Thursday, December 31, 2009



More Guns, Less Crime

FBI Reports Huge Decrease In Murders As Firearm, Ammunition And “Large” Magazine Sales Soar

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Last week, the FBI issued its preliminary 2009 crime report, showing that the number of murders in the first half of 2009 decreased 10 percent compared to the first half of 2008. If the trend holds for the remainder of 2009, it will be the single greatest one-year decrease in the number of murders since at least 1960, the earliest year for which national data are available through the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Also, the per capita murder rate for 2009 will be 51 percent lower than the all-time high recorded in 1991, and it will be the lowest rate since 1963—a 46-year low. Final figures for 2009 will be released by the FBI next year.

According to gun control supporter dogma—“more guns means more crime”—the number of privately owned firearms must have decreased 10 percent in 2009. To the contrary, however, the number rose between 1.5 and 2 percent, to an all-time high. For the better part of the last 15 months, firearms, ammunition, and “large” ammunition magazines have been sold in what appear to be record quantities. And, the firearms that were most commonly purchased in 2009 are those that gun control supporters most want to be banned—AR-15s, similar semi-automatic rifles, and handguns designed for defense. The National Shooting Sports Foundation already estimates record ammunition sales in 2009, dominated by .223 Remington, 7.62x39mm, 9mm and other calibers widely favored for defensive purposes.

Also indicative of the upward trend in firearm sales, the number of national instant check transactions rose 24.5 percent in the first six months of 2009 compared to the first six months in 2008, the greatest increase since NICS’ inception in 1998. Through the end of October, NICS transactions rose 18 percent, compared to the same period in 2008.

More Guns Means More Crime? Hardly. In 2009, more guns meant less crime, in a very, very big way.

Find this item here.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Still Dancin' With The One Who Brung Ya?

Sarah Palin is quoted from Maui as supporting the re-election of John McCain to the U.S. Senate, in the wake of the flap over blacking out last year's campaign message on her visor, in an effort, she demurred, to be "in cognito."

From the Honolulu Star Bulletin, December 18th:

"I adore John McCain, support him 100 percent and will do everything I can to support his reelection."

I'm not buying it.

The NY Daily News reports: Much clearer was the message on her T-shirt: "If you don't love America," it read on the front, "then why don't you get the hell out," it advised on the back.

Hardly what I'd wear if I were trying not to attract attention.

No, the episode simply highlights that Sarah's thinking is sometimes muddled, and when that is exposed, as on this occasion, she says just what you'd expect a habitually polite and loyal person to say, which is a good sign.

But Sarah needs to move on. The prom is ancient history. And get the wardrobe thingy under control already. In an age of superficiality, a person of substance can't let herself be derailed by image faux pas.

And McCain should also move on, into retirement.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

You're Being Bribed, But With Your Own Money

Jay Ambrose says here that "Health Vote Moves Us Toward A Tipping Point":

Here's my vow: to vote for no one for the House or the Senate this next November who does not first pledge to do everything within their power to rescind any health care monstrosity that gets visited upon this nation by what currently seems a derelict Democratic party.

It's true that despite all the sound and fury, after all the hoopla and posturing, we still have only an outline of what we might get. The reason is a rush to do anything to please the great idol Obama, the extraordinary extent of change being sought, the mystery of how differences between the House and Senate versions might be resolved and the purposeful obfuscation of morality-challenged legislators who have plenty to hide.

But that outline tells us of extraordinary costs and an approach that could well represent a tipping point in this country's economic decline while it reduces freedoms, rations coldly, does nothing to improve health care and could worsen it over time. What is more, the march toward disaster has taken on the aspect of inevitability.

The rest is must reading at the link.

Steve Lee: "I Like Guns"

Ye Haw!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Decline in Christmas Card Traffic Mirrors Unemployment Rate

How do you write the annual Christmas letter, anyway, when you have to write the following: "Gee, we've been out of work for a year now, we're six months behind on the mortgage, they're coming to get the car on Monday, and we're getting heating assistance and food stamps. But other than that, Merry Christmas to you and a Happy New Year!"?

Considering that the U-6 measure of unemployment is around 17%, a similar percentage drop off in Christmas card traffic just about fits.

“A lot of my friends aren’t sending real cards this year,’’ Willingham said. “I suspect every year it will decline, just like the rest of Western civilization.’’

Go here for more on the story from

Slavery in 2009: A Damning Indictment of Human Decadence

There are hundreds of thousands of slaves in the city-state of Dubai, a playground for ex-pats:

Sonapur is a rubble-strewn patchwork of miles and miles of identical concrete buildings. Some 300,000 men live piled up here, in a place whose name in Hindi means "City of Gold". In the first camp I stop at – riven with the smell of sewage and sweat – the men huddle around, eager to tell someone, anyone, what is happening to them.

For the rest of the story, go here.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Let Me Be Clear: I'm Projecting Again

Some nebulous "other" is treating our money like Monopoly money, but certainly not the Democrats, and certainly not Obama. Yeah, right.

This week brought a more troubling incident. Harry Reid's Senate had just secured its 60th vote for Mr. Obama's health-care reform. Whatever one's view, its trillion-dollar-plus cost is an agreed given. Days earlier the public saw Congress vote to raise the debt ceiling by almost $290 billion to make room for the needs of the $800 billion stimulus bill, the unprecedented $3.5 trillion budget, and the House's approval Dec. 16 of a new $154 billion jobs bill. Amid this President Obama said Monday: "We can't continue to spend . . . as if the hard-earned tax dollars of the American people can be treated like Monopoly money."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sham Economy, Part Three

In late October the government reported that third quarter GDP came in at 3.5%, about half of which was attributed widely to stimulus schemes like the first time home buyer credit and the cash for clunkers program.

Then the first revision brought the "growth" down to 2.8%. Today the Associated Press is reporting that the final revision brings third quarter growth down to 2.2%, which means that the economy, minus the hundreds of $billions in other stimulus spending, may actually have contracted in the third quarter, meaning "the recession" hadn't ended yet:

The economy grew at a 2.2 percent pace in the third quarter, as the recovery got off to a weaker start than previously thought. ...

The Commerce Department's new reading on gross domestic product for the July-to-September quarter was slower than the 2.8 percent growth rate estimated just a month ago. Economists were predicting that figure wouldn't be revised in the government's final estimate on third-quarter GDP.

You mean the same economists who warned us so long in advance of last year's financial tsunami?

The stuff they ladle out in this soup line we're standing in comes out of a crock of you know what.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Up Yours, America

The Wall Street Journal offers a penetrating critique of ObamaCare, as the Senate prepares to vote.

Or as the Democrat Senator from Rhode Island would put it: Just another bunch of white male supremacist Aryan skinhead birther pistol fanatics going off the deep end:

Mr. Obama promised a new era of transparent good government, yet on Saturday morning Mr. Reid threw out the 2,100-page bill that the world's greatest deliberative body spent just 17 days debating and replaced it with a new "manager's amendment" that was stapled together in covert partisan negotiations. Democrats are barely even bothering to pretend to care what's in it, not that any Senator had the chance to digest it in the 38 hours before the first cloture vote at 1 a.m. this morning. After procedural motions that allow for no amendments, the final vote could come at 9 p.m. on December 24.

Even in World War I there was a Christmas truce.

To read the whole sorry tale, go here.

Marxist Professors Outnumber Conservatives Three to One

And the big joke's on you: your kid goes deep into debt to pay the salaries of the proponents of the god that failed.

Kevin Hassett in "Marxist Professors Are Gift to Climate Skeptics" here for Bloomberg explains the politics of climate science:  

A 2007 survey of more than 1,400 professors by sociologists Neil Gross of Harvard University and Solon Simmons of George Mason University is as damning an indictment of an organization as you are ever likely to see.

The authors compiled the political affiliation and beliefs of the professors, who were asked to identify themselves along a spectrum from very liberal to very conservative. Across all fields, 44 percent identified themselves as liberal or very liberal, while 9.2 percent identified themselves as conservative or very conservative.

Strikingly, the data were even more tilted in the physical and biological sciences. There, 45.2 percent of professors identified themselves as liberal, while only 8 percent said they were conservative.

The authors dug deeper than many previous studies and established some startling findings.

In the social sciences, 24 percent of professors identified themselves as liberal “radicals” and 18 percent as Marxists. Only 4.9 percent of social scientists identified themselves as “conservative.”

So there are almost five times as many self-identified liberal radicals on our faculties, and more than three times as many Marxists as there are conservatives. Last I checked, Marxism has been utterly discredited. Yet there are still Marxists everywhere, poisoning the minds of our children. Conservatives, on the other hand, are a rarity.

While there isn’t enough data to address the question, it is safe to assume that no other profession is so tilted. In a society about evenly split between liberals and conservatives, achieving such a bias requires serious effort. It doesn’t happen by accident.

If you want to run conservatives out, you need to discourage dissertations that might reach conservative conclusions. You need to shun young students if their work questions liberal orthodoxy. You need to control the academic journals, rejecting papers submitted by identifiable conservatives.

You need to celebrate work that supports the political bias of Democrats. If your research shows that higher minimum wages are terrific, an endowed chair is yours for the taking. Question whether a higher minimum wage might cause higher unemployment, and find your place on the bread line.

For years, I have watched the economic community act this way. The hacked East Anglia e-mails confirm that exactly this type of conspiracy is in place. They show climate experts plotting how to keep the lid on research that didn’t support the prevailing view on global warming. In one e-mail, Michael Mann of Penn State University proposed boycotting an academic journal because it had published an article that provided evidence contrary to global warming canon.

There's more at the link.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

"We Have Nothing to Fear from a President Obama"

Dear Senator McCain,

Buck up or shut up.

As reported in Politico:

McCain: GOP can't stop health care

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) concedes that Republican senators won’t be able to stop Democratic health care reform legislation from passing the Senate before Christmas.

“We will fight until the last vote,” McCain told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace. “We owe that to our constituents, because we must do everything – we must look back and say we did everything to prevent this terrible mistake from taking place.”

Democrats recently reached a deal with hold out members of their own caucus to cobble together the 60 votes necessary to pass the bill - and McCain, in response to a Wallace question, said there’s “probably not” anything the GOP can do to block the bill. “But what we can do is continue winning the battle of American public opinion.”

Well, whoopdeedoo, Mr. Screw the Pooch. In case you weren't paying attention, AGAIN, the battle of American public opinion is over. The battle is in the Senate, dumbass.

Health Care Reform by Legal Insurrection, Literally

By William A. Jacobson:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

This Is Why I Named This Blog "Legal Insurrection"

I was in the car most of the day, so I haven't had a chance to post on the Ben Nelson sellout. So here are some initial thoughts:

Yes, it is that bad. The Democrats are about to put in place the legislative, regulatory and bureaucratic infrastructure for a complete government takeover of health care. Just read the comments from the supporters and you will see a common theme -- this is just the beginning. They know it, we know it, and Ben Nelson knows it but doesn't care because he scored some pork for his home state, just like Mary Landrieu

This is the worst of Washington. Payoffs, lies, deceit, and deception. Oddly enough, I've come to have more respect for the left-wing advocates of single-payer than the so-called moderates who will sell their principles for money. At least the left-wing has principles, even if I disagree with those principles. The moderates like Nelson and Landrieu have no principles, at least none that cannot be sold.

Where is Evan Bayh? His silence has been deafening.

How amazing is the number of circumstances which caused this perfect storm, without any one of which we wouldn't be on Obama's precipice: Massachusetts changes its rules for a second time to allow appointment of a Democrat in Kennedy's place rather than having to wait for the special election; Al Franken outmaneuvers and out-litigates Norm Coleman to steal the Minnesota race; Rahm Emanuel recruits "blue dog" Democratic wolves in sheep's clothing and people fall for it; the media covers up the Obama agenda during the campaign, portraying Obama falsely as a moderate; [added] George Allen says "Macaca," and so on.

Democrats do not care about the 2010 election cycle, or 2012. Obama has said it. He'd rather get his restructuring of society in place and be a one-term president, than be a two-term president and not succeed in perfecting our imperfections.

There is a slight, slight chance this legislation can be stopped in the House, so don't give up until the last vote is taken.

This perfect storm likely never will be repeated. But it only takes one storm to wreak havoc and cause damage which will take years or decades to undo, if it can be undone.

The only ray of hope is that most of the provisions will not kick in until well after November 2010. I've said it before, this is the political fight of our lives for the future of the country.

Rescinding Obamacare needs to be the organizing theme of the 2010 election. And throwing out the bums who voted for it.

Now I remember why, as I saw the Obama wave rising last fall, I named this blog Legal Insurrection. That's what's needed, now more than ever.

Update: A couple of commenters correctly have pointed out that I should have included Ted Steven's defeat as another element in the perfect storm. Remember that Steven's conviction later was dismissed due to prosecutorial misconduct, but the Democrat who won the election remains in office, as I posted previously, Ted Stevens Conviction Reversed, But What About The Election? I noted the implications in that post: "Without the Begich vote, Obama would have a much more difficult time passing his agenda."

And, now we know why Evan Bayh was relatively silent in public. Behind the scenes, Bayh was a moving force in closed meetings to put the plan together:

Lawmakers who attended a private meeting between Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats at the White House on Tuesday pointed to remarks there by Senator Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana, as providing some new inspiration.

Mr. Bayh said that the health care measure was the kind of public policy he had come to Washington to work on, according to officials who attended the session, and that he did not want to see the satisfied looks on the faces of Republican leaders if they succeeded in blocking the measure.

A Baby Boomer Mistakes Declines For Advances, and is Suddenly Afraid for his Country

"The greatest danger comes from within," you write, as if it's some new insight. It is a warning heard for years now from the likes of Michael Savage, and others. Where have you been, Goodwin?

Obama was speaking out of both sides of his mouth during the entire primary season, long before he became the nominee. Think what you will of Fox News Channel. They reported on it dutifully, daily, but you were writing what, exactly?

The poverty was in your own soul already, so poor were you that you couldn't even pay attention. The story of your generation, of my generation.

Michael Goodwin in "Dreading our future" posted here has various epiphanies:

I am afraid -- actually, certain -- we are losing the heart and soul that made America unique in human history. Yes, we have enemies, but the greatest danger comes from within.

Watching the freak show in Copenhagen last week, I was alternately furious and filled with dread. The world has gone absolutely bonkers and lunatics are in charge. ...

Even more frightening, our own leaders joined the circus. ...

President Obama, for whom I voted because I believed he was the best choice available, is a profound disappointment. I now regard his campaign as a sly bait-and-switch operation, promising one thing and delivering another. Shame on me.

Equally surprising, he has become an insufferable bore. ... 

His assertion we will go bankrupt unless Congress immediately adopts the health monstrosity marks a new low. ...

In fact, it is a myth the fight is over health care at all. It is a vulgar power dispute between liberals and extreme liberals, with health care a convenient portal for command-and-control of 17 percent of the economy.

It's definitely not reform. ...

Meanwhile, Mother Nature delivered her verdict with yesterday's blizzard in Washington. I am cheered by the thought that finally, hell has frozen over.

Follow the link for the complete story.

Aristotle, On Tyranny

Now a tyranny is a monarchy where the good of one man only is the object of government, an oligarchy considers only the rich, and a democracy only the poor; but neither of them have a common good in view.

Tyranny, the worst excess imaginable, [is] a government the most contrary possible to a free state.

Tyranny arises from a headstrong democracy or an oligarchy, but very seldom when the members of the community are nearly on an equality with each other. When there is a want of a proper number of men of middling fortune, the poor extend their power too far, abuses arise, and the government is soon at an end.

A tyrant is chosen out of the meanest populace; an enemy to the better sort, that the common people may not be oppressed by them.

In former times, when the same person was both demagogue and general, the democracies were changed into tyrannies; and indeed most of the ancient tyrannies arose from those states: a reason for which then subsisted, but not now; for at that time the demagogues were of the soldiery; for they were not then powerful by their eloquence; but, now the art of oratory is cultivated, the able speakers are at present the demagogues; but, as they are unqualified to act in a military capacity, they cannot impose themselves on the people as tyrants, if we except in one or two trifling instances.

Formerly, too, tyrannies were more common than now, on account of the very extensive powers with which some magistrates were entrusted: for they were supreme in many things of the last consequence; and also because at that time the cities were not of that very great extent, the people in general living in the country, and being employed in husbandry, which gave them, who took the lead in public affairs, an opportunity, if they had a turn for war, to make themselves tyrants; which they all did when they had gained the confidence of the people; and this confidence was their hatred to the rich.

A government shall also alter from its ancient and approved democratic form into one entirely new, if there is no census to regulate the election of magistrates; for, as the election is with the people, the demagogues who are desirous of being in office, to flatter them, will endeavour with all their power to make the people superior even to the laws.

To prevent this entirely, or at least in a great measure, the magistrates should be elected by the tribes, and not by the people at large.

A tyrant, as has been often said, has no regard to the common good, except for his own advantage; his only object is pleasure, but a king's is virtue: what a tyrant therefore is ambitious of engrossing is wealth, but a king rather honour.

The guards too of a king are citizens, a tyrant's foreigners.

That a tyranny contains all that is bad both in a democracy and an oligarchy is evident; with an oligarchy it has for its end gain, as the only means of providing the tyrant with guards and the luxuries of life; like that it places no confidence in the people; and therefore deprives them of the use of arms: it is also common to them both to persecute the populace, to drive them out of the city and their own habitations.

With a democracy it quarrels with the nobles, and destroys them both publicly and privately, or drives them into banishment, as rivals and an impediment to the government; hence naturally arise conspiracies both amongst those who desire to govern and those who desire not to be slaves.

The extreme of a democracy is a tyranny.

If any one assumes the government, either by force or fraud, this is a tyranny. A king exists but while the people are willing to obey, as their submission to him is voluntary, but to a tyrant involuntary.

What has been already mentioned is as conducive as anything can be to preserve a tyranny; namely, to keep down those who are of an aspiring disposition, to take off those who will not submit, to allow no public meals, no clubs, no education, nothing at all, but to guard against everything that gives rise to high spirits or mutual confidence; nor to suffer the learned meetings of those who are at leisure to hold conversation with each other; and to endeavour by every means possible to keep all the people strangers to each other; for knowledge increases mutual confidence; and to oblige all strangers to appear in public, and to live near the city-gate, that all their actions may be sufficiently seen; for those who are kept like slaves seldom entertain any noble thoughts: in short, to imitate everything which the Persians and barbarians do, for they all contribute to support slavery; and to endeavour to know what every one who is under their power does and says; and for this purpose to employ spies: Hiero also used to send out listeners wherever there was any meeting or conversation; for the people dare not speak with freedom for fear of such persons; and if any one does, there is the less chance of its being concealed; and to endeavour that the whole community should mutually accuse and come to blows with each other, friend with friend, the commons with the nobles, and the rich with each other.

It is also advantageous for a tyranny that all those who are under it should be oppressed with poverty, that they may not be able to compose a guard; and that, being employed in procuring their daily bread, they may have no leisure to conspire against their tyrants. The Pyramids of Egypt are a proof of this, and the votive edifices of the Cyposelidse, and the temple of Jupiter Olympus, built by the Pisistratidae, and the works of Polycrates at Samos; for all these produced one end, the keeping the people poor.

It is necessary also to multiply taxes, as at Syracuse; where Dionysius in the space of five years collected all the private property of his subjects into his own coffers.

A tyrant also should endeavour to engage his subjects in a war, that they may have employment and continually depend upon their general.

A king is preserved by his friends, but a tyrant is of all persons the man who can place no confidence in friends, as every one has it in his desire and these chiefly in their power to destroy him.

All these things also which are done in an extreme democracy should be done in a tyranny, as permitting great licentiousness to the women in the house, that they may reveal their husbands' secrets; and showing great indulgence to slaves also for the same reason; for slaves and women conspire not against tyrants: but when they are treated with kindness, both of them are abettors of tyrants, and extreme democracies also; and the people too in such a state desire to be despotic.

For which reason flatterers are in repute in both these: the demagogue in the democracy, for he is the proper flatterer of the people; among tyrants, he who will servilely adapt himself to their humours; for this is the business of flatterers.

And for this reason tyrants always love the worst of wretches, for they rejoice in being flattered, which no man of a liberal spirit will submit to; for they love the virtuous, but flatter none.

Bad men too are fit for bad purposes; "like to like," as the proverb says.

A tyrant also should show no favour to a man of worth or a freeman; for he should think, that no one deserved to be thought these but himself; for he who supports his dignity, and is a friend to freedom, encroaches upon the superiority and the despotism of the tyrant: such men, therefore, they naturally hate, as destructive to their government.

A tyrant also should rather admit strangers to his table and familiarity than citizens, as these are his enemies, but the others have no design against him.

These and such-like are the supports of a tyranny, for it comprehends whatsoever is wicked.

But all these things may be comprehended in three divisions, for there are three objects which a tyranny has in view; one of which is, that the citizens should be of poor abject dispositions; for such men never propose to conspire against any one.

The second is, that they should have no confidence in each other; for while they have not this, the tyrant is safe enough from destruction. For which reason they are always at enmity with those of merit, as hurtful to their government; not only as they scorn to be governed despotically, but also because they can rely upon each other's fidelity, and others can rely upon theirs, and because they will not inform against their associates, nor any one else.

The third is, that they shall be totally without the means of doing anything; for no one undertakes what is impossible for him to perform: so that without power a tyranny can never be destroyed.

These, then, are the three objects which the inclinations of tyrants desire to see accomplished; for all their tyrannical plans tend to promote one of these three ends, that their people may neither have mutual confidence, power, nor spirit.

This, then, is one of the two methods of preserving tyrannies: the other proceeds in a way quite contrary to what has been already described, and which may be discerned from considering to what the destruction of a kingdom is owing; for as one cause of that is, making the government approach near to a tyranny, so the safety of a tyranny consists in making the government nearly kingly; preserving only one thing, namely power, that not only the willing, but the unwilling also, must be obliged to submit; for if this is once lost, the tyranny is at an end.

This, then, as the foundation, must be preserved: in other particulars carefully do and affect to seem like a king; first, appear to pay a great attention to what belongs to the public; nor make such profuse presents as will offend the people; while they are to supply the money out of the hard labour of their own hands, and see it given in profusion to mistresses, foreigners, and fiddlers; keeping an exact account both of what you receive and pay; which is a practice some tyrants do actually follow, by which means they seem rather fathers of families than tyrants: nor need you ever fear the want of money while you have the supreme power of the state in your own hands.

It is also much better for those tyrants who quit their kingdom to do this than to leave behind them money they have hoarded up; for their regents will be much less desirous of making innovations, and they are more to be dreaded by absent tyrants than the citizens; for such of them as he suspects he takes with him, but these regents must be left behind.

He should also endeavour to appear to collect such taxes and require such services as the exigencies of the state demand, that whenever they are wanted they may be ready in time of war; and particularly to take care that he appear to collect and keep them not as his own property, but the public's.

His appearance also should not be severe, but respectable, so that he should inspire those who approach him with veneration and not fear; but this will not be easily accomplished if he is despised.

If, therefore, he will not take the pains to acquire any other, he ought to endeavour to be a man of political abilities, and to fix that opinion of himself in the judgment of his subjects.

He should also take care not to appear to be guilty of the least offence against modesty, nor to suffer it in those under him: nor to permit the women of his family to treat others haughtily; for the haughtiness of women has been the ruin of many tyrants.

With respect to the pleasures of sense, he ought to do directly contrary to the practice of some tyrants at present; for they do not only continually indulge themselves in them for many days together, but they seem also to desire to have other witnesses of it, that they may wonder at their happiness; whereas he ought really to be moderate in these, and, if not, to appear to others to avoid them-for it is not the sober man who is exposed either to plots or contempt, but the drunkard; not the early riser, but the sluggard.

His conduct in general should also be contrary to what is reported of former tyrants; for he ought to improve and adorn his city, so as to seem a guardian and not a tyrant; and, moreover., always to seem particularly attentive to the worship of the gods; for from persons of such a character men entertain less fears of suffering anything illegal while they suppose that he who governs them is religious and reverences the gods; and they will be less inclined to raise insinuations against such a one, as being peculiarly under their protection: but this must be so done as to give no occasion for any suspicion of hypocrisy.

He should also take care to show such respect to men of merit in every particular, that they should not think they could be treated with greater distinction by their fellow-citizens in a free state.

He should also let all honours flow immediately from himself, but every censure from his subordinate officers and judges.

It is also a common protection of all monarchies not to make one person too great, or, certainly, not many; for they will support each other: but, if it is necessary to entrust any large powers to one person, to take care that it is not one of an ardent spirit; for this disposition is upon every opportunity most ready for a revolution: and, if it should seem necessary to deprive any one of his power, to do it by degrees, and not reduce him all at once.

It is also necessary to abstain from all kinds of insolence; more particularly from corporal punishment; which you must be most cautious never to exercise over those who have a delicate sense of honour; for, as those who love money are touched to the quick when anything affects their property, so are men of honour and principle when they receive any disgrace: therefore, either never employ personal punishment, or, if you do, let it be only in the manner in which a father would correct his son, and not with contempt; and, upon the whole, make amends for any seeming disgrace by bestowing greater honours.

But of all persons who are most likely to entertain designs against the person of a tyrant, those are chiefly to be feared and guarded against who regard as nothing the loss of their own lives, so that they can but accomplish their purpose: be very careful therefore of those who either think themselves affronted, or those who are dear to them; for those who are excited by anger to revenge regard as nothing their own persons: for, as Heraclitus says, it is dangerous to fight with an angry man who will purchase with his life the thing he aims at.

As all cities are composed of two sorts of persons, the rich and the poor, it is necessary that both these should find equal protection from him who governs them, and that the one party should not have it in their power to injure the other; but that the tyrant should attach to himself that party which is the most powerful; which, if he does, he will have no occasion either to make his slaves free, or to deprive citizens of their arms; for the strength of either of the parties added to his own forces will render him superior to any conspiracy.

It would be superfluous to go through all particulars; for the rule of conduct which the tyrant ought to pursue is evident enough, and that is, to affect to appear not the tyrant, but the king; the guardian of those he governs, not their plunderer, but their protector, and to affect the middle rank in life, not one superior to all others: he should, therefore, associate his nobles with him and soothe his people; for his government will not only be necessarily more honourable and worthy of imitation, as it will be over men of worth, and not abject wretches who perpetually both hate and fear him; but it will be also more durable.

Let him also frame his life so that his manners may be consentaneous to virtue, or at least let half of them be so, that he may not be altogether wicked, but only so in part.

-- from The Politics --

Saturday, December 19, 2009

FDIC In The Red . . . 140 Failed Banks Year to Date . . . $30 Billion Down, $100 Billion To Go

The Associated Press is reporting:

The 140 bank failures are the most in a year since 1992 at the height of the savings-and-loan crisis. They have cost the government-backed deposit insurance fund - which has fallen into the red - more than $30 billion so far this year. The failures compare with 25 last year and three in 2007.

The FDIC expects the cost of bank failures to grow to about $100 billion over the next four years. ...

If the economic recovery falters, defaults on the high-risk loans could spike. Nearly $500 billion in commercial real estate loans are expected to come due annually over the next few years.

Go here for the rest of the story.

Jewish Atheist Knows a Tyrant When He Sees One

From John W. Whitehead's December 11, 2009 interview with Nat Hentoff "America Under Barack Obama":

Nat Hentoff has had a life well spent, one chock full of controversy fueled by his passion for the protection of civil liberties and human rights. Hentoff is known as a civil libertarian, free speech activist, anti-death penalty advocate, pro-lifer and not uncommon critic of the ideological left.

At 84, Nat Hentoff is an American classic who has never shied away from an issue. For example, he defended a woman rejected from law school because she was Caucasian; called into a talk show hosted by Oliver North to agree with him on liberal intolerance for free speech; was a friend to the late Malcolm X; and wrote the liner notes for Bob Dylan's second album.

A self-described uncategorizable libertarian, Hentoff adds he is also a “Jewish atheist, civil libertarian, pro-lifer.” Accordingly, he has angered nearly every political faction and remains one of a few who has stuck to his principles through his many years of work, regardless of the trouble it stirred up. For instance, when he announced his opposition to abortion he alienated numerous colleagues, and his outspoken denunciation of President Bill Clinton only increased his isolation in liberal circles (He said that Clinton had "done more harm to the Constitution than any president in American history," and called him "a serial violator of our liberties.").

Born in Boston on June 10, 1925, Hentoff received a B.A. with honors from Northeastern University and did graduate work at Harvard. From 1953 to 1957, he was associate editor of Down Beat magazine. He has written many books on jazz, biographies and novels, including children's books. His articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Commonwealth, the New Republic, the Atlantic and the New Yorker, where he was a staff writer for more than 25 years. In 1980, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Education and an American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award for his coverage of the law and criminal justice in his columns. In 1985, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by Northeastern University. For 50 years, Hentoff wrote a weekly column for the Village Voice. But that publication announced that he had been terminated on December 31, 2008. In February 2009, Hentoff joined the Cato Institute as a Senior Fellow.

Hentoff's views on the rights of Americans to write, think and speak freely are expressed in his columns. He is also an authority on First Amendment defense, the Bill of Rights, the Supreme Court, students' rights and education. Friends and critics alike describe him as the kind of writer, and citizen, that all should aspire to be—"less interested in 'exclusives' than in 'making a difference.'" Critiquing Hentoff's autobiography, Speaking Freely, Nicholas von Hoffman refers to him as "a trusting man, a gentle man, just and undeviatingly consistent."

Hentoff took to heart the words from his mentor, I. F. "Izzy" Stone, the renowned investigative journalist who died in 1989: "If you're in this business because you want to change the world, get another day job. If you are able to make a difference, it will come incrementally, and you might not even know about it. You have to get the story and keep on it because it has to be told."

Nat Hentoff has earned the well-deserved reputation of being one of our nation's most respected, controversial and uncompromising writers. He began his career at the Village Voice because he wanted a place to write freely on anything he cared about. And his departure from the publication has neither dampened his zeal nor tempered his voice.

Hentoff, whose new book, At the Jazz Band Ball—Sixty Years on the Jazz Scene (University of California Press), is due out in 2010, took some time to speak with me about Barack Obama, the danger of his health care plan, the peril of civil liberties, and a host of other issues.

Nat Hentoff: I try to avoid hyperbole, but I think Obama is possibly the most dangerous and destructive president we have ever had. An example is ObamaCare, which is now embattled in the Senate. If that goes through the way Obama wants, we will have something very much like the British system. If the American people have their health care paid for by the government, depending on their age and their condition, they will be subject to a health commission just like in England which will decide if their lives are worth living much longer.

In terms of the Patriot Act, and all the other things he has pledged he would do, such as transparency in government, Obama has reneged on his promises. He pledged to end torture, but he has continued the CIA renditions where you kidnap people and send them to another country to be interrogated. Why is Obama doing that if he doesn't want torture anymore? Throughout Obama's career, he promised to limit the state secrets doctrine which the Bush-Cheney administration had abused enormously. The Bush administration would go into court on any kind of a case that they thought might embarrass them and would argue that it was a state secret and the case should not be continued. Obama is doing the same thing, even though he promised not to.

So in answer to your question, I am beginning to think that this guy is a phony. Obama seems to have no firm principles that I can discern that he will adhere to. His only principle is his own aggrandizement. This is a very dangerous mindset for a president to have.

JW: Do you consider Obama to be worse than George W. Bush?

NH: Oh, much worse. Bush essentially came in with very little qualifications for presidency, not only in terms of his background but he lacked a certain amount of curiosity, and he depended entirely too much on people like Rumsfeld, Cheney and others. Bush was led astray and we were led astray. However, I never thought that Bush himself was, in any sense, "evil." I am hesitant to say this about Obama. Obama is a bad man in terms of the Constitution. The irony is that Obama was a law professor at the University of Chicago. He would, most of all, know that what he is doing weakens the Constitution.

In fact, we have never had more invasions of privacy than we have now. The Fourth Amendment is on life support and the chief agent of that is the National Security Agency. The NSA has the capacity to keep track of everything we do on the phone and on the internet. Obama has done nothing about that. In fact, he has perpetuated it. He has absolutely no judicial supervision of all of this. So all in all, Obama is a disaster. ...

JW: One of the highest unemployment rates in the country is among African-Americans.

NH: Not only that, the general unemployment rate is going to continue for a long time and for all of us. I have never heard so many heart-wrenching stories of all kinds of people all across the economic spectrum. As usual, the people who are poorest—the blacks, Hispanics and disabled people—are going to suffer more than anyone else under the Obama administration. This is a dishonest administration, because it is becoming clear that the unemployment statistics of the Obama administration are not believable. I can't think of a single area where Obama is not destructive.

JW: A lot of people we represent and I talk to feel that their government does not hear them, that their representatives do not listen to them anymore. As a result, you have these Tea Party protests which the Left has criticized. What do you think of the Tea Party protests?

NH: I spent a lot of time studying our Founders and people like Samuel Adams and the original Tea Party. What Adams and the Sons of Liberty did in Boston was spread the word about the abuses of the British. They had Committees of Correspondence that got the word out to the colonies. We need Committees of Correspondence now, and we are getting them. That is what is happening with the Tea Parties. I wrote a column called "The Second American Revolution" about the fact that people are acting for themselves as it happened with the Sons of Liberty which spread throughout the colonies. That was a very important awakening in this country. A lot of people in the adult population have a very limited idea as to why they are Americans, why we have a First Amendment or a Bill of Rights. ...

JW: You lived through the McCarthy era in the 1950s. Is it worse now than it was then?

NH: McCarthy's regime was ended by Senators who realized that he had gone too far. What we have now may be more insidious. What we have now in America is a surveillance society. We have no idea how much the government knows and how much the CIA even knows about average citizens. The government is not supposed to be doing this in this country. They listen in on our phone calls. I am not exaggerating because I have studied this a long time. You have to be careful about what you do, about what you say, and that is more dangerous than what was happening with McCarthy, but the technology the government now possesses is so much more insidious.

There is much more here. MUST reading.