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Political Rants & interesting thought pieces
Topic: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces (Read 261794 times)
The Occupy Movement Unmasked...
Reply #1100 on:
August 09, 2012, 08:47:30 AM »
Posted By Ben Shapiro On August 9, 2012
This week, Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner’s Magnet Releasing revealed that they had purchased the rights to Occupy Unmasked, a Citizens United production, also produced by Andrew Breitbart, and created by Stephen K. Bannon. About a month ago, I had the opportunity to pre-screen the film along with the attendees of the Right Online conference.
Full disclosure: I’m editor-at-large of Breitbart News; I was a close friend of Andrew’s; I’m a Shillman Journalism Fellow with the Freedom Center. Leaving all that aside, Occupy Unmasked is a thought-provoking and powerful piece of work that will make you worry for your country.
The film itself explores the deep, dark crevices of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Where did it come from? What are its ideological and philosophical roots? And what was the goal of the movement?
Occupy Unmasked uncovers the answers through exclusive footage of the Occupy movement – footage that will leave your skin crawling and your stomach writhing. This was not a peaceful, hippie movement of the 1960s, with thousands of grassroots turning out for drug-induced love-ins. This was a top-down, insidiously planned movement with a set of very real goals: chaos, political pressure, undermining the existing constitutional order. Occupy was dangerous, and it was purposefully designed to be dangerous.
Through all of this, Andrew Breitbart acts as guide. Andrew was a larger-than-life figure – a passionate advocate for what he believed, and a deep believer in the great hope that is America. And you can see the fire in his eyes when he describes the shameful dreams and tactics of Occupy. The rapes, the assaults, the property damage; the smear campaigns; the media complicity. It’s all there.
When we get to the ideological roots of the movement, David Horowitz takes the fore. As a former leftist radical, Horowitz understands the motives of the thwarted ‘60s radicals standing behind the Occupy movement. He understands the underpinnings of an astroturfed operation, and he details how Occupy stole the Marxist philosophy of the 1930s radicals, combined them with the sit-in politics of the 1960s radicals, and then added a patina of legitimacy provided by a compliant mainstream media. There is a history to Occupy. It did not spring from the mind of Zeus, full-blown. It sprang from a hundred-year history of class and race discontent; it was fruit of the poisonous tree. Horowitz explains all that, and he also explains how so many Americans were duped into believing that Occupy was simply an innocent movement frustrated with the workings of the political machinery.
The film isn’t just commentary. It features undercover work by video journalists including Brandon Darby, Lee Stranahan, Pam Keys, and Mandy Nagy. It allows viewers to enter deep into the heart of a movement that wasn’t a joke, no matter how much it may seem so in retrospect.
And today, that is the true danger of Occupy: that we will take it too lightly, pretend that it meant nothing. In truth, it meant everything to the left. That’s why the Obama administration defended it. This week, Judicial Watch announced that it had obtained access to Obama administration Department of Homeland Security documents showing that the General Services Administration told law enforcement to “stand down” and allow Occupy Portland protesters to violate the law. As Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch said, “These documents clearly show that federal agencies colluded with the Obama White House to allow the Occupy Wall Street protestors to violate the law with impunity. These documents tell us that the GSA and DHS can’t be relied upon to protect federal workers or property.”
Occupy may not be the first radical movement to seize the imaginations of millions of Americans. And it won’t be the last. But it may have been the first fully produced mass movement in American history – a movement created in back rooms, to specific ends. Occupy Unmasked documents the evolution of the Occupy movement in all its horrific detail.
And you can guarantee that we haven’t seen the last of Occupy. Not yet.
Watch the trailer of Occupy Unmasked here:
"You have enemies? Good. That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.
U.S. military officers are told to plan to fight Americans
Reply #1101 on:
August 12, 2012, 04:58:23 PM »
Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces
Reply #1102 on:
August 14, 2012, 02:15:28 PM »
Well, we sill see if peaceful elections are the antedote to the dangling of taxpayer monies to bribe ever increasing numbers and groups of voters, expanding their power, to the ong term detriment of this country as we have always known it.
Many are questioning if this is unstoppable peacefully.
We will know in November.
I am optimistic.
Southern Poverty Law Center has ZERO credibility...
Reply #1103 on:
August 21, 2012, 11:10:12 AM »
Hatred's Strange Bedfellows
Washington Times | Aug 20, 2012
By Frank Gaffney, Jr.
Last week’s near-massacre at the Family Research Council (FRC) put into sharp relief a curious fact: The people most aggressively denouncing others for their “hatemongering” sure are engaging in a lot of it themselves – with dangerous, and potentially lethal, repercussions.
Take, for example, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Back in the heyday of the civil rights movement, the SPLC helped counter the Ku Klux Klan and other racists and anti-Semites. At the moment, though, the SPLC is hanging out with today’s counterpart to the KKK and the preeminent threat to civil rights – especially those of women – in America: Islamists bent on insinuating here their anti-constitutional, misogynistic and supremacist doctrine known as shariah.
A case in point occurred last Wednesday night, just hours after a gunman named Floyd Lee Corkins entered the headquarters of the FRC. Corkins apparently was bent on killing as many of the Center’s employees as possible, perhaps because of the social conservative group’s listing (along with this columnist and a number of others) earlier this year by the SPLC as among the worst hate groups and bigots in America.
It turns out that, as with the Family Research Council, what seems to qualify one for smearing by the Southern Poverty Law Center is disagreement with its political agenda. If you lawfully object to, say, the erosion of traditional marriage or open borders, you stand to be condemned by the SPLC as a hater. It seems that if you are militantly in favor of the radical homosexual agenda or racist groups like La Raza, however, you get a pass from that organization.
Particularly striking in this regard is the utter blindness of the SPLC to the hatemongering in which Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist organizations in this country regularly engage. If you warn, on the basis of abundant evidence – including such Islamist groups’ own statements – that they are seeking to subvert our freedoms and form of government by insinuating shariah into this country then, boom, the self-appointed arbiters of hate will brand you a monger of it. But those whose Islamic creed promotes hatred of other religions, man-made laws and people who embrace them are never mentioned as a problem.
On Wednesday, August 15th, the director of the SPLC’s “intelligence project,” Heidi Beirich, participated in an open conference call organized by one such Islamist group, the Muslim Public Affairs Council. She used the occasion to inveigh against anti-Muslim hate groups and to declare that her group was “very, very concerned” about their proliferation.
What makes this performance absolutely bizarre is the fact that MPAC is not simply a Muslim Brotherhood-associated organization that, by definition, is in the business of promoting shariah’s virulently intolerant code. The organization also has a documented history of anti-Semitism, including such hatemongering as: the contention on 9/11 by its executive director, Salam Al- Marayati, that the Jews should be viewed as possible perpetrators of the attacks of that day; repeated claims that Zionists and Jews “own” the Congress, its staff and the American media; and vitriolic support for the designated terrorist organization, Hamas, whose explicit goal is destroying Israel.
So egregious is Muslim Public Affairs Council’s record of hatemongering that an ecumenical group of seven leaders of national faith-based and civil rights organizations wrote the leadership of the Southern Poverty Law Center last week urging the SPLC not to associate with those Islamists. An attachment noted that an MPAC-sponsored event in December 2000 featured an exhortation from Imam Mohammed Al-Asi, a supporter of the quintessential Islamist hate group, Hezbollah, and director of the Islamic Education Center in Potomac. He declared on that occasion:
“Now, all our khatibs (speakers), our imams, our public speakers, should be concentrating on militarizing the Muslim public.…Rhetoric is not going to liberate Al-Quds [Jerusalem] and Al-Aqsa [the mosque on the Temple Mount]. Only carrying arms will do this task. And it’s not going to be someone else who is going to carry arms for you and for me. It is you and me who are going to have to carry these arms.”
It is deeply regrettable that the Southern Poverty Law Center has been reduced to a propaganda arm of enemies of freedom. It should be embarrassed about its evident refusal to hold accountable any of the myriad Islamist entities that are authentic promoters of hatred – apart from Louis Farakhan’s Nation of Islam, a group so racist, so anti-Semitic, so hateful that even the SPLC evidently could not overlook its record. And the SPLC should abandon its odious practice of listing as hate groups those – like the Family Research Council – with whom it simply disagrees politically, and seeks to silence.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is quick to allege ties between people it calls haters and people who use violence against the object of the purported hatred. If the SPLC is genuinely interested in preventing such behavior, then the organization and its leaders should stop what amounts to encouragement of it.
"You have enemies? Good. That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.
Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces
Reply #1104 on:
August 22, 2012, 08:46:48 AM »
Good to see some pressure generating against the SPLC. The post would be better in the Liberal Fascism or the Politically (In)correct threads.
VDH: Graffiti on Trees
Reply #1105 on:
August 27, 2012, 12:14:57 PM »
Graffiti on Trees, High-Speed Rail to Nowhere — the Wages of Liberalism
August 27, 2012 - 12:01 am - by Victor Davis Hanson
Last week, while reading about an insolvent California’s insistence on going ahead with the first leg of a proposed high-speed rail line (total cost of the system: an estimated $100-$300 billion), I heard the following story on a local ABC news affiliate about a nearby low-Sierra lake:
Vandalism forces closure of Pine Flat campground
Monday, August 20, 2012
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Acts of vandalism have forced officials to shut down a popular campsite in Fresno County. The Pine Flat Campground located below the Pine Flat Dam on Trimmer Springs Road is closed indefinitely. Nearby Winton Park remains open but things aren’t looking much better there. Vandals tagged rocks, barbeques, and even trees with graffiti. “It was horrible. It didn’t look like nature. It looked like a nightmare,” said visitor Jose Zarate of Fresno.
Unfair to the Vandals
You can read the rest of story at KFSN’s Website; additional news items detailed similar stories at other local lakes — a veritable Vandal assault on the vestiges of civilization (actually, that allusion is unfair to the Vandals): copper wire stripped out of power conduits, toilets and sinks ripped out of bathrooms, and, yes, more gang graffiti painted on trees.
I think the latter horror is what earned the local media attention. Destroying public property, assaulting other campers, closing down recreation sites are one thing — but graffiti on trees? That’s an insult that no liberal can stomach. In the grand struggle of environmental correctness versus multiculturalism, green wins every time. (Why do a few liberals oppose illegal immigration? Because of worries about environmental damage along the border.)
The Tipping Point
I have a hard time timing car trips to Los Angeles because a large section of the 99 state “freeway,” north of Kingsburg, is still (after a half-century) two lanes, potholed, and crammed with traffic. But the rub is that the traffic is of a strange sort, one characterized by an inordinate number of drivers with loose brush, tools, appliances — almost anything — not secured in flat-bed pickups or piled too high in pickups and trailers. The debris commonly flies out on the road, causes an accident, and shuts down California’s main interior north-south lateral for several hours.
What is the common theme here?
When the liberal mind cannot cope with the concrete ramifications of its own ideology, it seeks a sort of tokenism. Unable to ensure that trees are not defaced? An ancient highway is not upgraded? Presto, zoom ahead to space-age high-speed rail, as if the conditions that created sprayed trees and mattresses lying among the pot-holes will not easily migrate to high-speed rail. That is, within 10 years I have no doubt that the Fresno-Corcoran (“rail to nowhere”) link will be periodically closed due to stripped copper wire conduit, mattresses thrown over the fence onto the tracks, and the general inability of the state to service the system due to the sort of daily vandalism seen at our local campgrounds.
If one third of the nation’s welfare population resides in California, and if seven million of the last ten million Californians added to the state population are now on Medicaid, and if Californians, as it is estimated, send approximately $10 billion a year in remittances to Mexico and Latin America, then something has to give. And the remedy for that something that gives is either teaching youth not to spray paint pine trees, or hiring unemployed ex-gang-bangers to pressure wash the graffiti off pine trees — or moving to a kinder, gentler Santa Cruz or Newport, feeling good on the beach, watching the sunset each evening, and cursing those evil conservatives who want to poison the 3-inch delta smelt and keep foie gras legal in California.
The Role of the Scapegoat
When society cannot fathom that 16 youths were shot and another six killed last weekend in Chicago, it seeks symbolic relief. As I followed stories of the mayhem in the inner city of Chicago, I noted periodic news about the case of Trayvon Martin and the national outrage at George Zimmerman, who in a world of liberal jurisprudence has nonetheless mostly been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion. But because the Congressional Black Caucus cannot fathom what to do about the epidemic of black-on-black murder and even Rahm Emanuel was not successful after calling in Louis Farrakhan to keep the peace (and neither wishes to make even a rough connection between the violence and Great Society paternalism, the destruction of the black family, and a generation of youths raised without fathers on state assistance), they must seek a token — or rather, in anthropological terms, a scapegoat, some symbolic target to beat when crops fail and pestilence arrives. What is the alternative — lectures about flash-mobbing and sermons about the waste of buying $300 Lebron James signature sneakers?
The angrier we can become about Trayvon Martin, and the more our furor at George Zimmerman, the more we can square the circle of dealing with the Chicago killings (one murder occurred this week just three blocks from the Obama Chicago mansion. [I doubt Barack Obama will be returning to his home after his tenure ends in Washington]). If California has no clue what to do about its schools being reduced to near last in math and English test scores, its epidemic of uninsured drivers, its nearly 40% drop-out rates of Hispanic males in Central Valley high schools, and its 50%-plus rates of remediation of incoming freshmen in the state college system, then its needs a token solution. So it deals with the very real long-term consequences of illegal immigration by pushing for the Dream Act.
But tokenism is not the only reaction when postmodern liberal dreaming ends up in concrete premodern catastrophe. Escapism is a related response. I don’t think Dream Act supporters in Santa Monica or Atherton wish to live in, or visit much, Parlier or Orange Cove. When CSU presidents retire from Central Valley campuses, they usually frown and head to Palm Springs or Monterey. Doctrinaire liberalism is predicated on the notion of escapism, that one has the means and know-how to ensure that children do not go to the schools whose curriculum and policies follow your own utopian thinking. Or that you make sure your “wind and solar and millions of green jobs” windmills are obstructing someone else’s view. Or that the first high-speed rail link connects Fresno with Charles Manson’s prison in Corcoran rather than cutting a wide swath through Bay Area suburbs.
Medieval exemption is yet another response to liberalism. As I wrote in 2008, I watched with curiosity as tony Palo Alto neighborhoods sprouted bigger Obama campaign signs on their lawns, even though the owners were by definition one-percenter segregationists (East Palo Alto and Redwood City are a mile — and a solar system — away). The mansions of an Al Gore, John Kerry, and John Edwards are expiated by their owners’ always louder liberal outrage. No one really wishes to live in a world governed by the laws of contemporary liberalism. So the architects escape it and justify their flight by finding a suitable token, a convenient scapegoat, a secular priest like Obama to offer them penance for their sins of enjoying elite privilege.
When we talk of tokenism, escapism, or penance, we are still in world of symptoms, not the etiology of the malady. All can understand the very human desire to support a liberal crusader like Barack Obama among those who pay no income tax, belong to the near 50% who receive some sort of government aid, or are part of the one-sixth of the population on food stamps. Self-interest is an understandable motivation. It explains why the public employee and teacher naturally worry more about pay increases than the tax wherewithal to pay for them.
But for the more elite and influential progressive, affluence has allowed liberal orthodoxy to evolve to its theoretical limitations. There is a reason why 90% of professors — life-long tenure, summers off, guaranteed pay raises — are liberal and 70% of small-business people are conservative. The more removed one becomes from the elemental struggle to eat one more day — and never in the history of civilization have so many been so exempt from such existential worries — the more one enjoys the luxury of pondering more cosmic issues such as extending Social Security disability payments to youths suffering from attention deficit disorder or mandating gay history in state public schools or saving the smelt.
The problem, however, with modern redistributive liberalism is that it is predicated on a number of people not predicating their existences on just such modern liberal principles. When the natural gas fracker, the dairy owner, the cement contractor, and the software engineer either quit or move, then the Pine Flat campgrounds become, as they are now, the norm rather than the aberration.
A rich inheritance, a big law settlement, tenure, a movie deal, a state sinecure — these enablers of elite liberal thought are all predicated on the less-liberal productive classes creating wealth to shear. Behind every liberal philanthropist fortune is a huge capitalist score. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett can afford now to be liberal — an expensive indulgence — because in their early incarnations they were no-holds-barred capitalists who made lots of enemies conducting business without mercy and in search of pure profit. (In the 1980s and early 1990s Bill Gates’ Microsoft was cast as a Darth Vader enemy that had crushed the underdog, hip, and nearly insolvent Apple through piratical means.)
Put Sean Penn or George Clooney in a socialist Hollywood (one in fact, not in mere name), where the state ran the industry and the profits were divided evenly among actors, crews, and janitors (who is to say that Clooney “built” a film any more than the guy who swept the set after he got in his Mercedes and headed home?), and soon you would have a suddenly conservative Penn or Clooney, netting about $70,000 a year before taxes and without the wherewithal to jet to Caracas or hold a fund-raiser in Geneva — and furious that they were making the same as the guy who swept the set (as in most can sweep sets, but not all can be Sean Penns).
Affluence and poverty are the twins of liberalism. The former allows one to both dream and to escape that dream. The latter provides the fodder for liberal artillery.
Reply #1106 on:
September 01, 2012, 11:23:44 AM »
He sounds rather reasonable.
"David Koch breaks from GOP on gay marriage, taxes, defense cuts"
VDH: A world we don't question
Reply #1107 on:
September 05, 2012, 12:42:11 PM »
World We Don’t Question
I’ve witnessed two of the most radical developments in my lifetime the last four years — changes far greater than those brought on by the massive new increases in the national debt, the soaring gas costs, the radical decrease in average family income, the insolvent Medicare and Social Security trajectories, or the flat housing market.
One is the fact of less than 1% interest rates on most savings (well below the rate of inflation), and the other is an epidemic of 20-something unemployment. All that is the new normal.
The hallmark advice of retirement planning was always to scrimp, save, and put away enough money to make up for retirement’s lost salary, increasing medical bills, and the supposed good life of the “golden years.” If a couple had saved, say, $300,000 over a lifetime (again, say, putting $500 away each month for 30 years at modest compounded interest), then they might expect a so-so annual return at 5% of about $15,000 a year on their stash, or about $1,250 per month.
In other words, perhaps Mr. and Mrs. Retiree could find enough with Social Security to live okay and pass on the principal to their kids. But well aside from the fact that many Americans have been laid off, taken pay cuts, lost home equity, had their 401(k)s pruned, or had to take care of out-of-work relatives, there is no 5% any more on anything, not even 2% or in most cases 1%. Saving money means nothing really in terms of return, only the realization that inflation eats away the principal each year.
To earn a decent return, the retiree has had to wade into bonds, stocks, and real estate buying and selling, with all their attendant risks that loom larger after 65. The old American idea of receiving a fair so-so interest on a little money in the savings account vanished. And no one seems to care.
The Federal Reserve perhaps had its reasons to keep interest rates low, given the massive spending, 2008 collapse, and the anemic “recovery,” but whatever the purported aims, the policy is not working. Yet cheap money proves to be no stimulus, even at rock-bottom interest rates. Firms don’t seem to think that near-zero interest (and the banks now have a rather scandalous margin between what they charge for ordinary loans and what they pay in interest) balances out the new anxiety over tax hikes, more regulations, and spiking energy costs. (Did Obama believe that employers simply existed to pay ever more taxes for his growing technocracy to redistribute?)
In classical Roman Republican terms, near-zero interest (and calls for “cancellation of debt and redistribution of property”) represented a vast transfer of wealth from those who saved to those who owe. Imagine a contemporary version of Catiline yelling, “If elected, I promise we won’t pay those SOB one-percenters any more than a third of a percent on their not-pay-their-fair-share stashes.” At least that way we might have known what we were dealing with.
The Really Lost Generation
Few seem to note that those who receive nothing on their retirement savings don’t retire so easily. And when they don’t retire, jobs don’t open up — which brings us to my next observation: the lost generation of those between 21 and 30, who at various ages and periods came into the workplace the last four years. Many have 8% plus student loans. I doubt half of those will ever be paid off, given the epidemic of unemployment in this cohort.
Unemployment rates of those 16-24 are now officially over 50%. Even the cohort between 16 and 29 suffers from 45% unemployment. In short, in four years we have become Europeanized: young people with no jobs who are living at home and putting off marriage and child raising — a “lost” generation in “limbo,” etc. etc. They may have a car, borrow their parents’ nicer car for special occasions, watch their parents’ big screen TV, and have pocket change for a cell phone and laptop by enjoying free rent, food, and laundry, but beneath that thinning technological veneer there is really little hope that they will ever be able to maintain that lifestyle on their own in this present day and age. Meanwhile, just like some Middle East tribal society, “contacts,” “networking,” and “pull” are the new gospel, as parents rely on quid pro quos to offer their indebted, unemployed (and aging) children some sort of inside one-upmanship in the cutthroat job market.
Note that as a poor substitute for a job, we institutionalized something called the “internship.” The best I can tell (I get weekly barrages of inquiries from young people wanting to “intern”), you would enjoy the work of free workers who in exchange for their uncompensated labor gather skills and influence that translate at some nebulous date into real work. How odd that the government that fines an employer who does not duly pay proper overtime wages is not interested in the tens of millions of youth who are working largely as Spartan helots.
These new realities fall heavily on the young male. Traditionally, he was in charge of taking charge — working two jobs to acquire enough to seed a marriage and family or buy a house, striving to be the protector of the household, and accruing experience in his late twenties that would translate into needed promotions in his thirties that would later on pay for braces, kids’ camp, and college tuitions.
No more. We have become emasculated Italians, our economy ossified and socialized to such an extent that few are taking risks to open new businesses in Illinois, build a pipeline across Nebraska, plant a 600-acre irrigated field, or open a timber mill or mine in California. Only so many of the unemployed can land a government job monitoring delta smelt populations or suing to shut down another power plant. In other words, I don’t think Barack Obama at the convention this week is going to be bragging too much about “millions of new green jobs,” more subsidies to Solyndra clones, another stimulus, keeping the deficit at $1 trillion plus, another federal takeover, more juicy details about Obamacare, higher taxes on the greedy, another gas lease denied, or yet more pipelines tabled. He may wish to continue all that, but he surely won’t wish to tell us so.
The new model for the next generation is to cobble part-time work together, intern, occasionally draw on unemployment, send out resumes hourly, and hope for something to turn up (preferably in government, state or federal). We all witness the reality behind these statistics firsthand. When we travel we see more and more older people at work, often well into their 70s. I know 50 or so young offspring of friends, relatives, and associates who are desperately trying to find work.
Some other symptoms: There is a new backlash at colleges, which habitually lie to students about the value of their degrees and care more that their offices of diversity are staffed well and their vice provosts for external relations are hitting all the necessary conferences — at least far more than they worry that their tuition increases have yearly soared well beyond the rates of inflation. The federal government, of course, has masked such excess with subsidized loan-sharking. I asked some young people recently what their various (and all had confusing loan “packages”) “subsidized” student loan interest rates were. Most said between 6 and 9% (as their parents get .25% of their own savings).
I don’t know where this all leads. The aging baby boomers are not going to have the retirements that they envisioned, and their children are not going to have the good jobs their baby-boomer parents enjoyed. The more I talk to those my age (58), the more I hear that they are madly trying to save money, buy an extra house, get a good used car — all for their children who may not otherwise ever have a savings account, a home, or reliable transportation. The ancient wisdom was always “don’t spoil your kids,” “no one helped me after 18,” and “keep it up and they will never fend for themselves.” All true.
But these days, the game has changed somewhat — or rather been downscaled: the PhD is not being hired for anything other than part-time teaching; the JD is reduced to the law library gofer; the freshly minted MD is the equivalent of a salaried, high-paid nurse; the credentialed high-school teacher is subbing; the engineer is a draftsman; the carpenter is cobbling together home repair mini-jobs. The new plum job? Landing one of those federal or state regulatorships, inspectorships, or clerkships, which are paid for with borrowed money, produce little, and grow as those they audit and fine shrink.
In other words, we are seeing the proverbial chickens coming home to roost in an economy that has run up $16 trillion in debt, regulated its way into paralysis, hounded the private sector, and demonized profit-making. The strange thing about the 2008 disaster was not just that hand-in-glove with Wall Street banks Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae created a huge real estate bubble and then watched it pop (one inflated through private speculation and government-backed sub-prime loans), but that the blame went not to the intrusive, incompetent federal government or even to a Goldman-Sachs-like bundler (a firm from whom Obama got more campaign money than did any other prior presidential candidate), but to the vague “private sector” — as if the well-driller or timber man had somehow collapsed the economy. The result was that Obama’s medicine from 2009 onward was worse than the original disease.
Oh, one other thing. We don’t see any more of those funny, though obnoxious, bumper stickers with the words “We are spending our children’s inheritance” on huge Winnebagos as they zoom by. Perhaps that’s because there are not so many inheritances any more or the children (now in their late 20s) are inside the Winnebago on vacation with their parents. Or maybe the parents sold the Winnebago and are working at Starbucks.
Finally, where does all this lead? To a great deal of pressure and expectations upon a Mitt Romney, whom a growing number of people seem willing to entrust with the remedy to Obama’s Hellenic malady. The more Obama tsk-tsks saving the Utah Winter Olympics or creating a Bain Capital, the more the strapped public may say “bring it on.”
Steyn on Fluke
Reply #1108 on:
September 08, 2012, 05:08:14 PM »
Mayor Rahm Emanuel AND Ryan finally agree!
Reply #1109 on:
September 11, 2012, 10:07:58 AM »
Hopefully, the Mayor will not waiver against the unions.
Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces
Reply #1110 on:
September 11, 2012, 10:16:04 AM »
Thread Nazi here.
The most specific thread for that would be "Unions". Thank you.
Reply #1111 on:
September 11, 2012, 11:58:37 PM »
Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces
Reply #1112 on:
September 12, 2012, 01:02:47 PM »
By Roger L Simon
The Democratic Party and a Second Holocaust
September 12, 2012 - 12:01 am - by Roger L Simon
I admit the title of this article is incendiary, but these are incendiary times — not just because the U.S. consulate in Benghazi has been torched and the embassy in Cairo attacked by Islamic fanatics protesting a movie no one ever heard of, let alone saw, but because, in the midst of this, the president of the United States declined to meet with the prime minister of Israel when Benjamin Netanyahu is in the U.S. next week for the convening of the General Assembly.
Not surprisingly, the White House has branded this a false report and — mirabile dictu in this election season — Obama did speak with the Israeli prime minister for an hour Tuesday evening.
Was this a hurried arrangement to avoid a public relations debacle for the president?
Most likely. The result was a fairly bland announcement by the White House. And we all know Obama despises Netanyahu. He said as much to Sarkozy on an open mike. Our president prefers the likes of the charming Russian leadership (also available on open mike) and the quasi-Islamist prime minister of Turkey who massacres Kurdish civilians and opposes the equality of the sexes.
But Netanyahu, like him or not, has a weight on his shoulders far greater than has the president of the United States. For the prime minister of Israel, it’s not the economy, stupid. It’s the preservation of his people. In other words, it’s genocide, stupid.
At the same time as Obama is refusing or not refusing to talk with Netanyahu, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is arriving in New York for his annual pilgrimage to the UN, once more undoubtedly to spew his propaganda before the world as the centrifuges continue to whirl back in Iran, bringing the Islamic Republic closer and closer to a nuclear weapon.
As we all know, the bien pensants at the New York Times and elsewhere think that this is natural evolution, that the Third World (okay, the developing world) will all be getting the bomb soon — that we should just learn to live with it and ignore statements of racial and national extermination made on a daily basis by the mullahs. They have to be kidding, right? It’s just a pose. No one would actually do that.
Of course, people did — and they were “civilized” Europeans — not so very long ago. And for Benjamin Netanyahu to ignore that would be criminal madness. No wonder, at this point, practically every Israeli, right or left, has lined up behind him on the issue. It would be insane to do otherwise.
Barack Obama, as we also know, has not. He has refused Netanyahu’s request for a nuclear “red line” beyond which Iran cannot cross, even though, without such a line, sanctions are meaningless. (Iran clearly treats them that way.) And, at least according the Jerusalem Post, Obama has continued this refusal in his latest conversation with Netanyahu, no matter how that was arranged. The resulting statement has no reference to it.
(BTW, isn’t it odd that Obama would suddenly be having a conversation with Netanyahu in the evening in D.C.? That would make it roughly one or two AM in Jerusalem, depending on when they started.)
In any case, this refusal is not in the slightest bit surprising. Obama, after all, is the man who had no discernible feeling for the brave democracy demonstrators in Tehran, abjuring them in favor of self-serving (and ultimately useless) dialogue with Ahmadinejad. The way Obama ignored the Iranian Green Movement is the most morally and emotionally disconnected act by an American president in my lifetime. Why should Netanyahu trust a man like that?
Which leads me to the incendiary part of this article.
I address it to my fellow Jews who are currently in the Democratic Party or supporting it.
How do you sleep?
I’m talking to you David Axelrod, Charles Schumer, and even you, Alan Dershowitz, who made such a big (and welcome) noise when Jerusalem, Hamas, and the “law of return” were left out of the Democratic Party platform for the first time in years and then went suddenly silent when only the first of the three was reinstated.
How about you, Rahm Emanuel, son of the Irgun and one-time volunteer with the IDF? How would you feel if a dirty nuke, slipped by the Revolutionary Guard into the hands of their buddies in Hezbollah, detonated on Dizengoff Street?
And then there’s Jack Lew, Orthodox and the president’s very own chief of staff, sometimes referred to as “The Gate Keeper” or “The Co-President.”
I could go on. There are so many more. But you get the point. (I deliberately omitted Deborah Wasserman Schultz in order to not be accused of attacking the cognitively challenged.)
Nasty words exist in the Jewish tradition for those who collaborated with the enemy during World War II. These people are not nearly as bad as that. Most of them are well-meaning though hidebound by a tradition dating from the time of FDR and earlier, making them emotionally unable to acknowledge the corruption of the Democratic Party, corruption that was made painfully apparent by the shouts of “boos” from the floor of last week’s convention.
But imagine those “boos” in another time and place… on the floor of the Reichstag in the 1930s or the floor of the Majlis last week… and you may not be so emotionally blocked, may not find it so easy to sleep, as I said.
So to my Jewish brethren: difficult times ahead. Time to make some tough decisions that call a lot of old assumptions into question. I know it’s not easy. But it’s necessary.
Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces
Reply #1113 on:
September 12, 2012, 02:19:27 PM »
My sentiments exactly ditto the above post.
Once again as noted years ago. Brock Obama would never have become President without the help of liberal Jews.
They need to rethink their political alignment.
I know they are Democrat party hacks for multiple reasons:
Religious doctrine to be for the underdog
Democrat party which has historically been for immigrants (votes) and most Jews and their descendants came here 100 years ago as immigrants.
Historical bigotry against Jews from Republican wasps and Christains (you can't come to our universities or country clubs).
Guilt, but far more for *narcissm* or the belief that if one pretends they are for the poor or downtrodden somehow this makes them wiser, smarter, better, superior to other people. Perhaps part of the "chosen ones" theme (I am not sure).
Trust me, on the last point. No one in this fucking world *has ever* thanked Jews for this narcissistic pursuit. If so we would not have for ages and into the present and for the forseable future been so resented, so disliked and held as the scapegoats.
Unfortunately I don't think the Axelrods, Emanuals etc have the capacity to ever admit they are wrong. Additionally they all have too much influence and power (while getting rich) doing what they do for their democrat party.
Dershowitz, despite being pompous and also a bit narcisstic has far more humanity and I suspect kindness in his heart. He seems more rational.
Last Edit: September 12, 2012, 02:23:25 PM by ccp
PAtriot Post on BO, Libya,and Egypt
Reply #1114 on:
September 14, 2012, 11:51:03 AM »
Repeating History With Barack Carter
"Let us recollect that peace or war will not always be left to our option; that however moderate or unambitious we may be, we cannot count upon the moderation, or hope to extinguish the ambition of others." --Alexander Hamilton
We warned last week about the U.S. throwing good money down the rat hole that is the Middle East. Events this week have confirmed just how prescient we were. In what appeared to be a coordinated effort, adherents of the Religion of Peace™ rioted first in Egypt and then in Libya, murdering four Americans in the latter nation, including our ambassador and two former Navy SEALs. Another embassy assault in Yemen followed. It shouldn't be lost on anyone that this occurred on the day that America solemnly observed the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
In the face of it all, the Obama administration continues its failed policy of abandoning friends, bowing to enemies and apologizing for America at every turn. It's uncannily reminiscent of the Carter era. Apparently, all the "hope and change" fomented during the Arab Spring has resulted in quite a spectacular Arab Fall.
In Egypt on Tuesday, protesters allegedly became angry over a film that they claimed insulted the murderous pedophile Mohammed. Reminiscent of their sieges of Christian cities in the 7th and 8th centuries, they scaled the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, hauled down and desecrated its American flags and replaced them with black flags containing Islamic emblems and the words, "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger." The riot prompted U.S. security guards to fire off a volley of warning shots as a large crowd of more than 2,000 angry Muslims (is there any other kind?) gathered outside the embassy. Egypt, of course, is the country for whom the Obama regime just announced it will forgive $1 billion worth of debt to the American taxpayer. And this is the thanks we get.
Of course, BO isn't sure if Egypt is an ally, so the confusion is hardly surprising.
The official response to the initial violence (before the walls were breached) from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo was offensive, at best. The embassy issued a statement condemning "the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims." So Muslim riots and attacks on our embassy -- on 9/11 -- are the fault of some amateurs with a video camera?
Mitt Romney weighed in immediately after the embassy's apology, saying, "It's disgraceful that the Obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks." Naturally, the Leftmedia went apoplectic and changed the focus to Romney's "timing" and his "politicization" of the matter instead of Obama's Carter-esque foreign policy failings.
Obama quickly responded and threw his embassy personnel under the bus, saying the embassy's statement "didn't come from me, [and] it didn't come from Secretary [of State Hillary] Clinton." Always passing the buck. He then helpfully added, "[T]he United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others." This was just a week after members of his own Democrat party at their convention loudly rejected the most central tenet of Liberty, that it is "endowed by our Creator" and not the gift of benevolent political masters. And just months after the administration trampled religious liberty with its ObamaCare contraception mandate.
Later Tuesday, events turned deadly in Libya. During a night attack on the U.S. consulate and a safe house in Benghazi, Islamists killed U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three American security personnel. U.S. officials said the Benghazi attack may have been planned around the distraction of the protests, and it seems that members of the Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia, an offshoot of al-Qa'ida, perpetrated it. Libyan officials say they've already made arrests. "It bears the hallmarks of an organized attack," one U.S. official said. Yet other squishy U.S. officials cautioned against assuming that the attacks were even terrorist attacks, much less deliberately organized to coincide with the 9/11 anniversary. Right, just an unfortunate coincidence that Muslims attack U.S. embassies on the anniversary of the deadliest Muslim attack on America.
Ambassador Stevens was on the side of the "freedom fighters" when the recent Libyan revolution was at its most vulnerable, in danger of being crushed by Moammar Gadhafi's troops when they were moving on Benghazi. During the early days of the revolution, Stevens boarded a Greek cargo ship and sailed right into Benghazi, working with the rebels and offering his support throughout the revolution. For his courage and steadfastness, he received a murderous show of gratitude.
Worse still, reports indicate that the U.S. had advance warning of the attacks and yet did nothing to place embassies on high alert. The White House, of course, denies this -- which would be plausible only because Obama skips so many intelligence briefings.
As has been the case for roughly 5,000 years, the situation in the Middle East remains tense and dangerous. Obama isn't helping, as on Tuesday the White House declined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's request to meet the president during a UN conference at the end of the month. Of course, the White House denies the snub, but to turn John Kerry's comments at last week's DNC back on Democrats, we'll take the word of Netanyahu over Obama any day. Adding insult to injury, Obama announced the same day as the snub that he'll appear with David Letterman next week, and his campaign spent the week raffling chances to attend a fundraiser with various celebrities. It's always good to know where our president's priorities are.
As Mark Alexander said yesterday, Ronald Reagan warned us about the consequences of inept leadership. Did we learn anything? If the American people do not resoundingly defeat Obama on November 6, it will most certainly affirm this observation from 19th-century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: "The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history."
Quote of the Week
"Mr. Obama ... came to office saying, and apparently believing, that a more deferential America would be better respected around the world. He will finish his term having disproved his own argument. The real lesson of the last four years -- a lesson as much for Republican isolationists as for Democrats who want to lead from behind -- is the ancient one that weakness is provocative." --The Wall Street Journal
This Week's 'Alpha Jackass' Award
"Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later. [emphasis added] And as president, one of the things I've learned is you can't do that. ...
t's important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts and that you've thought through the ramifications before you make them." --Barack Obama on Romney's statement re: the Cairo embassy
"In their fantasy world, all the complex global changes of the world since World War II have never happened. In their fantasy America, all problems have simple solutions -- simple and wrong. It's a make-believe world, a world of good guys and bad guys where some politicians shoot first and ask questions later." [emphasis added] --Jimmy Carter in 1980 -- probably the last politician Obama should be quoting right now
VDH: Pret Modern ME and and Post Modern West
Reply #1115 on:
September 17, 2012, 01:33:18 PM »
The Premodern Middle East and Postmodern West Don’t Mix, Mr. President
Globalization certainly did not bring the premodern world of the Middle East closer together with the postmodern West — despite Barack Obama’s 2007 narcissistic vows that his own intellect and background could bridge such a gap. If anything, the more we know about each other, the more we sense we are back to Lepanto and the siege of Vienna. Since the 9/11 anniversary attacks, the Obama administration has seemed bewildered, petulant, and more or less shocked in Casablanca-style fashion about the hatred shown the United States — whether overt among the Arab Street, or implicit among Arab governments’ wink-and-nod inability to protect U.S. embassies. It apparently forgot some basic rules about how to deal with radical Islam, and instead regressed back to the old familiar appeasement that led to 9/11/2001.
Mr. President, do not obsess over the pretext of the day. Terry Jones is only as crude as Andres Serrano and his Piss Christ, which I don’t recall warranted a personal call from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs to the artist to cool it, much less a federal effort to detain a Coptic filmmaker. Sometimes Muslims will rage at a Rushdie novel, sometimes at a papal reference to a Byzantine letter, and at other times at a supposedly flushed or torched Koran. Or maybe a grainy amateurish video will be set them off to kill a nun, blow up a priest, burn down an embassy, or assassinate a Western ambassador. There are three-hundred-million-plus free-thinking Americans, and thus at least that many possible “slights” — if you choose to go down that road of blaming free expression rather than the primeval mind that objects to it.
The opportunities for Muslims in the Middle East to be outraged at the West in general and the U.S. in particular are legion. You, Mr. Obama, the most powerful of all Americans, must remember that these totems are mere tools of an al-Qaeda, a Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic Jihad — or whatever the particular aggrieved party calls itself this week. They are no more than crude pretexts to direct fury among their ignorant and impoverished masses at opportune times against the United States, and thereby gain power.
In that regard, each time we castigate a Rushdie, a Danish cartoonist, a U.S. soldier, or a nut like Terry Jones, we simply play into the hands of the Islamists. The latter are thrilled when American grandees look weak, desperate, and only too eager to fall over themselves in undermining their own singular Constitution and distancing themselves from their own values. Far better it would be to say, one time — and only one time: “We cherish and protect freedom of expression and abhor censorship and violence; if that bothers you, it bothers you.” End of story.
2. The Sources of Islamic Anger
Remember the source of premodern Islamic anger. Why did the Zawahiri brothers, or the late bin Laden, or the Islamist of the week hate the West, and in particular the United States?
It surely is not, as their apologists plead, because of our “foreign policy.” We are enlightened compared to what Putin did in Chechnya or how Chinese treated their Muslim minorities. You, readers, know the American record better than do I: we graciously accepted Muslim refugees, even ingrates like Mohamed Morsi or the 9/11 mass murderers. We fed Somalis; helped to remove Gaddafi; freed Kuwaitis; liberated Afghans (twice); birthed Iraqi democracy; bombed Christians to save Muslim Kosovars and Bosnians; fund Jordanians, Egyptians, and Palestinians; and so on.
Instead, the wrath of the Muslim Street is elemental and existential (read The Al Qaeda Reader to fathom all the twenty or so excuses given by bin Laden for his hatred of the U.S.). It can be explained in terms something like this: Islamists have convinced the Arab masses that their present mess (so easily fathomed in a globalized world in second-by-second, instantaneous comparisons with other cultures — via cell phones, the Internet, DVDs, and cable television) is not their own fault.
Discussions of the pernicious effects of endemic tribalism, misogyny, statism, anti-Semitism, fundamentalism, religious intolerance, xenophobia, and anti-modernism are taboo. So there is never serious reflection about self-induced pathologies that keep fostering a Saddam Hussein, Muslim Brotherhood, and Ba’ath Party, or the preconditions that throughout much of the 20th century made the Arab world so susceptible to Hitlerism, then Soviet communism, then Baathism, then Western authoritarianism, then authoritarianism, and, then, or rather always back to, Islamic radicalism. The Middle East is not fascist, communist, Baathist, pan-Arabist, or Islamist, so much as it is screwed-up-ist and blame-them-ist.
If all these -isms did not exist, we would have to invent them and others as well to find scapegoats for self-induced misery. The Islamist explains to the illiterate masses that they are poor and angry because, despite their renewed zealotry and supposed ancient majesty, the evil Westerners have, quite unfairly, all the power, wealth, and influence — and yet don’t deserve it, given their godlessness, decadence, and corruption. Westerners obtained their preeminence through “crimes” like Zionism, colonialism, imperialism, etc., at a stage of Islamic vulnerability, when Muslim sellouts betrayed the Prophet and joined the enemy. And thus true believers, by sheer force of religious fervor, can slap down these Westerners, as was true in the ancient past. Presto — go torch an embassy and empower me as you leader!
That exegesis for millions in Cairo is far more comforting advice than something a bit more mundane like “treat women equally” or “look at the world empirically” or “take apart your cell phone and see how it works.”
3. Blaming Us, Not Them
The worst response to radical Islam has unfortunately become the present administration’s postmodern, so-cool policy. The Cairo fable, the al Arabiya “Bush did it” interview, the euphemisms (e.g., “man-caused disasters”), the insanity that Maj. Hasan’s murdering threatens our diversity programs, trying KSM in New York, reading Mutallab his Miranda rights, serial trashing of Guantanamo, James Clapper’s laughable assurance that the Muslim Brotherhood is “secular,” NASA’s all-important Muslim outreach, etc., at best remind the Islamists that Westerners would hardly be so self-abasing if there were not something to be ashamed about.
Our hesitancy confirms their accusations and, at worst, suggests that we are also weak and without a sense of self — and so will do very little if a true believer were to kill a diplomat, storm an embassy, or shoot Marines. And when you add in fiscal insolvency, looming defense cuts, and presidential boasting about killing bin Laden and Predator assassinating, this administration had done just enough high-fiving and spiking the ball to incite the anger of an Islamist, but not nearly enough concrete action to remind him of the dangerous consequences of such primitive anger.
Worse, in some ways, are Obama’s feeble attempts to separate himself from the history and values of the United States — almost as if to say, “They did it, don’t blame me!” Remember, Obama objected that he was but a near-infant and so blameless when Daniel Ortega to his face enumerated all his fabricated hurts against America. (If the president of the United States will not defend America in front of a communist dictator, who will?)
The entire subtext of Obama’s outreach narratives (made explicitly in his al Arabiya interview) is that his own unique pedigree and worldview have exempted him from American pathologies and thus culpability for them. In the alternate brain chemistry of the Obamites, there is no contradiction between worldwide Islamist vows to kill our diplomats or burn embassies and Obama’s much-vaunted boasts of restoring American popularity abroad. The derangement goes like this: those who hate America are mistakenly still mad at the old Bush America and have not yet evolved to duly appreciate the new Obama America. In other words, the vestiges of right-wing extremism still confuses those abroad, who have not yet caught on that America is on their side.
In the present case, bewildered press secretary Tim Carney essentially said just that: that when protestors burn flags, kill Americans, and destroy icons of American power, they aren’t really mad at us, Obama, the White House, or American foreign policy. Instead, they are just confused over disgusting Terry Jones and a reprehensible handful of Copts:
We also need to understand that this is a fairly volatile situation and it is in response not to United States policy, and not to, obviously, the administration, or the American people, but it is in response to a video, a film that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting. That in no way justifies any violent reaction to it, but this is not a case of protests directed at the United States writ large or at U.S. policy, this is in response to a video that is offensive to Muslims.
“Not…directed at the United States” — perhaps tell that to Ambassador Stevens as he suffocated to death.
4. What Must Muslims Do?
It is not brain surgery to enter the modern world. Follow some South Koreans or Chileans around for a week with a video camera. Grow up and stop blaming those on whom you depend for everything from drilling bits to laptops. Adopt the now seemingly impossible: consensual government, a bill of rights, secular tolerance for religious diversity, gender equality, meritocracy, respect for science and empiricism, a free market, and a free press. In other words, join the 21st century.
Otherwise, Westerners must make themselves as immune from Middle East passions as is possible. In that context, not tapping vast new domestic finds of gas and oil on public lands is suicidal, given that such potential income and independence would soon make the Gulf irrelevant to our survival. Let the Kuwaitis or the Iranians deal with the Chinese. Of course, elites warn us not to “overreact.” But overreacting, compared to the present radical appeasement, is the moderate, rational course.
A good start, then, would be very quietly to start trimming aid at about $100 million every month, and quite coolly rejecting visas from the Middle East (putting thousands of future Mr. Morsis on hold). We can put travel restrictions on the Middle East, and ask the Egyptian ambassador to go home for a month or so to think things over and see whether he really wishes to protect our embassy. Elites shriek, “Oh, but you’ll only isolate Morsi and alienate the moderates.” Perhaps, but we might also remind them that American friendship is based on reciprocity and must be earned rather than assumed. How odd that the only good thing that either Mr. Obama or Mrs. Clinton has said throughout this depressing spectacle was Obama’s flub that he didn’t quite know whether Egypt, the recipient of over $1 billion in annual U.S. cash, was an ally or enemy. So only by accident does he make the Muslim Brotherhood government a tiny bit unsure of exactly how we feel or what we might do.
5. Whom to Fear?
Finally we must examine the ubiquitous Westernized Middle Easterner who appears as pundit, talking head, and the authentic voice of the Arab Street. Quite dangerous are the Mohamed Morsis of the world — men like a Sayyid Qutb or Mohammed Atta, who had spent time in the West, fled here for its protection, enjoyed its affluence, indulged in its sins, and blossomed amid its hot-house universities. These men can often be quite dangerous.
Most are intelligent and understand the self-loathing that is endemic among their postmodern Western hosts. For the Westernized anti-Americanist, being educated, working, and living in California or New York reminds him of the contrast with his own Egypt or the West Bank. That disconnect evokes all sorts of contradictory emotions: why am I so blessed in the land of the infidels and so wretched at home? Or how much penance must I undertake for satisfying over here what would be seen as illicit appetites at home? Or how can these affluent atheists have so much more than my pious brothers in the Middle East?
The Westernized Middle Easterner, energized by Western self-loathing, steeped in post-colonial theory, nursed on deconstruction, and attuned to multicultural victimology, learns quickly. Whether a Khomeini returning from a generous France, a Mohammed Atta leaving Germany, or a Mohamed Morsi arriving in Cairo, they soon hate their prior Western benefactors for reminding them how their own self-induced pathologies have led to the miasma of the Middle East — but now with no longer a nodding professor to egg them on, but rather only a mute embassy, a flag, and a diplomat to incite their passions. Poor Hillary Clinton wonders out loud how can it be that the Libyans are unappreciative of our efforts, as if such ingratitude is new and surprising, rather than old and predictable.
With the implosion of the Middle East comes the end of the mythic foreign policy of Barack Obama. Just as Russia was not reset and our enemies did not become friends, so, too, the fantasy that Barack Obama’s name, race, and lineage, when coupled with leftist politics, would win over our Middle East never arrived. All that failed — failed not just for America, but for the Nobel laureate himself. In that regard, Obama’s entire four-year project has failed: $5 trillion of borrowed stimulus did not jump-start the economy; only more federal debt and bankruptcy followed “solar and wind and millions of green jobs,” as vast new finds of oil and gas on public lands were ignored, while gas hit $4 a gallon. The problem for supporters of Obamacare is not to implement, but how to junk, this boondoggle without loss of face. Government Motors and the Volt went nowhere, and appointees like Eric Holder, Kathleen Sebelius, Timothy Geithner, and Janet Napolitano proved embarrassments. Now we are left with the Federal Reserve desperately printing money before the election.
There was human frenzy in 2008 that entranced millions, and now we will be paying for the wages of that madness for quite some time.
WSJ: Muslims, Mormons, and Liberals
Reply #1116 on:
September 18, 2012, 01:28:36 PM »
Stephens: Muslims, Mormons and Liberals Why is it OK to mock one religion but not another?
By BRET STEPHENS
'Hasa Diga Eebowai" is the hit number in Broadway's hit musical "The Book of Mormon," which won nine Tony awards last year. What does the phrase mean? I can't tell you, because it's unprintable in a family newspaper.
On the other hand, if you can afford to shell out several hundred bucks for a seat, then you can watch a Mormon missionary get his holy book stuffed—well, I can't tell you about that, either. Let's just say it has New York City audiences roaring with laughter.
The "Book of Mormon"—a performance of which Hillary Clinton attended last year, without registering a complaint—comes to mind as the administration falls over itself denouncing "Innocence of Muslims." This is a film that may or may not exist; whose makers are likely not who they say they are; whose actors claim to have known neither the plot nor purpose of the film; and which has never been seen by any member of the public except as a video clip on the Internet.
No matter. The film, the administration says, is "hateful and offensive" (Susan Rice), "reprehensible and disgusting" (Jay Carney) and, in a twist, "disgusting and reprehensible" (Hillary Clinton). Mr. Carney, the White House spokesman, also lays sole blame on the film for inciting the riots that have swept the Muslim world and claimed the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff in Libya.
So let's get this straight: In the consensus view of modern American liberalism, it is hilarious to mock Mormons and Mormonism but outrageous to mock Muslims and Islam. Why? Maybe it's because nobody has ever been harmed, much less killed, making fun of Mormons.
Here's what else we learned this week about the emerging liberal consensus: That it's okay to denounce a movie you haven't seen, which is like trashing a book you haven't read. That it's okay to give perp-walk treatment to the alleged—and no doubt terrified—maker of the film on legally flimsy and politically motivated grounds of parole violation. That it's okay for the federal government publicly to call on Google to pull the video clip from YouTube in an attempt to mollify rampaging Islamists. That it's okay to concede the fundamentalist premise that religious belief ought to be entitled to the highest possible degree of social deference—except when Mormons and sundry Christian rubes are concerned.
And, finally, this: That the most "progressive" administration in recent U.S. history will make no principled defense of free speech to a Muslim world that could stand hearing such a defense. After the debut of "The Book of Mormon" musical, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded with this statement: "The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people's lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ."
That was it. The People's Front for the Liberation of Provo will not be gunning for a theater near you. Is it asking too much of religious and political leaders in Muslim communities to adopt a similar attitude?
It needn't be. A principled defense of free speech could start by quoting the Quran: "And it has already come down to you in the Book that when you hear the verses of Allah [recited], they are denied [by them] and ridiculed; so do not sit with them until they enter into another conversation." In this light, the true test of religious conviction is indifference, not susceptibility, to mockery.
The defense could add that a great religion surely cannot be goaded into frenetic mob violence on the slimmest provocation. Yet to watch the images coming out of Benghazi, Cairo, Tunis and Sana'a is to witness some significant portion of a civilization being transformed into Travis Bickle, the character Robert De Niro made unforgettable in Taxi Driver. "You talkin' to me?"
A defense would also point out that an Islamic world that insists on a measure of religious respect needs also to offer that respect in turn. When Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi—the closest thing Sunni Islam has to a pope—praises Hitler for exacting "divine punishment" on the Jews, that respect isn't exactly apparent. Nor has it been especially apparent in the waves of Islamist-instigated pogroms that have swept Egypt's Coptic community in recent years.
Finally, it need be said that the whole purpose of free speech is to protect unpopular, heretical, vulgar and stupid views. So far, the Obama administration's approach to free speech is that it's fine so long as it's cheap and exacts no political price. This is free speech as pizza.
President Obama came to office promising that he would start a new conversation with the Muslim world, one that lectured less and listened more. After nearly four years of listening, we can now hear more clearly where the U.S. stands in the estimation of that world: equally despised but considerably less feared. Just imagine what four more years of instinctive deference will do.
On the bright side, dear liberals, you'll still be able to mock Mormons. They tend not to punch back, which is part of what makes so many of them so successful in life.
Obama Nation Plantation
Reply #1117 on:
September 20, 2012, 02:41:21 PM »
Alexander's Column – September 20, 2012
The ObamaNation Plantation
Calling Out Obama's Socialist Political Agenda
"Repeal that [welfare] law, and you will soon see a change in their manners.
ndustry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them." --Benjamin Franklin (1753)
Barack Hussein Obama's Leftmedia sycophants declared the Romney-Ryan presidential ticket DOA this week. The talkingheads have convicted Mitt Romney for what they insist is a very offensive "political gaffe" uttered at a private campaign event back in May.
The colossal blunder in question? Romney identified the underbelly of Obama's socialist political agenda -- the fact that an ever-increasing number of "useful idiots" have been lured into subservience by generations of Socialist Democrat policies, are now dependent on a laundry list of government subsidies, and, consequently, they are very likely to vote for the candidate who will continue redistributing wealth to fund those subsidies.
The video was surreptitiously recorded by an anonymous party, then leaked by an opposition researcher named James Carter IV -- yes, he's the grandson of that Jimmy Carter -- to a hard-left magazine, which timed its release of the video as part of Obama's dezinformatsia campaign.
In the video, Romney said, "There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president, no matter what ... who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That's an entitlement, and the government should give it to them. And they will vote for [Obama] no matter what. ... These are people who pay no income tax."
While Romney's citation of the percentage of Americans who pay no taxes was correct, and it happens to coincide with Obama's current poll numbers, clearly his reference was to the fact that 30-35 percent of Obama's most fervent constituent support is composed of those who are now culturally, if not irrevocably, dependent upon a plethora of government subsidies. These "takers" pay no income tax, and they thus have no direct liability in the economics of wealth redistribution and no stake in curtailing our calamitous $16,000,000,000,000 national debt.
Indeed, they are "dependent upon government," and "believe that they are victims, believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, [and] believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it."
Now, there's nothing new about Romney's contention regarding the relationship between populist socialism and popular elections. Avowed socialist George Bernard Shaw, co-founder of the London School of Economics, smugly declared at the turn of the 20th century, "A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul."
Observations about the inherent threat to Liberty posed by that electoral equation predates Shaw by at least two millennia. Greek Historian Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus wrote, "The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits."
Six centuries earlier, Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu wrote, "The people suffer from famine because of the multitude of taxes consumed by their superiors. It is through this that they suffer famine."
And every generation of historians since has likewise noted that long and sordid history of destruction.
In 1766, that founding sage Ben Franklin observed, "I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer."
In 1776, the year the ideological ancestors of today's American Patriots were codifying our natural right to Liberty, Historian Edward Gibbon published his six-volume treatise, "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," detailing how opulence and entitlement led to the loss of civic virtue and the fall of the world's first great republic.
Another enlightened philosopher of the era, François-Marie Arouet (Voltaire), observed, "The art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of citizens to give to the other."
In his 1781 "Notes on the State of Virginia," Thomas Jefferson wrote, "Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition."
These 18th-century observations about taxation and entitlement served as seminal reference points for the "Fatal Cycle of Democracy" published a century later.
That cycle follows this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to Liberty (Rule of Law); From Liberty to abundance; From abundance to complacency; From complacency to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage (rule of men).
Thus, not only is the substance of Romney's assertion about Obama's "base," tragically and completely accurate, it has been substantiated throughout history. And, according to The Heritage Foundation's 2012 Index of Dependence on Government, Obama's earnest endeavor of "fundamentally transforming the United States of America" is well underway, with historic numbers of Americans now dependent upon the state. While it would be patently wrong to assert that everyone who receives a government subsidy and pays no taxes is an Obama supporter, the growing number of Americans who depend on government support under Obama's Great Recession is staggering. According to the Tax Policy Center, more than 46 percent of households pay no income tax. That is because over the last four decades, Congress has "engineered" the tax code to exempt income from targeted voter blocks.
The Census Bureau reports that almost 50 percent of Americans in the most recent quarter of record resided in a household where a family member received direct government assistance, at a cost of almost 70 percent of the federal budget. During the Reagan years, only 30 percent of households received government support, and the percentage has increased almost 10 percent since Obama took office.
About 16 percent of American households (one in seven) depend on food stamps -- the rolls of which have swelled from 31.9 million when Obama took office, to a record 46.5 million people today. And when Obama gutted Welfare reform, that shuffled millions of voters into his camp. Of course, most Americans who receive Medicare and Social Security have been forced to pay into those non-existent "trust funds" for their whole careers. Thus, to call that support an "entitlement" would be entirely wrong.
Responding to Romney's exposure of the relationship between Obama's socialist agenda and his electoral support, Barack endeavored to distance himself from his "redistributive justice" platform and instead enlisted his minions to kill the messenger.
House Democrat Whip Steny Hoyer claimed, "I don't know that any Democrat believes redistribution of wealth is the end of government -- it is not."
Apparently Hoyer does not recall candidate Obama's own words on the subject: "There has been a systematic, uh, uh, I don't think it is too strong to call it a propaganda campaign, uh, against the possibility of government action and its efficacy. ... As we try to resuscitate this notion that we are all in this together ... the trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that actually pool resources and hence facilitate redistribution, because I actually believe in redistribution."
Meanwhile, Joe Biden, in a recent speech to the ultra-Leftist Center for American Progress Action Fund, said that Romney and Ryan "are gonna put y'all back in chains!" But what Obama's state-dependent lemmings don't understand is that they've already voluntarily slapped on the chattel slavery chains of the ObamaNation Plantation.
In 1982, as the last Evil Empire was disintegrating from within, Ronald Reagan observed, "In an ironic sense, Karl Marx was right. We are witnessing today a great revolutionary crisis, a crisis where the demands of the economic order are conflicting directly with those of the political order. But the crisis is happening not in the West, but in the home of Marxism-Leninism, the Soviet Union."
It is an even greater irony that today, the birthplace of Liberty is slovenly slipping into the Fatal Cycle of Democracy and is on the precipice of an irrevocable plunge into the abyss of tyranny. The good news is that if Obama's re-election serves as the tipping point for that plunge, there is always the option of restoring Liberty by bullets when ballots fail.
The notion that the ballot box is not the only path to restoring Liberty may make some in our Patriot ranks uncomfortable. But that must be all the more motivation for every one of us to contribute the utmost of our time, talent and treasure toward ensuring an electoral outcome that restores our heritage of God-given Essential Liberty.
To that end, I recall the words of Thomas Paine: "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace."
Pro Deo et Constitutione — Libertas aut Mors
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis
Publisher, The Patriot Post
Rep: Allen West
Reply #1118 on:
September 28, 2012, 12:03:05 PM »
"My statement to the United Nations would have been, 'The future does not belong to those who attack our Embassies and Consulates and kill our Ambassadors. The Angel of Death in the form of an American Bald Eagle will visit you and wreak havoc and destruction upon your existence.'" --Rep. Allen West (R-FL)
BTW folks, the progressives have targetted Rep. West. I have donated to his campaign two times.
Serious talk by Democrat pollster Pat Caddell
Reply #1119 on:
September 30, 2012, 05:48:36 PM »
Much of this would fit just fine in the Media thread, but I think this talk goes deeper than that and deserves the greater thoughtfulness that tends to be given pieces in this thread.
VDH: Left wants multiculturalism to trump free speech
Reply #1120 on:
October 04, 2012, 10:11:42 AM »
Left Wants Multiculturalism to Trump Free Speech
Victor Davis Hanson
Oct 04, 2012
The American Left used to champion free expression. We were lectured -- correctly -- that the price of being repulsed by occasional crude talk and art was worth paying. Only that way could Americans ensure our daily right to criticize those with greater power and influence whom we found wrong and objectionable.
When 1950s comedian Lenny Bruce titillated his audiences with the F-word and crude sex talk, liberals came to his defense. They reminded us that vulgar speech is not a crime: The First Amendment was not just designed to protect uplifting expression, but also rarer blasphemous and indecent speech.
For liberals, the burning of a flag on campus and the full frontal nudity of Penthouse magazine were also First Amendment issues.
When artist Andres Serrano photographed a crucifix in a jar with his own urine ("Piss Christ"), the avant-garde Left not only protected Serrano's constitutional right to offend millions, but also saw no problem in the U.S. government subsidizing the talentless Serrano's sophomoric obnoxiousness.
But the worldview of the Left is self-contradictory. One of its pet doctrines is multiculturalism -- or the idea that non-Western cultures cannot be judged critically by our own inherently biased Western standards.
Female circumcision or honor killings in the Muslim world don't merit our attention in the way that a woman's right to free abortion pills from her Catholic employer does in the West. When it comes to the Middle East, we neither criticize strongly enough the region's sexism, homophobia or racism, nor do we defend without qualification our own notions of free expression as inherently superior to the habitual censorship abroad.
Fear plays a role, too. Championing the right of Andres Serrano to show his degrading pictures of Christ wins liberal laurels. Protecting novelist Salman Rushdie's caricatures of Islam might earn death.
The Obama administration went to great lengths to blast -- and even arrest -- an Egyptian-American Coptic Christian for posting on the Internet a juvenile movie trailer ridiculing Islam and offending Muslims. After riots across the Middle East and the murder of the U.S. ambassador in Libya, American officials did not wish to concede that radical Islam hates the United States -- even when Barack Obama is president. And they did not want to admit that their own lax security standards, not a film trailer, led to the horrific murders in Libya, or that in an election year their Middle East reset policy is in shambles.
No obnoxious American in the last half-century -- not Larry Flynt, not Daniel Ellsberg, not even Julian Assange -- has warranted so much condemnation for his antics from the president of the United States, the secretary of state and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as have one crackpot preacher in Florida and an inept Coptic film producer.
Outraged Arab-Americans in Dearborn, Mich., demonstrated in favor of anti-blasphemy laws last week. They demanded an end to any expression that they find religiously offensive -- and thereby prove to be embarrassingly clueless as to why many in their communities left their own homelands to come to America in the first place.
The new Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, recently lectured the U.S. on its decadence and wants a global ban on the caricaturing of Islam. He, too, forgot why he once fled to the United States to be educated, employed and to freely say things that would have gotten him killed in his native Egypt.
Another Egyptian immigrant, frequent CNN and MSNBC guest pundit Mona Eltahawy, recently spray-painted over a public anti-jihadist poster that she disliked. In her world, defacing public property is OK if by her own standards she judges it offensive. Eltahawy, like the Dearborn protestors, is oblivious to the fact that her self-appointed censorship would soon turn her adopted country into just the sort of intolerant society from which she, too, fled.
It is past time for U.S. officials to insist that our traditions and laws apply equally across the board, regardless of where we come from, or what we look like, or the anger and danger we incur from abroad.
Schools could do better by cutting back on their multicultural classes and reintroducing study of the U.S. Constitution. All immigrants need to pass a basic test on the Bill of Rights as part of winning citizenship.
"Speaking truth to power" is not Sandra Fluke grandstanding to ovations at the Democratic convention on behalf of government-supplied free contraception. It is instead our elected officials reminding rampaging Middle Eastern terrorists and bigots that they will not alter our Constitution -- and better not try.
The meaning of one billion
Reply #1121 on:
October 07, 2012, 07:15:11 PM »
This is too true to be funny.
The next time you hear a politician use the
Word 'billion' in a casual manner, think about
whether you want the 'politicians' spending
YOUR tax money.
A billion is a difficult number to comprehend,
But one advertising agency did a good job of
Putting that figure into some perspective in
One of its releases.
A billion seconds ago it was 1959.
A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
A billion hours ago our ancestors were
living in the Stone Age.
A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.
A billion dollars ago was only
8 hours and 20 minutes,
at the rate our government
is spending it.
While this thought is still fresh in our brain...
let's take a look at New Orleans ...
It's amazing what you can learn with some simple division.
Mary Landrieu (D)
was asking Congress for
250 BILLION DOLLARS
To rebuild New Orleans. Interesting number...
What does it mean?
Well .. If you are one of the 484,674 residents of New Orleans
(every man, woman and child)
You each get $516,528
Or... If you have one of the 188,251 homes in
New Orleans, your home gets
Or... If you are a family of four...
Your family gets
Are all the calculators broken??
Building Permit Tax
CDL License Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax (Fed)
Federal Unemployment Tax (FU TA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Hunting License Tax
IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Marriage License Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service charge Taxes
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax (Truckers)
Recreational Vehicle Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage ChargeTax
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax
(And to think, we left British Rule to avoid so many taxes)
STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY?
Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago...
And our nation was the most prosperous in the world.
We had absolutely no national debt...
We had the largest middle class in the world...
And Mom stayed home to raise the kids.
Can you spell
And I still have to
I hope this goes around the
At least 100 times.
What the hell has happened to our country?
Schumpeter in 1942
Reply #1122 on:
October 29, 2012, 07:10:59 AM »
Joseph Schumpeter writing in "Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy," 1942:
The man who has gone through a college or university easily becomes psychically unemployable in manual occupations without necessarily acquiring employability in, say, professional work. His failure to do so may be due either to lack of natural ability—perfectly compatible with passing academic tests—or to inadequate teaching; and both cases will . . . occur more frequently as ever larger numbers are drafted into higher education and as the required amount of teaching increases irrespective of how many teachers and scholars nature chooses to turn out.
The results of neglecting this and of acting on the theory that schools, colleges and universities are just a matter of money, are too obvious to insist upon. Cases in which among a dozen applicants for a job, all formally qualified, there is not one who can fill it satisfactorily, are known to everyone who has anything to do with appointments . . .
All those who are unemployed or unsatisfactorily employed or unemployable drift into the vocations in which standards are least definite or in which aptitudes and acquirements of a different order count. They swell the host of intellectuals in the strict sense of the term whose numbers hence increase disproportionately. They enter it in a thoroughly discontented frame of mind. Discontent breeds resentment. And it often rationalizes itself into that social criticism which as we have seen before is in any case the intellectual spectator's typical attitude toward men, classes and institutions especially in a rationalist and utilitarian civilization.
Well, here we have numbers; a well-defined group situation of proletarian hue; and a group interest shaping a group attitude that will much more realistically account for hostility to the capitalist order than could the theory—itself a rationalization in the psychological sense—according to which the intellectual's righteous indignation about the wrongs of capitalism simply represents the logical inference from outrageous facts. . . . Moreover our theory also accounts for the fact that this hostility increases, instead of diminishing, with every achievement of capitalist evolution.
Bono goes free market
Reply #1123 on:
October 30, 2012, 12:10:01 PM »
Staff writer Parmy Olson writing at forbes.com, Oct. 22:
Bono has learned much about music over more than three decades with U2. But alongside that has been a lifelong lesson in campaigning—the activist for poverty reduction in Africa spoke frankly on Friday about how his views about philanthropy had now stretched to include an appreciation for capitalism.
The Irish singer and co-founder of ONE, a campaigning group that fights poverty and disease in Africa, said it had been "a humbling thing for me" to realize the importance of capitalism and entrepreneurialism in philanthropy, particularly as someone who "got into this as a righteous anger activist with all the cliches."
"Job creators and innovators are just the key, and aid is just a bridge," he told an audience of 200 leading technology entrepreneurs and investors at the F.ounders tech conference in Dublin. "We see it as startup money, investment in new countries. A humbling thing was to learn the role of commerce."
WSJ: Noonan: The "I's" have it
Reply #1124 on:
November 16, 2012, 10:57:46 AM »
We are becoming a conceited nitwit society, pushy and self-aggrandizing. No one is ashamed to brag now. and show off. They think it heightens them. They think it's good for business.
It used to be that if you were big, you'd never tell people how big you were because that would be kind of classless, and small. In fact it would be a proof of smallness. So don't be showy. The big are modest.
There is the issue—small but indicative of something larger—of how members of the U.S. military present themselves, and the awe they consciously encourage in the public and among the political class. The other day on his Daily Beast blog, Andrew Sullivan posted a letter from a reader noting the way officers are now given and relentlessly wear on their dress uniforms ribbons, markers and awards for pretty much everything they do—what used to be called fruit salad. Mr. Sullivan posted two pictures we echo here, one of Gen. David Petraeus and one of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. This is the Eisenhower of D-Day, of the long slog through Europe in World War II. He didn't seem to see the need to dress himself up and tell you what he'd done. Maybe he thought you knew. He didn't wear all the honors to which he was entitled, though he could have used them to dazzle the masses if that had been what he was interested in.
Top brass sure is brassier than it used to be. And you have to wonder what that's about. Where did the old culture of modesty go? Ulysses S. Grant wore four stars on his shoulder and nothing else on his uniform. And that was a fellow who'd earned a few medals.
Jump now to the woman who is the main focus in the Petraeus scandal, Paula Broadwell. She was a person of impressive achievement right from the start—high school valedictorian, West Point grad, master's degrees, Army officer. But even that wasn't enough ribbons. In YouTube videos she brags about her security clearance, her inside knowledge—"That's still being vetted"—and the Ph.D. she's working on. She calls herself a biographer, but biographers actually do something arduous—they write biographies. Ms. Broadwell contracted with a professional, reporter Vernon Loeb, to organize, synthesize, think and write. On Twitter, Ms. Broadwell describes herself as "Author . . . National Security Analyst; Army Vet; Women's Rights Activist; Runner/Skier/Surfer; Wife; Mom!" On her website she noted that in her free time she is an Ironman triathelete "and a model and demonstrator for KRISS, a manufacturer of .45-caliber machine guns." "When Paula is not on the frontlines, online, or writing lines," she and her husband run, ski and surf together.
My goodness. All hail. This isn't describing yourself in the best possible light, this is bragging about yourself to a degree and in a way that is actually half mad.
But it's kind of the way people talk about themselves now. And I have to say, this is new. Not new in history but new as a fully developed and enveloping national style. You know why they loved us in Europe in World War II? I mean aside from because we won? Because they thought we were kind of strong and silent—modest, actually—like Gary Cooper in "Sergeant York." Now we still do ratta-tat-tat, but it's on Facebook FB +5.89%and it's about how great we are.
We used to worry that kids would be victims of the self-esteem movement, that constant praise would keep them from an honestly earned, and therefore stable, self-respect, and steer them toward mere conceit. Now parents have it.
The other young woman in the story, Ms. Broadwell's apparent nemesis, felt harassed when her role became known. Jill Kelley called 911 and quickly informed the operator of her status. "You know, I don't know if by any chance, because I'm an honorary consul general, so I have inviolability." She suggested "diplomatic protection" might be in order. But she isn't a diplomat, she's a lady who gives parties and knows a lot of people. She even knows an FBI agent who opened an investigation for her because she felt harassed by anonymous emails. This really was a confusing part of the story. Just about everyone, certainly every woman, in the public eye in America receives aggressive, insulting, menacing emails. We didn't know we could get FBI investigations opened for that! Maybe our mistake is not being honorary consuls with inviolability.
These are just the players in the scandal of the week. Have we noticed a certain lack of modesty in our political figures? Thank goodness, therefore, for Mitt Romney, who in a conference call with donors said he got beat and beat bad, that his campaign was lacking, that his gut on the big issues was probably off, that he shouldn't have allowed his campaign to become (in the grandiose, faux-macho lingo of campaign consultants who wish they wore fruit salad) an air war and not a ground war, and that they were smoked in get-out-the-vote. He added, with an eye to concerns larger than his own, that he wanted to help the party analyze and define what didn't work in 2012 so it would be stronger in 2016.
Sorry. Kidding! He didn't say that.
He said the administration gave "gifts" to interest groups, and the groups appreciated the gifts, and, people being the little automatons they are, said yes, sire, and voted for him.
In a way it was as bad as the old "47%" tape. Because it was so limited.
Which gets us to the president. He's looking very stern. You don't have a problem with Susan Rice, you have a problem with me, he says, with a scowl. He talks about the fiscal cliff but not in a way that shows a real eagerness for compromise. He does not define areas of potential give, potential progress. He won, after all. He doesn't have to.
What is needed is bigness, magnanimity. It's not all about him, his party, it's not all about self. It is not even all about one's deepest political intentions. There are other ways and schedules for moving forward there.
Get the Republicans leaders on the Hill together. Suggest in subtle ways you'll let them save face. Quietly acknowledge you weren't the best negotiator in the world the first time 'round, and neither were they. Maybe no one was quite their best. But the nation faces a real challenge and there will be economic repercussions in mishandling it. "Let's make a deal and let's make it quickly. We all have to play games but not too much and not too long."
And mean it. And deal.
This would be good for the president, good for his legacy, good for the country. This is a man who could show that in a time of crisis he and Speaker John Boehner could re-enact Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill. Which is something the country would be relieved to see. "Look—it still works!"
It might take some of the bitterness, some of the long, grinding, partisan poison out of the system.
Might we see that?
Or just instead the stern face, the old soft, nebulous aggression, in the age of the outsized ego?
WSJ: NH Taleb: Learning to love volatility
Reply #1125 on:
November 17, 2012, 06:24:01 PM »
Learning to Love Volatility
In a world that constantly throws big, unexpected events our way, we must learn to benefit from disorder, writes Nassim Nicholas Taleb..
By NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB
Several years before the financial crisis descended on us, I put forward the concept of "black swans": large events that are both unexpected and highly consequential. We never see black swans coming, but when they do arrive, they profoundly shape our world: Think of World War I, 9/11, the Internet, the rise of Google GOOG -0.01%.
In economic life and history more generally, just about everything of consequence comes from black swans; ordinary events have paltry effects in the long term. Still, through some mental bias, people think in hindsight that they "sort of" considered the possibility of such events; this gives them confidence in continuing to formulate predictions. But our tools for forecasting and risk measurement cannot begin to capture black swans. Indeed, our faith in these tools make it more likely that we will continue to take dangerous, uninformed risks.
Some made the mistake of thinking that I hoped to see us develop better methods for predicting black swans. Others asked if we should just give up and throw our hands in the air: If we could not measure the risks of potential blowups, what were we to do? The answer is simple: We should try to create institutions that won't fall apart when we encounter black swans—or that might even gain from these unexpected events.
Fragility is the quality of things that are vulnerable to volatility. Take the coffee cup on your desk: It wants peace and quiet because it incurs more harm than benefit from random events. The opposite of fragile, therefore, isn't robust or sturdy or resilient—things with these qualities are simply difficult to break.
To deal with black swans, we instead need things that gain from volatility, variability, stress and disorder. My (admittedly inelegant) term for this crucial quality is "antifragile." The only existing expression remotely close to the concept of antifragility is what we derivatives traders call "long gamma," to describe financial packages that benefit from market volatility. Crucially, both fragility and antifragility are measurable.
As a practical matter, emphasizing antifragility means that our private and public sectors should be able to thrive and improve in the face of disorder. By grasping the mechanisms of antifragility, we can make better decisions without the illusion of being able to predict the next big thing. We can navigate situations in which the unknown predominates and our understanding is limited.
Herewith are five policy rules that can help us to establish antifragility as a principle of our socioeconomic life.
Rule 1: Think of the economy as being more like a cat than a washing machine.
We are victims of the post-Enlightenment view that the world functions like a sophisticated machine, to be understood like a textbook engineering problem and run by wonks. In other words, like a home appliance, not like the human body. If this were so, our institutions would have no self-healing properties and would need someone to run and micromanage them, to protect their safety, because they cannot survive on their own.
By contrast, natural or organic systems are antifragile: They need some dose of disorder in order to develop. Deprive your bones of stress and they become brittle. This denial of the antifragility of living or complex systems is the costliest mistake that we have made in modern times. Stifling natural fluctuations masks real problems, causing the explosions to be both delayed and more intense when they do take place. As with the flammable material accumulating on the forest floor in the absence of forest fires, problems hide in the absence of stressors, and the resulting cumulative harm can take on tragic proportions.
And yet our economic policy makers have often aimed for maximum stability, even for eradicating the business cycle. "No more boom and bust," as voiced by the U.K. Labor leader Gordon Brown, was the policy pursued by Alan Greenspan in order to "smooth" things out, thus micromanaging us into the current chaos. Mr. Greenspan kept trying to iron out economic fluctuations by injecting cheap money into the system, which eventually led to monstrous hidden leverage and real-estate bubbles. On this front there is now at least a glimmer of hope, in the U.K. rather than the U.S., alas: Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, has advocated the idea that central banks should intervene only when an economy is truly sick and should otherwise defer action.
Promoting antifragility doesn't mean that government institutions should avoid intervention altogether. In fact, a key problem with overzealous intervention is that, by depleting resources, it often results in a failure to intervene in more urgent situations, like natural disasters. So in complex systems, we should limit government (and other) interventions to important matters: The state should be there for emergency-room surgery, not nanny-style maintenance and overmedication of the patient—and it should get better at the former.
In social policy, when we provide a safety net, it should be designed to help people take more entrepreneurial risks, not to turn them into dependents. This doesn't mean that we should be callous to the underprivileged. In the long run, bailing out people is less harmful to the system than bailing out firms; we should have policies now that minimize the possibility of being forced to bail out firms in the future, with the moral hazard this entails.
Rule 2: Favor businesses that benefit from their own mistakes, not those whose mistakes percolate into the system.
Some businesses and political systems respond to stress better than others. The airline industry is set up in such a way as to make travel safer after every plane crash. A tragedy leads to the thorough examination and elimination of the cause of the problem. The same thing happens in the restaurant industry, where the quality of your next meal depends on the failure rate in the business—what kills some makes others stronger. Without the high failure rate in the restaurant business, you would be eating Soviet-style cafeteria food for your next meal out.
These industries are antifragile: The collective enterprise benefits from the fragility of the individual components, so nothing fails in vain. These businesses have properties similar to evolution in the natural world, with a well-functioning mechanism to benefit from evolutionary pressures, one error at a time.
By contrast, every bank failure weakens the financial system, which in its current form is irremediably fragile: Errors end up becoming large and threatening. A reformed financial system would eliminate this domino effect, allowing no systemic risk from individual failures. A good starting point would be reducing the amount of debt and leverage in the economy and turning to equity financing. A firm with highly leveraged debt has no room for error; it has to be extremely good at predicting future revenues (and black swans). And when one leveraged firm fails to meet its obligations, other borrowers who need to renew their loans suffer as the chastened lenders lose their appetite to extend credit. So debt tends to make failures spread through the system.
A firm with equity financing can survive drops in income, however. Consider the abrupt deflation of the technology bubble during 2000. Because technology firms were relying on equity rather than debt, their failures didn't ripple out into the wider economy. Indeed, their failures helped to strengthen the technology sector.
Rule 3: Small is beautiful, but it is also efficient.
Experts in business and government are always talking about economies of scale. They say that increasing the size of projects and institutions brings costs savings. But the "efficient," when too large, isn't so efficient. Size produces visible benefits but also hidden risks; it increases exposure to the probability of large losses. Projects of $100 million seem rational, but they tend to have much higher percentage overruns than projects of, say, $10 million. Great size in itself, when it exceeds a certain threshold, produces fragility and can eradicate all the gains from economies of scale. To see how large things can be fragile, consider the difference between an elephant and a mouse: The former breaks a leg at the slightest fall, while the latter is unharmed by a drop several multiples of its height. This explains why we have so many more mice than elephants.
So we need to distribute decisions and projects across as many units as possible, which reinforces the system by spreading errors across a wider range of sources. In fact, I have argued that government decentralization would help to lower public deficits. A large part of these deficits comes from underestimating the costs of projects, and such underestimates are more severe in large, top-down governments. Compare the success of the bottom-up mechanism of canton-based decision making in Switzerland to the failures of authoritarian regimes in Soviet Russia and Baathist Iraq and Syria.
Rule 4: Trial and error beats academic knowledge.
Things that are antifragile love randomness and uncertainty, which also means—crucially—that they can learn from errors. Tinkering by trial and error has traditionally played a larger role than directed science in Western invention and innovation. Indeed, advances in theoretical science have most often emerged from technological development, which is closely tied to entrepreneurship. Just think of the number of famous college dropouts in the computer industry.
But I don't mean just any version of trial and error. There is a crucial requirement to achieve antifragility: The potential cost of errors needs to remain small; the potential gain should be large. It is the asymmetry between upside and downside that allows antifragile tinkering to benefit from disorder and uncertainty.
Perhaps because of the success of the Manhattan Project and the space program, we greatly overestimate the influence and importance of researchers and academics in technological advancement. These people write books and papers; tinkerers and engineers don't, and are thus less visible. Consider Britain, whose historic rise during the Industrial Revolution came from tinkerers who gave us innovations like iron making, the steam engine and textile manufacturing. The great names of the golden years of English science were hobbyists, not academics: Charles Darwin, Henry Cavendish, William Parsons, the Rev. Thomas Bayes. Britain saw its decline when it switched to the model of bureaucracy-driven science.
America has emulated this earlier model, in the invention of everything from cybernetics to the pricing formulas for derivatives. They were developed by practitioners in trial-and-error mode, drawing continuous feedback from reality. To promote antifragility, we must recognize that there is an inverse relationship between the amount of formal education that a culture supports and its volume of trial-and-error by tinkering. Innovation doesn't require theoretical instruction, what I like to compare to "lecturing birds on how to fly."
Rule 5: Decision makers must have skin in the game.
At no time in the history of humankind have more positions of power been assigned to people who don't take personal risks. But the idea of incentive in capitalism demands some comparable form of disincentive. In the business world, the solution is simple: Bonuses that go to managers whose firms subsequently fail should be clawed back, and there should be additional financial penalties for those who hide risks under the rug. This has an excellent precedent in the practices of the ancients. The Romans forced engineers to sleep under a bridge once it was completed.
The opposite of trial and error is regimented, Soviet-style production. Here, workers at a Soviet bagel-making plant
Because our current system is so complex, it lacks elementary clarity: No regulator will know more about the hidden risks of an enterprise than the engineer who can hide exposures to rare events and be unharmed by their consequences. This rule would have saved us from the banking crisis, when bankers who loaded their balance sheets with exposures to small probability events collected bonuses during the quiet years and then transferred the harm to the taxpayer, keeping their own compensation.
In these five rules, I have sketched out only a few of the more obvious policy conclusions that we might draw from a proper appreciation of antifragility. But the significance of antifragility runs deeper. It is not just a useful heuristic for socioeconomic matters but a crucial property of life in general. Things that are antifragile only grow and improve under adversity. This dynamic can be seen not just in economic life but in the evolution of all things, from cuisine, urbanization and legal systems to our own existence as a species on this planet.
We all know that the stressors of exercise are necessary for good health, but people don't translate this insight into other domains of physical and mental well-being. We also benefit, it turns out, from occasional and intermittent hunger, short-term protein deprivation, physical discomfort and exposure to extreme cold or heat. Newspapers discuss post-traumatic stress disorder, but nobody seems to account for post-traumatic growth. Walking on smooth surfaces with "comfortable" shoes injures our feet and back musculature: We need variations in terrain.
Modernity has been obsessed with comfort and cosmetic stability, but by making ourselves too comfortable and eliminating all volatility from our lives, we do to our bodies and souls what Mr. Greenspan did to the U.S. economy: We make them fragile. We must instead learn to gain from disorder.
—Mr. Taleb, a former derivatives trader, is distinguished professor of risk engineering at New York University's Polytechnic Institute. He is the author of "Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder" (Random House), from which this is adapted.
Last Edit: November 17, 2012, 10:32:04 PM by Crafty_Dog
Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces
Reply #1126 on:
November 17, 2012, 06:59:46 PM »
That was the best thing I've read in the last year!!
Steyn hosting on Rush
Reply #1127 on:
November 27, 2012, 11:04:44 AM »
Forwarded by a friend:
Brilliant discussion of how liberalism is the "default position" in American culture today. This is from the second hour of Rush Limbaugh's radio show on Monday, which Steyn guest-hosted (he is my favorite guest host.) Steyn's commentary in the clip linked below in essence elucidates Ayn Rand's statement that "The men who are not interested in philosophy need it most urgently…they absorb it from the culture around them."
He echoes the point made several days ago by Rush that conservatives will continue to lose elections until we start focusing on the "long game." We MUST promote and EFFECTIVELY explain the virtue of our ideas in the culture at large - and NOT simply think that voting for conservative-minded politicians in elections every so often is enough.
Seriously - this concept is extremely well-illustrated by Steyn in this segment, and is well worth your time:
Reply #1128 on:
December 02, 2012, 05:06:28 PM »
Frank Fleming: Attitudes towards guns a hologram of attitude toward freedom
Reply #1129 on:
December 06, 2012, 08:34:57 AM »
"I've come to realize what a good test one's attitude towards guns is about whether someone's mind is liberty oriented. If one is okay with police having guns -- whoever is designated as having authority -- but panicked at the thought of their fellow man or themselves having guns, then that is someone who does not think like a free person. He places a magical aura around whoever is in charge and only thinks they can wield power. This will come up again in other areas, such as letting government make economic decisions but fearing individual people making those decisions themselves." --columnist Frank J. Fleming
Reply #1130 on:
December 09, 2012, 01:33:10 PM »
MY college roommates and I used to grocery shop and cook together. The only food we seemed to agree on was corn, so we ate a lot of corn.
My mom would periodically call to warn me in a dire tone, “Do you know why the Incas are extinct?”
Her maize hazing left me with a deeply ingrained fear of being part of a civilization that was obliviously engaging in behavior that would lead to its extinction.
Too bad the Republican Party didn’t have my mom to keep it on its toes. Then it might not have gone all Apocalypto on us — becoming the first civilization in modern history to spiral the way of the Incas, Aztecs and Mayans.
The Mayans were right, as it turns out, when they predicted the world would end in 2012. It was just a select world: the G.O.P. universe of arrogant, uptight, entitled, bossy, retrogressive white guys.
Just another vanishing tribe that fought the cultural and demographic tides of history.
Someday, it will be the subject of a National Geographic special, or a Mel Gibson movie, where archaeologists piece together who the lost tribe was, where it came from, and what happened to it. The experts will sift through the ruins of the Reagan Presidential Library, Dick Cheney’s shotgun casings, Orca poll monitoring hieroglyphics, remnants of triumphal rants by Dick Morris on Fox News, faded photos of Clint Eastwood and an empty chair, and scraps of ancient tape in which a tall, stiff man, his name long forgotten, gnashes his teeth about the 47 percent of moochers and the “gifts” they got.
Instead of smallpox, plagues, drought and Conquistadors, the Republican decline will be traced to a stubborn refusal to adapt to a world where poor people and sick people and black people and brown people and female people and gay people count.
As the historian Will Durant observed, “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.”
President Obama’s victory margin is expanding, as more votes are counted. He didn’t just beat Romney; he’s still beating him. But another sign of the old guard’s denial came on Friday, a month after the election, when the Romney campaign ebulliently announced that it raised $85.9 million in the final weeks of the campaign, making its fund-raising effort “the most successful in Republican Party history.”
Why is the Romney campaign still boasting? You can’t celebrate at a funeral. Go away and learn how to crunch data on the Internet.
Outside the Republican walled kingdom of denial and delusion, everyone else could see that the once clever and ruthless party was behaving in an obtuse and outmoded way that spelled doom.
The G.O.P. put up a candidate that no one liked or understood and ran a campaign that no one liked or understood — a campaign animated by the idea that indolent, grasping serfs must be kept down, even if it meant creating barriers to letting them vote.
Although Stuart Stevens, the Romney strategist, now claims that Mitt “captured the imagination of millions” and ran “with a natural grace,” there was very little chance that the awkward gazillionaire was ever going to be president. Yet strangely, Republicans are still gobsmacked by their loss, grasping at straws like Sandy as an excuse.
Some G.O.P. House members continue to try to wrestle the president over the fiscal cliff. Romney wanders in a daze, his hair not perfectly gelled. And his campaign advisers continue to express astonishment that a disastrous campaign, convention and candidate, as well as a lack of familiarity with what Stevens dismissively calls “whiz-bang turnout technologies,” could possibly lead to defeat.
Who would ever have thought blacks would get out and support the first black president? Who would ever have thought women would shy away from the party of transvaginal probes? Who would ever have thought gays would work against a party that treated them as immoral and subhuman? Who would have ever thought young people would desert a party that ignored science and hectored on social issues? Who would ever have thought Latinos would scorn a party that expected them to finish up their chores and self-deport?
Republicans know they’re in trouble when W. emerges as the moral voice of the party. The former president lectured the G.O.P. on Tuesday about being more “benevolent” toward immigrants.
As Eva Longoria supersedes Karl Rove as a power player, Republicans act as shellshocked as the Southern gentry overrun by Yankee carpetbaggers in “Gone with the Wind.” As the movie eulogized: “Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave. Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind.”
Gun sales have burgeoned since the president’s re-election, with Black Friday weapons purchases setting records as the dead-enders rush to arm themselves.
But history will no doubt record that withering Republicans were finally wiped from the earth in 2016 when the relentless (and rested) Conquistadora Hillary marched in, General Bill on a horse behind her, and finished them off.
Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces
Reply #1131 on:
December 09, 2012, 02:33:10 PM »
and ushers in the age of government tryanny.
As for blacks supporting the first black president it is not about that as much as supporting a Democrat and big transfer of wealth government.
As for women it mostly single young mothers who also want to have wealth transferred to them.
As for Latinos it is not about self deporting - it is the same - transfer of wealth to them.
As for gays a large part of it is financial benefits.
As for the Gone With the Wind reference with regards to the Republican party being racist - well it is better used to describe America as an idea, a concept, a way of life with limited government and real freedom from tyranny. You can confiscate only so much, print money out of thin air, borrow from other countries so much.
Gone with the wind is America as Dowd and her ilk move to one world government, void of religion, void of personal freedom, constant management and oversight,
endless nit picking all the same time government grows it's control and power. Government that is still run by human beings who are just as corrupt as any in the private sector.
Re: Political Rants - Dowd
Reply #1132 on:
December 09, 2012, 03:50:56 PM »
Yes that we quite a smug, gloating piece, witty and entertaining for her market - rich liberals with their lattes enjoying their Sunday NY Times. Celebrating the troubles of their opposition could be taken all in good fun, but it is rooted in the fact that they hate the limited government crowd more than the hate terrorists, even in NYC.
"history will no doubt record that withering Republicans were finally wiped from the earth in 2016 when the relentless (and rested) Conquistadora Hillary marched in, General Bill on a horse behind her, and finished them off"
Good grief. This was a divided election. Romney won a close one on the issues, lost on turnout, likability, popularity, dependency. Dems beat all expectations in the Senate but nowhere close to just a few years ago when they passed Obamacare at 60. They lost the House big time even with the historic turnout operation. That doesn't bode well for them in 2014.
They don't know how to lead, compromise, govern or how to fix any of our problems.
Last time they won this big was 1976, when the Republican Party was FAR weaker. They got so smug that Ted Kennedy almost beat a sitting incumbent to turn us even further left. That election turned late and ended in a Reagan landslide. Dems only swept once since then, when Clinton got 43% of the vote the cycle before Newt and the Republicans took congress.
Smug in the context of all these cycles and shifts and in the face of these economic problems shows a scary level of ignorance. There aren't 3 people in America who love Hillary as much as Maureen Dowd does. I have more fear of Michelle Obama running next. She has all the depth and experience of her husband. (
Last Edit: December 09, 2012, 03:52:52 PM by DougMacG
Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces
Reply #1133 on:
December 09, 2012, 03:57:00 PM »
"As for gays a large part of it is financial benefits"
Good point by CCP. I always think it is about acceptance or respect, but notice that the recognition has to in law exactly in the name of marriage, as identified in all contract law, employee benefits etc.
Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces
Reply #1134 on:
December 11, 2012, 05:47:05 PM »
John D Rockefeller wealth was estimated at 1.4 billion when he died in 1937. The US GDP was est. at 92 billion.
According to the recent cable series on the "men who built America" he was worth an estimated 600 billion in today's dollars. Ten times more then todays richest people.
Now that is real money.
VDH: Let the real fat cats pay their fair share
Reply #1135 on:
December 13, 2012, 03:14:18 PM »
Some of us aren't going to like this one , , ,
Reply #1136 on:
December 13, 2012, 08:24:30 PM »
Conservative Survival in a Progressive Age
Big government and the social revolution are here to stay. The conservative role is to shape both for the better..
By PETER BERKOWITZ
Political moderation is a maligned virtue. Yet it has been central to American constitutionalism and modern conservatism. Such moderation is essential today to the renewal of a conservatism devoted to the principles of liberty inscribed in the Constitution—and around which both social conservatives and libertarians can rally.
"It is a misfortune, inseparable from human affairs, that public measures are rarely investigated with that spirit of moderation which is essential to a just estimate of their real tendency to advance or obstruct the public good," observed James Madison in Federalist No. 37. The challenge, Madison went on to explain, is more sobering still because the spirit of moderation "is more apt to be diminished than promoted by those occasions which require an unusual exercise of it."
In a similar spirit, and in the years that Americans were declaring independence and launching a remarkable experiment in self-government, Edmund Burke sought to conserve in Great Britain the conditions under which liberty flourished. To this end, Burke exposed the error of depending on abstract theory for guidance in practical affairs. He taught the supremacy in political life of prudence, or the judgment born of experience, bound up with circumstances and bred in action. He maintained that good policy and laws must be fitted to the people's morals, sentiments and opinions. He demonstrated that in politics the imperfections of human nature must be taken into account even as virtue and the institutions of civil society that sustain it must be cultivated. And he showed that political moderation frequently counsels rejecting the path of least resistance and is sometimes exercised in defending principle against majority opinion.
Madison's words and example and Burke's words and example are as pertinent in our time as they were in their own. Conservatives should heed them as they come to grips with two entrenched realities that pose genuine challenges to liberty, and whose prudent management is critical to the nation's well-being.
The first entrenched reality is that big government is here to stay. This is particularly important for libertarians to absorb. Over the last two hundred years, society and the economy in advanced industrial nations have undergone dramatic transformations. And for three-quarters of a century, the New Deal settlement has been reshaping Americans' expectations about the nation-state's reach and role.
.Consequently, the U.S. federal government will continue to provide a social safety net, regulate the economy, and shoulder a substantial share of responsibility for safeguarding the social and economic bases of political equality. All signs are that a large majority of Americans will want it to continue to do so.
In these circumstances, conservatives must redouble their efforts to reform sloppy and incompetent government and resist government's inherent expansionist tendencies and progressivism's reflexive leveling proclivities. But to undertake to dismantle or even substantially roll back the welfare and regulatory state reflects a distinctly unconservative refusal to ground political goals in political realities.
Conservatives can and should focus on restraining spending, reducing regulation, reforming the tax code, and generally reining in our sprawling federal government. But conservatives should retire misleading talk of small government. Instead, they should think and speak in terms of limited government.
The second entrenched reality, this one testing social conservatives, is the sexual revolution, perhaps the greatest social revolution in human history. The invention, and popularization in the mid-1960s, of the birth control pill—a cheap, convenient and effective way to prevent pregnancy—meant that for the first time in human history, women could have sex and reliably control reproduction. This greatly enhanced their ability to enter the workforce and pursue careers. It also transformed romance, reshaped the family and refashioned marriage.
Brides may still wed in virginal white, bride and groom may still promise to love and cherish for better or for worse and until death do them part, and one or more children may still lie in the future for many married couples. Nevertheless, 90% of Americans engage in premarital sex, cohabitation before marriage is common, and out-of-wedlock births are substantial.
Divorce, while emotionally searing, is no longer unusual, legally difficult or socially stigmatizing. Children, once the core reason for getting married, have become optional. Civil unions for gays and lesbians have acquired majority support and same-sex marriage is not far behind.
These profoundly transformed circumstances do not oblige social conservatives to alter their fundamental convictions. They should continue to make the case for the traditional understanding of marriage with children at the center, both for its intrinsic human rewards and for the benefits a married father and mother bring to rearing children. They should back family-friendly public policy and seek, within the democratic process, to persuade fellow citizens to adopt socially conservative views and vote for candidates devoted to them.
Yet given the enormous changes over the last 50 years in the U.S. concerning the ways individuals conduct their romantic lives, view marriage, and think about the family—and with a view to the enduring imperatives of limited government—social conservatives should refrain from attempting to use the federal government to enforce the traditional understanding of sex, marriage and the family. They can remain true to their principles even as they adjust their expectations of what can be achieved through democratic politics, and renew their appreciation of the limits that American constitutional government imposes on regulating citizens' private lives.
Some conservatives worry that giving any ground—in regard to the welfare and regulatory state, the sexual revolution, or both—is tantamount to sanctifying a progressive status quo. That is to mistake a danger for a destiny. Seeing circumstances as they are is a precondition for preserving one's principles and effectively translating them into viable reforms.
Even under the shadow of big government and in the wake of the sexual revolution, both libertarians and social conservatives, consistent with their most deeply held beliefs, can and should affirm the dignity of the person and the inseparability of human dignity from individual freedom and self-government. They can and should affirm the dependence of individual freedom and self-government on a thriving civil society, and the paramount importance the Constitution places on maintaining a political framework that secures liberty by limiting government.
So counsels constitutional conservatism well understood.
Mr. Berkowitz, a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, is the author of "Constitutional Conservatism: Liberty, Self-Government and Political Moderation," forthcoming from the Hoover Institution Press in February. This op-ed is adapted from the book's conclusion.
Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces
Reply #1137 on:
December 13, 2012, 09:13:20 PM »
The coming crash will end big government, the question is what rises from the ashes.
Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces
Reply #1138 on:
December 14, 2012, 12:10:27 PM »
Crafty wrote on Media Issues: "Well, I was reading in the WSJ today that 70% shocked shocked shocked is financed by the Fed buying the debt with the printing press. I suspect that even Wilson and his Fed did not do that , , ,"
So a huge part of our spending is not paid for with taxation and the majority of that part is not covered by borrowing.
George Gilder posed as I recall a thought provoking question - what if we didn't tax at all?
Gilder's view (big risk of remembering or stating this wrong) is that spending is the tax. Public spending is where you take the resources out of the private, productive economy, for better or for worse. Our horribly inefficient tax code is an additional tax, taking even more resources away from productive use in compliance and avoidance.
In a bizarre twist of politics, the Gilder view from the far right supply side offered at least half in jest is now the governing philosophy of our leftist President and the world's most powerful banker.
We spend with no limit, far beyond what we even pretend to tax or borrow. Then we watch and see what happens as our economy deteriorates and our currency erodes.
Whatever does happen will likely be worse than if we had spent responsibly, only on legitimate governing functions, and not levied taxes at all.
Patriot Post/Mark Alexander: NeoComs
Reply #1139 on:
December 14, 2012, 04:31:49 PM »
Alexander's Column – December 13, 2012
The Neo-Communist Economic Agenda
"We must make our election between economy and Liberty, or profusion and servitude." --Thomas Jefferson (1816)
"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. ... Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy." --Winston Churchill
Today, I have a new entry for the political lexicon to categorize the latest ideological iteration of Marxists in America: "Neo-Communists" or the abbreviated version, "NeoComs."
You're no doubt familiar with the label "Neo-Conservatives," and its shortened version, "NeoCons," to describe conservatives who have adapted to more interventionist foreign policies promoting democracy, and who support open trade policies. "Neo" differentiates these conservatives from the isolationist and non-interventionist conservatism of the 1930s -- until the attack on Pearl Harbor drew us into war with Japan and Germany.
At the other end of the political spectrum from the Ronald Reagan NeoCons are the NeoComs -- modern-day socialists who have risen, in the last decade, to dominate the Democrat Party. They have modified old Marxist doctrines and adapted them to current political platforms and policies using leftist propaganda more compatible with contemporary culture. Chief among these is the Democrat Party's tried and true "divide and conquer" disparity rhetoric, which foments discontent and division based on income, race, ethnicity, gender, education, occupation, etc.
However, bull pucky by any other name is still bull pucky. Democratic Socialism, like Nationalist Socialism, is nothing more than Marxist Socialism repackaged.
The objective of today's NeoComs is, as you by now know, "fundamentally transforming the United States of America," in order to "peacefully transition" from our constitutional republic and its free-enterprise economy to a socialist republic with a state-organized and regulated economy.
Ideological adherents of the American Communist Party made few political gains under that banner in the last century because the label "communist" was and remains "distasteful" to most Americans. Thus, NeoComs have infested the once-noble Democrat Party and are using it as cover for socialist policy implementation.
The political genes of the current cadres of NeoComs establish them as the direct descendants of the statist policies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the programs he implemented under cover of the Great Depression.
Roosevelt, like most of today's wealthy liberal protagonists, was an "inheritance-welfare liberal" -- raised in a dysfunctional home and dependent on his financial inheritance rather than that essential spirit of self-reliance, which forms the core of American Liberty. Consequently, the "dependence ethos" irrevocably shaped by FDR's privileged upbringing is virtually indistinguishable from the dependence ethos of those who have been raised or inculcated with belief that they are reliant upon welfare handouts from the state.
Though markedly dissimilar in terms of their political power, the underlying difference between inheritance liberals and welfare liberals is, the former depend on investment and trust distributions while the latter depend on government redistributions. But they both support socialist political and economic agendas based on Marxist collectivism.
Endeavoring to transform our Republic into a socialist state, FDR set about to replace our authentic Constitution with the so-called "living constitution" by way of judicial diktat, thereby subordinating the Rule of Law to the will of his administration. Anticipating Supreme Court rulings against many of his patently unconstitutional policies, which he later arrogantly outlined in his "New Bill of Rights," FDR attempted to expand the number of justices on the High Court, thereby allowing him to flood the bench with his nominees in order to win majority rulings.
Despite his failed attempt to pack the High Court, over the course of FDR's three full terms, he infested American politics with socialist programs and policies, and brought the nation perilously close to being ruled by an avowed Marxist, his vice president, Henry Wallace.
Prior to 2008, the closest the U.S. had gotten to an openly socialist president was after FDR's then-vice president, John Garner, broke with Roosevelt over FDR's effort to pack the court. In 1940, Roosevelt tapped his secretary of agriculture, Henry Wallace, to replace Garner as his new running mate. Wallace's allegiance to Marxist doctrine was well established. However, near the end of World War II, Roosevelt feared that he could not get re-elected to a fourth term with an open Communist on the ticket, so he tapped the more moderate Harry Truman and demoted Wallace to Secretary of Commerce -- where he could further his Marxist agenda.
FDR, of course, died in office just a month into his fourth term. But had he retained Wallace instead of opting for Truman, America would have had its first communist president by succession.
Shortly after becoming president, Truman fired Wallace because of his affinity for the USSR. Wallace would later unsuccessfully challenge Truman in 1948 under the thinly veiled socialist Progressive Party front, with the endorsement of the American Communist Party.
The end of World War II largely capped FDR's "New Deal" socialist expansion of the state until Lyndon Johnson's progressive "Great Society" platform heralded a plethora of new statist programs and policies. Ironically, another war, Vietnam, capped Johnson's socialist expansionism, but not the enormous price tag of the welfare and entitlement programs established by FDR and Johnson.
It was not until the sharp economic downturn of the Great Recession in September 2008 that the next socialist surge of statist intervention would be implemented. That severe recession, the result of Democrat-sponsored statist intervention policies which led to the collapse of real estate values, and cascaded into the near collapse of the U.S. banking system, also led to the election of Barack Hussein Obama, much as the Great Depression had led to the election of FDR.
In fact, Obama's progressive re-election mantra, "Forward," was inspired either by the concluding words of FDR's "Bill of Rights": "[W]e must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights....", or by Mao Zedong's collectivist "Great Leap Forward." Either case would constitute a political distinction without a difference.
Like Roosevelt, Obama was raised in a dysfunctional family, but unlike FDR, Obama inherited a socialist political legacy rather than wealth. However, neither Roosevelt nor Obama "let a serious crisis go to waste."
Obama, the NeoCom-in-Chief and our first openly socialist president, was elected and re-elected on his progressive "fair share" rhetoric, which he often frames as "spreading the wealth around." That, of course, is merely a new riff on an old FDR proclamation: "Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle." However, that "American principle" is merely a paraphrase of Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto, in which he declared, "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs."
Obama's political storm troopers are led by the largest subgroup of congressional Democrats, the 76 declared members of his Congressional Progressive Caucus, who have made "progressive taxation" the top priority of their "redistributive justice" agenda.
Rep. Paul Ryan properly summed up Obama's progressive agenda as "a dull journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us."
Obama and his American Communist Party-endorsed NeoComs are crafting their progressive economic policies using the subtle Cloward-Piven model, a socialist strategy that outlines how to overload the national entitlement delivery system, what we call the ObamaNation Plantation, in order to generate a severe economic crisis and ultimately break the back of free enterprise. Obama is using so-called "stimulus and bailout" plans (including his most recent "Fiscal Bluff"), ObamaCare, cap-n-trade, international climate change treaties, and the like, to take our country to the edge of that precipice.
Sometimes, however, the NeoCom agenda is not so subtle, as was the case this week when Jeffrey Immelt, an ardent Obama supporter who also chairs Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, said of Red China's economy, "The one thing that actually works, state-run communism, may not be your cup of tea, but their government works."
NeoComs outside the U.S. are even less subtle.
In a recent newspaper column in "Pravda," the old Soviet propaganda rag ("The Truth") now published by post-Soviet era conscripts of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, a popular writer, Xavier Lerma, had this observation on our most recent presidential election: "The Communists have won in America with Obama. ... Obama has been re-elected for a 2nd term by an illiterate society."
Lerma criticized his fellow Russians for electing Vladimir Putin who, Lerma laments, "sounded like Ronald Reagan" in a recent speech Putin gave on the Russian economy.
Putin said: "We are reducing taxes on production. We are optimizing state expenses. We must avoid excessive interference into the economic life of the country and the absolute faith into the all-mightiness of the state. Unreasonable expansion of the budget deficit and accumulation of the national debt are as destructive as an adventurous stock market game. During the time of the Soviet Union the role of the state in economy was made absolute, which eventually lead to the total non-competitiveness of the economy. That lesson cost us very dearly. I am sure no one would want history to repeat itself. We must seek support in the moral values that have ensured the progress of our civilization. Honesty and hard work, responsibility and faith in our strength are bound to bring us success."
Lerma concluded, "Who could ever [have] imagined anyone so willing to destroy [capitalism] like Obama, much less seeing millions vote for someone like Obama. They read history in America don't they? Alas, the schools in the U.S. were conquered by the Communists long ago and history was revised thus paving the way for their Communist president."
Indeed, who could have imagined?
Pro Deo et Constitutione — Libertas aut Mors
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis
Publisher, The Patriot Post
Yes!Right On! Perfect!Couldn't have said it better...
Reply #1140 on:
December 14, 2012, 07:29:24 PM »
though I have tried.
The above piece is brilliantly written.
*NeoCom* - perfect! We need to start this phrase with proper attribution around a better structured conservative version of the "journo-list".
I love the quote of Winston Churchill - an earlier version of the twisting of phrases "trickle down wealth" vs. "trickle up poverty".
Interesting history on FDR. A true limo-inheritance liberal, if you will.
As for the Brocksters and his communist storm troopers using the word "forward" I am not sure it is either from FDR or Mao. This word goes much further back in history to European socialist movements. Nonetheless, the astonishing use of the word, as he points out, could not be more overt as to Obama's real political loyalties and beliefs.
Rahm Emanuel made clear his description of the "opportunity" the near depression of late 2008/early 09 gave the NeoCOms just like the depression gave FDR his opportunity.
Gotta love the Pravda author's pointing out the absurdity of Putin running on Reagna themes while here we have the opposite (the pravda piece I believe was noted on the Forum previously).
And yes as Rep. Ryan pointed out we are on a journey of a dull life all planned out for us by our "beloved" intellectuals at places like Harvard and Yale to the extent that none of us are free.
I add to this that our new slave masters are the liberal elites of our universities who have come up with Obamacare, cap and trade, indoctrination (as GM has smartly expressed as going on for decades) of our children.
better than "slave masters"
Reply #1141 on:
December 14, 2012, 07:32:39 PM »
the liberal elites are the new Politburo.
Reply #1142 on:
December 17, 2012, 04:12:11 AM »
The tragedy at Newtown was a terrible, violent act and my heart goes out to all those effected. Our lack of mental healthcare in this country, a irresponsible News Media and corrupt politians is a deadly match. It will probably come to light that this was the act of a mentally and emotionally disturbed individual that wanted to take his angst out on society. People will be looking for answers as to why this person chose to do this, and how he planned this out. The News Media should take credit for creating this monster and giving him the incentive and ideas to vent his suicidal rage on this small commuity. This is another instance where a copycat psycho has been educated by the activist News Media, because of the exploitation of similar shootings in the past. The Media uses these events to push political agendas like gun control and hype their ratings, going over all the gory details, plus giving a world stage for these nut jobs to get fame, notoriety, and inflict maximum damage on our society. This sick individual at Newtown, could have just killed himself or worn a suit & tie and ran over people with his car right there at his house. It could have been that simple but he didn't do that. No, he dressed up in camoflage and black, put on a bullet proof vest, loaded up with guns and ammo then went to a grade school. The guns and ammo wasn't just any old kind, nope they were the kind that gun control advocates and political activist want banned. He made sure they met the standard of hype the Media gives such weapons too, he shot his victims mutiple times to make sure they were not just wounded. He knew he had to get a high body count or else he wouldn't make the cut to get on the Media's stage. Here's an idea News Media, do your job in an ethical manner, report the story then shut the hell up.
Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces
Reply #1143 on:
December 18, 2012, 10:59:41 AM »
I share the sentiments of P.C. expressed in the previous post of this thread. Very well put!
There is copycat element to these shootings. The media coverage plays some role in that. I don't want an unconstitutional crackdown on our free press, but I do wish for them to be aware of that problem, report responsibly and move on.
Why the left hates guns
Reply #1144 on:
December 21, 2012, 10:39:48 AM »
KUHNER: Why the left hates guns
Armed citizens a bulwark against state power
By Jeffrey T. Kuhner
The Washington Times
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Liberals have declared war on gun rights. Following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., gun-control zealots have seized on the murder of 20 children and 6 adults to push their longtime goal of rolling back the Second Amendment. The bodies of the victims were not even cold before the progressive blogosphere was blaming the National Rifle Association for the atrocity.
President Obama is calling for sweeping new gun restrictions, including restoring the assault-weapons ban and limiting ammunition in magazines. MSNBC host Ed Schultz seeks the outright “confiscation of guns.” CNN’s Piers Morgan wants America to adopt Great Britain’s rigid gun laws. Ultimately, the left’s argument boils down to one seminal belief: The primary cause for our epidemic of mass shootings lies in technology — the wide availability of firearms. Restrict access to guns, liberals claim, and violence will be curbed significantly.
This is not only false, but blatant propaganda. The Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, was severely mentally ill. His mother, Nancy Lanza, who also was butchered by her son, proved unable to find appropriate treatment. Instead, according to press accounts, she kept him isolated in a windowless basement for long hours each day, where he played violent video games. No one is willing to confront this painful truth: Our culture’s obsession with video games, especially those that glorify mass killing, senseless brutality and bloodlust, is desensitizing our youth.
Adam Lanza was a deranged individual who spent countless hours in a virtual reality slaughtering imaginary human beings. He also lacked necessary medical treatment — including medication. His life was a combustible mix, ready to blow at any moment. The results were predictable and ominous: Someone was going to get hurt. The only question was who — and how many.
The massacres at Columbine High School in Colorado; Virginia Tech; Tucson, Ariz.; Aurora, Colo.; and Sandy Hook all had one thing in common: The perpetrators suffered from serious mental illness. The recent rash of mass shootings has nothing to do with guns. Rather, it is our society’s refusal to involuntarily institutionalize the violently mentally ill. Since the 1970s, liberals — in the name of “civil rights” — have succeeded in opening up the doors of psychiatric hospitals and releasing psychologically disturbed patients. This has allowed mentally unstable individuals to roam our streets. The consequences have been disastrous — soaring homelessness, rampant poverty, rising crime and an explosion in random murderous atrocities.
The schools, malls and movie theaters where these crimes took place had something else in common: They were gun-free zones. If banning firearms was the solution, those places should have been safe havens. They weren’t. The reason is obvious. Gun-free zones prevent law-abiding citizens from being able to protect themselves, leaving them defenseless against ruthless gunmen. The principal and teachers at Sandy Hook stood helpless as Lanza shot them in cold blood. They were like sheep led to the slaughter.
Norway has some of the strictest gun laws in the world. That did not stop a madman in 2011 from massacring nearly 80 people — many of them children — at a summer camp outside Oslo. To think gun control can prevent mass violence is a leftist utopian fantasy. Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people in Oklahoma City in 1995 using a fertilizer-based truck bomb. The worst school atrocity occurred in Michigan in 1927 when 38 children, ages 7 to 11, along with seven adults were murdered. The weapons that were used: three primitive homemade explosives. Evil is a fundamental reality of life. It cannot be legislated away. It must be faced down and defeated.
This is why the only policy answer to the wave of mass shootings is not fewer guns, but more guns. In particular, gun-free zones should be dismantled at schools. It’s time that education budgets incorporate the hiring of security personnel — say, two guards per school — who would be armed and trained to use deadly force against any future potential shooter. Ideally, they would be ex-military, who possess experience in dealing with surprise attacks and volatile situations. Just the fact that schools would be known to have armed agents protecting students and staff would significantly deter gun violence.
Yet the Democratic left is determined to repeal the Second Amendment. Why? The answer is simple: An armed citizenry is pivotal to a self-governing republic. Our founders enshrined gun rights not because they were bloodthirsty hicks who celebrated a culture of dueling, revenge and honor. Instead, they understood that pervasive gun ownership is a bulwark against excessive state coercive power. A self-reliant people — as opposed to one subservient to rulers — must be capable of defending themselves and their families from dangerous predators. Gun rights are essential to our system of limited government and individual liberty.
For liberals, this is precisely the problem with the Second Amendment. Their aim is to erect a Scandinavian-style social democracy — a North American Sweden. The structure standing in their way is the Constitution. This is why the progressive left has been relentlessly assaulting our Judeo-Christian heritage and constitutional republic. It must vilify — and discredit — our founding principles in order to pave the way for its collectivist revolution. Nothing is more quintessentially American than our gun culture. Secular leftists hate guns because they loathe America. And they will stop at nothing — including exploiting the bodies of dead children — to achieve their radical, anti-American and anti-gun agenda.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist and editorial writer at The Washington Times. He is also the host of “The Kuhner Report” on AM-680 WRKO (
) from 6-9 a.m. and 11 a.m.-noon EST in Boston.
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter
Media and Copycat Killers
Reply #1145 on:
December 22, 2012, 05:31:26 AM »
ZEYNEP TUFEKCI - Zeynep Tufekci is a fellow at the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University, an assistant professor at the School of Information and Department of Sociology at the University of North Carolina, and a faculty associate at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society. She writes regularly at her personal site, Technosociology.
The Media Needs to Stop Inspiring Copycat Murders. Here's How.
7 DEC 19 2012, 10:07 AM ET 43
After a wave of teen suicides in the 1980s, news outlets began reporting on these deaths more cautiously. Similar guidelines could help prevent more shooting sprees.
After the Newtown shootings, newspapers printed detailed information about the killer and his methods. (McClatchy Papers)
You might not have noticed, but the mass media rarely reports on suicides, particularly teen suicides. When it does, the coverage is careful, understated, and dampened. This is no accident: Following guidelines endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Mental Health, the media carefully and voluntarily avoids sensationalizing such deaths especially among teenagers. They almost never make the news unless the person is a public figure; methods of suicide are rarely mentioned; suicide pacts are not reported upon.
This is for good reason: Suicide, especially among teens, is contagious. It's a morbidly attractive idea that offers an established path of action for a troubled youngster. And we know from research in many fields that establishing a path of action -- a complete narrative in which you can visualize your steps and their effects -- is important in enabling follow-through.
This, for example, is exactly why political campaigns ask people about where and how they plan to vote -- imagined events are more likely to be carried out in real life. If you have a full story in your head, you are more likely to enact it, step by step. We also know such "contagion" effects are especially strong in adolescence and young adulthood -- an especially turbulent time for mental health.
In the Middle Ages, psychosis may have involved visions of the devil. Today, it can involve dressing in pseudo-combat gear and walking through a public place in a blaze of violence.
As a sociologist, I am increasingly concerned that the tornado of media coverage that swirls around each such mass killing, and the acute interest in the identity and characteristics of the shooter -- as well as the detailed and sensationalist reporting of the killer's steps just before and during the shootings -- may be creating a vicious cycle of copycat effects similar to those found in teen and other suicides.
Indeed, the rate of mass public shootings in the United States has been accelerating. In 2012 alone, there were at least a dozen of them. Seven dead at an Oakland college in April. Five killed at a Seattle coffee shop in May. Twelve killed in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater in July. Six murdered at a Wisconsin Sikh temple in August, and six more killed in Minneapolis in September. Three dead in the Milwaukee spa shootings in October. And most recently, and unimaginably, 20 children as young as six, along with six adults, murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The trend is disturbingly clear.
As many have pointed out, these mass public rampages are inextricably linked with the availability of high-capacity guns and ammunition, as well as with lack of strong mental health infrastructure -- especially for those in late adolescence and early adulthood, the typical onset period for major psychotic disorder.
But it's also important to recognize that while mental illness plagues every society, the ways people express it are heavily influenced by the norms, heroes, anti-heroes, and spectacles of their own places and times. In the Middle Ages, psychosis may have involved visions of the devil, snakes, or witches. In the 21st century, it can involve dressing in pseudo-combat gear, donning numerous high-powered rifles, and walking through a public place in a blaze of violence. The shock value is part of the goal -- and the higher the shock value, predictably, the higher the ensuing media coverage, which fuels interest in the shooter and creates a whirlwind of attention and spectacle.
My aim here is not to blame the media: such events have undeniable news value, and there is intense public interest in uncovering their details. But it's important to recognize that such incidents are not mono-causal, and sensational news coverage is, increasingly, part of the mix of events that contributes to these rampages.
We need to figure out how to balance the public interest in learning about a mass shooting with the public interest in reducing copycat crime. The guidelines on reporting on teen suicides were established after a spate of teenage suicides in the United States, some through suicide pacts, in the 1980s. Those who created the guidelines looked at examples from other countries -- for example, the subway suicides in Vienna in the 1980s, which decreased after the media changed its coverage -- and provided specific recommendations: Don't refer to the word suicide in the headline. Don't report the method of the suicide. Don't present it as an inexplicable act of an otherwise healthy person.
With that as a model, here are some initial recommendations.
1. Law enforcement should not release details of the methods and manner of the killings, and those who learn those details should not share them. In other words, there should be no immediate stories about which guns exactly were used or how much robo-cop gear was utilized. There should be no extensive timelines -- no details about which room was entered first or which victim was killed second. In particular, there should be no reporting of the killer's words, or actions before or during the shooting.
Yes, I am a scholar of social media and I understand that these things will leak. But there is a big difference between information that can only be found if you really look for it and news stories that are blasted by every television station and paper in the country. At a minimum, we can and should greatly delay the release of these details by weeks, if not months.
2. If and when social media accounts of the killers are located, law enforcement should work with the platforms to immediately pull them. Yes, there will be screenshots, and again, I am not proposing that such information can be entirely shut out. But by making it harder to find, we can dampen the impact of the spectacle.
3- The name of the killer should not be revealed immediately. If possible, law enforcement and media sources should agree to withhold it for weeks. The identity can be released later during trial (if there is one) or during the release of the investigative report. Once again, merely delaying the release of information may greatly reduce the spectacle effect. The name may "leak," but that is very different from the full blast of attention that currently surrounds the perpetrators immediately after each incident.
Similarly, the killer should not be profiled extensively, at least not at first. There should not be an intense search for clues or reasoning beyond "troubled person commits unspeakable act; wish he had gotten help earlier," in as flat a reporting style as possible. We know that the killers tend to be young men, and they tend to have mental health issues. We do not need to know which exact video games they played, what they wore, or what their favorite bands were.
4. The intense push to interview survivors and loved ones in their most vulnerable moments should be stopped. This, too, may help reduce the sense of spectacle and trauma.
I don't claim that these are the only and best ways to deal with this issue. but I offer them as fodder for a conversation that I hoped will be taken up by media and mental health experts. And we shouldn't be concerned that such guidelines will be impossible to follow. Just yesterday, news outlets revealed that Richard Engel of NBC had been kidnapped in Syria -- and released. The information about his capture, though obviously newsworthy, was held back in order to aid the negotiations and rescue efforts.
There are many such cases of media voluntarily acting to dampen coverage of certain events, especially when it involves one of their own. Let's entreat them to do it for the sake of potential shooting victims as well.
Re: Media and Copycat Killers
Reply #1146 on:
December 22, 2012, 03:54:11 PM »
Very good ideas there. Especially the part where our professional journalists stop shoving their cameras into the faces of traumatized children and ask them about the horrors they just survived.
Reply #1147 on:
December 23, 2012, 10:34:45 AM »
10-43: All Units...
with Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor in Chief
Active shooters in schools: The enemy is denial
Preventing juvenile mass murder in American schools is the job of police officers, school teachers, and concerned parents
Editor's Note: Visit the Newtown Shooting special coverage page for more perspectives on active shooters in schools, including my article "Active shooters in schools: Should teachers be trained by police firearms instructors?" Have a perspective on this issue? Leave it in the comments below.
“How many kids have been killed by school fire in all of North America in the past 50 years? Kids killed... school fire... North America... 50 years... How many? Zero. That’s right. Not one single kid has been killed by school fire anywhere in North America in the past half a century. Now, how many kids have been killed by school violence?”
So began an extraordinary daylong seminar presented by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, a Pulitzer Prize nominated author, West Point psychology professor, and without a doubt the world’s foremost expert on human aggression and violence. The event, hosted by the California Peace Officers Association, was held in the auditorium of a very large community church about 30 miles from San Francisco, and was attended by more than 250 police officers from around the region.
Grossman’s talk spanned myriad topics of vital importance to law enforcement, such as the use of autogenic breathing, surviving gunshot wounds, dealing with survivor guilt following a gun battle, and others. But violence among and against children was how the day began, and so I'll focus on that issue here.
Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, pictured with PoliceOne Senior Editor Doug Wyllie, spoke before a crowd of more than 250 police officers in an event hosted by the California Peace Officers Association. (PoliceOne image)
Arming campus cops is elementary
A decade after Columbine we're still learning, teaching
Book Excerpt: On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs
Visit the Killology Research Group website
Helping schools prepare for an active-shooter showdown
Sheriff Fred Wegener says that preparing schools for an active shooter is community policing at its best.
“In 1999,” Grossman said, “school violence claimed what at the time was an all time record number of kids’ lives. In that year there were 35 dead and a quarter of a million serious injuries due to violence in the school. How many killed by fire that year? Zero. But we hear people say, ‘That’s the year Columbine happened, that’s an anomaly.’ Well, in 2004 we had a new all time record — 48 dead in the schools from violence. How many killed by fire that year? Zero. Let’s assign some grades. Put your teacher hat on and give out some grades. What kind of grade do you give the firefighter for keeping kids safe? An ‘A,’ right? Reluctantly, reluctantly, the cops give the firefighters an ‘A,’ right? Danged firefighters, they sleep ‘till they’re hungry and eat ‘till they’re tired. What grade do we get for keeping the kids safe from violence? Come on, what’s our grade? Needs improvement, right?”
Johnny Firefighter, A+ Student
“Why can’t we be like little Johnny Firefighter?” Grossman asked as he prowled the stage. “He’s our A+ student!”
He paused, briefly, and answered with a voice that blew through the hall like thunder, “Denial, denial, denial!”
Grossman commanded, “Look up at the ceiling! See all those sprinklers up there? They’re hard to spot — they’re painted black — but they’re there. While you’re looking, look at the material the ceiling is made of. You know that that stuff was selected because it’s fire-retardant. Hooah? Now look over there above the door — you see that fire exit sign? That’s not just any fire exit sign — that’s a ‘battery-backup-when-the-world-ends-it-will-still-be-lit’ fire exit sign. Hooah?”
Walking from the stage toward a nearby fire exit and exterior wall, Grossman slammed the palm of his hand against the wall and exclaimed, “Look at these wall boards! They were chosen because they’re what?! Fireproof or fire retardant, hooah? There is not one stinking thing in this room that will burn!”
Pointing around the room as he spoke, Grossman continued, “But you’ve still got those fire sprinklers, those fire exit signs, fire hydrants outside, and fire trucks nearby! Are these fire guys crazy? Are these fire guys paranoid? No! This fire guy is our A+ student! Because this fire guy has redundant, overlapping layers of protection, not a single kid has been killed by school fire in the last 50 years!
“But you try to prepare for violence — the thing much more likely to kill our kids in schools, the thing hundreds of times more likely to kill our kids in schools — and people think you’re paranoid. They think you’re crazy. ...They’re in denial.”
Teaching the Teachers
The challenge for law enforcement agencies and officers, then, is to overcome not only the attacks taking place in schools, but to first overcome the denial in the minds of mayors, city councils, school administrators, and parents. Grossman said that agencies and officers, although facing an uphill slog against the denial of the general public, must diligently work toward increasing understanding among the sheep that the wolves are coming for their children. Police officers must train and drill with teachers, not only so responding officers are intimately familiar with the facilities, but so that teachers know what they can do in the event of an attack.
“Come with me to the library at Columbine High School,” Grossman said. “The teacher in the library at Columbine High School spent her professional lifetime preparing for a fire, and we can all agree if there had been a fire in that library, that teacher would have instinctively, reflexively known what to do.
"But the thing most likely to kill her kids — the thing hundreds of times more likely to kill her kids, the teacher didn’t have a clue what to do. She should have put those kids in the librarian’s office but she didn’t know that. So she did the worst thing possible — she tried to secure her kids in an un-securable location. She told the kids to hide in the library — a library that has plate glass windows for walls. It’s an aquarium, it’s a fish bowl. She told the kids to hide in a fishbowl. What did those killers see? They saw targets. They saw fish in a fish bowl.”
Grossman said that if the school administrators at Columbine had spent a fraction of the money they’d spent preparing for fire doing lockdown drills and talking with local law enforcers about the violent dangers they face, the outcome that day may have been different.
Rhetorically he asked the assembled cops, “If somebody had spent five minutes telling that teacher what to do, do you think lives would have been saved at Columbine?”
Arming Campus Cops is Elementary
Nearly two years ago, I wrote an article called Arming campus cops is elementary. Not surprisingly, Grossman agrees with that hypothesis.
“Never call an unarmed man ‘security’,” Grossman said.
“Call him ‘run-like-hell-when-the-man-with-the-gun-shows-up’ but never call an unarmed man security.
"Imagine if someone said, ‘I want a trained fire professional on site. I want a fire hat, I want a fire uniform, I want a fire badge. But! No fire extinguishers in this building. No fire hoses. The hat, the badge, the uniform — that will keep us safe — but we have no need for fire extinguishers.’ Well, that would be insane. It is equally insane, delusional, legally liable, to say, ‘I want a trained security professional on site. I want a security hat, I want a security uniform, and I want a security badge, but I don’t want a gun.’ It’s not the hat, the uniform, or the badge. It’s the tools in the hands of a trained professional that keeps us safe.
“Our problem is not money,” said Grossman. “It is denial.”
Grossman said (and most cops agree) that many of the most important things we can do to protect our kids would cost us nothing or next-to-nothing.
Grossman’s Five D’s
Let’s contemplate the following outline and summary of Dave Grossman’s “Five D’s.” While you do, I encourage you to add in the comments area below your suggestions to address, and expand upon, these ideas.
1. Denial — Denial is the enemy and it has no survival value, said Grossman.
2. Deter — Put police officers in schools, because with just one officer assigned to a school, the probability of a mass murder in that school drops to almost zero
3. Detect — We’re talking about plain old fashioned police work here. The ultimate achievement for law enforcement is the crime that didn’t happen, so giving teachers and administrators regular access to cops is paramount.
4. Delay — Various simple mechanisms can be used by teachers and cops to put time and distance between the killers and the kids.
a. Ensure that the school/classroom have just a single point of entry. Simply locking the back door helps create a hard target.
b. Conduct your active shooter drills within (and in partnership with) the schools in your city so teachers know how to respond, and know what it looks like when you do your response.
5. Destroy — Police officers and agencies should consider the following:
a. Carry off duty. No one would tell a firefighter who has a fire extinguisher in his trunk that he’s crazy or paranoid.
b. Equip every cop in America with a patrol rifle. One chief of police, upon getting rifles for all his officers once said, “If an active killer strikes in my town, the response time will be measured in feet per second.”
c. Put smoke grenades in the trunk of every cop car in America. Any infantryman who needs to attack across open terrain or perform a rescue under fire deploys a smoke grenade. A fire extinguisher will do a decent job in some cases, but a smoke grenade is designed to perform the function.
d. Have a “go-to-war bag” filled with lots of loaded magazines and supplies for tactical combat casualty care.
e. Use helicopters. Somewhere in your county you probably have one or more of the following: medevac, media, private, national guard, coast guard rotors.
f. Employ the crew-served, continuous-feed, weapon you already have available to you (a firehouse) by integrating the fire service into your active shooter training. It is virtually impossible for a killer to put well-placed shots on target while also being blasted with water at 300 pounds per square inch.
g. Armed citizens can help. Think United 93. Whatever your personal take on gun control, it is all but certain that a killer set on killing is more likely to attack a target where the citizens are unarmed, rather than one where they are likely to encounter an armed citizen response.
Coming Soon: External Threats
Today we must not only prepare for juvenile mass murder, something that had never happened in human history until only recently, but we also must prepare for the external threat. Islamist fanatics have slaughtered children in their own religion — they have killed wantonly, mercilessly, and without regard for repercussion or regret of any kind. What do you think they’d think of killing our kids?
“Eight years ago they came and killed 3,000 of our citizens. Do we know what they’re going to do next? No! But one thing they’ve done in every country they’ve messed with is killing kids in schools,” Grossman said.
The latest al Qaeda charter states that “children are noble targets” and Osama bin Laden himself has said that “Russia is a preview for what we will do to America.”
What happened in Russia that we need to be concerned with in this context? In the town of Beslan on September 1, 2004 — the very day on which children across that country merrily make their return to school after the long summer break — radical Islamist terrorists from Chechnya took more than 1,000 teachers, mothers, and children hostage. When the three-day siege was over, more than 300 hostages had been killed, more than half of whom were children.
“If I could tackle every American and make them read one book to help them understand the terrorist’s plan, it would be Terror at Beslan by John Giduck. Beslan was just a dress rehearsal for what they’re planning to do to the United States,” he said.
Consider this: There are almost a half a million school buses in America. It would require almost every enlisted person and every officer in the entire United States Army to put just one armed guard on every school bus in the country.
As a country and as a culture, the level of protection Americans afford our kids against violence is nothing near what we do to protect them from fire. Grossman is correct: Denial is the enemy. We must prepare for violence like the firefighter prepares for fire. And we must do that today.
About the author
Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. In addition to his editorial and managerial responsibilities, Doug has authored more than 600 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), and an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association. He is also a member of the Public Safety Writers Association, and is a two-time (2011 and 2012) Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" Finalist in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. Even in his "spare" time, he is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.
Douthat: How to read in 2013
Reply #1148 on:
December 30, 2012, 02:06:54 PM »
How to Read in 2013
By ROSS DOUTHAT
Published: December 29, 2012 341 Comments
COME what may in the next 12 months, 2013 has this much going for it: It’s a year without a midterm election, and a year that’s as far removed as possible from the next presidential race. This means that for a blessed 365 days you can be a well-informed and responsible American citizen without reading every single article on Politico, without hitting refresh every 30 seconds on your polling-average site of choice, without channel-hopping between Chris Matthews’s hyperventilating and Dick Morris’s promises of an inevitable Republican landslide.
So use the year wisely, faithful reader. For a little while, at least, let gridlock take care of itself, shake yourself free of the toils of partisanship, and let your mind rove more widely and freely than the onslaught of 2014 and 2016 coverage will allow.
Here are three steps that might make such roving particularly fruitful. First, consider taking out a subscription to a magazine whose politics you don’t share. I’m using the word “subscription” advisedly: it may sound fusty in the age of blogs and tweets and online hopscotching, but reading the entirety of a magazine, whether in print or on your tablet, is a better way to reckon with the ideas that its contributors espouse than just reading the most-read or most-e-mailed articles on its Web site, or the occasional inflammatory column that all your ideological compatriots happen to be attacking.
So if you love National Review’s political coverage, add The New Republic or The Nation to your regular rotation as well. If you think that The New Yorker’s long-form journalism is the last word on current affairs, take out a Weekly Standard subscription and supplement Jeffrey Toobin with Andy Ferguson, Adam Gopnik with Christopher Caldwell. If you’re a policy obsessive who looks forward every quarter to the liberal-tilting journal Democracy, consider a subscription to the similarly excellent, right-of-center National Affairs. And whenever you’re tempted to hurl away an article in disgust, that’s exactly when you should turn the page or swipe the screen and keep on reading, to see what else the other side might have to say.
Second, expand your reading geographically as well as ideologically. Even in our supposedly globalized world, place still shapes perspective, and the fact that most American political writers live in just two metropolitan areas tends to cramp our ability to see the world entire.
So the would-be cosmopolitan who currently gets a dose of British-accented sophistication from The Economist — a magazine whose editorial line varies only a little from the Manhattan-and-D.C. conventional wisdom — might do well to read the London Review of Books and The Spectator instead. (The multilingual, of course, can roam even more widely.) The conservative who turns to Manhattan-based publications for defenses of the “Real America” should cast a bigger net — embracing the Californian academics who preside over the Claremont Review of Books, the heartland sans-culottes at RedState, the far-flung traditionalists who write for Front Porch Republic. And the discerning reader should always have an eye out for talented writers — like the Montanan Walter Kirn, the deserving winner of one of my colleague David Brooks’s Sidney Awards — who cover American politics from outside D.C. and N.Y.C.
Finally, make a special effort to read outside existing partisan categories entirely. Crucially, this doesn’t just mean reading reasonable-seeming types who split the left-right difference. It means seeking out more marginal and idiosyncratic voices, whose views are often worth pondering precisely because they have no real purchase on our political debates.
Start on the non-Republican right, maybe, with the libertarians at Reason magazine, the social conservatives at First Things and Public Discourse, the eclectic dissidents who staff The American Conservative. Then head for the neo-Marxist reaches of the Internet, where publications like Jacobin and The New Inquiry offer a constant reminder of how much room there is to the left of the current Democratic Party.
And don’t be afraid to lend an ear to voices that seem monomaniacal or self-marginalizing, offensive or extreme. There are plenty of writers on the Internet who are too naïve or radical or bigoted to entrust with any kind of power, but who nonetheless might offer an insight that you wouldn’t find in the more respectable quarters of the press.
If these exercises work, they’ll make 2013 a year that unsettles your mind a little — subjecting the views you take for granted to real scrutiny, changing the filters through which you view the battles between Team R and Team D, reminding you that more things are possible in heaven and earth than are dreamed of by John Boehner and Harry Reid.
Then, and only then, will you be ready to start counting the days till the 2016 Iowa caucuses arrive.
I invite you to follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/DouthatNYT.
George Will: Our Decadent Democracy
Reply #1149 on:
January 04, 2013, 11:03:24 AM »
George Will sums it up well our current, destructive course:
Our decadent democracy
By George F. Will, Published: January 2
Connoisseurs of democratic decadence can savor a variety of contemporary dystopias. Because familiarity breeds banality, Greece has become a boring horror. Japan, however, in its second generation of stagnation is fascinating. Once, Japan bestrode the world, jauntily buying Rockefeller Center and Pebble Beach. Now Japanese buy more adult diapers than those for infants.
Deficit spending once was largely for investments — building infrastructure, winning wars — which benefited future generations, so government borrowing appropriately shared the burden with those generations. Now, however, continuous borrowing burdens future generations in order to finance current consumption. Today’s policy, says DeMuth, erases “the distinction between investing for the future and borrowing from the future.”
It is now as clear as it is unsurprising that most Americans will be spared the educational experience of “fiscal cliff”-related tax increases and spending cuts, which would have been a small but instructive taste of the real costs of the entitlement state.
Still, December’s maneuverings taught three lessons.
First, there will be no significant spending restraint. Democrats — you know: the people respectful of evidence and science — even rejected a more accurate measurement of the cost of living that would slightly slow increases in myriad government benefits. Accuracy will be sacrificed to liberalism’s agenda of government growth.
Second, Barack Obama has (as Winston Churchill said of an adversary) “the gift of compressing the largest amount of words into the smallest amount of thought.” His incessant talking swaddles one wee idea — raising taxes on “millionaires and billionaires,” including people earning less than half a million. He has nothing pertinent to say about the steadily worsening fiscal imbalance that will make sluggish growth — less than 3 percent — normal.
Third, one December winner was George W. Bush because a large majority of Democrats favored making permanent a large majority of his tax cuts. December’s rancor disguised bipartisan agreement: Both parties flinch from cliff-related tax increases and spending decreases. But neither the increases nor decreases would have tamed the current $1 trillion-plus budget deficit nor made a discernible dent in the 87-times-larger unfunded liabilities of the entitlement state.
This state cannot be funded by taxing “the rich.” Or even by higher income taxes on the middle class. Income taxes cannot fund the government liberals want, and they dare not seek the consumption and energy taxes their entitlement architecture requires. Hence, although Republicans are complicit, Democrats are ardent in embracing decadent democracy. This consists not just of infantilism — refusing to will the means for the ends one has willed — but also of willing an immoral means: conscripting the wealth of future generations.
As economists Glenn Hubbard and Tim Kane explain in National Affairs quarterly, the U.S. political system “cannot govern the entitlement state” that “exists largely to provide material benefits to individuals.” Piling up unsustainable entitlement promises — particularly, enactment of Medicare in 1965 and the enrichment of Social Security benefits in 1972 — has been improvident for the nation but rational for the political class. The promised expenditures, far in excess of revenue, would come due “beyond the horizon of political consequences.”
“Our politicians,” say Hubbard and Kane, “are acting rationally” but “politically rational behavior is now fiscally perverse.” Both parties are responding to powerful electoral incentives to neither raise taxes nor cut spending. Hence, “the clash over raising the debt limit that gripped Washington during the summer of 2011 was just the beginning, not the end, of our fiscal woes.”
But the perils of the entitlement state are no longer (in Hubbard’s and Kane’s words) “safely beyond the politicians’ career horizons.” Furthermore, a critical mass of Republicans reject the careerists’ understanding of “politically rational” behavior. These Republicans have a different rationale for being in politics.
The media, which often are the last to know things because their wishes father their thoughts, say the tea party impulse is exhausted. Scores of House Republicans and seven first-term Republican senators (Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Pat Toomey, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Marco Rubio and Tim Scott) will soon — hello, debt ceiling — prove otherwise.
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