Conservative change in Britain
The old Leftist lie that conservatives were simply against all change still has legs even though Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher made it clear by their actions that it was only the simplistic and destructive changes proposed by the Left that conservatives oppose. So it is interesting to see below that Britain's present-day Conservatives also have lots of changes on their agenda
The Tory-led Coalition sees itself in revolutionary terms. Steve Hilton, who is David Cameron’s political guru, is supposed to have declared: ‘Everything must be changed by 2015. Everything.’ An odd thing, perhaps, for an alleged Conservative to have said.
Then there is Nick Boles, the staunchly Cameroon Tory MP for Grantham, who at a conference last week said that David Cameron and Nick Clegg want their ‘people power’ revolution to unleash ‘chaotic’ effects across the community. That sounds like Mao Zedong on a wild night.
During the election campaign Nick Clegg often said that he plans to ‘change Britain for good’, a call to arms he repeated at the Lib Dem party conference in September. I don’t know about you, but there is quite a lot about Britain which I like, and I am by no means sure that Mr Clegg’s transformed version would be preferable.
There is a good deal of this Maoist-type talk. And if you look at the Coalition’s proposals in various areas, there is a lot of frenetic activity of which Mao, as the creator of ‘permanent revolution’, would have warmly approved.
Andrew Lansley is turning the NHS inside out, though in opposition the Tories said another bureaucratic shake-up was the last thing it needed. Michael Gove is trying to create as many ‘free schools’ as possible. Ken Clarke is overhauling the judicial and prison systems. Iain Duncan Smith is embarking on the most sweeping welfare reforms for a generation. Eric Pickles wants to transfer powers from councils which think they know best to local communities.
The sheer speed and multiplicity of these reforms, combined with all the revolutionary rhetoric, has led some commentators to suggest that the Coalition is more radical even than Margaret Thatcher who, for all her zeal, actually proceeded quite cautiously, particularly during her first term of office.
Some people suggest that the theme uniting these bold plans is a smaller State. I doubt whether this is true. When all the cuts announced by the Chancellor have taken effect in 2015 — and this assumes, possibly wrongly, that they will be rigorously applied — government spending as a proportion of gross national product will have merely returned to the levels of 2007. That does not sound like a dramatically smaller State to me.
Others say that localism is another common theme. When Mr Boles enthused about the advantages of chaos he was trying to point out the vices of central planning. We can most of us agree with that. But I remain sceptical as to whether the reforms already announced will substantially shift power to local communities. Will electing police chiefs really have such an effect?
The Left's legislative rampage
Repudiated Congress implements the New Gay Army
Defeated congressional Democrats will leave town in the next two weeks having left behind Christmas presents few Americans will cherish. The national debt is $5,208,241,108,177.58 more now than it was when Rep. Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, was sworn in as House speaker. The U.S. military, already strained by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, faces transformation from the world's most powerful fighting machine into an organization where political correctness is more important than victory.
Saturday's Senate vote cleared the final hurdle for the repeal of President Clinton's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy designed to prevent homosexual conduct in the ranks. Battle lines will now form over how the homosexual advocacy policies will be implemented. Though the repudiated lawmakers who rammed the repeal through this weekend's session pretend they are simply latter-day Rosa Parkses seeking to end discrimination, there is no comparison. Since 2005, a mere 1 percent of Army discharges involved homosexual conduct. This issue isn't about retaining or recruiting qualified personnel for the military. This is part of the left's larger societal goal of using government to force others to embrace unorthodox personal lifestyle choices.
The implications are clear from a look at how the federal government treats issues of homosexuality. President Obama, for example, repeated his call for repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in his proclamation of June 2010 as "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month." It's inevitable that the same programs will be foisted on the military services. Troops can look forward to so-called pride parades on military bases and awareness days for the transgendered.
Everyone knows the sort of thing that might work in Greenwich Village or a San Francisco neighborhood doesn't go over well in a fighting force drawn largely from red state America - an area whose residents Mr. Obama once derisively referred to as the type who "cling to guns or religion." That's why implementing the New Gay Army means forcing soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines to endure "diversity" training. Those who don't like it will be told to get out, as several senior military leaders have suggested already. Chaplains in particular will face the dilemma that preaching their faith will violate the new pro-homosexual code of conduct. As a result, far more are likely to leave or be thrown out of the military as a result of Mr. Obama's policy than were ever affected by Mr. Clinton's.
It's hard to see how that will do anything to strengthen the nation's defenses. It does, however, please the well-funded fringe groups that helped Mr. Obama secure his election victory in 2008. That win isn't likely to last beyond 2012. As with the strong-arm tactics employed to force through Obamacare, using a last-minute lame-duck session to enact a controversial policy won't earn many friends outside of left-wing activist circles. It's no wonder Mr. Obama's popularity continues to plunge.
America needs a president who will put military readiness and national security above special interests. That's not what we have in the White House these days.
Texas Just Got Bigger
OK, OK, enough with dancing on the bar, shooting pistols in the air, and whatever else Texans are legendarily credited with doing when they celebrate. News of the state's projected gain in congressional representation .affords opportunities for useful, not to mention sober, analysis of what makes a state really work.
We're gittin' them four new seats, boys, due in large measure to a engrained habit of welcoming capital, capitalists, and various other proponents of growth.
Population growth of 20.6 percent over the past decade has both a geographical and an economic basis. Proximity to Mexico has historically made Texas a major destination for Mexican immigrants. These immigrants come -- the economic angle emerges here -- because jobs in Texas are relatively plentiful.
Their plentitude draws more than just Mexicans. As the Dallas Morning News' Jim Landers points out, a yearly average of 80,000 Californians moved to Texas between 2006 and 2008. Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana likewise contributed to the influx, Landers says.
Abundant resources -- land, petroleum, and so on -- create their own blessings; but a collateral blessing to Texas, in terms of creating attractions for population growth, is the state's taste for relatively small, relatively non-oppressive government. Save for the opposite disposition in states like New York and California, Texas, with its hot summers and taste for the un-chic, might not stand out so favorably among the other states.
Stand out it does. Texas doesn't even have a personal income tax. It accords to business such latitude as comports with observance of mainstream legalities. The state legislature meets just five months out of every 24. The state's almost uniformly liberal newspapers rag on business a bit, but few enough others do. It's a good place, Texas is, to make a living.
During the recession, housing values fell less than those in other states, and unemployment never reached 9 percent. Advantages of this sort get noised abroad, and newcomers start showing up. It is what Lenin called voting with your feet -- taking yourself and your family where you expect your discrete needs to be met.
Why Obama bailed out Wall St.
When it comes to big business and the economy, America is essentially a Fascist ("corporate") State with just a facade of democracy. The GOP and the Donks differ only in relatively small ways and that's the only choice you get. Witness GWB and the TARP. The Tea partiers want to make the GOP into a truly conservative party but they will almost certainly get swallowed up by the system
The political establishment, helped by the mass media and intelligentsia, has long played a game in this country. It consists in depicting the competition for power as between two blocs: one hostile to business in the name of social justice, the other friendly to business in the name of “the free market.” Each bloc’s talking points and pet projects are calculated in superficial ways to reinforce its signature theme. Whenever the blocs need to rally their respective bases, they accentuate their surface differences. The “antibusiness” bloc accuses its opponents of being, say, Wall Street lackeys, while the “pro-free-enterprise” bloc accuses its opponents of being, say, socialists.
It’s all a sham that serves each side’s interests. The rivals actually want two variations of the same thing: the corporate state, a system of economic privilege that transfers wealth via government from market entrepreneurs, workers, and consumers to well-connected business interests.
What we have are two factions of a single establishment. Differences in rhetoric notwithstanding, both are friends of and beholden to big entrenched manufacturers (military contractors lead the way) and big financial institutions. Neither faction wishes to do anything to undermine the interests of these businesses. And for their part, the business people have no desire to antagonize either side. They need one another: The politicians need the campaign funds and economic cooperation; the businesses need the subsidies, guarantees, low interest rates, and impediments to competition. The banks in particular need friendly relations with politicians (federal, state, and local) who float debt that brings big fees for bond underwriters. It’s one close and lucrative alliance (which is not to say the various parties agree on every detail). Thus it has been throughout American history. (Doubters should consult Arthur A. Ekirch, Jr.’s classic, The Decline of American Liberalism.)
Enter Barack Obama. “For the most part, Obama had been good to the banks—really good. They’d gotten everything they wanted in terms of bailouts and handouts and reaped enormous profits because of it,” Gasparino writes. “. . . The fact of the matter is, when you strip away the name-calling and class warfare coming from the Obama administration, and when you ignore Wall Street’s gripes about the new financial reform legislation that will put a crimp in some of its profits, these two entities are far more aligned than meets the casual eye. They coexist to help each other—in an unholy alliance against the American taxpayer.”
Gasparino points out that Obama signaled his eagerness to be Wall Street’s friend at a meeting with the big players during his presidential campaign, and they came through with the money. Wall Street had no reason for remorse when they saw his economic appointments and advisers: Timothy Geithner (formerly of the New York Fed), Lawrence Summers (Treasury secretary under Bill Clinton and former World Bank president), Paul Volcker (former Fed chairman), Robert Rubin (formerly of Goldman Sachs, later of Citigroup), Ben Bernanke (reappointed as Fed chairman), Rahm Emanuel (formerly of Goldman Sachs), and Greg Craig (a political insider who has gone on to represent Goldman Sachs from one of the nation’s top law firms). Many other Wall Street insiders, whose names are not so well known, have the President’s ear.
Gasparino’s thesis is confirmed by the essential continuity between the Bush and Obama administrations. Wall Street got first consideration beginning when the rotten fruit of bipartisan housing and monetary policies became apparent. If anything, the Obama team has substantively treated Wall Street better than the Bush team did. The Fed has gone into the business of allocating capital selectively, buying up mortgage-based and other “assets” of dubious value from institutions deemed too big to fail. One must guard against being deceived by political rituals. The Dodd-Frank financial “reform” is portrayed as the long-overdue taming of Wall Street, but no one who pays close attention believes that. The usual players will help write the myriad rules the new law calls for, and they are not likely to harm the insiders’ interests.
Sure, Obama bashed Wall Street last fall. No surprise: There was a campaign on and his party was in deep trouble; unemployment was stuck above 9.5 percent; and the disillusioned base needed rallying or it might not have shown up at the polls. The bigwigs at Goldman and the other firms may not be happy about the rhetorical roughing-up. They may even be concerned that a desperate Obama will do something in the short run that could reduce the growth of profits and executive pay. Such uncertainty is surely one reason for the reluctance to invest and slow recovery. But it’s unlikely that any big player fears that the future holds a radical anti-capitalist revolution.
The daily talk-radio and cable-news alarms about this being the most radical left-wing administration in U.S. history should be chalked up to base-rallying on the other side. As I suggested at the outset, the American political system capitalizes on the division in public opinion over the role of government by propagating the myth that there is a grand war raging between the advocates of Big Government and the advocates of Free Markets. In fact, it’s an intramural competition between two rival factions that favor government management of the economy—with a few differences in detail—on behalf of special interests.
Why the charade? All the better to exploit the productive classes, those that would be prospering in a freed market.
NATO denies US plans Pakistan escalation: "The NATO force in Afghanistan denied Tuesday that the American military intends to carry out ground raids inside Pakistan in pursuit of insurgent leaders hiding there. ... The New York Times reported in Tuesday's editions that senior U.S. military officials believe they will soon be authorized to send American special operations forces into Pakistan's tribal areas with the aim of capturing figures from the Taliban and a virulent offshoot organization, the Haqqani network."
The other way to repeal ObamaCare: "The repeal amendment, also known as the federalism amendment, would be a welcome step forward in reestablishing half of Madison’s double security to our rights. By allowing two-thirds of state legislatures to repeal any federal law or regulation, it would remind the federal government that ours is a federalist system; that federal power isn’t unlimited; and that the states have legitimate authority (not rights! — only people have rights) in all instances in which the Constitution’s enumerated powers don’t grant the federal government authority to act."
Britain outlaws ID cards: "The bill abolishing the National Identity Scheme is expected to gain royal assent later today. The Home Office said that it expected the identity documents bill would be passed into law on 21 December. As a result, existing ID cards will be invalid for use in a month's time."
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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)