Category Archives: politics

Trust in government…

Interesting paragraph of the day. From Forbes:

In nearly every country surveyed, government leaders were less trusted to tell the truth than business leaders.  However, European countries were far more likely than countries in other regions to say they do not trust government leaders at all to tell the truth. In fact, French and German citizens were among the EU markets with the lowest trust in government leaders, with 66% and 65%, respectively, saying they do not trust them at all to be truthful.  We have already seen how France’s lack of trust in government leaders can influence a government overturn. Now, with Germany’s already vulnerable state, this lack of trust may have serious implications on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s tenure.   And now that business has the opportunity to lead again, will they be able to take advantage of it?

US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg doesn’t seem much current value in the U.S. Constitution

Admittedly these excerpts could be very slanted and not tell the whole story. But it really looks like U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg doesn’t see of the real value of the U.S.—it has stood the test of time and created both political freedom and economic prosperity.  

From MEMRI:

Following are excerpts from an interview with US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which aired on Al-Hayat TV on January 30, 2012.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: It is a very inspiring time – that you have overthrown a dictator, and that you are striving to achieve a genuine democracy. So I think people in the United States are hoping that this transition will work, and that there will genuinely be a government of, by, and for the people.

[...]

I met with the head of the elections commission. I think that the first step has gone well, and that elections have been held for the lower house that everyone has considered to be free and fair. So that’s one milestone, and the next will be the drafting of a constitution.

I can’t speak about what the Egyptian experience should be, because I’m operating under a rather old constitution. The United States, in comparison to Egypt, is a very new nation, and yet we have the oldest written constitution still in force in the world.

[...]

Let me say first that a constitution, as important as it is, will mean nothing unless the people are yearning for liberty and freedom. If the people don’t care, then the best constitution in the world won’t make any difference. So the spirit of liberty has to be in the population, and then the constitution – first, it should safeguard basic fundamental human rights, like our First Amendment, the right to speak freely, and to publish freely, without the government as a censor.

[...]

You should certainly be aided by all the constitution-writing that has gone one since the end of World War II. I would not look to the US constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012. I might look at the constitution of South Africa. That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, had an independent judiciary… It really is, I think, a great piece of work that was done. Much more recent than the US constitution – Canada has a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It dates from 1982. You would almost certainly look at the European Convention on Human Rights. Yes, why not take advantage of what there is elsewhere in the world?

Obama’s uncivil rights

I had low expectations for the President, but I thought he would be decent on civil rights. Wrong. The Department of Justice has rejected a New York Times Freedom of Information Act request to reveal the basis of a drone attack that killed an American. Lowering the Bar summarizes

Summary:

  • The government dropped a bomb on a U.S. citizen,
  • who, though a total dick and probably a criminal, may have been engaged only in propaganda,
  • which, though despicable, is generally protected by the First Amendment;
  • it did so without a trial or even an indictment (that we know of),
  • based at least in part on evidence it says it has but won’t show anyone,
  • and on a legal argument it has apparently made but won’t show anyone,
  • and the very existence of which it will not confirm or deny;
  • although don’t worry, because the C.I.A. would never kill an American without having somebody do a memo first;
  • and this is the "most transparent administration ever";
  • currently run by a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Merry Christmas!

Why Would Consumers Object to a Policy That Forces Them to Buy Expensive Products They Do Not Want?

Jacob Sullum asks the important questions:

As Nick Gillespie noted last week, the end-of-the-year budget package includes a provision that bars the Obama administration from spending money to enforce new energy-efficiency standards that will have the effect of banning standard incandescent light bulbs. That spending restriction lasts until the end of the fiscal year, and Republican critics of the light bulb ban want to make it permanent. But according to The New York Times, "the delay hardly matters" because "the looming possibility of the new standards…has transformed the industry." As a result, "A host of more efficient products already line store shelves." The Times concedes that "many of the alternatives to incandescent bulbs are more expensive." In fact, all of them are, including compact fluorescent lamps (which cost about six times as much as standard incandescents), halogen bulbs (10 times), the new extra-efficient incandescents (ditto), and LEDs (80 times). Why pay so much more, especially when—as with CFLs, the cheapest alternative—performance may be inferior? Supposedly because you save enough on energy and replacement costs to justify the investment. If so, why not let bulb manufacturers make that case to consumers, who can then decide for themselves?

A noncoercive approach is unacceptable, the Times implies, because consumers are driven by irrational concerns.

Is there any evidence that Obama is that smart?

Victor Davis Hansen opines:

Obama Mythologos

Barack Obama is a myth, our modern version of Pecos Bill or Paul Bunyan. What we were told is true, never had much basis in fact — a fact now increasingly clear as hype gives way to reality.

Brilliant”

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss, on no evidence, once proclaimed Obama “probably the smartest guy ever to become president.” When he thus summed up liberal consensus, was he perhaps referring to academic achievement? Soaring SAT scores? Seminal publications? IQ scores known only to a small Ivy League cloister? Political wizardry?

Who was this Churchillian president so much smarter than the Renaissance man Thomas Jefferson, more astute than a John Adams or James Madison, with more insight than a Lincoln, brighter still than the polymath Teddy Roosevelt, more studious than the bookish Woodrow Wilson, better read than the autodidact Harry Truman?

Consider. Did Obama achieve a B+ average at Columbia? Who knows? (Who will ever know?) But even today’s inflated version of yesteryear’s gentleman Cs would not normally warrant admission to Harvard Law. And once there, did the Law Review editor publish at least one seminal article? Why not?

I ask not because I particularly care about the GPAs or certificates of the president, but only because I am searching for a shred of evidence to substantiate this image of singular intellectual power and known erudition. For now, I don’t see any difference between Bush’s Yale/Harvard MBA record and Obama’s Columbia/Harvard Law record — except Bush, in self-deprecation, laughed at his quite public C+/B- accomplishments that he implied were in line with his occasional gaffes, while Obama has quarantined his transcripts and relied on the media to assert that his own versions of “nucular” moments were not moments of embarrassment at all.

At Chicago, did lecturer Obama write a path-breaking legal article or a book on jurisprudence that warranted the rare tenure offer to a part-time lecturer? (Has that offer ever been extended to others of like stature?) In the Illinois legislature or U.S. Senate, was Obama known as a deeply learned man of the Patrick Moynihan variety? Whether as an undergraduate, law student, lawyer, professor, legislator or senator, Obama was given numerous opportunities to reveal his intellectual weight. Did he ever really? On what basis did Harvard Law Dean Elena Kagan regret that Obama could not be lured to a top billet at Harvard?

That his brilliance is a myth was not just revealed by the weekly lapses (whether phonetic [corpse-man], or cultural [Austria/Germany, the United Kingdom/England, Memorial Day/Veterans Day] or inane [57 states]), but in matters of common sense and basic history. The error-ridden Cairo speech was foolish; the serial appeasement of Iran revealed an ignorance of human nature; a two-minute glance at an etiquette book would have nixed the bowing or the cheap gifts to the UK.