Tag Archives: Regulation

Nuclear Revolution

Revolutions are breaks from the norm; like a hand grenade in a room, their results are unpredictable. The ordinary coup in a third world nation is not a revolution, but rather the norm in power transfers. In a coup, the base rules of thuggary are unchanged, whereas a revolution requires a rewrite of the rules, usually with unintended results. This week, the US Senate opened the door to revolution by suspending decades of tradition regarding Presidential Advise and Consent. While the immediate results are clear – left-wing courts and agencies – nobody who voted to abolish Cloture likely understands the full possibilities.

After blocking Pres. Bush’s judicial and executive nominees for most of his second term, Democrats found turnabout unpalatable. After all, while the GOP does not see regulators as particularly useful, Dems and especially Obama see them as essential. Washington’s bureaucrat army invents new laws to stymie capitalism and industry in ways Congress never could. Coronating radical leftists like the EPA’s Lisa Jackson and the NLRB’s Richard Cordray is as critical to the Dem agenda as any Congressional seat.

Perhaps this asymmetric value in Senate confirmations is why the GOP never lifted the 60 vote cloture rule and were shocked when the Dems did. In any event, at least for the next several months the flood gates of leftist Presidential appointments are open. Pres. Obama will start by stacking the DC Circuit with anti-capitalist ideologues, followed by seeding the lower courts with the next generation of progressives.

Maybe the Dems think they can transform and perfect the US quickly and permanently, but eventually they will not be in power. When that day comes, the GOP will have free reign to dismantle the Dem’s power base of welfare, unions, and phony Hollywood environmentalists.

The best a modern GOP president has ever done is slow the pace of the US’s transformation from a constitutional republic to a socialist democracy. The US is on a sort of ratchet wherein every new program, even if unpopular or unworkable, can never be repealed. Few regulations are abandoned either, so the nation’s direction is only left, either fast or slow.

On reason the nation almost never turns toward individualism and free markets is the populace’s dependence and acceptance of free money – boiling the frog slowly. Another is the Senate’s former safeguard against rash action. Only once in a generation, as with FDR’s Social Security, JBL’s Medicare, and Obama’s socialized medicine, do the leftist stars align for great change. Once passed, enough time lapses before a GOP ascendance so that the free money becomes baked into families’ budgets and thereby sacred.

No more. Sen. Reid has torpedoed the cloture rule that impedes leftist progress, but opens the door for the GOP to eliminate the remaining rule that ratchets the nation ever further left – cloture on legislation. The GOP would be fools not to repeal the 60 vote cloture rule for new laws. Once gone, any manner of leftist milestones would become fair game.

The Davis Bacon act, which essentially funnels government contract money into unions and Dem coffers – gone. The NLRB, which has become a union organizing body – gone. Obamacare, which promises to empower tens of thousands of busybodies over individuals’ lives – gone. The Clear Air act, which allows the EPA to regulate carbon – gone or severely modified. Every one of Obama’s laws – gone. All of this is possible with a simple majority in the Senate. The Democrats have won the battle of turning the US into a European-style socialist democracy, but Reid’s latest maneuver has opened their biggest flank ever. It is as if he thinks he is playing the end game without concern for a reversal in the war for the soul of the US.

Lovers of liberty and observers of Washington rightly worried over Reid’s massive, generational power grab. However, his greed is sauce for his goose, and with Obamacare’s ever developing failure, it may not be too long before decades of progressivism are on the chopping block. True, the same approach might enable Dems to pass more of their agenda, but they have already won; the only direction remaining is back to center. Reid and his cronies have engineered a revolution that is likely to escape their control.

The Comic and Con of Central Planning

Last weekend, Denver hosted a Comic Con convention – a gathering of fantasy enthusiasts and an excuse to wear Halloween costumes in the summer (also Captain Kirk was there). 48,000 people attended the convention, and 6,000 had to be turned away because the Colorado Convention Center could not hold them. The convention may have been the most successful two day event in CCC history. Still, the success has nothing to do with the CCC and is actually an indictment of Denver’s culture of central planning.

Built in 2005, the CCC promised to bring major league conventions to Denver. The old convention center, planners argued, was the reason few wanted to convene in Denver. Along with a new 1% lodging tax to promote Denver, the new CCC would solve all the problems. Of course it did not. The CCC continued to host mediocre gatherings at about the same rate as its predecessor. Denver built its own hotel across the street from the CCC, complete with unionized staff, but nothing worked. The only moderate success was the CCC’s theater, which booked shows by competing with privately owned downtown theaters.

The fact is that Denver is a fine place to live, but it is largely uninspiring to visit. Downtown Denver is full of thugs and bums that scare off visitors. The cultural and entertainment offerings are OK, but no match for convention powerhouses like San Francisco, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and New York. Tourists only visit Denver on their way to the mountains.

Despite Denver’s obvious lack of appeal as a convention destination, CCC’s administrators continued to hammer corporate bookings. Try as CCC might, the few annual convention hits revolved around beer and marijuana. Comic Con further cemented the reality that local grass-roots conventions are CCC’s best bet. Comic Con attracted visitors from nearby cities, not distant lands. The focus was on small exhibitors, not Fortune 500 powerhouses. No CCC planner knew Comic Con’s potential, so Comic Con’s success and needs are completely uncorrelated to Denver’s central plan for convention success.

The broader point is central planning never works. If something might work on its own, a million minds consider how to profit from its success. If something is unlikely to work on its own (e.g. a Denver convention center), a few politically connected operatives find a way to profit through government handouts.

Why was the airplane invented in Dayton, OH? Why was the light bulb invented in Menlo Park, NJ? Why are so many high-tech innovations from former fruit-orchards in Santa Clara, CA? Those questions can only be answered looking backward. Nobody knew when or where these advances would happen, but they seem natural and obvious looking back. Therein lies the fallacy of central planning, it tries to replicate the obvious past successes without admitting nobody knows what or where the next success will be.

Russia, once a slave to central planning, is giving this flawed thinking one more shot. It will build a new Tech City in Skolkovo to promote innovation. The problem is, innovation happens on its own and never responds well to controls. Central planners like V.P. Gore love to point to DARPA’s involvement in the invention of the internet, but that innovation languished for over 25 years before independent innovators created a revolution. Government programs and contracts are usually a drawn-out solution to yesterday’s problems.

Denver’s central planners could never find a use for their convention center until some decidedly a-corporate brewers, pot-growers, and comic book fans showed the way. The next time a central planner says further “investment” is required to build a better society, remember that unplanned advances are really the norm.

Democrats Hate Gun Owners. Now What?

Last Wednesday, Colorado Governor John “Hick” Hickenlooper signed a partisan Democrat bill that outlawed nearly every pistol and rifle. All Glock pistols, the most popular brand, are now banned. Any magazine that can be “readily modified” to hold more than 15 rounds is now illegal. Perhaps the shop-lifter who sponsored the bill does not know, but almost all magazines are readily modified to hold extra rounds. Since no other state has such a law and Colorado is quite small, manufacturers may not make special 15 round magazines that cannot be modified. Further, existing weapons cannot be transferred, lent, gifted, or inherited. Colorado citizens will now really resemble Old-West denizens because the only sidearm now allowed will resemble John Wayne’s Colt .45 revolver.

V.P. Biden equates anyone who thinks gun-control is pointless and an affront to the values of the Constitution to a “black helicopter” conspiracy theorist. Democrats call gun-rights advocates “gun nuts” and “heartless.” The Old Media is fully engaged in marginalizing the image of gun owners and gun-rights advocates, and all the major TV carriers ban gun advertisements. In short, Democrats and their OM fellow travelers hate guns owners and want to disarm regular, honest people.

The US House will serve as a firewall against national gun-bans this year, and Coloradans who were caught off-guard by a Governor who had recently rejected gun-bans, are organizing politically. The NRA is suing New York for its six round magazine law, so perhaps Colorado is next on their list. The latest Democrat anti-gun-rights Napoleonic charge may well be repelled by common sense and political organization, but the Democrats have made clear that this issue is always a hidden priority. Democrats hate guns and want to disarm responsible citizens. What should be done to contain their totalitarian instincts permanently?

Gun owners are regular people who fully reflect the diversity of the US populace. Hunters, target shooters, homeowners, gun owners are spread across all parts of the US. Guns are also safe; owning a gun is safer than owning a swimming pool. The OM likes to demagogue that people with guns are more likely to commit suicide or be shot themselves. Maybe suicidal people and people who live in dangerous neighborhoods seek out pistols (i.e. Selection bias). In any event gun violence by honest people is rare, and deranged rampages are rarer still. Criminals are both the true source of gun violence and the ones who could not care less about a magazine-size misdemeanor on top of a murder charge.

Self-defense-rights advocates should seek to normalize the public image of gun owners. The left already knows that gun owners are actually pedestrian and mild. That is why far-left activists are attempting to silence gun-owner publications. That is why far-left bureaucrats attempt to raid the homes of fathers who post pictures of their sons exercising good gun safety. The Left’s goal is to maintain the false image of gun owners as irresponsible racists.

Fight back. Post a picture of yourself safely holding a pistol that Hick or Mayor Bloomberg would outlaw. Share your skeet scores on Facebook. Leave an outdoor magazine in your office’s waiting room. Teach a friend who has never held a firearm the rules of safe gun handling, and then take him to the range. Let people know you own a weapon and ask them if they think you are a “nut.” Ask them how many mouth-breathing, drooling “gun-nuts” they actually know. The Democrats waged a long-term battle against gun ownership by building a straw-man gun owner who is racist and paranoid. The battle to secure the right to bear arms will never stop, and the battle’s foundation is exercising The Right responsibly and conspicuously.