Wednesday, April 23, 2014

From The Junk Drawer

Yes, it's another "assorted" post. Apologies, Gentle Reader. I'm literally gasping for breath here, so please allow me another of these semi-cop-outs.

1. Piketty.

No, that's not some new fad...well, except maybe on the Left. It's the name of a young French economist who's decided to rewrite Marx's Capital and equip it with the hot new rationale: Inequality!

We're already hearing quite a lot about "income inequality" from the Democrats. As they're desperate to deflect attention from Obama Regime policies, especially ObamaCare, this is understandable. However, their praise of Piketty's book is likely to backfire on them as word about what the Frenchman espouses spreads among the public. Piketty's aim is to prevent wealth, especially inherited wealth. As decent Americans aspire to becoming wealthy, Piketty's advocacy of confiscatory inheritance and wealth taxes and 80% income taxes will not sit well with them.

2. Old Authoritarianism in a New Bottle.

The Left never seems to learn any new tricks. The esteemed Andrew Bolt gives us an example of their penchant for recycling old ideas:

Neil Ormerod, Professor of Theology at the Australian Catholic University, demands an end to free speech:
Free speech for racist bigots, free speech for climate denialists. Where will it end?… There is a value in free speech to promote reasoned discussion and deliberation. And then there is obdurate and at times wilful ignorance ...

Fine, Professor. Then let’s also end the free speech of those who peddle obdurate and wilfully ignorant claims that the first woman was created from the rib of the first man.

Professor, do you understand how many people would deny your own right to speak under the standards you set for others?

Does anyone out there remember Herbert Marcuse's "Repressive Tolerance," or am I alone in the world?

3. Keynes Must Be Whirling In His Grave.

The esteemed Tyler Durden has seen fit to give the Obamunists "knightmares:"

"Janet, we have a problem," is the resoundingly loud message from the latest Gallup poll of Americans preference (and relative enjoyment) of "saving" vs. "spending". It seems, despite all the hoop-la and exuberance about an 'economic recovery' that is pent-up due to weather but about to break out to escape velocity, the majority of Americans continue to enjoy saving money more than spending it, by 62% to 34%. The 2014 saving-spending gap is the one of the widest since Gallup began tracking Americans' preferences in 2001. How long before a discussion of negative rates re-appears as the rich and powerful Oz-ians contemplate the latest effort to 'change' people's mass psychology...

Inasmuch as the whole left-liberal approach to economics is based on encouraging consumption rather than production, that has to be frightening to the Obama Regime. It's especially telling that credit, by virtue of Federal Reserve policy, has never been cheaper...yet borrowing remains stalled at nadir-of-the-Great-Recession levels.

I doubt they'll learn. Too much "sunk intellectual capital" would have to be jettisoned.

4. Benghazi.

Say, remember when Senator Rand Paul suggested that the Benghazi affair might have something to do with covert arms shipments into Syria, and was widely ridiculed for it? Remember Hilary Clinton's dismissive response to his inquiry?

Well, the Senator might have been better informed than we thought:

The full extent of US co-operation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in assisting the rebel opposition in Syria has yet to come to light. The Obama administration has never publicly admitted to its role in creating what the CIA calls a ‘rat line’, a back channel highway into Syria. The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida. (The DNI spokesperson said: ‘The idea that the United States was providing weapons from Libya to anyone is false.’)....

....A number of front companies were set up in Libya, some under the cover of Australian entities. Retired American soldiers, who didn’t always know who was really employing them, were hired to manage procurement and shipping. The operation was run by David Petraeus, the CIA director who would soon resign when it became known he was having an affair with his biographer. (A spokesperson for Petraeus denied the operation ever took place.)

Please read the whole article. It's an example of something we see far too little of these days: investigative journalism.

(Applause to Sara Noble for the reference.)

5. Is the BLM Feeling Its Oats...

...or is it just spoiling for a fresh fight in the aftermath of the Bundy Backdown?

After Breitbart Texas reported on the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) intent to seize 90,000 acres belonging to Texas landholders along the Texas/Oklahoma line, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott questioned the BLM’s authority to take such action.

“I am about ready,” General Abbott told Breitbart Texas, “to go to the Red River and raise a ‘Come and Take It’ flag to tell the feds to stay out of Texas.”

Gen. Abbott sent a strongly-worded letter to BLM Director Neil Kornze, asking for answers to a series of questions related to the potential land grab....

  1. Please delineate with specificity each of the steps for the RMP/EIS process for property along the Red River.
  2. Please describe the procedural due process the BLM will afford to Texans whose property may be claimed by the federal government.
  3. Please confirm whether the BLM agrees that, from 1923 until the ratification of the Red River Boundary Compact, the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma was the gradient line of the south bank of the Red River. To the extent the BLM does not agree, please provide legal analysis supporting the BLM’s position.
  4. Please confirm whether the BLM still considers Congress’ ratification of the Red River Boundary Compact as determinative of its interest in land along the Red River? To the extent the BLM does not agree, please provide legal analysis supporting the BLM’s new position.
  5. Please delineate with specificity the amount of Texas territory that would be impacted by the BLM’s decision to claim this private land as the property of the federal government.

“The letter today,” Abbott explained, “is the first shot in the legal process. We expect answers from them and based upon their answers we will decide what legal action to take.”

“What Barack Obama’s BLM is doing,” Abbott continued, “is so out of bounds and so offensive that we should have quick and successful legal action if they dare attempt to tread on Texas land and take it from private property owners in this state.”

Of this, I can only say: Bravo for Texas and its Attorney-General! It's high time someone challenged Washington's claim to the power to seize land at its whim, whether for "national monuments," "wildlife refuges," or any other unConstitutional purpose. Texas is the perfect place to force a federal stand-down.

And that's all the news for today, Gentle Reader. Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow.


A Reader said...

Mr Porretto,

I hope you are right about Texas and the BLM. I hope we will not flinch, as we did a few years ago over the TSA official oppression bill. As you might recall, a US Attorney for some district or other threatened to shut down our airports in response. In an earlier, simpler time, the threat of a blockade, even an aerial blockade, would have been read as a threat of war. To our considerable shame, we blinked first. Perhaps, however, the intervening years have done enough to shorten our fuses that we will stand our ground this time. I hope the same is true of our Sooner brothers, and even the Jayhawkers, as they also stand to lose parts of their State lands to los Federales. If some obstinate Kansan were to run up the Dixie Flag in protest, it would be truly memorable.

Sergio said...

"Then let’s also end the free speech of those who peddle obdurate and wilfully ignorant claims that the first woman was created from the rib of the first man."

As a peddler of just such a so-called obdurate and wilfully ignorant claim, I take exception.

Joseph said...

There is a difference between Marx and Piketty.

Marx: The rate of return on capital investment is declining and that proves capitalism is obsolete.

Piketty: The rate of return on capital investment is not declining and that proves capitalism is obsolete.