Free Markets, Free People
But suing to make the theaters reduce the price? Really?
Joshua Thompson loves the movies.
But he hates the prices theaters charge for concessions like pop and candy.
This week, the 20-something security technician from Livonia decided to do something about it: He filed a class action in Wayne County Circuit Court against his local AMC theater in hopes of forcing theaters statewide to dial down snack prices.
"He got tired of being taken advantage of," said Thompson’s lawyer, Kerry Morgan of Wyandotte. "It’s hard to justify prices that are three- and four-times higher than anywhere else."
I usually don’t go to movies. Believe it or not, since I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to get motion sickness in a theater if there is a lot of action on the screen. It’s weird but that happens to me (also happens with first person shooter games).
But, when I did go, I never went to the concession stand. I agree with Thompson, prices are too high and I’m not willing to pay them. However, I’m also not willing to use the force of government to “force” prices down, for heaven sake.
The way consumers make this point is to quit buying the stuff. Yeah, it takes will. It takes perseverance. It takes a collective action over time. But what it should never take is bringing government in to it.
The suit accused AMC theaters of violating the Michigan Consumer Protection Act by charging grossly excessive prices for snacks.
The suit seeks refunds for customers who were overcharged, a civil penalty against the theater chain and any other relief Judge Kathleen Macdonald might grant.
So who gets to decide what is a fair price? A judge? Or the consumer? How does the consumer decide what a “fair price” is? By not paying what he or she considers to be an unfair price. That’s how. Not by going to the state and attempting to use its power to force a lower price.
No one forces anyone to go to a movie, pay what they’re asking or eat their snacks. Everyone of those is an individual decision and choice. Just as we decide not to buy other products we can’t afford or think are priced too high, it is up to us to make the same sort of decision at a theater concession stand. If enough refuse to buy, it will eventually come to the attention of the theater chains. That’s how pricing is set by markets (you know, all that talk about pricing signals and such?). And the state has no business being involved in that system whatsoever, either legislatively or judicially (and the law suit probably won’t go anywhere, I understand that, but I’m addressing the mindset).
The Daily Caller spots another example of leftist hypocrisy in action.
Talking about Andrew Breitbart’s death, a poster at the Daily Kos decides it would be cool to send him off with a nice little protest from the homophobic bigots at Westboro Baptist Church. You see, Breitbart was a friend to gay right-wing groups such as GOProud. Instead of celebrating that, the true bigotry of at least this leftist shows through in his (or her) little scheme:
A post dated March 1 by “dragon82a,” titled “Let’s Help Andrew Breitbart go out In Style..Get Westboro Baptist Church to Protest Him” encourages readers to post on the Westboro Baptist Church’s Facebook page calling for the group to protest Andrew Breitbart’s funeral:
Here is the Facebook of the WestBoro Baptist Church:
Send them a message anything will do, about how much publicity they would get by Protecting [sic] Andrew.
Lets give back to Andrew what he has so generously given to us all these years.
We could call this “Operation Sendaway”
Because you see, using homophobic fundies (who’s leader is a Democrat activist by the way) in their cause is okay, but utter one word that could even sound like it might be anti-gay and they’ll be on you with all the false righteous indignation they can muster in a heartbeat.
Of course, don’t bother pointing this out to them … they simply won’t get it.
No, really, you read it right. The Chinese government has banned reincarnation without government permission.
In one of history’s more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation."
Actually, despite the article’s claim (and as the article eventually points out), it really isn’t as an absurd of an act as it may seem, even though it is certainly representative of totalitarianism.
In fact, it is all about China’s war with the Dalai Lama.
At 72, the Dalai Lama, who has lived in India since 1959, is beginning to plan his succession, saying that he refuses to be reborn in Tibet so long as it’s under Chinese control. Assuming he’s able to master the feat of controlling his rebirth, as Dalai Lamas supposedly have for the last 600 years, the situation is shaping up in which there could be two Dalai Lamas: one picked by the Chinese government, the other by Buddhist monks.
We can all figure out how that will work.
The Chinese communists surface very visibly every now and then as if to remind everyone that China is far from a free country. And, in such a totalitarian country, no detail is too small for the government to ignore … even something in which it likely doesn’t even believe.
You have to just shake your head at these hypocrites:
Documents published online this month show that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an organization known for its uncompromising animal-rights positions, killed more than 95 percent of the pets in its care in 2011.
The documents, obtained from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, were published online by the Center for Consumer Freedom, a non-profit organization that runs online campaigns targeting groups that antagonize food producers.
It is amazing to me how they suck in all these gullible celebrities to do their publicity stunts for them and in the meantime they’re slaughtering animals right and left.
Fifteen years’ worth of similar records show that since 1998 PETA has killed more than 27,000 animals at its headquarters in Norfolk, VA.
In a February 16 statement, the Center said PETA killed 1,911 cats and dogs last year, finding homes for only 24 pets.
Really? 24? That’s it? They could only find homes for 24 animals out of 1,935? A .01% success rate.
Yet they have the chutzpa to go after others about the “ethical” treatment of animals?
Next time you see a group of these yahoos, ask them about the slaughter house they maintain in Norfolk, VA. Ask them about the thousands of animals they kill each year.
Don’t expect a coherent or rational reply in return.
Buzz Aldrin is 72 years old. He’s also a national hero.
Watch this this moon landing denying D-bag harass Aldrin (and tell me that jerk doesn’t remind you of a cleaned up Michael Moore). Watch him get in Aldrin’s face and call him a “liar” and a “coward”.
Finally, watch the result:
Consider it your "feel good" vid of the day.
And from all people, the purveyor of more racial hatred than the KKK, Louis Farrakhan:
In a fiery lecture to thousands of followers of the Nation of Islam on Sunday in Chicago, Minister Louis Farrakhan warned that racial hatred could lead to attempts to assassinate President Barack Obama.
Farrakhan spent much of his oration decrying what he cast as Satan’s influence over racist forces in politics and society before asking a pointed rhetorical question: "Do you think they’re wicked enough to be plotting our brother’s assassination as we speak?"
Wow, there’s Satan again. And there’s the racial scare.
So who is he talking about? Oh wait, here it is:
Farrakhan drew a distinction between noble Jews and followers of "the synagogue of Satan," and he pointed to a recent incident in which the publisher of a Jewish magazine suggested Israeli security forces could help preserve Israel by killing Obama.
Got it. The Joooooooooosssss! Well the ignoble Jews anyway (i.e. anyone in or associated with Israel, a country which, apparently, actually rules the world and dominates our politics).
Our guy also addressed many other timely topics:
He spoke for more than three hours on a broad array of topics, excoriating U.S. foreign policy, suggesting that the 9/11attacks were a government-planned pretext for war in the Middle East, lamenting recent extreme weather and attacking mothers for serving their children food from McDonald’s. He also returned repeatedly to a topic that has attracted intense controversy in the past: the influence of Jews in politics and media.
Truther, warmist, and anti-Semitic with a swipe at Mickey D’s. A trifecta with a daily double thrown in.
Look, he’s an 78 year old kook. Got it. But trust me on this … it is a harbinger of things to come and a preview of accusations and tactics you’ll see in the near future. Perhaps not trotted out as blatantly as this and probably not blaming Israel or Jews (domestic right wing will do), but you can count on seeing racial scare tactics in the near future as Obama’s numbers, which are relatively high right now but nothing to brag about, begin to slip.
The usual suspects will begin the drumbeat of racism and attempt to divert the public’s attention from the real problem in this election – Obama’s dismal record.
Oh, and in honor of Black History month, an image from a series at All American Blogger where Duane Lester provides a historically correct lesson and reminder of the real history blacks should know but the left tries to avoid during this month:
There’s a quote going around from Timothy Geithner that again demonstrates why he has no business heading the Treasury Department.
In it he says things which are hard to attribute to a Treasury Secretary but certainly indicative of someone who could be labeled a political hack.
"That’s the kind of balance you need," said Geithner. "Why is that the case? Because if you don’t try to generate more revenues through tax reform, if you don’t ask, you know, the most fortunate Americans to bear a slightly larger burden of the privilege of being an American, then you have to – the only way to achieve fiscal sustainability is through unacceptably deep cuts in benefits for middle class seniors, or unacceptably deep cuts in national security." [emphasis mine]
James Pethokoukis literally takes this quote apart line by line and makes the technical argument as to why it is poppycock. It’s worth the read.
However, I’m most interested in those phrases I’ve emphasized in a more cultural/political/philosophical vein.
Since when do Americans, any Americans, have to pay government for the “privilege of being an American?”
I can’t think of a quote that more starkly differentiates the philosophies of right and left than Geithner’s. At its base it points to a philosophy that puts the state and collectivism before the individual and liberty. It is the polar opposite of the philosophy on which this country was founded. It is a mindset which must constantly be exposed and rejected.
We, as Americans, don’t pay anyone for any such “privilege”, and certainly not government. But the Elizabeth Warrens, Tim Geithners and Barack Obamas of world believe otherwise.
That statement tells one all they need to know about a philosophy that drives this current administration and much of the left. Americans, apparently, exist to serve government (and pay whatever cost government deems necessary) and not the other way around. The fact that they’re only attempting to use the “rich” in this case doesn’t mask the fact that they don’t limit this belief to only the “rich”. It’s just that politically, that’s all they can get away with at the moment. Make no mistake, they are elitists and collectivists and the path they want to take this country down is a path of limited liberty and no return.
As to the final emphasized phrase, note the false dichotomy. It is as fallacious as any argument you’ll ever see. The “only” way to achieve fiscal sustainability is by cutting only those two programs?
There are entire executive departments, agencies and bureaus which could be dismissed and cut before either of those other areas had to be touched. There are literally billions of dollars that could be saved by reducing government at all levels. To pretend that the only solution is to make “deep cuts” in benefits for “middle class seniors” or “national security” is the biggest crock of crap yet foisted on the American people since Al Gore invented his get rich quick scheme called global warming.
Obviously both of the areas mentioned by Geithner are areas in which cuts must and will be made. But it is pure and unadulterated sophistry to pretend that they alone will suffer if we don’t tax the ‘rich’ for the ‘privilege of being an American’.
I can’t tell you how much Geithner’s words rankle me. It is people like he, Obama and Warren that must be shown the door (or, in Warren’s case, never let in the door), politically speaking. They are a danger to liberty and freedom. The philosophy under which they operate is unacceptable and as I’ve said many times, must be defeated.
If you value your liberty at all, I suspect you feel the same way. How we got to this point, where high government officials feel comfortable saying such nonsense should bother you. It points to a tacit acceptance of their view by many. To those who love liberty, their view is unacceptable. It just makes you wonder how many of us are left that actually do value and love liberty, doesn’t it?
I’m sure you’ve seen this by now, but ESPN fired a couple of folks for using an old, old, old saying in a perfectly appropriate way because they, apparently, aren’t familiar with the difference in use and misinterpreted a word for a racial slur.
The PC police, apparently just as ignorant, called for the heads of two members of ESPN when they used the phrase “chink in the armor” to describe Jeremy Lin’s on court vulnerabilities (turnovers as it happens). But, but, but, Jeremy is of Chinese descent, so “chink” is therefor a “racial slur”.
Pure and total outraged ignorance. Those who’ve pushed this ought to be ashamed of themselves. HuffPo, naturally, is at the forefront of the stupidity:
And, now, we may have found our most offensive headline from a mainstream media outlet.
Several hours after the Knicks’ Lin-spired winning streak was snapped by the New Orleans Hornets, ESPN ran the headline "Chink In The Armor" to accompany the game story on mobile devices. ESPN’s choice of words was extremely insensitive and offensive considering Lin’s Asian-American heritage. According to Brian Floyd at SB Nation, the headline appeared on the Scorecenter app. The offensive headline was quickly noticed, screen grabs, Twit pics and Instagrams were shared and it began circulating widely on Twitter.
The use of the word "chink" is especially galling as Lin has revealed that this racial slur was used to taunt him during his college playing career at Harvard. After a brief run, the headline was changed to "All Good Things.."
Being so ignorant of the proper use of the word “chink” in this context is even MORE galling.
Professor Jacobson educates the dummies:
Chink in the armor” is a non-racial idiom, not a single word, denoting:
A vulnerable area, as in Putting things off to the last minute is the chink in Pat’s armor and is bound to get her in trouble one day . This term relies on chink in the sense of “a crack or gap,” a meaning dating from about 1400 and used figuratively since the mid-1600s.
The term “chink in the armor” is used frequently in sports analogies, as this 2005-2010 Google search indicates.
“Chink” standing alone also is a slang pejorative for someone of Chinese or more generally of Asian descent.
In discussing Jeremy Lin’s playing vulnerabilities, an on-air ESPN announcer used the phrase “chink in armor” and it was repeated in an ESPN web headline early the next morning.
Absurd, disturbing, ignorant.
A virtual trifecta brought to you by oversensitive and ignorant popinjays who cost two people their jobs because they were too stupid to understand the proper use of a word. And ESPN, you’re no better.
More on the increasing culture of dependency on government:
The percentage of people who do not pay federal income taxes, and who are not claimed as dependents by someone who does pay them, jumped from 14.8 percent in 1984 to 49.5 percent in 2009. This means that in 1984, 34.8 million tax filers paid no taxes; in 2009, 151.7 million paid nothing.
It is the conjunction of these two trends—higher spending on dependence-creating programs, and an ever-shrinking number of taxpayers who pay for these programs—that concerns those interested in the fate of the American form of government. Americans have always expressed concern about becoming dependent on government, even while understanding that life’s challenges cause most people, at one time or another, to depend on aid from someone else. Americans’ concern stems partly from deeply held views that life’s blessings are more readily obtained by independent people and that growing dependence on government erodes the spirit of personal and mutual responsibility created through family and civil society institutions. These views help explain the broad public support for welfare reform in the 1990s.
This ethic of self-reliance combined with a commitment to the brotherly care of those in need appears threatened in a much greater way today than when this Index first appeared in 2002. This year, 2012, marks another year that the Index contains significant retirements by baby boomers. Over the next 25 years, more than 77 million boomers will begin collecting Social Security checks, drawing Medicare benefits, and relying on long-term care under Medicaid. No event will financially challenge these important programs over the next two decades more than this shift into retirement of the largest generation in American history.
And yet we just got a budget from the President of the United States which essentially ignores that fact. Just like his previous three.
But more important than that is this culture of dependence that has perniciously grown in this country over the preceding decades fueled by politicians and the ideology of the left.
Libertarians and many Conservatives have been warning about this phenomenon for years. But in 2008, what had been a relatively slow ride to growing dependence became a ride on a rocket sled:
Not only did the federal government effectively take over half of the U.S. economy and expand public-sector debt by more than all previous governments combined, it also oversaw a second year of enormous expansion in total government debt at the federal level. Much of that growth in new debt can be traced to programs that encourage dependence.
In 40 plus years we’ve gone from a dependency percentage of 28.3% to over 70% in 2010. I don’t think anyone realized how big the change has been or what significance it has. But it has made us a nation of takers vs. makers.
As Heritage’s Bill Beach and Patrick Tyrrell explain, "the index score has grown by more than 15 times its original amount. This means that, keeping inflation neutral in the calculations, more than 15 times the resources were committed to paying for people who depend on government in 2010 than in 1962."
It is the same trap that countries like Greece were in and will result in the same collapse.
Ed Feulner adds some context to the increased percentage of dependence:
Perhaps the most startling part of the index concerns how much assistance is being distributed. Americans who rely on government receive an average $32,748 worth of benefits. How high is that? Higher than the average American’s disposable personal income: $32,446.
More than 67.3 million Americans rely on assistance from Washington for everything from food, shelter and clothing to college tuition and health care. These benefits cost federal taxpayers roughly $2.5 trillion annually.
So the president offers a 3.8 trillion dollar budget of which, according to these numbers, all but 1.3 trillion goes to “assistance”.
And in order to offset these “assistance” payments somewhat, the president decides that the only Constitutionally mandated expense within the budget – defense – has to pay the butcher’s bill.
We talk about “tipping points” often, but looking at that chart, I’m convinced that tipping point may have been passed years ago.
Some quotes to leave you with. Rep. Allen West, this past weekend said he has no problem with a safety net. His problem is “when that safety net becomes a hammock.” In this case a $32,000 hammock.
Alexis de Tocqueville reputedly said that the American republic will last only "until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury." We’ve seen that majority discover it with a vengeance.
And finally, George Bernard Shaw said, ““Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.”
70% dependence says a majority now dreads “it”, and has decided it likes others, the makers, paying their way.
As one friend aptly described it on reviewing these numbers, “we’re screwed”.