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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Friday, June 29, 2007

Where's the fence?

Imagine you're a medic in a war zone. You're in a foxhole next to a tree. A paratrooper is falling from a plane almost right on top of you when he gets struck in the leg with an enemy bullet, and if that weren't bad enough, his parachute gets stuck in the tree. He's hanging just over the foxhole, with his injured leg where you can safely reach it and provide medical attention, but most of him is above ground where the enemy can take potshots at him, and they are doing just that.

Now, what decision do you make? If you're a medic who also happens to be a member of Congress*, it appears that the decision you'd make is to start by addressing the bullet that's in his leg where you can safely work on it. And you'd likely try to make that bullet as comfortable as possible inside his leg - who are you to go about removing a bullet from a leg that you didn't put there in the first place? A bullet has rights too! However, at the same time you're trying to determine the manufacturer of the bullet, it's metallic composition and helping to legitimize the existence of that bullet in the paratrooper's leg, he's continuing to get shot.

If, however, you're an average Joe medic with more brains than the average member of Congress (a rather low bar, it appears), you'd first get him out of the tree and into comparative safety. This would stop the flood of bullets into his body that are causing more of the damage caused by the initial bullet, THEN you'd work on addressing the problem of the bullets already in his body. What's so hard about this to understand?

A contrived scenario, to be sure, but illustrative of the problem we have with our current discussion of illegal immigration. While it appears that we've, at least for now, gotten a reprieve from the insanity of amnesty for illegal immigrants, many Americans are baffled at how it even got that far and why our government is neither enforcing current immigration laws nor building the fence that was authorized last year.

'Enforcement First' is a great rallying cry, but it needs to be put into action. I ran across this video this morning that I believe effectively uses humor to call attention to this important issue. http://www.wheresthefence.com/ I hope they make a number of followups.

I also hope that Americans don't let up on the calls and letters to Congress that played such an important role in killing the amnesty bill yesterday, and that we continue to push for enforcement of current laws and the building of the fence.

* saying it this way reminds me of Mark Twain's famous quote "Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

The one thing that came out of this debate is that there is a bi partisan consensus for border security.

If the government actually successfully shut down illegal immigration. Amnesty would be likely.

This should be the message from the Republican Party. The democrats will try to capitalize on the issue to draw hispanic voters to vote democrats. Our position should be that you will get nothing from democrats, because the vote in the last congress shows you need bi-partisan support for any chance at amnesty. Conservatives are willing to consider Amnsesty if there is border security (meaning no more illegals) However, if democrats are in power you won't get border security, and therefore, no chance at amnesty.

10:48 AM, June 29, 2007  

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

In Your Heart, You Knew Scribbler Was Right

Boo! Ha -- you weren't expecting me, were you? I've been busy. Online campaigning for a presidential candidate doesn't mean you get to sit on the couch all day. Well, actually it does. But it's not like I'm not working.

I just had to pop in to say, "Howdy," and share a bit of a story that oddly mimics previous posts of mine on this blog. There have been numerous stories lately along this line, such as from Atlantic Monthly's Andrew Sullivan, but this little dash is from a bigger piece yesterday on AssociatedContent.com:

Why then does Paul barely register in the national scientific polls? For starters, his primary support group-libertarians-is difficult to account for through polling methodology. Many do not own a landline phone, the only way that polling firms can contact people. (A study released by the Pew Research Center showed that 12.8% of US households are cell-only, swelling to as much as 25% for those under 30, exactly the tech-savvy libertarian base that has flocked to Ron Paul.) Much of the same group would also be missed in samples of "likely Republican voters," because of youth, registration as an independent, or lack of voting in prior elections (mainly because none of the candidates were satisfactory choices). So while Paul generally hovers around 2% in national polls, it would not be surprising if the true support was closer to 5%, with potential to climb sharply in the upcoming months.

I'll leave you guys to question the sanity of Mark Feltz, Andrew Sullivan, the Pew Research Center, and the Scribbler. Gotta run. We are actually showing up in person and in hordes in Iowa this weekend and there is still much organizing to be done. Thank heavens that at least the organizing portion can be done from the couch! (That's just an expression. In truth, I use a massaging office chair in front of my computer.)

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I had this view in the last election because I am a big call screener. However, the last election proved me wrong.

One of the reasons why Republicans do not support Paul is that he is identified with the libertarians. Most people identify libertarianism with legalizing drugs. Most suburban living married people with kids have no desire to make drugs legal.

What is Paul's stance on legalizing drugs?

1:09 PM, June 28, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Same as it is on abortion, rape, murder, alcohol laws, and jaywalking: It's a matter for the states, not the federal government.

4:20 PM, June 28, 2007  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Except that Drugs involves international issues. Should immigration be a matter for the states?

10:42 AM, June 29, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

It is necessary to have a national immigration policy if we are to legitimize US citizenship. States should certainly get active with deportation.

The US could regulate the importation of drugs if they so desire, but should not interfer with states' rights to set criminal code.

S'aurus, did you not recognize me at the Excelsior parade this morning? I had a baseball cap and shades on, so figured were wondering who was shouting at you. Good to see you abandoned your stagecoach post for the day.

12:28 PM, July 04, 2007  

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Write your Senators

I have written both my Senators urging them to vote against Cloture on the immigration Bill.

Have you?

I can't think of recent issue where constituent mail matters more than this issue. Neither Klobuchar or Coleman are compassionate about this issue, meaning that they can be swayed. Constituent mail really does work in this area.

Blogger festivus said...

OOOPS. Too late.

Our own Sen. Coleman switched his vote. I guess I'm looking forward to his attempt at an explanation, but I suspect such explanation will be unable to change my current decision to not lift a finger to help Norm Coleman get re-elected in 2008.

I guess when I'm doing my GOTV phone calling, I'll have to deviate from the script somewhat to avoid promoting Coleman's reelection.

I think I'm starting to catch 'Scribbler de Stebbing' disease.

2:16 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

How about Senator Lugar. he announced today for surrender in Iraq and he voted for amnesty.

These are indeed dark days.

9:36 PM, June 26, 2007  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

I go on hiatus for a while and bloggers are, unbenownst to me, taking my name in vain. Lovely.

Since I'm here, I propose we initiate a draft for a true patriot to take on Coleman in a primary. So which will it be, fellow Americans -- if I may still call you all Americans -- Party or Principle? United States of America or North American Union? The US Dollar or the NAU Peso-dollar? Defense of American Borders or Defense of Iraqi Borders? Sodomy or beastiality?

1:12 PM, June 27, 2007  

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Greatest Person Ever

There have been many lists compiled about the most influential person in history, the greatest military leader, religious figure, etc... How about just the greatest (mortal) person ever?

There are obviously many who would make the list, but my vote would have to go to Julius Caesar. He was by far the greatest person to have ever lived,and other than religious figures he rightly remains the most famous person in history.

Red vs. Blue science?

This article is a classic example of the liberal media implying that conservatives are idiots:

By now you may be forgiven for suspecting that science is tinted — if not entirely tainted — by politics. The arguments over evolution and global warming alone are enough to make anyone believe that we have red and blue science as well as red and blue states.

I wasn't aware that scientific evidence of evolution was opposed by thousands of scientists around the globe, whereas the humans causing global warming theory is widely discredited.

The article is really about stem cells. The liberal author argues that conservativesare dumb to oppose stem cell research because wouldn't it be great to be able to grow body parts.

Killing another human to grow body parts is bad enough... but she conveniently left off the bit about having to clone the embryo to get your own body parts.... They always leave off the bit about cloning.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Rudy and Fred

According to recent Polls, Rudy and Fred are tied for the potential Republican nomination. I like both of them. I think Fred has better conservative credentials - so do a lot of people, which is why he is tied with Rudy. However, Fred is pretty light on experience - he is little better than Hillary in that department, which in the end makes him a weaker candidate against the Democrats than Rudy or Romney.

I think the honeymoon will be over for Fred sooner rather than later.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...


Tonight I did something I hardly ever do - I watched television. I wanted to see Fred Thompson on the Tonight Show. (By the way, how long has Jay Leno been this unfunny?)

The guy has the folksy thing down, but I'm trying to come up with the right word to describe him. Possibilities:


None of them quite give you the sense of this hound dog looking guy whose very presence could be used as a sleep aid.

Maybe I'm just in a funny mood, or he had an off night, but he just didn't seem "Presidential." It's as if he's become the wise and tired old ex-President without ever being President.

So I think I agree with Saurus.

12:14 AM, June 13, 2007  
Blogger ReTorte said...

Though I much prefer Tommy Thompson to Fred Thompson. Without looking at his voting record for one second. The core disenfranchised Reagan Republicans are psychologically looking for someone to represent "Ronald Reagan" much like people seek in a spouse "just like ___" (influential figure in their life, in this case political life).

Fred Thompson is an actor turned politician (and a relatively good actor), and Republican just as Reagan was. His best acting rolls are best summed up as short to the point factual statements (hey, he squashed Tom Cruise's energy in a movie scene once). He managed in the skillful use of language (and facts) to squash Michael Moore in such a way that no one else has been able to do just as Reagan made his debate remark about his opponent's age and lack of experience. Could be a useful skill to have against Hillary.

He's also the candidate who paired against a Hillary or O'Bama could politically and charismatically in debate crush either one. Chances are, that's why he's breaking ahead so far in the polls at this point in the race. Whether Democrat, Republican, Independent, Libertarian, people are seeking someone who can be a strong leader which will be important when the time comes for swing voters. Fred Thompson took over Gore's seat, so he's going to have that going for him with the swingers. As for the physically attractive factor of the three O'Bama is the only one who has a chance in that area for the "who looks the best" vote (it worked for Bill).

Alas, I'm still holding out hope for Tommy Thompson to come through.

1:50 PM, June 19, 2007  

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Debate Topic

RESOLVED: The United States of America needs a national ID card.

Draft Governor Manchin for President on the Democratic Ticket

It has been a very long time since both major parties have each offered the nation a reasonably sane, basically conservative Presidential nominee. I reckon that the 1928 election between Republican Herbert Hoover and Democrat Al Smith was the last time conservatives could have been reasonable happy with the candidates of both parties.

Our nation needs a Presidential election in 2008 between a reasonably conservative Democrat and a conservative Republican. Should conservatives consider drafting West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin to be the Democratic Party’s nominee?

Is he the perfect conservative Presidential candidate? No.

Is he one of the only terrorist hating, tax cutting, pro-life, NRA-endorsed (A+) pro-gun, and anti-Kyoto major office holders in his party? Yes!

Here is a report of a visit by Governor’s Manchin to Iraq:

He even signed two missiles at Balad Air Force Base. He dedicated one of them to "West Virginia's brave and fallen." The other one had an even more emotional message.

"On the other one, I wrote, 'Sending you to hell, from Almost Heaven, West Virginia'. I just thought, 'Hey, these are people doing tremendous harm to our people.'" .

He is at least somewhat receptive to some of the ideas in this new free market prescription, “Unleashing Capitalism,” for encouraging economic growth in his state. This report’s quote of Manchin on the danger of over reliance on government is encouraging:

NEWS9 asked Manchin about Sobel’s book and not only was the governor familiar with “Unleashing Capitalism,” he agreed that the state’s economy and people are too reliant on state government."If you had a child and you raised that child and that child is 40 years of age and still living at home and says 'hey mom and dad, you didn't give me my allowance this week,' you really haven't provided an atmosphere for a productive human being,” said Manchin.

Finally, be sure to observe the effects of state policy on economic activity in Unleashing Capitalism's satellite photo.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Mohammad, top name in Britain

Apparently, Mohammad will be the number one name for newborns in Britain by the end of the year. Read it here.

This is so sad.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

that National Health Care thing...

I work for a large fortune 100 company. I have a unique position in the company which allows me both to observe the operations of the company and the federal government . My company and the government have many similarities. They have grown into such huge and bureaucratic organizations that they are not run under a single management model. Instead they are run by hundreds of various separate policies all instituted individually to address various separate problems. Working together, all of these policies produce a lot of gridlock and institutional incompetence. A great example is in the area of computer security. Our security policy is as bad as the governments. The security policy is a hodge podge of rules all designed to address this or that. The result is that it takes months to get new equipment or to accomplish anything. Put simply, my company and the government are like huge computer operating systems with thousands of individual patches. They run, but not very well. Like a computer operating system, it is impossible to avoid this outcome with a giant company or the government. Eventually you are going to need patches…. millions of patches.

Also in my position I have had the luxury of being able to converse with many different member s of senior management about how they do their job. One of the common themes among successful managers and executives is their ability to bypass the company bureaucracy. Put another way, these managers disregard the rules in order to implement their ideas and to get things done. These managers are responsible for most of the growth in the company. If it wasn’t for this small group of managers disregarding company policy, the company would putz along at almost no growth and would eventually shrivel up and die… Ironically, these types of managers are richly rewarded for breaking rules. They get raises, promotions, stock options, etc… No one cares that they break the rules because the company is results oriented (i.e. profits). You get results, you get promoted.

In contrast, at the government, breaking the rules will not only get you fired, but it can get you investigated by Congress, slimed by the press, and even prosecuted. The government entity I work with can’t “break” any rules, even when the results would be in everyone’s favor. The government views the “process” as important as results. No one in the government gets promoted based on results if they have disregarded the rules. You cannot disregard the process at the government.

Just like my company, there are also a few very smart and motivated people at the government. But, these people won’t get rewarded in the way people at my company do. Many of them won’t get to be in charge. Consequently, the government won’t benefit from their talents in the same way that private companies do.

Keeping this in mind, one can understand why the government has difficulty doing anything efficiently or well. The government manages to putz along with change occurring every once and a while. Keeping this in mind why would anyone want the government running a national health care system. I keep hearing proposals from various politicians about how we need the government to run our health care system because it is “broken.” Broken? If the government ran the system it would be much worse than broken. Could you imagine trying to get the government to do something for you if your issue fell outside the written procedure? You might as well take arsenic.

The general rule should be that government does things badly – they create poor assets. Thus, we should limit the amount of things that government does to only things the government must do. Things like defense, the courts, maybe even the FAA, etc…

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

This is an excellent post. 'Saurus is rediscovering what in economics is called "The Theory of the Firm" which was pioneered by Coase. The idea is how is it determined which relationships are governed in a non-market manner within a firm, and which are handled in a market. That is, if you want your secretary to type something, it's basically "command and control." Please do this. It's not that you go to a market for typing one letter and buy one letter of typing services.

Coase's idea was that command and control really is better than the market for some things, like getting a letter typed, and worse for other things. The key is that the market itself determines the size of the firm - the command and control entity. If a firm gets too big, bloated and bureaucratic, it won't be able to compete with smaller firms which allow more functions to be done by the market.

The problem with the government, as Saurus points out, is that it is not subject to such discipline.

7:43 AM, June 06, 2007  
Blogger Courier A said...

The "Theory of the Firm" that Pencil is explaining makes sense. However, rather than saying that the inability to emulate the market-savvy discipline of smaller, thriving firms is a "problem with the government," is it not a neccesary, unavoidable consequence of government in societies that cherish freedom?

Other types of government may be better for making the trains run on time than constitutional republics, but I don't consider that a problem. Yet this doesn't mean we have to let demands of public-sector unions go unchecked to the point where they can cripple the necessary functions of government.

A healthy appreciation, though, for the proper limits of government ought to make us apprehensive when technocrats or lefty corporatists tell us that "government should run like a [thriving] business".

6:14 PM, June 07, 2007  

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Fred Thompson Leads Prediction Market

Intrade.com has a market for futures on presidential party nominations. The basic idea is that you buy and sell contracts which pay $1 only if a certain event happens. The contract "Fred Thompson wins the Republican Nomination for President" last sold for 26.1 cents, just beating the equivalent contract for Giuliani (24.8 cents) and Romney (22.2 cents). McCain is in fourth and his price has been falling to 16.2 cents. No one else sells for more than 3 cents. (Which makes sense since the top four add up to 89.3 cents. So the market will give you 9-1 odds that anyone outside the top four will win the nomination.)

People are paying real money for these contracts: putting their money where their mouths are. And a non-declared candidate is winning? Hmmm.

(For what it's worth, I would be happy with any of the top three.)]

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I thought Rudy did a great job tonight. A Thompson/Rudy battle would be good. The problem with Thompson is that Rudy has a much more successful track record at running a large government organization. Thompson won't be able to distinguish his experience from Hillary.

I like Thompson, but what more does he offer than Rudy other than the abortion record? Rudy in the end is the more experienced leader.

At this point I would be shocked if Obama gets the Dem nod. That guy is so inexperienced. Can you imagine him going up against Rudy? Rudy would be able to constantly bash Obama as a novice (which he is). It would be great fun.

11:34 PM, June 05, 2007  

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What Bush Should Do.


At least give him the same punishment as Clinton (i.e. loss of law license and years of free golf).

I suppose Bush is too busy pardoning illegal aliens.

Monday, June 04, 2007

A Ceiling for Tax Increases?

The most common thing you hear from Democrats is to "reverse the Bush Tax Cuts." Which will probably happen since the tax cuts expire in 2010. And the Dems won't be able to just reverse all of them, they will have to do something about the child tax credits. They wouldn't want people making $60k a year paying a lot more in taxes (would they?) So now you hear about them reversing the Bush tax cuts for the rich. It turns out that reversing the tax cuts for the rich amounts to only $50 billion a years, which is a pittance when it comes to government spending. In fact, John Edwards wants to spend $1 trillion per year more on a government health care system....

Could it be that the Dems have backed themselves into a corner with this one. It will be easy for them to reverse the Bush tax cuts, they can argue that is why they were elected and no voting is required to let them expire. But to institute any meaningful government spending they will have to raise taxes beyond that. Will they be able to get the Jim Webbs of the world to vote for additional taxes?

Backers of Immigration bill more Optimistic?

So says this Washington Post article. Apparently many of the Republican supporters (John Kyl) of the bill have seen oppostion decline over the last week. In defense of Kyl, it does say in the article that he will oppose the bill if any amendments are passed which could result in increased immigration.

It seems unbelievable. Almost all the conservatives I know are completely against this bill. Everyone on talk radio is against it. Every blog I read is against this bill. Bush is at 25% because of this bill. This issue is doing more damage to the Republican coalition than any issue in recent memory. Anyone who would be motivated to work in the next election is against this bill? How could it be that opposition is declining.

I think Newt got it right on FoxNews Sunday when he commented that even if there are good enforcement ideas in the bill or even if the bill is a practical compromise, no one believes that the government is competent enough under Bush to carry through the enforcement part of the bill. Therefore, it's better to have no bill.

In fact, would the government ever be competent enough to implement the bill? Probably not. Who among the nominees will get a boost from passage of this Bill. McCain is certainly out. No one would believe that he would enforce the law under the new bill. How about Giuliani. Would people believe that Rudy would enforce the law?

Maybe Bush should appoint Jack Welch or Leona Helmsly to implement the bill.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Maybe Bush's Administrative incompetence will only help the Republican party in the end. It would be one thing if the Democrats had some decent candidates, but their leading candidates, Hillary and Obama, have no administrative or management experience either.

Someone like Rudy or Romney could base his campaign off of this to appeal to the independents in the middle. Why would independents vote for someone with no track record in managing government.

Just a thought... (why would anyone vote for McCain?)

9:01 AM, June 04, 2007  

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Fed Up

Peggy Noonan's given up on Bush here.

It reminds me of the first episode of season 4 of The Simpsons (so we're talking, what, 14 years ago?).

I've been scorched by Krusty before.  I got a rapid heartbeat
from his Krusty brand vitamins, my Krusty Kalculator didn't
have a seven or an eight, and Krusty's autobiography was
self-serving with many glaring omissions. But this time, he's
gone too far!
I was willing to put up with No Child Left Behind, ridiculous levels of government spending with no vetoes and a host of other things because Bush got the basic thing on the security issues right (like going after our enemies rather than waiting for them to come to us) and was better than any Democratic alternative. But even I am seeing last straws.

  1. Literally changing the makeup of the country so that we most likely never be able to have conservative government ever again.
  2. Not going after Iran and Syria when they are killing our soldiers but actually negotiating with them.
  3. Generally dissing the conservatives who put him there.
I've had it.

Blogger festivus said...

I've been slowly reaching that point myself, Pencil. I was very active in the Bush/Cheney 04 campaign, and believe George W. Bush to be a fine man. My opinion of his presidency, however, has been waning.

What I do not understand is how a man who does so well on some things (tax cuts, GWOT) seems to allow his adminstration to fall apart like this. In my opinion, it was all downhill after the Harriet Miers fiasco. It's unexplainable.

Still, there's one thing I have to give him credit for. We haven't had an attack on our soil since 9/11, and that's something serious to consider.

4:50 PM, June 01, 2007  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I tend to agree with you. The latest comments from Bush on Global warming is also troubling.

You could argue that many conservatives have abandoned Bush as well. Bush needed them to stick with him in riding out the Iraq war, but many have given up on that.

Regarding immigration and Pencil's comment that the consetvative movement is dead.... If amnesty can't be stopped then we need to find a way to appeal to immigrants. We have a leg up in that immigrants tend to be a little more intelligent and self reliant than other groups. Maybe it's wishful thinking, but we can't give up.

8:51 AM, June 04, 2007  

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