Thursday, July 15, 2010

Words that Shut Down the Mind:- Vemes

I heard on a local radio station this morning a horrible fall into the informal fallacy of hasty generalization. Apparently, there was a woman at a Tea Party rally portraying some racist message. So, hmmmm.  Woman is racist. Woman is at Tea Party Rally. Ergo, went the implied argument, all those at Tea Party Rallies are Racist? Of course, the radio commentators didn't actually say that as a statement. It was in the for of the accusatory question, "So, Tea Baggers AREN'T Racist, huh? She can wear a monkey suit and say Obama go back to Kenya, but Tea Baggers aren't Racist?" 

Here is the fallacy laid out:

X is a Y.

X is a Z.
Therefore, All Y's are Z's.

It made me angry to hear such argumentation, knowing that it would be accepted as gospel just given the emotive well poison (also an informal fallacy).

In Philosophy, we used to use this term "being charitable." This meant, you didn't take an argument or point of view and attack its weakest element. You attack the argument at its strongest. If the opponent proposes an argument, and needs the gaps filled in a little bit logically, or with examples, you even help supply them. THEN you attack that point of view with everything you have. While this is NOT the way to win a tactical position on a battlefield, it IS a good way to show that, even given the BEST that an opponent has, their position is still faulty.

This charitableness is not done in politics either, unfortunately. But perhaps it could be.

Take the position of the morning radio folks who get upset at racist elements in political groups. OK, a fair assessment. But take the same medicine yourself. If one opposes me, and proposes a solution for my group, take the same one for your own. For example, the NAACP enjoys attacking any opponent with the "R" word. Yet, that same accusation can easily be leveled at some of their own members... 


Jeremia Wright:

"Black Africans do not control the economic systems, the military or have control over the resources (the diamonds, the oil and the natural resources that were stolen by the whites who took over South Africa), and until that changes, white supremacy will still be in charge!"
Al Sharpton:

"White folks was in caves while we was building empires. We taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it."
- Kean College speech, 1994

There are enough citations here to make the point.

New Black Panthers:

I do not include a single quote here - just the links to Wikipedia and the NBPP's own "Mission" page. That should pretty much cover it. 

Louis Farrakhan:

Again, no need for a single quote here - just the links to Wikipedia and and a couple others. 

Jesse Jackson:

There are a few choice words in here, from Jackson - read for yourself.

If you need to hate, that's your deal. Just know that when you accuse someone else of a racism using argumentative methods that can be leveled back at you equally, your arguments lose all credibility. 

The NAACP has done a good job historically of helping, REALLY helping, the cause of egalitarianism in this country with regards to black people. But there are plenty of people who are part of the group, or to whom the group has given public nods, that are easily racist as well. To say that the NAACP is a racist organization, however, is a fallacy, one which I will not knowingly commit.

But all of this brings up a sociologial issue with memetic conditioning. Historically, there seem to have been one or more words that can shut down conversation, shut down thinking, allow someone to be instantly guilty merely by those words being directed at them, regardless of evidence or logic or truth. I will term these words "Villain Memes," or "Vemes." The practice of "Vemetics" is one that is used to great affect by many people who need an instant accusation. This can buy time in an argument, have someone lose their job, or used at the right time, in the right place, get beaten to death or, historically, stoned to death.

In this case, it is the "R" word. It used to be "Heretic." It used to be "Witch." It used to be "Communist." Hell, in the days when our colonies were struggling to be a country, it used to be "Tory!" Now one of those words is "Racist."

Other Vemes:
  • Antisemite
  • Homophobe
  • Misogynist, or the translation, Woman-Hater
  • Man-Hater (Misandronist)
  • Human-Hater (Misanthrope)
  • Patriarch(-al)
  • Bigot
  • Pedophile
  • Pederast
In Conservative circles, merely calling someone a Socialist or Communist or Marxist is enough to discredit them. In my view, it takes a lot more than an accusation to make such a thing stick. And there are more folks who deny the Vemosity (yes I am having fun with this word)  of the words Socialist, Communist, and Marxist.

What's awesome to the Veme-Slingers is when you can stack a bunch of them together. 

There will be some confused and angry people regarding this discussion. I am an American White Male. Which of course makes me a Devil according to some theologies. That doesn't make my logic bad all by itself though. A logical argument can be posited by anyone - to ignore or decry that argument based upon the person making it is, of course,
ad hominem. We don't do that in rational company.

But then, one would think that Vemes themselves, once identified as such, could be analyzed rationally as well. Good luck with that.

- H. Todd J. Moore

Monday, July 6, 2009

What does America really want government's role to be?

Well, this blog seems to have gone by the wayside. But, if anyone is still reading, here is a little opinion piece about the current state of things.

A little self-reflection on what is happening with the government. Hopefully it isn't too incoherent, but here goes:

I was reading a poll conducted by Gallup is quite interesting. I basically shows that America is becoming more conservative, rather than liberal, as the elites would like you to believe. This was the case in basically all the categories dealing with political ideology, in terms of policy preferences, as well. Clearly, then, there is a disconnect between the real policy preferences that the majority of Americans hold and those which are being portrayed by the current administration and Congress.

So, this begs the question, why did Obama and the Democrats have major victories in the last elections. Well, clearly, it is because the Republican party no longer stands for conservative values or for anything, really. But, all is not lost. There needs to be a coup in the party, as many have already articulated since the losses which were sustained in November. I believe that there is a golden opportunity presenting itself to conservatives, if they play their cards right.

When Obama was elected, along with the coattail effect where Democrats increased their majority in both the House and Senate, people clearly saw someone who could bring change to Washington and therefore voted for it. They were not aware of what kind of change they were ushering in, though. They only saw a dislike for the Republican party, led by Bush, in which all things previously stood for became perverted. The nation was on the brink of an economic crisis, no doubt brought on by the excessive governmental waste that was occurring, as well as in the middle of a very unpopular war.

Previously, Republicans had stood for reform in government, as well as accountability, but that reputation was squandered on the idea of gaining power. The ageless quote by Lord Acton, rings true here, as even Barry Goldwater mentions in "The Conscience of a Conservative." Simply stated, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." This is what became of the Republican party in recent years, as pork barrel spending and insidership became more important than serving the people.

But, I digress. The point of this power discussion is simply that the American people became fatigued by it. They wanted anything that sounded good, and the particular brand of Kool-Aid being sold by the Democrats seemed like something good to try out. But, the people are quickly realizing that this was far more than they bargained for to begin with. This is reflected in the ideology poll, as well as the decreasing popularity of Obama's policies.

Soon, it is likely that Obama will push through legislation reforming heal thcare, as well as legislation that will handcuff the American economy through useless cap and trade. This is not a matter of if but when, as the Senate is now filibuster proof. I believe that this legislation will be unpopular, overall, with the American people.

The conservative and libertarian thinking legislators, as well as citizens with the ability to run for office must seize the opportunity to change things in the coming elections of 2010 and 2012. It is high time to kick the liberal-lite John McCains and Colin Powells out of the party and to reinvent the party as standing for the values of limited government. If this occurs, and these prospective legislators articulate their values in a genuine manner, I honestly think that the American people will respond in a positive manner. I just pray that it isn't too late when it happens.

Here are the polls I drew from:

I found it interesting that the mood of the public is seemingly moving against government run health care and also against legislation that would put climate change ahead of economic growth.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Declaring Sovereignty:

All of these (except for HI) are explicit restatements of what has always been in place, but not necessarily enforced, as detailed by the 10th Amendment.

“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”

HI is actually aiming for total sovereignty as it is claimed that HI was never really a state of the U.S. to begin with.

However, I personally believe the intent of these bills is to let the federal government know that the states’ sovereignty will not be overwritten… say in case certain gun ban laws get passed, or with regards to emissions standards,… or even if “War Time / Martial Law” type plans come into play. (See the specifics detailed in the proposed NH legislation)

Some of these states legislation is still waiting to be passed, but is before the House. I have provided links to the legislations of the state if you want to read it for yourself, and I suggest you do, especially if you live in that state.




Hawaii: (and)

Michigan: (See HR No.4)



New Hampshire:



Pending legislation are: Alaska, Arkansas, Alabama, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas.

That's a total of 21 states.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Oppose the Stimulus

Oppose the “Stimulus”

Before I state why we need to collectively oppose the stimulus let me first allow that the concept of a stimulus is legitimate. If we have high yield public projects to invest in that will generate more income than the cost to borrow for the project than it is a stimulus. For example imagine that my town of Waxahachie is isolated from the rest of Texas. It is a recession. The federal government allocates money to individual states for infrastructure projects that pass a cost benefits test (unlike this proposed bill which has no such test as of yet). Texas decides to build a highway that connects Waxahachie to Dallas. The amount of income, productivity, and increased commerce that is generated from the road more than pays for itself over the course of time and so the investment was a stimulus for the economy. When the job is over the demand for construction will be higher than it was before leading to some of the government supported work force to head for the private sector construction jobs and the rest of that work force to find a job in the recently booming private sector. Now let’s look at a proposal that wouldn’t work.

Pretend now that the federal government wants to stimulate the economy by buying $250 million dollars of chairs for their workers. Let’s assume that the inventory of chairs is so low that the government’s purchase would result in more than a wiping out of existing inventories, it would require firms to produce more. So as a result the mahogany wood farm hires more workers to 1) plant more trees, and 2) harvest more wood. Carpenters hire unemployed people to help them build the chairs. Sounds like a positive so far – idle resources (seeds, workers) are put to work and the velocity of money increases. The next year after the stimulus those extra wood harvesters and carpenters return to their idle status (aka got the pink slip) because aggregate demand has shifted left. The government’s solution of a stimulus was only temporary and all that is left is 1) debt and 2) $250 million dollars worth of chairs. The chairs, per se, do not generate revenue or improve the economy, they only devalue the currency and/or increase the national debt. The previously unemployed workers are back at square one and might even be worse off. Even if we assume that the carpenters, wood harvesters and their employers spent the money they received from the government, and that a trickle down effect and again an increase in the velocity of money occurs, some of that money would a) spent on goods which have a cost to produce so the trickle down truly is a trickle and b) any money spent by the carpenters, wood harvesters and their employees will distort the market. Obviously the carpenter execs and the mahogany wood execs realize that the government money is only a one time expenditure. But when they spend their government checks the goods sellers do not realize that this is also a onetime expenditure. Imagine if they spent $200 million on Dodge Vipers. The brilliant folks at Chrysler might increase production of the viper and could also end up bankrupt the next year. Let’s apply this logic to our current stimulus package HT: Peter Klein (

  • $1 billion for Amtrak
  • $2 billion for child-care subsidies
  • $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
  • $400 million for global-warming research
  • $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects
  • $650 million for digital TV conversion coupons
  • $8 billion for renewable energy funding
  • $6 billion for mass transit
  • $600 million for the federal government to buy new cars
  • $7 billion for modernizing federal buildings and facilities (including $150 million for the Smithsonian)
  • $252 billion is for income-transfer payments ($81 billion for Medicaid, $36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits, $20 billion for food stamps, and $83 billion for the earned income credit for people who don’t pay income tax)
  • $66 billion for education

Add to this the anti-free trade provisions in the package which will likely result in a tariff/imports war, and higher taxes and where are we? 1934. What made the great recession the great depression? Higher marginal tax rates, increased inefficient regulation, anti-free trade laws, and massive wasteful government spending.

Perhaps the most insulting part of this is that this increase in spending is likely to be permanent. Government spending has increased higher than inflation since 1934. I have two examples that illustrate why this happens. Sugar subsidies cost the American consumer .07 dollars a year (7 cents!). I don’t know about you but I’m not going to write a letter to Joe Barton (my rep) about 7 cents. But those 7 cents add up to a 2 billion dollar subsidy to the sugar industry. Another example is guns. Gun manufacturers, workers, and users all have more motivation to lobby on behalf of their position, more-so than the average citizen who might not want guns on the street but isn’t monetarily, or personally, in the felt. That is why the NRA spends millions of dollars lobbying Congress each year but anti-gun advocates spend only thousands. You have here a collective action problem due to diffuse costs and concentrated benefits. Every time the government increases spending you create additional concentrated benefits and diffused costs. The tax payer simply is at a political and strategic disadvantage.

I’ll conclude with two points. First, the man who used to be known as Larry Summers was on Meet the Press last week and had this to say about the whether or not we should extend the Bush tax cuts, “First, it's a bad idea because we simply can't afford it. The president's inherited a trillion-dollar deficit, and a deficit with a baseline that is terrible as far as the eye can see. We've got to spend money now while we have a recession, while we've got this serious economic crisis, but as soon as the economy recovers we are going to have to find ways of getting the government's finances under some kind of control.” So according to Dr. Summers we can afford to have government bureaucrats and politicians allocate money that we’re going to borrow but we can’t afford $300 billion of tax cuts to entrepreneurs and business owners (aka the upper-middle class and the movers and shakers of the economy). This comes down to whether or not you trust our government to allocate resources better than the private sector (and baked into this is the questionable deflationary trap problem). I don’t. Lastly if this is a targeted (it isn’t) and timely stimulus then why is 71.4% of the money going to be spent after one calendar year when we might already be in a recovery? Even a true Keynesian would balk at that. Maybe we’d be better off just having the government buy us all a bottle of Scotch, after all, this is about animal spirits right?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Is Tim Geithner Really “Too Big to Fail?”

Many of the headlines over the past week read “Confirm Geithner or Else!” As corruption in Washington continues to run amuck, “too big to fail” seems to be the excuse to overlook past and current wrongdoings.

Tim Geithner is now too big to fail. The economic crisis is too dangerous to let a man who is too big to fail sit on the sideline. Geithner must be “Superman.” He must have powers that are extraterrestrial, as there is no one else in the financial sector that has the ability to put the economy back on track again according to President Obama and members in the Senate who approved of his nomination.

Well folks, all I can say is if you liked the way the economic crisis has been handled under the Bush Administration, you will no doubt be thrilled with what’s to come. For those who expected change, brace yourselves for a difficult dose of reality. Real change would have been a free-market solution. Instead, Geithner will continue policy that will further erode the free market and expand the power of the government.

Tim Geithner has not sat idly on the sidelines for the past year. He has already had extensive involvement in the government’s response to the financial mayhem. Based on Geithner’s record, he seems to think that bailouts are the solution. He advocated the rescue of Bear Stearns and played a key role in the rescues of American International Group (AIG), Bank of America and Citigroup. It’s a good thing that top executives in these companies put the funds to good use. AIG felt lavish executive retreats were necessary. Bank of America paid huge bonuses to Merrill Lynch executives. Citigroup partnered with the New York Mets baseball team by paying a $400 million naming-right expenditure to call the stadium where the Mets play “Citi Field.” Some may rightfully argue the cost/benefit of such a decision, and it would be a legit argument if the company did not receive federal money. Besides, I thought the credit markets were frozen!

Based on the testimony Geithner gave at his confirmation hearing, I am left wondering what exactly those “superpowers” are.

Geithner said, “Senators, the ultimate costs of this crisis will be greater, if we do not act with sufficient strength now. In a crisis of this magnitude, the most prudent course is the most forceful course.” He says Obama’s stimulus plan “will meet that test.” (1)

It is interesting that the scare tactics continue in an effort to give the government an excuse to spend trillions of dollars and hold stakes in our largest banks; when in reality, this “crisis” isn’t even close to what was experienced in the 1970’s. Has Geithner seen Obama’s stimulus plan? Perhaps he could explain how the same tax incentives that were part of Bush’s plan last year and the massive government spending that includes handouts to states to fund safety-net programs as well as free contraceptives would stimulate the economy. The aim is to stimulate the economy isn’t it? It’s possible that Speaker Pelosi was thinking about a different kind of stimulation…

Geithner mentions the Senate’s passage of the second Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) tranche, but says “we have to fundamentally reform this program” to ensure there’s enough credit to support the recovery. He also says the nation needs “investments” in infrastructure, a strategy “to get us back as quickly as possible to a sustainable fiscal position” and then “comprehensive financial reform” so the world will “never again face a crisis of this severity.” (1)

It seems that Citigroup didn’t have a problem getting credit. Nowhere in his testimony does Geithner mention repeal of the Community Reinvestment Act – the act which played a key role in the housing debacle. This act forced banks through government mandates to loan money to people who could not afford to repay which led to the birth of the subprime mortgage market. Instead of overusing the word “crisis,” his plan should focus on transparency and prudent lending standards.

Geithner may not wish to tip his hand at the moment, but I would expect to see proposed changes to the Financial Accounting Standards Board Statement Number 157 which has failed in the attempt to value illiquid assets and has earned the phrase “mark-to-make-believe accounting.”

As for infrastructure spending…there is an idea that’s never been tried before. His expertise in economics should reveal to him that most of the benefits of infrastructure spending are delayed and could take effect during an inflationary period. In addition, the money is rarely used for what it was intended, and we don’t see real economic growth when the government spends money. History has proven that the government cannot spend the country out of recession. This kind of spending can make our dollar worthless, however!

Geithner’s responsibilities also include oversight of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is comical that we entrust a person who has evaded taxes to be in charge of the IRS. Geithner claims his mistakes were innocent. However, if they were innocent, should America have confidence in a man who has difficulty using Turbo Tax (a software that people with no accounting/financial background can easily use), has difficulty understanding IRS Publication 503, and doesn’t realize he has to pay Social Security tax, Medicare tax and employed an immigrant housekeeper who lacked proper work papers?

In summary, Geithner’s appointment further illustrates that there is no real change in Washington. In addition to Geithner’s tax problems, there is a very questionable record of “expertise.” He’s played a pivotal role in managing TARP funds. It’s quite clear that the first half of TARP funds were misspent. As President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, his supervision of corporate giants like Citigroup was questionable. Although Geithner talked about holding such institutions to the highest regulatory standards, the record shows that New York Fed relaxed the standards as the company bet big on subprime mortgages and had massive risk exposure to other perilous investments.

So why is it that we have so much confidence in people such as Geithner to fix a problem when they have shown poor judgment and played a role in causing the problem? Answer: the elite financial club has its benefits.


This column is also cross posted at our new website:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama’s Coronation

Today, people in all parts of the political spectrum should briefly set aside politics and reflect on the moment in history Obama’s inauguration represents. His victory represents a significant movement towards an end to racial divides. For that reason, everyone can be proud of America for the great strides that have been made over the past four decades to allow this moment in history. However, as historic as this inauguration is, it is possible to go overboard. It is as equally important to not lose sight of the growing problems facing America.

The manner in which the media has portrayed Obama would lead one to believe that the coronation of a monarch was taking place in America as opposed to swearing in its 44th President. The masses couldn’t be happier. People have gone to great lengths to be a part of this historic event. From school closings and vacation days from the jobs that they once feared they would lose to opening up tight budgets to allot for the purchase of all of that special Obama paraphernalia. The most expensive inauguration in America’s history (makes Sarah Palin’s $150,000 wardrobe look like pocket change) would lead one to believe that the economy may be recovering. If only that were the case…

The day after Obama’s victory, I wrote a column titled “America’s Impending Hangover: How it’s Love Affair with Obama Will Be Short-lived.” Today’s inauguration will mark the peak of “Obamamania.” It is now time for him to deliver on the mountain of promises in which he campaigned. He has roughly one year to blame George W. Bush. However, after that time period, the Kool-aid will run out; and people will expect results. Let’s go through some of the highlights of Obama’s promises, and the ones he has already broken…

Foreign Policy

I predicted that this would be the area in which Obama would deviate off his campaign rhetoric the most. Remember his promises to end the Iraq war? Remember how he said he would begin withdrawing troops on his first day in office? We’ve gone from that analogy to his retention of Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense – whose team he harshly criticized throughout the campaign. Obama never acknowledged that the surge allowed exactly what he wished – a responsible transition to the Iraqi army. One had to dig deep for this information, as the mainstream media would never report any kind of success in Iraq. However, the media will be changing its tune shortly on this topic in order to give Obama credit for the victory in Iraq – something that was well in hand long before he took office. For all of you anti-war folks out there - don’t be too disappointed when he escalates the war in Afghanistan. That’s one promise I believe he’ll keep.

Obama’s pledge to close Guantánamo Bay is sheer political rhetoric to please his left-wing constituents that donated big money to his campaign. The bottom line is he cannot close this camp without a plan for its detainees. What kind of a plan could be devised on our soil to incarcerate suspected militant combatants - dangerous enough to the point where their home country will not take them back? Obama knows if he leans too far left on matters of national security, and America suffers an attack under his watch; the love affair is over. He has a second term to think about.

Economic Policy

In my last column, I have already outlined the major flaws in Obama’s so called stimulus plan. In this column, I’ll focus more on what is absent from the plan that should be part of that plan.

Let’s begin with the housing debacle. Nowhere do I see a call to repeal the Community Reinvestment Act.

- The act that forced lending institutions to loan money to people who had no financial means to repay (so much for the deregulation argument)

- The act that artificially drove the cost of housing “through the roof” by adding droves of buyers to a market in which they did not belong

- The act that is largely responsible for the rapidly declining housing prices and foreclosures

Stay tuned for a more detailed analysis, as this topic deserves a separate column.

The number keeps changing, but as it stands now, Obama plans to create 3 to 4 million new jobs within the first two years of his presidency. Last I checked, the private sector creates jobs; and the government makes it more difficult, but we’ll roll with this for illustration purposes. If we go with the conservative estimate of 3 million, that’s roughly 4,110 new jobs per day. Our unemployment rate is currently 7.2 percent. If we net 28,770 new jobs per week, he’ll have that number back down to a stable 5 percent in no time! If that is the case, then there is no need to extend unemployment benefits, as it would be counter productive.

Obama has championed the age-old failed tactic of borrowing and spending to prosperity. It’s never worked in the past; it’s not going to work now. Instead of multi-billion dollar bailouts for individual states, the banking industry and other failed politically connected businesses, absent are reduced tax rates and government spending. Real change would have been proper implementation of supply side economics which has NEVER been done. President Reagan was close; but he failed to restrain government spending and reduce the size of government to sustain long-term success.

In summary, our new President has come to a crossroad. In order to be successful and continue to ride the wave of adoration and idolization, he must abandon his extreme left-wing ideology. Otherwise, when the world feels the effect of America’s 1+ trillion dollar deficits, this “slobbering love affair” (as Bernie Goldberg accurately describes it) will soon be over.

Monday, January 19, 2009

We're Moving!

Fellow Conservatives:

The Conservative Today website, forum and blog will be going live January 20, 2009. It is no coincidence that happens to be the same day as Obama's inauguration ceremony; we conservatives must step up to the plate to thwart ever-increasing liberal tendencies in this country. Obama's inauguration marks a historic event for both parties. Never in this country's history has there been such a blatant power shift in the wrong direction and now is the time to start fighting for 2012.

Moral of the story is, stop by on opening day and show your support by checking out the articles and everything else we have to offer! If you feel so inclined, we are also in need of financial support, so if you can spare some change, that's great too. Please beware that there is a percentage deducted from each transaction that comes our way via paypal, so if you can be generous that's awesome!

Thank you,
The Conservative Today Staff