Free Markets, Free People

Monthly Archives: February 2012


Canada: Dad arrested for 4 year old daughter’s drawing of a gun

4469170750_431d029cdd_o

While this happened in Canada, it is something that I’ve come to believe could happen here in the near future given the rise of the nanny state’s intrusion.  This incident occurred in Kitchener, Ontario:

Jessie Sansone told the Record newspaper that he was in shock when he was arrested Wednesday and taken to a police station for questioning over the drawing. He was also strip-searched.

"This is completely insane. My daughter drew a gun on a piece of paper at school," he said.

Officials told the newspaper the move was necessary to ensure there were no guns accessible by children in the family’s home. They also said comments by Sansone’s daughter, Neaveh, that the man holding the gun in the picture was her dad and "he uses it to shoot bad guys and monsters," was concerning.

A four year old.  Yeah, they have no imagination whatsoever, do they?  They never make things up.

Do Canadians not enjoy the right of not being subjected too unnecessary search and seizure?  Note the official response – it was “necessary” to ensure there were no “guns accessible by children in the family’s home”?

Really?  Was it?  It couldn’t have been a 4 year old’s flight of fancy, could it?  That never happens, does it?

And beside that, while I hold it is none of the state’s freakin’ business to begin with, a simple knock on the door wouldn’t have been able to determine access to firearms?   “Hi, sir. Your 4 year old daughter drew this and we’re concerned about her or other children in the household having access to firearms.  Do you own any firearms? “

Yeah, way to easy.  What in the hell has happened to common sense?

And it even gets worse:

Police also searched Sansone’s home while he was in custody. His wife and three children were taken to the police station, and the children were interviewed by Family and Children’s Services.

Sansone’s wife, Stephanie Squires, told the newspaper no one told them why her husband had been arrested.

"He had absolutely no idea what this was even about. I just kept telling them, ‘You’re making a mistake.’"

Several hours later, Sansone was released without charges.

Searched the home without permission (no word on whether there was a warrant), didn’t inform the father of the charges against him, strip searched him and then released him without charges hours later?

That’s police state treatment.

Hopefully Mr. Sansone retains a good lawyer and sues the pants off these goons.

If the state will let him.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Issues that unite: the repeal of ObamaCare

In another “temperature of the electorate” poll, USA Today/Gallup have a swing state poll out that points to an issue that remains an advantage for Republicans: the repeal of ObamaCare.

The poll sampled the opinions of 1,137 likely voters in 12 swing states, states critical to a win in the upcoming election.  The subject was ObamaCare:

In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of the nation’s dozen top battleground states, a clear majority of registered voters call the bill’s passage "a bad thing" and support its repeal if a Republican wins the White House in November. Two years after he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act— and as the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments about its constitutionality next month — the president has failed to convince most Americans that it was the right thing to do.

You sort of have to root through the story to get an idea of the depth of the swing state voter’s resistance to the law, but it is significant:

Voters in swing states stand overwhelmingly on one side of the debate: Three of four voters, including a majority of Democrats and of liberals, say the law is unconstitutional.

So about 75% in those states find it to be a major issue in which they side with the GOP.  undo_obamacare

Many try to paint this result as one of poor messaging on the part of the Obama Administration and Democrats.  Of course that’s a favorite fallback position – its not the message, it’s how it has been delivered.

In fact, it is the message.  The message is “we can mandate whatever we wish and your only choice is to do what you’re told to do.”

Americans, in general, naturally resist such a power grab.  And that’s what you see in this poll. 

Opposition to the law is eroding Obama’s support among the middle-of-the-road voters both nominees will court this fall. Among independents, 35% say the law makes them less likely to support Obama, more than double the 16% who say it makes them more likely.

The intensity of feeling among potential swing voters also favors opponents. Among independents who lean to the GOP, 54% say they are much less likely to support Obama as a result. Among independents who lean to the Democrats, 18% say they are much more likely to support him.

As we’ve noted any number of times, such as last night’s podcast,  it is the “middle of the road” or “independents” are the key to victory.  And they find the law very objectionable.  It is also an issue likely to motivate these voters (see note about the “intensity of feeling”).

As we noted in last nights podcast, while the GOP is seen to be thrashing about right now, once a nominee is settled upon and the focus turns on Obama and his record, it is issues like this that the GOP must use to defeat him.  It resonates (here’s a recent national poll on the subject).  If they let the Democrats or the media set the agenda and deflect or redirect the debate to issues of no real importance in this election, but issues which are likely to hurt them among moderate voters, then they stand a chance to lose.  If they allow that to happen, shame on them.

Obama finally has a record, and it is not a good one.  ObamaCare and its repeal should be front and center of any issue oriented GOP campaign.  It is a winner for them.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Observations: The QandO Podcast for 26 Feb 12

This week, Michael, and Dale talk about the president’s energy speech.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.


I guess I’m a VFR guy now

Yesterday, on my ride home from work, I decided to go by North County House of motorcycles. While there, I saw a brand new 2010 VFR1200F with the DCT automatic transmission on sale. They’d marked it down from $17,499 to $11,999. So, I traded my FJR1300AE for it on the spot.

DalesNewVFR

This is the only picture I have of it, a crappy cell phone pic the sales guy took just before I geared up and rode off on it. Here’s a professional picture of it:

2010_honda_vfr1200f-normal

I didn’t get saddlebags with it, but I put my tailbag on it as soon as I got home.

In short, the VFR1200F has a V-4 powerplant that puts out a peak of 170HP, and  weighs approximately 600 lbs—which is about 60 lbs less than my FJR, with 145 peak HP. The performance is noticeably superior. It’s shaft-driven, with the shaft putting power to the rear wheel via a single-sided swingarm. It does the 1/4 in 10.2 seconds @ 136MPH. That’s about as fast as I need.

I had a lots of work to do today, so I only got a chance to ride it to the store and back. So I’ve only got 20 miles on it. I can already tell that there’s a bit of a learning curve for it. 

The transmission has an interesting setup. Honda took the dual-clutch transmission they use in their Formula 1 Race cars and fitted it to this motorcycle.  So, there’s no clutch.  You can can either manually shift using buttons on the hand grip, or you can switch it to an automatic transmission with two modes.

In automatic, there’s a standard Drive mode that short-shifts and is very strongly biased to fuel economy…to the extent that you’re in 6th gear by 40mph. Not very exciting at all.  Like a moderately sporty scooter. Then there’s the Sport mode. It’s…the opposite. It shifts at redline. And, while I can’t really use the sport mode much during the break-in period, it is…exciting. Let’s just say you can leave rubber from the rear wheel…in 3rd gear, though with brand-new tires.

You don’t need to know how I know that. Or how badly my pants were soiled.

The main difference is that, unlike the FJR AE model, you don’t have to hit 2,500RPM on the tach before it starts to move. Touch the throttle and it goes. And I mean goes. The performance simply outclasses the FJR in every way…if you want it to.

It’s got lots less wind protection and general cushy comfort than the FJR had, though I knew that going into it. I miss the heated grips, too.

But it’s a stonkin’ great engine. Which is what I was looking for in this case.

My cunning plan is to have both a fancy man’s sporty bike like a VFR or K1300S, and a fancy man’s touring bike, either the R1200RT or K1600GT. So, I guess I’m halfway there.


Americans don’t pay government for the ‘privilege’ of being Americans

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.

The quote in question:

"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. 

tim-geithner-beavis-3-e1273328553646We, 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?

BS!

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?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Obama’s “all-of-the-above” energy policy is really a “some-of-the-favored-above” political strategy

As usual President Obama has said one thing while demonstrating another.  He claimed, in his much panned energy speech, that the right energy strategy is to pursue an “all of the above” policy which includes not only fossil fuel, but alternative fuels as well.

“If we’re going to avoid being at the mercy of these world events, we’ve got to have a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy.”

And he claims that’s what he’s done.  Of course that’s nonsense as has been demonstrated many times on this blog.  His administration has done everything in its power for the past three years to block oil exploitation on federal land.  His administration has issued fewer permits for shorter times, slow walked those which have been let and disapproved such projects as the Keystone XL pipeline which is critical to any “all-of-the-above” strategy.

To make the point that fossil fuels are not in his “all of the above” plan, one only need look at his recent corporate income tax proposal in which petroleum companies are singled out for punitive treatment.  Hardly the move of a person interested in what he’s claiming.

“Since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their three-point plans for $2 gas. I’ll save you the suspense: Step one is drill, step two is drill, and step three is keep drilling,” Obama said. “Well, the American people aren’t stupid. You know that’s not a plan. . . . It’s a strategy to get politicians through an election. You know there are no quick fixes to this problem, and you know we can’t just drill our to lower prices.”

We can’t drill ourselves to lower gas prices?  But of course we can, if we will.  Remember that for 25 years, Democrats, who’ve taken every opportunity to block additional drilling, tell us it takes 3 to 10 years for us to benefit from new drilling.  Well, here we are, a quarter century later still in the same shape we were then and we have this guy telling us we can’t lower prices by increasing production?

Really?  So is there a new law of economics at work none of us have been privy too?  Supply and demand no longer work?

Rising prices now are a symptom of failing to do what we should have done over the previous quarter century.  Because of that we remain (as does the market) vulnerable to problems in supply elsewhere.   Like Iran, which is now cutting supplies to Europe and causing the market to react with higher prices due to a smaller supply.

Econ 101.  gas_prices_large3

If we had been drilling and producing for 25 years, we or the market wouldn’t be as susceptible to those sorts of shocks.   There’d be more supply and a greater diversity of supply.  That means lower prices.   And it would certainly mean more oil security for us.  Whether or not much of it is exported is irrelevant.  In time of emergency we would have a domestic supply that could be diverted to secure our energy needs.

Instead, we have a president who is reduced to claiming Americans “aren’t stupid” while he treats them as if they are.

He claims that you can’t reduce the price of oil by drilling for more oil (you can’t lower prices by meeting demand with increased product?)?  Now who is stupid.

And speaking of politics, because of his failure to enable the exploitation of petroleum products during his term in office, what is the only option Obama has in his bag of tricks?  Looting the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to help his re-election chances.  Who is it that doesn’t have much of a plan?

If you’re not tired of the double-speak from this man, you’re not paying attention.  His energy speech was pure blarney.

“There is no silver bullet. There never has been,” Obama said. “It’s the easiest thing in the world to make phony election-year promises about lower gas prices.”

Nonsense.  There certainly is a “silver bullet” way of lowering gasoline prices.  Produce more of it.  The reason there is no “silver bullet” in the offing is because he and people like him have stood in the way of its production.

You can’t make a silver bullet if you won’t let anyone mine the silver.  And that is precisely what Mr. Obama and the Democrats have done for 25 years.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


European Parliament member Daniel Hannan talks about the importance of America

I got to meet Daniel Hannan at CPAC.  I have seen him speak on a number of occasions before and have always been impressed by his love of liberty.  His speech at CPAC is a “must listen”.  He knows of what he speaks about. 

Interestingly I talked with a person attending CPAC who was originally from Slovakia and said he got off the plane 16 years ago with only a suitcase, and is now an employer.  He says America is the land of opportunity, for now.  But, he said, when he’s asked if America has changed in those 16 years he tells them “yes” and not in a good way.  “I lived in a place like where it is headed,” he said, “and that’s not good”.

 

cpac201217

 

So, if you have a few moments listen to Mr. Hannan again talk about this country as a Brit sees it (don’t ever call him a European) and why it is so important to the world as well as why we need to stop the direction in which it is heading and reorient it in the direction that made it great:

 

 

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Unions to spend $400 million on elections

unionteapartyprotesters3

You remember the “Citizen’s United” case I’m sure.  And you probably remember the cries from the left when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the 1st Amendment saying that amendment prohibited the government from restricting political expenditures by corporations and unions.

Bad decision according to them, remember?  What was it Barack Obama said?  That the decision "gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington — while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates."

He even lectured the Supreme Court justices at that year’s State of the Union Address saying, "last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities."

Yes, those evil corporations were sure to be bankrolling American elections to the detriment of the “little people”.

But unions?  Meh.  Not a word from Obama about unions.

Unions are getting ready to pour money into the 2012 elections. The AP’s Sam Hananel reports that AFSCME is planning to spend at least $100 million, the SEIU will spend $85 million or more, and total union efforts will reach at least $400 million. While many of its affiliate unions, such as AFSCME, will spend heavily on advertising and candidates, the AFL-CIO will continue to focus on developing the infrastructure for year-round, grassroots mobilization.

And not a word since.  When I hear Barack Obama rail against union spending and call for it to end, then I’ll believe he’s against unlimited spending for principled reasons (not that I’d agree, but I’d given him that benefit of the doubt) and not political ones.  Until then he’s just another in a long line of political hacks trying to limit the funds of those who would spend their money in opposition to him.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO