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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Learning to tell the truth about immigration reform.

Did anyone notice who brought that case to have one of the Arizona immigration enforcement statutes declared unconstitutional?  It was the U. S. Chamber of Commerce.  The case name is Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting.  In that case the Chamber of Commerce is allied with various civil rights organizations in seeking to have that statute overturned. The alliances in that case reveal some truths about illegal immigration that a lot of people don't want to face.  It is time that we start to explore those truths.  First, is the truth that certain employers like illegal immigration.  It gives them a ready and willing labor force that tends not to cause trouble and is willing to accept substandard conditions. Civil Rights organizations like them because they eventually vote for Democrats and they form a large client base for the government funded programs that liberals love-- WIC, foodstamps, welfare and so on.  While the illegal immigrants can't legally vote, their children born here eventually can. And they will tend to vote Democrat.  They provide children who keep school teachers, social workers and endless numbers of bureaucrats employed in jobs that pay well.

 The second ugly truth has to do with the state of the American labor force.  Employers argue that immigrants do jobs that American workers refuse to do.  When you look at unemployment statistics that seems like an absurd argument.  Unemployment is at record high rates throughout the country.  Surely, some well meaning people argue, Americans would rather do these jobs than be unemployed.  But if you naively think that, you are wrong.  In California, for example, a person may receive unemployment insurance benefits even if he or she limits herself or himself to looking for jobs in his or her usual occupation.  Take a look at precedent benefits decision 173 in which an Executive Secretary refused to look for or accept jobs that were not on the executive secretary level.  It is an old decision but still good law.  Unemployed workers can continue to receive benefits even if they refuse to change their occupation to one in which there are jobs available and even if they refuse to move to where the jobs are.  Now the truth is that most unemployed American workers were earning more than minimum wage in jobs other than chicken packing plants, field agricultural labor and other types of jobs most often filled by illegal immigrants.  A kind of snobbery has developed where it is more acceptable to be receiving unemployment insurance than it is to work at a low level job.  Almost by definition when illegal immigrants make up the majority of people doing a job, American citizens don't want to do it anymore.  I challenge you to find American citizens in Los Angeles who are willing to clean your house, though it pays 10-12 dollars per hour or mow your lawn, which also pays 10-12 dollars per hour.  So long as people can receive up to two years of benefits while refusing to even investigate such opportunities we will have both a high unemployment rate and hundreds of thousands of people trying to sneak into this country and take those jobs.  Our unemployment insurance system fails to recognize economic reality-- markets, including labor markets are constantly changing.  8 track tapes have disappeared and CD's seem to be heading in that direction.  So the people who specialize in such technologies, as an example, will be permanently unemployed unless they are willing to change their occupations.  But we have a system that pays them not to be willing.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Right View from the Left Coast: Why Sarah Palin Must Run For President

Right View from the Left Coast: Why Sarah Palin Must Run For President: "All the signs are beginning to point to it. So I will lay out the case as to why the former Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, must run for the ..."

I truly believe that there are a bunch of people in some room somewhere who are paid to post the same old drivel about Sarah Palin in order to discourage conservatives. The reason I believe that is that I see the same old drivel again and again. She's a quitter, they say. Here's reality, one of several Obama agents in Alaska was filing an ethics charge every time she opened her front door. (Claiming, for example, that she was using her office for political gain because she was photographed wearing a jacket with the manufacturer's logo on it.) The purpose of those frivolous charges was to keep her in Alaska. Those who are looking for some hidden reason for her quitting will look in vain. We now know what her plans were for 2010. She could not have carried out those plans as governor of Alaska with all of those people filing charges everytime she left the state. Her decision to quit shows that she has that rarest of all qualities in a politician-- she is a realist. She decided to take the hit early rather than let the left pen her up in Alaska. That decision, in retrospect, appears to have been a difficult, but wise decision. I respect that in a leader.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

What Would a Palin Campaign Look Like?

Those who tell us Palin isn't really running base their speculation on their  view that she hasn't done the necessary things to run a campaign.  Their view is based on the idea that the only way to run a campaign is to hire consultants, meet with power brokers in various states, and build a campaign structure from the top down.  There is the possibility that Palin is, by now, very familiar with that style of campaigning and doesn't think it works.  It didn't work for McCain/Palin.  It didn't work here in California for either Meg Whitman or Carly Fiorina.    I am guessing that  a Palin presidential campaign will look very different from traditional campaigns.  Palin now has the benefit of having seen a lot of campaigns nationwide and has been material in turning a lot of expectations upside down.  She, more than any other GOP campaigner knows how to use the internet.

The internet allows her to communicate directly with her supporters and get her message out to the doubters.  If you want to know what Sarah Palin thinks about an issue, you don't even have to buy her books.  You can go to her Facebook page.  If you want to see her in action you can go to Palin TV.

While other potential presidential candidates are building the traditional top down structures, Palin is building a bottoms up structure on the internet.  Palin's Facebook page has more than two million eight hundred thousand "likes".  Mitt Romney's has a little over eight hundred thousand.  Each one of those "likes" is a potential campaign donor and precinct walker.

And speaking of campaign donors, some have noted that Palin has not lined up any of the traditional big money people.  That may be true.  But does she really need to?  Scott Brown raised a million dollars in one day  over the internet after conservative bloggers, AND Sarah Palin,  asked for donations for him.   Christine O'Donnell did the same the day after Karl Rove trashed her on Fox TV. Specifically, Rove pointed out that O'Donnell didn't have any money to run a campaign.   It was as if teapartiers were saying "take that" to Rove and all of the beltway elites.  If just her current Facebook friends like Palin enough to contribute $250.00 to her campaign she will be able to raise over 700 million dollars.  Do the math.  And keep in mind, the cost of raising that money, both in money and time, is close to zero.  No time consuming  expensive $2000 a plate fancy dinners.  No exclusive donor bundling cocktail parties.  If and when Palin announces, there will be a huge flow of cash to her for her campaign from her loyal followers who number in the millions.

What the beltway elites do not understand about Palin and her followers is that they are all issues people.  People don't "heart" Sarah Palin because she is pretty, although she is, or because she has charisma, although she does.  They love Palin because she is right on the issues.  And they love Palin because she is a mama grizzly.  She stands up and fights back.  We have been waiting for someone just like her for a long time.   Someone who takes the right stands on the issues and isn't afraid to say so.  Someone who doesn't apologize.

Most Americans agree with Palin on most of the important issues.  She is for expanding our domestic production of energy, so are most Americans.  She is for cutting the budget, so are most Americans.  She is against Obamacare.  So are most Americans.  She is pro-life.  More Americans support her position than the pro-abortion position.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board paid her the high compliment of saying that she had a better understanding of the economy than any other GOP candidate, when she came out and opposed QE 2 (the Federal Reserve Board's recent action of pumping 600 billion dollars of funny money into the economy).  As she predicted, we have now seen rampant inflation, particularly in gas prices and food prices, two of the necessities for living in a modern economy.

And though no big name has said it, Palin clearly knows more about and understands energy better than any other GOP candidate.  And, even more important, understands the clear connection between foreign policy and energy policy.

Lastly, Sarah Palin is a friend of Israel.  So are most Americans. That issue is not important only to Jews.  It is important to many evangelical Christians as well and to all people who truly understand the holocaust and who support human rights.

Being right on the issues is not enough.  A candidate also has to have the trust of the electorate.  The undefined, non card carrying "members" of the tea party, trust Sarah Palin because they saw her endorse dozens of conservative candidates and work for them in 2010.  They look at her records as mayor, oil commissioner and governor and they see a woman of integrity and honesty who is not beholden to  any elite group of power brokers.

It is because these issues are so important to so many ordinary, average, middle class people,  and, because they trust her, that millions of them will open their  checkbooks and put on their walking shoes to work for Palin.  That kind of army on the ground cannot be created overnight.  Palin has been working on it for two years now.

Unlike Obama supporters who have little real knowledge of the issues, most Palin supporters will be all about issues.

Because the American people agree with Palin on the issues, more than they agree with any other GOP candidate or Obama, her opponents will probably rely on their ongoing campaign and smears, most of which are  pure fabrications like the claim that she is not the mother of her own child.  They have thrown so many charges at her so many times that she is well prepared for this nonsense, unlike Mc Cain who was used to being adored by the press.  And she fights back against the smears, unlike Mc Cain and Bush and nearly every other GOP contender.  Her supporters like that.

Like a patient chess player, Palin has been putting the pieces of her campaign together, little by little, piece by piece over the last two years.  For example, among the successful candidates she endorsed are Governor Terry Branstead in Iowa,  Senator Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire and Governor Nikki Haley in South Carolina.  Will they endorse her?  We may find out in the next year.  She has been building her foreign policy credentials with her trip to India and Israel.  She has spoken out on important public issues like Libya and QE2  and the Tucson smear against conservatives when other Republicans were silent.

We are in a preparatory period where the logistics of a campaign are being developed.  Palin, if she is planning a campaign, is planning a different campaign than any seen before in presidential politics.  It will be a populist campaign not a publicists campaign.  It will be about issues, not personalities.  And there are literally millions of people just waiting for the chance to help.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Run, Sarah, Run-- Why I Support Palin for President

These are the reasons I support Sarah Palin for President.

She is for free enterprise, personal responsibility, pro-life, a muscular foreign policy to protect U. S. interests and a defender of Israel.  These are all positions that I support.  She is against Obamacare, crony capitalism, governmental favoritism.  Again, all positions I support.  Being right on the issues is of supreme importance in picking a candidate.  To borrow from Obama's tired car analogy, there is no point in hopping on a bus that is not going in the direction you want to go.  If I want to go to, say, San Diego, would I choose the old beat up bus that is going to San Diego or the new shiny air conditioned one that is going to San Francisco.  Anyone who doesn't know the answer to that question needs to have his or her head examined.  I am not suggesting that Palin is an old beat up bus.  I am saying that her position on the issues is more important than her resume, her polling, her education or her glibness in answering meaningless questions.    I am not going to support the guy with the experience when his experience is in setting up a state run health care system.

For those who question her position on the issues, I say, go read her Facebook entries.  It is all there to see.


Sarah Palin doesn't back down.  She stood up to the mainstream media, not only for herself, but for all conservatives after the attack by the MSM on all of us after the Tucson shootings.   Contrary to the characterization of that speech by the MSM, it was not about her, it was about conservatives who were being blamed for the shootings.  She was alone among the potential Republican nominees in seeing the attacks as a first amendment issue.    Her speech, released just before Obama's speech, pushed Obama into a conciliatory speech.  I believe that was not what was planned based on the  rah rah accoutrements laid out at the speech-- tee shirts and signs that say "together we thrive", cheering and so on.  When was the last time they gave you a tee shirt and created a slogan at a memorial service you attended?

But that isn't the only time she has fought back.  She coined the term "death panels" and it stuck so well that even the left is beginning to use the term.   She took on David Letterman's suggestion that a baseball player was having sex with her daughter and she called out false statements about her and her family again and again.  I not only admire that.  I agree with her that it is necessary.  It was a great failing of the Bush presidency that neither he nor any of those close to him took on the press.  Palin has proved that when you take them on, they may hate you, but they watch themselves for awhile.


Every once in a while, while promoting huge subsidies for so-called green energy, one or another politician will nod toward not having to buy more foreign oil, but Sarah is the only one who consistently understands that a) we have plenty of natural resources if we would only use them and b) that will enable us to deprive the foreign dictators and demagogues who hate us of the money that makes their hatred dangerous to us and to our allies.


This is probably why so many liberal women hate her.  They can't challenge her the way they can challenge male pro-life politicians.  That is, they can't suggest to her that her thoughts on the subject would be different if she were the one who had to carry the baby.  She was the one.  And she did it.  And she isn't ashamed.  To be truthful, I find the love that she and Todd have for Trig positively inspiring.  It makes me look at developmentally disabled people differently, recognizing my own tendency to judge people based on I Q and other characteristics.  It challenges me to see the value in every life.


Many people are afraid to admit that they need to look to others for advice.  Palin isn't.  When she decided to do something about the oil companies in Alaska, she got together a panel of experts and actually listened to them.  The ACES system was the result and the reason that Alaska is now one of the few states that has a budget surplus.


She cut the budget in Alaska.  She had the courage to turn down federal grants whose attached strings would cost the state money in the long run.  She helped convert the public employee pension fund to a defined contribution rather than a defined benefit plan.  We need a fiscal conservative at the head of the federal government if we are to turn our economic ship around.  She supported the Paul Ryan roadmap for solving our financial problems.  She opposed the QE2 pump priming when the Federal ReserveBank pumped 600 billion dollars in funny money into the economy, thus causing the inflation we see now. At the time Palin opposed the QE2 action, the Wall Street Journal said about her that

"Misguided monetary policy can ruin an Administration as thoroughly as higher taxes and destructive regulation, and the new GOP majority in the House and especially the next GOP President need to be alert to the dangers. Mrs. Palin is way ahead of her potential Presidential competitors on this policy point, and she shows a talent for putting a technical subject in language that average Americans can understand."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What Conservatives Believe Part 2

Conservatives believe in personal responsibility.  By that we mean that you, and I are responsible for what we do and don't  do and the forseeable consequences.  And we believe that other people should be responsible as well.  We think once we are adults, we are responsible to take care of ourselves and our families.  We think adults, for the most part, should bear the consequences of their own actions.  And we see this as almost a law of nature.  When you transfer consequences and let people off from what should be their responsibility, no good comes of it.  It encourages laziness and immaturity, thoughtlessness, and, as a result, bad consequences.  When people are lead perpetually to believe that they are not responsible for improving and maintaining themselves, they tend to do bad things or become dependent blobs.  In fact, to a conservative, the willingness to take responsibility for your life, the good and the bad, warts and all, is a mark of maturity.

We think that getting someone else to donate to a charity, or voting for a Democrat doesn't make you or me generous.  It is only the act of taking money out of our own pockets that entitles us to think of ourselves as generous.  It is this attitude that accounts for the fact that conservatives give a higher percentage of their income than liberals to charities.  Conservatives do not count government programs as part of their generosity.

In my observation, there are a lot of people who vote Democratic who believe in personal responsibility too.  For the most part, they haven't figured out yet that they are really conservative.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

What Conservatives Believe. Part 1

These days being a conservative must be, well, sorta trendy.  Even people like David Frum claim to be conservative. Some of them, like Christopher  Buckley, son of the famous William,  nevertheless  vote for Democrats.  But they say they are conservative.  In my book Frum is a moderate, neither conservative nor liberal and Buckley is, well, a spoiled son of a famous father.

So, I think it is up to people who actually vote for and contribute to conservative officials to  define conservatism.  To me the primary uniting issue of conservatives is a belief in freedom.  Catch you by surprise?  You maybe thought I was going to say capitalism?  No.  Freedom.  Freedom means the freedom to do whatever you want for whatever reason you want so long as you are not doing real harm to others.  True freedom, however, also requires that you suffer the consequences of your actions.  To those who want to smoke cigarettes I say, go ahead but don't ask me to pay for your lung transplant.

Real freedom can only exist where certain conditions come together.  Capitalism is a necessary prerequisite for a free society, but it is not a sufficient condition.  You can have crony capitalism where the means of production are privately owned but the government interferes so much in the market that only favored corporations and individuals are allowed to benefit from the economy.  That is what you have in many third world countries where the establishment elites run the government in such a way that no competitors are ever allowed to spring up.  (See Hernando De Soto's "The Mystery of Capital")  We seem to be headed in that direction in this country as well.

Free markets are an important corollary of a free society.  Free markets allow individuals to follow their dreams.  Two guys can start an ice cream store in Vermont based on the idea of making really good natural ice cream, limiting their profits and treating their employees well.

With free markets the consumer rather than the government decides if the business should be allowed to live and thrive.  Every time you, Mr. or Ms. consumer, spend money you are voting for the success of a business.  And when you don't buy things you are voting also.  Sometimes consumers make what are , to me, infuriating choices, like buying tickets to movies starring Julia Roberts.  But so long as it is not my money, I say, go right ahead.

I think free markets are a basic premise of real conservatism.  And as we all know, at least in the abstract, freedom includes the right to make choices other people don't approve of.

Free markets, do not, as many liberals believe, require that people place making money ahead of other values.  Quite the contrary, because consumers rule in a free market, free markets rarely reward people who are only chasing the almighty dollar.  Ask yourself this question-- are you going to take your car to be repaired at the mechanic who loves cars and likes to make them run or to the mechanic who is only looking to make as much money as he can off of you?  To the extent we can figure out what is going on we consumers tend to take our money to people who have a vision and a love of what they are doing and trying to sell that vision or product that they love to us.  That's why the two guys from Vermont have been so successful even 'though their ice cream costs more.

I recently read a blog written by a self -identified conservative who said we don't have a right to buy fast food.  I beg to differ.  Here are the 9th and 10th amendments to the constitution.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

The Tenth Amendment says it all.  If the constitution does not specifically give the government the power to regulate something, it doesn't have the power.  Nowhere in the constitution is the government given the right to regulate what I eat.  So, yes, I do have the right to eat fast food.  That's one of those powers that is reserved to me the people.  And, Ms. Blogger, whether or not I choose to exercise that right is between me and McDonald's.  People who know me know that if McDonald's had to rely on me for its success it would be out of business.  I rarely eat there.  I don't like their food.  But that isn't the point.  The point is that it is up to me and millions of other consumers to decide, not the government.
In psychology, this discussion would be a discussion about boundaries.  That is, about who makes decisions for you and others. The big point there is you make decisions for you and other people make decisions for themselves.  So if your mom comes into the kitchen of you, her adult child, and starts throwing out the food you have bought with your own money because you like it, then she has way overstepped her boundaries.  You are an adult.  You get to decide what you will eat.  Well just substitute the government for your mom and you will understand what I am trying to communicate.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Old White Men's Club

George Will  devastates Mike Huckabee as a presidential candidate because of his badly informed discussion of Obama's fictional Kenyan childhood.  Will then as says there are only 5 "plausible" Republican nominees for president in 2012 and includes in that list John Huntsman, a former senator and current Obama appointee as ambassador to China, a man who has said he is not going to run and whose name is not recognized by about 90 percent of the potential voters.  But like the story of the dog that didn't bark, the real story here is who ISN'T on the list.  One former governor, Sarah Palin.  He just can't bring himself to believe that a girl can run for president.   Especially a girl who got into that position on her own efforts and not those of her husband, (although in fairness, from what I read of Alaska, being married to the 4 time Iron Dog winner was probably a help).

The cocktail party Republicans, of whom George Will is one, just can't take a girl seriously.  And no, they really can't see her as a serious adult.  They rarely  address the correctness of her positions.  They would be hard put to do so because they agree with most of them. Last November the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board opined that  "Mrs. Palin also exhibited a more sophisticated knowledge of monetary policy than any major Republican this side of Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan.".  Hello, George. Does that make a person a "serious" player?  

There are those who will argue that Sarah Palin herself didn't write the opinion piece to which The WSJ referred.  That argument would be entirely pointless.  I don't know the answer to the implied question but I do know that she put her name on it.  A POTUS rarely "writes" everything he says.  But he does choose the people who write it and the advisers he, or in this case she, listens to.  Palin's instincts on the issues have been better than every man listed in Will's list. 

The argument that she has high negatives has no more traction than the argument that nobody knows the name John Huntsman.  Meaning, yes, it has some traction but it can be changed.  Boys, boys, get over your innate sexism and grow up.  Sometimes the best man for the job is a woman.