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Disenchanted with Dubya on pretty much everything

It has been said that the best political arrangement when it comes to protecting liberty and constraining the size of government is when no party controls all branches of government. Gridlock is liberty-friendly, on this view. Well, the idea that it is bad for a single party to run the entire shebang does seem to be borne out by the skyrocketing spending going on in the United States under George W. Bush. Bruce Bartlett, a Reaganite Republican of long standing, has written a blistering indictment of Bush’s record on spending.

Bush ran back in 2000 (it already seems a long time ago) as a “compassionate conservative”, and only the most gullible must have ignored the fact that this was codespeak for spending lots of other people’s money. I fear very much that we could get the same outcome if David Cameron ever leads the Tories back to power by promising the same menu as his Labour opponent.

I get the impression – and that is all that it is – that some conservative writers are getting a bit fed up with Bush, and I am not just talking about the cack-handed post-invasion phase in Iraq. On a whole list of bedrock issues for conservatives, such as federalism, free markets, respect for liberty and privacy, this administration has fallen way short. It has not even delivered on Social Security reform in any meaningful way, and the tax code is as hideously complex and full of distortions as ever.

42 comments to Disenchanted with Dubya on pretty much everything

  • toolkien

    All a split government does is give the life-long, unelected bureaus more clout. People, for whatever reason, only think that the 537 elected Pols create the havoc we have. But there is much in the execution of the laws and proclamations made. They have to be interpreted and ruled upon, and private rulings given. And a sweep of the pen or a punch of a button only goes so far, and once the photo ops are over, the money has to be bureaucratically collected and bureaucratically allocated.

    It is these mole-men, life timers, who still exist, maybe swept to the side for a period of time depending on the cyclical voting patterns, but many stay on no matter what happens in the gymnasiums around the country ever few years. THEY are the ones whe benefit with gridlock and term limits etc.

    Regardless of how unenthusiastic I am about Statist Brand A and Statist Brand B fighting over $2,700,000,000,000 and AT BEST coming to gridlock. If the elected Statist negate each other, that simply means to me that unelected bureaus effectively decide what happens to the trillions that we dutifully shovel in.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Toolkien, all of what you say may be true but in the context of current U.S. politics, there is something to be said for not having one party run the whole show, or at least not until the Republicans have the honesty to embrace real small-government conservatism rather than carry on like big spending 60s Democrats on crack.

  • “Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work, and then get elected and prove it.”

    PJ O’Rourke

  • jk

    I think ALL conservatives are upset with President Bush.

    When I look at the choices, however, it seems clear that GOP control is the least worst option. I know Samizdats tend to be purists, but a dirty pragmatism seems a better friend to liberty than would a “Speaker Pelosi.”

  • Bush’s problem is that he is a ruthless political pragmatist. He governs by building a consensus long in advance of any public vote on an issue and is willing in most cases to compromise on ideology to do so. His track record in Texas clearly shows this.

    He will give the other side quite a bit in order to get a little of what he wants. He is satisfied with a 60-40 of even 51-49 split. Like Clinton, he steals opponents thunder by co-opting their programs. He never vetoes anything because he gets the split he can live with long before it reaches his desk.

    On prescription drug coverage, he assumed it was a done deal and only sought to privatize some of it. Ditto on energy policy.

    Frankly, I don’t think Bush has any strong beliefs about the role of government in society or the economy. On the other hand, it may just be that he like most Republicans have no confidence that the American people will support small-goverment ideas at the ballot box. They remember the whole “contract with America” era as a political failure. Many Republicans then took a serious stab at reducing governments role and they were vilified for it and lost power.

    Since then, no Republicans have seriously challenged the the idea that government should play the major role in modern society. Instead, they have sold themselves as the more responsible implementers of the big government policies they think the people want.

    Sadly, many like myself find ourselves in sad agreement. If the choice is between Democrats, who have zero reservations about using government power to solve every problem and the Republicans, who at least seem to stop and think about it from time to time, then we have to go with the Republicans.

  • guy herbert

    Quaere: whether Clinton was a more conservative president.

  • Paul Marks

    Taxes went up under Clinton, but government spending went up a lot less (regualtions have also increased greatly on President Bush’s watch). President Bush seems to think if fights on taxes he does not need to fight on anything else – and that is just not true (still even a man who only fights on taxes is better than Mr David Cameron).

    Yes “we” (meaning people like me) were stupid. George Walker Bush told us he was a “compassionate conservative”, he had even attacked the Republican Congress for the half hearted efforts they had made to limit government spending (this was “mean” to the poor).

    And yet I did not see it comming.

    Not just the failure to veto any spening bill – but the doubling of education spending (“No Child Left Behind”) the medicare extention – the whole mad mess.

    Many departments of government have seen their budgets go up faster than Defence has (in spite of the wars).

    By the way let us not have the line about how things could have been managed better in Iraq – in theory perhaps, but not in practice (Iraq is a country full of Muslims and they do not tend to like Westerners – the different factions do not tend to like each much either and never have).

    Of course the place was going to be a mess – that is not D.R.s fault (I am only surprised that it is not worse).

    There have been plenty of wars with radical Muslims (an interesting one was the one in the late 19th century in Sudan – same sort of thing, radicalization of the population [women forced to cover up and stay home etc] terror tactics within the country – and outside it [destruction of towns in Christian Ethiopia and general holy war of expansion in Africa] and so on) – and they have never been easy.

    General Townsend was a experienced commander (although an overconfident one – and one who snapped when things went badly wrong) and his force got taken out in Iraq in W.W.I. (the ones who died quickly were the lucky ones).

    Iraq was also a nightmare in the 1920′s and into the 1930′s (a friend of my family was there) and it was difficult during WW.II.

    In 1958 the Royal Family of Iraq were virually wiped out – and the Parliament was overthrown. The Prime Minister (a long standing Arab nationalist) had his penis cut off and was dragged behind his car through streets filled with cheering crowds whilst he was still alive. Saddam and the Bathists had nothing much to do with all this (their time came later).

    It was the arseholes who said “it is just Saddam and a few others” who are to blame – not the Americans on the ground.

    Nor could the “war on drugs” in the conflict the other side of Iran be better managed. This sort of thing is never much fun and mountain peasants are going to grow poppies as long as there is a demand for the stuff.

    Who knows, the wars may turn out O.K. ish in the end (at least the “nation building” stuff has been discredited).

    But the failure to tackle the Welfare State at home (indeed the expansion of it) has been a terrible thing.

    In many ways George Walker Bush is as bad as his father George Herbert Walker Bush – indeed, in terms of government spending growth (even exculding military spending) George Walker Bush has been the worst President of the United States since Richard Nixon.

    By the way the Nixon years discredit your theory – after all the Democrats controlled Congress then. In taxes, sepnding, regulations (such as price controls but also the explosion of “health and safety” stuff) both Nixon and the Congress were scum.

    Oddly enough I quite like George Walker Bush as a man (but then I quite like what I have heard about both George Herbert Walker Bush and Richard Nixon – they also seem to have been decent kindly people in private life).

    In private life people are often find – but if someone does not come into government with a sound knowledge that “government is not the solution, government is the problem” then they are a terrible threat.

    There is no subsitute for that oft attackd word “ideology” – i.e. principle.

    Someone must have a solid antistatist ideology (be “rigid” and “dogmatic”) if he is to have any chance at all of rolling back the state (however slightly).

    If one demands vast reductions in statism (and is very determined about it) the left may save some of their programs and boast of victory (and one can smile in private).

    But if one comes up with a few half hearted plans to reduce a some programs – then watch goverment grow like a cancer.

  • White House and Congress Trade Away American Security

    The United Arab Emirates ports management deal finally exposes our economic and trade policies for what they are: a government’s pursuit of money (for a select few) over the interests of most Americans.

    The ports management deal is not an isolated mistake. Far worse has happened, but perhaps nothing as nakedly blatant. For example, how does it benefit Americans when:

    Drug companies are allowed to write a new Medicare prescription drug benefit that keeps prices artificially high for seniors by forbidding government-negotiated prices based on volume?
    The American-funded Import/Export Bank subsidizes Chinese nuclear power development? Is it possible we are not sending enough money to Communist China?
    Congress has repeatedly neglected our national and economic security:

    The majority of our oil comes from abroad, much of that from countries with unstable, unfriendly populations
    The majority of our computer equipment is manufactured overseas
    The majority of our food in imported from foreign countries
    Over two-thirds of the products sold in major retailers is imported from countries like Communist China and Mexico
    Our soaring budget deficit leaves deeply indebted to foreign countries like Communist China, to whom we owe $1 trillion
    Illegal immigration is accepted—and legal immigration is abused—to secure cheap labor (exposing us to unknown security risks)
    Congress sees the results of these unhealthy dependencies (declining American wages, record trade and budget deficits, national security vulnerabilities) and just pours fuel on the fire. It passed CAFTA after NAFTA. It refused to crack down on widespread illegal Chinese trade practices by threatening to withdraw from the World Trade Organization (WTO).

    Most in Congress have demonstrated that they will not change course; they are simply too indebted to big-money campaign donors and lobbyists. We must replace them.

  • Paul Marks

    I was having a look at my vile spelling- typing, when I spotted the popularism.

    So immigration AND trade restrictions johnkonop?

    I do not like N.A.F.T.A. either – but not because it allows Mexicans to sell goods to Americans who want to buy them (I do not like it because it is hundred of pages of regulations and side deals).

    And you even do not like people from the little Central Amercan countries selling goods to Americans who want to buy them.

    Perhaps you do not like these brown people comming to the United States. But at least let them sell their goods to people who want to buy them.

    The idea that taxes or other restrictions on imports can keep up wages in the United States or elsewhere is false.

    It puts the cart before the horse.

    Wages depend on productivity – if your productivity is no good your wages will fall. And trying to keep out cheaper goods will only make things worse.

    Try reading Ludwig Von Mises “Human Action”. Or if you will only read something written by a native born American read Henry Hazlitt’s “Economics in One Lesson”.

    If you want something written without the influence of any “cosmopolitians” (I believe that is the term for Jews in popularist circles) then try reading Perry’s 19th century works on economics.

    Perry was no Jew. And he was the best selling American writer on economics in the late 19th century. You might learn that ideas that government action can generate high wages and full employment are nonsense (in the long run they just produce low wages and unemployment).

    As for the medical drugs. So you do not want companies to have patents (which is how they can have high prices).

    Fair enough (perhaps) but then do not ask them to spend the endless millions of Dollars it takes to go through F.D.A. proceedures. You can not have it both ways.

    As for Arabs buying a port (which used to be owned by my fellow Brits).

    If you do not like them buying the port – then offer more money yourself or get other native born people to do so.

    After all Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and other native born people are hardly poor.

    I have often been accused of being a Muslim hater – but I do not support stealing property from them.

    If you want the port – pay for it.

  • Paul Marks

    Perhaps I should not lose my tember so easy. but I was not expecting to see popularism here (popularists have their own blogs and I do not intrude on them).

    However, if someone wants to restore American industry (farming is subsidised on a vast scale so if Americans really “get most of their food from overseas” then American farmers must be really different from when they exported vast amounts without being subsidised) then they should face up to the problems.

    The problems include the entitlement prorgams (not “medicare does not work because of evil drug companies” – medicare does not work period).

    These programs are unconstitutional (“common defence and general welfare” is the PURPOSE of the long list of powers granted to the Congress in Article One, Section Eight – it is not a power in-its-self) and insane.

    The vast spending on the Welfare State is the cause of the taxes and the borrowing that have undermined the American economy.

    Unlike many people on this site I am not a great fan of the Iraq war and the other wars – but I would not pretend that they are the reason the American economy is being eaten away.

    I agree that the (underneath the nice looking surface) the foundations are being eaten away.

    But the cause of that is unconstitutional government action – Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the farm subsides and all the rest of it.

    And let us not forget the financial system

    Article One, Section Ten (at least so my old faulty memory says) – no State may have anything other than gold or silver coin as legal tender.

    Article One, Section Eight – the Congress has the power to coin money.

    Not print it – no “not worth a Continental”.

    The whole Federal Reserve Board structure with its fiat money and its backing of fractional reserve credit bubble banks (and the corporations linked to them) is unconstititutional (as well as crazy).

    There is your corrupt super rich power elite.

    Andrew Jackson got rid of the national debt and the (uncontitutional) national bank.

    Martin Van Buren got the taxpayer’s money out of State banks (where the fractional reserve bankers where playing games with it) and put it an independent treasury.

    But with the Mexican war of 1848 and the Civil War of 1861 – 1865 the National Debt came back.

    And the fractional reserve banks (and the corporations linked to them) had never really gone away in any case.

    Oh by the way – these were the people who wanted the high taxes on trade.

    Yes the favoured corporations.

    If you want an end to the “boom-bust” cycle, you have to break with a crooked financial system.

    But a nation can even prosper with a crooked financial system (American did just that) – as long as it does not have a Welfare State on top of it.

    The two were linked.

    In 1921 there was the last of the old style busts (the post W.W.I credit bubble bursting) – the government did nothing and production was recovering within six months.

    In 1929 there was another bust (the late 1920′s credit bubble bursting) – and the government did all the things you would suggest.

    So called do nothing Hoover in fact got the corporations to agree to “keep up wages” (just as you would advise).

    He spent lots of money (indeed set up many of the programs that F.D.R. expanded later).

    And he agreed to the biggest tax on imported goods in American history.

    Result – the Great Depression.

    The very Depression that gave President Roosevelt his chance to turn the Constutitution of the United States into toilet paper.

    Sure four Surpeme Court Justices faught him every step of the way – but four is not a majority of nine (three of the Justices went along with all of it and two moved about randomly).

    And the people were so hit by the Depression that went alone with it 60 – 40 in 1936.

    F.D.R. laid the foundations in the 1930′s (sure the spending was tiny by modern standards – but the precedents were set – for regulations and for spending programs). And President Johnson (who had been a New Deal man in the 1930′s) set up the rest of the progams in the 1960′s.

    In 1965 Medicare and Medicaid together cost 5 billion Dollars.

    Go and look up what these two programs cost now.

    “Oh it is the drug companies and the rich people”.

    Grow up.

  • Verity

    Paul Marks, I do not often disagree with you. but you shouldn’t refer to Mexico as a Central American country. The reason it qualifies to be in the North American Free Trade Association is, Mexico is and always has been a North American country. Look at an atlas. I also take exception for the lazy lefty (sorry, but that’s how it comes across!) thinking in “Perhaps you do not like these brown people comming to the United States…”.

    Given that the US has a large and mainly, except for the dependency/gang ghettoes, integrated black population and a large Asian population, to accuse them of giving a dainty shiver when they see a brown person is lazy, politically correct garbage. The reaon the Americans don’t want so many Mexicans is, THEY ARE BREAKING THE LAW BY BEING THERE ILLEGALLY.

    Host countries do not like this.

    THEY ARE A HUGE DRAIN ON TAXPAYER RESOURCES with their medical needs and schooling needs for their children. Host country taxpayers don’t like this, either. The illegals want to form colonies and NOT TROUBLE THEMSELVES TO LEARN THE LANGUAGE OF THE COUNTRY. Host nations do not like this, either.

    There are plenty of Mexicans in the country legally – doctors, lawyers, dentists, students – and Americans have no problems with them.

  • Paul Marks

    Shannon Love makes a valid point about how the “contract with America was attacked”.

    And yes, although some of it was wrong headed (such as making Congressmen subject to various regulations that their offices were immune from – it makes no sense, for example to say “we have forced quota’s on everybody else, so we must have them to”) a lot of it was good stuff.

    But although it was attacked endlessly in the media and by just about everyone in the public eye (including George Walker Bush).

    Did the American people really reject it?

    The Republicans took the House in 1994 – when did they lose the House?

    It would be interesting if now the Republicans have sold out everything they believed in that they lost the House (or at least the Senate) in November.

    As for the Presidency – I do not remember Bob Dole losing because he was a radical roll-back-the-government man.

    Bob Dole is a fine man, but he was quiet and uncombative as a candiate for President.

    It was as if he had convinced himself he was going to lose before he started.

    By 1996 the Republicans were not really fighting on things like Welfare Reform anyway (by the way that is the one achievment that has not been totally reversed) – they were half way to the “stained dress” “character issues” which made them seem phony later.

    Finally if one says “I have to support X (no matter what he does) because otherwise I will get Y” that is a good way for X to take you for granted and for Y not to try and get your vote (so both X and Y go for the votes of the leftists).

    If you say (very loudly) “You have not just not done what I wanted you have done the opposite – so I will not vote for you” you make X nervious – he may try and make it up to you (if you make your feelings very well known your numbers do not matter that much – others will join you) to get your vote back before election time (if he can count on your vote, whatever he does, he will not care about you).

    Also Y pricks up his ears – “hey I am not so bad, I am not really in favour of big government at all”.

    Have a look at such Democrats as the Governor of Tenn some time. I seem to remember the Democrat Governor of Indiania being a similar sort.

    Sure they are cynical politicians – that is not always a bad thing.

  • Verity

    Certainly, all my American friends – conservatives/libertarians/Republicans to the man – are disappointed with Mr Bush on the grounds cited above. The insane increases in public spending.

  • Midwesterner

    And appalling intrutions into privacy and liberty.

  • Verity

    Money quote from Paul Marks:

    “If you say (very loudly) “You have not just not done what I wanted you have done the opposite – so I will not vote for you” you make X nervious – he may try and make it up to you (if you make your feelings very well known your numbers do not matter that much – others will join you) to get your vote back before election time (if he can count on your vote, whatever he does, he will not care about you).

    Also Y pricks up his ears – “hey I am not so bad, I am not really in favour of big government at all”.”

    Newcomers to Samizdata, Paul Marks knows whereof he speaks, having years of canvassing door-to-door during elections under his belt. Wise words.

  • permanent expat

    Paul Marks: I am reminded of the old joke about the Native American who, on seeing the mushroom cloud at Los Alamos, remarked: “Gosh, I wish I’d said that.”

  • Verity

    permanent expat – That was funny!

  • It seemed to me as far back as 2000 that George W Bush was a necessary detour for the conservative movement. His accomplishments are almost exclusively ones that will serve future Republican/conservative Presidents well.

    1. GWB has had a general measurement fetish and he’s shared that throughout the executive. There has been a sea change in both measuring government performance from NCLB through the ordinary bureaucracy GWB has inculcated an expectation that performance should be measured and if things are not improving, changes should be made. This is a long-haul improvement that is not fully appreciated and won’t be for a long time
    2. Medicare has had a systemic bias against pills and for surgery. This led to horrible distortions where the more expensive surgeries were encouraged with government funding but inexpensive pills were discouraged by lack of same. People have been trying to fix this for decades as no matter what your opinion on the level of appropriate government intervention in medicine, differentially subsidizing away from cheaper, more effective treatments (pills) is just plain stupid. GWB got us there even if he did “win ugly”. Proper old age medical reform of a free market bent is now at least possible. Spinning things off into a super old-folks HSA/insurance plan is something for the next conservative President to realistically plan. Prior to GWB it was a non-starter because nobody would take on even a halfway house medical care entity that was so insanely structured. The surgery v pills imbalance had to happen first. It has.
    3. Hats off on keeping Rumsfeld in to handle DoD transformation. We have had several wars, at least two of which were larger than the GWOT to date which did not result in the size and scope of DoD bureaucracy change.
    4. You don’t hear much the old refrain from Democrats that conservatives are congenitally mean spirited and compassion free. There are other epithets leveled but the “heartless conservative” meme seems to have been successfully killed by GWB and his compassionate conservative label. This will pay dividends over the long haul.

    The list is incomplete but certainly it points to some measure of gratitude that traditional hawkish conservatives can have towards the current occupant of the White House. That being said, compassionate conservatism is a variant best taken in small doses. One was enough.

  • veryretired

    I can’t help but point out that it is doubtful there has ever been a time in the history of the US when we were in better shape economically, more powerful in every way, especially militarily, compared to any potential rivals, and more socially healthy, from declining crime rates to improving cleanliness in important areas of pollution.

    It is even fairly clear that our domestic political landscape is fairly non-volatile, compared to previous eras when entire regions were threatening secession, or actual warfare was occurring in various parts of the country, or major economic problems were threatening to cause widespread violent unrest.

    Of course things are not perfect, or even close to it. The American experiment is, and always will be, a work in progress. No society has ever tried to do what we are doing, the way we try to do it.

    Bush, and the other politicos who now seem so significant, will all be ex’s in a few years. The republic continues because the average citizen, so often ridiculed and condescended to by those who somehow have gotten the idea they’re smarter and more hip then everybody else, continues to do his work each day, tries to improve her life at every opportunity, raises their family, and really tries to be a good person.

    For many reasons too complex to go into here, the idea that this society is built from the top down has enjoyed a rising popularity among the political, academic, and chattering classes. I imagine it helps bolster their always fragile egos to think they’re the engine that drives the train.

    In fact, they ride in the caboose. Not only aren’t they driving, they usually don’t even realize where they’ve been, and they don’t have the first clue about where we’re going.

  • guy herbert

    Verity,

    The reaon the Americans don’t want so many Mexicans is, THEY ARE BREAKING THE LAW BY BEING THERE ILLEGALLY.

    Though I’ve written elsewhere of the American culture of legalism, I sincerely doubt this is the case. I’d suggest quite the reverse: US law restricts immigration by Mexicans (and me) because Americans don’t want them. The main motivation for not wanting them must be something else.

  • htjyang

    Johnathan Pearce,

    What you said in your post and in the comments section about the need for a competitive party system in a democracy is all true. The problem is that the Democratic Party is far worse on nearly everything. No one in his right mind should think that the Democratic Party is better on the issues of spending, federalism, and Social Security. If the Democratic Party is demonstrating greater concern for privacy and liberty right now, that is because they are in opposition. Don’t expect them to continue to stand for them if they return to power.

    I speak as an American conservative. One of the things I like about parliamentary democracies is the expression “Loyal Opposition.” The problem with the Democratic opposition is that it’s loyal to most of the wrong things.

    I’m not invoking the logic of the lesser of 2 evils. I am merely counselling against the temptation to, as Reagan once put it, “blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the [appeasement] impulses of [the Left],… and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.”

    In the US, party candidates must receive the endorsement of party members in primaries just to get into the general election. People who are dissatisfied with what one party does should join that party so that one can vote in its primaries and reform that party from within.

    It has been done before. The Republican Party used to be nothing more than a bad imitation of the Democratic Party. The “ratchet effect” allowed the Democrats to increase spending and let the Republicans raise taxes to pay for them. Conservatives successfully burrowed ourselves in the party to such an extent that we have finally stopped the GOP from raising taxes and have transformed it into a pro-life party. The latter you may disagree with, but I merely point it out as an example of conservative success. And while it’s true that an earth-shattering reform of the tax system has not yet happened, it cannot be disputed that taxes have been reduced. That is more than can be said for the Democratic Party.

    Speaking as a conservative, nothing will delight me more if a legion of American libertarians will join the GOP and work with conservatives to reduce government spending by slowly ousting those in the party who advocate Big Government.

    One thing about Bush is that usually, he is a man of his word. He was selling that No Child Left Behind nonsense back in 2000. I was certainly not deluded into thinking that he is a Small Government Conservative. But even here, conservatives have made progress. Last year, in light of the massive disaster relief voted by Congress for Hurricane Katrina, conservatives placed pressure on the GOP and successfully reduced spending by roughly $47 billion. Reducing spending in a year when there was massive disaster relief was not easy. We can use some libertarian help.

  • Verity

    Guy – You are wrong and you are right. Yes, there is discrimination against British applying for Green Cards, although some do get through. British citizenship is a disqualification for entering the annual Green Card lottery. We are the only ones excluded from trying our luck. Why? I don’t know.

    As to Mexicans, I lived in Houston for a number of years and of course, Texas is the first stop on the other side of the border, so I have plenty of first hand experience of Mexican illegals.

    Whether you believe it or not, Americans take great exception to people who break their laws – especially millions of them. Around 60,000 Mexicans A MONTH slip into the United States illegally. There are now something like 60m Mexican citizens living in the US illegally, and they are arrogant and bold.

    They demand free schooling for their (many) children. They are paid for their labour in cash and they don’t pay taxes. In Texas, therefore, the only contribution they make is sales tax – because you can’t buy anything without paying it. Some states do not have sales tax – they have income tax (as well as federal income tax), and of course, the illegals do not pay that.

    Meanwhile, they crowd out the county hospitals, which are meant for American indigents or the very poor. They have the most knifings and the most births. All courtesy of the taxpayer.

    They live in barrios (neighbourhoods) they have made dangerous. Anyone unlucky enough to living next to a Mexican family is going to get 24 hour unbearable noise and Mexican music played at top volume – and will be a constant caller to the police to shut them up.

    They are very aggressive and arrogant. They are taught in school that Texas and California really belong to them.

    A lot of them turn to crime – although there are jobs available for them (which is part of the problem; there are jobs).

    A surprising number of them turn themselves in around November, to get deported in comfort and for free. They board the coaches laden with Christmas presents. They are back at the end of January.

    Americans are perfectly fine with Vietnamese, Chinese, blacks – either native or from Africa – as long as they’re legal. They are not fine with illegal Mexicans.

    I remember when the illegals marched in Houston for free education. Thousands of them marching through the streets shouting and carrying banners. We looked on in disbelief. Gone were the days when a shout of Immigracion! would cause them to melt into the woodwork. So they got their taxpayer-funded schools, and they even got the right to have their children taught in Spanish. Americans who pled for sanity were reported to the ACLU.

    So they are illegal, arrogant and destructive. That is why they are not wanted.

    On the other hand, there are Hispanic students at universities, there are legal Mexicans who are doctors, dentists, successful business people, anything, and no one gives a stuff. They hate the illegals.

    Legal Mexican immigrants are very achieving. By the third generation, most of them don’t speak any Spanish. Their families make sure they integrate into mainstream America. Illegals pass their huff down for generations and their kids never do learn to speak English.

    People should not scamper into the pc tunnel and write on Samizdata that they are hated because they are brown. That is not it at all.

  • Paul Marks

    I do not think that I called Mexico a central American country (although I may have done – I do sometimes think of it as one).

    The thing is that the the popularist was not jut against N.A.F.T.A. he was against the central American trade agreement AS WELL (that only passed in the House of Representatives by a couple of votes).

    Reading who wanted to kick poor people in little countries like El Salvador made me lost my temper.

    I will not get into the immigration debate – perhaps I too see cultural differences as a problem (who knows perhaps I am not as colour blind as I like to thing I am).

    But you can not tell someone “you can not come here (even though there were no immigration restrictions on anyone till about the start of the 20th century) AND you can not sell your goods to people who want to buy them”.

    Old Enoch Powell may have been a racialist (how that term is supposed to be defined) but he once said to me (at an I.E. A. event when I was young) “one of the reasons I want people to be able to sell their goods to people in this nation is so do not have to come and live in this nation”.

    In short one can be anti immigrant (or anti “illegal immigrant”) without being an idiot.

    No doubt so one will come back at me for my “uncompassionate” opinions about Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Food Stamps and all the rest of the unconstitutional schemes.

    For their information, Americans used to belong to fraternities (which were neither college things nor all about wearing odd looking robes) and these fraternities (and other voluntary instititions) looked after members who had fallen on hard times.

    It was NOT the case that loads of Americans in the 1920′s (before the Feds came alone) could not afford medical care or went hungry in their old age.

    Of course some Americans fell through the gaps – but they still do (have a look at the street people of any major city).

    In spite of, by today’s standards, primitive technology – the United States had less poverty in the 1920′s than any other major nation on Earth.

    Certainly less than Welfare State Weimar Republic Germany (and a few years would show how stable that society was) or half-way-house semi Welfare State Britian.

    By the way in 1911 (before the government set up “national insurance” in Britain) 85% (and growing) of industrial workers were in “Friendly Societies” (the British version of Fraternities).

    Such things as Doctor licensing and the F.D.A. (exposed by Milton Friedman as price rising rackets 50 years ago) existed in the 1920′s – but America (for all its problems) was still America (a limited government Constitutional Republic).

    These days the United States – indeed all Western nations are like the Weimar Republic.

    Taxes, spending, and regulations are at a vast level and the smell of decay (masked by expensive cosmetics) is everywhere.

    I suspect that things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.

    But I have still have hope that the United States will one day be itself again.

    I have given up hope for Britain.

    The direct cause of the next slump will be the same as the cause of every slump (the bursting of credit money bubble – a bubble caused by the unsound basis of the financial system) but the real problem is the vast Welfare State.

    The United States had credit bubble busts every few years from 1819 onwards – and everyone (before the panic after 1929) the economy recovered from (including the one of 1921).

    But a Welfare State is a hard thing to get out from.

    For those who deny that the United States has become a Welfare State just look at two programs (out of the vast number of programs that there are).

    The cost of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 and what they cost now.

  • Nuking the Economy
    By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

    Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics re-benchmarked the payroll jobs data back to 2000. Thanks to Charles McMillion of MBG Information Services, I have the adjusted data from January 2001 through January 2006. If you are worried about terrorists, you don’t know what worry is.

    Job growth over the last five years is the weakest on record. The US economy came up more than 7 million jobs short of keeping up with population growth. That’s one good reason for controlling immigration. An economy that cannot keep up with population growth should not be boosting population with heavy rates of legal and illegal immigration.

    Over the past five years the US economy experienced a net job loss in goods producing activities. The entire job growth was in service-providing activities–primarily credit intermediation, health care and social assistance, waiters, waitresses and bartenders, and state and local government.

    US manufacturing lost 2.9 million jobs, almost 17% of the manufacturing work force. The wipeout is across the board. Not a single manufacturing payroll classification created a single new job.

    The declines in some manufacturing sectors have more in common with a country undergoing saturation bombing during war than with a super-economy that is “the envy of the world.” Communications equipment lost 43% of its workforce. Semiconductors and electronic components lost 37% of its workforce. The workforce in computers and electronic products declined 30%. Electrical equipment and appliances lost 25% of its employees. The workforce in motor vehicles and parts declined 12%. Furniture and related products lost 17% of its jobs. Apparel manufacturers lost almost half of the work force. Employment in textile mills declined 43%. Paper and paper products lost one-fifth of its jobs. The work force in plastics and rubber products declined by 15%. Even manufacturers of beverages and tobacco products experienced a 7% shrinkage in jobs.

    The knowledge jobs that were supposed to take the place of lost manufacturing jobs in the globalized “new economy” never appeared. The information sector lost 17% of its jobs, with the telecommunications work force declining by 25%. Even wholesale and retail trade lost jobs. Despite massive new accounting burdens imposed by Sarbanes-Oxley, accounting and bookkeeping employment shrank by 4%. Computer systems design and related lost 9% of its jobs. Today there are 209,000 fewer managerial and supervisory jobs than 5 years ago.

    In five years the US economy only created 70,000 jobs in architecture and engineering, many of which are clerical. Little wonder engineering enrollments are shrinking. There are no jobs for graduates. The talk about engineering shortages is absolute ignorance. There are several hundred thousand American engineers who are unemployed and have been for years. No student wants a degree that is nothing but a ticket to a soup line. Many engineers have written to me that they cannot even get Wal-Mart jobs because their education makes them over-qualified.

    Offshore outsourcing and offshore production have left the US awash with unemployment among the highly educated. The low measured rate of unemployment does not include discouraged workers. Labor arbitrage has made the unemployment rate less and less a meaningful indicator. In the past unemployment resulted mainly from turnover in the labor force and recession. Recoveries pulled people back into jobs.

    Unemployment benefits were intended to help people over the down time in the cycle when workers were laid off. Today the unemployment is permanent as entire occupations and industries are wiped out by labor arbitrage as corporations replace their American employees with foreign ones.

    Economists who look beyond political press releases estimate the US unemployment rate to be between 7% and 8.5%. There are now hundreds of thousands of Americans who will never recover their investment in their university education.

    Unless the BLS is falsifying the data or businesses are reporting the opposite of the facts, the US is experiencing a job depression. Most economists refuse to acknowledge the facts, because they endorsed globalization. It was a win-win situation, they said.

    They were wrong.

    At a time when America desperately needs the voices of educated people as a counterweight to the disinformation that emanates from the Bush administration and its supporters, economists have discredited themselves. This is especially true for “free market economists” who foolishly assumed that international labor arbitrage was an example of free trade that was benefitting Americans. Where is the benefit when employment in US export industries and import-competitive industries is shrinking? After decades of struggle to regain credibility, free market economics is on the verge of another wipeout.

    No sane economist can possibly maintain that a deplorable record of merely 1,054,000 net new private sector jobs over five years is an indication of a healthy economy. The total number of private sector jobs created over the five year period is 500,000 jobs less than one year’s legal and illegal immigration! (In a December 2005 Center for Immigration Studies report based on the Census Bureau’s March 2005 Current Population Survey, Steven Camarota writes that there were 7,9 million new immigrants between January 2000 and March 2005.)

    The economics profession has failed America. It touts a meaningless number while joblessness soars. Lazy journalists at the New York Times simply rewrite the Bush administration’s press releases.

    On February 10 the Commerce Department released a record US trade deficit in goods and services for 2005–$726 billion. The US deficit in Advanced Technology Products reached a new high. Offshore production for home markets and jobs outsourcing has made the US highly dependent on foreign provided goods and services, while simultaneously reducing the export capability of the US economy. It is possible that there might be no exchange rate at which the US can balance its trade.

    Polls indicate that the Bush administration is succeeding in whipping up fear and hysteria about Iran. The secretary of defense is promising Americans decades-long war. Is death in battle Bush’s solution to the job depression? Will Asians finance a decades-long war for a bankrupt country?

    Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: paulcraigroberts@yahoo.com

    Nuking the Economy
    By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

    Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics re-benchmarked the payroll jobs data back to 2000. Thanks to Charles McMillion of MBG Information Services, I have the adjusted data from January 2001 through January 2006. If you are worried about terrorists, you don’t know what worry is.

    Job growth over the last five years is the weakest on record. The US economy came up more than 7 million jobs short of keeping up with population growth. That’s one good reason for controlling immigration. An economy that cannot keep up with population growth should not be boosting population with heavy rates of legal and illegal immigration.

    Over the past five years the US economy experienced a net job loss in goods producing activities. The entire job growth was in service-providing activities–primarily credit intermediation, health care and social assistance, waiters, waitresses and bartenders, and state and local government.

    US manufacturing lost 2.9 million jobs, almost 17% of the manufacturing work force. The wipeout is across the board. Not a single manufacturing payroll classification created a single new job.

    The declines in some manufacturing sectors have more in common with a country undergoing saturation bombing during war than with a super-economy that is “the envy of the world.” Communications equipment lost 43% of its workforce. Semiconductors and electronic components lost 37% of its workforce. The workforce in computers and electronic products declined 30%. Electrical equipment and appliances lost 25% of its employees. The workforce in motor vehicles and parts declined 12%. Furniture and related products lost 17% of its jobs. Apparel manufacturers lost almost half of the work force. Employment in textile mills declined 43%. Paper and paper products lost one-fifth of its jobs. The work force in plastics and rubber products declined by 15%. Even manufacturers of beverages and tobacco products experienced a 7% shrinkage in jobs.

    The knowledge jobs that were supposed to take the place of lost manufacturing jobs in the globalized “new economy” never appeared. The information sector lost 17% of its jobs, with the telecommunications work force declining by 25%. Even wholesale and retail trade lost jobs. Despite massive new accounting burdens imposed by Sarbanes-Oxley, accounting and bookkeeping employment shrank by 4%. Computer systems design and related lost 9% of its jobs. Today there are 209,000 fewer managerial and supervisory jobs than 5 years ago.

    In five years the US economy only created 70,000 jobs in architecture and engineering, many of which are clerical. Little wonder engineering enrollments are shrinking. There are no jobs for graduates. The talk about engineering shortages is absolute ignorance. There are several hundred thousand American engineers who are unemployed and have been for years. No student wants a degree that is nothing but a ticket to a soup line. Many engineers have written to me that they cannot even get Wal-Mart jobs because their education makes them over-qualified.

    Offshore outsourcing and offshore production have left the US awash with unemployment among the highly educated. The low measured rate of unemployment does not include discouraged workers. Labor arbitrage has made the unemployment rate less and less a meaningful indicator. In the past unemployment resulted mainly from turnover in the labor force and recession. Recoveries pulled people back into jobs.

    Unemployment benefits were intended to help people over the down time in the cycle when workers were laid off. Today the unemployment is permanent as entire occupations and industries are wiped out by labor arbitrage as corporations replace their American employees with foreign ones.

    Economists who look beyond political press releases estimate the US unemployment rate to be between 7% and 8.5%. There are now hundreds of thousands of Americans who will never recover their investment in their university education.

    Unless the BLS is falsifying the data or businesses are reporting the opposite of the facts, the US is experiencing a job depression. Most economists refuse to acknowledge the facts, because they endorsed globalization. It was a win-win situation, they said.

    They were wrong.

    At a time when America desperately needs the voices of educated people as a counterweight to the disinformation that emanates from the Bush administration and its supporters, economists have discredited themselves. This is especially true for “free market economists” who foolishly assumed that international labor arbitrage was an example of free trade that was benefitting Americans. Where is the benefit when employment in US export industries and import-competitive industries is shrinking? After decades of struggle to regain credibility, free market economics is on the verge of another wipeout.

    No sane economist can possibly maintain that a deplorable record of merely 1,054,000 net new private sector jobs over five years is an indication of a healthy economy. The total number of private sector jobs created over the five year period is 500,000 jobs less than one year’s legal and illegal immigration! (In a December 2005 Center for Immigration Studies report based on the Census Bureau’s March 2005 Current Population Survey, Steven Camarota writes that there were 7,9 million new immigrants between January 2000 and March 2005.)

    The economics profession has failed America. It touts a meaningless number while joblessness soars. Lazy journalists at the New York Times simply rewrite the Bush administration’s press releases.

    On February 10 the Commerce Department released a record US trade deficit in goods and services for 2005–$726 billion. The US deficit in Advanced Technology Products reached a new high. Offshore production for home markets and jobs outsourcing has made the US highly dependent on foreign provided goods and services, while simultaneously reducing the export capability of the US economy. It is possible that there might be no exchange rate at which the US can balance its trade.

    Polls indicate that the Bush administration is succeeding in whipping up fear and hysteria about Iran. The secretary of defense is promising Americans decades-long war. Is death in battle Bush’s solution to the job depression? Will Asians finance a decades-long war for a bankrupt country?

    Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: paulcraigroberts@yahoo.com

    Nuking the Economy
    By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

    Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics re-benchmarked the payroll jobs data back to 2000. Thanks to Charles McMillion of MBG Information Services, I have the adjusted data from January 2001 through January 2006. If you are worried about terrorists, you don’t know what worry is.

    Job growth over the last five years is the weakest on record. The US economy came up more than 7 million jobs short of keeping up with population growth. That’s one good reason for controlling immigration. An economy that cannot keep up with population growth should not be boosting population with heavy rates of legal and illegal immigration.

    Over the past five years the US economy experienced a net job loss in goods producing activities. The entire job growth was in service-providing activities–primarily credit intermediation, health care and social assistance, waiters, waitresses and bartenders, and state and local government.

    US manufacturing lost 2.9 million jobs, almost 17% of the manufacturing work force. The wipeout is across the board. Not a single manufacturing payroll classification created a single new job.

    The declines in some manufacturing sectors have more in common with a country undergoing saturation bombing during war than with a super-economy that is “the envy of the world.” Communications equipment lost 43% of its workforce. Semiconductors and electronic components lost 37% of its workforce. The workforce in computers and electronic products declined 30%. Electrical equipment and appliances lost 25% of its employees. The workforce in motor vehicles and parts declined 12%. Furniture and related products lost 17% of its jobs. Apparel manufacturers lost almost half of the work force. Employment in textile mills declined 43%. Paper and paper products lost one-fifth of its jobs. The work force in plastics and rubber products declined by 15%. Even manufacturers of beverages and tobacco products experienced a 7% shrinkage in jobs.

    The knowledge jobs that were supposed to take the place of lost manufacturing jobs in the globalized “new economy” never appeared. The information sector lost 17% of its jobs, with the telecommunications work force declining by 25%. Even wholesale and retail trade lost jobs. Despite massive new accounting burdens imposed by Sarbanes-Oxley, accounting and bookkeeping employment shrank by 4%. Computer systems design and related lost 9% of its jobs. Today there are 209,000 fewer managerial and supervisory jobs than 5 years ago.

    In five years the US economy only created 70,000 jobs in architecture and engineering, many of which are clerical. Little wonder engineering enrollments are shrinking. There are no jobs for graduates. The talk about engineering shortages is absolute ignorance. There are several hundred thousand American engineers who are unemployed and have been for years. No student wants a degree that is nothing but a ticket to a soup line. Many engineers have written to me that they cannot even get Wal-Mart jobs because their education makes them over-qualified.

    Offshore outsourcing and offshore production have left the US awash with unemployment among the highly educated. The low measured rate of unemployment does not include discouraged workers. Labor arbitrage has made the unemployment rate less and less a meaningful indicator. In the past unemployment resulted mainly from turnover in the labor force and recession. Recoveries pulled people back into jobs.

    Unemployment benefits were intended to help people over the down time in the cycle when workers were laid off. Today the unemployment is permanent as entire occupations and industries are wiped out by labor arbitrage as corporations replace their American employees with foreign ones.

    Economists who look beyond political press releases estimate the US unemployment rate to be between 7% and 8.5%. There are now hundreds of thousands of Americans who will never recover their investment in their university education.

    Unless the BLS is falsifying the data or businesses are reporting the opposite of the facts, the US is experiencing a job depression. Most economists refuse to acknowledge the facts, because they endorsed globalization. It was a win-win situation, they said.

    They were wrong.

    At a time when America desperately needs the voices of educated people as a counterweight to the disinformation that emanates from the Bush administration and its supporters, economists have discredited themselves. This is especially true for “free market economists” who foolishly assumed that international labor arbitrage was an example of free trade that was benefitting Americans. Where is the benefit when employment in US export industries and import-competitive industries is shrinking? After decades of struggle to regain credibility, free market economics is on the verge of another wipeout.

    No sane economist can possibly maintain that a deplorable record of merely 1,054,000 net new private sector jobs over five years is an indication of a healthy economy. The total number of private sector jobs created over the five year period is 500,000 jobs less than one year’s legal and illegal immigration! (In a December 2005 Center for Immigration Studies report based on the Census Bureau’s March 2005 Current Population Survey, Steven Camarota writes that there were 7,9 million new immigrants between January 2000 and March 2005.)

    The economics profession has failed America. It touts a meaningless number while joblessness soars. Lazy journalists at the New York Times simply rewrite the Bush administration’s press releases.

    On February 10 the Commerce Department released a record US trade deficit in goods and services for 2005–$726 billion. The US deficit in Advanced Technology Products reached a new high. Offshore production for home markets and jobs outsourcing has made the US highly dependent on foreign provided goods and services, while simultaneously reducing the export capability of the US economy. It is possible that there might be no exchange rate at which the US can balance its trade.

    Polls indicate that the Bush administration is succeeding in whipping up fear and hysteria about Iran. The secretary of defense is promising Americans decades-long war. Is death in battle Bush’s solution to the job depression? Will Asians finance a decades-long war for a bankrupt country?

    Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: paulcraigroberts@yahoo.com

    Please comment

  • Johnathan

    johnkonop, keep the comments brief or bugger off.

  • Verity

    My god, that was unbelievable! What bad manners!

  • Kim du Toit

    “Taxes went up under Clinton, but government spending went up a lot less”

    …was because for most of Clinton’s administration, Congress was being run by Republicans, who had just retaken Congress by making a Contract With America, which pledged, inter alia, to reduce the size of government.

    I wish another wave of Republicans would make a new Contract in the same vein, and get rid of the current crop of Big Government supporters, including the President.

    Only the fact that the Democrats are controlled by a bunch of radical wailers prevents the Republicans from being tossed out on their fat arses en masse, by conservatives like me.

  • dick

    For Midwesterner,

    Interesting comment. Someday you must let us know what liberties you have had taken away from you. No one that I have met has lost any liberties at all. The people who wander around trying to get privates and pfc’s to show the non-coms and officers or who parade around Walter Reed Hospital telling the wounded soldiers that they were suckered or have library checkouts monitored. Even the NSA spying is done only on the basis of outside the country calls so far as we know. So your comment about how your liberties have been taken away makes no sense at all.

  • Uain

    Well, I was following some rather interesting threads until this Roberts character spammed you. I believe his rant is one more example that men (and women) of accomplishment may want to seriously seek other forms of intellectual stimulation in their dottage. Thanks to such as Dan Rather, Jimmy Carter, Congressman Murtha and of course, Mr. Roberts, I believe I will look more to personal pursuits such fly fishing and learning the violin as my challenges in the coming decades.

  • How could anyone NOT have seen this train wreck coming? Dazzled by Dubya sporting his sock job on the USS Lincoln, were you? http://peterhansen.com/loveyolks.htm(Link). Scroll down.

    Christ. If you don’t know any better, stop voting and stop blogging.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    none, huh? I did not vote for Bush for the rather elementary reason that I am British, and second, would not have done so even if I could; and just because I supported – hesitantly – his decision to knock off Saddam is not the same as supporting his other policies. If you have been reading this blog for a while that should be obvious.

    There are plenty of anti-war folk who support Big Government tax-and-spend and plenty of small government conservatives/libertarians who back a forceful foreign policy where necessary. Life is complicated.

  • Mark McGilvray

    Verity, your post of Feb26 2:12PM had me in convulsions of laughter. The post is right on the money. You vill report for political reeducation immediately! [best Prussian accent] Most Americans who are described as “anti-immigrant” are simply fed up with the identity politics of an unassimilated ignorant rabble and their cultural chauvinism. We are a nation of immigrants.

    Mexicans are allocated 50% of America’s immigration slots – something we should change immediately. We need to admit immigrants on the basis of what they can do for the country, rather than admitting swarms of welfare state clients who will vote Democrat. Probably the best thing written on the Illegal Mexican invasion is “Mexifornia”, by Victor Davis Hanson.

    While GWB is receiving a good caning for his prodigal spending, Reagan burried the USSR with massive military spending. The spending must be reined in, and this means some cherished “social programs” i.e., vote buying scams, will have to be cut. Both parties are addicted to pork barrel spending. Money should not be sent to Washington to be doled back for spending at the state level. To deprive Washington of the keys to the brothel is half the battle.

    The idea that the Republicans control the nation is absurd, many of them are less conservative than some Democrats. Our Congress is the original Aegean Stable and needs to be cleaned out. Reagan had a gift of being able to take his programs to the electorate that GWB lacks. Winston Churchill he is not.

    The yammering about lost privacy and civil rights is ludicrous. If all one has to bitch about is being yelled at and frisked by minimum wage morons in airports the worst indignity you suffer, don’t start yelling, “Third Reich!” It is absurd.

    If not GWB then who? John f’ing Kerry? Maybe Algore?
    Are there better men for the job than GWB? Surely. Are any of them electable? God only knows. As long as we are at war I will give George a lot more slack than I othewise would.

  • Paul Marks

    Government spending went up a lot less from 1977 to 1981 (when both the President and the majority of the Senate and House were Democrats) than have on the watch of George Walker Bush.

    As for the person citing Paul Craig Roberts.

    Does Mr Roberts think that putting taxes on imports will be good for the American manufacturing?

    If he does he is mistaken.

    As for immigration – if people do not like immigrants (because they are brown, or for some other reason) that is honest enough.

    However, to say better immigration control would restore American manufacturing industry is just silly.

  • Midwesterner

    dick,

    For Midwesterner,

    Interesting comment. Someday you must let us know what liberties you have had taken away from you. No one that I have met has lost any liberties at all. The people who wander around trying to get privates and pfc’s to show the non-coms and officers or who parade around Walter Reed Hospital telling the wounded soldiers that they were suckered or have library checkouts monitored. Even the NSA spying is done only on the basis of outside the country calls so far as we know. So your comment about how your liberties have been taken away makes no sense at all.

    What percent of the population needs to lose a right for it to be considered endangered?

    Please don’t forgot this gem of a White House press conference(Link)

    Covered well in this report(Link) by Kathy Gill

    Where, on the general topic of warrantless wiretaps -

    Q It was, why did you skip the basic safeguards of asking courts for permission for the intercepts?

    We had answers like these -

    Do I have the legal authority to do this? And the answer is, absolutely. As I mentioned in my remarks, the legal authority is derived from the Constitution, as well as the authorization of force by the United States Congress.

    and

    First, I want to make clear to the people listening that this program is limited in nature to those that are known al Qaeda ties and/or affiliates. That’s important. So it’s a program that’s limited,

    and

    And there’s a difference — let me finish — there is a difference between detecting so we can prevent, and monitoring. And it’s important to know the distinction between the two.

    So, they think they can wiretap w/o a warrant.

    I for one, would really like to know, what is the ”difference between detecting so we can prevent, and monitoring.”

    Next, we have torture, excuse me I mean Extraordinary rendition(Link) Granted, we don’t have any reason to believe this is ever done to American citizens. But we don’t have reason to suspect a lot of things. Americans aren’t supposed to be held without charge, at the leisure of whoever claims they ‘might be a terrorist’. Then we find out about Padilla.

    It appears that this administration believes the declaration of war on ‘terrorism’ is a license to practice what amounts to martial law until ‘terrorism’ has been defeated.

    BTW, don’t forget cell phone tracking(Link)

    It comes down to this.

    We’ve had a ‘War on Poverty’.

    We’ve had a ‘War on Drugs’.

    Now we have a ‘War on Terrorism’.

    You seem to be making fun of things like this -

    “PATRIOT section 215 provides that either the FISA court or a magistrate judge shall order third parties (such as internet service providers, libraries, travel agencies) to turn over records upon an FBI certification that the records are sought in connection with an intelligence investigation.14 The third party is prohibited from disclosing to anyone that the records have been sought.”

    FISA court? Who are those guys?

    You seem to believe that the government always has your best interests at heart. Could you have already forgotten J Edgar Hoover?. And ‘Tailgunner Joe’ McCarthy? While his cause may have been laudible (or not) he did irreparable harm to many careers, not for what they did, but for what they believed and what the people they associated with believed.

    In summary, dick, it sounds like you consider the small proportion of the population so far targeted, to make the action okay. I for one, don’t want to wait until Samizdata is considered a terrorist organization by some politico in a future administration who doesn’t have to answer to the rule of law anymore.

    Furthermore, you and I don’t have any idea if we’ve had our privacy infringed at all. That’s part of the problem. Who knows? Only the AG et al knows.
    Here is a news report(Link) of a case where the courts upheld the defendants and publics non-right to know why they were under surveillance in the first place.

    This is Bob Barr’s testimony before the Senate. In addition to being a past member of the House of Representatives, he was a US district attorney, and a CIA officer. Please read it. Please.

    http://www.conservative.org/pressroom/acuinthenews/barrtestimony111803.asp(Link)

    You same to equate defense of our constitutional protections with allegiance to al Qaeda.

    I think you are tending to put your head in the sand by stating that since you haven’t met anybody who’s had their rights infringed, we’re still okay. By the time I start having personal knowledge of people who’ve suffered, things are bad to the point of being too late to do anything about.

    Here’s another link for you.
    http://www.gunowners.org/patriotii.htm(Link)

    I realize some of these organizations may be too conservative for you, but their points are valid and deserving of serious concern, not your pollyanish assurances that it’s all okay.

  • Midwesterner

    To Mark McGilvray, your logic is certainly unassailable. Since one candidate is bad, therefore the other is good. Hmmmm… Why didn’t I think of that? And, despite your thoughtful commentary, I do intend to keep “ludicrous” ly “yammering” on “about lost privacy and civil rights”. Silly me.

    Your brilliant conclusion “As long as we are at war I will give George a lot more slack than I othewise would.” What can I say? Clearly fighting a method of combat (terrorism) is a war we will win. Maybe while achieving this, we should also declare war on the methods ‘propaganda’ and ‘use of infantry soldiers’ and ‘naval combat’. Such a clever idea this was, declaring war on tactics instead of enemies.

  • Uain

    Poor Midwesterner,
    You need to get off the farm more, son. First of all, think of the Billions of library, cell phone, fax, etc., etc. electronic transmissions that occur each day. Do you REALLY believe that the dumbest President in history, “G.W. Bushitler” as you types are wont to say, has the ability to use his evil mind control machine (provided by Haliburton) to capriciously read/ monitor all this traffic every day, 24/7???? Has it ever occured to you types that perhaps, just maybe, secret eavedropper types just MIGHT have their raises and promotions predicated on actually identifying and catching evil doers??? Oh, yes
    I forgot, you pseudo-libertarian lefties believe all religions, philosophies and xcultuers of of equal value.
    By the way, don’t cite Bob Barr if you want to be taken seriously by us conservatives.

  • Midwesterner

    “have their raises and promotions predicated on actually identifying and catching evil doers??? “

    Not a chance. Government has never worked that way, I see no possibility of it starting now.

    “I forgot, you pseudo-libertarian lefties believe all religions, philosophies and xcultuers of of equal value.”

    Tut, tut. You haven’t been doing your homework, have you.?

    “don’t cite Bob Barr if you want to be taken seriously by us conservatives”

    I forgot, he’s the wrong sort, isn’t he? He believes in liberty and you’ve trademarked ‘conservative’ to exclude that.

    “Billions of library, cell phone, fax, etc., etc.”

    Dude, may I call you dude? There’s this thing called ‘archiving’. There’s also this really neat thing called ‘data mining’. The orignators of the data files do it all the time. That’s how they generate your phone bill. But, of course, it’s utterly beyond the power of government to track that information. They don’t need to even do that much, if they want your medical records, for example, all they (FBI and a FISA judge) have to do is ask for it.

    And to follow your own claim that Bush is “the dumbest President in history”, then how do you expect him to keep a leash on career bureaucrats? Or do you trust them, too. You have a remarkable faith in the benignness of those who would rule.

    Interesting making your aquaintence. A Pollyanna with an attitude. Go figure,

  • James of England

    I support Bush, keenly, because I truly believe in free trade.

    His stances on immigration and tort reform are also, as I understand it, closer to those of this blog than any other major politician on the world stage. I campaigned for him in 2000 on the Iraq war issue and on recognition of the Armenian Holocaust, since I am an Orthodox Christian and both of those issues related closely to the ending of the persecution of Christians in SE Turkey, a pet issue of mine at the time. Iraq and the spread of democracy seem like big positives to me, but I understand that libertarians might disagree with me there. I can’t understand how they could be against trade, immigration, or tort & bankruptcy reform.

    Do you really think the explosion of free trade agreements is a bad thing, or just insignificant?

    Do you think tort reform is a bad thing?

    Do you think that immigration liberalisation is a bad thing?

  • Midwesterner

    James of England,

    Unilateral free trade, bad. Bilateral free trade, good. Our trade with China is ultimately going to hurt us but our trade with India is going to make us stronger and wealthier.

    Tort reform, good question. In some forms it’s just one more way to give power to bureaucrats. As a general rule, the less rule the better. The most common tort reform ideas are an inversion of minimum wage to reduce poverty. Only this is a maximum pay out to reduce windfalls.

    My idea of tort reform is to forget limits, etc. Just force juries to abide by the waivers and contracts that the parties agreed to, and find other non price-fixing ways to control award sizes.

    My opinion on immigration is, no illegal immigrants (they use services, don’t pay taxes) and most important, immigration in order to allow people to collect welfare (either native born or immigrant) is terminally destructive. Entitlements are the problem, immigration can make that problem much worse. Verity said English don’t get the same treatment as Mexicans. Why? Anyone who abides by the laws and can self support should get the same treatment.

  • James of England

    Midwesterner, can you elaborate on how trade with China hurts America? Are those bastards selling goods cheap and raising standards of living for the poor? Are they helping, with malign intent, to develop better software?

    If you believe that there is something that a government can do to make trade bad, then it seems likely that you’ll be with the Dems and the Shelbys on a lot of issues. My understanding is that most of the people on this blog are more free market oriented. Still, I’m gathering you support the manifold increase in FTAs.

    The most obvious tort reform was (to my mind) the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which would appear to meet your requirements for good tort reform, although it applies, as do most torts, to people without a contractual relationship with each other (see also: definition of torts, although I agree that waivers should be more widely upheld). Again, I’m getting that you’re behind Bush.

    On immigration, I’m guessing that you’re in favour of the guestworker program then, combined with a higher budget for the CBP. The program is likely to allow for some welfare payments, but I’m hoping that you’re OK with people who work and pay into the system receiving a little of their SS payments back.

    If you’re with him, broadly, on these issues, are you also with him on bankruptcy reform? From your pro-contract stance on torts, I’d imagine you would be. How about social security?

  • Midwesterner

    James of England,

    can you elaborate on how trade with China hurts America? Are those bastards selling goods cheap and raising standards of living for the poor? Are they helping, with malign intent, to develop better software?

    It’s not that half of the trade that bothers me. It’s the absence of true bilateral trade. Admittedly subjective opinion here, but I don’t think China has, or ever will, truely open it’s markets and assets to outside investment. China’s nature is and will remain one of ‘pragmatic free trade’. Read ‘trade for power’.

    On the other hand, India seems much more eager culturally to integrate into the rest of the modern first world. There are still governmental obstructions but I don’t sense the cultural blocks.

    If you believe that there is something that a government can do to make trade bad,

    Yes. Unilateralize it. When a government makes trade a highly controlled path, they are using trade as an international weapon and should be treated as any other agressor.

    As for being behind Bush on tort reform, I will never state my case as being behind Bush. He is a pragmatist and one never knows what he’s really going to do. Do I support some of what he is presently espousing? Yes, with caution.

    On immigration, I doubt the people who are paying the burden of welfare ever get their payments back. Don’t confuse SS payments with welfare.

    There is an overlooked function of ‘productive immigration’ that worries me quite a bit. It permits otherwise able workers already in country (once who don’t want to stoop to work that is beneath their dignity) to continue claiming benefits without having a negative effect on the labor supply. I think tightness in the labor supply may be necessary to show up the absurdity of continued unemployment subsidies.

    You keep asking me if I’m ‘with Bush’. No. There are things on which we have agreement but he is a pragmatist. One can never be ‘with’ a pragmatist without becoming one. I cannot because I have principles.

    Many long years ago the ‘social pragmatist’ flavor of totalitarians stole the name ‘liberal’ and proceeded to purge it of any true (classical) liberalism.

    It appears that the ‘national pragmatist’ flavor of totalitarian has stolen the name ‘conservative’ and is in the process of purging it of any true (soon to be classical?) conservativism.

  • Midwesterner

    James of England,

    I should clarify on tort. It is true that there is no contract between the shooter and the shootee. The contract in question is the one, implied or literal, between the gun manufacturer and the original purchaser.

    We don’t (never say never) hold General Motors accountable for someone who uses a Cavalier to commit a crime. We should hold to the same standard for all manufacturers.

    If there is a reasonably implied or literal contract anywhere in the line between the sewer, er.. suer, and the sued, it must be respected.