Free Markets, Free People


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France, the Democrats and reality

One of the three in the title doesn’t belong there:

I watched, incredulously, as all three contenders in Saturday night’s Democratic presidential debate — Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley — refused to say the slaughter was the work of “Muslim” extremists.

Clinton blamed “jihadis.” But despite prodding, she would not speak of the Islamic elephant in the room.

Sanders stood by his earlier claim that climate change, not creatures in suicide vests, presents the biggest threat to this planet because it makes poor people into terrorists by interfering with their crops or something.

At that point, I switched to the Syfy channel to get a bigger dose of reality.

And probably got much more of a dose of reality than the Democratic debate.

Imagine claiming “climate change” was the “biggest threat to the planet” when terrorists are blowing up people in France.  Or the simple fact that the climate really hasn’t shown any change in over a decade.

Who are “jihadis” and what religion do they represent, Ms. Clinton?

And who’s two memes, “ISIS is the jayvee” and “other civilized countries don’t have this sort of problem (referring to mass killings), were utterly destroyed?  Not to mention watching the French president show what leadership means by hitting ISIS immediately, repeatedly and hard?

Oh, that would be our Commander-in-Chief, the semi-retired and totally disconnected Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, the importation of 10,000 Syrian refugees will continue as planned.

Yup, Syfy would seem to deal in reality much more than our President and the Democrats.


Another closet totalitarian speaks out

This is one that you have to read to believe.  It is one of those irredeemably stupid people and two time losers that helped Obama to two terms.  Of course you won’t be particularly surprised that she is the director of Women and Gender Studies at The College at Brockport – whatever that is.  Apparently she and her family ate off of Obama placemats prior to 2008 and were pretty sure that this was the guy who could change the world, stop the seas from rising and deliver the utopia that includes “free stuff” and world peace.  Then reality set in, sort of, and the goodie bag wasn’t delivered as promised, the seas ignored him and world peace was even more illusory than before his ascension.   But they still BELIEVE!

Today, I write this letter with a bleeding heart. I admire Obama. But he has let me down. I am disappointed because his presidency could have done more for our country, and sadly, the many taken lives who cannot read this essay. I still worry about urgent social tensions facing our nation, and I recognize their ongoing complexities in policy and legislative action. But gun violence can be averted. Can our country ever be free from senseless gun-crime?

Firearm possession should be banned in America; President Obama can orchestrate this directive. His presidency can be remembered as a remarkable turn in United States history where a progressive leader forever changed the landscape under which we live and work. This is his legacy. To establish gun control laws in America that will reduce high levels of male violence and usher in a culture of peace and civility.

Barack Obama is the president of the United States. He can change the country. He can do it today. I believe in him.

Ye gods.

Gun violence can be averted by banning guns?  One would assume then that knife violence, sword violence, club violence and fist violence  can all be “averted”- if we “ban” all those things.  Because we know that as soon as a law is passed, and all those are banned, it will “usher in a culture of peace and civility”.  Because … every violent male will put those things aside and become a part of … what?

Would anyone actually want to be a part of this woman’s world?  She’s all for taking things away from you. In fact, she lobbies for it.  And my guess is she’d be fine if the things were taken away from you violently in the name of her utopia. You know, whatever’s necessary.  After all, that’s what government is for, right?

As with most progressives, she’s anti-freedom, a closet totalitarian and has an anti-male bias so strong it colors everything she says or does.

And she votes.


So, what do you think?

I find this observation by Joel Kotkin to be interesting:

Generational politics pose both risks and rewards for each party. A Trump candidacy may excite older voters and many younger white voters, but the cost among a pro-immigrant, heavily minority millennial voting bloc could prove damaging over the longer run.

Democrats, too, face risks, particularly if they continue on the path of radical wealth redistribution and draconian climate change regulation. Although still strong, support for Obama has been steadily weakening since 2008. Millennials are the only age group to still approve of President Obama’s record, but by only 49 percent, not exactly a ringing endorsement.

The future may be determined by the extent that millennials feel that Democratic policies inhibit their ability to move up economically. Younger millennials, having grown up during a weak economy under a progressive president, are notably more conservative than older ones, notes a recent Harvard study.

They increasingly share some attitudes with conservatives, having become notably more deeply distrustful of many of the nation’s political institutions. Nearly half describe themselves as independents, far more than any other age group.

To be sure, mllennials will likely stay more liberal than boomers (about as many are conservative as liberal), but they could shift further to the right once they enter their 30s and start earning a living.

Independent is a pretty flexible label and hides a lot of biases that might otherwise put them solidly in one camp or the other.  But the realities of life do indeed have a tendency to temper idealism.  As you grow older, you realize how little your priorities for what you earn matter to government.  You are simply a cash cow to them and they’ll use force to make you pay your “fair share” … as defined by them.

When you begin to get into your career and raise a family, and watch as your priorities in life become second to the government’s you have a sort of epiphany.  Most, at least, begin to pay a little more attention to what is happening via government and begin to drop the youthful silliness that marks their adolescent and college years (colleges are incubators of silly ideas … see past 7 years).   You begin to see government for what it really is … a “legalized” and ever expanding protection racket.  Something that, if Paulie ran it in the neighborhood, would be illegal because it would be considered extortion.  But then, if you disagree with government and refuse to pay the protection money, what happens?

These are the things … just some among many … that begin to dawn on people as they get older.  And it usually pushes those with the ability to reason, to the more fiscally conservative, smaller less costly side.

Of course, some never get it, and they’re the type that elected this idiot in the White House and will vote for Hillary Clinton (or Bernie Sanders and then Hillary Clinton).

They will never understand that there is nothing free in the world, most of the problems we are “scared” with originate with government (and that government is NOT the answer) and simply have no problem with their freedom being limited if it is limited by the “right people”.

However, as you read this blurb, you see something that should clue you into why we’re in this shape.  And it isn’t millennials.  It’s boomers.  They defy the point I’m trying to make (“about as many are conservative as liberal”) with about half remaining in fantasy land.  Of course, they also lived in the golden age of the US in terms of total wealth.

So I dispute the belief expressed by the author that millennials will “likely stay more liberal than boomers.”  Perhaps socially, as in social issues.  But in pocket book issues, they’re hardly found the living easy.  And the big government help they were told was so necessary and good isn’t at all panning out like promised.

Is there any wonder the Democrats are insistent on importing new voters, legally or not?

But are millennials “game changers” like Kotkin contends?

Frankly I don’t really see any generation as “game changers” at the moment.  But you may disagree.


Is the UN focus on “global warming” immoral?

Bjorn Lomborg thinks it is.  In today’s Wall Street Journal, he takes exception with the UN’s continued pushing for a “solution” for “climate change”, formerly known as “global warming”.  Lomborg thinks that it ignores the real problems out there and this focus on global warming takes money away from them for what is, at best, a marginal problem.

In a world in which malnourishment continues to claim at least 1.4 million children’s lives each year, 1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty, and 2.6 billion lack clean drinking water and sanitation, this growing emphasis on climate aid is immoral.

For instance, says Lomborg, according to a recent study, if the UN spent .57% ($570 million) of the $100 billion climate-finance goal on mosquito nets to help control malaria, it could reduce malaria deaths by 50% by 2025 and save approximately 300,000 lives.

Instead, the UN is more interested in the world’s largest wealth redistribution scheme.  Somehow the scam has rich nations happy to pledge their citizen’s money and poor nations lining up to receive it.  How much will actually go toward addressing the real problems Lomborg highlights is anyone’s guess, but if history is to be a guide, not much.  There’s a reason the poorer countries are poor and that has much to do with who is in charge.

Anyway, Lomborg points to the obvious, or at least what should be obvious, in terms of this rush to be “green” and what the world (and the UN) could be doing instead:

Providing the world’s most deprived countries with solar panels instead of better health care or education is inexcusable self-indulgence. Green energy sources may be good to keep on a single light or to charge a cellphone. But they are largely useless for tackling the main power challenges for the world’s poor.

According to the World Health Organization, three billion people suffer from the effects of indoor air pollution because they burn wood, coal or dung to cook. These people need access to affordable, reliable electricity today. Yet too often clean alternatives, because they aren’t considered “renewable,” aren’t receiving the funding they deserve.

2014 study by the Center for Global Development found that “more than 60 million additional people in poor nations could gain access to electricity if the Overseas Private Investment Corporation”—the U.S. government’s development finance institution—“were allowed to invest in natural gas projects, not just renewables.”

Wow.  Electricity.  Its been with us for over a century.  We all know its benefits.  We all know how well its access could help lift those without it out of poverty.

Yet the UN is more interested in chasing the chimera of “global warming” and its unproven science.  The reason, of course is power.  Money and control equal power.  And this scheme with $100 billion changing hands under the auspices of the UN offers undreamed of opportunities for those in the UN to engage in an unprecedented level of graft.  There just isn’t the level of opportunity in helping the world’s poor gain electricity.

As you’ve heard many, many times … follow the money.


Why is Bernie Sanders so popular?

Essentially three reasons – youth, “progressive” leftists and economic illiterates.  And, yes, they can be all three.  But not necessarily.

Back in May as Sanders was emerging as a presidential candidate, many were caught by surprise that an avowed socialist could pile up the numbers he was getting.

Bernie Sanders, a Senator for Vermont and currently the only declared challenger to Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, is the only member of Congress to describe himself as a socialist. For much of the Cold War socialism evoked images of military parades in Moscow’s Red Square, but for Sanders, and many of America’s self-declared socialists, their aim isn’t to bring revolution to America but to make America more like Sweden and Norway.

And, of course, that’s precisely what we’ve seen Sanders continue to do – tout the European model to hide the well-deserved reputation that socialism really has among the historically literate.  Apparently it has worked.  YouGov did a poll at that time and discovered the source of Sanders support.  While 52% of Americans have a favorable view of capitalism, only 26% have such a view for socialism.  Where is that favorable view to be found?

 Among younger Americans, however, attitudes are a lot more divided. 36% of under-30s have a positive view of socialism, while 39% have a positive view of capitalism.

Among older Americans, who actually lived through the era of socialism and watched its pernicious effects, only 15% view it favorably while 59% view it negatively.  So we have a whole generation growing up who have no experience seeing the reality of socialism played out in front of them.  Instead they’re pointed to a couple of socialist Potemkin villages and told that’s how it can be.  Don’t expect them to read the recent trashing of the Nordic model that is so obvious to those who have even an inkling of economic savvy.

Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised, as the Democratic party continues to move further left, that they support socialism more and more.

Democrats (43%) are also much more likely than either independents (22%) or Republicans (9%) to have a favorable view of socialism. Democrats, in fact, are as likely to have a favorable view of capitalism (43%) as socialism. While only 9% of Republicans see socialism in a positive light, 79% have a good view of capitalism.

History, apparently, has no relevance with the left.  Nor do facts or economic laws.  They’re sure that the only reason the magic of socialism hasn’t been successful and produced the utopia they’re sure it promises is it just hasn’t been done right … yet.

To a good portion of them, Bernie is the man to make that happen.

And, probably just as important is this is the same contingent that helped put our current occupant in the White House and keep him there for 2 terms.


Oh, yeah … the “debate”

Also known as a free prime time commercial for the Democratic party.

Much has been made of the Hillary “enemies” comment.

Meh.  I actually agree with Jonah Goldberg:

1. This should properly be considered a Kinsley gaffe in that she accidentally told the truth.

Absolutely … since the early days of HC, she’s always fallen back on the VRWC as a reason for her bad press.  She just made it official last night … among others she considers Republicans “enemies”.  Which, of course, would give any Republican that warm, fuzzy feeling if she were ever elected President – God forbid.

That said, here’s the important part:

2. Even though it was gaffe, it won’t get treated as one by the media because it doesn’t sound like one to their ears (for all the obvious reasons).

Indeed.  And don’t forget it was a media type who asked the question.  But again, enemies you’re most proud of having – Republicans?  My goodness.  Jim Webb made her and the others look petty and small.  But that won’t play in the media either.


3. It wasn’t necessarily bad politics — in the primaries. The Democratic base largely shares her Manicheanism when it comes to the Republican party these days.

Exactly.  She was singing to the choir last night and as far as the choir is concerned, the tune was perfect.
So don’t expect anything to come of that supposed “gaffe” except grumbling and mumbling among the right.


If only everyone else would do this …

Instead of running around (and talking) in circles.

You’re going to say things that are going to offend and outrage some people (regardless of what  you say – politically you’re on the other side, so that, in and of itself is “offensive”), even if what you say isn’t really offensive or outrageous.

[Ben] Carson’s response to the howls of the PC left is the right one: We’ll call it “apathetic conviction.” He’s not outraged by the outrage; he simply doesn’t care. The outrage bores him. And no response is better calculated to rob critics of their power than boredom. You’re offended by my comments? I’m trending on Twitter? Wake me when the shame-storm is over, and then let’s debate my arguments on their substance.

And that’s the way to handle it.  As soon as you back down or apologize, they own you.  When you jut your jaw out and essentially say, “welcome to the real world, now grow up”, they’ve lost their power.  Carson’s response is an adult’s response.

Time to take these children’s pseudo-power away from them.


Political charlatans and the damage they’ve done – is it reversible?

Thomas Sowell discusses the rash of political charlatans we’ve been plagued by over the recent decades.

He blames them for the condition we’re in, policy-wise.  But he puts equal blame on “we the people” for continuing to support them and their policies:

Political charlatans are not the whole story of our social degeneracy on many fronts. “We the people” must accept our own share of the blame because we voted these charlatans into office, and went along with their ever-increasing power over our lives.

When it came to charlatans taking ever larger amounts of our own money to finance ever more big government programs, we stood still like sheep waiting to be sheared. We remained as meek as sheep when they turned schools into places to propagandize our children to grow up accepting more of the same.

All the while we had the power to vote them out. But we couldn’t be bothered to look beyond their magic words. Even now, many are too absorbed in their electronic devices to know or care.

Most voters, it seems to me, are like magpies – distracted by shiny things and never able to see the danger that exists in reality.  Sowell uses “the legacy of slavery” as one of his points of discussion.  I’m going to add a lengthy quote that pretty succinctly tells the story of how we allowed political charlatans to distract us with a problem that seems to not have existed and used it to gain greater control over our lives while, in fact, making the “problem” worse”

Here again, rhetoric distracts attention from questions about logic or evidence. The “legacy of slavery” argument is not just a convenient excuse for bad behavior, it allows politicians to escape responsibility for the consequences of the government policies they imposed.

Although the left likes to argue as if there was a stagnant world to which they added the magic ingredient of “change” in the 1960s, in reality there were many positive trends in the 1950s, which reversed and became negative trends in the 1960s.

Not only was the poverty rate going down, so was the rate of dependence on government to stay out of poverty. Teenage pregnancy rates were falling, and so were rates of venereal diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea. Homicide rates among non-white males fell 22 percent in the 1950s.

In the wake of the massive expansion of the welfare state in the 1960s “war on poverty” program — with the repeatedly announced goal of enabling people to become self-supporting and end their dependence on government — in fact dependence on government increased and is today far higher than when the 1960s began.

The declining rates of teenage pregnancy and venereal diseases in the 1950s both reversed and rose sharply in the wake of the 1960s “sexual revolution” ideas, introduced into schools under the guise of “sex education,” which claimed to be able to reduce teenage pregnancy and venereal diseases.

Black labor force participation rates, which had been higher than white labor force participation rates in every census from 1890 to 1960, fell below white labor force participation rates by 1972 and the gap has widened since then. Homicide rates among non-white males reversed their decline in the 1950s and soared by 75 percent during the 1960s.

None of this was a “legacy of slavery,” which ended a century earlier. But slavery became the rhetorical distraction for the political magicians’ trick of making their own responsibility for social degeneration vanish into thin air by sleight of hand.

Now you can point to many negatives the “War on Poverty” brought us … Sowell highlights the big ones.  But the most important changes were two-fold.  One: it created more dependency on government (and it helped tear the nuclear family apart among the poor) and it created an illusion that government (which mostly meant “Democrats”) cared more than any other institution.

The political charlatans had created a false problem and a false narrative which has had disastrous results in the long run.  But those changes it created were manifestly worth it according to certain of the political class, because it increased their power.  And the narrative that has been built about this program (and the “legacy of slavery”), along with the narrative that has created the “cult of the victim”, has hidden the huge problems created by government intrusion and instead has created a myth which says “more government is good government”.

So you end up with an entire segment of the voting public duped by this “shiny” narrative and either too lazy or too incurious to look below its surface.  That’s the formula for political success on one side and national decline on the other.

The question, then, is how do the defenders of liberty catch the attention of the voting magpies and help them catch a clue? Facts apparently don’t matter.  And alternate narratives don’t seem to stick.

If you can answer that question, you’ve hit upon a way to help save this country.  I’ve been trying to come up with a way for 40 years.

I wish you luck.


Jeb Bush’s problem with first impressions

The base doesn’t like him, he’s in favor of Common Core and amnesty, no one outside the Donor Class wants a Bush v. Clinton race, there’s still bad feeling from his brother’s presidency – all of those are problems for Jeb Bush.

But I think another big problem is just how the guy looks. Trump keyed in on this with his “low energy” comments. His overall demeanor doesn’t communicate that he can get anything done.

Human beings are driven by first impressions. They are formed within seconds, or even a fraction of a second. Realize that most people are not like us. Many have never seen an image of Jeb Bush before this campaign. So they form a first impression of him when they see him on the news or in a debate.

I think that first impression is that he’s just old and tired. In fact, I think, for some of them, he reminds them of a movie character that is the epitome of old and tired: Norman Thayer, Jr, from On Golden Pond.

See what you think. See if, at first glance, the gallery below just looks like four pictures of the same guy:


I think anyone who looks this much like an 80 year old actor portraying an 80 year old curmudgeon is going to have some serious problems getting anyone excited about his candidacy.


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.

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