Quick Roundup 348

Monday, July 28, 2008

HR 676 Update

I now know of at least four people who have written letters to the editor to the Houston Chronicle that were critical of the recent meeting about socialized medicine I described last week. Not only did Houston's only newspaper completely fail to cover the event, it has published, to my knowledge, only one letter (by Alex Redgrill) about HR 676, and it was in support. That writer, too, wondered why the "hearing" got no coverage.

That's too bad, because Sylvia Bokor submitted a letter that would serve to boil my lengthy account down to its essentials, most notably the fact that this "hearing" wasn't really one at all.

A "congressional hearing" is meant to find out what citizens think about a given subject. But the July 18 meeting was no hearing. It was a carefully orchestrated power-play presided over by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Congressman John Conyers, Jr., to force socialized medicine down citizens' throats. [bold added]
Read the whole thing, and be glad that newspapers aren't the only way to get news. As Redgrill put it, "I hope that the Chronicle will cover future debates and the cycle of HR 676 in Congress with accuracy and vigor. Our democracy [sic] can survive with nothing less."


Sponsor John Conyers is now trying to add his bill to the Democratic platform. In the meantime, another Democrat is pitching a proposal that will appeal "to conservatives because it preserves the veneer of a 'marketplace' while introducing still more government controls," as Paul Hsieh puts it at We Stand FIRM.

The government did it.

That's the title of Yaron Brook's latest in Forbes, in which he discusses the financial perils of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
For too long, the refrain has gone, Congress and the administration have been asleep at the wheel when they should have been steering the economy by expanding government control over the housing and financial markets. Economist Paul Krugman slams the administration's "free-market ideology"; he urges Bush to "reverse course now" and "seek expanded regulation."

All this overlooks a crucial fact: There has been no free market in housing or finance. Government has long exercised massive control over the housing and financial markets--including its creation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (which have now amassed $5 trillion in liabilities)--leading to many of the problems being blamed on the free market today. [bold added, parenthetical links dropped]
Brook also indicates how a truly free market could have averted this crisis. (HT: Myrhaf)

Another drop in the bucket ...

... of reasons not to support McCain:
"Wall Street is the villain in the things that happened in the subprime lending crisis and other areas where investigations and possible prosecution is going on," McCain said during a taped appearance on ABC's This Week program.

The Arizona Republican, who has wrapped up his party's presidential nomination, said he supports the housing bill passed by Congress yesterday to stem foreclosures and aid Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the largest U.S. mortgage-finance companies, even though it may cost taxpayers as much as $25 billion.


"We should eliminate the pay and bonuses that these people rake in" McCain said. [format edits, bold added]
Yeah. Let's finish the job of decoupling rational effort from reward! And if you don't know what I mean, read the Brooks piece mentioned above.

If this is going to be the man in the bully pulpit for what most people see as the pro-capitalist political party, we're better off having an open socialist in office so such foolishness gets the label it deserves.

Too Cuil to Google?

Via Matt Drudge, I learned of a new search engine that some former Google employees recently launched. Of course, I immediately googled myself -- I mean, looked for myself with Cuil. It does pass the crucial test of providing results for searches of "Gus Van Horn", so I've taken a mental note to try this the next time I come up empty with Google. If Cuil really is better, that's the time to try it, right?

I am otherwise lukewarm. The search results are presented in a multi-columnar format cluttered with images not necessarily found on the pages. I find that distracting. Just give me a list free of cognitive clutter, please.

And while I'm on the subject of search engines, a commenter recently put in a plug for GoodSearch. The links to GoodSearch I have on my sidebar and here are set up to donate to the Ayn Rand Institute each time they're used.

In Other Words, TWO Debates

Glenn Reynolds accidentally comes very close to nailing what's wrong with the global warming debate:
I dunno. But maybe we should figure this out before we turn our economy upside down?
Were we -- properly -- discussing the issues of whether there is warming and whether the government ought to do anything about it, the scientists would be discussing whether the climate is warming and why, and the government would enter the picture at all only if overwhelming evidence came to light that identifiable individuals were demonstrably harming others by their actions. And the level of harm would have to be on a level comparable to, say, poisoning a well through negligently dumping poison. And the remedies would not involve massive government violations of individual rights, such as those that will, "turn our economy upside down".

In short, this scientific debate should not even be a blip on the political radar.

Instead, since everyone agrees that the government exists to issue orders rather than protect our freedom to act on our own judgement, we're on the threshold of self-imposed economic ruin, not to mention tyranny.

-- CAV

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