Thursday, July 15, 2010
The National Association for the Advancement of Coddled People
Before the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People decided to ride the anti-tea party wave back to political relevancy, its most recent activist crusade involved a silly space-themed Hallmark graduation card. Yes, the NAACP has been lost in space for quite some time now. And blaming whitey will no longer cut it.
In June, the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP demanded that the greeting card be pulled because it used the term "black holes" (which the bionically equipped ears of the p.c. police insisted sounded like "black whores"). "It sounds like a group of children laughing and joking about blackness," one NAACP official complained.
It was a group of hipster cartoon characters chattering about the universe and galaxies and wide-open possibilities to new high school and college grads. Alas, this is what has become of the once-inspired drive against racial discrimination.
In just a few short decades, the stalwart strivers for equality have turned into coddled whiners for hypersensitivity. The NAACP is a laughingstock. The group no longer represents the best interests of oppressed minorities, but the thin-skinned whims of the black elite and the ravenous appetite of the Nanny State. Establishment civil rights leaders now use their once-compelling moral authority to hector, bully and shake down corporate and political targets.
As Ward Connerly, the truly maverick opponent of government racial preferences who is black, wrote recently, "the NAACP is not so much a civil-rights organization as it is a trade association with clear links to the Democratic Party, despite the claim of its chairman that 'the NAACP has always been non-partisan.' Such a statement doesn't pass the giggle test. The NAACP uses the plight of poor black people as a fig leaf to hide its true agenda of promoting policies that benefit their dues-paying members, not black people in general or poor black people in particular."
To compensate for squandering the proud history of the civil rights organization on innocent greeting cards, NAACP leaders introduced a much-hyped resolution at their annual convention this week attacking the nation's biggest racial bogeyman: the tea party movement. It's a tried and true tactic of worn-out grievance-mongers: When you can't find evil enough enemies to blame for your problems, manufacture them. (Just ask hate crimes huckster Al Sharpton.) This is why one of the most popular signs spotted at tea party protests across the country remains the one that reads: "It doesn't matter what this sign says. You'll call it racism, anyway!"
The NAACP resolution calls on its chapters across the country to "repudiate the racism of the Tea Parties" and stand against the movement's attempt to "push our country back to the pre-civil rights era." Yet, it's the NAACP that lobbied the Obama White House to dismiss voter intimidation charges against the thugs of the New Black Panther Party, according to Justice Department whistleblower J. Christian Adams. It's the NAACP that opposes the 21st century school choice movement to free poor minority students from rotten government schools, as black parents in Washington, D.C., have suffered firsthand. It's the NAACP that elevates "diversity" above academic rigor as its primary education goal. And it's the NAACP that backs retrograde, race-based set-asides and classifications that encourage cronyism of color championed by their water-carriers at the Congressional Black Caucus.
And it's the NAACP that tolerates racist sneers and smears like those leveled by the St. Louis NAACP chapter against black limited-government activist Kenneth Gladney, who was derided by civil rights leaders as an "Uncle Tom" after he was beaten bloody by Service Employees International Union henchmen last summer.
Addressing the convention on Monday, first lady Michelle Obama urged NAACP mau-mau-ers to "increase" their "intensity." She's a pro at employing intense accusations of racial oppression as a defense against criticism and milking the victim-ocracy for all its worth.
At Princeton, she complained about "further integration and/or assimilation into a white cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society; never becoming a full participant." But rather than remaining "on the periphery," Mrs. Obama climbed the crooked Chicago ladder on a rapid ascent to the top. She hopped from Princeton to Harvard to prestigious law firms, cushy nonprofit gigs and an exclusive Hyde Park manse, before landing in the East Wing with the greatest of ease.
Question the timing of the tea party-demonizing resolution? You bet. The NAACP's man at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. finds himself radically out of step with the American mainstream in the lead-up to the 2010 midterms. He sent his wife to the convention to re-establish White House racial authenticity at a time when increasing numbers of minorities are now as fed up with massive debt, usurpation of individual liberties, corruption in Washington and chaos on the border as everyone else.
It's a black hole bonanza. Cue the distraction: RAAAACIST!
Prosperity Requires Humility
In August of 2005, Houston investment banker Matt Simmons predicted in a New York Times feature article that the price of oil, then $65/barrel, would soar.
Simmons, who had written a book arguing that the world is running out of oil, was predicting oil prices “in the high triple digits.”
After reading Simmons’ prediction, John Tierney, a libertarian, who was then an op-ed columnist for the New York Times, telephoned Simmons and called him on it. He asked him if he’d be willing to put money on his prediction.
The two made a $10,000 bet. If the average oil price five years hence in 2010, adjusted for inflation, exceeded $200, Simmons would win. If not, Tierney would pocket the ten grand.
We’re now into the second half of 2010, and the average oil price, in 2005 dollars, is $70. Unless there is a remarkable explosion in the oil price for the remainder of 2010, driving it well above $300, Matt Simmons loses this bet. It was not even close.
The point here is to try and learn something from this that is relevant to what is going on today.
Simmons is an energy specialist. The company he founded advertises itself as “the only investment bank specializing in the entire spectrum of energy.”
It’s reasonable to assume that he knows a zillion times more about exploring for and producing oil than John Tierney. But Tierney didn’t make the bet because he felt he knew more about drilling for oil. He made the bet because he knows something about markets and change.
If markets are relatively free to adjust, it just doesn’t matter how smart you are, or how much you know about a particular commodity or business, you are not going to know what the world is going to look like in five years. Chances are, you are not going to know what it is going to look like in a year.
Now suppose Matt Simmons, instead of being a private businessman making bets on his convictions was, instead, a government official setting policy.
This is what we’ve got today. Pinheads with power who think they know the last detail of how the world works and what it is going to look like, not just over the next couple years – but years down the road.
For them tomorrow is simply a repeat of yesterday. The idea that life is about surprises and the unknown – that what we know is a small splotch compared to what we don’t know – takes humility. And humility is the last thing on the radar screen of power brokers who feel they know so much that they are comfortable planning and taking over the lives of their fellow citizens.
Doomsday scenarios dominated thinking about energy in the 1970’s. It led to major government interference in these markets that just made things worse.
Reagan became president in 1981, cut taxes, cut spending, and decontrolled oil prices. Within a couple years, oil prices dropped to a third of where they were, and stayed there for 15 years.
When I worked on welfare reform, doomsday sayers claimed that getting rid of perpetual government welfare would throw poor people into the street. No one wound up in the street, and many got off welfare, found work, and built new lives.
The biggest problems our country has today relate to government planning gone awry. The huge solvency problems we have with Social Security and Medicare all relate to assumptions these government planned systems were built on that turned out to be false.
Now we have only to watch and wait as the disaster that will follow our new government takeover of our heath care unfolds. Every opportunity for new, creative solutions that would emerge from a free market has been squashed. The bureaucrats now reign.
Freedom is about humility not hubris. Our nation’s current problems reflect the latter. Our only hope for renewed bounty and prosperity is to restore the former.
Attacks on Freedom
Something's happened to America, and it isn't good. It's become easier to get into trouble. We've become a nation of a million rules. Not the kind of bottom-up rules that people generate through voluntary associations. Those are fine. I mean imposed, top-down rules formed in the brains of meddling bureaucrats who think they know better than we how to manage our lives.
The National Marine Fishery Service (NMFS) received an anonymous fax that a seafood shipment to Alabama from David McNab contained "undersized lobster tails" and was improperly packed in clear plastic bags, rather than the cardboard boxes allegedly required under Honduran law. When the $4 million shipment arrived, NMFS agents seized it. McNab served eight years in prison, even though the Honduran government informed the court that the regulation requiring cardboard boxes had been repealed.
How about this one? Four kindergartners -- yes, 5-year-old boys -- played cops and robbers at Wilson Elementary in New Jersey. One yelled: "Boom! I have a bazooka, and I want to shoot you." He did not, of course, have a bazooka. Nevertheless, all four boys were suspended from school for three days for "making threats," a violation of their school district's zero-tolerance policy. School Principal Georgia Baumann said, "We cannot take any of these statements in a light manner." District Superintendent William Bauer said: "This is a no-tolerance policy. We're very firm on weapons and threats."
Give me a break. These are just some of the stories featured in a new book, "One Nation Under Arrest". I'll discuss more on my Fox Business show Thursday night.
Here's another: Ansche Hedgepeth, 12, committed this heinous crime: She left school in Washington, D.C., entered a Metrorail station to head home and ate a French fry. An undercover officer arrested her, confiscating her jacket, backpack and shoelaces. She was handcuffed and taken to the Juvenile Processing Center. Only after three hours in custody was the 12-year-old released into her mother's custody. The chief of Metro Transit Police said: "We really do believe in zero-tolerance. Anyone taken into custody has to be handcuffed for officer safety." She was sentenced to community service and now carries an arrest record. Washington's Metro has since rescinded its zero-tolerance policy.
Keith John Sampson, a student-employee at Indiana-Purdue University Indianapolis, had the temerity to read "Notre Dame Versus the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan" during breaks on the job. One student complained because the book's cover depicted the Klan. The university then found Sampson guilty of racial harassment! Thankfully, a great organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), came to his defense and got his school record cleared.
Palo Alto, Calif., ordered Kay Leibrand, a grandmother, to lower her carefully trimmed hedges. Leibrand argued that no one's vision was obstructed and asked the code officer to take a look. He refused. Then the city dispatched two police officers. They arrested her, loaded her into a patrol car in front of her neighbors and hauled her down to the station.
In 2001, honor student Lindsay Brown parked her car in the wrong spot at her high school. A county police officer looked inside and saw a kitchen knife -- a butter knife with a rounded tip. Because Lindsay was on school property, she had violated the zero-tolerance policy for knives. She was arrested, handcuffed and hauled off to county jail where she spent nine hours on a felony weapons possession charge. School Principal Fred Bode told a local paper, "A weapon is a weapon."
Congress creates, on average, one new crime every week. Federal agencies create thousands more -- so many, in fact that the Congressional Research Service itself said that merely counting them would be impossible.
This is a bad trend. As Lao Tsu said, "The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be."
Democrats losing Wall Street fat cat support? "At some point when your enemy continues to bash you and hurt you and cost you money, you reach the point of ‘Enough’s enough!’ It seems the power brokers on Wall Street are getting the message. Democrats aren’t their friends. … There’s a fine line here that Democrats in their hubris clearly have crossed. Wall Street, like business interests and taxpayers and any other segement of the population, can be bullied and mollified — to a point. At some point the pain inflicted exceeds the bones thrown to appease, such as cutting special tax deals for segments of the larger group, or handing out stacks of other taxpayers’ money. At some point the pain is plainly more than any perceived benefit.”
American sclerosis: "On Stuart Varney’s FBN program this morning, they debated whether the financial ‘reform’ bill will kill job creation. I can’t see how a two-thousand plus-page law ever avoids doing that. Politicians, many of whom are lawyers, share the conceit that they can manage life with paper and procedure. They don’t understand that just the quantity of their rules cause entrepreneurs to simply say: ‘I won’t even try.’ Why did German and Japan thrive after WWII? Because American bombs destroyed years of accumulated bureaucracy. Well, that’s probably one big reason. Their new governments started from scratch. With fewer rules, German and Japan prospered. America now moves in the opposite direction.”
Increasingly unpopular airport body scanners may offer false security: "USA Today documents the growing resistance to the use of body scanners at airports — a resistance that’s particularly marked in Europe. Complaints about the devices include the expected concerns about privacy, long lines, expense and potential health concerns from even the relatively low levels of radiation emitted by the machines. It should be noted in addition, however, that body scanners aren’t some kind of proven, super-secure technology that offers us a choice between guaranteed safety and keeping our naughty bits under cover. In fact, the machines may offer a false sense of security.”
Live Aid: 25 years later: "It’s been a quarter-century since the dream of Band-Aid, USA For Africa, Live Aid, and other celebrity-studded charitable means to stop the famine in Africa generally and Ethiopia particularly. But one wonders how one should send relief in an area where famine was caused in part by civil war? The relief aid would become just another target of the warring factions. Since then, little has changed on the continent.”
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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)
Posted by JR at 12:09 AM