Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hayek’s Revenge

The European ruling elites are struggling to hold the whole project together...
But the real problems emerge from the technocratic mind-set, from the arrogant gray men who believe they can engineer society, oblivious to history, language, culture, values and place. (NY Times - Brooks)
Nobody has all the answers. And no single person or body needs all the answers. That’s the fallacy: That government must be omnipotent and omniscient. It is neither, and vesting it with power and control as if it were is crazy.

The more concentrated power and decision-making becomes, the more information is needed to feed into the power center. Free markets make decisions and evolve solutions organically; static control centers cannot.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Also, as you make one-size-fits-all decisions for larger and larger groups of people, discontent can only grow among those you are trying to help.  We argue over everything because government has pushed everything in to the collective, making your rights negotiable and subject to snotty bickering.

For example, imagine a Friday night alone. You’re going to settle in for a night of movie watching and you decide to order pizza. Easy. Now imagine you’re snuggled in with your loved one. The decision on movie-night fare is now a shared one. Take it a step further and imagine a houseful of people. They cannot decide on the toppings, or even which takeout place to order from. Worse, some are on a gluten-free diet and want BBQ, while other clamor for Chinese food. The bigger the crowd, the harder it is to reach a decision.

So we are better off making our individual decisions for ourselves and allowing the spontaneous economy to bloom. It works. Don’t believe me? There are literally billions of people in this world who know nothing of growing crops or killing animals, yet they do not want for food.

People and nations can capitalize on specialization, making things that others want, while not worrying about making necessities they know they can buy from others.  And governments' involvement is limited to providing some infrastructure and mediating trade agreements.

How We Got Here

Every emergency has been used by the federal government as an opportunity to take another bite out of our liberties, with expediency as the excuse.  As Hayek predicted, "our freedom" has been "destroyed by piecemeal encroachments."

Hayek was a big proponent of governing from broad principles where possible rather than from narrow, specific laws.
"The argument for liberty, in the last resort, is indeed an argument for principles and against expediency in collective action..."
He foresaw the "fatal weakness" of government leaving free people alone with their liberties:  Uncertain outcomes and glaring inequalities would scare us off our freedoms and into the arms of big daddy government.  Liberty cannot compare to concrete promises and "definite gifts offered to particular individuals" in exchange for some "curtailment of freedom."

That is the fatal seduction.  Not treating freedom as the "supreme principle..."
"...would inevitably prove a fatal weakness and lead to its slow erosion." 
Meanwhile, here in America, where Obama ignored the rule of law and saved GM from a richly-deserved bankruptcy...
The Treasury Department yesterday revised its loss estimate for the Government Motors bailout from $14.33 billion to $23.6 billion, thanks to the company’s sinking stock price.
 Add in the special tax breaks, and...
This means that the total hit to taxpayers, who still own about a quarter of the company, could add up to $38.6 billion. (Reason)
Europe is playing a shell game, and they're running out of suckers.  Here in the US, we're rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

The elites have stolen our freedoms in the name of expediency and progress, but their promises of equality and prosperity are just chaff in the wind.  They've led us to the brink of collapse.  As Peter, Paul and Mary used to sing, "When will they ever learn?  When will they ever learn?"

Or, to Paraphrase Ben Franklin, "Those who trade liberty for security end up with neither."

Quotes Taken from Hayek's "The Constitution of Liberty," pp 129-130.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Are teachers overpaid?

Big Ed is most definitely ripping us off...
The biggest consumer ripoff in America today -- and the next economic bubble to burst -- is higher education.

Tuition and fees at colleges and universities rose 439 percent between 1982 and 2007. Median family income rose just 147 percent during that period.

Median household income has fallen 6.7 percent since June 2009. The cost of attending the average public university rose 5.4 percent this year. (Jack Kelly)
Closer to home, are primary and secondary teachers overpaid?

It's a complex question, and I'm not one of those who automatically say that they are.  God knows you could not pay me enough to put up with what our public school educators must endure on a daily basis.

The Atlantic published an excellent article asking Are Teachers Paid Too Much? In it they cite four studies, two saying yes and two saying no. It's an short and interesting read.

Two scholars, one from American Enterprise Institute and the other from The Heritage Foundation conclude that Public School Teachers are not Underpaid.
Public school teachers do receive salaries 19.3% lower than similarly-educated private workers, according to our analysis of Census Bureau data. However, a majority of public school teachers were education majors in college, and more than two in three received their highest degree (typically a master's) in an education-related field. A salary comparison that controls only for years spent in school makes no distinction between degrees in education and those in biology, mathematics, history or other demanding fields. 

Education is widely regarded by researchers and college students alike as one of the easiest fields of study, and one that features substantially higher average grades than most other college majors. On objective tests of cognitive ability such as the SAT, ACT, GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and Armed Forces Qualification Test, teachers score only around the 40th percentile of college graduates. If we compare teachers and non-teachers with similar AFQT scores, the teacher salary penalty disappears. (WSJ)
They conclude by explaining how teachers' benefits are far superior what non-public sector workers receive. Here's a link to the study.

Unleash The Market Forces!

My own conclusion, based on what I've read and the many conversations I've had with the many teachers I've known, is that the teachers unions are protecting too many overpaid bum teachers, the education bureaucracy is way too fat, and that results in the good teachers being underpaid.

The free marketplace has price signals and other market indicators that drive employee wages; the public sector does not.  Also, companies must keep bureaucratic overhead to a minimum in order to remain competitive; government agencies feel no such pressure.  This doesn’t make government jobs less worthwhile than those in the private sector, but it does lead us to endless arguments over what a public employee is worth.

Privatizing all education would end this controversy.  Consumers (parents) voting with their dollars would quickly sort the wheat from the chaff and result in the superstar teachers getting the paychecks they deserve, while driving the bums out and into other fields of employment.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Why Government Doesn't Work

Government doesn't work because it was never meant to work the way liberal statists want it to work

The founders never envisioned 535 men and women, teamed with an imperial president and his coterie of unelected czars and a multi-million man bureaucratic army dictating rules on how the rest of us should live and arguing over how to split the loot.

Like mercy, the quality of liberty is not strained
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. (US Constitution, 9th 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. (US Constitution, 10th Amendment)
They didn't put those amendments in there for the hell of it. The larger the collective, the more difficult it is to find solutions that satisfy everyone. Coercion and unhappiness will logically follow.

Western Hero - US Constitution

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Living Wills and the Will to Live

When the public funds your lifestyle, it has a right to question your lifestyle choices.  That includes health care.
"It is a good day to die"
-- Old Lodge Skins in Little Big Man
"We've got a duty to die and get out of the way with all of our machines and artificial hearts and everything else like that and let the other society, our kids, build a reasonable life."
-- Colorado Governor Richard Lamm
A good discussion broke out in the comment thread of a recent blog post, Rule of Law. We got off on a healthcare tangent, but it was an interesting exploration of life and death.

Finntann kicked it off with a raw, ripped-off scab look at reality that had a sad ending ...
The failure of modern medicine is not in treatement or cost but directly attributable to our innate desire for immortality.
It's harsh, but we treat those that we should not treat. We refuse to accept the diagnosis of mortality. We trade vast fortunes for six months, a year, two years to the detriment of all involved, except those making money off of it.
What is reasonable action and what is reasonable cost? How much is six months of additional life worth?
My sister died of breast cancer a little over a year ago with medical bills well into the six figures. In the end, she wished she had gone to Europe instead of to the doctor.
AOW then chimed in with a report from real life about insurance and existing conditions. As her blogger buddies know, she's been navigating the health care system as she nurses her husband back to good health. She knows what she is talking about.

Ducky had good advice on medical directives...
My family knows exactly what to do. If quality of life has been lost, end it.
This spurred KP (after telling a great story about a Vietnam war combat pilot) to remind us that it's not always so simple:
A perfect example would be stroke in the midbrain. Patient is unconcious, surgeon tells you the stroke is "in a good place" making decent recovery possible. You have five minutes to decide what to do at 4:30am. The directive isn't worth the paper it is written on. You will decide while trying to gather some degree of medical certainty.
Quite simply, all of this is properly the purview of the individual and the family, upon consultation with the family's doctor and pastor.

Collectivizing health care by pushing our money into a big government pot makes our private affairs public

In a government-run, publicly funded healthcare system, every medical and lifestyle decision becomes the purview of every taxpayer and of the armies of bureaucrats who are charged with the custody of government funds.

Justice Kagan will shake her gavel at you and tell you to each your congressionally-mandated vegetables, and put out that cigarette!  If government-enforced diets and exercise save me from paying for the diabetes, obesity and other expensive health problems of the fatties among us, why not?

Life and Death

Who's life is worth more, the 87 year old physics PhD who is still doing productive research, or the poor child living in a ghetto?

Government-created scarcity will inevitably bring about such utilitarian decisions.  Wouldn't it be better to get government out of it, completely?  Free up the insurance industry to craft policies tailored to specific groups and let a well-policed free market set prices and determine what care looks like.  More importantly, let the consumer see what the real price of health care is.

Cut out the red tape and overregulation, and set the consumer free in the marketplace with his or her own dollars, and prices will come down.  They always do.  The truly indigent could be helped by government paying their health care premiums instead of setting up a whole bureaucracy.

The alternative is a scolding nanny state making all your decisions for you, creating a nation of infants.  Some would say we're already a long way down that road.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Weekend Wrap (Naked Women Riding Scooters)

On the lighter side...

Two tales from Right Blogistan.  One involving our friend Liberaldude, and the other features fellow Right Blogistani Proof Positive and naked women...

Oh! The Irony!

Liberal Dude, who I suspect is Bd reincarnated, provided some comic relief...
liberaldude said...I listen to Fox News and within 5 minutes I've heard more lies than I can count. [...]
So, they feel they have to go after Keith to keep others from learning the truth and when you ask them to point out a single lie, they can't Hmm.
If this were a boxing match, that would be the equivalent of leading with your chin. Jutted out. With your gloves down...

My response:
[...] Speaking of that, please list for us all those lies you heard in 5 minutes on FOX.
Crickets. Liberaldude couldn't point out a single lie. Hmmm.

Note to readers: If you are offended by mild descriptions of pornography, please go no further. I do not find pornography funny, or even entertaining. Like any red blooded man, pictures of naked women are a temptation, but I abominate pornography as a poison to humankind and a corrosive of the soul. Having said that, I found these broken-English descriptions of a porn site's offerings pretty darn funny...

Rule 5 Gone Wild

Warning! When perusing Rule 5 type material, stay on the beaten path, or you will end up in the land of "naked fat black women," young naked redneck women photo of women privates" and "amazon naked women naked women riding scooters"

Proof Positive posted an article headlined, "Israeli Women Nude," and I bit. Not because I wanted to see nudity, but because I appreciate Proof's tongue-in-cheek humor. Well, I followed the links, did some googling they suggested, and ended up at a porn site that featured some rather vivid descriptions of its supposed content...
naked women photos of girl scout swaps pictures of naked beautiful women(including naked women fishing);naked farting women girls in belly shirt photo latest friendster private photo hack.Most popular recommended for you: lawley model girl photos hotr naked women facebook view private photos, private girlfriend photos young illusion girl photos mature naked older women|||naked sexey women|||naked overweight women|||snow naked women|||hot sluty naked women|||movies naked women|||
Now, I'm a career military man, been around the world a time or two, and I spent most of it single, and I must admit that I was blissfully ignorant of such genres.  I still don't know what "snow naked women" is, and I have no interest whatsoever in "naked farting women," and for all the fishing I've done, alas, I have never spotted "naked women fishing."
We represent your attention to the catalog photos by topic: (including "photo private of wife", "naked israeli women" and "naked tanning women pics" Women golfing sharing naked self pic sexy...
Other interestingly described niches included...
Naked Sports Women, Celtic Women, Photos Of Shaven Female Private Parts, mountain naked women buff girl photos Most popular recommended for you: track and field girls photos photos of naked hot sexy girls peeing naked plus sized women, sexy long hair girl free photo naked women playing golf (including pictuers of naked irish women)
Naked pictures of cartoon women humiliating naked men!
Sampling top photos from the gallery - anatomy girls photos  naked older women and grannies(including naked mexican women pictures);muscle girl photos escort girl photos mature nake women.Most popular recommended for you: |||naked pictures of cartoon women|||sketches of naked women|||women humiliating naked men|||naked women scuba diving coral reef|||womens over 40 naked in pictures|||free hairy girl photos|||pictures of tribal african women naked|||naked lesbian women in stockings|||mature naked older women|||old men and women naked|||naked sexy older women|||
I wonder if it was the muscle girls who were humiliating those poor naked men?  And no, I'm not linking to the site. It's bad enough that I went there...

The lesson here is to trust Proof's journalistic skills.  When he features something, it is complete.  Do not try to did deeper.  It could get ugly.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Crapitalism's Axis of Evil

"The Bigs – Big Wall Street, Big Government, Big Labor, and Big Business – are all protected classes in the American political system."

Wall Street gambling and corporate tax avoidance are direct results of government policy passed and signed into law by Democrats and Republicans.  You can't leave the silo door open and then blame the rats for eating the grain.
Wall Street seems synonymous with capitalism, but few there espouse market principles. Likewise, Big Business rarely eschews state intervention, instead playing willing harlots for Washington’s wiles. The further Leviathan reaches, the more special interests latch to its tentacles. Restricting the state is essential to curtailing corruption and ensuring earnings come honestly. Smaller government affords less power for those with clout to co-opt.
The Crux:
A widening rift between political ideals rends America’s social tapestry. The Right, as embodied by the Tea Party, seeks individual liberty and equality before the law where each may earn as merit warrants. The Left, as evidenced by OWS, demands that government level results regardless of merit. Personal identity yields to collectivized class or demographic consciousness. (Bill Flax – Obama Tears Down his own Wall Street)
Michael Needham and Tim Chapman bring a big, nebulous problem into sharp focus...
The Bigs – Big Wall Street, Big Government, Big Labor, and Big Business – are all protected classes in the American political system.
The tax code, regulatory regime, and campaign finance laws are all written by those powerful enough to hire an army of lobbyists to descend on Washington. Labor unions pushed their way ahead of bond holders when the Establishment bailed out Chrysler. Solyndra got venture funding from the middle class taxpayer after spending $1.9 million lobbying the Establishment.

This corrupt nexus is at the heart of the dissatisfaction across the country towards Washington. 
(The Washington Establishment’s Big Problem)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Santa Claus is not a Religious Figure

Ah...  Thanksgiving Day...  A perfect time for a Christmas-themed story... 

Would someone please explain to these dingbats that Santa Claus is not a religious figure?

"Because of our state affiliation, we decided not to have a Santa presence this year," Hollings spokeswoman Vicky Agnew said. Hollings is a part of the Medical University of South Carolina.
Decorations will be "more secular and respectful to all beliefs," Agnew said. "We don't want to offend a volunteer with good intentions, but we need to think of the bigger picture. People who are Muslim or Jewish or have no religious beliefs come here for treatment," she said. (Cancer Center’s Santa Gets the Boot)
First off, I really doubt any atheists, Jews or Muslims would be offended by the Jolly Old Elf, who is after all NOT A RELIGIOUS FIGURE!

And of course, even when the ACLU is not involved, it’s influence still hangs in the air like a noxious, flatulent cloud…
The director of the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union declined comment but pointed to the association's national website. It said while "some limited governmental celebrations of Christmas are not per se unconstitutional ... the burden for the government to show that its activities do not have the purpose or effect of endorsing a religious message is high."
This official stupidity resulted in a firestorm of criticism, so the petty bureaucrats announced that Santa would be invited back.  Maybe they were worried about getting coal in their stockings...

Got Christmas?

So does the federal government listing Christmas as one of its ten official federal holidays constitute endorsement of Christianity? If not, then the Santa-phobes need to check themselves and take the sticks out of their rears.

Do you get a Christmas holiday off from work or school?  If so, thank Jesus!  After all, the holiday was named in his honor.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rule of Law

Michael Barone asks...

If Obamacare is so great, why do so many people want to get out from under it?

He goes on to make some excellent points about how passing a law and then selling exemptions to it is a fundamental violation of the Rule of Law. (Yes, I said sell. Organizations don't give candidates and political parties campaign contributions just for the fun of it.)

The Rule of Law

We’ve lost the original definition of “Rule of Law.” Republicans misused the term during the Clinton impeachment trials, but both parties bear responsibility for the perversion of this important concept.

Hayek gives us the classical definition:
“Government in all its actions is bound by rules fixed and announced beforehand--rules which make it possible to foresee with fair certainty how the authority will use its coercive powers in given circumstances and to plan ones individual affairs on the basis of this knowledge." (The Road to Serfdom)
The Rule of Law is not ad hoc, but rather the pre-established “rules of the game,” predictable and understandable, allowing free people to exercise their rights while refraining from violating the rights of others. No exemptions for government or for special groups. No leeway for arbitrary exercise of power by bureaucratic fiefdoms. The tax code alone violates this principle, and OSHA and the EPA gouge out its eyes and tear out its tongue.

We Are Here

70 years ago, Hayek described what an absence of the rule of law looks like.
...The use of the government’s coercive power will no longer be limited and determined by pre-established rules. The law can ... legalize what to all intents and purposes remains arbitrary action.

If the law says that such a board or authority may do what it pleases, anything that board or authority does is legal--but its actions are certainly not subject to the rule of law.

By giving the government unlimited powers, the most arbitrary rule can be made legal; and in this way a democracy may set up the most complete despotism imaginable
The rule of law is a good and right exercise of the coercive power of government to protect the natural rights of the people. What we have today is a grotesque repudiation of that Lockean principle that inspired our founders.

For a short explanation of Hayek’s classical understanding of the rule of law, see Charles W. Baird’s article, Hayek on the Rule of Law and Unions. Substitute “corporation” or “government" for his use of “union” in the  article, and his point will still remain the same. A government that hands out favors and disrespects the natural rights of the free citizenry becomes debased, arbitrary and eventually, tyrannical.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why are We Still in Afghanistan?

Professor Fouad Ajami
Dr. Fouad Ajami is a brilliant scholar and life-long student of the Islamic world, fluent in its languages and its cultures. He is a patriotic American born in Lebanon to Shia parents. He has traveled extensively all over the Middle East for decades, consulting with his deep rolodex of friends and contacts, which includes commoners as well as royalty.

There is no more trenchant observer of that world than Dr. Ajami, so I pay attention when he speaks. In his latest article, he wonders why we are still propping up the corrupt Hamid Karzai crime family. Besides knowing what he's talking about, he also writes beautifully:
American and NATO forces bleed in that hopeless land, Al Qaeda fighters who pulled our soldiers into the Hindu Kush are mostly gone by now. [...]
Truth be known, neither the Karzai regime, nor the Taliban warlords, want the Americans out of Afghanistan. The treasure we pour into that country sustains the ruling cabal and the Taliban alike. We are the straight man at the bazaar, the stranger fleeced by the locals. The protection money we pay for our convoys wends its way into the pockets of the Taliban.
Here's the crux of it:
Long ago, Afghan society had lost the ability to provide for its own people: There is no economic life to speak of, the pillars are the drug trade and the foreign handouts. It is in the interest of the Afghans that their country be seen as a dangerous land. Were we to head for the exits, the Afghans are certain to block our way with reminders that Al Qaeda is there, or could make a quick return. This is an odd kind of nationalism, one that wants to keep a foreign military presence—and deride it at the same time.
Professor Ajami can at times can be too optimistic, but his insights into the Islamic culture are invaluable and brilliant, and again, he states them so beautifully:
I still harbor doubts about whether the radical Islamists knocking at the gates of Europe, or assaulting it from within, are the bearers of a whole civilization. They flee the burning grounds of Islam, but carry the fire with them. They are “nowhere men,” children of the frontier between Islam and the West, belonging to neither. If anything, they are a testament to the failure of modern Islam to provide for its own and to hold the fidelities of the young.
If you long for non-political, non-agenda driven commentary on Islam and the Middle East, Professor Ajami is your man.  He writes with a sympathy for the culture that produced him, but he can also be critical of it in a way that others could not.  Most importantly, he writes of the Islamic world's affairs from the perspective of an American and explains how they affect America, dispensing solid advice along the way.

Ajami WSJ Google Search
Fouad Ajami - Pakistan and America
Fouad Ajami - Dream Palace of the Arabs
Western Hero - Fouad Ajami: American

Monday, November 21, 2011

Unfair and Unbalanced

I am often accused of not being fair and balanced, to which I reply, "Thank you for noticing."

I am a man of the right, so when I draw comparisons and examples, of course I am going to feature outrages of the left. I don’t need to constantly criticize the right; there is already a whole industry devoted to that: It’s called the Mainstream Media.

No conspiracy; just a group of people who are biased to the left, as evidenced by their own avowed beliefs, voting patterns, and the preponderance of campaign cash from this group going to Democrats.
These statistics suggest that journalists, as a group, are more liberal than almost any congressional district in the country. For instance, in the Ninth California district, which includes Berkeley, twelve percent voted for Bush in 1992, nearly double the rate of journalists. In the Eighth Massachusetts district, which includes Cambridge, nineteen percent voted for Bush, approximately triple the rate of journalists. (A Measure of Media Bias)
Remember reporters not just interviewing tea partiers, but debating them and pushing back? Remember how such interviews turned into verbal wrestling matches, with journalists striving to pin sign-wielding grannies to the intellectual mat? Where are those reporters now? Why are they not challenging the OWS people in the same way? Is it really about the truth, or is it about reinforcing preconceived notions and advancing an agenda?
The press eats this propaganda up and spreads it like manure, where a thousand liberal fantasies bloom. No argumentation, no logic examinations, just channeling the emotion.  (Silverfiddle - Is this a protest or a debate?)
I wrote a criticism of reporters and the left awhile back over at Ontological Angst entitled, Is this a protest or a debate?  In it I explore the use of logic, and contra logic, the meta-narrative.  I invite you to check it out.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

OWS: Operation Wasteful Slacking

Ben Stein has produced some entertaining and trenchant commentary on Occupy Wall Street...
You poor kids. You are basically asking to be supported and taken care of by Mommy and Daddy. Wake up, kids. Wall Street is you, with all of your wants and needs and wishes, only they have the balls to go out and work for it. Sometimes they are crooks and sometimes they are fools -- but you know what? So are all of us. (Ben Stein – American Spectator)
Time has named him one of the Five Most Colorful OWS Celebrity Critics. Among his observations are that yes, he hates crony capitalism too, but sleeping in tents and crapping in parks doesn’t really do anything about it. He wishes the protesters would take more productive steps like doing actual investigative work. As for the outrage at the greed, he observed that you might as well get angry at people for breathing in too much air.

7 Deadly Sins -- Why Stop at Just One?
"You know what the worst deadly sin is? Spiritual pride or thinking that you're morally better than other people," Stein says. "That's what the Occupy Wall Street people are all about; thinking they're better than other people and that's a sin, too." (Ben Stein – Yahoo)
I agree.  Have the OWS screamers looked in the mirror?  Wrath and Envy are not pretty either.  And why just focus on greed?  Let's go after all the deadly sins!  Wrath, Sloth, Pride, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, and of course, Greed are all corrosives, eating away at our society and destroying our souls.

The seven deadly sins, or cardinal sins, are so identified because they are believed to be the root sins from which all worldly iniquities branch out. As the plethora of morality systems throughout the ages testify, these sinful seven have haunted our human existence since the dawn of time. The beauty of this list is that one does not have to be a member of the big three (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) to agree that they are bad. More importantly, if we could restore self-control to its rightful pedestal, we would have the moral authority to tell Big Government to go to hell next time it scolds us over salted french fries.

Make Yourself Useful
Stein used to write 7,000 word in-depth exposes on corporate fraud. "They were a lot of work but they eventually got some people prosecuted," Stein says. "They got some money recovered for stockholders." Stein offers that if the OWS crowd wants to do something helpful they should do the research necessary to direct and inform their discontent. (Ben Stein – Yahoo)
I would be cheering them on, and maybe joining them, if instead of extolling the virtues socialism and using bank lobbies as toilets, they hired lawyers and went about investigating the crony crapitalists and the politicians who love them. Stein has posited the possibility of grand internet clearing houses of information where tens of thousands of independent investigators could submit what they've found.  Lawyers and accountants could then collate the information and connect the grimy dots, shine a light on malfeasance, and perhaps get some crooks indicted.

The human bowel movement in the Guy Fawkes mask is losing steam anyway…
When Public Policy Polling took the temperature of Occupy Wall Street in October, “voters were split, with 35% supporting the movement’s goals and 36% opposing them.” As of today, the “split is 33-45, 11 points worse.” And it’s worse among everybody. The percentage of Democrats opposed to the movement “has risen from 16% to 24%. Meanwhile, both Republicans (from 13-59 to 11-71) and independents (from 39-34 to 34-42) have moved 13 or 14 points against O.W.S.” (Reason)
For every thousand lice-infested protestors beating the leaves, there is one dogged investigator hacking at the root 

Maybe OWS could grow up and make itself useful like Steve Croft at 60 Minutes. He's now braving a firestorm of criticism from Big Government's praetorian guard in the press over his expose on Congressional insider trading.  See Big Journalism’s takedown of Politico,  tongue bath giver to big government.  That Democratic Party web site lashed out at Croft with an especial wrath, exposing it as the  shameful purveyor of putrescent progressive porn that it is.

The first step to getting to the bottom of something is to face facts.  The left has not yet done that. 

Links to responsible journalists exposing crony corruption and congressional get rich quick schemes:
WaPo – Crony Capitalism Exposed
The Wonk Who Slays Washington
The Get Rich Congress

Friday, November 18, 2011

Race to the Bottom

Toure:  Mess NBC Common Tater
If we're going to have a productive discussion on race, we need to drop the generalities and focus in on the specifics

There's been some back and forth over the tiresome issue of racism in America, thanks to the equally-tiresome sexual harassment charges against Herman Cain. 

Diversity Ink blogmeister Malcolm recommended I listen to what Toure had to say.  I didn't want to be combative, Malcolm is a nice guy, but I find Toure shallow, predictable and short on specifics.

I did read his NY Times article, No Such Place as 'Post-Racial America.'  While I agree with the title and some of what's in it, I found it clumsy and liberally sprinkled with hot-button words and phrases as he argues against using...  hot-button words and phrases.  I agree with him that words are abused in order to shut down dialog. I posted on the topic just a few weeks back (Speech Codes are Thought Codes).

He makes some good points when he cautions whites (correctly) that racism is our problem too. He says we have a duty to “interrogate the system,” because even though we may not support racism, we do benefit from it (OK.  How?).

He starts out well, rightly assailing the use of catchall words designed to snuff dialog, and he makes his case for this quite convincingly. The big unfounded assertion he leaves out there is that America is a racist country.
Race and racism are still critical factors in determining what happens and who gets ahead in America.
In what way?  He doesn't say. He continues...
A place where black unemployment is far higher than white unemployment, [...]
Could there be other factors to blame besides race? Could it be that those who are unemployed are unemployable? Without a diploma or job skills?  I keep trying to picture well-dressed, well-educated black people standing around in groups unable to get a job, but I can’t quite manage it.
[...] where profiling and institutional racism and white privilege and myriad other forms of racism still shape so much of life in America.
His credibility would be helped by some actual examples of profiling, institutional racism, white privilege and the myriad other forms of racism. Just playing buzz-word bingo and firing off broad generalities doesn't cut it.  Time to get down to brass tacks and name names.

Toure's Syndrom: A fact-free spasm of guilty white liberal nonsense...

Now I've seen ol' Toure in action, and he gets wound up when egged on by the gape-mouthed, guilty-white leftwing levellers at MSNBC. They eagerly and masochistically accept the bracing flagellations administered by people of color. We're white! We deserve it!

Here's a particularly stinging lash, swung rather broadly...
But it makes you part of the system and reveals why it’s also your responsibility to interrogate and examine how our society works and be aware of the biases that keep white supremacy functioning.
White Supremacy?  Is he serious?  I understand his point, but plastering a broad swath of America with such a fraught term is guaranteed to kill any hoped-for dialog.

This is why there are so many of us white "cowards" the Attorney General complained about awhile back.  Invite me in to dialog, and then start slapping me with the broad brush and hanging labels around my neck?   No thanks.  Life's too short.

See Also:
Hush Rush:  Bigotry Goes Equal Opportunity
Leftwing Hate and Anger

Thursday, November 17, 2011

There Will be Mud

The Democrats are in deep doo doo.  The two-year hopium-induced progressive-palooza angered the electorate and resulted in Republicans retaking the house.  Decisively.  The senate is next, and they risk losing the presidency as well.

Signs of Democrat desperation are everywhere.  Rushing to embrace the stinking anti-capitalist agglomeration of street bums, latte leftists, liberal arts students, anarchists and assorted weirdos squatting in fetid tent camps is just their latest act of desperation.  Identifying with sweaty mobs who attack police, smash windows and rail against the Jews will not help them.  Even Joe Biden threatening more rapes and murders only moved Obama's public opinion needle lower.

The Democrat Party:  Old, Tired, Gray, Yesterday...

I said it years ago, and we're seeing it play out now. Obama is all the Democrats have.  The group picture of the Democrat political headliners looks like a Halloween display.

The Democrat party is spilling over with grotesque freaks (Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Michael Moore), angry jackasses (Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Sheila Jackson Lee, Al Franken), criminals (Charlie Rangel, Rod Balgojevich, William Jefferson, Anthony Wiener) or grumpy anonymi (Harry Reid, Carl Levin, Dick Durban).

The states and cities Democrats control are putrid sinkholes of corruption and economic collapse.  Liberal mayors who vowed to be "down with the struggle," are now trapped between losing cred by cleaning up the violent, unsanitary rabble that is destroying their cities, or letting them rant and rage unmolested.

Obama's All They Got

The sagging, aging Democrat party hung its fortunes on the youthful and handsome Barack Obama. He was clean and articulate, his speech was free of ethnic dialect.  He was the last hope for the intellectually and morally bankrupt statists. The dems had slept their way to the top with Wall Street; exchanging their mantle of virtue for a see-through nightie, and it ain't pretty what's underneath.
"We came, we saw, he died."
-- Hilary Clinton gloating over Gadhaffi's death
As Barack Obama goes, so goes the Democrat party, so we're hearing talk about how tough he is.  How he shot Bin Laden, bravely bombed all those brown people in south Asia, and put Khadaffi on the run, personally ordering him to be beaten, dragged through the streets, sodomized with a chunk of rebar, and killed.

You know they're desperate when the Obama sycophants churn out laughable playground smack like this:
And he’s the same guy who will leave quarts of blood on the floor in the coming months to defend his office.

Obama likes to get into people’s heads. It might be a coincidence that Obama called Texas Gov. Rick Perry about the wildfires in the Lone Star State just hours before Perry was participating in his first debate. And it might not.

On the golf course, on the basketball court and even in the Cabinet Room, the president has shown repeatedly that he is a mindfreak, to use a term from the basketball courts. (Sam Youngman - I Want to be Obama's Love Slave)
When Obama goes down, they all go down...
“It didn’t have to be this way,” said another House Democrat who requested anonymity in order to speak candidly. “Obama’s presidency has fizzled. It’s going to be every person for himself in 2012. There just won’t be any coattails, and any effect he does have on the ballot will hurt us.” (Politico)
Left Blogistanis still cheer one another by pointing to polls showing that Americans hate the Republican party. Well, it’s worse than that for democrats: America hates their policies, their legislation, their progressive wealth-destroying monstrosities, and their anti-liberty philosophy.  Americans hate big government.  Obamacare is a carcass rotting in the sun. The stink swells as time goes on.

All they have left is fear and smear. There will be mud

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

China Declared War on Us Years Ago

China has committed multiple acts of war against the United States
According to a January report from the Commerce Department, counterfeit electronics in the defense industry are on the rise. In 2005, there were 3,868 incidents detected, compared with 9,356 in 2008, according to the report. (Navy Times)
Those inscrutable Chinese have managed to slip unreliable counterfeit electronics into equipment critical to our national defense. This is an act of sabotage that nations used to only dream of being able to pull off back in the old days. Now, China has done it to "the most powerful nation on earth."

Poisoned food, toxic drywall, and now shoddy fake electronic components that go into our national defense hardware. Cyber spying, cyber warfare, suborning LORAL to turn over advanced missile technology during the Clinton administration. They forced down one of our USAF surveillance planes in 2001 when Bush was president, and we stood by powerless, a hapless nation with a hapless president.

In an earlier age, any one of these deliberate actions would be considered an act of war.

Why don’t we tell China to back off and shove their toxic crap where the sun don't shine? Why are we taking this from them?   Oh yeah... we’re in hock to them to the tune of trillions… And we don’t make stuff in this country anymore.  We need them.

Our profligacy has put us in mortal danger, and our government has done its damnedest to make the USA a terrible place to do business. Because we’ve lost control of ourselves, our spending and our jobs, we’ve also lost control of our destiny. We are a pauper nation at the whim of our creditors. We are Greece without all the naps and the smoking.

We are a walking brain dead zombie nation, more concerned about millionaire men who play with balls and their billionaire owners than we are about national defense and fiscal sanity. We are reaping what we have sown.
"In every democracy, the people get the government they deserve"  -- Alexis de Tocqueville

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

In an OWS World...

If you agree with OWS that more government control over the economy is the answer, then you must be willing to accept more Solyndras, more Fannie and Freddie failures, and more bailouts of businesses, banks and unions, as they gamble with your money.  

The result will be less entrepreneurship resulting in more expensive goods and services, lower wages, higher taxes and a lower standard of living.

Mark Steyn explains...
My colleague Rich Lowry correctly notes that many of the beleaguered families on the "We are the 99%" websites have real problems.
However, the "occupy" movement has no real solutions, except more government, more spending, more regulation, more bureaucracy, more unsustainable, lethargic pseudo university with no return on investment, more more more of what got us into this hole. (Mark Steyn)
Indeed. Unrepentant capitalist Charles Gasparino reminds us that capitalism's predations on the proletariat are mere trifles when compared to the serial Marxist miseries that have stained humanity and snuffed liberty and the light of reason while slaughtering hundreds of millions:
Don’t try to explain to any of these protesters how those who sought to create a Marxist utopian dream of revolution also gave us the Stalinist purges, Mao’s bloody Cultural Revolution and many other efforts to collectivize thought in the name of economic “justice.” (Gasparino)
Even the benign Western European democratic socialist model is collapsing. Germany is cutting back, and what's left of the safety net comes at a high price: Wage cuts, benefit cuts, compliant unions voluntarily  trading away worker bennies in exchange for no layoffs. Their tax system is grossly un-progressive, with consumption taxes hitting the rich and the poor equally.  A gallon of gasoline costs over six dollars, and everything else, including food and heating oil, is taxed at 19%, and that's on top of the income tax. 

"Call it Crapitalism"

Gasparino visited the socialist squatter's encampment on Wall Street, and came away with this observation...
Also absent was any notice of how the much-hated banks benefited not from free-market capitalism, which would have let them fail in 2008, but from crony capitalism that bailed them out.
The similar cronyism practiced by Trumka and the Obama administration -- massive spending on useless but politically connected businesses like Solyndra, paired with class-warfare rhetoric -- likewise has very little to do with free markets.  (Gasparino)
As John Stossel Says, Occupy Wall Street is Half Right...
If by "capitalism" they mean crony capitalism (let's call it crapitalism), a system in which favored business interests are supported by government, I'm against that, too.
But if they mean the free market, then they are fools. When allowed to work, the market has lifted more people out of the mud and misery of poverty than any government, ever.
I have at least found some common ground with some Wall Street protest supporters. Joe Sibilia, who runs the website CSRWire (Corporate Social Responsibility), told me, "You can't have an environment where people are betting on financial instruments with the expectation that the government is going to bail them out."
So we agree that Wall Street bailouts are intolerable. Now we just have to teach our progressive friends that truly free markets work for the benefit of all.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Good News, America!

Liberals are hooting and trumpeting the big union win in Ohio, where voters overwhelmingly gave public sector unions the green light to continue raping them until the state goes bankrupt, but they ignore that these same voters also overwhelmingly rejected Obamacare.

And the GOP Takeover of the Virginia legislature and senate was another voter-administered slap to President Obama and the Democrats.    

Nile Gardiner, America-observing Brit, observes: Barack Obama is facing an anti-big government revolution.
...from Gallup, has conservatives in America now outnumbering liberals by a two-to-one margin.
Thirty-one percent of Americans in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll are downright angry at the way the federal government works, a record in polling back to 1992. Add in those who are merely dissatisfied and the total soars to 80 percent, one point from its high 19 years ago.
According to The Post/ABC survey, a staggering 89 per cent of Americans now say the economy is in “bad shape”, with nearly half calling it “poor”; 61 per cent of respondents disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy, with 48 per cent strongly disapproving.
Yes, America, Obama's job is almost complete.  Now if the GOP can just get its act together...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Abortion is Infanticide

Religious, pro-life Mississippi voted down a ballot initiative that would have declared personhood for a fetus at the time of conception.  We are conflicted on the issue of abortion.

Herman Cain had a rough time explaining his abortion stance a few weeks back and has come under some pretty stiff criticism from all sides. He earned it with his one-man verbal ping pong match and inarticulate crab walk followed up by blatant pandering and backpedaling.

However, his cognitive incoherence and apparent contradictory beliefs speak for a broad section of America. Fellow Coloradoan Ross Kaminsky explains
As heretical as this will sound to the GOP faithful, Herman Cain's true position, as I read the man, is perhaps the best possible position for a candidate in an American presidential election. […]
...although Americans respond that they are pro-choice and pro-life in roughly equal proportions, there is a large subset of both groups -- but a larger subset of pro-life -- whose position is supportive of allowing abortion in certain cases. […] 

Putting all this together: A statistically significant 12 percent more of the American adult population believes abortion is morally wrong than believe it is morally acceptable. Yet Americans also believe by an enormous 3-to-1 margin that abortion should be legal at least sometimes.

In other words, Americans, including a majority of those who call themselves pro-life, have an essentially libertarian view on abortion: it may be undesirable or wrong, but it is not the government's role to enforce what most American believe to be a particular moral view rather than murder.
Kaminsky also points out that Cain can hardly be accused of being soft on abortion. He has spent one-million dollars of his own money on anti-abortion causes. Has Bachmann or Santorum done that?

I’m not quite so libertarian on this issue. I believe taking an innocent life is wrong. A fetus in a mother’s womb is an innocent life; therefore abortion is wrong. If this were a private issue between a woman and her doctor, it would be no one else’s business, least of all the state’s, but that’s not the case. Planned Parenthood runs for-profit abortion mills with taxpayer dollars, and I have a big problem with that.

Abortion is infanticide
(Reuters) - Two employees of a Philadelphia abortion clinic where live, viable babies were allegedly killed and a patient died after being given on overdose of painkillers pleaded guilty on Thursday to murder.

Seven more defendants face charges in the case, including Gosnell, who a grand jury in January said, "killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable babies in the third trimester of pregnancy -- and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors."
These gruesome acts in that Philadelphia charnel house did not just happen. Our society conditioned these murderers to view a baby in the womb as just a piece of tissue. Indeed, we codified into law the rights of the killer over those of the victim. What they did to those babies once they were out of the womb was just a logical extension of what a sick society already told them was OK.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Free Stuff

Democrat party spokesmouth Debbie Whatshername Schultz declared the GOP presidential field "shockingly deficient," the other day.  All I could think of was, "yeah, and so is the Democrat presidential field."

Occupy Free Stuff!

James Taranto wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal about OWS entitled, What Anarchy Looks Like.
It's not a good idea to feed wild animals. "Coffee cart owner Linda Jenson and hot dog cart operators Letty and Pete Soto said they initially provided free food and drink to demonstrators" at San Diego's Obamaville encampment, reports Los Angeles's KNX-AM. "But when they stopped, the protesters became violent"
The KNX link describes how the feral pigs stole from them and vandalized their carts with blood, urine and graffiti. Now they are receiving death threats. Good citizens of San Diego are having a fundraiser to help them, but business owners around the nation are having similar experiences with OWS people.

This reminded me of a video I saw a few years back about illegal immigration. I don't quite get so worked up on the subject as this guy, but it is funny (F-bomb alert!). Reading the Taranto piece reminded me of this video. I think it applies more to the self-entitled moochers and freeloaders squatting in Occupy encampments across America. At least the illegal immigrants are working...

Friday, November 11, 2011

On The 11th Hour of the 11th Day...

...  The Great War ended:
Captain Harry S. Truman was serving in an artillery battalion of the Missouri National Guard.  He fired his last round at 10:45 a.m. that day.  Finally, after four long years of the worst mass killing in human history, the guns fell silent.  An estimated ten million had died in the great war.  Then, at last, "all quiet on the western front."
That night, Harry complained that the men of the neighboring French artillery battalion kept him awake.  They had gotten drunk and each one insisted on marching past Harry's bed to salute him and yell, "Vive President Wilson! Vive le Capitaine d'artillerie Americaine!"
On the German side, Corporal Adolf Hitler received the news in a military hospital; he had been temporarily blinded by poison gas.  He cried bitter tears.  For his courage under fire, Corporal Hitler was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class.  He was recommended for this unusually high honor by Captain Hugo Guttman, a Jew.  (William J. Bennett - America, The Last Best hope, Vol II)   
Today is Veterans Day in the United States, and Remembrance Day in Canada, where we pause on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to commemorate the WW I Armistice. The day has grown into a tribute to all veterans of all wars. 

This year we lost our last World War I veteran, Frank Buckles, and the the cohort of living WW II veterans is dwindling rapidly.

Here is a beautiful musical tribute to veterans by Canadian musician Terry Kelly. It is unabashedly patriotic, whether you're Canadian or American, and don't be surprised if it brings a tear or two. I know I can't help it, especially when that line of veterans appears out of the past.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

This is Not a Blog Post

Obama's latest in a series of panders is to those with worthless college degrees who are up to their ears in student loan debt

My post on the most worthless college degrees sparked some great back and forth on the relative merits and demerits of different degrees. As always, the conversation was lively.

My bottom line is that I don’t care what degree you get so long as you're not reaching into my pocket to pay for it.  Major in dwarf tossing or gerbil ranching for all I care, but do it on your own dime, and don’t take to the streets screaming in outrage when you can't find a job.

I am against the federal government handing out money to college students

All it ends up doing is inflating the cost of higher education many times greater than the overall rate of inflation. If government must hand out money, it should only subsidize that which we need more of and that which will benefit the nation. As it stands, we do not produce enough STEM graduates (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) or medical doctors, so if we must hand out money for college, that is where it should go.

Countries that provide free or highly subsidized college are spilling over with pseudo-intellectual mental manipulators and professional troublemakers with advanced degrees.

Indeed, places like Italy and Paraguay enjoy a surfeit of tour guides and bartenders with PhDs who can quote great passages of Foucault and explain how Middle Ages scholasticism smuggled its way through The Renaissance to reemerge as the modern-day republican party shorn of all knowledge and possessing only the narrow-minded hatred of all that is non-white or female.

In those countries, ordinary people pay no attention to such fanciful pedantry, since it sprouts like weeds and serves no practical purpose to a society that cannot afford frivolities.  The incoherent and impenetrable psychobabble of these self-styled thinkers never makes it out of the corner wine shops, shabby union halls and dilapidated communist party storefronts.  It does, however make for lively intellectual conversation among the unemployed.

Extra-Spicy Political Thought

I’ve been there, I’ve seen it. I was in Quito, hanging out with a very leftwing crowd I'd gotten chummy with, great people. I did music sets every weekend at a little artsy combination folk museum, coffee shop, restaurant and bar overlooking the Cumbaya Valley.

I showed up one afternoon after work and it was an anthill of excited activity, with people smoking even more than usual. Rigoberta Menchu was coming! Yes, the discredited lying Nobel Prize winner, and she had at that time already been discredited, but not among the highly educated Latin American left! I wisely shut my mouth and went out drinking with an Army buddy.

Having a degree doesn't make you smart

Government subsidy of non-productive, easy-to-get degrees just produces entitled people who confuse having a degree with being smart. It encourages, resentment, sneering condescension, sloth and social agitation.

Conservative American scientist Razib Khan makes a compelling case for how liberalism has skewed the social sciences, and his anecdotes about the ignorance he encountered among the supposedly well-educated reminded me of a few of my own.

A year of so after the Iran Contra scandal, I thought I'd impress a pretty young Social Sciences major I met at a New Years Eve party by telling her I'd just gotten back from a tour in Central America.  She completely deflated me by responding, "Oh?  Oklahoma?"  That was almost as bad as the Political Science undergrad I engaged in conversation with on an airline flight who said she enjoyed reading Political Science books.  "Locke, Marx perhaps?"  No.  John Grisham.  

This is the equivalent of an Electrical Engineering major telling you he's recreating Frankenstein's science experiments using electricity to revive the dead.  People are entitled to their ignorance, but not on my dime.

So what is the meaning of your life? That should drive your degree choice. I was not smart enough to be a doctor, and I don’t possess the skill and daring of an entrepreneur.  My conscious choice put me on a path to wage slavery, and I will never be a millionaire, but I am happy.

Please see also:  Jack Camwell's blog post response

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

This is the difference between good photography and great photography...

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi adjusts his tie in anticipation of the G-12 Summit photo, as Argentina President Cristina Kirchner looks on.


Multi-billionaire horn dog gears up to invite one of the world's sexiest female politicians to his Villa Festiva, as the unsuspecting Argentine beauty looks on.

The leering lecherous lethoso from Legorno may be on his way out, if Italy doesn't collapse around him first.

Speaking of collapses, is Herman Cain's campaign on the brink of collapse?

I think Herman Cain is done. Unless you're a democrat, you just can't survive something like this, no matter the veracity of the charges or the credibility of the accusers.

This is a "he said, she said," with no way to verify what really happened. A little less so for the two incidents where the women received settlements, since the association could publish a redacted copy of the reports and allow us to judge for ourselves.

The incident involving the woman that just came forward can never be verified. We are left to rely on  character witnesses for both sides and examining other parts of their lives for a history of  unsavoriness or other similar incidents.

I question Mr. Cain's judgment if he indeed placed himself in a position where he was with a woman alone.   A powerful person who is prudent never does that.  According to Mr. Cain and others, the two incidents that resulted in the settlements happened in public, not private.

I also question why this woman didn't go to the police. This was not some caddish behavior; she is alleging an assault. Not fighting evil is to countenance and nurture it. Leaving a predator free makes you complicit in his subsequent attacks.

Edmund Burke Strikes Again

Joe paterno and his star quarterback turned assistant coach will find that out if they haven't woken up already. It strains credulity that they didn't know what that vile pervert was up to.

John Cardinal Law, who was supposed to lead his flock and protect it, instead knowingly unleased pedophiles upon it, leading to the bankruptcy (moral and financial) of his diocese. Instead of being clapped into prison, he was given a plum assignment in Rome and feted with lavish parties. He was just one of many, and the church (and more importantly the victims) have never fully recovered from its countenanced criminality. Had good men stood up, it would be a much different story.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bonfire of the Insanities

A photographer caught some wannabe jihadi jackwagon throwing rocks at the police and vandalizing property in Oakland while wearing a Palestinian-style keffiyeh.

Idiot's Intifada 

This just reinforces the stereotype of the "We are the World" American wacktivist wankers, imitating what they see on CNN, too lazy and too cowardly to put it on the line like Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell and others on the left did back in the 1930's.

The Socialists of the 1930's went to Spain and fought the fascists; today's leftists bleat on about the Palestinians, Colombian campesinos and oppressive Middle Eastern regimes, but they don't do anything about them.

Like a twisted Civil War reenactment club, they instead dress up as hippies and don costumes of their favorite radicals, and assault their urban environs with fantasies of Latin American Revolutions and Arab Springs dancing through their fluffy little brains.  Until the dingbat in the Palestinian headscarf heads to Gaza and starts throwing rocks at Israeli tanks, he's just another pantywaist playing dress up.

Latte Leftists

Our pampered populists are latte leftists playing dress-up, too scared to go fight any real oppression. So instead, they attack the America that swaddles them in comfort and modern bounty.  They trash the municipalities that host cell phone towers and free WiFi for their iPhones and laptops.  The disciplined and humane police forces provide additional incentive to protest here instead of abroad. Instead of being thrown head first into a fetid, dank gulag bloody and broken, they are escorted into a bright clean cell where they can sip publicly funded hot coco until a communist party lawyer, pockets stuffed with wealthy liberals' guilt money, comes down to bail them out.

Rage Against the Reagan Revolution

This is not about fighting oppression. This is the left's poop throwing primal scream against the greatest president of the 20th century and his lifting half a billion people out of poverty.

Three decades later, the triumph of Reaganism is remarkable. In the United States and Britain taxes shrank, regulation, especially of the financial sector, was pruned back, and state companies were sold off. Even Brussels was nudged toward liberalization.
The impact on the rest of the world was even more profound. Soviet Communism collapsed, China converted to capitalism and entered the world economy, India dismantled its protectionist License Raj, and many emerging market economies in Latin America and Africa embraced liberalization as the path to growth.
One result has been an unprecedented global economic boom. Its biggest beneficiaries have been some of the world’s poorest people, particularly in China and India: Shaohua Chen and Martin Ravallion of the World Bank have found that between 1981 and 2005, the number of people living in poverty in the developing world fell by 500 million. (Chrystia Freeland)
The screaming OWS drum beaters are frustrated because the tea parties already have the anti-crony crapitalism turf staked out...
Palin’s remedy to crony capitalism is to double down on the Reagan Revolution — lower taxes and shrink government further. Progressives have not yet come up with a solution of such seductive simplicity. Their standard prescription — higher taxes, more regulation, a stronger social welfare net, and more investment in education — may be sensible. But it lacks the rallying power of Palin’s call to smash crony capitalism by depriving the elites of their political tool — big government.  (Chrystia Freeland)
Freeland sneeringly calls the separation of Wall Street and State "seductive simplicity," but that is the key to pulling our economy and our federal budget out of the crony crapitalist quagmire.  The "standard prescription" of the progressives will only exacerbate our economic misery by encouraging even more state-sponsored crony crapitalism.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cheap Orwellian Tricks

My last post on Orwell and speech codes really struck a nerve with our leftist friend Ducky. Here’s my favorite comment from him, a piece of rhetoric I call an unsolicited Tu Quoque:

Let's see, we could spends days discussing phrases the right has deployed such as "weapons of mass destruction" or "the liberal media".
The right in general isn't interested in any precise use of language.
Merely say "sharia" and you bark like freaking trained seals.
Sorry, Silverfiddle, but you don't often find the real hard core right capable of moving past a few canned memes.
How about the left’s use of “assault weapon,” “Rabies Radio,” “Faux News," “blood for oil” (only when a Republican is in the White House)…  But I digress. Ducky is engaging in a misdirect Tu Quoque, avoiding the main point and shouting “Waaaah! Conservatives do it too!”  Which responds to nothing, because I never claimed otherwise, but I’m sure Orwell would be impressed with the intellectual depth of Ducky’s rebuttal.

I grant him that many Americans do get into a lather at the mention of Sharia, but it’s warranted.

We have nice looking westernized Imams assuring us that Islam is a religion of peace and Sharia is as innocuous and fluffy as a basket of kittens. Meanwhile, foaming-at-the-mouth Islamists kill infidels on the streets, burn down embassies and behead Jewish reporters, all in the name of Islam.  We've even had a few "honor" killing here in the good ol' US of A.

Perhaps they are abusing the religion and abusing the terms Jihad and Sharia, but actions speak louder than words. I think a reasonable person could excuse other reasonable people the natural tendency to give more weight to loud and violent acts than they do to calmly spoken rhetoric. Actions speak for themselves, words are just easy inventions.

Language (and Image) Abuse:  All sides do it

Ducky complains of the use of certain words as code-speech or quick labels to manipulate the masses or cast shorthand opprobrium on a person or group, and I agree with him. Shorthand is convenient. Imagine having to give a citation-laden dissertation every time you spoke. But it also allows speakers and listeners to lapse into lazy, well-grooved modes of thought, so yes, critical thinking is a must.

And then, as if on cue, Jersey stepped in with this banal piece of propaganda...
When you look at the voter and immigration laws being passed in the South, and the impetus from the Tea Party to make those laws, that if proof of the culture of racism in the Tea Party. When you look at their insanely hyperbolic caricatures of Obama, from the very beginning, that is proof of racism in the Tea Party.

[…] bla bla bla […]

… the drug war is racist, our immigration policies are racist, our foreign policies are racist.

Racism remains a very serious problem in America, and most of it comes from the Right.
That statement took zero thought. Grab the words from the propaganda library and go.  You could build a 99 cent lib-speak iPhone app to come up with that!

"A wathscally wightwing wathist behind evwy twee! And behind evwy government powicy!"

Note the imperious tone and the declaration of finality Jersey uses. A big, wet clot of unsubstantiated twaddle and logical fallacies, wadded up and thrown in our faces as he admonishes us to shut our gobs!
There's no arguing that. That's not "newsspeak" or "codespeak" or a "dog whistle." It is reality.  Anyone who says otherwise deluded, ignorant, or a liar. Period.
“There’s no arguing that!” Got it? Jersey’s style conjures visions of a fat, balding liberal Archie Bunker, pontificating from his ratty recliner wearing a spaghetti-stained wife beater and jabbing his lit cigar at you for emphasis. “There’s no arguing!” “Got that?” “Period!”

Orwell explains this in more detail in his essay Politics and the English Language. I recommend you take a few minutes and read it.
In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible.

In our age there is no such thing as "keeping out of politics." All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia.
I think left, right and middle can all agree on that.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Speech Codes are Thought Codes

I caught a bit of Rush's Weekend in Review, and he was playing excerpts of some guy on msnbc, can't remember his name, who was breaking down the conservative counterattacks responding to the left's assaults on Herman Cain.

In a picture-perfect example of psychological projection, this young man with one name succinctly and brilliantly accused the right of employing the politically-correct left's favorite tactic:  Marginalize your ideological opponents, putting them beyond the societal pale, so you do not have to engage them in debate.

That's what a charge of racism is all about.  Rightwing tea partiers are all racists, so their ideas can all be ignored.  They're not worthy of a response.  It's a convenient dodge employed by the ideologically indoctrinated and the intellectually bereft.

"Those who control the language control the debate."

Imposing speech codes, placing certain words off-limits, and declaring as "hate speech" the legitimate criticism of certain protected groups and programs are common contemporary versions of the age-old tactics Orwell warned us of so many years ago. 

He expounded upon Oceania's peculiar language, Newspeak, in a short essay, The Principles of Newspeak:
The purpose of Newspeak was [...] to make all other modes of thought impossible.
This involved "stripping" words of "unorthodox meanings," "eliminating undesirable words" and reducing the vocabulary.
Newspeak, indeed, differed from most all other languages in that its vocabulary grew smaller instead of larger every year. Each reduction was a gain, since the smaller the area of choice, the smaller the temptation to take thought.
In our own day, "racist" is a lazy epithet to be flung only at white conservatives.  Employ it in any other fashion not authorized by the cognoscenti, and the author will be met with either puzzlement or scorn.  You may as well call a cockroach a house slipper.  People of color (and the guilty white liberals who encourage such dangerous linguistic abuse) cannot.  Be.  Racist.  Period.

In the same vein, the word fascism cannot be used without causing an indignant uproar, even if the one using it can provide ten reasons and examples showing why the word is apt.  And God forbid you should criticize the collapsing panoply of federally-funded social services that have ushered us to the brink of bankruptcy.  That would make you a hater of minorities, the poor, and old people.

Thought corrupts language, language corrupts thought

In his essay, Politics and the English Language, Orwell observes...
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.
[...]  But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely.
Successful speech codes create a self-censoring feedback loop.  Taking away words is the removal of the building blocks of thought, impoverishing it, which in turn further impoverishes our speech, which further impoverishes our thoughts...

We can break this cycle of language abuse by refusing to obey speech codes and fighting their implementation at every level.  Laughing in the faces of hollow ideologues spouting the latest liberal meme won't stop it, but it will break the spell and attract critical attention that is the antidote to pseudo-intellectual claptrap designed to quash critical thought and free speech.

* - I found the "control the debate" quote in Google Books - Disciplining Dissent - Bruneau & Turk

Friday, November 4, 2011

Have Women Lost Their Civilizing Influence?

I stumbled across a provocative article entitled, Why Polygamy is Good for Women. I enjoy a good counterintuitive argument, so I dove in…
A lot of the knee-jerk reactions against polygyny are from people who can't add up. In a society with equal numbers of men and women, each man with four wives gives women the additional pick of three men […]

In the Sahel region of Africa, half of all women live in polygynous households. The other half have a good choice of men and a lot more bargaining power.
(Tim Harford - Slate)
Could the same logic apply in the US? 

Large numbers of incarcerated males decrease the prospects for women. Add in that women as a cohort are more educated than men, and the disparity grows.

Most importantly, given shifting societal norms, does any of this even matter?

Women tightly guarding the gateway to carnal paradise has been the traditional means of putting respectable men in the marrying mood, but girl power has wrecked that.

In many circles, the girls compete with the guys to see who can be more promiscuous, to the detriment of themselves and their sisters, I think. It’s too easy to get free milk now, so only a fool buys the cow…

And with more and more girls willing to engage in public drunkenness, farting contests, and licentious vulgarities, crass behavior is no longer the exclusive domain of the male species.

Add to this the overall pornification of our society, and the female of the species has lost her mystique. Counterintuitively, psychologists believe this may explain why more men have retreated into internet porn and lap dances. Reality makes no sense so you gotta go hide somewhere, I guess.

What happens when your internal wiring is incompatible with the culture? 

I don’t know myself. I’ve been happily married for quite awhile, and God has blessed us with a pretty uncomplicated relationship. We simply and unselfishly try to make one another happy, and that’s important for a healthy marriage.

Driving home last week, I heard Dennis Prager discuss with callers what made their marriage a happy one. Almost every caller mentioned some variant of “doing something for or with my spouse that I really don’t want to do,” and much of it revolved around sex, with the man as the one wanting it when the wife was not particularly in the mood. It was a tie in with the question of why men cheat on their wives. 

Love as a Two-Sided Coin

Prager then presented a two-sided coin that sparked a lot of conversation:

For the women: Is it really so horrible to contribute 15 minutes to an activity that makes your spouse so happy and that may prevent him from sinning against you, your God, and your marriage?

For the Men: Is a few moments of adulterous pleasure really worth defiling your marriage, disrespecting your spouse, and offending your God?

Of course, the answer to both is, No. But we are irrational beings much of the time; and the whirling vortex of id, ego, emotions and sex leads to dark psychological chasms.

Let’s face it, were it not for sex, men would have no interest in women, and subsequently children. We men would abandon our towns and cities to roam the woods and mountains in armed bands, killing game, fighting, and brewing beer.

Idealizing women is not a condescension, and it is a shame that a small dedicated band of insurgents has succeeded in knocking themselves and their sisters from their pedestals.