Free Markets, Free People


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Stray Voltage

Explaining the Trump phenomenon – I think this is pretty close:

“American presidential elections usually amount to a series of overcorrections: Clinton begat Bush, who produced Obama, whose lax border policies fueled the rise of Trump. In the case of Trump, though, the GOP shares the blame, and not just because his fellow Republicans misdirected their ad buys or waited so long to criticize him. Trump is in part a reaction to the intellectual corruption of the Republican Party. That ought to be obvious to his critics, yet somehow it isn’t.”

The GOP more than shares the blame, they are the direct reason a person like Trump has traction.  Gutless, spineless and afraid to do what they were elected to do election after election has finally turned on them.  They’ve been warned for a while.  The rise of the Teaparty should have given them a clue, but it was business as usual for establishment GOP types.   This last Congressional election and their ineffectiveness while in the majority appears to have been the last straw.  Trump is their creation, and they still don’t understand why.

Speaking of Bernie and why his socialism is attractive to so many, I think this is pretty close as well:

“In the same way that a Ponzi scheme or chain letter initially succeeds but eventually collapses, socialism may show early signs of success. But any accomplishments quickly fade as the fundamental deficiencies of central planning emerge. It is the initial illusion of success that gives government intervention its pernicious, seductive appeal. In the long run, socialism has always proven to be a formula for tyranny and misery.”

We’ve actually seen “the long run” in the late and unlamented Soviet Union.  We have examples with us today via North Korea where famine and poverty stalk the population constantly, Cuba, where they live in the ’50s and work for $20 a month and Venezuela, where it failed utterly and the population is now trying to dig out from under the ruin.   But Bernie supporters, apparently, think his version will work.

In the “thank the good Lord” department, this:

President Obama is not interested in sitting on the Supreme Court once he leaves office, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday.

If you think he’s been a disaster as a president, imagine the damage he could do on the Supreme Court.

Interesting.  When given a choice:

The number of dues-paying workers within the state’s labor groups has fallen steadily since GOP Gov. Scott Walker signed his signature legislation, 2011’s Act 10, which repealed most collective bargaining for most public workers. But new federal statistics show that trend intensified in 2015 after Walker and GOP lawmakers followed up on Act 10 by approving so-called right-to-work legislation last spring….

In 2015, 8.3% of Wisconsin workers, or 223,000 in all, were members of unions. That was down sharply from the 306,000 people, or 11.7% of the state’s workforce, who belonged to unions in 2014….

Labor unions are another thing the left isn’t “pro-choice” about.

ICYMI, Al Gore’s apocalyptic predictions expired recently.  Yup, Manhattan isn’t submerged in water (unless you want to count the latest footage in frozen precipitation) as he had predicted 10 years ago.  David French does a riff on the doomsayers:

Gore’s prediction fits right in with the rest of his comrades in the wild-eyed environmentalist movement. There’s a veritable online cottage industry cataloguing hysterical, failed predictions of environmentalist catastrophe. Over at the American Enterprise Institute, Mark Perry keeps his list of “18 spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions” made around the original Earth Day in 1970. Robert Tracinski at The Federalist has a nice list of “Seven big failed environmentalist predictions.” The Daily Caller’s “25 years of predicting the global warming ‘tipping point’” makes for amusing reading, including one declaration that we had mere “hours to act” to “avert a slow-motion tsunami.”

Indeed.  But the fact of the epic failure of their predictions, they will simply reinvent themselves as they always have.  Here’s French’s chaser:

Can we ignore them yet? Apparently not. Being a climate hysteric means never having to say you’re sorry. Simply change the cataclysm — Overpopulation! No, global cooling! No, global warming! No, climate change! — push the apocalypse back just a few more years, and you’re in business, big business.

Dead on.  Anyone remember who was one of the first investors in the carbon trading scam?

It appears that deploying other Clintons just isn’t quite working out as Hillary hoped.  Bill has been playing to small rooms and Chelsea, well, let’s just say she hasn’t much drawing power, or so it appears:

Chelsea Clinton hosted her highly-hyped Soul Cycle fundraiser for her mother in New York City on Wednesday afternoon.

The $2,700-a-head event, which offered just 60 seats at the popular cycling studio’s Tribeca location and promised guests a photo with Chelsea, was expected to sell out quick while raising some easy money for the Hillary Clinton campaign but was ultimately a flop.

Apparently they fire sold some of the seats at $50 each at the end to fill more and ended up with less than half the bikes filled.  This should have been a slam dunk in NYC if Hillary has the pull most think she does in the city.  Or else it’s Chelsea.  Or both …

The Trumpless debate?  Apparently about the same viewership as the previous debate with Trump included.   Make what you will of that, but regardless, Trump gave his opponents an open field last night and, at least as I view it, came off as a petty, spoiled brat throwing a tantrum.  Like I said, my view.

Have a great weekend!



Stray Voltage

Another thing I decided during my holiday hiatus was to make “Stray Voltage” a regular Friday feature. Why? Well, it covers a number of subjects/issues and gives everybody a lot to talk about over the weekend.

Question: Why is it the SJWs insist there is a “rape culture” on campus, but are mostly silent about the real rape culture that is rearing its ugly head in Europe among Muslim “refugees”?

Mr. Obama at his recent townhall meeting:

Obama didn’t hold back when asked by CNN moderator Anderson Cooper about the notion that the federal government — and Obama in particular — wants to seize all firearms as a precursor to imposing martial law. He blamed that notion on the NRA and like-minded groups that convince its members that “somebody’s going to come grab your guns.”

I have only one thing to say to that Mr. Obama: “If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance.”

Well here’s a surprise.  Another late night release, and more evidence that Hillary Clinton should be prosecuted:

The latest batch of emails released from Hillary Clinton’s personal account from her tenure as secretary of state includes 66 messages deemed classified at some level, the State Department said early Friday.

In one email, Clinton even seemed to coach a top adviser on how to send secure information outside secure channels.

All but one of the 66 messages have been labeled “confidential”, the lowest level of classification. The remaining email has been labeled as “secret.” The total number of classified emails found on Clinton’s personal server has risen to 1,340 with the latest release. Seven of those emails have been labeled “secret.”

Does the name Petraeus mean anything to you?  And in comparison his security breaches were minor.  Which makes you wonder what it is going to take to finally see Clinton prosecuted.  I also wonder if the Obama administration may be interested in keeping his executive actions in place after he leaves … enough so they’re willing to make a deal with the Democratic front runner?  I’m sure everyone would be shocked, shocked I tell you, if that was the case.

And while the president is crying and wailing about you folks owning too many guns, the beat goes on:

Two Palestinian men who were born in Iraq and came to the United States as refugees have been arrested in connection with terrorism investigations, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Imagine that.  Both men of fighting age, both refugees, both engaged in terroristic activities, but I’m the xenophobe (or racist or, well, pick your favorite pejorative)  if I say don’t import trouble in the form of refugee men from Islamic countries that support and foment terrorism?

Finally, Mr. Obama seems to think that if he repeats the same nonsense over and over again, it somehow becomes true.  To wit:

“But we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency. It doesn’t happen in other advanced countries. It’s not even close. And as I’ve said before, somehow we’ve become numb to it and we start thinking that this is normal.” –President Obama, announcing his new executive orders on guns, January 7, 2016

This claim is simply not true.

This claim is simply not true.  Between January 2009 and December 2015, there are 11 European countries with a higher frequency of these mass public shootings than the US, and 10 European countries with a higher rate of deaths from these attacks.

But hey, this is for the low information citizen who only reads headlines and listens to sound bites (read the whole thing).  What’s that old saying?  A lie can travel around the world before the truth gets its shoes on?  Something like that.  That is why propaganda is so powerful.  And this, my friends, is nothing but propaganda … dutifully retransmitted by an willfully incurious media.

Have a great weekend.


The “Agenda” Media

What is that, you may ask?  Well, it’s the “new media” of sorts.  In the old days, reporters reported.  They came up through the ranks and they were fairly objective. They knew their territory and they knew their subject.  Yes, I know about “yellow dog” journalism.  But it wasn’t hidden then under the patina of “objectivity” we suffer through today.   Today’s journalists, for the most part, are agenda journalists.  They have an ideological agenda that has been introduced to them early and nurtured through years of schooling and grad school.

Given what we read and hear, most people would gather that the agenda they follow is that of the left.  Why?  Well, has anyone taken a good hard look at academia lately?  Or is asking that a micro-aggression?  Help, I need a safe space.

Here’s an example.  If you saw a headline that said “Poll: 70 percent believe in climate change“, what would you infer from that?  We all know that “climate change” is the left’s newest code phrase for man-made global warming.  They had “global warming” pretty much shoved down their throats by multitudes of questions they couldn’t answer and conditions that didn’t meet their claims.  So they decided on a squishy term: climate change.

Here’s the term in use:

“Americans know climate action is critical — they’re seeing its impacts with their own eyes. Climate change is a moral issue, a health issue, and a jobs issue — and that’s why the strong majority of Americans want the federal government to do something about it, and support the strong outcome in Paris.”

And naturally, the headline in question reinforces McCarthy’s claim.  “The strong majority of Americans” want the fed to do something about as well as supporting the outcome in Paris.  70% would sure seem like a “strong majority” would’t it?  And “The Hill” is on it, reinforcing the agenda the claim.

Unfortunately for the alarmists, the data again doesn’t support the claim.  The Hill has to admit:
But the support is complicated. Pollsters found that only 27 percent of respondents agree with the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is the main cause of climate change.
Oh, so wait, only 27% agree with the government and EPA?   So the headline could have been “27% agree that human activity is the main cause of climate change?”  Well, that’s certainly a different kettle of fish, isn’t it?  One could then assume that while the rest agree that the climate is likely changing and they may believe it has to do with the natural cycles of the earth.  But of course, that wouldn’t further the agenda, would it.   So a deceptive headline and the hope that the marginally informed won’t read any further has to be what The Hill is shooting for here.
Instead, The Hill decides it is the result of partisanship, not a lack of scientific proof:
“The data exposes the extent to which this has become a partisan political issue in the U.S. rather than a scientific issue,” Tony MacDonald, director of Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute, said in a statement accompanying the poll results.
Again, nonsense. No mention of the “scientific” problems with the alarmist “science”.  An 18 year hiatus from warming.  Fudged data.  Totally inaccurate models.  Predictions and claims that have shown themselves to be wildly false.  That’s not politics, that’s hype, based on pseudo-science, gone terribly wrong and the American people have recognized it for what it is.  But the claim of partisan politics helps the agenda, because it infers that the other side is simply too ignorant and partisan to see the forest for the trees.
As for what Americans “strongly believe”, the environment, or “climate change”, barely registers as shown here in a Gallup roundup of problems the citizens of this country are concerned with.  It comes in 16th on a list of 23.
Yes, that’s right, the environment/pollution weighs in just before “Guns/Gun control”.  Yet these two non-issues are being heavily pursued by those in charge of our agenda driven government with the aid of the media.  Will of the people?  Passe.  Used simply as rhetorical window dressing.  There is no desire to do the people’s will.  There is only a desire to fulfill the political and ideological agenda.   And that’s why the number one issue that concerns the most people is our “Government/Congress/Politicians”.  The facade of popularly sanctioned government is cracking noticeably finally and the intent is clear, even with the agenda media trying to clear the way and patch up the cracks.

It’s this unholy alliance that has helped apply and tighten the shackles that have crippled our abilities to properly exercise our freedoms.   You’d think real journalists would have a natural skepticism about anything government says, yet for the most part, they are the government’s publishing arm, putting out unchecked propaganda at every turn or, as above, twisting information in such a way as to favor the agenda talking points.

But only the agenda of the left.  They’re relentless in their “fact checking” if the agenda is challenged.
All one has to do is consider how the current president, who by any standard has been a total failure at foreign policy, has been left alone by the media where a president on the right would have been challenged at every failure and hounded for answers as to why he’s performing so miserably.

And yet, we see the media instead concentrating its efforts on numbers 16 and 17 on the above list.



An interesting thought experiment

Brought to you by Victor Davis Hanson.  I’m sure you can recognize the intent as well as the real subject:

Would Donald Trump cross the racial line to weigh in on a current high-profile criminal case, and suggest that had he another daughter she would have looked just like the deceased? Would he dare go to the UN Assembly to deplore an average bloody and lawless weekend in Chicago, reminding the world that a tribal U.S. has a long way to go? Or at an Islamic prayer breakfast, would Trump remind Muslims not to get on their religious high horses given the outrages of the Caliphate? Perhaps if Guantanamo is closed by executive order, Trump would reopen it by one too?

Would Trump dare use his sloppy epithets in reference to foreign leaders? Would he dismiss Putin as a back of the class cutup or obsessed with “macho shtick?” Would his aides with impunity tell reporters that the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was a “chicken sh*t?” Would he lecture us that America was as exceptional as Greece or Britain? Maybe he would visit the Middle East and Turkey and remind the world from foreign shores that the U.S. had a lot to own up to?

If Trump were to take selfies, claims he was usually the most interesting guy in the room, set a new presidential record for golf outings, pick the Final Four on live TV, would we still dub him narcissistic, distracted, and buffoonish?

And the biased institution in this bit?

Yup, that’s right, the so-called “unbiased media” which is about as unbiased and a Grand Dragon at a KKK rally (and no, in case you’re wondering, it doesn’t mean I’m for Donald Trump … just to clear the air).  Just remember, in the years since GW Bush left office, not once have we seen a report on anti-war protests, even though Afghanistan still continues, Iraq smolders and we toppled Libya.


What happens when you let in the barbarians

The whole society felt that it was open-minded and objective. The mantra was “Diversity is good!”, and so they were diverse. They were tolerant. They were open-minded, even to concepts and philosophies that they felt were self-evidently false and dangerous. Marketplace of ideas, and all that.

So they accepted that the society had to admit barbarians – those whose ideas were contrary to the founding principles set down for the running of the society.

But then they encountered a problem. The barbarians agitated for more barbarians in the society. They pointed to how many barbarians there were in other parts of the world, and demanded more voice for barbarians.

No matter how many barbarians were let in, and no matter what accommodation was made for them, the barbarians always wanted more.

Eventually, inevitably, some parts of the society were controlled by barbarians. And, wherever that happened, the only new people admitted to that part of the society – were more barbarians. They excluded the original members. They didn’t care about tolerance or open-mindedness. All that mattered to them was promotion of their philosophy, their influence, their control.

The barbarians thought they were upstanding moral people, doing the right thing. It was obvious to them that their worldview was *right*, and those fuddy-duddies they replaced were wrong. So they had no doubts about their mission.

At times, they pretended to respect the older ways. They still didn’t control everything, and they didn’t want to arouse sufficient animosity to threaten their control. So they lied about their motives and their own tolerance. They carried out symbolic actions to reassure the gullible that they were just part of the vigorous back and forth of a free society.

But, whenever they had enough control, or whenever the stakes were high enough, they viciously enforced promotion of their own agenda. Accusations of partisanship, unfairness, or rule-breaking were brushed off, laughed off, or, if necessary, viciously counter-attacked to send a message to those who would threaten their dominance over the society.

Eventually, they wormed their way into the most important institutions of the society. Parts of it that had been founded on tolerance and openness were taken over, and transformed into citadels of rigid dogmatism. No one was admitted to thoses institutions unless they swore fealty to the fundamental rightness of the barbarians’ creed.

To ensure this end, one of the first parts of society taken over by the barbarians was the educational institutions that trained young people in becoming part of the society. They indoctrinated them all into accepting the tenets of barbarian thought with unquestioning faith.

It took a century, but at the end, only a few redoubts of the old open, tolerant society remained. The society was run by barbarians, for the promotion and benefit of barbarians in and outside the society. Anyone who didn’t accept the barbarian faith was ruthlessly attacked.

And that’s my recounting of how the society we call “the press” was taken over by the barbarian left.*

(*) This rambling was prompted by an article on the Wall Street Journal’s editoral page this morning. A barbarian, partisan leftist named William A. Galston blithely asserted that limited government types in the GOP “…want to get their own way without yielding an inch…”. This is a bald-faced lie. His entire column is a typical attempt to sound reasonable and moderate to gullible people while spewing unadulterated propaganda for the left. He is using the same techniques discussed in my post on “compromise” from a few years ago, so there’s no need for me to recount the details. He’s nothing more than a barbarian leftist pretending to be a tolerant, objective guy, carefully avoiding letting the readers know that he worked for Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Walter Mondale, that he is a member of the academic left teaching “public policy” and is associated with the left-leaning Brookings Institute. He’s a dishonest shill, and it says a lot about the Journal that they even gave him a platform.

I’ve watched one media entity after another sucked into the barbaric left – US News and World Report, the Economist, and the WSJ have all moved left over the years I’ve been reading them. The only silver lining is that, when the barbarians take over, eventually the society is destroyed, and the legacy media is well into self-immolation.

Guess what TIME blames for what it sees as America’s decline?

My guess is most of us would agree that America seems to be in decline, but not for the reasons TIME magazine does.  Much of the decline is centered in the politics and policies of the governing party.

But TIME is pretty sure that, given the study that they cite, the reason is … capitalism.  Here’s the “it was great, but” reason:

“We looked at very broad measures, and at individual measures, too,” said co-author Hershey H. Friedman, a business professor at Brooklyn College – City University of New York. The most dangerous sign they saw: rising income and wealth inequality, which slow growth and can spark instability, the authors say.

“Capitalism has been amazingly successful,” write Friedman and co-author Sarah Hertz of Empire State College. But it has grown so unfettered, predatory, so exclusionary, it’s become, in effect, crony capitalism. Now places like Qatar and Romania, “countries you wouldn’t expect to be, are doing better than us,” said Friedman.

I wish those who opine about this sort of thing would begin to delink capitalism and “crony capitalism”.  Because as soon “crony” is added, “capitalism” is no longer evident.  Instead you have powerful corporate/social/political constituents helping write laws that raise bars to entry in a markets to impossible heights.  You have the same entities suggesting regulations which have the same effect.  Capitalism, in its barest essence, is a voluntary transaction between two free people which ends profitably for both.  That’s it.  When government begins intruding with regulations and laws designed to limit and protect certain constituencies, from corporations to unions, that’s not capitalism, whether you stick “crony” in front of it or not.

It is certainly cronyism.  The government attacks, for instance, on Uber are rampant cronyism.  They’re designed by government to protect an existing constituency that doesn’t like the competition (and has had a government granted monopoly for decades).  Of course, in the end, it is the consumer – i.e. the citizen – who is hurt by this sort of cronyism.

And it appears that cronyism has gotten worse and worse over the past few years.  So while America may be in decline, it isn’t because of capitalism.

It’s because of cronyism, government favoritism, or whatever catch word or phrase you wish to tag the phenomenon with.  But leave capitalism out of it.


The wages of emotional voting and lack of scrutiny? Obama

National Review has published an article by Victor Davis Hanson with three views of the Obama presidency.  One view is that of an Obama partisan and presents his presidency in a positive light.  The second is a decidedly non-partisan look that does precisely the opposite.  However, there’s a third view that I find most appealing and frankly the most honest:

A third view of Obama is neither so rosy as the first nor so melodramatic as the second. Obama may well have been an unapologetic progressive wolf in centrist clothing, but mostly he was a continuation of what he had been in the past: an unimpressive state legislator, a one-term partisan senator without any accomplishments, a lackadaisical executive who in his own words had to worry most about not appearing lazy and distracted. Obama as president simply pushed the right progressive buttons, all the more easily once his own party lost the Congress and he was freed to sign executive orders that enraged his enemies and moved the country leftward. He cares little about the scandals involving the IRS, VA, AP, NSA, GSA, TSA, EPA, Benghazi, and the Secret Service, other than ensuring that they stay far away from his own godhead.

Mostly, President Obama likes the ceremonial perks of his office — the public spotlight to pick sports winners, the regal access to the links in sporty golf attire, the huge plane and entourage, the video clips of his catlike descent down the stairs of Air Force One, and the captive audiences for his often ahistorical and confused ramblings about America’s past and present shortcomings. Rarely has a president entered office so inexperienced and unprepared, yet with such great hopes and expectations among the public. That he squandered such good will through petty spite and inexperience should not be surprising, given his meager qualifications and thin résumé. Most of Obama’s career in community organizing, academia, and the Illinois legislature was predicated on leveraging his race, name, and unique background with the pretensions of liberal America to land opportunities for which he knew in advance that he would never be held accountable.

Make sure you read the other two views, but unlike some who are sure Obama is following some sort of plan to hurt America, I don’t find this man able to purposely do much of anything.

One of the warnings many of us threw out there early on is he’d never “run anything or done anything”.  Think about it – his sole accomplishment before essentially running unopposed for and Illinois Senate seat, had been to write an autobiography.  About what?  Well, himself, of course.  He was all about self-promotion.   He is a first class narcissist as we’ve all discovered.  He loved the campaign but not the work.  He no sooner became an IL state senator, a poor one at best, than he began running for the US Senate.  In the case of both senate seats he came with an extraordinarily thin resume.  But, he was the right color with the right party at a time of two wars and an unpopular US president, and it just opened up for him.  Once ensconced in the US Senate he almost immediately began running for President on an even thinner resume (heck, with the US Senate run, he could at least claim “experience” at a state level).

I find Hanson’s point about Obama liking the “ceremonial perks” of office over the work to be dead on.  You’ve seen others remark about our “semi-retired” president.  His lack of leadership qualities is staggering.  And yet, there he is, in the Oval Office.

His domestic and foreign agendas have been a mish-mash of college dorm discussions and naive beliefs proffered by others equally as clueless (such as his former Secretary of State) combined to do enough harm that we’ll need years to overcome them.  His inability to work within the system, mostly because he doesn’t seem to know or understand how,  has left him frustrated.  His manner of dealing with his frustration is spiteful childishness and unilateral action which, frankly, he doesn’t care whether its legal or not.

What concerns me more than the fact that he’s so incompetent and as Hanson says “inexperienced and unprepared” is that a significant portion of the population was gulled into voting for him the first time and then, apparently uncritically, re-elected the man for 4 more awful years.

We’ve certainly paid the price for that bit of emotional voting and lack of scrutiny.

But let’s also not forget who aided and abetted this travesty and the lack of scrutiny.

All you have to know to understand what institution that was is to know that Marco Rubio and his wife have had 17 tickets in 20 years and own a “luxury speed boat” while Hillary Clinton’s past is essentially ignored.

And, as you might have surmised, that institution is again cranking up its machine to give us another incompetent who has more baggage and corruption surrounding her than one can shake a stick at.

Forewarned is forearmed, not that it is likely to change much.


What I learned reading this morning’s USA Today

I don’t read newspapers much, and of course, I’m not the only one. But I’m travelling today, with most of my work for the week behind me. So I browsed through a USA Today while having breakfast in my hotel.

Here’s what I learned from it.

I learned that the driver of the crashed train in Philadelphia was going over a hundred miles an hour. I also learned that the way to respond to a government employee going double the speed limit around a curve on a government-run train is to raise taxes and spend more on infrastructure

I learned that Jeb Bush is raising scads of money. I learned that he knows exactly how to game the system of complex campaign finance regulations to raise the most money. I learned that one such technique is to delay a formal announcement. So he can talk incessantly about what he will do as president, but he is wise to delay the day he actually says (or tweets) “I’m running for president.”

I didn’t learn anything of consequence about what Jeb would do if he were elected president. The reporter seemed completely uninterested in that, possibly because said reporter is about as likely to vote for Jeb Bush or any other Republican for president as she is to vote for SpongeBob Squarepants.

I did learn from this reporter that GOP insider named Fergus Cullen said “Somebody like Jeb Bush doesn’t need to be worried that his poll numbers are mediocre right now.” Just as Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Bob Dole didn’t have to worry about their vote totals being mediocre on election day, I suppose.

I learned that there is a breakthrough in medical research between the US and Cuba. That’s because an early trial found that Cuban doctors have this incredible vaccine that, on a modest sample, let lung cancer victims live two to four months longer. Having watched my dad die of lung cancer, I didn’t exactly see this as something to get joyous about – extending the pain and suffering of cancer for a few months doesn’t strike me as a huge breakthrough. But the reporters sure seemed excited about it. They talked about a “quantum leap” of breakthroughs. I have the feeling that if it had been, say, New Zealand instead of Cuba, their enthusiasm would have been a bit more muted.

They didn’t seem interested in the possibility that this modest trial in a Communist country might have some fudged data either. Because, as we know from the client science debate, leftists just don’t do that. So Castroite communists certainly would not.

I learned that the Senate really, really wants to give Obama more power, specifically to fix up a trade deal with Asia, but he doesn’t want it because there’s one minor thing in the bill he doesn’t like. Something about currency manipulation by China. The bill has large bipartisan support, according to the article, which I interpret to mean that both Democrats and establishment Republicans are for it. But that famous compromiser Obama somehow just can’t give in a bit to get a whole bunch of other stuff he wants. Odd, that.

I learned that Rubio has a doctrine of defense. I learned that if it’s a Republican, the headline needs to put “doctrine” in scare quotes. (The web article moves the scare quotes from the headline to the article. Nice try, USA Today. But I’ve got a photo of the print copy.)

On the casual side, I learned that Saturday Night Live’s newest, hottest cast member is breaking new ground with fart jokes. (Web article again sanitizes things. Print copy’s subhead is “With farts, weed, and sex his forte (for jokes, that is) the new kid slays”.)

I learned that the average CEO makes 373 times more than the average worker. That doesn’t mesh with the CEOsc of mid-size companies that I happen to know, but the data is from an AFL-CIO database, and, given how close American labor leaders are to Castroite communists, you can be sure it’s reliable. (This article was apparently too hot for the web. I can’t even find it on their site.)

I learned that economic growth is sputtering. Nothing in that article about how much more politicians make than unemployed people, but I guess they can’t cover everything.

I learned that USA Today has a reporter named Gregg Zoroya who “covers the impact of war on troops and their families for USA Today”. I didn’t notice that they had any reporter who “covers the impact of government policies on workers and their families”, but perhaps I just missed it.

Remember, now, these people are not biased. Just ask them, they’ll tell you.

How times have changed when it comes to free speech – just ask the NY Times

At the risk of beating a dead horse, I’m going to talk about how the left continues to attack free speech by trying to argue that somehow what they consider “hate speech” isn’t a part of it.  We watched CNN’s Chris Cuomo embarrass himself (well he probably wasn’t embarrassed, but he should have been) when he admonished the right to read the Constitution because it clearly didn’t support such speech.  And I pointed out yesterday the totalitarian origins of “hate-speech” exemptions from free speech rights.

That said, I’m fascinated by the attacks on this event in Texas and its sponsor, Pamela Geller.  Agree or disagree with her agenda, in terms of free speech she had every single right in the world to put that on and not expect to be attacked.   The presumption that she would be attacked is just that, a presumption.  It isn’t valid in any terms but apparently the left feels that their presumption that an attack would happen is all that is necessary to condemn Geller’s event as a hate-fest and hate-speech.  You have to wonder what they’d have said if no violence had erupted?

The usual suspects, however, attacked her.  In the particular case I’ll cite, it was the NY Times.  Watch how they set up their editorial “But!”:

There is no question that images ridiculing religion, however offensive they may be to believers, qualify as protected free speech in the United States and most Western democracies. There is also no question that however offensive the images, they do not justify murder, and that it is incumbent on leaders of all religious faiths to make this clear to their followers.

End of editorial.  That’s the crux of the free speech argument.  There are no “buts” after that.  However, there is for the NYT:

But it is equally clear that the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest in Garland, Tex., was not really about free speech. It was an exercise in bigotry and hatred posing as a blow for freedom.

Pure editorial opinion masquerading as some sort of “fact”.  What is the NYT doing here?  Arbitrarily deciding what is or isn’t hate.  And how dangerous is that?  See the USSR and all previous and existing totalitarian regimes.  They do that every day.

Anyway, in 1999, the NYT wasn’t in such a rush to equate an extraordinarily similar event as “an exercise in bigotry and hatred”.  You may remember it:

The Times in 1999 endorsed the showing at a public museum in New York of a supposed art work consisting of a crucifix in a vial of urine, arguing, “A museum is obliged to challenge the public as well as to placate it, or else the museum becomes a chamber of attractive ghosts, an institution completely disconnected from art in our time.” 

And what happened at that time?

Well, apparently the “image ridiculing” this religion was tolerated to the point that no violence occurred, meaning one can assume that leaders of that religion must have made it clear that it didn’t “justify murder” and none occurred.  That’s as it should have been.

So why, then, if the Times believed in free speech in 1999 when an obviously a large segment of the population viewed the crucifix in urine as offensive, provocative and sacrilegious, does it not believe the same thing in 2015 when the same conditions exist?

Because of the “but”, of course.  A “but” that didn’t exist when it was a religion being ridiculed that was not in favor with the left.

Some of those who draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad may earnestly believe that they are striking a blow for freedom of expression, though it is hard to see how that goal is advanced by inflicting deliberate anguish on millions of devout Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism. As for the Garland event, to pretend that it was motivated by anything other than hate is simply hogwash.

The Times has yet to answer how “inflicting anguish” on millions of Christians who have done nothing to the artist is somehow “striking a blow for freedom of expression” or how that display wasn’t motivated by “hate” (hint: because their definition of “hate” is arbitrary).  It sure had no problem putting it’s editorial heft in support of that “hate” then.  And there’s no argument by anyone who can reason –  it was as “hateful” as anything at the Garland event.  And pretending otherwise is, to borrow the NYT term, “hogwash”.


Heads they win, tales we lose

A link at Insty pointed me to an excellent panel discussion on the illegality of Hillary Clinton’s email shenanigans.

“This is just staggering in the brazenness of evasion of the legal duty by everybody at the State Department, and especially the secretary,” [diGenova] said. “It is simply staggering; it’s unbelievable.”

No, it’s not unbelievable. Many of us have followed politics since the media shamelessly chose to take sides with Bill Clinton during his scandals. We know the dynamic:

  • A scandal or obvious lie comes out: Bill Clinton’s perjury, Hillary’s Whitewater papers disappearance, Juanita Broderick’s rape accusations, Vince Foster’s suicide, Obama’s terrorist mentor, Fast and Furious gun-running, Harry Reid’s amazingly profitable “investments”, the IRS targets Tea Party groups, Benghazi, “if you like your doctor, you can keep him”, etc. ad nauseum.
  • If the media can get away with it, they completely ignore the story.
    If not, they do cursory, biased, and distorted reporting on it, minimizing and excusing the perp(s).
  • If someone (e.g. Sharyl Adkisson at CBS or Lisa Myers at NBC) steps outside the bubble and actually finds something to report on, her superiors in the media spike the story, and ruin the reporter’s career if they can.
  • After a few days or weeks, any attempt to raise the scandal is declared old news.
  • During a Democratic administration, any illegality is studiously ignored. A faux investigation at DoJ drags out things for a few months, and then ponderously declares that there’s nothing further to investigate and no charges of consequence are ever filed. In egregious cases, someone might lose a job, but not their pension, and certainly not their liberty.
  • Any attempt by a later Republican politician to re-open the investigation and really try to get to the bottom of it is declared by Democrats and the media to be “off limits”, “vindictive”, “mean spirited”, “a partisan witchhunt”, and other semantically meaningless but highly negative descriptions.
  • The Republican politician is then punished by the media through a series of unflattering and often downright distorted feature and opinion pieces. This attempt to marginalize that politician forever often works, at least to the extent of shutting them up and cowing them for their rest of their term.

The choices for those wanting to punish illegal and intolerable behavior such as Hillary’s email project come down to:

1. Make some noise but don’t really do anything (heads, they win)

2. Once they have the power, push for legal punishment, be pilloried in the media for it, and probably never get enough allies to do anything because no one else wants to be pilloried (tales, you lose)

The Democrats have learned this lesson well. They can treat the media the way a perverted stepfather abuses his stepdaughter, and the media will never offer more than token protest. The media is determined to further their own leftist vision of justice and right, and that means backing the Democrats no matter how illegal or disgusting their behavior might be.

Hillary implemented her email plans knowing that she would almost certainly never pay a price for it. She knew the press and the rest of the Democrats had her back.

Our political system has devolved to the point that major players on the left know they can break the law in any number of ways, smear opponents, cover up past misdeeds, and lie outright as needed in every news conference. They can indeed “brazenly flout” laws and ethics. I don’t know what you call this system, but it’s certainly not the one they described to me in 8th grade civics class.

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