Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Gun Bans Kill

Liberal Democrat Carolyn McCarthy has introduced a bill in Congress that would ban many millions of guns. This includes "assault weapons," semi-auto shotguns, detachable magazine semi-auto rifles, and many more. Read the entire NRA alert.

This is an attack on freedom. How much support this gets will say a lot about Democrats' positions on gun rights.

Gun bans kill people. This is particularly true in Uganda, where government forces are slaughtering citizens in the name of enforcing a gun ban. There is no better reason why guns are needed.

For months now, Ugandan army troops have been garrisoned in the northeast part of the country under orders to disarm the local populace—pastoral, cattle-herding tribes known as the Karamojong. The army is attempting, and failing, to quash an uprising which was caused by a prior attempt to disarm the same tribes.

But in its effort to "disarm," the Ugandan army, supported by tanks and helicopter gunships, is burning down villages, sexually torturing men, raping women, and plundering what few possessions the tribespeople own. Tens of thousands of victims have been turned into refugees. Human rights scholar Ben Knighton has used the term “ethnocide” to describe the army's campaign.

This is not the first time the central government in Kampala, Uganda, has persecuted the Karamojong. During the Idi Amin regime, the Karamojong were selected as special targets for genocide. Against Amin's armies, their traditional bows and arrows were futile. So it's understandable why they'd be reluctant to voluntarily lay down their weapons.

This time, the pretext for the "disarmament" of the Karamojong is United Nations gun control. The Ugandan military is trying to round up every last firearm in Karamoja, supposedly for the Karamojong's own good.

The procedure is euphemistically called “forcible disarmament.” It works something like this: The misnamed Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) will torture and rape Karamajong, after which some Karamojong might then disclose the location of some hidden guns. Or the army will burn down a village, after which it might find some guns in the ash left behind.


Portage voters have finally said no more taxes. They rejected the massive $145 million tax hike that the Portage government schools tried to push through. The vote was 6,346 to 5,449. That's 54% to 46%.

After the KRESA tax hike, juvenile home tax hike, and bus tax hike, citizens can't afford any more.

As someone else first said, we can't tax our way to prosperity, but can tax our way to poverty.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

On Borders

From Cafe Hayek:

The Economic Meaninglessness of Political Borders

Sheldon Richman, of the Foundation for Economic Education, firmly grasps what Adam Smith meant when that Great Scot wrote in The Wealth of Nations the following wise words:

In the foregoing Part of this Chapter I have endeavoured to shew, even upon the principles of the commercial system, how unnecessary it is to lay extraordinary restraints upon the importation of goods from those countries with which the balance of trade is supposed to be disadvantageous.

Nothing, however, can be more absurd than this whole doctrine of the balance of trade, upon which, not only these restraints, but almost all the other regulations of commerce are founded. When two places trade with one another, this doctrine supposes that, if the balance be even, neither of them either loses or gains; but if it leans in any degree to one side, that one of them loses and the other gains in proportion to its declension from the exact equilibrium. Both suppositions are false [emphasis added].
In this essay, Richman wisely asks

What is an export? What is an import? These words are defined in reference to political boundaries of only one kind: national boundaries. If there were no such boundaries, there would be no exports or imports. But political boundaries are just that. They are not economic boundaries. To the extent that they can, people go about their business as though those boundaries weren't there. People cross the Canadian-American and Mexican-American borders to transact business every day. If they give them a thought it is only because governments put up barriers patrolled my armed guards who make them wait in line. People learn early in life that they can gain immensely from trade, and with that understanding comes the insight that it doesn't much matter on which side of a Rand-McNally line your trading partner lives.

So the very concepts imports and exports are founded on an arbitrary construct that has little practical consequence for people's economic activities. Back in the 1980s, when neomercantilists feared Japan's economic success at selling us stuff (seems a little crazy now, no?), I used to ask what would happen to the trade deficit if Japan were made the 51st state. Obviously, the deficit would have disappeared because we don't reckon trade imbalances between states. Why not?

In reality, then, there are no imports and exports. There is only what I make and what everyone else makes. Few people would want to live just on what they themselves could make. Frederic Bastiat pointed out that each of us daily uses products we couldn't make in isolation in a thousand years. Talk about poor, solitary, nasty, brutish, and short! "What makes this phenomenon stranger still is that the same thing holds true for all men," Bastiat wrote. "Every one of the members of society has consumed a million times more than he could have produced; yet no one has robbed anyone else."

This is just another way of saying that the case for free trade is conceded the moment someone eschews self-sufficiency. After that, we're just haggling over the size of the trade area. But if free trade (read: division of labor) is good, then the bigger the free-trade area the better. Globalization should be the worldwide removal of all barriers to the exchange of goods and services -- rather than trade managed through state capitalism and multinational bureaucracies. Unilateral, unconditional free trade is the smartest policy.


This update focuses on "global warming." Liberals are promoting hysteria about global warming. Actual warming has been very small, and scientists dispute whether any of it is due to human activity. Wild disaster scenarios are promoted without evidence. Liberals seek to silence dissenters. The global warming movement has an anti-American agenda. Government prevents energy production and promotes false solutions. A new book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism, addresses these issues.

Dr. Timothy Ball says that "global warming" is a deception.
Jack Langer shows that the global warming movement is anti-American.
Thomas Sowell writes that liberals misrepresent science, liberals smear dissenters, and a number of scientists disagree about global warming.
Ben Lieberman reviews The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism.
Walter Williams shows that liberals seek to silence skeptics.
Mike Franc says some businesses want to use regulations to rip you off.

Dennis Behreandt says that Democrats propose damaging regulations.
Mike Franc writes that government prevents energy production.
Deroy Murdock writes that promoting ethanol causes problems.
Jerome Corsi debunks false notions about energy.

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

How Liberals Avoid Debate

Despite their professed desire for civil discourse, rational debate, and the like, liberals rarely ever actually debate reasonably. Sometimes they try to and fail for lack of ability. But more often, they use a variety of tactics that serve to stifle debate rather than foster it.

These tactics should be recognized for what they are. Thus follows a list of the most frequent anti-rational tricks employed by liberals.

Ad Hominem Attacks
Ad hominem means against the person. Such an attack is directed against a debating opponent rather than against his argument. It seeks to discredit the source of an argument or discourage him from making it rather than respond to the argument. It is a rational strategy for someone who cannot refute an argument.

"You're a [racist, sexist, homophobe, xenophobe, fascist, etc.]"
Black conservative economist Thomas Sowell defined a racist as a conservative who is winning an argument. This is a specific form of ad hominem attack. These are all emotionally charged epithets. Using them serves to redirect the argument to whether someone is such things. They are used to avoid the issue of what the conservative says is true.

"You're an extremist."
Whether some political belief is "extreme" is hardly important compared to whether it is correct. Alleging extremism avoids the real issue. Many political beliefs that today are considered obvious were once "extreme" positions, including human rights, abolition of slavery, and women's suffrage.

Unspecific Attacks
Statements like "you're all wrong" give the appearance of debate without containing any substance. They are used to try to cast doubt upon an argument. They don't contain any specific assertions of fact or logical arguments that can be subjected to scrutiny.

"I'm Offended."
Claiming to be offended redirects the debate to whether some statement is "offensive," rather than whether it is true. It creates a moral stigma against the discussion of certain issues and the expression of certain opinions.

"I demand an apology."
This redirects the debate and makes the issue whether an apology will be given and whether one is warranted. The real issue is whether the given statement is true.

Political Correctness
Political correctness makes certain topics and opinions off limits by creating a psychological climate of disapproval of their discussion. It mandates the use of convoluted and inaccurate language to hide the truth.

People who have been seriously injured or have lost a family member make political statements. It is deemed insensitive to criticize them due to their victim status.

Group exclusion
This one claims that people in some group have no right to speak on a given issue because of who they are. Examples include claiming that men have no right to oppose abortion, whites have no right to oppose racial preferences, and non-veterans have no right to support military action.

Separation of Church and State
As used by Jefferson, this means that government may not create a state church or discriminate based on religion. But liberals use this to say that religious people have no right to be involved in politics or advocate their ideas. This only applies to conservative ideas, not the religious left advocating liberalism.

Change the subject
If you can't refute a given argument, change the subject. Bring up a completely different subject for which you think you have a stronger argument. For example, bring up Iraq during a discussion of environmentalism.

Attack a straw man
If you can't refute an argument, make up a different argument that you can refute. Attribute it to your opponent. Ideally, it should superficially resemble a real argument, using many of the same words. Bonus points for extra outrage.

"Your source is a conservative."
Use the fact that your opponent's source supports his conclusion to argue that it can't be trusted. Don't provide any evidence that the source is unreliable.

"There's no absolute truth."
This is last resort for someone who can't defend his position. The claim that "truth is constructed by those with power" allows a liberal to ignore all the logic and evidence in the world. This postmodernist philosophy is plainly contradicted by how people live their lives, whatever they say. Reality will catch up with them, eventually.

The fact that liberals regularly employ such debating tricks suggests that they are not serious about desiring "civil discourse." For some reason, they continue to hold beliefs that they cannot openly defend.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Are you offended yet?

One year ago today Ann Coutler spoke at Western.

Most of our posts on the subject are available here.

Free Ramos and Compean!

This resolution has been passed unanimously by the WMU College Republicans. Background information is available here.


Western Michigan University College Republicans
Resolution 1

A resolution calling on the President of the United States to grant a full pardon to American heroes and Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean.

Whereas: The United States Border Patrol protects the country from outside invasion and illegal activity, and,

Whereas: The described duties of the United States Border Patrol agents include “the detection, prevention, and apprehension of undocumented aliens and smugglers,” and,

Whereas: February 17, 2006, Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean prevented an illegal alien from importing almost 800 pounds of marijuana.

Whereas: The two agents were sentenced to prison terms of 11 years and 12 years for shooting the drug-smuggling suspect in the buttocks as he fled across the U.S.-Mexico border, and,

Whereas: Agent Ramos was a former nominee for Border Patrol Agent of the Year, and,

Whereas: Agents Ramos and Compean are American heroes and deserving of the respect and support of our nation and its leaders.

Be it therefore resolved: The Western Michigan University College Republicans call upon President Bush to grant a full pardon to Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean.

End Gun Registration

This bill needs to pass. From MCRGO:


MCRGO champions another breakthrough for gunowners!
A Great Start in the 2007 Legislative Year!

February 21, 2007

MCRGO has worked closely with Rep. Opsommer on both the language and timing of this initiative. Sen. Richardville is a member of MCRGO's Board of Directors AND that once introduced, this bill is expected to go to Chairman Sheltrown's committee for consideration --- another MCRGO Director!


February 20, 2007
CONTACT: Rep. Opsommer
517) 373-1778

Rep. Opsommer to Introduce Ban on so-called "Safety Inspections"
Bipartisan effort will have support in both the House and Senate

State Rep. Paul Opsommer (R-93) announced today that he is putting the finishing touches on bills that will remove the need for so-called firearm "safety inspections". Long derided by firearm owners, these post-purchase "safety inspections" are a misnomer as no real inspection takes place and are nothing more than a bureaucratic hassle.

"When first time handgun purchasers take time off work to make the extra trip for their mandatory 'safety inspections', they are surprised when they find out that no real inspection takes place," said Opsommer. "The firearm is not test fired or mechanically inspected in any manner. I heard of one case where the inspector never actually touched the pistol, they just had the owner hold it up to the glass so they could see it. This unnecessary step is being forced onto legal gun-owners who have already gone through background checks and have purchased their firearms through proper channels."

The measure will have support in both chambers and with both parties. Rep. Joel Sheltrown (D-103) supports the measure, stating that "These appear to be nothing more than visual in most cases, and probably have no beneficial value to gun safety." Sen. Randy Richardville (R-17) will run with the legislation on the Senate side. "The Michigan Constitution is very clear on the rights of our citizens when it comes to the 2nd Amendment and the only purpose this law serves is as a backdoor registration scheme," said [MCRGO Director] Senator Richardville.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Great Article

I found this article on Social Security reform to be a good read.

Republicans Adopt Illegal Immigration Resolution

I received the following email concerning the immigration resolution passed at the state Republican convention. The text of the resolution and the list of sponsors are available here.


Dear Friends,

It is with much pride that I send you this press release and resolution that is now part of the Michigan Republican platform! Working on this has basically been my life for the last 3 weeks. The days were filled with constant phone calls and emails trying to build support for this resolution. Being that this is the first time I have done something like this, I was amazed with the amount of work involved!

From the beginning the odds were against us. The establishment in Lansing has been resisting this resolution since day one. A certain person who has long been in Michigan politics and happens to be working for and endorsing John McCain was actively working against this. It even got to the point where a consultant who is working for me was told that if she helped with the resolution, she would never work in Michigan again.

I would like give my sincere thanks to all who worked on and endorsed this – you had the courage and perseverance to stand up and fight for our country. I realize that this was very difficult to do – the entire party leadership was virtually fighting against us. It is a great person who has the courage to stand up, be innovative and buck the status quo. Those who do nothing and take the safe choice will be left behind and soon forgotten. I believe with all of my heart that this is why Ronald Reagan was so successful. People like this will be remembered and talked about for years.

It is my hope that the adoption of this resolution will start a chain reaction among the states. I was recently contacted by delegates in Wisconsin who will be attempting to do the same in their convention. With luck this will have an effect on the platforms of the Presidential candidates.

With the passage of the resolution and the backing of our party we can now proceed under strong momentum with plans for a ballot initiative in 2008. The initiative will be similar to the propositions that were passed in Arizona and have withstood the muster of the courts.


Thank you very much & Godspeed!

Yours truly,

Chris Chojnowski
6th Congressional District Committeeman
Executive Director, Michigan Federation for Immigration Reform & Enforcement (MI-FIRE)
Michigan Advisor, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)

Website news links: MichNews PR Newswire




"Grassroots movement overcomes the status quo leadership in Michigan”

Lansing, February 13— As the top Presidential contenders, Governor Mitt Romney and Senator Sam Brownback, addressed the state Republican Convention this past weekend, a large group within the Michigan Republican Party was working hard to promote the adoption of a much needed resolution on illegal immigration.

The group worked tirelessly throughout Friday night into Saturday morning, and when they thought the resolution was going to be pushed aside, they took to the microphones on the convention floor. One after another they stated their case and support. A voice vote was called for and overwhelmingly the crowd of thousands responded. A second vote was called and another resounding favorable vote was cast. Finally, a third vote was called for and it won and passed. The people had spoken!

Representative Jack Hoogendyk was quoted as saying, “The overwhelming response of support from the floor of the convention is testimony to how important this issue is to Republicans. I believe enforcement of the rule of law regarding illegal immigration will be a major campaign issue in 2008."

Representative Dave Agema was quoted as saying, “The whole aspect of illegal immigration is a threat to the American people. The five areas that are of the utmost concern when it comes to Illegal Immigration are: healthcare, education and welfare, our national security, jobs and criminal justice issues. The number of illegal aliens in the state of Michigan that have obtained illegal drivers licenses based on false documentation is in the thousands. This has to be stopped and I will be introducing legislation shortly to address this issue.”

Chris Chojnowski, Executive Director of the Michigan Federation for Immigration Reform & Enforcement (MI-FIRE) was extremely pleased with the response: “These delegates are a true representation of how the residents of Michigan feel about the topic of illegal immigration which is why we expect an overwhelming grassroots response when we take this issue to the people of the state as a ballot initiative in 2008.”

The Michigan Federation for Immigration Reform and Enforcement was founded by concerned citizens who believe in protecting our nation's borders and infrastructure, enforcing immigration laws and defeating any and all plans for amnesty of illegal aliens.

Chris Chojnowski, Executive Director, MI-FIRE

Saturday, February 17, 2007


This update focuses on liberalism. Liberal organizations promote radical agendas, often hiding them behind seemingly reasonable goals. Liberalism promotes policies and attitudes that damage America. It is destroying Europe and will do the same to America if not stopped.

Phyllis Schlafly explains the feminist agenda of UN's CEDAW treaty.
John Tierney explains the radical agenda of Code Pink.
Joel Mowbray exposes the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
John Berlau shows that liberals want to control American corporations.
Matthew Vadum exposes George Soros' Democracy Alliance.
Matthew Vadum exposes the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Thomas DiLorenzo shows that Publishers Weekly promotes liberal books.

Aryeh Spero shows how liberalism is destroying Europe.
Aryeh Spero shows how cultural Marxism attacks Christianity.
Aryeh Spero argues that many liberals are anti-American.

Much information on liberal individuals and organizations can be found at David Horowitz's Discover the Network site.

Understanding Economics: Growth

One of the most important questions that people have about economics is how to promote economic growth.

The size of the economy is measured by the total value of everything produced in a year. This is called the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or Gross National Product (GNP) depending or whether everything produced within America or by American companies is being measured.

How can economic output be increased? More people could work, and people could work longer and harder. But there are definite limits to how many people can work, and how long and hard they can work. Besides, people want to work less hard and for less time. This is exactly what has happened as our economy has grown.

Another possibility is to increase the population. But this can only be done slowly. In any case, people are generally more concerned with economic output per capita, which is what affects the average lifestyle.

The only way to increase economic output significantly is to work more efficiently. That is, to be more productive.

All else being equal, people can only do so much to increase productivity. The real gains in productivity come from the adoption of new technologies. But new technologies do not invent and employ themselves. Money must be spent up front to try to develop them. This is called investment.

A common economic myth is that economic prosperity depends on cheap low-skilled labor by legal and illegal immigrants. This ignores the productivity of that labor. If having lots of cheap unskilled labor were the key to economic success, then the immigrants' native countries would be rich. Technology and the investment that creates it are what make us prosperous. Immigrant labor does very little to improve the economy and may actually hurt it in the long run by discouraging the need for investment in more efficient technologies.

One of the myths of Keynesian economics is that spending is what improves the economy. One version of this argument promotes government spending. It states that government spending pumps more money into the economy. This creates jobs, and people have more money to spend and improve their lives. They spend their money and the cycle repeats, improving the whole economy.

This argument is a variation of the classic economic fallacy called the "broken window fallacy." In brief, the broken window fallacy states that breaking a window improves the economy because money must be spent to fix it and this benefits the window-maker and others. The problem with this argument is that it ignores the cost of fixing the window. That is, the money used to fix the window could have spent on something else that would have created the same overall benefit for the economy. Breaking the window does not make the economy better off than not breaking the window, and it destroys a window in the process.

The problem with the argument that government spending improves the economy is that it also has a cost. Government can only get money by taking it away from other people. Those people would have spent the money in other ways. Thus government spending provides no net economic benefit.

Another version of the argument that spending improves the economy is that private spending improves the economy. Sometimes this argument comes with appeals to spend more. Other times, this argument is used to support "targeted tax cuts" or "tax rebates," which are one-time cuts in tax rates, sometimes retroactively.

Private spending is certainly better for satisfying people's desires than government spending, since people know their own situations better. But it will not provide a net economic benefit since government is just as capable of spending money.

Increasing spending may improve the economy in the short run, but it must correspondingly depress the economy in the long run, since money that is spent now cannot be spent later.

The real alternative is between spending and saving. Money that is saved can be invested. People can buy stocks directly or through mutual funds. Money that is saved in a bank is invested by the bank, which is how they can afford to pay interest on savings. Individual retirement accounts and pension plans both invest money that has been saved. Insurance companies do the same with money that is paid by policyholders.

Investment is the only real way to increase production and grow the economy. Increasing spending must decrease saving, and hence damage economic growth in the long run.

What about government investments? Government investments do not perform well because government does not face the same incentives as private individuals and companies. Government can fund itself by taking money by force. It does not have the same incentive to use money wisely as do private investors, who will suffer losses from making bad choices. Government has a tendency to continue to pump money into obviously insolvent investments rather than admit that it made a mistake and suffer embarrassment. Investment decisions are often made for political reasons rather than to maximize profit.

These days, it has become fashionable for politicians to talk about "investment," when what they are advocating is simply spending.

Government policies damage economic growth. Taxation necessarily reduces the incentive to make money, which reduces efforts to produce more goods and services. Penalizing profit reduces the value of investments that increase production and improve people's lives. Capital gains taxes are particularly destructive since they specifically penalize investment. Government policies that threaten property rights increase the risk associated with investments and hence discourage them.

The best thing that government can do to improve the economy is to stop hurting it.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Who's Electable?

Many Republicans, including some staunch conservatives, have made endorsements in the 2008 Presidential race citing "electability" as a major factor in their decisions. This raises the question of what "electability" is and how we determine its applicability to a given candidate.

Presumably, electability is the ability to win a given election. Since nobody knows the future, no one really knows whether a given candidate is "electable" or not. We can only make educated guesses.

How is it that some candidates are seen as electable and others are not? The main determiner of electability seems to be early poll numbers of candidates. But poll numbers before an election campaign has even begun are mainly a reflection of name recognition. Such numbers do not have a strong correlation with the eventual outcomes of elections.

How is it that some candidates have better name recognition? Their name recognition is basically a reflection of how much positive media coverage they have received. Should Republicans pick our nominee based on how much positive press he has received from the liberal media?

The media isn't interested in helping to elect Republicans. Republicans who get good press are usually doing something liberal like attacking conservatives or pushing liberal ideas. The media is always happy to promote the most moderate candidate in a Republican primary to avert the possibility that a conservative might win. The good press stops abruptly if the moderate actually wins the nomination. Candidates who have survived on good media coverage can quickly be destroyed when the media starts covering them critically, analyzing every word, and digging up scandals. Republicans should look for a battle-tested candidate, rather than one who will charm the media to victory.

When Ronald Reagan ran for President in 1976 and 1980, all sorts of people said that he wasn't electable, as he was far too conservative. He went on to win two huge landslides.

In 2000, some in the media claimed that George W. Bush was too conservative to be electable. As we now know, that wasn't true. Yet the media promoted John McCain so much that a McCain staffer referred to the media as their base.

Meanwhile, Bob Dole was always "electable," despite the fact that he never actually got elected President. In 1995, polls showed Dole trouncing Bill Clinton. But Clinton ended up winning because he was a better candidate.

How do we know who's really electable? The best we can do is analyze how the candidates' views correspond with those of the public, and what the likely outcome of a debate will be after both sides have had their say. We can also examine the candidates' weaknesses, and how damaging they will be once they are exploited. Such a method is far better than simply looking at polls of uninformed voters.

We can impose some reasonable standards. People who have never been elected to any office don't get elected President unless they are successful military generals (and the last time that happened was 1952). For some strange reason, US Senators are seen as instantly credible Presidential candidates despite the fact that no sitting Senator has been elected President since 1960 (and JFK was helped by fraud). Before that, it was 1920.

Republicans should decide who to support based on who they believe would be the best President. If everybody declines to support a good candidate on the belief that he is "not electable," this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

We should pick our own nominees, not let the liberal media do it for us.

It's not what you know...

Governor Granholm has appointed a replacement for retiring Judge William Schma. Her choice is one Gary Giguere, a local attorney. How did she decide to pick him?

Giguere, who lives in Portage with his wife, Stephanie, and their three children, is a member of the Kalamazoo Criminal Justice Council, the Downtown Kiwanis Club of Kalamazoo and is a board member of the Volunteer Center of Greater Kalamazoo. He is also vice-chairman of the Kalamazoo County Democratic Party, among other associations.

He ran as a Democrat for the 6th District U.S. House seat in 2002.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

"Of Course You Are"

What a great response. From the Gazette:

Opportunity to build understanding squandered by insensitive remarks

Wednesday, January 31, 2007
By Shadia Kanaan

On Jan. 8, Diether Haenicke gave a speech to more than 100 individuals at the Heritage Community of Kalamazoo on the topic of Muslims in Europe.

As a devout Muslim and a proud American I have two identities which find themselves in opposition in the minds of many people throughout the world and in my own community. I have taken on the responsibility of both of my identities to emphasize the values and ideals they have in common and to try to help others understand the true nature of Islam.

And so when I learned that Haenicke would be speaking, I was eager to hear what the president of my alma mater (I am a graduate of Western Michigan University's political science department), who is such a respected educator, intellectual and community leader, had to say on the subject.

I am saddened to say his discussion left me with a mix of bewilderment, fear and anger.

Haenicke presented a litany of crimes committed by Muslims in Europe over the last 10 years as if he were a judge reading the charges to 1.3 billion Muslim defendants. He described the demographic growth of Muslims in Europe with the same tone of alarm one might use to discuss global warming or the marginalization of a precious habitat. He failed to recognize that globalization and the concentration of wealth in places like Europe are the driving forces for millions of immigrants to leave their native lands and seek opportunities elsewhere.

Haenicke's energies were spent writing a speech that identified and magnified differences rather than trying to understand or reconcile them. There were no suggestions for helping Muslims integrate into their new communities without losing their cultural and religious heritage. He had no solutions for improving the economic and political situations in countries of origin that might lead to less immigration.

The disparities between Western countries and those in Africa, Asia and the Middle East are often maintained by corrupt governments supported by the West for the purpose of aiding large multinational corporations at the expense of exceedingly impoverished populations

His speech was open-ended, leaving the listener to reach potentially dangerous conclusions built on his insensitive and inflammatory statements. Statements such as: "99 percent of Muslims are not terrorists but 99 percent of terrorists are Muslims.'' Imagine this quote with a different minority group or different stereotype: "99 percent of this minority are not this stereotype, but 99 percent of this stereotype are this minority.''

Just as insulting was his claim that "any refrain from insulting criticism of Muslims is out of self-censorship driven by fear rather than sensitivity.'' The community outrage would be deafening if the president of Western Michigan University had chosen to single out anyone else.

We all have to remember that each of the Muslims immigrating to Europe is a human being, a human being who has hopes and dreams not unlike those that Haenicke emigrated with himself.

After his talk, I approached him and told him how I, as a Muslim, was offended by his remarks. He replied, unapologetically, with a smile: "Of course you are.'' President Haenicke, when you deny the humanity of another, you diminish your own.

Shadia Kanaan, of Portage, is a member of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of Greater Kalamazoo.

Monday, February 12, 2007


It's been one year since this blog began. We've had more than 450 posts.

Our first post is here. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


This update focuses on poverty. Poverty is the norm throughout human history; prosperity is the result of specific attitudes and actions. Wealth is created; it is not handed down from the sky to be distributed. Liberals are ignorant of economics and seek to empower government. Their actions make poverty worse. Liberals are obsessed with "inequality," while conservatives promote prosperity for all.

Thomas Sowell writes that obsession with inequality empowers government, geography and culture determine poverty or prosperity, liberals exploit poverty for political gain, economic value is subjective, and liberals have no right to make economic decisions for others.
Thomas Sowell shows that conservatives give more to charity than liberals.
Thomas Sowell shows that Hollywood posturing hurts the poor.
Thomas Sowell writes that poverty is a result of self-destructive behavior.
Mac Johnson shreds the strange obsession with "inequality".

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Michigan State Repubican Convention

The Michigan Republican Party held its State Convention Friday and Saturday.

The only contested statewide race was for Youth Vice-Chairman. Congratulations to Matt Hall, former Chairman of the WMU College Republicans for his victory. The race was very close, and after several delays, the final vote was 998-984. Trevor Pittsley deserves credit for running a strong campaign and making the race closer than most expected.

Congratulations to Gerry Hildenbrand for his election to be 6th Congressional District Chairman.

More on the convention from Republican Michigander (and this too) and Saul Anuzius.

Activists succeeded in passing a resolution demanding that the borders be secured. The resolution passed handily after the rules were suspended to allow its consideration.

Here is the text of the resolution.



WHEREAS, Border security and immigration enforcement are critical elements in America’s national security, and

WHEREAS, The Republican Party supports legal immigration to our country and acknowledges the tremendous contributions made by legal immigrants throughout our history to our economy and society, and

WHEREAS, Strengthening the capacity of law enforcement to apprehend foreign terrorists, illegal aliens and other criminals entering our country illegally is essential to protecting America and reducing crime in our cities, and

WHEREAS, Immigration enforcement training needs to be provided to state and local law enforcement to strengthen interior enforcement of immigration laws, and

WHEREAS, automatic U.S. citizenship should not be given to “anchor baby” children born in the United States by illegal alien parents as it provides inducement to sneak into our country, and

WHEREAS, Worker eligibility verification should be mandatory for all employers in the state of Michigan and employers held responsible for hiring illegal aliens as employees and be subject to substantial fines, and

WHEREAS, Working or residing illegally in Michigan must not establish rights or financial benefits of any kind for illegal aliens, and

WHEREAS, Any guest worker plan that allows illegal aliens to remain and work in our country will only result in more illegal immigration and increased crime in our country, and

WHEREAS, Respect for the rule of law is a bedrock principle of our country, our culture and our posterity, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, The Michigan Republican Party calls for the immediate securing of our border with all available means and the enforcement of existing immigration laws in the workplace, and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, The Michigan Republican Party calls for all state funds to be withheld from any city or local jurisdiction that acts as a sanctuary for illegal aliens by advocating policies, written or understood, that prohibit or otherwise thwart cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities, and be it

FINALLY RESOLVED, The Michigan Republican Party calls upon the Congress to pass and the President to sign a bill enacting laws to secure our borders and end employment of illegal aliens in the workplace at the earliest possible opportunity and to immediately commence enforcement.

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Case Against a Minimum Wage

Many feel the minimum wage is good policy for many reasons. Usually the most compelling is that it is an effective anti-poverty tool. After all, if someone is making the minimum wage currently, they’re typically on the lowest end of the pay spectrum and therefore giving them a raise will be effectively helping those who need an income boost the most. At least, that’s what one would think.

On the surface, it looks like the working poor are getting a free lunch. However, we all know that there is no such thing. So, when they receive a raise, where does the money come from? Who is paying for this wage? To solve this, let us first look at the economics of the situation.

When a market is allowed to operate freely, prices are determined by supply and demand. The supply of employees under a fixed set of conditions is determined by the price being paid to the employee. More people are willing to work at higher wages than at lower wages. In this sense, the supply curve for employees is upward sloping, with changes along the curve being caused by changes in the price offered to the employee.

The factors affecting the demand for employees are directly dependant on the value of the marginal product of labor. That is, how much does a firm make by hiring an additional employee? At a lower wage, firms can afford to hire more workers. At a higher wage, firms must hire fewer workers. Even if you hire very productive workers, with rising wages there comes a point when hiring more is no longer profitable. This is because the value of the product of labor diminishes marginally.

The idea is that every worker you add to a business produces less for the company than the worker hired before. We can visualize this concept by picturing an apple orchard. If we only hire one apple picker, they will be extremely productive. All the fruit in the orchard will be low on the branches and easy to get down. Adding another worker means that more fruit will be picked, so it is advantageous to hire them, however with two people working the amount of “low hanging fruit” will become less and less. Eventually we reach a point where adding another worker leaves us with nothing but very high fruit which is difficult to get to. Every additional employee is marginally less productive than the one added before. Therefore, since the more employees added, the less productive each one is, eventually a firm reaches a point where the next employee hired will have their productivity reduced so much that they do not justify their wage. Thus, as you can imagine, the demand curve for employees is downward sloping; at a lower wage, the powers of diminishing marginal productivity are reduced and despite the lower productivity, more employees can be hired profitably because their wage is lower. At a higher wage, fewer employees can be hired profitably.

So we can then deduce that the number of employees hired is determined by the wage at which the supply of workers is equal to the demand for workers. At this wage, there is no surplus of workers nor excess demand for them.

What happens when we disrupt the supply and demand with a price floor, or, in our case, a minimum wage? If the floor is below the equilibrium wage, then it has no effect. However, things change if the floor is placed above the equilibrium wage, which is the case with a minimum wage. If there is a minimum wage that increases the wage above the equilibrium, then we still have our demand curve working the same way and our supply curve working the same way. Regardless of the minimum wage, at specific prices the supply of workers will still increase at higher wages and decrease at lower wages. If a minimum wage is installed, it raises the wage. At higher wages, there is a greater incentive to work; therefore, more employees will want to work. Conversely, at a higher wage, a firm can afford to profitably hire fewer workers than they could at lower wages. Therefore, when a minimum wage is installed raising the wage, firms will demand less employees. This creates a distortion; there is excess supply of workers over what firms are demanding. This “excess supply” goes by another name: unemployment.

So where does the extra money come from to pay the workers who are making the higher minimum wage? It is paid by the employees who are unemployed; either laid off or simply not hired when they otherwise would have been. It would seem that by increasing unemployment among unskilled workers a minimum wage is a poor antipoverty tool.

Obviously, since the percentage of the workforce making the minimum wage is so small, this will not result in a very large absolute increase in the overall unemployment rate. So this isn’t a bad thing, right? And, after all, as long as it helps some unskilled poor workers get a leg up, what’s the harm in punishing a few to do it? Well, let’s take a look at who is affected by this unemployment as a result of a minimum wage.

Over 50% of those earning the minimum wage are between the ages of 16 and 24. This is also the working age group with the highest unemployment rate. These are therefore those who are affected most by this minimum wage-caused unemployment. Furthermore, a minimum wage hits young workers the hardest because, being so new to the workforce, they have little-if-any experience and few skills. Therefore, they are the workers who need that first job the most if they hope to develop the skills and experience necessary to command higher wages. Indeed, the highest demographic of unemployed are young minorities, specifically Latin and African Americans. These are the employees with either language or skill barriers due to failing schools that cannot command a high enough wage to make the minimum. Their productivity is so low that firms cannot afford to hire them at such a wage.

This concept is not a secret. White labor unions in South Africa fought to increase the minimum wage during apartheid to keep the blacks in that country poor. Because, starting out, few had the skills or education necessary to warrant such a high wage they couldn’t be profitably hired by the firms. As a result, they were not able to get that crucial “foot in the door” that would allow blacks to overcome their position. The minimum wage didn’t help the poor blacks of South Africa, it served to further oppress them. The same is true for America.

“Alright,” one may argue, “so a minimum wage hurts minorities, so what? I don’t care about race, just that poor people are being helped!” The fact of the matter is, a minimum wage doesn’t specifically help poor people. Over half of the people making a minimum are 16 – 24 years old; rarely the age where one is supporting a family. Of the remaining on minimum wage, a large percentage are non-breadwinners, or, of a family, the member not making the highest income. The minimum wage is poorly targeted to helping those who actually need higher incomes.

As Harvard economist Greg Mankiw points out, the sheer notion of a minimum wage being used as an anti-poverty tool is illogical. He states,

“Consider this policy aimed to help workers at the bottom of the income distribution:

1. A wage subsidy for unskilled workers, paid for by

2. A tax on employers who hire unskilled workers.

Now, if you think like an economist, you might wonder about the logic of part 2 of this proposal. You might say, "A tax on the hiring of unskilled workers would discourage their employment, offsetting some of the benefits they would get from the wage subsidy. It would be better to finance the wage subsidy with a more general tax, rather than with a tax targeted specifically on employers of unskilled workers."

I agree. So why did I bring up this proposal? Because a policy essentially the same looks likely to become law, having been advocated by Congressional leaders and, recently at his news conference, President Bush. Haven't heard of it? It is called an increase in the minimum wage.”

It makes sense. If you were trying to subsidize unskilled workers, why would you then want to punish those that hire unskilled workers? Perhaps giving those earning the minimum wage a raise could help; but when you pay for that raise by punishing those who hire the people you intend to help, it works counter to the goal of helping them.

A minimum wage creates a market failure. A market failure is a situation where a buyer and a seller both want to make a transaction at a given price, but due to some circumstance cannot. There are situations where employers want to hire an employee with a low VMPL at a low wage, because at that low wage they are still profitable. There are also situations where people want to work for a low wage, simply because working a low wage is better than not working at all.

Take a sixteen year-old Latin American, for example. She may not speak English. She has little schooling, no prior work experience and cannot read or write. There is very little this employee can contribute profitably to a company. There are, however, some positions where this example person can be hired profitably. She knows that if she gets her foot in the door, she can gain some experience and possibly learn some English on the job that will give her opportunities down the road. However, because of a minimum wage, an effective ban on low wage jobs, no employer can profitably hire this girl. She wants to work; the employer wants to hire her. You have two parties voluntarily agreeing to a transaction that does not occur due to legalities. One begins to wonder how the minimum wage helped this person. Indeed, it seems illogical that a way to help low wage workers would be to ban low wage jobs. If they aren’t able to be profitably hired at higher wages, what are their options?

I have illustrated above how a minimum wage creates unemployment and how this unemployment affects those who need employment the most: unskilled, young minorities. The increased wage of some is paid for by the lack of wage for others. Furthermore, I have illustrated the contradictory nature of a minimum wage as an anti-poverty measure due to the fact that of those earning the minimum wage, few are actually in poverty. Because those who make the minimum wage are most often not those in poverty, the minimum wage is a poorly-targeted anti-poverty tool. Also, the minimum wage creates disincentives for employers to hire unskilled workers by taxing them to do so. Lastly, banning low wage jobs destroys opportunities for the unskilled employees who would be working them. A more targeted and effective anti-poverty tool would be a negative income tax.

The case against the minimum wage is clear. We would be wise not to adopt it.

Understanding Economics: Profits

The existence of profits and losses plays a crucial role in any free market economy.

Profit is the difference between income and cost. In a free market, transactions take place only when both parties freely agree. Since people value different goods differently, both parties benefit from trade.

When people or businesses sell a product for more than the cost of production, they have used their resources wisely and improved their fortunes.

Some people promote envy and hatred against those who make profits. Others believe that success should be congratulated, not scorned.

Profits are not automatic for people or businesses because they cannot set prices wherever they want. A price is determined by the value of a good, which is determined by consumers' demand, and is unrelated to cost of production.

Demand can be difficult to predict. Consumers may not like a product, or be willing to pay what the producer hopes. Competitors may make a better product. Businesses have fixed costs like labor and facilities that must be paid even when sales are low.

Beyond benefiting the seller, though, profits serve an essential role in a free market economy. They reward productive economic activity. Profits can only be make by serving the needs of the customer. They provide information about what economic activities are beneficial to society.

Profits also provide incentives for businesses and entrepreneurs to benefit mankind. In a free market, the hope of financial gain causes them to seek ways to convince people to give them money. This means providing goods and services that people want.

Some people seek to restrict the profits that businesses can make. They call large profits "windfall profits," as if they are the result of luck rather than hard work and good planning, or "obscene profits," as if there is something wrong with prosperity. For what it's worth, most large businesses are owned by millions of shareholders through mutual funds, pensions, and insurance policies.

Restricting profits creates a disincentive to the benefits they create. Productive economic activity is reduced, and people are left without some good products and services.

The same economic logic applies to negative profits, or losses. While losses are not good by themselves, they serve an essential economic role. They provide information that something is wrong with what a business is doing. A business that loses money must change its actions or it will go out of business. Businesses that do not serve the customer well are weeded out of the economy.

Some people advocate limiting the losses of businesses. This is typically presented as "saving jobs." But this interferes with the necessary function of losses. If the possibility of failure is eliminated, businesses lose the incentive to improve and serve their customers. Corporate bailouts only serve to subsidize failure.

Profits and losses both serve to promote human prosperity.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Economic Freedom = Prosperity

It really is that simple. Countries that are more economically free have an amazing correlation to being more prosperous. As seen in this Distribution of Economic Freedom world map, it becomes clear that when looking at the most economically free nations in the world, they are nearly all among the most prosperous. When comparing the list of most economically free countries with that of the countries with the highest GDP per capita, the top thirty countries in each list have an overlap of 73.3% (22 of 30 countries, not including Brunei). The vast majority of the most economically free countries are also the vast majority of the most prosperous. And of those that did not overlap, many, such as Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, and Bahrain (the Middle East's economically freest country), find much their wealth derived from oil.

However, for the vast majority of those countries which are economically free, their wealth is derived not from natural resources, but from a marketplace which is given the freedom to operate efficiently to create wealth. This has led those countries to be extremely prosperous and is beneficial to all of the country's inhabitants. It is clear that government intervention into markets, socialist policies of nationalization, and anti-capitalist policies do not create prosperity as well as laissez-faire policies do.

A New Birth of Slavery

Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel has introduced a bill to mandate "national service" for all Americans. The bill is named the "Universal National Service Act of 2007" and numbered HR 393.

"National service" is Rangel's name for the draft. But this bill goes far beyond a traditional draft. It would apply to any number of other government programs, not just the military. It would apply to women as well as men. And it would not contain any of the exceptions that the draft has previously allowed.

Rangel claims that the goal of his bill is to make war less likely. He claims that if the children of federal lawmakers were in the military, Congress would be less likely to vote to authorize war. He also claims that the draft would improve the military in the event that war is necessary.

Rangel's arguments are specious. Reinstituting the draft would be a disaster.

Rangel's contention that war would be less likely with a draft is plainly contradicted by the facts. World War II, Korea, and Vietnam all happened while America had a draft. All of them had far higher American casualties than any American war since then.

Actually, war would be more likely with a draft. War would be more likely if the government could simply compel people to fight rather than having to attract volunteers who freely commit to serve. Casualties would also be higher when soldiers could be conscripted.

The argument about lawmakers' children is also wrong. Back when we had a draft, children of congressmen were kept far from the fighting (unless they chose otherwise). Even if the legislators didn't put pressure on the military to do so, the generals would hardly risk killing the relative of someone who controls their funding.

A draft would not improve the military. The best soldiers are those who have volunteered to serve, not those who were forced to serve. A draft would damage morale.

Today's military is increasingly technological, so two years of conscription would waste people's time and taxpayers' money.

The best argument against conscription is that it is immoral. It is a violation of Americans' freedom.

This applies equally to "national service." A fundamental belief of statists is that the government can better run people's lives and control their resources than they can. "National service" would be a massive waste of effort that could better be put to productive use.

It would also massively empower the government. And that's the real goal.

Rangel's bill isn't likely to pass, but we can expect to see "national service" again. It must be resisted. And we should repeal selective service as well.

The working conditions would be better. But in principle, conscription is slavery.

Monday, February 05, 2007

A Total Disaster

This article is important enough to deserve special attention.

Bush's Plan To Bankrupt Social Security

by Phyllis Schlafly
January 17, 2007

President Bush's secret plan for Social Security has just been released to the public in response to a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by TREA Senior Citizens League, a million-member seniors advocacy group. For four years, the President carried on an energetic public relations campaign to promote his plan to privatize part of Social Security, but he kept under White House lock and key the "Totalization" agreement his administration secretly made with Mexico in June 2004.

Is that any way to run the government, or to commit billions of taxpayer dollars? Maybe we've been needing Nancy Pelosi to demand "the most honest, most open" government in history.

If and when President Bush personally signs this agreement, it will automatically become law without any congressional action. The law that would have allowed one House of Congress to reject it by a vote within 60 days is generally thought to violate the Supreme Court's 1983 decision in INS v. Chadha, which declared unconstitutional a one-House veto of a President's action.

Senator John Ensign (R-NV) has introduced S.43 to require Totalization agreements to be treated like bilateral trade agreements. His bill would permit a Totalization agreement to go into effect only if affirmatively passed by both Houses of Congress.

Unless we live in some sort of Bush dictatorship, that's the very least of what Totalization should require. It ought to be considered a treaty and require approval by two-thirds of the Senate.

Totalization is the bureaucratic buzz word for the plan to put millions of illegal Mexican workers into the U.S. Social Security system. They would collect U.S. benefits based on their U.S earnings under false or stolen Social Security numbers plus alleged earnings in Mexico.

American citizens must work ten years to be eligible for Social Security benefits, but the Totalization agreement would allow Mexicans to qualify with only 18 months of work in the United States, and pretend to make up the difference by assuming work in Mexico. It is highly doubtful that the illegal aliens ever paid into a Mexican system for eight and a half years.

It could be "virtual" work or "virtual" payments (just like the "virtual" fence we may have on our southern border, or the "virtual" law that promised to build one). A 2003 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report tactfully refused to comment on "the integrity of Mexico's social security data" and warned that the cost to U.S. taxpayers is "highly uncertain."

The United States has totalization agreements with 21 other countries in order to assure a pension to those few individuals who work in two countries (legally, of course) by "totalizing" their payments into the pension systems of both countries. All existing totalization agreements are with industrialized nations whose retirement systems are on a parity with ours.

Mexican retirement benefits are not remotely equal to U.S. benefits. Americans receive benefits after working for 10 years, but Mexicans have to work 24 years before receiving any benefits.

Mexican workers receive back in retirement only what they actually paid in plus interest, whereas the U.S. Social Security system is skewed to give lower-wage earners benefits greatly in excess of what they and their employers contributed.

Mexico has two different retirement programs, one for public-sector employees, which is draining the national treasury, and one for private-sector workers, which covers only 40 percent of the workforce. Most of the Mexicans who illegally entered the United States previously lived in poverty, where they were unemployed, or worked in the off-the-record economy, or worked for employers who did not pay taxes into a retirement system.

The Bush Totalization plan would put millions of Mexicans onto the rolls of the U.S. Social Security system just as our baby-boom generation retires. The White House won't deny that imposing higher taxes on American workers is "on the table" to deal with the expected shortfall.

The Bush totalization plan would lure even more Mexicans into the United States illegally in the hope of amnesty and eligibility for Social Security benefits for themselves, as well as for their spouses and dependents who may never have lived in the United States.

Totalization is part and parcel of the Council on Foreign Relations five-year plan for the "establishment by 2010 of a North American economic and security community" with a common "outer security perimeter." The 59-page CFR document (which can claim Bush Administration approval because it is posted on a U.S. State Department website) demands that we "implement the Social Security Totalization Agreement negotiated between the United States and Mexico."

Americans should raise a mighty clamor to demand that President Bush NOT sign this billion-dollar ripoff of American taxpayers and senior citizens. Meanwhile, tell your Members of Congress to hurry up and pass the Ensign bill.

Further reading: Social Security Benefits for Noncitizens: Current Policy and Legislation, CRS Report RL32004, updated 7-22-04 and 5-11-05.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Understanding Economics: Property

An essential feature of any free market economy is the existence of property rights. Economics can be used to analyse the concept and consequences of property.

Almost every object on Earth is the property of some person or entity. Unowned objects are rare these days. Most of that which is unowned is not scarce. In other words, there is more available than what people demand at zero price. Air and sea water are examples.

Several important distinctions need to be made here. One is between objects that are owned, and unowned but used, in what is sometimes called "collective ownership." Another is between private property and government property. A third is between property rights and the lack thereof.

It's possible for people to use something without owning it, that is without the right to exclude others from its use. What sort of incentives does this situation entail? The typical example of such a situation is the "tragedy of the commons." The commons were unowned land where English farmers could graze cattle. When something is available for free, a person's natural reaction is to use as much of it as possible. So it was with the commons, and they ended up in bad condition due to overgrazing. People were certainly capable of maintaining land, but there was no good reason to do so, because most of the benefit of any one person's efforts would go mostly to others.

In contrast, land that was owned was well-maintained and much more productive. Owners had a stake in its continued productiveness, so they took the necessary steps to avoid overgrazing. Ownership leads to much better use of resources than non-ownership.

Government ownership is not the same as "collective ownership." The government is an organization composed of some people, and not others. Some government property is mostly open to the public, while much is restricted to a few people. What makes government a unique institution is its ability to take others' property by force. This means that government does not have the same incentive to use resources wisely. It doesn't suffer losses from its mistakes because it can make them up by taking the property of others. Thus government ownership of property is necessarily wasteful compared to private ownership.

Property rights are a legal or moral claim to current and future use of property. This means that not only do you have property now, but that nobody can take it away from you. What incentives does this create? Property rights greatly reduce risk. Any successful economy requires investment. But investment is irrational if the rewards are likely to be taken away from you. There's not much point in planting a field if others will harvest it. There's not much point in owning land or starting a business if thieves or the government could take them from you at any time.

There are several ways that property rights can be protected. Property owners can defend their property by force. Tradition can recognize property rights and their defense. And government can guarantee property rights. Of course, can is not the same as will.

Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto has shown that many poor people in the third world don't legally own their property, even though some have used it for years. They can't make investments and improve their fortunes because of this uncertainty. The single most important thing that can be done to improve these countries' economies is to guarantee property rights. Government still takes people's property through taxes, but at least if it does so predictably, people can make investments with less risk.

Property rights are important even to those who have little or no property. They facilitate the creation of new products and jobs that benefit the poor.

While America has protected property rights well for the most part, property rights are threatened by several government policies. The use of eminent domain has traditionally been restricted to a few government projects, but in recent years, more government units have taken to using it to aid private developers. Some environmental regulations drastically restrict the use of property, and hence drastically reduce its value, without formally taking away its ownership. Such policies can only have the damaging effects described above.

Protecting and expanding economic prosperity requires the defense of private property rights.

Around Michigan

Plenty of political news around Michigan:

Not surprisingly, Granholm's "bipartisan" panel has called for a tax increase.

A Michigan Court of Appeals has struck down same-sex benefits. Take that, Stryker!

Attorney General Mike Cox ruled that red light cameras can't be used to give tickets. Good for him.

The Schwarz/Walberg rivalry isn't over. The 7th district is likely to see more competitive races in the future. There have been dual FEC complaints filed over the 2006 election.

Portage Public Schools are seeking a monstrous $145,000,000 bond issue that will be on the ballot in February.

Enrollment at WMU is up 500 students this semester. I thought parking seemed more crowded.

The WMU College Republicans are best in the nation and both parties on campus are busy.

The World is Flat

Here's a great video I watched in my BUS 2700 class. Thomas Friedman lectures an MIT crowd on his book, "The World is Flat." It speaks about globalization and the future of our world economy. Protectionists beware: some of the things you are about to hear in this video may be disturbing to you.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


This update focuses on immigration. It was recently revealed that President Bush signed a "totalization" agreement that will spend billions to give Social Security to legal and illegal Mexicans in America. Government policies continue to cause our immigration disaster.

Phyllis Schlafly shows that totalization will cost America billions.
Congressman Ron Paul explains the Social Security totalization agreement.
Michelle Malkin shows that immigration raids are politically timed.
Mac Johnson explains that America has worse than open borders.
Phyllis Schlafly shows that two border guards are innocent.
Phyllis Schlafly recounts damaging information about immigration.
Phyllis Schlafly explains how H-1B visas hurt high-tech workers.
Congressman Tom Tancredo explains how immigration has affected Miami.

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

The 2008 Socialist Party candidate

Looks like Hillary is at it again with her socialist rhetoric. The scoop goes to Larry Kudlow, and you can read what he has to say about it here.

Wake up, Dems: this isn't Venezuela.


The WMU College Democrats published a column in last Thursday’s Western Herald in which they called for “civil discourse” while doing nothing but making false and baseless attacks against the WMU College Republicans.

The untruths contained in their screed include the following. The Faculty Hall of Shame on our website is not a blog and does not contain any “slander,” “rumors,” insults, or “name-calling,” “vulgar” or otherwise. It is not a “burn book.” We never claimed that it is a crime to be a Muslim or feminist, or that Islam is “worse” than feminism. The word “crime” never appears in the document at all. We have never “spurned” civil discourse, as they have never offered it to us.

So what about their allegations of slander and rumors? We plead truth. All of the facts on our sheet are backed by documentary citations or eyewitness testimony.

We did indeed point out that one professor promoted feminism and Islam, but the College Democrats decided not to mention the highly relevant fact that she promoted them in class. She is free to promote her beliefs on her own time, but not while she is supposed to be teaching her students. When pointing out the unbalanced view of Islam that she promoted, we don’t consider this an insult, we consider it a fact.

The College Democrats seem to be laboring under the misperception that the purpose of the Hall of Shame is to list people we dislike or disagree with. It is not. Our purpose is simply to inform students and other interested persons. The criterion for membership is misuse of power over students for political purposes. This can include criminal acts, assaulting or harassing students, grading students based on political positions or activities, stifling dissenting viewpoints in class, or using class time or assignments for propagandizing for political positions rather than teaching the proper subjects of courses. Students who wish to take such courses can sign up for them, while those of us who prefer education to indoctrination can spend our tuition dollars elsewhere.

If our goal was to compile a list of liberal professors, we could simply take a faculty directory and cross off a few names. In fact, the majority of liberal professors teach their classes without propagandizing or stifling dissent. If the College Democrats truly believe in civil discourse, they should join us in condemning the handful of professors who attempt to suppress it.

While they talk about promoting civil discourse, their vitriolic and error-ridden attack actually tries to stifle it. Rather than honestly confront the facts that we have put forth, they attempt to intimidate us into silence. If they really believed in civil discourse, they could have contacted us directly, rather than launch a vitriolic attack in the Herald.

The Democrats are whistling past the graveyard. There is a widespread, persistent, ongoing campaign to stifle our speech on campus. Literally thousands of flyers promoting our events over the past few years have been defaced or stolen. The College Democrats have never issued any comparable condemnation on this attack on free speech.

The real “test of maturity” is to not throw a fit whenever someone says something you dislike. The College Democrats have failed that test.

We are always ready to engage in civil debate, but we will not hide the truth about the misdeeds of the left on campus.

There is one true statement in the Democrats’ column. The Faulty Hall of Shame can be seen at We encourage readers to consider the facts for themselves.

The College Republicans at WMU were recently named the best chapter in the country by the College Republican National Committee. We didn’t win this award by keeping quiet. This feeble attempt to suppress our speech will fail. We will not be silenced.

And we will never apologize for telling the truth.

College Republicans

New Preface

We have added a new preface to the WMU Faculty Hall of Shame. It should have been clear what we were criticizing from reading it, but apparently some people need everything spelled out. I blame our government education system. Here's the preface:

The Western Michigan University Faculty Hall of Shame is intended to inform WMU students and other interested persons of the misdeeds of faculty members at WMU. The criterion for membership is misuse of power over students for political purposes. This can include criminal acts, assaulting or harassing students, grading students based on political positions or activities, stifling dissenting viewpoints in class, or using class time or assignments for propagandizing for political positions rather than teaching the proper subjects of their courses. Being liberal is neither necessary nor sufficient for membership. Documentation or eyewitness testimony are required for induction.