Ever-present Leftist propaganda does make an impression -- and is weakening America
Comment received by email from Sam Wells of Toward the Laissez-Faire Republic [email@example.com]
Americans are flooded with propaganda, both subtle and not so subtle -- mostly from the Democrat, left-wing perspective, especially on TV. Because the propaganda is so ubiquitous few people even realize they are immersed in it. I believe that many libertarians and conservatives and definitely most populists have unwittingly bought into some aspects of the Left's disinformation efforts. I have heard "libertarians" admit to believing in some of the most absurd left-wing conspiracy theories -- usually about the Bush Administration -- from 9/11 attacks being an "inside job" to Bush weakened the levies in New Orleans so as to flood certain mostly black areas because he hates black folks so much. (I can just see Bush and Cheney in SCUBA gear swimming down to the base of the levies and cleverly planting all that C4 so the levy would break just in the right way to flood blacks and not white people. Right.)
Most of the anti-Bush hatred has been instilled by propaganda over the past eight years -- stored in peoples' minds through repeated barrages of propaganda messages. An election comes around and it is time to trigger that stored hate. Bush did not run for re-election (could not under the Constriction)? Not to worry; just associate whoever is running under the GOP banner with Bush and all that programmed hate has not gone to waste. A lot of us in the libertarian subculture have absorbed the hate-Bush stuff and some even buy into the DNC/Move On anti-Bush conspiracy tales. But not all those who oppose the war against jihadist terrorism are that naive, of course.
I consider myself to be a constitutionalist. I believe the constitutional approach to limiting the scope of government to its proper functions has been the most successful one so far, (given the Greco-Roman heritage underlying our Anglo-American traditions). But we must not lose sight that the Constitution is a means, not an end in itself and that the purpose of the Constitution is to protect liberty -- not to serve as an excuse not to defend our way of life.
The enemies of freedom are past masters at manipulating the virtues of good, well-intentioned folks in the service of their ultrastatist agendas. There are those who sincerely question Congress's war powers declaration as being strong enough to fulfill the Constitution's requirement for lawfully going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. But those who genuinely believe they are "constitutionalists" by opposing wars on such arguably technical grounds should search their consciences and ask themselves if they are just being led by the nose and used by the Left's "anti-war" front offensive for political partisan ends. Does their nitpicking constitute genuine constitutionalism or is it just an excuse to look the other way and pretend not to see what is really happening? I cannot say what is in their hearts. But leftists often pretend to be supporters of the Constitution when they think they can distort its meaning and purpose so as to serve their ultimate goal of imposing more taxes, more regulations, bigger government, and more socialism on us all.
The 21st century Lord Haw-Haws and wishful-thinking Neville Chamberlains who refuse to recognize that the reactionary jihadists are a real threat to America and the world are aiding America's enemies and supporting the ostrich-like position of the surrendercrats. That pacifist approach does not really lead to peace but only postpones the conflict temporarily until a much more devastating war is unavoidable. Would they wait until the enemy has nuclear weapons and biotoxins to throw against us? Prudence dictates getting a conflict over as soon as possible, if it be inevitable, before the enemies are more powerful and can kill far more innocent people.
Upside Down Economics
by Thomas Sowell
From television specials to newspaper editorials, the media are pushing the idea that current economic problems were caused by the market and that only the government can rescue us. What was lacking in the housing market, they say, was government regulation of the market's "greed." That makes great moral melodrama, but it turns the facts upside down. It was precisely government intervention which turned a thriving industry into a basket case.
An economist specializing in financial markets gave a glimpse of the history of housing markets when he said: "Lending money to American homebuyers had been one of the least risky and most profitable businesses a bank could engage in for nearly a century." That was what the market was like before the government intervened. Like many government interventions, it began small and later grew.
The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 directed federal regulatory agencies to "encourage" banks and other lending institutions "to help meet the credit needs of the local communities in which they are chartered consistent with the safe and sound operation of such institutions." That sounds pretty innocent and, in fact, it had little effect for more than a decade. However, its premise was that bureaucrats and politicians know where loans should go, better than people who are in the business of making loans. The real potential of that premise became apparent in the 1990s, when the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) imposed a requirement that mortgage lenders demonstrate with hard data that they were meeting their responsibilities under the Community Reinvestment Act.
What HUD wanted were numbers showing that mortgage loans were being made to low-income and moderate-income people on a scale that HUD expected, even if this required "innovative or flexible" mortgage eligibility standards. In other words, quotas were imposed-- and if some people didn't meet the standards, then the standards need to be changed. Both HUD and the Department of Justice began bringing lawsuits against mortgage bakers when a higher percentage of minority applicants than white applicants were turned down for mortgage loans. A substantial majority of both black and white mortgage loan applicants had their loans approved but a statistical difference was enough to get a bank sued.
It should also be noted that the same statistical sources from which data on blacks and whites were obtained usually contained data on Asian Americans as well. But those data on Asian Americans were almost never mentioned. Whites were turned down for mortgage loans more often than Asian Americans. But saying that would undermine the reasoning on which the whole moral melodrama and political crusades were based.
Lawsuits were only part of the pressures put on lenders by government officials. Banks and other lenders are overseen by regulatory agencies and must go to those agencies for approval of many business decisions that other businesses make without needing anyone else's approval. Government regulators refused to approve such decisions when a lender was under investigation for not producing satisfactory statistics on loans to low-income people or minorities. Under growing pressures from both the Clinton administration and later the George W. Bush administration, banks began to lower their lending standards.
Mortgage loans with no down payment, no income verification and other "creative" financial arrangements abounded. Although this was done under pressures begun in the name of the poor and minorities, people who were neither could also get these mortgage loans. With mortgage loans widely available to people with questionable prospects of being able to keep up the payments, it was an open invitation to financial disaster. Those who warned of the dangers had their warnings dismissed. Now, apparently, we need more politicians intervening in more industries, if you believe the politicians and the media.
Toothless Blue Dogs Roll Over on Stimulus Bill
The House's Blue Dog Democrats like to pretend they are the deficit tigers of Congress, determined to stop runaway spending and stamp out waste, fraud and abuse. But when push came to shove, as it did in the pork-crammed $800 billion economic-stimulus bill, most of these tigers mewed like pussycats, voting in lock step with Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank for a bill they had not read. One by one, they inserted their voting cards into the slot in front of their seats and charged the stimulus money to the taxpayers. The first payment will be due April 15. Brace your wallets.
"Toothless tigers is one way to describe them. They are more gums than teeth when it comes to putting a bite on deficits," said Pete Sepp, spokesman for the National Taxpayers Union. NTU's "bill tally" monitoring showed that Blue Dogs propose three-quarters less spending increases than the Democrats as a whole, but the majority of Blue Dogs still vote for most of the spending bills their party brings to the floor.
"The Blue Dogs can't say with a straight face that they have a moderate or conservative bone in their body. They're exposed as pawns of the most left-wing Democratic leadership in American history," says tax-cut crusader Grover Norquist.
There are about four-dozen Blue Dog Democrats who took their name about a dozen years ago from their Southern ancestry and who showed their party loyalty by saying they would vote for an old yellow dog before voting Republican. At the start of the new Congress, they vowed that a "top priority will be to refocus Congress on truly balancing the budget and ridding taxpayers of the burden the national debt places on them." In a Feb. 4 letter to Speaker Pelosi, Indiana Rep. Baron Hill and seven other Blue Dog leaders said they had "serious reservations" about the big stimulus bill then working its way through Congress.
But on final passage, only a half-dozen brave Blue Dogs voted against the bill that will, with interest, add $1 trillion-plus to the federal debt.
Through his bias and bigotry, "Pinch" Sulzberger has done a great job of destroying his family inheritance: "New York Times Stock Now Costs Less Than Sunday Paper. Shares of NYT dropped 29 cents today to close at $3.77. The Sunday paper goes for $4 at the newsstand. Maybe they could save costs by printing the paper on their stock certificates". By coincidence, in Australia some time ago, another Jewish-born boy, Warwick Fairfax Jr. also destroyed a great family media inheritance, though his main problem was that he had a Harvard MBA and therefore thought he knew something (See today's EDUCATION WATCH for a comment on Harvard MBAs). I wonder how that all plays out with the conspiracy theorists who see Jews as controlling everything? Maybe Jews are NOT all-powerful and all-knowing, after all? Belief in Jewish control of the media must be rather hard to sustain in the face of the fact that the world's most powerful and successful media owner is of Presbyterian background. Perhaps they assume his real name must be Murdochstein.
Just In Case It Wasn't Obvious . . .: "Does anyone else grasp the irony of AG Holder's characterization of Americans as a "nation of cowards" for their reluctance to discuss race -- just as the story about the NY Post chimp cartoon is part of every blog and newscast? I guess the coverage of the cartoon controversy is just another sign of America's endemic reluctance to talk about race, right?"
This Should Scare You: "Carter voices confidence in Obama stimulus plan" That would be the Carter who left us with interest rates of 21%, inflation at 13.5% and unemployment at 7%. When he's got "confidence" in Obamanomics, be afraid. Be very afraid."
Was Ted Stevens railroaded?: "The headlines are gone, and MSNBC no longer cares. But that's all the more reason to take note of the strange and disturbing turn in the Ted Stevens legal saga. Prosecutors claimed this senior Senatorial scalp last year, winning an ethics conviction a fortnight before the octogenarian Republican narrowly lost his bid for a seventh term from Alaska. Though media interest stopped there, the story has since become one of ambitious prosecutors who at the very least botched the job and may have miscarried justice."
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)