The New Clarion

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All You Can Eat Buffett

By Bill Brown · May 20th, 2012 9:01 pm · 1 Comment

“This is bad, it’s wrong, and it’s immoral. And somebody needs to say that.” Somebody did.

Making It Worth Their While to Stick Around

By Bill Brown · May 17th, 2012 8:48 pm · 2 Comments

What’s the difference in principle between physically preventing your citizens from leaving, taking hostages to keep them around, and robbing them blind to give them second thoughts?

Next thing you know we’ll be needing papers to travel.

Tired of Tired Arguments

By Bill Brown · May 16th, 2012 11:46 pm · 7 Comments

“Rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small,” says venture capitalist Nick Hanauer in a recent TED talk. His speech has gone viral in social media because Hanauer is a hipper version of Warren Buffet—he’s saying the same things but he invests in Amazon.com not GEICO.

The speech is light on details, but it’s actually an abridged version of an editorial he penned late last year. Both versions focus on the “rich getting richer” and how the key to making America great again is to just siphon off a small piece of their wealth—heck they won’t even notice it—and invest in the middle class.

The middle class, he claims, are the “real” job creators in the economy. How’s that? Because they’re the largest and highest-spending consumers. Businesses, after all, can’t have any revenue unless someone gives it to them. And that someone is most likely to come from the middle class.

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Review of Give Us Liberty

By Bill Brown · August 28th, 2010 10:10 pm · 23 Comments

Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto

The Tea Party movement represents the best hope of halting the federal Leviathan. We have written many words on the subject. In fact, several of us have participated in events for the first time in our lives. However, the whole affair elicits trepidation and pause. While a lot of the slogans, statements, and views are refreshing and spot on, a popular movement attracts those who would get out in front of it and use it to achieve real power.

Its decentralized nature is a blessing and a curse. The lack of central leadership means that no one person or group controls the message; its fractious nature engenders distrust of anyone who would try to do so. In a way, this makes the tea party a marketplace of ideas: the best ones garner the support and crackpots get shunted to the periphery. But with this dispersion comes the risk of a tent too open, unprincipled and unable to advance its ends effectively. The tea party movement rallied in support of Scott Brown’s election to the Senate to replace the late Ted Kennedy. He scared the dickens out of the Administration because he could play a pivotal role in blocking their agenda. But he’s already playing politics as usual, and displaying his superficial support for limited government. These sorts of hollow victories will continue to plague the tea party movement until and unless it firms up its core set of principles.

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Savagery

By Bill Brown · July 9th, 2010 11:00 am · 3 Comments

Terry Savage, in a column on a lemonade stand encounter, argues that this experience “sum up what’s wrong with U.S.” I would suggest that she’s correct in her evaluation but dead wrong in the source of her consternation.

The children running the lemonade stand in question were giving away their product for free to all comers. Savage, flush with indignation, contradicts her companion’s statement that this represented the “spirit of giving”:

“No!” I exclaimed from the back seat. “That’s not the spirit of giving. You can only really give when you give something you own. They’re giving away their parents’ things—the lemonade, cups, candy. It’s not theirs to give.”

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Charter Schools Are a Menace

By Bill Brown · July 9th, 2010 12:05 am · 4 Comments

Bill Gates is the Andrew Carnegie of our era. Like him, Bill Gates generated incredible wealth by creating a company singularly driven to be the best in its industry but gradually came to agree with his detractors. And by the time he stepped down as a leader, he had committed himself to spending the rest of his life making up for his honestly-earned success. His acceptance of altruism in the midst of pursuing his own selfish values blinded him to the possibilities of economic freedom.

Most recently, he told {via} a charter school trade conference that they represented “the only place innovation will come from.” (more…)

Knee Jerks

By Bill Brown · April 22nd, 2010 9:47 am · 3 Comments

Today’s cartoon by Eric Allie is apt as usual:

Rights of Way

By Bill Brown · February 27th, 2010 5:00 am · 3 Comments

As a historian, it irritates me when people cite historical evidence after a superficial Internet search (or, worse yet, treat Wikipedia as a primary source). Matthew Yglesias—I know, I know, I may as well be reading Krugman—today argues that opposition to mass transit stems at its root from jingoism. This is a familiar refrain and fallback position for the left when they can detect no traces of racism. To support his notion that publicly-funded mass transit is American, he looks to our history in an attempt to showcase his straw men’s hypocrisy.

He discovers that the biggest subways are in non-European cities and that most of the prominent rapid transit systems are domestic. A commenter helpfully added further support:

Here’s a postcard from live free or die New Hampshire, circa 1877. And, oh no — Socialism!

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A Matter of Time

By Bill Brown · February 9th, 2010 6:07 am · 2 Comments

Joe Romm may think this is the worst Super Bowl commercial {via} ever, but I have to disagree:

I believe that Audi intended it as a caricature: the only difference is that there is not yet an actual police force dedicated to environmental law enforcement at such a visible level. The absurd, petty laws from the commercial actually exist and the intrusiveness of the movement is incredible. (Looks like I’m not the only one that’s noticed the parallels.)

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What a World

By Bill Brown · January 19th, 2010 11:14 pm · 8 Comments

In my darker moments, when my view of the future dims at the latest “hell in a hand basket” news story, I worry about the sort of a world my children will grow up into. We strive to foster in them an abiding sense of curiosity and wonder about the world. We raise them as independent, ambitious little girls and boy. But all around us we see parents who coddle their children, turning them into wilting violets or, alternatively, domineering masters of their households. By all accounts, my kids should have an incredible advantage in whatever they choose to do with their lives. Knowing themselves and letting reality be their guide, the world should be open to whatever they dare to dream.

Then I read something like this story out of San Diego and I feel like I am setting them up for a life of strife, struggle, and obstacles. There will always be some petty bureaucrat or administrator who will try to stub out their spirit when they show some spark or initiative. This little boy, who committed a “crime” but without “criminal intent,” had to surrender his innocent science project to a bomb squad while he and his fellow students were first put in lockdown and then evacuated. I’m sure he won’t make that “mistake” again.

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The Trick

By Bill Brown · December 6th, 2009 6:57 pm · 1 Comment

Here’s a lighter take on Climategate:

Opening the Climategates

By Bill Brown · December 4th, 2009 10:28 am · 13 Comments


The release of previously-sequestered emails, documents, and program code offered confirmation of what many anthropogenic global warming (AGW) skeptics always suspected: the politicization of climate science had utterly corrupted the findings. Those findings, viz. that global warming was taking place and that man’s actions had brought it about, formed the basis for broad international agreements like the Kyoto Protocol and the Bali Accord. The upcoming Copenhagen conference was intended to be the venue where the “alarms” were finally answered and the developed world was going to commence the sacrifices necessary to atone for their development.

But the emails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in England have cast unavoidable doubts as to the legitimacy of the long-heralded consensus that had found the science to be “settled.” World leaders, when they weren’t feigning ignorance of the controversy, began to backpedal from commitments due to the groundswell of grassroots outrage.
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Gamesmanship

By Bill Brown · November 23rd, 2009 10:54 pm · 2 Comments

This is the “public option” that statists and those in government want you to see:

This is the “public option” as it really is:

The Nag in Chief

By Bill Brown · September 7th, 2009 4:15 pm · 9 Comments

With two children in public-school Kindergarten, I was very concerned about Tuesday’s speech by President Obama to all public school students from pre-Kindergarten to sixth grade. It wasn’t so much that I thought my two girls would become Obamatons—my concern was more along the lines of the precedent being established.

Any speech suitable for delivery to such a wide range of ages is likely to be little more than rah-rah cheerleading about staying in school. [UPDATE: That is exactly what it turned out to be.] But this sort of thing always starts out innocuously; next thing you know kids are writing out pledges to Obama that they’ll stay in school and there’s a weekly address to them. The whole thing reeks of the “cult of personality” that has encircled Obama since he announced his candidacy. I guarantee that he would not exercise subsequent restraint, it’s just not in his nature.

But the left rightly points out that Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush made such a speech once each and there wasn’t a groundswell of opposition. Leaving aside the fact that most parents of school-age children now were school-age children themselves back then (a salient point that they conveniently ignore), they see only one possible explanation for the current backlash: the president’s race.

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Intermission

By Bill Brown · September 1st, 2009 8:06 pm · 3 Comments

Below is a lighthearted parody that cracked me up:

What We’re In For

By Bill Brown · August 26th, 2009 6:49 am · 1 Comment

“The babies born in hospital corridors: Bed shortage forces 4,000 mothers to give birth in lifts, offices and hospital toilets”:

Tory health spokesman Andrew Lansley, who obtained the figures, said Labour had cut maternity beds by 2,340, or 22 per cent, since 1997. At the same time birth rates have been rising sharply – up 20 per cent in some areas.

“Man collapses with ruptured appendix… three weeks after NHS doctors ‘took it out'”:

“However, we would like to apologise if Mr Wattson felt dissatisfied with the care he received at Great Western Hospital.”

Paul Krugman, hack and Nobel Prize (debased) winner, recently said:

In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false. (emphasis mine)

The thing that I fear most about our turn to fascist medicine is not that these horror stories will come hear (though I do fear that plenty), but that the individual mandate will leave me and my family nowhere to turn to avoid this living hell.

The “public option” is bad and will tend to crowd out private insurance, especially if Wal-Mart puts millions on the rolls in one fell swoop. It’s terrible and a wanton violation of individual rights both in the service side and the expropriation end. But our health care system has “survived” Medicare, Medicaid, and the countless regulations that they have imposed.

I have great insurance presently. If I am forced to participate in the government health care system, my family’s quality of life will demonstrably suffer. And should bad things happen, my safety net of trusted doctors, advanced hospitals, and reasonable out-of-pocket expenses will evaporate. This is a life-or-death issue for me.

We Arizonans had a chance last election to create a state’s rights trial balloon that could have potentially nullified the whole endeavor. It was narrowly defeated and thankfully the state legislature has put it up for another statewide referendum in 2010.

A far better challenge to these infringements on our freedoms would be the Ninth Amendment but I’ll take what I can get. I just hope that 2010 is not too late.

The Wynand Grocer

By Bill Brown · August 17th, 2009 7:00 am · 10 Comments

I just finished listening to The Fountainhead on audiobook and a lot of the opinions expressed by the execrable characters rang hollow to my ears. Maybe it’s the people I deal with or the blogs I read, but I just don’t hear people saying things so explicitly—the altruism and collectivism I encounter is subtle.

Then I read this article about the reaction to the Whole Foods CEO’s recent editorial in The Wall Street Journal about establishing a free(r) market in health care. The following quotes could have come from straight from the Council of American Grocers:

Christine Taylor, a 34-year-old New Jersey shopper, vowed never to step foot in another Whole Foods again.

“I will no longer be shopping at Whole Foods,” Taylor told ABCNews.com. “I think a CEO should take care that if he speaks about politics, that his beliefs reflect at least the majority of his clients.”

And:

A commenter on the Whole Foods forum, identified only by his handle, “PracticePreach,” wrote, “It is an absolute slap in the face to the millions of progressive-minded consumers that have made [Whole Foods] what it is today.”

“You should know who butters your hearth-baked bread, John,” wrote the commenter. “Last time I checked it wasn’t the insurance industry conservatives who made you a millionaire a hundred times over.”

In these parasites’ view, Whole Foods was running a sale: buy organic produce and get John Mackey’s soul free. While sympathetic to his position and plight, I am not entirely sure what Mackey was expecting the reaction to be since his business caters primarily to leftist, environmentalist types with a predilection for government action and a general hostility to business. His customers gave him the means to a prominent pulpit but only inasmuch as he will spout their beliefs. They simply will not tolerate heterodoxy and he will lose business over this.

(If we start seeing buttons reading “We Don’t Buy Whole Foods” or discover that his CFO has stealthily been hiring socialists for key positions within the company, I’ll know that Mackey’s capitulation is near.)

Review of Meltdown

By Bill Brown · July 31st, 2009 5:42 am · 25 Comments


As a historian, I am all too familiar with the dangers of placing too much stock in contemporaneous sources. Present events and actions attract the most attention, leading to a myopic search for explanation. Causation is best determined from afar since the historian has a diverse group of hypotheses from which to choose and can evaluate subsequent events for corroboration. But one cannot fully discount contemporary analysis; it offers up a rich source for facts and, uncommonly, spot-on assessments. With this trepidation, I cautiously read Thomas Woods Jr.’s 2009 book Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse. Woods, an Austrian economist with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, sought to present an alternative to the previous and current administrations’ indictment of the free market on the charge of causing the present economic predicament.

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Love of Country

By Bill Brown · July 4th, 2009 10:51 am · Comments Off

I could write a paean to America today. I could discuss the exceptional nature of the United States in a world fraught with tyranny and force or lament the unheeded wisdom of the Founding Fathers in this trying time. Those are the things that politicians around the country will be doing today, co-opting the occasion in the verbal equivalent of a flag lapel pin.

But I won’t. To me, the Fourth of July is like Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Day: a day when everyone celebrates something they should be doing year-round but aren’t. Reserving your energies and efforts to honor your values for a single day every year is actually a moral travesty. America is the greatest nation on earth and has been since its inception 233 years ago.

We here at The New Clarion love America. And we show that love (almost) daily when we chronicle and expose the distance we as a nation have strayed from where we ought to be. It is right and just to be patriotic for the United States and there’s no reason to limit it to just one day a year.

Climate Change Truth

By Bill Brown · June 29th, 2009 8:00 am · 16 Comments

A senior EPA scientist was rebuffed after trying to distribute a report expressing doubts about a pending global warming policy. He was told that it would not be released since it might jeopardize the policy, the Competitive Enterprise Institute has discovered. The author took the EPA to task for relying on outdated research and for relying on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It was a last-minute attempt to inject some caution into the incautious process by which the EPA was going to officially declare carbon dioxide a pollutant. After an online blizzard of indignation curiously absent from the media, he was relieved of all climate-related duties and advised to get an attorney.

A polar bear expert was told that he wasn’t welcome at a meeting of the Polar Bear Specialist Group because he has argued repeatedly that polar bear populations are actually increasing. The chairman of the group explicitly stated that his views “counter to human-induced climate change are extremely unhelpful.” He had obtained funds to travel to the meeting but the members of the group voted down his attendance in spite of his unassailable expertise.

These two recent episodes are but the latest in a long series of denying dissent by the proponents of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Spend any time online researching global warming and you’ll quickly discover countless more examples of earnest dissenters citing a laundry list of reasons to doubt only to be derided as “deniers” and shouted down until they leave. The pattern plays out time and again. What the EPA scientist, the polar bear researcher, and these online denizens fail to realize is that the truth is utterly irrelevant to AGW advocates.

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