Patterico's Pontifications

4/1/2009

It’s Not Just AIG

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:05 pm

There is another taxpayer-funded organization that is a miserable failure — yet recently used taxpayer dollars to reward its employees.

That organization is . . . Congress.

DoJ Seeks to Reverse Ted Stevens Convictions

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:08 am

In a story that is apparently not an April Fool’s joke, the Washington Post reveals that the Justice Department has filed paperwork seeking to reverse the conviction of former Senator Ted Stevens:

The Justice Department filed court papers this morning asking a federal judge to toss out the conviction of former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) on corruption charges.

The move comes as a federal judge was preparing to conduct hearings to probe allegations of prosecutorial misconduct by the team that tried one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress. Stevens, 85, was convicted in October on seven counts of making false statements on financial disclosure forms to hide about $250,000 in gifts and free renovations to his Alaska home. Stevens’s attorneys have urged U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to drop the case and prevent prosecutors from seeking to retry the former senator, who lost a reelection bid about a week after his guilty verdict.

Stevens was convicted just before the election, and lost by fewer than 4000 votes.

There’s an old phrase: “Where do I go to get my reputation back?” More relevant here is this question: Where do we go to get our election back?

A Time for Choosing

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:26 am

Republicans are angry. Obama is putting the government in charge of decisions that the Founding Fathers never intended to rest in the hands of government officials. We feel powerless to stop what we can clearly see is a disaster fully set in motion.

Some among us believe that because the left won its power with the help of deceit, lying, and dishonest tactics, we must therefore fight back by using the same tactics. As one commenter said here at my site: “spreading lies and smearing your opponent is needed to create balance and tilt odds in your side.”

No. That is not what is needed.

Here’s what is.

Yesterday Mark Levin ran Ronald Reagan’s speech “A Time for Choosing” on his radio program. It is an inspiring speech, and there is not an ounce of deception in it. You can listen to it all the way through and you won’t hear one unfair smear. It’s good old-fashioned American common sense, delivered with equal measures of humor, outrage, and confidence.

I found it online and am embedding it here. I encourage you to watch it.

This is what we need, right here:

Reagan is gone, but his spirit lives on, in Americans across the land. We must appeal to that uniquely American, freedom-loving spirit — and call it to action. The threat we are facing is every bit as perilous as the threat of which Reagan spoke. It is the end of our way of life. It is a surrender of all decisionmaking to a Centralized Group of Planners.

We can’t allow this to happen. Somehow, we have to make a stand.

Reagan’s words, spoken in a different context — yet really, not so different at all — will ring in your ears all day:

“I think it’s time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers. . . . If we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth.”

My Warranty Already Came with An Expiration Date — But Your Promises Come with One Too, and That Date Usually Comes Sooner . . .

Filed under: Obama — Patterico @ 12:24 am

Sometimes you don’t know whether to laugh or cry:

“Your warranty will be safe,” Obama said in televised remarks. “In fact, it will be safer than it’s ever been, because starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warranty.”

See? You have nothing to worry about. Because if anything goes wrong, it will be fixed. You have Barack Obama’s word!

The American People Know More Than a “Task Force”

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Economics,General — Patterico @ 12:14 am

The L.A. Times reports on Obama’s continuing efforts to turn his administration into the next failed group of Soviet-style central economic planners:

[Obama’s] automotive task force concluded, for example, that the Chevy Volt, the electric car being developed by General Motors Corp., would be too expensive to survive in the marketplace. It declared that GM was still relying too much on high-margin trucks and SUVs, and that Chrysler’s best hope was to merge with a foreign automaker, Fiat.

Judgments like those are usually rendered in corporate boardrooms or announced in quarterly reports. But this time they were coming directly from the White House.

You see, Obama believes that he knows what the American people want — and that he knows far better than the American people themselves know:

Some participants in the deliberations, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of White House restrictions on allowing people to speak freely, said the task force operated from an underlying belief that consumers would ultimately be attracted to more fuel-efficient cars despite current data showing many such cars languishing on dealer lots.

The arrogance of this is breathtaking, for it assumes that a “task force” knows more about what Americans want than . . . well, Americans.

As I did earlier, I will turn to Thomas Sowell to explain the problem:

Under both capitalism and socialism, the scarcity of knowledge [regarding what consumers want] is the same, but the way these different economies deal with it can be quite different. The problem is not simply with the overall scarcity of knowledge, but also with the fact that this knowledge is often fragmented into tiny bits and pieces, the totality of which is not known to anybody.

Except maybe a task force!

Sowell explains how allocation of resources through pricing is a dynamic process that combines the information stemming from millions of individual pricing decisions. In other words, the market brings to bear the collective knowledge of an entire country. This information simply cannot possibly be tracked by a centralized authority with any accuracy. Accordingly, “[a] society in which only members of a hereditary aristocracy, a military junta, or a ruling party can make major decisions is a society that has thrown away much of the knowledge, insights, and talents of most of its people.”

Sowell makes clear that to rely on centralized planning is to place the arrogance of a few over the superior knowledge of many:

A society which can tap all kinds of talents from all kinds of sources has obvious advantages over societies in which only the talents of a preselected few are allowed to determine its destiny.

No economic system can depend on the continuing wisdom of its existing leaders.

Obama doesn’t understand this. He thinks he knows more than you do.

Just as my readers collectively know far more than I do, the American people as a collective know more than any one President, or any one task force. To substitute the “wisdom” of a small group of intelligentsia for the wisdom of the people as a whole is hubris on a cosmic scale — and is setting us up for a horrible and painful downfall.

By the way, consulting with an economist or two might have helped the L.A. Times convey these concepts to its readers. Instead, the issue is portrayed in a partisan fashion: Republicans say Obama’s actions are bad, and Democrats say they’re good.

But it’s not a partisan issue. It’s an American issue.

We’re watching our very way of life come crashing down around our heads.

Apparently some don’t realize this. We must sound the alarm.


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