Thursday, June 16, 2011

Why most of the public are in the mushroom club

(Kept in the dark and fed bullsh*t)

I really appreciate you reading my articles regularly. However, I have a confession to make: You will never read my best articles here or in any other publication. That’s a strange statement to make, but it’s absolutely true. I’ve written the articles in my mind years ago, but I’ll never put them down on paper. What are these articles about? They concern my experiences in D.C. working for a think tank and a lobbying firm. I wasn’t there long, but it was long enough for the confidentiality agreement to matter.

This isn’t true just of me; it’s true for all of D.C. The television news reports and op-ed columns never reveal the true face of Washington politics. The real D.C. is hidden behind a wall of silence and secrecy. There isn’t a soul in the city without a story to tell and a confidentiality agreement to protect it.

Aside from the legal problems, whistleblowing is political career suicide. The D.C. job market rewards those who can keep their mouths shut, and potential whistleblowers are carefully scrutinized. Job candidates are typically run through an ideological gauntlet. If a Congressman or lobbying group finds that one strongly disagrees with just 15% of their positions, there’s almost no way to get the job. Leaks here are a serious business, and trust is often more important than any other qualification.

During my time in Washington, I recall attending a mentoring session for young libertarians and conservatives. The speakers shared advice on a career in Washington. One suggestion was, “Do not write about politics, and do not have a blog. It’s the worst decision ever for your career.” And the speaker was absolutely correct. If someone searches your name online and finds that your political beliefs do not match their own, your chances of getting the job become practically zero. So, there are two options: don’t write at all; or write on topics that follow the party line. Otherwise, at best, one’s future holds a prestigious position as the director of communications for the National Association of Hubcap Distributors.

When one turns on the news or reads an article, the piece has already been filtered by these incentives. Anything worth saying can’t be said. And no one wants to write a real opinion – only the party line.

Furthermore, the risk/reward tradeoff for the whistleblower is extremely bad. If one breaks a story about the inside workings of a D.C. organization, the press gets an entertaining story for the next week. Everyone soon forgets about it and nothing changes for the better. However, the writer is left in a pile of legal trouble and facing career ruin. Unless one is exposing the crime of the century, it doesn’t pay to be the sacrificial lamb for the political entertainment “news.”

Well, surely someone has written on what happens behind the scenes. There are some revealing works out there. My favorite has to be the comedy Thank You for Smoking, a fictional story of a tobacco-industry lobbyist. One may watch the trailer and the whole movie in parts. (On a side note, it’s no coincidence that the story is “fictional.” Don’t forget the confidentiality agreements.)

My experience on K Street was frighteningly similar to Thank you for Smoking, but the film fell short on one way. It showed the tobacco industry as a manipulative organization conjuring questionable studies and manipulating the public at every turn. And many critics of the movie falsely believe that the movie is only a criticism of the tobacco industry. In reality, the exact same tactics are the standard from labor unions to your favorite cancer organization; everyone is overexaggerating their case and specializing in ways to manipulate the public.

D.C. as whole is simply a giant fraud and theater for the masses. None of it is genuine. Every speech, position, and research study is manufactured by some group of analysts and writers. This experience has forever twisted my perspective of politics. When I hear a president quoted – whether it’s JFK, Reagan, or Obama – I don’t think to myself, “Man, what a great, inspiring quote”. Instead I think, “Wow, what a great speech writer. If only his opponents were lucky enough to have the same team of writers.”

My disillusionment is at its worst near Washington’s tourist sites – particularly the statues with presidential quotes. The tourists read the quotes in awe and snap picture after picture. But there I am thinking about the absurdity of these monuments. The statues are built to remember a man, and the words carved below it aren’t even his own. I guess even in death, the charade must go on.



Open Letter to Dummo Obama

From Prof. Donald J. Boudreaux

In your recent interview with NBC News you explained that your policies would promote more private-sector job creation were it not for (as you put it) “some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don’t go to a bank teller, or you go to the airport and you’re using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate.”

With respect, sir, you’re complaining about the source of our prosperity: innovation and the increases it causes in worker productivity.

With no less justification – but with no more validity – any of your predecessors might have issued complaints similar to yours. Pres. Grant, for example, might have grumbled in 1873 about “some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank that uses a modern safe and so employs fewer armed guards than before, or when you travel on trains which, compared to stage coaches, transport many more passengers using fewer workers.”

Or Pres. Nixon might have groused in 1973 about such labor-saving innovation: “You see it when you step into an automatic elevator that doesn’t require an elevator operator, or when you observe that polio vaccination keeps people alive and active without the aid of nurses and all those workers who were once usefully employed making iron-lung machines, crutches, and wheelchairs.”

Do you, Pres. Obama, really wish to suggest that the innovations you blame for thwarting your fiscal policies are “structural issues” that ought to be corrected?



Wisconsin: News Intern Harassed While Taping Public Protest (Graphic Language)

Warning! The video above contains graphic language and is not suitable for children

As we move closer to the inevitable passage of the state budget…and as the collective bargaining law dispute becomes resolved either via the Supreme Court or additional legislative action…as families across Wisconsin and the nation tire of the circus-like chaos in Madison… the protests are getting smaller, but much more intense.

From teacher walk-outs with their students, to doctors issuing fake sick notes, to ‘zombies’ disrupting a Special Olympics ceremony, The MacIver News Service has brought you the story from Madison, Wisconsin since the protests began in mid-February.

Tuesday afternoon we sent out an intern to gather video footage of the day’s protests. Several hundred had gathered, in public, on the steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol in anticipation of Tuesday night’s budget debate in the state assembly. The video captures what happened after our intern answered the simple question: “Who are you with?”

It was his second day in the office. We’re relatively sure he’s coming back tomorrow. But it looks like we may have to institute a buddy system so our vidographers do not venture into the crowd alone. We apologize for the foul language, but thought it important to present this footage, unedited.

So much for the new tone.



The Legal War over Voter Fraud

Even with the demise of ACORN, a lot of people are worried about voter fraud in the upcoming 2012 presidential election.

That's because the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now has not really gone away since two young conservatives posing as a pimp and prostitute administered a very painful video sting in 2009. ACORN has transmogrified into lots of little ACORN groups with misleadingly innocent names, such as Affordable Housing Centers of America (formerly ACORN Housing Corporation) and New England United for Justice.

Another reason to worry is that the ACLU is working overtime to curb laws designed to reduce illegal immigration and to require voters to present identification. Yes, you can't cash a check or open a bank account without a valid ID, but the ACLU thinks it is somehow "racist"; to ensure that only American citizens vote in our elections.

That's why on June 3 they filed a suit to halt Florida’s law shortening the early voter days from 15 to 8 before an election and tightening registration rules. The ACLU contends that requiring people to vote within about a week of the actual election day constitutes “voter suppression.”

If you think that's over the top, listen to plaintiff Arthenia Joyner, a Democrat state senator:

"It is un-American to make it a burden to vote. Too many people fought and died for this right. This is an abomination. And it's unconscionable."

It was only a few years ago that people were expected to vote on election day, and obtain absentee ballots if they couldn’t. Now it’s an “abomination” if they don’t get to vote two weeks ahead of time.

The law that Gov. Rick Scott signed is in part a reaction to Florida election officials in 2009 finding at least 888 phony voter registrations submitted by ACORN officials, including one alleging to be from the late actor Paul Newman. Arrest warrants were issued for 11 ACORN employees.

Florida is not alone. In 2007, Washington State filed felony charges against several ACORN employees and supervisors, alleging more than 1,700 fraudulent voter registrations, Fox News reported. In March 2008, a Pennsylvania ACORN employee was sentenced for submitting 29 fake voter registrations. In 2009, a Cleveland, Ohio ACORN employee was caught reregistering the same person 77 times.

Voter fraud investigations targeting ACORN were launched in 12 states: Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. In September 2009, Congress voted to defund ACORN, three-quarters of whose 2009 budget of $24 million was composed of federal money, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, on the immigration front, the ACLU and other groups are challenging Arizona-type laws in Utah, Indiana, Alabama and Georgia.

In Alabama on June 2, both houses of the legislature passed a law that would require employers to check the legal status of new employees using the e-Verify system. Republican Gov. Robert J. Bentley signed the bill on Thursday, June 9.

The Alabama law would also allow police officers to detain motorists if they have a "reasonable suspicion" that they are here illegally. The ACLU said it will file a lawsuit challenging what they call an “extreme” and “draconian racial profiling law.”

On Wednesday, the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center requested an injunction to stop an immigration law in Georgia pending the outcome of a lawsuit they filed the week before. Republican Gov. Nathan Deal signed the law in May, noting that it differs from the Arizona law that a U.S. District judge struck down in July 2010. The Obama Administration had requested an injunction against Arizona’s law, portions of which – including use of the e-Verify system – were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court on May 26.

The Georgia law, set to take effect July 1, has already caused some illegal immigrants to head back home, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The law says police can investigate the immigration status of suspects and take illegal immigrants into custody. It also makes it illegal to traffic in or transport illegal immigrants while committing another crime or to use fraudulent IDs when applying for a job.

In Indiana, an immigration reform law signed on May 10 by Gov. Mitch Daniels will take effect July 1. On May 25, the ACLU filed suit seeking a preliminary injunction.

The law, as summarized by WIBC in Indianapolis, “threatens the state tax credits of employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens, revokes state contracts with those companies, and denies unemployment benefits to illegal immigrants. It also ramps up penalties for crimes associated with illegal immigration, including fake ID's and the smuggling or harboring of illegals.”

In September 2009, after the ACORN scandal broke, Barack Obama was asked about it during an interview for a Sunday news show. Mr. Obama replied, “Frankly, it’s not something I’ve followed closely.” That’s odd given that Mr. Obama had an extensive association with ACORN. The Wall Street Journal’s John Fund noted that Mr. Obama’s ACORN-related activities included running a voter registration drive for Project Vote in 1991, training ACORN volunteers and representing ACORN in a 1995 case that forced Illinois to adopt the federal Motor Voter Law.

ACORN, which specialized in compiling voter registrations among minority groups – a good thing in and of itself but not when it’s done with rampant fraud – is still out there in different guise. Meanwhile, the ACLU is trying to take down state laws that would discourage illegal immigration and using false identification. If the ACLU prevails, it could unleash a tsunami of illegal aliens joining the voter rolls, which would benefit one political party in particular.

Given the fact that the Obama Administration is ignoring "sanctuary cities" that flout federal immigration laws and instead is going after states like Arizona that want to enforce the law, you have to wonder how seriously they take voter fraud.

If the question is qui bono? – to whose benefit? – the answer is pretty obvious.




WI: State Supreme Court upholds anti-union law: "Wisconsin's polarizing union rights law is set to take effect on June 29 after the state Supreme Court determined that a judge overstepped her authority when she voided the governor's plan to strip most public workers of their collective bargaining rights. The ruling Tuesday evening was a major victory for Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who said the law was needed to help address the state's $3.6 billion budget shortfall."

Vague law will hobble economy: "Back in February, President Obama stopped by the US Chamber of Commerce to talk up the economy. He urged the assembled CEOs to 'get off the sidelines and get in the game.' Their persistent complaint that uncertainty about new regulations discouraged investment and job creation was met with a presidential eye roll. In the White House view, the new health care overhaul and Dodd-Frank financial service regulation gave them all the certainty they needed. If the economy is currently enjoying the benefits of certainty, we should all be worried, not just the CEOs."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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)


No comments: