he is playing on fears, but they fear of losing control of government and their lucrative positions.

There is nothing wrong with fear of genuine threats, and there are plenty of those. You don’t even need to pay close attention to notice them. Yet the Democrats this week keep singing the same song — we’re getting better, everything is fine, you have nothing to fear but fear itself. And the media lapped it up and regurgitated it as if we who live out here in reality land don’t know better.

So, will Hillary pull their collective heads out of the sand tonight or will they continue to ignore the American workers who are all-too-aware that there are huge problems in the country that need to be addressed and not ignored?

I ultimately will not vote for either Trump or Clinton, but I have to say that a presidential candidate who says he’s with me is preferable to a presidential candidate who wants me to follow her. It says which one of the two is actually aware of the relationship a president has with the people. The people are sovereign. It’s OUR country … not Hillary Clinton’s.

Sherry Parnell

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