The end of democratic socialism is at hand. The welfare states of the U.S. and Europe are financially out of control, spent and unsustainable. They have reached the point that Margaret Thatcher defined as the end of socialism: They have run out of other people’s money. These areas of the world are about to change dramatically.
Victor Davis Hanson has a piece in National Review Online focused on Europe. His comments, while directed at Europe, are also applicable to the United States. Hanson states:
Five years ago, the European Union’s account of itself resonated with end-of history triumphalism. In organic fashion, democratic socialism would spread eastward and southward, recivilizing the old Warsaw Pact and the Balkans through cradle-to-grave entitlements, state unionism, radical environmentalism, and utopian pacifism.
How quickly the dreams of just a short time ago have been shattered. Now the once-smug EU struggles desperately to survive. The financial problems of Greece and several other countries threaten its very existence. Incredibly, in spite of this experience, the U.S. marches in double-time toward the goal that Europe is now being forced to abandon.
The myth of Socialism should have been abandoned long ago. In the 1920s, Ludwig von Mises demonstrated that Socialism and its close relative, Interventionism, were not capable of long-term management of an economy. The Soviet Union and a host of other highly socialized economies provided subsequent empirical support for Mises’ theoretical argument.
Despite overwhelming evidence, Socialism does not go away. Like a vampire, it reappears and seemingly cannot be terminated. Like the vampire, it sucks the life out of each economy it touches. Despite experience, each new generation seems to produce gullible people lured by the siren song of socialism. Each generation seems destined to battle these false promises anew.
It was evident that Europe was heading for trouble long before Greece imploded. As Hanson states, the problems were apparent for at least a decade but apparently ignored because of a presumed better quality of life:
That Europe’s socialist model had led to relatively modest growth over the last decade in comparison with other advanced economies, that unemployment in Europe was likewise chronically high, and that worker productivity was static were always downplayed or at least balanced by “quality of life” counterpoints. Who cared that, over the last decade, much of Europe saw economic growth at only 50 to 75 percent the U.S. rate per annum, or that it struggled with 10 percent unemployment, or that it discouraged start-up companies, when the quality of life there was so much better for so many more people than anywhere else?
The “there’s-no-such-thing-as-a-free-lunch” axiom applies in both free markets and socialist economies. Quality of life is a function of many things. While it means different things to different people, the common denominator is wealth creation. Even if you have little interest in wealth per se, wealth provides the options that enable one to select his own version of quality of life. Economies that do not create wealth provide few options. Economies that do not create wealth cannot improve the quality of life on any sustainable basis.
by J.C. Phillips
Two weeks ago Dr. Rand Paul, an ophthalmologist and the Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Kentucky, appeared on the Rachel Maddow show to clarify statements he had made, which seemed to suggest that he would have opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For 20 minutes Paul and Maddow engaged in a less-than-graceful pas de deux on the theme of discrimination and private property rights.
Maddow asked Paul whether he believed private business people had the right to discriminate against black people, or any other minority group. Paul responded that once you allow the government to dictate how citizens can use their private property, it ceases to be private. Maddow pressed the issue, asking if the government had the right to force Woolworth’s to serve black customers at its lunch counter. Rather than say, “Yes,” Paul responded with an argument about the second amendment.
In less than an hour, candidate Paul was able to do what the Obama administration, the New York Times, and even the lying members of the Congressional Black Caucus could not do. Within minutes of the end of the interview, the blogosphere was atwitter with claims that the true goal of the Tea Party was to roll back big government in order to undo the gains of the civil rights era and return this nation to the days of “separate but equal.” And now they have the video to prove it!
Of course, believing that free people ought to have the right to do what they please with their private property does not make one a racist, neither is it an “extreme” view. I would argue that the belief that there is some inherent value in one’s race that makes one a better jurist, teacher, or more deserving of admission to college is racist.
It is interesting that those so distraught over Rand Paul’s philosophical ramblings have failed to point out the hypocrisy on the part of Progressives.
The new left is appalled–appalled!–that Paul might suggest that in a free market society that supports private property rights, a business owner has the right to decide with whom he will or will not do business. However, leftists are remarkably silent—even supportive of—community activists urging their black neighbors to “buy black;” Jewish and Islamic merchants who only buy from Jewish and Islamic venders; universities with segregated dormitories and graduation ceremonies; racial preferences in college admissions, or racially gerrymandered electoral districts.
The truth is that Paul’s argument has more merit than the mushy multi-culturalism preached on the left. In a free market, private business owners should have the right to do business with whomever they want. Freedom requires that we tolerate boorish, unpleasant, or even racist attitudes and speech. But a free market also means that consumers have the freedom to discriminate. Business owners will pay an economic price if they incorporate boorish, unpleasant, and racist attitudes into their business models. Most business owners want to be winners in the market place, so their decisions will more than likely lead them away from discriminatory policies and towards serving as many paying customers as possible.
But what if there is no free market?
What Rand Paul fails to process into his argument is that at the time the Civil Rights Act was drafted, laws not only prevented black citizens from patronizing certain businesses, those same laws also prevented white business owners from doing business with customers of their choosing. Moreover, black businessmen were not allowed access to the kind of financial capital needed to build the separate but equivalent establishments on the order of Woolworth’s and other large companies.
Paul makes the same argument that conservatives made in 1964 and thus, makes the same theoretical mistake.
In 1964 conservatives sought to protect the Constitution even as it was being torn to shreds. Conservatives cautioned against a dangerous expanse of governmental power even as those with abhorrent and anti-constitutional views used the power of government to usurp the freedoms of a portion of the citizenry. Conservatives reasoned that lasting transformation could only be had through changing hearts; pubic pressure could be brought to bear and in time white folks would remit and blacks would finally enjoy equality and freedom.
Ultimately, Rand Paul’s argument fails exactly where conservatism failed. It is not up to some men to dictate to other men when they shall enjoy their God-given rights. To believe that boycotts and other forms of public pressure were by themselves going to break down the racial barriers in American society is to ignore the deafening clash of the cleanliness of theory meeting head-on with the filth of reality. Theory says that government must be limited to certain specific duties and must be vigorous in fulfilling those duties. The reality is that even a limited government must be powerful enough to perform its charge. Moreover, those within the government must have the political will to act quickly and decisively when the freedoms of any citizen are threatened.
Modern-day conservatives have recognized this error. Has Rand Paul?
Seeing Joe Cocker on the American Idol finale reminded me of this bit from Saturday Night Live where John Belushi brilliantly sends up Cocker’s spastic singing style.
Then there’s this:
Profiling is considered among the worst of American sins.
Not long ago, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested by the Cambridge, Mass., police for trying to enter his own locked home after misplacing his key. Almost immediately, President Obama rushed to condemn what he thought was racial profiling. The police were acting “stupidly,” Obama concluded. He added: “There’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.”
Here is where the argument about an individual and the group turns nasty: Is using statistics on collective behavior a reasonable tool of law enforcement to anticipate the greater likelihood of a crime, or is it gratuitously stereotyping the innocent? Or sometimes both, depending on how it’s done?
Take the Arizona anti-illegal-immigration law. It gives police the right to ask for identification papers if they have reasonable cause to suspect that those questioned on a separate matter may be in the country illegally. In heated reaction to this new state law, we now hear everything from calls for a boycott of Arizona to allegations of Gestapo-like tactics.
But is Arizona doing anything that much different from what most Americans do all the time — namely, using all sorts of generalized criteria to make what they think are play-by-the-odds judgments that may or may not be proven wrong by exceptions? The president himself did just that when he said his own grandmother sometimes acted as a “typical white person.” And he once stereotyped rural Pennsylvania voters as xenophobes clinging to their guns and religion.
More than 60 percent of voters nationwide either support the Arizona law or find it still too lax, according to polls. They apparently believe that a police officer can, in fact, make reasonable requests for identification. For example, if a trooper near the border pulls over a car for a missing tail light, finds that there are younger Hispanic males in the car and that none can understand English, can he then conjecture that there is a greater likelihood some might be Mexican nationals? The trooper, after all, is working within a landscape in which one in 10 Arizonans is an illegal alien from Latin America, and the state shares a 300-mile-long border with nearby Mexico.
Otherwise, would it be presently acceptable for the border patrol to try to detain suspicious Hispanic males for possible immigration violations at or near the border, but not acceptable for police to ask for identification from the same person should he make it a few miles past the border?
I don’t see how the president’s position and popularity can survive the oil spill. This is his third political disaster in his first 18 months in office. And they were all, as they say, unforced errors, meaning they were shaped by the president’s political judgment and instincts.
There was the tearing and unnecessary war over his health-care proposal and its cost. There was his day-to-day indifference to the views and hopes of the majority of voters regarding illegal immigration. And now the past almost 40 days of dodging and dithering in the face of an environmental calamity. I don’t see how you politically survive this.
The American people have spent at least two years worrying that high government spending would, in the end, undo the republic. They saw the dollars gushing night and day, and worried that while everything looked the same on the surface, our position was eroding. They have worried about a border that is in some places functionally and of course illegally open, that it too is gushing night and day with problems that states, cities and towns there cannot solve.
And now we have a videotape metaphor for all the public’s fears: that clip we see every day, on every news show, of the well gushing black oil into the Gulf of Mexico and toward our shore. You actually don’t get deadlier as a metaphor for the moment than that, the monster that lives deep beneath the sea.
In his news conference Thursday, President Obama made his position no better. He attempted to act out passionate engagement through the use of heightened language—”catastrophe,” etc.—but repeatedly took refuge in factual minutiae. His staff probably thought this demonstrated his command of even the most obscure facts. Instead it made him seem like someone who won’t see the big picture. The unspoken mantra in his head must have been, “I will not be defensive, I will not give them a resentful soundbite.” But his strategic problem was that he’d already lost the battle. If the well was plugged tomorrow, the damage will already have been done.
The original sin in my view is that as soon as the oil rig accident happened the president tried to maintain distance between the gusher and his presidency. He wanted people to associate the disaster with BP and not him. When your most creative thoughts in the middle of a disaster revolve around protecting your position, you are summoning trouble. When you try to dodge ownership of a problem, when you try to hide from responsibility, life will give you ownership and responsibility the hard way. In any case, the strategy was always a little mad. Americans would never think an international petroleum company based in London would worry as much about American shores and wildlife as, say, Americans would. They were never going to blame only BP, or trust it.
The BP oil spill brought to mind this August 2008 Deroy Murdock column about Obama’s strange sponsorship of S.115, aka the Oil Sense Act:
To plan a long and challenging journey, would you reject Mapquest and GPS and only consult an atlas from the 1970s? Unlikely. But to pinpoint America’s offshore oil deposits, Congressional Democrats, starting with Senator Barack Obama, love disco-era maps. Despite his conditional, latter-day support for limited offshore drilling, Obama is the sole sponsor of legislation that would block geological research to locate offshore oil.
Federal officials currently employ estimates based primarily on two-dimensional, black-and-white maps that oil-industry surveyors produced in the 1970s and furnished to the Interior Department. Since 1981, Congressional appropriations amendments effectively have barred Interior from financing or permitting survey expeditions — particularly and precisely in the 85 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf where oil production and exploration are verboten.
In 2005, Congress mandated new, quintennial inventories, then gave Interior six months and $0.00 to assess how much oil and natural gas undergird the 1.76 billion-acre Outer Continental Shelf — a laughably impossible task.
“They couldn’t even board a research vessel,” explains a congressional staffer who studies these issues. Interior’s “paper inventory,” the aide adds, “examined Canadian and West African coastal data, imagined where those sediments pooled before the Continental Drift, then extrapolated to guesstimate what’s off our Atlantic coast today.”
The resulting document states: “Resource estimates are highly dependent on the current knowledge base, which has not been updated in 20 to 40 years for areas under congressional moratorium. . . . ” Translation: “We have no idea what’s really out there.”
Obama’s “Oil SENSE Act” would repeal the 2005 Energy Policy Act’s authorization of these inventories. Introduced in January 2007, S.115 would leave decision makers with Carter Administration maps drawn with pre-PC technology. This is like engineering a Space Shuttle mission with slide rules.
By this time, I’m sure we’ve all seen those posters of George W. Bush captioned “Miss Me Yet?” I, personally, think things have gotten so bad in Obama’s America that I wouldn’t be surprised if we begin seeing those same posters springing up with Jimmy Carter’s picture.
When I read that Sen. Dianne Feinstein had said, “I’ve gotten over 90,000 emails and faxes on the health care bill and over 85,000 of them are against it. After all the debate we’ve had, I can’t believe so many people still don’t get it,” I recall wondering if Obama’s arrogance was a contagious disease for which there’s no known antidote.
That reminds me that William F. Buckley, Jr., once observed that, “Liberals claim they want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”
He was also the conservative sage who once told a left-winger, “I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting you really believe what you just said.” Does a single day go by when most of us haven’t wished to say those very words to Robert Gibbs?
One of the sneakiest, most despicable things that left-wingers do is play racial politics, and when you call them on it, they get to brand you as racists.
For instance, affirmative action was created in order to give racial preferences to blacks in order to make amends for slavery and Jim Crow laws. But after nearly 50 years, try to suggest it’s time to put racial quotas aside, and you will find yourself tarred as a racist.
For the past 30 years, Islamics around the world have targeted Americans, but suggest that they constitute a toxic menace and you’re labeled a racist.
For the past quarter century, millions of Mexicans, who were not escaping political oppression, have felt entitled to stream across our border, to take advantage of our schools and hospitals, to fill our streets with drugs and flood our jails with criminals, and if we even complain about it, we’re called racists.
The unfortunate thing is that just as the Communists perverted the meaning of “comrade” and homosexuals perverted the meaning of “gay,” the self-righteous leftists have perverted “racist.” It no longer means a person who is racially intolerant, who would harm or subjugate another human being because of his skin color, but, instead, denotes someone who really is color-blind and who judges people solely on the basis of their character.
Today, the reality is that someone who attacks other people — for instance, members of the Tea Party — as racists, is, more likely than not, a racist, himself, who refuses to look beyond pigmentation.
Finally, I’ve been mulling over the “South Park” brouhaha. In case you somehow missed hearing about it, “South Park,” a dopey little TV series that hypes itself as being cutting edge satire, aired an episode in which Mohammad was first pictured as a stick figure and then as a teddy bear. That, predictably, set off fireworks in the Muslim world, where cartoons are reason enough to set off a killing spree, as are the mishandling of the Koran, tracking mud into a mosque and hiding the TV remote.
Suicide bombings, on the other hand, trouble them not at all. In fact, blow up a school bus, a pizza parlor or an American skyscraper, and you automatically get dibs on the prettiest girls in Paradise.
But just maybe we non-Muslims have been barking up the wrong tree. Maybe those crazies don’t object to every depiction of their prophet, they just get their shorts in a knot when they see him pictured as a teddy bear or, as in that Danish cartoon, as a bearded, wild-eyed, goofus wearing a turban shaped like a bomb. I suggest, as a test, we try making him look like Brad Pitt or George Clooney. If they still go berserk and insist they’ve been insulted, I say we stick Mohammad in a dress, lipstick and high heels, and quit pussyfooting around.
…the nation that did not adopt the Euro but did adopt center-right economic p0licies: Sweden.
Sweden has exceeded analysts’ economic forecasts with quarterly growth up 1.4 percent and year-on-year figures placing the country at the top of the European pile.
“Seasonally adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 1.4 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2009,” Statistics Sweden said.
Analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected the Swedish economy to grow 1.3 percent in the first three months of the year.
Sweden’s GDP expanded three percent in the 12 months to March 2010, the statistics office said.
Swedish bank Handelsbanken said that “all-in-all, these figures show that Sweden stands out as a top performer in the EU family.”
The country was hard-hit by the global economic crisis but its economy quickly bounced back, returning to growth in the second quarter of 2009, with a 0.7 increase in GDP.
Barack Obama’s remarkable powers of oratory are well known: In support of Chicago’s Olympic bid, he flew into Copenhagen to give a heartwarming speech about himself, and they gave the games to Rio. He flew into Boston to support Martha Coakley’s bid for the U.S. Senate, and Massachusetts voters gave Ted Kennedy’s seat to a Republican. In the first year of his presidency, he gave a gazillion speeches on health care “reform” and drove support for his proposals to basement level, leaving Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to ram it down the throats of the American people through sheer parliamentary muscle.
Like a lot of guys who’ve been told they’re brilliant one time too often, President Obama gets a little lazy, and doesn’t always choose his words with care. And so it was that he came to say a few words about Daniel Pearl, upon signing the “Daniel Pearl Press Freedom Act.” Pearl was decapitated on video by jihadist Muslims in Karachi on Feb. 1, 2002. That’s how I’d put it. This is what the president of the United States said:
“Obviously, the loss of Daniel Pearl was one of those moments that captured the world’s imagination because it reminded us of how valuable a free press is.”
Now Obama’s off the prompter, when his silver-tongued rhetoric invariably turns to sludge. But he’s talking about a dead man here, a guy murdered in public for all the world to see. Furthermore, the deceased’s family is standing all around him. And, even for a busy president, it’s the work of moments to come up with a sentence that would be respectful, moving and true. Indeed, for Obama, it’s the work of seconds, because he has a taxpayer-funded staff sitting around all day with nothing to do but provide him with that sentence.
Instead, he delivered the one above, which in its clumsiness and insipidness is most revealing. First of all, note the passivity: “The loss of Daniel Pearl.” He wasn’t “lost.” He was kidnapped and beheaded. He was murdered on a snuff video. He was specifically targeted, seized as a trophy, a high-value scalp. And the circumstances of his “loss” merit some vigor in the prose. Yet Obama can muster none.
Even if Americans don’t get the message, the rest of the world does. This week’s pictures of the leaders of Brazil and Turkey clasping hands with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are also monuments to American passivity.
But what did the “loss” of Daniel Pearl mean? Well, says the president, it was “one of those moments that captured the world’s imagination.” Really? Evidently it never captured Obama’s imagination because, if it had, he could never have uttered anything so fatuous. He seems literally unable to imagine Pearl’s fate, and so, cruising on autopilot, he reaches for the all-purpose bromides of therapeutic sedation: “one of those moments” – you know, like Princess Di’s wedding, Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, whatever – “that captured the world’s imagination.”
Notice how reflexively Obama lapses into sentimental one-worldism: Despite our many zip codes, we are one people, with a single imagination. In fact, the murder of Daniel Pearl teaches just the opposite – that we are many worlds, and worlds within worlds. Some of them don’t even need an “imagination.” Across the planet, the video of an American getting his head sawed off did brisk business in the bazaars and madrassahs and Internet downloads. Excited young men e-mailed it to friends, from cell phone to cell phone, from Karachi to Jakarta to Khartoum to London to Toronto to Falls Church, Virginia. In the old days, you needed an “imagination” to conjure the juicy bits of a distant victory over the Great Satan. But in an age of high-tech barbarism the sight of Pearl’s severed head is a mere click away.
Top Justice Department officials have drafted a legal challenge asserting that Arizona’s controversial immigration law is unconstitutional because it impinges on the federal government’s authority to police the nation’s borders, sources said Wednesday.
The Feds can’t or won’t control the border, so Arizona takes it upon itself to help itself and gets told to piss off.
Meanwhile, the Feds use the Constitution’s commerce clause to butt into every aspect of our lives: how much water we flush with, what kind of light bulbs we use, whether we buckle up, what gets taught in schools, what we eat and on and on.
The loudmouth who was part of the SEIU organizaed mob at the home of a Bank of America executive claimed:
“In America, every seven seconds a house goes into foreclosure.”
That would add up to 12,342 foreclosures per day or 4,504,830 per year.
Foreclosure filings surpassed 3 million in 2008, setting a record that has Washington, D.C., policymakers calling for more aggressive efforts this year to aid troubled homeowners.
Foreclosures last year were up 81% from 2007 and 225% from 2006, according to a report out today from RealtyTrac. One in 54 homes received at least one foreclosure filing during the year, RealtyTrac reported.
Banks repossessed more than 850,000 properties in 2008 compared with about 404,000 in 2007.
If you follow the link, you’ll see that a large percentage of foreclosures were in Nevada and Arizona, states where California homeowners, flush with equity, were buying second and third homes as investments.
Are we to weep for their losses?
Related: journalist Nina Easton is a neighbor of the banker mobbed by 15 busloads of union cranks. She writes about the event here.
Obama has announced a new un-Bush anti-terror strategy. Here’s the AP story:
President Barack Obama’s new national security strategy says armed conflict should be a last resort when diplomacy is exhausted, stepping back from the Bush administration’s doctrine of pre-emptive war and its call for the U.S. to go it alone in defending against foreign threats.
Bush never went “alone” no matter how many times the Left claims otherwise. We had plenty of partners, starting with the Brits who, you may recall, thwarted a terrorist attempt to blow up four jetliners in 2006.
The overarching goal of Obama’s National Security Strategy, intended to guide U.S. military and diplomatic policy for years, is to eliminate the need for the U.S. to strike first or take unilateral military action.
Worthy aim, but how will the naive one accomplish this? Charm?
In the president’s first formal declaration of his national security strategy, Obama breaks with some of his predecessors in putting heavy emphasis on the value of global cooperation, developing wider security partnerships and helping other nations defend themselves.
He can’t get China to cooperate against North Korea, which just blew up a South Korean ship.
He can’t get Russia — or anyone else, really — to cooperate on preventing a nuclear Iran.
He’s a joke in Europe, where Nicolas Sarkozy openly mocked him.
Obama’s apparent effort to move away from the Bush national security legacy without outright repudiation of it seemed likely to draw criticism from the left, which had hoped for a more direct rejection of the doctrine of pre-emptive war. Republicans, on the other hand, seem certain to criticize the policy’s emphasis on diplomacy and development aid as evidence Obama is weak on defense issues.
While the document describes the Obama administration’s broad national security goals, it mentions al-Qaida specifically and repeatedly and singles out U.S. adversaries Iran and North Korea over their nuclear programs.
Brace yourself for this part:
Like some of his predecessors, Obama includes a commitment to building the nation’s economic health as part of his security strategy. A key tenet of his domestic agenda is creating what he calls a “new foundation” for the economic future through better education, national debt reduction, a stronger U.S. clean energy industry, greater scientific research and a revamped health care system.
Obama blows up our debt, chases the chimera of green jobs and passes a terrible Obamacare bill — all to enhance our security.
Who died yesterday at the age of 97.
In case you missed it, Speaker Pelosi recently urged Catholic priests to use their bully pulpits to promote immigration reform, which, translated into English, means an amnesty that would immediately entitle illegal aliens to vote for Democrats. Now, I’m not a Catholic, but it seems to me that someone who believes that abortions on demand are guaranteed under the Bill of Rights has a lot of gall telling priests what to say during their Sunday sermons.
When it comes to abortions, something that has confounded me for the longest time was why those in favor of it got to identify themselves as Pro-Choice. After all, the opposite of Pro-Life isn’t Pro-Choice, it’s Pro-Death.
When I was a youngster, a popular putdown was “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?” But when people like Michael Moore, Michael Bloomberg and George Soros, say so many really dumb things, it seems a more appropriate question would be, “If you’re so rich, why aren’t you smart?”
That brings us to Sen. Barbara Boxer. Recently, the L.A. Times, a newspaper so infatuated with the Left that they’d endorse Hugo Chavez if he moved here and ran for public office, announced they wouldn’t be backing Boxer in the primary because she lacked “intellectual firepower.” For those of us who have listened to her blather on for the past 18 years, that description smacked of English understatement.
Still, what does that say for all those other liberals who vote exactly the same way she does, and what does it say about the Times editorial staff that they have no problem endorsing any of them?
I wonder if, after she loses the election in November, Mrs. Boxer will continue to admonish Brig. General Michael Walsh if they run into each other and he refers to her as “ma’am.”
One can’t help thinking that the L.A. Times, which has been on life support for the past decade, is, at this late date, attempting to con all of its former conservative subscribers into thinking it’s seen the error of its knee-jerk liberal ways. Well, speaking for myself, it won’t work. Fool me 4,893 times, shame on you; fool me 4,894 times, shame on me.
The MSM has been dying for years and I, for one, can’t wait to attend the official wake. Something that will hasten that happy day is the shameful way in which the mass media has covered the Tea Party movement. If the media weren’t so myopic, they would have realized that by labeling its members as thugs, Nazis, rubes and racists, it was slitting its own throat. The members of the media actually chuckled when Obama, Pelosi and their various stooges, maintained that this authentic grass roots movement was really composed of Astroturf, bought and paid for by the Republican party.
The people who turned out for Tea Party events were regular, decent, patriotic Americans who had been content to go to work, raise their kids, pay their taxes, love their country and occasionally go to war to defend it. The one thing they weren’t prepared for was finding themselves, their friends and their neighbors, vilified for their virtues. But once they woke up to the fact that their gatherings were either ignored completely or, when covered, had the turnout reported as a fraction of their actual numbers, they began to see the members of the MSM for the liars, bigots and insufferable snobs they are. What’s more, when the Tea Partiers saw their president, who ran as the post-racial unifier, demean them to a fawning media, they could see for themselves that those of us who had been calling the MSM a gang of Fifth Columnists had been speaking the God’s honest truth.
The big surprise is that these days, Barbara Boxer agrees with us.
Liberals are convinced that poverty causes crime. They believe this religiously, despite ample contrary evidence.
So, now in year two of the great recession, crime has dropped. Wha?!
Crime in the United States dropped dramatically in 2009, bucking a historical trend that links rising crime rates to economic woes. Property crimes and violent offenses each declined about 5 percent, the FBI said Monday, citing reports from law enforcement coast to coast.
It was the third straight year of declines, and this year’s drops were even steeper than those of 2007 and 2008, despite the recession.
In San Jose, the number of violent crimes fell for the third year in a row, according to the FBI.
From 2008 to 2009, crime rates in five of 10 major categories, most notably robbery and aggravated assault, dropped in San Jose, according to the preliminary report released Monday. The number of murders in San Jose also fell from 31 to 28.
But as violent crimes fell in San Jose, property crime rose by about two percent, according to the statistics. The number of burglaries saw the biggest jump, from 3,457 to 3,741, while larceny/theft and motor vehicle thefts saw smaller increases.
There were words of caution from experts about the national numbers.
“It’s fabulous news, but I would draw an analogy to global warming: Even if you believe the long-term trend is increasing temperatures, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a cold year,” said Jonathan Caulkins, a professor of public policy at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College.
I draw a different analogy to global warming — once again, secular religion trumping science.
This recalls Fox Butterfield, whose obtuseness earned him renown.
“The Butterfield Effect” is named in honor of ace New York Times crime reporter Fox Butterfield, the intrepid analyst responsible for such brilliantly headlined stories as “More Inmates, Despite Drop In Crime,” and “Number in Prison Grows Despite Crime Reduction,” not to mention the poetic 1997 header, “Crime Keeps on Falling, but Prisons Keep on Filling.”
When I read last week that Woody Allen likes the idea of letting President Obama be a dictator for a “few years” I was repelled; but then I’ve found Allen to be a repellent individual for decades–since Manhattan, at least–so I just shrugged it off as the foghorn bleat of an over-privileged mediocrity looking for some attention.
But then the equally mediocre Tom born-wealthy-high-carbon-footprint-lover-of-Chinese-Communist-Capitalism-I’ve-got-mine-you-should-not-have-yours Friedman let fly with this on Meet the Press:
I have fantasized–don’t get me wrong–but that what if we could just be China for a day? I mean, just, just, just one day. You know, I mean, where we could actually, you know, authorize the right solutions, and I do think there is a sense of that, on, on everything from the economy to environment. I don’t want to be China for a second, OK, I want my democracy to work with the same authority, focus and stick-to-itiveness. But right now we have a system that can only produce suboptimal solutions.
To which Andrea even-more-privileged-than-you-Tom Mitchell chimed in:
“And, in fact, Tom, you’re absolutely right . . .”
The leftist party that these people support is currently in control of both houses of congress and the White House (and they are well-represented within the federal judiciary) and yet, it is not enough. The power is not pure enough, it is not invincible enough; their power is diluted because, dammit, those little people crowing about the constitution all over the internets are mucking things up!
Although, to be fair to Friedman, his China Fantasy is not new; he talked about “being China for a day” with Tom Brokaw in 2008. He’s been hoping for a dictatorship ala China, for a while, now as Jonah Goldberg notes.
Friedman and Mitchell, and even that self-absorbed twerp Woody Allen are all wringing their hands over something they cannot (yet) control; alternative media and how it has contributed to the difficulties of getting things done in Washington.
When the press had a monopoly on information, it was much easier for them to influence opinion; that in turn made the legislator’s jobs easier, too. Now, yes, things are more difficult for the politicians, but that’s mostly because they insist upon working as they always have (the incestuous commingling of pols and media freaks on the left, and pols and business freaks on the right, with back-room-deals-aplenty, back-scratching galore and pork, pork, pork for everyone) while the electorate has decided it wants something different.
So, Allen and Friedman–and others who have kept their faces before us for 40 years by coasting on the work of their youth, because they’ve done nothing memorable, lately–are feeling the shifting sand beneath their feet, and they’re wondering why America can’t simply submit to a fantasy of Limited Dictatorship. It’s so inconvenient for these elites to have to deal with the noise of the bourgeoisie – commoners who presume to opine on anything and who dare to object to the incessant lecturing from their betters.
So, let’s be China “for a little while…” (just long enough to get everything we want accomplished).
Because what they want must, of course, darling, be the very thing that needs doing.
Let’s allow Obama to be dictator “for a couple of years,” because that preening narcissist will certainly give up his dictatorship once the nowhere-utopia of which the left dreams is achieved. Right? Of course.
Ann Althouse writes:
A love of autocracy often lurks beneath the liberal veneer. There’s this idea that the right answers are known and the people are just too deluded and distorted to see what they are and to vote for them.
They propose dictatorship because they are no longer able to get away with their former arguments, which boiled down to: “shut up. You’re stupid. We’re cool.”
They propose dictatorship because they know their lives would be completely unaffected by such a thing. They will still have access to their Park Avenue doctors; they will be exempt from the rationing of medical treatment that the Obama administration now admits will take place. They will continue to be the privileged useful-idiot voices of the politburo. They will still have their limos and their lunches, where they will sit together and bloviate about what must be done for the commoners who cannot be trusted with their own lives.
“And in fact, you are absolutely right…” they will say to each other, and in their insulated little Pauline-Kaelesque worlds, they will not be able to imagine that anyone with any sense would possibly disagree.
Every murderous totalitarian government of the 20th century began with some insulated group of faux-intellectuals congratulating each other on how smart they are, and fantasizing about how, if they could just install a dictatorship-for-a-day, they could right all the wrongs in the world.
It is the ultimate fantasy of the narcissist. And we’ve got whole generations of them, in control of our media and our government, all intent on “remaking America.”
Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of this year, a USA TODAY analysis of government data finds.
At the same time, government-provided benefits — from Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs — rose to a record high during the first three months of 2010.
Those records reflect a long-term trend accelerated by the recession and the federal stimulus program to counteract the downturn. The result is a major shift in the source of personal income from private wages to government programs.
The trend is not sustainable, says University of Michigan economist Donald Grimes. Reason: The federal government depends on private wages to generate income taxes to pay for its ever-more-expensive programs. Government-generated income is taxed at lower rates or not at all, he says. “This is really important,” Grimes says.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said the state will not waiting for federal approval to begin building sand barriers to protect the coastline from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Oil has pushed at least 12 miles into Louisiana’s marshes, with two major pelican rookeries awash in crude.
Gov. Jindal was critical of the amount of boom his state received to ward off the oil seeping toward the coastline. But his major gripe comes at the expense of the Army Corps of Engineers, who have yet to give the go-ahead for the building of sand booms to protect the Louisiana wetlands. He used photographic evidence of oil breaking through hard booms, soft booms and another layer of protection, before being finally being corralled by a sand boom built by the National Guard.
“It is so much better for us. We don’t want oil on one inch of Louisiana’s coastline, but we’d much rather fight this oil off of a hard coast, off of an island, off of an island, off of a sandy beach on our coastal islands, rather than having to fight it inside in these wetlands,” Gov. Jindal said, making the case for sand booms.
The governor said he has been forced to protect Louisiana without the approval of the Army Corps of Engineers, which is weighing the ecological impact of the construction of more sand booms.
Passive voice can be so soothing.
This is from a story about a freeway chase that ended with the driver pulling a knife and the police shooting him dead.
“Apparently he got out of the car armed with a knife [active voice] and then at that point an officer-involved shooting occurred [passive voice].”
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has said that he is a Marxist, yet credits capitalism for bringing new freedoms to the communist country that exiled him — China.
Don’t forget the part about invading and annexing Tibet.
“Still I am a Marxist,” the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader said in New York, where he arrived with an entourage of robed monks and a heavy security detail to give a series of paid public lectures.
Marxism has “moral ethics, whereas capitalism is only how to make profits,” the Dalai Lama, 74, said yesterday.
However, he credited China’s embrace of market economics for breaking communism’s grip over the world’s most populous country and forcing the ruling Communist Party to “represent all sorts of classes.”
Capitalism “brought a lot of positive to China. Millions of people’s living standards improved,” he said.
So to review:
- Marxism is moral, but leaves millions mired in poverty (or dead.)
- Capitalism is immoral, but creates wealth that has lifted a billion people out of poverty in the past century.
A study by the National Center for Policy Analysis shows that tax credits in the new healthcare law could negatively impact small-business hiring decisions.
The new law provides a 50 percent tax credit to companies offering health coverage that have fewer than 10 workers who, on average, earn $25,000 a year. The tax credit is reduced as more employees are added to the payroll.
The NCPA study finds the reduction in tax relief to be a cost concern for companies looking to hire additional workers, but operate on slim profit margin yet still provide employee health coverage.
“You wouldn’t think this would have an impact, but at the margins, when they [business owners] decide to hire an extra worker, they’re not only going to be paying that worker’s salary, they’re going to have to absorb the cost of losing the tax credit,” Pamela Villarreal, NCPA Senior Policy Analyst and co-author of the report, told The Hill.
A genuine dope.
My wife observed: If we can track and kill terrorists in Afghanistan from drones flown by Air Force officers in Nevada, we can surely police our southern border.
Yes, if there were political will.
Doug McIntyre of the LA Daily News sums it up well.
The debate over immigration has degenerated into idiocy, with dueling boycotts and pickets outside basketball games. When Phil Jackson becomes Hitler it’s time to pull the plug on the stupidity and solve the problem.
Extremists demand either open borders or mass deportations. Tragically, our cowardly or pandering leaders have allowed the extremists to set the tenor of the debate by ducking the issue for decades. Here are the 10 points I believe would actually solve the problem:
One: Build a fence. Not a flimsy chain-link job we all hopped as kids, but a 1200-mile, Gulf-to-Pacific double fence with a road down the middle patrolled by ICE agents.
A physical barrier is essential. You can’t reform it if you don’t control it.
Two: It’s time for a tamper-proof national ID card. One third of illegal immigrants come here through our airports. They’re students, tourists and guest workers who simply vanish when their visas expire. Like it or not, we’re all going to have to “show our papers.”
Three: Sanctuary city laws have to go. Local law can’t undermine Federal law. Special Order 40 should be nullified.
Four: Employers who knowingly hire illegal workers should be jailed. A few CEOs doing the perp-walk will send a powerful message – we respect and protect the value of labor.
Five: Eliminate birth right citizenship. It’s hard to imagine the authors of the 14th amendment ever intended it to reward law-breakers by creating a loophole for anchor babies.
Six: Once the Federal Government has demonstrated actual control of our borders, we need a top to bottom reform of the legal path to citizenship. It shouldn’t take years and cost many thousands to come here. We also need to be picky about who we let in – for both security reasons and for the economic health of the country. Talent and skill should be a priority.
Seven: Children who were carried here by their parents, often as infants, should be allowed to go as far in life as their ability and ambition can take them.
Children shouldn’t suffer for the actions of their parents.
Eight: Create a guest worker program that’s enforceable – that means a way to verify a worker actually leaves the country at the end of his or her contract.
Nine: Immigrants have to make a commitment to be American. You are not a traitor to your race when you embrace the land you have voluntarily entered – a country that takes you in, protects your rights and offers boundless opportunities. A little gratitude goes a long way.
Ten: Only after the first nine steps have been taken should we grant amnesty. Allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the country under some kind of sub-citizen designation would create second-class citizenship. We all have to be in this together.
…is the video of an SEIU protest at the home of a Bank of America executive. The unions yappers were escorted to suburban Maryland by Washington DC cops — your federal tax dollars at work.
Watching the video, a few things come to mind:
- The bullying nature of the left — they invade this man’s neighborhood because BoE spent money lobbying. That is, exercising it’s free speech. You think the SEIU doesn’t spend a small fortune lobbying?
- The shrill anti-capitalistic rhetoric of these government employees whose paychecks come from taxes paid by capitalists. The SEIU does not contribute one dime to the wealth of the nation, it just spends it.
- The faux victim-hood of the loudmouth lady who defaulted on her mortgage. Listen up, sugar, you and others who borrowed money and didn’t pay it back are half of the problem. Or did BoE put a gun to your head and say, “Take this mortgage or else?” Nah, didn’t think so.
This is essential reading. Arthur C. Brooks in the WaPo.
America faces a new culture war.
This is not the culture war of the 1990s. It is not a fight over guns, gays or abortion. Those old battles have been eclipsed by a new struggle between two competing visions of the country’s future. In one, America will continue to be an exceptional nation organized around the principles of free enterprise — limited government, a reliance on entrepreneurship and rewards determined by market forces. In the other, America will move toward European-style statism grounded in expanding bureaucracies, a managed economy and large-scale income redistribution. These visions are not reconcilable. We must choose.
It is not at all clear which side will prevail. The forces of big government are entrenched and enjoy the full arsenal of the administration’s money and influence. Our leaders in Washington, aided by the unprecedented economic crisis of recent years and the panic it induced, have seized the moment to introduce breathtaking expansions of state power in huge swaths of the economy, from the health-care takeover to the financial regulatory bill that the Senate approved Thursday. If these forces continue to prevail, America will cease to be a free enterprise nation.
I call this a culture war because free enterprise has been integral to American culture from the beginning, and it still lies at the core of our history and character. “A wise and frugal government,” Thomas Jefferson declared in his first inaugural address in 1801, “which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.” He later warned: “To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.” In other words, beware government’s economic control, and woe betide the redistributors.
Now, as then, entrepreneurship can flourish only in a culture where individuals are willing to innovate and exert leadership; where people enjoy the rewards and face the consequences of their decisions; and where we can gamble the security of the status quo for a chance of future success.
Yet, in his commencement address at Arizona State University on May 13, 2009, President Obama warned against precisely such impulses: “You’re taught to chase after all the usual brass rings; you try to be on this “who’s who” list or that Top 100 list; you chase after the big money and you figure out how big your corner office is; you worry about whether you have a fancy enough title or a fancy enough car. That’s the message that’s sent each and every day, or has been in our culture for far too long — that through material possessions, through a ruthless competition pursued only on your own behalf — that’s how you will measure success.” Such ambition, he cautioned, “may lead you to compromise your values and your principles.”
I appreciate the sentiment that money does not buy happiness. But for the president of the United States to actively warn young adults away from economic ambition is remarkable. And he makes clear that he seeks to change our culture. (more…)