Free Markets, Free People
Thomas Sowell, as he has so aptly and wonderfully done for decades, distills down some of the silliness that happens with the language of politics. He pens a short political glossary for those who need it. You can’t tell what a politician is saying without it.
One of the most versatile terms in the political vocabulary is "fairness." It has been used over a vast range of issues, from "fair trade" laws to the Fair Labor Standards Act. And recently we have heard that the rich don’t pay their "fair share" of taxes.
Some of us may want to see a definition of what is "fair." But a concrete definition would destroy the versatility of the word, which is what makes it so useful politically.
If you said, for example, that 46.7 percent of their income — or any other number — is the "fair share" of their income that the rich should have to pay in taxes, then once they paid that amount, there would be no basis for politicians to come back to them for more — and "more" is what "fair share" means in practice.
Life in general has never been even close to fair, so the pretense that the government can make it fair is a valuable and inexhaustible asset to politicians who want to expand government.
Dead on right and yes it is indeed a word that has become an “inexhaustible asset” to politicians of a certain ilk.
"Racism" is another term we can expect to hear a lot this election year, especially if the public opinion polls are going against President Barack Obama.
Former big-time TV journalist Sam Donaldson and current fledgling CNN host Don Lemon have already proclaimed racism to be the reason for criticisms of Obama, and we can expect more and more other talking heads to say the same thing as the election campaign goes on. The word "racism" is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything — and demanding evidence makes you a "racist."
On the positive side, sort of, “compassion”:
A more positive term that is likely to be heard a lot, during election years especially, is "compassion." But what does it mean concretely? More often than not, in practice it means a willingness to spend the taxpayers’ money in ways that will increase the spender’s chances of getting reelected.
If you are skeptical — or, worse yet, critical — of this practice, then you qualify for a different political label: "mean-spirited." A related political label is "greedy."
In the political language of today, people who want to keep what they have earned are said to be "greedy," while those who wish to take their earnings from them and give it to others (who will vote for them in return) show "compassion."
Make sure to read the rest.
Suffice it to say, Sowell nails it. Of course there are many other words and phrases that can be included as well. Language is malleable as our politicians prove every day. That’s why so many people listen and then point to Orwell’s “1984” after many political speeches today.
Some seriously screwed up history today from the One. President Obama was pitching hard, trying to again cast Republicans as backward looking types who were a problem for the county because they wanted to exploit fossil fuel (read the whole speech for that context). He decided to use the way-back machine and take us back to the 19th President of the US who was, surprise, a Republican.
“One of my predecessors, President Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone: ‘It’s a great invention but who would ever want to use one?’" Obama said. "That’s why he’s not on Mt. Rushmore."
"He’s looking backwards, he’s not looking forward. He’s explaining why we can’t do something instead of why we can do something," Obama said.
Uh, “that’s why he’s not on Mt. Rushmore?”
My goodness. Actually in that short statement, Mr. Obama got everything wrong.
Point 1 – Hayes never said that:
So we called up the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, Ohio, where Nan Card, the curator of manuscripts, was plenty willing to correct Obama’s ignorance of White House history. Just as soon as she finished chuckling.
"I’ve heard that before, and no one ever knows where it came from," Card said of Hayes’s alleged phone remark, "but people just keep repeating it and repeating it, so it’s out there."
Wait, so Hayes didn’t even say the quote that Obama is mocking him for? "No, no," Card confirmed.
Point 2 – Hayes was a fan of the telephone:
She then read aloud a newspaper article from June 29, 1877, which describes Hayes’s delight upon first experiencing the magic of the telephone. TheProvidence Journal story reported that as Hayes listened on the phone, "a gradually increasing smile wreathe[d] his lips and wonder shone in his eyes more and more.” Hayes took the phone from his ear, "looked at it a moment in surprise and remarked, ‘That is wonderful.’"
Point 3 – Hayes was a forward thinking President who had quite a few firsts to include the first President with … wait for it … a telephone:
In fact, Card noted, Hayes was not only the first president to have a telephone in the White House, but he was also the first to use the typewriter, and he had Thomas Edison come to the White House to demonstrate the phonograph. "So I think he was pretty much cutting edge," Card insisted, "maybe just the opposite of what President Obama had to say there."
But hey, don’t let the truth get in the way of a boffo rhetorical point.
0 for 3. By the way, Mr. Obama – this is one reason why you’ll never be on Mt. Rushmore either. And I assume your speech writer or researcher or both, are presently seeking new employment?
Accountability? This administration? Is Eric Holder still AG?
What am I thinking?
I think this is about 39 seconds or so, but at its end it’ll be clear why it is entirely appropriate for a guy named "Carney" to be the spokesperson for this president.
“Vastly”. That belongs right up there with “gutsy”.
Powerline’s Steven Hayward brings us the results of a revealing paper by Cultural Cognition Project at Yale University. It attacks one of the popular myths that only dummies reject the “consensus” because they are ignorant of the science. Not so says the CCP:
The conventional explanation for controversy over climate change emphasizes impediments to public understanding: limited popular knowledge of science, the inability of ordinary citizens to assess technical information, and the resulting widespread use of unreliable cognitive heuristics to assess risk. A large survey of U.S. adults (N = 1540) found little support for this account. On the whole, the most scientifically literate and numerate subjects were slightly less likely, not more, to see climate change as a serious threat than the least scientifically literate and numerate ones.
Hayward points out that these results validate an earlier finding from the journal Risk Analysis (2008):
By examining the results of a survey on an original and representative sample of Americans, we find that these three forces—informedness, confidence in scientists, and personal efficacy—are related in interesting and unexpected ways, and exert significant influence on risk assessments of global warming and climate change. In particular, more informed respondents both feel less personally responsible for global warming, and also show less concern for global warming. We also find that confidence in scientists has unexpected effects: respondents with high confidence in scientists feel less responsible for global warming, and also show less concern for global warming.
Now one could conclude that it is actually the least informed who buy into the AGW because they’re less likely to seek out explanations to the underlying “science” that supports the theory. Instead they accept it whole cloth and defend it instead of taking a skeptical point of view – a view which science demands. Questioning the theory would also indicate intellectual curiosity instead of the rote acceptance of what is presented.
There’s a bit of irony to had here. Hayward:
Whoa there: The more science you know about climate change, the less likely you are to think it is a crisis? This suggest that all the money environmentalists have spent (I think the Environmental Defense Fund has spent $300 million alone on climate change) has had a negative effect on public opinion, and it offers the ironic possibility that the best thing Al Gore could do to advance his cause is shut up and grow his beard back in a Tibetan monastery.
It makes the case that a) the public isn’t stupid, b) propaganda is still mostly recognized as propaganda and c) the intellectually curious are more likely to be “skeptical” than the less intellectually curious.
Not a particularly flattering portrait of the AGW crowd, is it?
I always love it when entertainers suddenly awaken and decide they must get involved in saving the planet.
This time it is Jeremy Irons. He’s decided there are just too many people on our little blue globe. Our lot’s numbers are “unsustainable”, although he’s pretty convinced some “big outbreak of something” will most likely happen because, you know, “the world always takes care of itself”. Of course, because Mother Gaia is a living breathing thinking world.
What he wants to do is make a film (naturally) which will be like Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”. A “documentary about sustainability and waste disposal in the vein of Michael Moore – but “not as silly”. Of course.
Irons describes himself as “deeply socialist” and is also concerned about world hunger. In a stirring and deeply touching (/sarc) call to action, Irons says on the website 1billionhungry.org:
“People around the world suffer hunger — 1 billion. Now that’s bad, worse than bad, that’s crazy! We’ve got to get mad. I want you to get mad. I want you to get up right now, stick your head out of the window and yell, ‘I’m mad as hell’.”
Original, edgy, a real difference maker. Of course it remains to be seen if Irons understands that the reason 1 billion are hungry has little to do with resources and much to do with politics.
Irons announced his new endeavor from one of his 7 houses:
The ultimate solution, he says, is for us all to live less decadently — growing our own food and recycling instead of replacing goods: “People must drop their standard of living [so] the wealth can be spread about. There’s a long way to go.”
James Delingpole shakes his head at the usual hypocrisy:
And just as soon as you show us the way by flogging at least six of your houses, foregoing air travel, subsisting on berries, wild garlic and road kill, and dressing in polyester cast offs from your local charity shop, we’ll take you more seriously still.
Exactly. Delingpole wonders:
Could it be that “sustainability” is a concept one only truly understands when one has grown so incredibly rich that one is able to shelter from the consequences of one’s eco-fanaticism in the seclusion and comfort of one’s many agreeable homes?
Apparently. Delingpole points out that the UK’s new enviroment minister, Chris Huhne has that number of homes. And we know that Al Gore, the Pince of Wales and Zac Goldsmith aren’t far behind. And how knows how many Michael Moore has.
When enforcement is an option, I suppose. Tell me how brilliant this is:
The Obama administration is pressing Congress to provide an exemption from Iran sanctions to companies based in “cooperating countries,” a move that likely would exempt Chinese and Russian concerns from penalties meant to discourage investment in Iran.
The “cooperating countries” language that the White House is pressing would allow the executive branch to designate countries as cooperating with the overall strategy to pressure Iran economically.
According to three congressional staffers familiar with the White House proposal, once a country is on that list, the administration wouldn’t even have to identify companies from that country as selling gasoline or aiding Iran’s refinement industry.
Even if, as current law allows, the administration can waive the penalties on named companies for various reasons, the “cooperating countries” language would deprive the sanctions of their “name-and-shame” power, the staffers said.
The bill in committee now doesn’t have this provision. Essentially what this amounts to is the administration saying “if you’ll sign on to the sanctions (against the importation of gasoline), we won’t enforce them” to “cooperating countries”. Pure symbolism over substance.
“We’re pushing for a ‘cooperating-countries’ exemption,” the White House official said. “It is not targeted to any country in particular, but would be based on objective criteria and made in full consultation with the Congress.”
Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen, however, said the exemption “is aimed at China and Russia specifically.”
“The administration wants to give a pass to countries for merely supporting a watered-down, almost do-nothing U.N. resolution,” she said.
This isn’t coherent foreign policy – this is pure politics mostly designed for domestic consumption. This is about the ability to claim to have made progress against Iran by rallying the rest of the world to our side and imposing “tough new sanctions” via the UN when the intent is to never enforce them.
Of course Iran hasn’t been idle either. They’re not doing “in-kind” bartering with regional neighbors which circumvents any sanction regime. Swap oil for refined petroleum products and they’re not liable to such sanctions. And of course Hugo Chavez and others in the socialist South American cabal have also said they’d ignore such sanctions anyway.
Last, but certainly not least, a gasoline sanction hits those that can’t afford it the most the hardest in Iran. The regime? It will always have plenty of gasoline. The poor Iranian trying to feed his family – not so much.
Instead of playing these sorts of games, which are clearly doomed to failure (or irrelevance), maybe it’s time to reconsider putting back on the table some of the options the administration unilaterally took off the table last year.
I just received this via email, as I assume many others have or will, and I’m not quite sure what to make of it. I did receive it from someone who’s sent me reliable info before, but this is awfully explosive (if in fact real).
Personally, while I’ve always found it suspicious that Obama went to such great pains to hide his birth certificate, I just figured it was for some personal reasons (e.g. parents weren’t married) rather than any eligibility issues. But now I have to question that.
If this discovery turns out to be the real thing, does that mean we’ll be singing “Hail to the Chief” to … President Biden? (Gulp)
(click to enlarge)
Stay tuned for updates …
Lordy, lordy. While I take my shots at the government, almost on a daily basis, but there are limits to what I can and will credibly blame on the government of the United States. The tragedy of that just occurred in Haiti is not one of them. But someone billing themselves as a “Pair A Normal Guys” has come up with the definitive explanation of what happened there:
While the loss of life and devestation [sic] in Haiti is unimaginable there may be a more hidden agenda behind this tragedy. Suppose this “natural disaster” been a weather weopan aimed at Cuba but came up short in it’s delivery? The possibility of this being true is not far fetched or out-of-this-world in theory. Weather manipulation and weather warfare are not new concepts and certainly could be the choice of the powers that be to devastate an enemy with a cloak of Mother Nature’s disguise to fall back on. The fact that there was a seemingly unnoticable quake in California recently or a possible test fire and then the Haitian quake the largest ever recorded in the region seems a little suspicious to me. The secrets of our world and the secret weopans [sic] that are harboured within our world are something we need to expose, if this was infact a targeted weather weopan [sic] at Cuba the question then remains who sent it and who’s next?
Be sure to check the video at the site out as well – must see “Truth TV”. Weather weapons from the black helicopter crowd. Now we can do earthquakes? Then how in the world did we “miss” Cuba?
Heh … It takes all kinds doesn’t it?
Meanwhile, in the real world, watch the mobilization by the US to help Haiti. Tell me who else does it better or faster?