Saturday, March 31, 2012

Why Do Wealthy People Support Liberal Causes?

Armstrong Williams

I have often asked myself why do so many wealthy people support liberal causes? This is the flip-side of the usual election-year frustration of the liberals with the working classes’ clinging to their guns and religion. In this presidential election year, as in 2008, the Democratic Party, who claim with less and less credibility to be the champions of the poor, have far more money to spend than the Republican Party, who are said to be the party of the greedy upper classes; how could this be?

The simple answer is this: wealthy liberals blatantly use social liberalism and big government regulation to protect their relative position in society. Big government regulation and taxation thwarts the economic mobility of those trying to move up, allowing the elites to remain elite, while still seeming pious for all their apparent efforts to help the little people.

Note that their idea of political action deals always with outcomes, never with principles: they see the federal government as a charitable organization, or a tool which they can use to reshape society. I’m not impugning motives-this is what they openly profess. Conservatives have an ideal government in mind, one that sticks to the principles of the Founders; liberals have an ideal society in mind, and they will tinker with the government until it creates it.

It’s not hard to find examples-wealthy liberals who fortify their positions with their Robin Hood policies are in the news every day. One we’re all sick of hearing about is multibillionaire investor Warren Buffet, who supports raising capital gains and dividend taxes, despite having made his fortune this way. While I respect Warren Buffett, and do not begrudge him his wealth and success, he makes a highly disingenuous case for some very destructive policies. Not only has Buffett made the moral argument that it is “fair” or just to impose an alternative minimum tax of 30% on millionaires, but he has misrepresented both the salary of his secretary (who has allowed herself to be enlisted for his and the president’s political purposes), and about the total percentage tax that he actually pays. What could explain such bizarre behavior from an octogenarian billionaire? Why would a self-made man want to punish success and reward failure?

The answer is that he is already a billionaire. Were he still climbing the ladder, rather than merely trying to maintain his vast wealth, he might have a different view of “fairness.” I would be curious to see what his views were decades ago. It is simply laughable, and deserving of ridicule, that fairness requires that we make an already highly progressive tax system even more progressive than it already is, rather than flattening the tax so that all pay the same portion of their wealth. No one even reasonably acquainted with the facts can maintain that our government doesn’t plunder the wealthy enough; it would require an ulterior motive for such a ludicrous belief.

Here's another example of limousine socialism: Goldman Sachs partners and the president of JP Morgan Chase, of which both institutions have veterans in the Obama administration, both gave strong initial support for the highly partisan, expensive and expansive Dodd-Frank regulation of the financial sector. Their banks are too big to fail: they can afford the roster of lawyers it takes to navigate the regulatory typhoon created by this legislation.

But it is much harder for their smaller competitors to afford these costs. Partners of major Wall Street law firms and the American Bar Association consistently support liberal politicians advocating additional regulation requiring more legal services. It is a universal observation of the philosophers that a nation with many laws is not a good nation, but it is also the universal observation of the lawyers that such a nation is ripe for devouring.

It is in their financial interest to create laws that the layman cannot understand or interpret. It’s not, of course, in the interest of the country—who else thinks it’s a good idea that we not know what we’re supposed to be doing?

In Florida, it is almost impossible for a 50 year old doctor or dentist from another state to get a license to practice. These license requirements are not for patients but are intended to protect existing professionals from competition, the very thing that would help patients by expanding their options and lowering prices.

Rich liberal environmentalists do not appreciate the irony when they propose gas miserly cars for the 99% but fly to environmental conferences in private jets like Al Gore or Barack Obama (in Air Force One, which costs six-figures per hour to run). They want to stop oil drilling and promote green technology with government subsidies to their political supporters in the industry. Few will publicly acknowledge, as Energy Secretary Chu has done, that the best way to increase the use of green technology is to increase the price of gas to $10!

The cost of their policies falls heavily on the poor, and the environmentalists urgently want to shift the blame for this onto greedy corporations and other bogeymen. At the same time, the environmentalists disavow the effectiveness of the market in letting price determine investment in green technology. It is not coincidental that developing countries put a low priority on the environment: they want to become rich enough to join the wealthy countries, who are meanwhile preaching environmentalism.



Politics of Resentment

Blaming others is so easy

Tom McLaughlin

Have you ever owned slaves? I haven’t. After years researching my ancestry in America and in Ireland going back to the mid-nineteenth century, I found no evidence that McLaughlins, Haggertys, Sullivans, McDonnells, Fitzgeralds, or any other branch of my family were slaveholders. Rather, many were near-slaves of British landlords. I feel no guilt about what happened to black slaves in America up to 1865, nor should I.

Neither do I feel any responsibility for discrimination against blacks in America during the 20th century. Catholics (which all my ancestors were) suffered from discrimination under British rule in Ireland until 1922. It continued until the 1980s or so, where the McLaughlin branch comes from in Ulster, but I don’t resent British people or Unionist protestants in Northern Ireland today, nor should I. It would only hurt me if I did.

That’s history - water under the bridge and over the dam. Virtually every race or ethnic group has suffered at one time or another. American blacks don’t have a monopoly on that. Some of my relatives here in America have suffered from discrimination against white males in the form of “Affirmative Action,” though it hasn’t been an obstacle for me that I’m aware of. I've written about all this in more depth here in a column titled "Heterosexual White Guy."

Growing up in greater Boston during the late 20th century, I was infused with resentment of the British. Rather than look in the mirror, my extended family routinely blamed them for whatever difficulties or lack of progress we perceived in ourselves. That resentment was quite readily transferred to Yankee Protestants even after Massachusetts government was virtually taken over by us Boston-Irish-Catholic-Democrats at almost every level and John Fitzgerald Kennedy was elected president. Then it was transferred to “the rich” where it remains ubiquitous in today’s Democrat Party. It wasn’t rational, but that’s how it was among the people with whom I grew up, and I was infected.

Overcoming that was a long process and I’m finally rid of it, but I haven’t forgotten how it was to think and feel that way. It helps me understand the Democrat Party’s appeal as well as the Obama campaign’s reelection strategy. Both still beat the same drum while America circles the drain under their leadership.
It’s all so clear to me lately as, down in Florida, I watch the “Reverends” Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson parrot the same tired victim language along with their fellow race pimps Louis Farrakhan and the New Black Panthers. Blame and resentment are their stock-in-trade. “All our problems stem from white racism and exploitation by ‘the rich,’ not from our own behavior or our own choices.” It’s their mantra.

America is stuck because too many black Americans wallow in victimhood while millions of other Americans feel guilty being white. Together, they comprise Obama’s base. His campaign rode that base to victory in 2008 and is revving up to ride it again in 2012. Both the “Occupy” movement and the orchestrated outrage over the Trayvon Martin death may both be understood in that context.

The Obama campaign nearly went off the rails in 2008 when the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago released a DVD of sermons by Barack Obama’s spiritual mentor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. First picked up by ABC News, it then went viral. “The world is controlled by rich, white people” bellowed Wright from his pulpit as other blacks in his congregation stood and ritually chanted agreement. That was just one of a series of outrageous things this reactionary, race-mongering hypocrite spewed from his Chicago church. Though Obama earlier claimed he’d attended Wright’s church for twenty years, he subsequently claimed never to have heard any of that vile filth and was shocked when he learned about it.

Yeah, right.

If ABC and the rest of the Mainstream Media hadn’t helped Obama smooth over and then close the lid on this Pandora’s box of campaign-killing material - and if Senator John McCain hadn’t ordered his operatives not to use it against his opponent - much more would have come out and there wouldn’t be a President Obama.

When he was thirty, Obama led a demonstration at Harvard in support of Marxist Professor Derrick Bell, who wrote at the time: “The whole [classical] liberal worldview of private rights and public sovereignty mediated by the rule of law needed to be exploded." Bell believed the U.S. Constitution was racist and was reportedly invited to speak at Wright’s church. Obama was a true believer in all that too, but he’s been able to smooth-talk it over and mitigate political damage.

His lapdog U.S. media have given him a free pass up to now and are cooperating fully in Florida as the “Reverends” Jackson and Sharpton whip up another racial frenzy before all the facts are in.
Remember Sharpton and Tawana Brawley? Remember the Duke Lacrosse team? Remember Obama said the Cambridge Police “acted stupidly” when another of his black Harvard professors had a snit? When he said last week that, “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon,” he was clearly implying that Martin was killed because he was black.

Remember, this is the Barack Obama who said: “White folks’ greed runs a world in need.” The president is in full campaign mode, stirring up resentment on one hand and pretending to transcend it on the other.

Or am I, like Obama’s grandmother, just thinking like a “typical white person”?



American Muslims who don't fit the Liberal Media Stereotype

When a group of us -- American Muslims -- went to New York City to voice the concerns of the silent majority and support the law enforcement there, we were confronted by the mainstream media's unabashed hostility.

I was surprised at how some of them practically harassed us, rather than wanting to know our opinions. They were argumentative and seemed to resent us for siding with the NYPD; they clearly had a highly suspicious attitude toward us Muslims, who were not falling in line with the pronouncements of those who echo the edict handed down from their local pulpit and did not represent those Muslims who prefer to represent themselves as perpetual victims.

In reality, a large majority of American Muslims want to live in peace and not be the bearers of some outdated Cold-War anti-American agenda. That silent majority, whose voices have been hijacked and misrepresented by Islamists, have no problem with law enforcement and have never been spied on or harassed by anyone. And even if they were vetted, one has to realize that at a time of war, if one has nothing to hide, these are the norms that under the rule of law need to be respected or observed. Organizations that are known lobbies of the Islamists' formula, like CAIR, MPAC, ISNA, NIAC, etc., promote themselves and claim to speak for that silent majority.

As a matter of fact, the only time I had two policemen come to my house was when an Islamist woman had sent them. I had told her, in the shopping center parking lot, not to beat up on her little girl and not to force her to wear hijab.

When I saw The Five on March 6, I was amazed at Bob Beckel's rejection of our group and message. "There were only 43 people, that was a complete set up, it was a public relations move, brining these guys," Beckel said with a dismissive attitude.

What this arbiter of political correctness is clearly unaware of is that his labels are irrelevant here and that he cannot use us to rationalize his weltanshauung. We were not set up, and we were not just hired extras. We are all educated and thinking people who will not be used by either Mr. Beckel or the hijackers of Islam in order to fit into a prefab social and ideological pigeonhole. Thanks to the U.S. Constitution, we are free to speak our minds in America and organize genuine grassroots organization that celebrates the diverse American Muslim community, and counters those very Islamists and their apologists who reject the heterogeneity of Muslims, rather than some runaway unilateral dominion run by elitist insiders.

I suggest that Mr. Beckel and the rest of the media who disagree with our position do some research on the crowd that was purportedly "set up by NYPD," as Beckel put it. Visit our site and read our biographies and get to know the real patriotic American Muslims.

If it is acceptable for Mr. Beckel to confront or take issue with the American ultra-conservative Christian establishment, then why are we as Muslims prohibited from arguing that very point in the Muslim community? Our question is: can't Muslims be progressives or intellectuals? Can't there be any secular, non-practicing, or liberal Muslims? Must we all be extremist radicals at war with the Western culture and way of life? Can't there be any gays among the Muslim men and women? Can't there be patriotic Muslims who are not totally submissive to or defined entirely by their religion, and who have a palpable appreciation for freedom, democracy, and the civil rule of law? And we should all go along with the propaganda war that has been perpetrated by the petro-funded Islamist organizations and their media supporters.

We have come to America from three different continents, 57 different countries, many different races of people, different languages, different cultures and historical backgrounds and many different sects of Islam. American Muslims are as diverse as American Christians are.

Muslims have come to America for the same reasons as other immigrants: economic prosperity and freedom. Many of us have fled the same radical Islamists who are now here with the same anti-American agendas, and this democracy has given them the power to speak.

American Muslims are Democrats, Republicans, or independents. They are mostly educated and fiercely independent, and no one can set them up. We came to America to get away from the Islamist dictatorships, and we now want to be left alone.




MO: Court strikes down proposed voter ID amendment: "A Cole County judge on Thursday struck down a proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution that would have required voters to show photo identification at the polls. Cole County Circuit Judge Pat Joyce ruled that the summary that would have appeared on the ballot was 'insufficient and unfair' and pointed to two reasons for her ruling."

Reproduce or pay a tax: The next ObamaCare: "The Solicitor General (the government’s top lawyer) will argue that there really is a baby market with adoptions. That market is so pressing that people are forced to go overseas for babies. But the real problem is that low birth rates (below replacement level) mean fewer and fewer workers paying for those on Social Security and Medicare. Solution: penalize those of childbearing age (men and women) who have fewer than 2.1 children (replacement level)"



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Friday, March 30, 2012

Obama the traitor

Pandering to a Fascist regime and hiding his intentions

This week, Americans were given a window into the way world leaders speak to one another in private. A conversation between President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was caught on a microphone that neither man realized was live.

"On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved," Obama said. "But it's important for [incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin] to give me space ... This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility."

"I understand," Medvedev responded. "I will transmit this information to Vladimir." The exchange comes two-and-a-half years after Obama scrapped Bush-era missile defense plans in Eastern Europe, bowing to pressure from the Russians.

This unfortunate hot-mic exchange will have security implications, and it will surely sour our relations with allies in that part of the world. But as much as America's allies might be angered by Obama's words, Americans should be even more so. Their president -- the man charged with conducting America's foreign policy and overseeing its defense -- told another world leader that he is willing to make concessions on an important issue once he has finally and permanently escaped accountability to them. At that point, Obama said, he will have "more flexibility," presumably to do something they might disapprove of in an election year or view as not in the nation's best interests.

Set aside the important question of missile defense -- Obama was a skeptic on that long before he ran for president. This magic microphone moment calls into question Obama's concept of government service. If he is acting in Americans' interests, why must he hide his intentions until his second term? The incident also suggests a rather dim view of American citizens -- as rabble unable to grasp the pros and cons of issues like missile defense.

This is not the first time Obama has behaved in this way. During the 2008 campaign, he and presidential rival Hillary Clinton were trying to outdo one another with populist, anti-free-trade rhetoric ahead of the Ohio primary. Obama went so far as to say he might try to pull the U.S. out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, causing some consternation for our Canadian neighbors.

Then the Associated Press obtained a Canadian diplomatic memo revealing that top Obama economic advisor Austan Goolsbee had met with Canada's consul general in Chicago. The memo states that Goolsbee reassured the Canadians that all of Obama's talk about NAFTA "should be viewed as more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans."

This new incident with Medvedev, like the earlier one with Canada, sends a message about Obama. His real foreign policy is not necessarily the foreign policy he wants Americans to think he is conducting.



The slipperiest of slippery slopes

Thomas Sowell

When a 1942 Supreme Court decision that most people never heard of makes the front page of the New York Times in 2012, you know that something unusual is going on.

What makes that 1942 case -- Wickard v. Filburn -- important today is that it stretched the federal government's power so far that the Obama administration is using it as an argument to claim before today's Supreme Court that it has the legal authority to impose ObamaCare mandates on individuals.

Roscoe Filburn was an Ohio farmer who grew some wheat to feed his family and some farm animals. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture fined him for growing more wheat than he was allowed to grow under the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, which was passed under Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce.

Filburn pointed out that his wheat wasn't sold, so that it didn't enter any commerce, interstate or otherwise. Therefore the federal government had no right to tell him how much wheat he grew on his own farm, and which never left his farm.

The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution says that all powers not explicitly given to the federal government belong to the states or to the people. So you might think that Filburn was right.

But the Supreme Court said otherwise. Even though the wheat on Filburn's farm never entered the market, just the fact that "it supplies a need of the man who grew it which would otherwise be reflected by purchases in the open market" meant that it affected interstate commerce. So did the fact that the home-grown wheat could potentially enter the market.

The implications of this kind of reasoning reached far beyond farmers and wheat. Once it was established that the federal government could regulate not only interstate commerce itself, but anything with any potential effect on interstate commerce, the Tenth Amendment's limitations on the powers of the federal government virtually disappeared.

Over the years, "interstate commerce" became magic words to justify almost any expansion of the federal government's power, in defiance of the Tenth Amendment. That is what the Obama administration is depending on to get today's Supreme Court to uphold its power to tell people that they have to buy the particular health insurance specified by the federal government.

There was consternation in 1995 when the Supreme Court ruled that carrying a gun near a school was not interstate commerce. That conclusion might seem like only common sense to most people, but it was a close 5 to 4 decision, and it sparked outrage when the phrase "interstate commerce" failed to work its magic in justifying an expansion of the federal government's power.

The 1995 case involved a federal law forbidding anyone from carrying a gun near a school. The states all had the right to pass such laws, and most did, but the issue was whether the federal government could pass such a law under its power to regulate interstate commerce.

The underlying argument was similar to that in the 1942 case of Wickard v. Filburn: School violence can affect education, which can affect productivity, which can affect interstate commerce.

Since virtually everything affects virtually everything else, however remotely, "interstate commerce" can justify virtually any expansion of government power, by this kind of sophistry.

The principle that the legal authority to regulate X implies the authority to regulate anything that can affect X is a huge and dangerous leap of logic, in a world where all sorts of things have some effect on all sorts of other things.

As an example, take a law that liberals, conservatives and everybody else would agree is valid -- namely, that cars have to stop at red lights. Local governments certainly have the right to pass such laws and to punish those who disobey them.

No doubt people who are tired or drowsy are more likely to run through a red light than people who are rested and alert. But does that mean that local governments should have the power to order people when to go to bed and when to get up, because their tiredness can have an effect on the likelihood of their driving through a red light?

The power to regulate indirect effects is not a slippery slope. It is the disastrous loss of freedom that lies at the bottom of a slippery slope.



Job Killers

John Stossel

Politicians say they "create jobs." In fact, only the private sector generates the information needed to create real, productive jobs.

Since this current post-recession job recovery is the slowest in 80 years, you'd think that even know-it-all politicians would want to sweep away the labyrinth of government regulations that hinders job creation. Successful job creators like Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Staples founder Tom Stemberg tell me there are so many new rules and taxes today that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for them to create the thousands of jobs they once made.

The feds now have 160,000 pages of rules. Does anyone read all that? I doubt it. (Members of Congress don't read the bills they vote on.) Do the rules make life safer? No. A few new rules are useful, but most are not. Their sheer volume makes us less safe and less free.

In fact, the thick rulebooks help cheaters by giving them an indecipherable screen to hide behind. They also mislead consumers by giving them the illusion of protection. "I don't need to worry because regulation protects me." It's why some sophisticated people gave all their savings to Bernie Madoff.

A false sense of security is worse than none at all.

And the waste! Americans will spend $46 billion a year to obey just the new regulations the Obama administration imposed. Think of the money diverted to lawyers, accountants and "compliance officers" -- money that might have created jobs and financed products that could make our lives better.

Alison Fraser, who keeps track of these things for the Heritage Foundation, points out that George W. Bush's administration was a big regulator, too. "President Bush ... had 28 major new rules passed in the first three years alone," said Fraser. "We've had a virtual explosion -- almost a regulatory assault on our system of free enterprise and on our job creators."

The mainstream media portray Bush as a deregulator and blame his nonexistent deregulation for the housing and financial debacle. But the opposite is true. Bush hired thousands of new regulators. He only looks good in comparison to Obama -- which is not saying much.

Advocates of regulations don't acknowledge the law of unintended consequences. The Department of Energy demands energy-efficient appliances. But the extra cost deters some consumers from buying new appliances, so they stick with the old, wasteful ones.

On top of doing little good, endless rules kill the freedom that made America the land of opportunity. We preach entrepreneurship, and try to teach children the value, satisfaction and excitement of starting their own businesses. Then we let entrepreneurial opportunity be crushed under the weight of the regulatory state. The byzantine rules send this message to Americans: Don't try. Don't build anything. Don't innovate. Don't create anything new.

Let's not overlook the fact that big businesses often have no problem with this. They frequently benefit from complex regulation because it increases the chance that potential competition won't even get off the ground. Big business's hand has been behind the regulatory state at least back to the Progressive Era.

I could give you endless examples of small businesses crushed by big government. Here are two:

Shelly Goodman paid millions to buy a 13,000-square-foot mansion on 10 acres in Arizona in order to create a wedding reception center and bed-and-breakfast. Local bureaucrats forced her to spend thousands of dollars on studies to show that her business would not create burdensome traffic or noise. She did. The studies said it wouldn't. Yet the big house sits empty because her local government refuses to let her operate a business, even on her own property.

In Virginia, Greg Garrett started farming oysters. His neighborhood is zoned for livestock. He could raise buffalo, but local bureaucrats decreed that he could not sell oysters. Why not? My staff talked to the zoning official, and we still have no clue. That's the case with a lot of American law. It's arbitrary power. Regulations are so numerous and complex that no one really understands them. This diminishes our ability to flourish.

Big government makes us all small.



Stalinism in El Paso

El Paso Mayor to Indict Voters Who Don't Support His Agenda? Lerftist arrogance on display, using Stalinist methods

In El Paso, Texas, Democrat Mayor John Cook is literally doing whatever he can to cram his political preferences down the throats of El Pasoans who voted against him. His latest effort in this regard has been convening a grand jury in El Paso to possibly indict those who oppose his policies, based solely on their speech.

It all began in 2010, when the City Council passed a measure granting taxpayer-paid benefits for same-sex couples. The citizens responded by passing a city-wide referendum overturning the measure. Not pleased that his policies were thwarted by the people, Cook went to the City Council again and instituted the benefits anyway, basically telling the people whom he represents that they’re not running the show—rather, he is.

Making matters worse, Cook himself cast the tie-breaking vote in the City Council vote that “overrode” the referendum and the will of the people.

As a result, various citizens, including pastors, people associated with ministries, and pro-family groups throughout the city, have united and collected the signatures needed to hold accountable public officials who threw out their vote. Not to be outdone, the Mayor has now sued these Christians and is using a Texas election law to stop the recall election. The city’s district attorney has even convened a grand jury and is threatening to prosecute every church member he can who took part in gathering petition signatures.

If this seems like a Rod Serling moment to you, and if you’re listening now for the Twilight Zone music to start playing, I regret to inform you that this is reality. This is really happening. This is how those in power abuse that power. Just as President Obama has ignored the rule of law and the will of the American people via his abortion pill/birth control mandate, so too the mayor has run roughshod over the citizens of El Paso and doesn’t plan to do anything but continue his stampede.

The very mayor who told one woman at a city council meeting, “You can take your freedom of speech outside,” is not about to be challenged.

We have to remember—for ideologues, the vision they want to implement is always more important than the people they represent.

Fortunately, the Christians in El Paso who have fought against this measure are not without a voice and legal representation. The Alliance Defense Fund has come along beside them and has collected more than 250 signed affidavits from local citizens who are terrified that they may go to jail for their legitimate political and free speech efforts.

ADF understands that the mayor can’t be allowed to put his opponents in jail just because they participated in a valid effort that he doesn’t favor – unless El Paso has suddenly relocated to Communist China.

The citizens of El Paso deserve better, and ADF is trying to make sure they get it by seeking a change in the Texas election law so that there is no longer any ambiguity about every state law’s need to respect rights protected by the First Amendment. In the meantime, the mayor cannot abuse this election law, intended to regulate financial political contributions, to stifle the political activity of his opponents. That battle is on appeal to the Texas Supreme Court on an expedited basis.

This isn’t Cuba or North Korea: it’s the United States of America. And here, where religious liberty and freedom of speech and assembly are constitutionally protected, the will of the people takes precedence over the arrogance of those who wish to set up their own kingdoms.




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Thursday, March 29, 2012

A genetic argument for minimal government

The man with the hat (Tuccille) understates the case below. There has long been evidence that overall political orientation is HIGHLY hereditary

If you and I entertain such inherently different preferences about the sort of society in which we want to live that common ground is limited, can expansive, top-down policy-making ever be anything more than an in-your-face power play? If political arguments are doomed to be unpersuasive to much of the opposition, no matter how well-stated, because of vast and largely unmovable differences in values and assumptions, isn’t keeping state interference in people’s lives to a minimum a matter not just of political preference, but the only course for avoiding a permanent state of low-level civil war?

I’ve written before about Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt‘s interesting research into the moral foundations of ideology and the different values and assumptions that separate liberals, conservatives and libertarians. These differences hold strong implications for the likely outcome of policy debates, since they make it clear that various factions often speak past each other, since they’re working from varying moral emphases and different concepts of good and bad when it comes to both means and ends — even the language they use can be confusing, since meanings of words vary among the factions.

Now Haidt comes forward with new information suggesting that conversation among ideological opponents can be even more difficult than previously thought. In an article (not yet online), “Born This Way?”, in the latest issue of Reason, Haidt writes of evidence that our ideology is, partially, determined by genetic factors that govern our risk aversion and our openness to new experiences. These innate traits then nudge us along paths in life that tend to reinforce our inherent inclinations.

Haidt is careful to emphasize that we’re not hard-wired into our political beliefs. He’s talking about a nudge that is likely to be self-reinforcing rather than genetically predetermined belief systems.

Genetics explains between one-third and one-half of the variability among people in their political attitudes. Being raised in a liberal or conservative household accounts for much less.

Our genetic traits lead us to respond to situations, pick careers, choose neighborhoods and associate with people in ways that reinforce our tendencies. Haidt points out that society has changed in recent years in ways that make it increasingly easy to surround ourselves with the familiar and like-minded and disassociate from people and situations that would pull us in a different direction.

Technology and changing residential patterns have allowed each of us to isolate ourselves within cocoons of likeminded individuals. In 1976, only 27 percent of Americans lived in “landslide” counties — counties that voted either Democratic or Republican by a margin of 20 percentage points or more. But the number has risen steadily; in 2008, 48 percent of Americans lived in a landslide county.

This same point about Americans self-sorting ourselves along ideological lines was made several years in The Big Sort by Bill Bishop and Robert G. Cushing. Now, Haidt tells us that we’re actually reinforcing genetic traits.

I don’t see anything in this research that’s guaranteed to make liberals, conservatives and libertarians like each other more, or find each other more sympathetic. But I do see lessons here regarding the limits of debate and the wisdom of letting people live their own lives with minimal interference. If we don’t just choose to embrace vastly different beliefs, but we entertain beliefs toward which we’re nudged by our internal source codes, it strikes me as both arrogant and cruel to impose policies on one another that must always be perceived by our opponents as alien and incomprehensible.

Democracy doesn’t change this dynamic, since democratic outcomes may just represent differences in genetic distributions across various populations, with the same impossibility of converting opponents to the majority’s way of thinking.

Yes, we need to be better about trying to understand each other, but I think it’s even more important to make allowances for each other’s preferences. The emphasis should be less on winning overall policy battles than on making as much space as possible for people to live according to their own beliefs — beliefs, it seems, that have their roots at the genetic level.



Geraldo's Point was right

Thomas Sowell

It is not often that I agree with Geraldo Rivera, but recently he said something very practical and potentially life-saving, when he urged black and Hispanic parents not to let their children go around wearing hoodies.

There is no point in dressing like a hoodlum when you are not a hoodlum, even though that has become a fashion for some minority youths, including the teenager who was shot and killed in a confrontation in Florida. I don't know the whole story of that tragedy, any more than those who are making loud noises in the media do, but that is something that we have trials for.

People have a right to dress any way they want to, but exercising that right is something that requires common sense, and common sense is something that parents should have, even if their children don't always have it.

Many years ago, when I was a student at Harvard, there was a warning to all the students to avoid a nearby tough Irish neighborhood, where Harvard students had been attacked. It so happened that there was a black neighborhood on the other side of the Irish neighborhood that I had to pass through when I went to get my hair cut.

I never went through that Irish neighborhood dressed in the style of most Harvard students back then. I walked through that Irish neighborhood dressed like a black working man would be dressed -- and I never had the slightest trouble the whole three years that I was at Harvard.

While I had a right to walk through that tough neighborhood dressed in a Brooks Brothers suit, if I wanted to -- and if I could have afforded one, which I couldn't -- it made no sense for me to court needless dangers.

The man who shot the black teenager in Florida may be as guilty as sin, for all I know -- or he may be innocent, for all I know. We pay taxes so that there can be judges and jurors who sort out the facts. We do not need Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton or the President of the United States spouting off before the trial has even begun. Have we forgotten the media's rush to judgment in the Duke University "rape" case that blew up completely when the facts came out?

If the facts show that a teenager who was no threat to anyone was shot and killed, it will be time to call for the death penalty. But if the facts show that the shooter was innocent, then it will be time to call for people in the media and in politics to keep their big mouths shut until they know what they are talking about.

Playing with racial polarization is playing with fire.

Much has been made of the fact that the teenager was unarmed. The only time I have ever pointed a loaded gun at a human being, I had no idea whether he was armed or not. All I knew was that I could hear his footsteps sneaking up behind me at night.

Fortunately for both of us, he froze in his tracks when I pointed a gun at him. If he had made a false move, I would have shot him. And if it had turned out later that he was unarmed, I would not have lost a moment's sleep over it.

You know that someone was unarmed only after it is all over. If he attacks, you have to shoot, if only to keep the attacker from getting your gun.

It so happened that the man I pointed a gun at was white. But he could have been any color of the rainbow, and it would not have made the slightest difference.

Let the specific facts come out in the Florida case. That is why we have courts.

Have we forgotten the Jim Crow era, with courts making decisions based on the race of the defendants, rather than the facts of the case? That is part of the past that we need to leave in the past, not resurrect it under new racial management.

Who is really showing concern for the well-being of minority youngsters, Geraldo Rivera who is trying to save some lives, or Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and others who are hyping this tragic episode for their own benefit?

Race hustlers who hype paranoia and belligerence are doing no favor to minority youngsters. There is no way to know how many of these youngsters' confrontations with the police or others in authority have been needlessly aggravated by the steady drumbeat of racial hype they have been bombarded with by race hustlers.

SOURCE. (More commentary on GUN WATCH)


Are the "Less Fortunate" Less Fortunate?

Dennis Prager

In his front-page-of-the-business-section "Economic Scene" column in The New York Times last week, Eduardo Porter wrote, "The United States does less than other rich countries to transfer income from the affluent to the less fortunate."

Think about that sentence for a moment. It ends oddly. Logic dictates that it should have said, "transfer income from the affluent to the less affluent," not the less fortunate.

But for Porter, as for the left generally, those who are not affluent are not merely "less affluent," they are "less fortunate."

Why is this? Why is the leftist division almost always between the "affluent" and the "less fortunate" or between the "more fortunate" and the "less fortunate"?

To understand the left, one must understand that in its view the greatest evil is material inequality. The left is more troubled by economic inequality than by evil, as humanity has generally understood the term. The leftist divides the world not between good and evil but rich and poor.

Because inequality is the chief moral concern of the left, the words "less affluent" or even "poorer" do not meet the left's moral needs. It needs to believe, and to have others believe, that what separates economic classes is not merely how much material wealth members of each class have. Rather, it is the amount of good and bad luck -- "fortune," as the left puts it -- that each class has.

This is how the left justifies high taxes. Isn't it only fair and moral that as much money as possible be taken from the lucky and given to the unlucky? After all, the affluent didn't achieve affluence through harder work, but through greater luck.

To acknowledge that most of America's affluent (meaning those who earn over $200,000) have attained their affluence through hard work is to undermine the fairness issue at the core of the left's understanding of economic inequality and justification for confiscatory taxes.

For the left, affluence is won, not earned. Indeed, English is one of the few languages that even has or uses the word "earn" in regard to income. In Romance languages such as French, the verb meaning to earn is "gagner," which means "to win." In terms of language, in America, people earn their wealth, while in most of Europe and Latin America, people win it.

The fact is that, except for those very few whose wealth is overwhelmingly or entirely inherited, the more affluent have usually worked harder than the less affluent. While, of course, there are hardworking poor people just as there are Wall Street CEOs who do not deserve their "golden parachutes," in America, differences in income exist largely because of the values and the hard work of those who make more money.

In this regard, The Washington Post reported the findings of Harvard professor Daniel Kahneman, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics:

"People who make less than $20,000 a year ... told Kahneman and his colleagues that they spend more than a third of their time in passive leisure -- watching television, for example. Those making more than $100,000 spent less than one-fifth of their time in this way -- putting their legs up and relaxing. Rich people spent much more time commuting and engaging in activities that were required as opposed to optional."

But for the left, it's all about "fortune." Every poll about the left, the right and happiness reveals that the further left one goes, the less happy the person is likely to be. This is one of the reasons: If you really believe that people wealthier than you are just luckier than you, how can you not be angry, resentful and unhappy?

On the other hand, there are tens of millions of conservatives who make much less money than others -- yet feed their families, own a house and a car, have decent children, derive great meaning from their religion and live in the freest country in the world -- who never call themselves "less fortunate." They call themselves fortunate.




When in Rome: A theory of how to change moral sentiments: "It is easier to get people to opt into a society with different norms than it is to convince them to change their behavior while everyone else remains the same. Grafting new rules on top of old institutions is a perilous journey. There’s lots to talk about in Jonathan Haidt’s fascinating book, The Righteous Mind, but I was struck by Haidt’s own story. He didn’t notice how impoverished the typical secular urban moral palette is until he lived in India."

Terrorist Alert: Government extremists threaten Americans: "Question: are you more terrified by Muslim extremists, by 'domestic terrorists' -- or by your own government? Which group is more likely to assault you? To kill you? To unjustly imprison and even torture you?"

Egypt and the perversion of American values: "The current controversy over U.S. foreign aid to Egypt highlights perfectly the moral bankruptcy of U.S. foreign policy and what such a policy has done to our nation. For the past three decades, the U.S. government has been funneling billions of dollars to the military dictatorship in Egypt. Notice the operative word in that sentence: dictatorship"

Court may restrain Donks: "As most readers are no doubt aware, the Supreme Court this week takes up six hours of argument in the Obamacare litigation. Constitutional claims that were originally dismissed as 'frivolous' and 'easy' are now getting three days of hearings -- unprecedented in the modern era. The Court has thus signaled what the American people have known all along, that the government’s breathtaking assertion of power goes beyond anything attempted in the history of the Republic."

The receding tide: "In America, the Constitution is largely and increasingly ignored by the government. Constitutionally the three branches of government are co-equal, but in practice the Supreme Court is of little consequence and Congress is the action arm of a corporate oligarchy. Constitutionally Congress must declare war, but now the president sends combat troops wherever he pleases and Congress reads about it in the Washington Post. The president can order citizens murdered, ignore habeas corpus, monitor and store email. The government can search you at will with no pretense of probable cause. Third World."



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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Capitalism is Codified Human Nature; Socialism is Not Human at All

Dick McDonald

Capitalism is the economic construct that allows everyone to choose their own financial destiny. Socialism, on the other hand, puts everyone in a bottle and predetermines their financial future. As man comes into this world with his own unique DNA capitalism is a good fit whereas socialism fails wherever it has been tried. Socialism is illogical and inhuman – not everyone is the same.

However, socialism has been on the ascent in America for the last 75 years. It has been fueled by a very common human condition – compassion for the less fortunate. Under President Barack Obama I believe American socialism has now reached its zenith. He has not only tried to buck human nature he has ran out of money.

Early on Barack Obama promised: “we’re going to reshape mean spirited and selfish America.” We hope everyone understands that after three years in office Obama’s policies have created a country more mean-spirited than just about any time in its history. Obama’s class warfare offensive is tearing America apart philosophically because Obama’s solution is to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor.

Adding to the dissension is the American media. In the pocket of Democrats, the media is doing its best to promote an anti-capitalist fever. They got their chance to do it harm when some disgruntled low level stock broker at Goldman Sachs wrote a letter to his boss the NYT happened to publish 15 minutes later. Can you say collusion of the socialist Times? Of course not, the left controls what is printed and said and the capitalist have nothing to say.

What the employee had to say was a repeat of the Obama offensive formulated so many years ago. Goldman Sachs was ripping off their clients because they were mean spirited and selfish.... It was an obviously scripted attempt to demean capitalism and promote Obama’s collectivist, socialist agenda.

Like nature itself capitalism is based on the survival of the fittest. Somehow Obama wants to change human nature. He wants to change the extremes by taking the strongest animals and weaken them and conversely strengthen the weakest. That may work in a test tube but it doesn’t in real life. Nature is funny that way.

Capitalism’s “competition” is its survival mechanism. Its “creative destruction” and its “bankruptcy” are the lifelines to fight another day. Striving to be better is not greed or selfishness; it is human nature. To get up after you fall down and start fighting again is human nature 101. Unfortunately for the left under socialism there is no reward for striving to be better. You may never fall down but you never have a chance to really stand up.

In America the left’s socialist policies have run up over $130 trillion of debt or over a million dollars of debt for each and every one of the 115 million households.

It will only get worse if the Democrats and Obama are re-elected in November and allowed to continue driving us off an economic cliff with their unnatural, illogical attempt to change human nature..

Received via email. I am not so sure about Dick's characterization of the Greg Smith attack on Goldman Sachs as a put-up job, though others have queried the Greg Smith account too. Ever since Adam Smith, defenders of the free market have known that big business is not necessarily your friend


How Can We Keep The 'Wolf In Sheep's Clothing' At Bay?

By Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (ret)

Among other things, Afghanistan objects to the U.S. policy of nighttime raids on Afghan homes and its positioning of military units in villages. Kabul wants the raids to stop and for U.S. units stationed in villages to be withdrawn to centralized bases. The United States says the nighttime raids are necessary to apprehend Taliban commanders while the village deployments help stabilize the countryside.

(Conducting these raids at night -- most of which act on U.S. intelligence concerning known militants -- actually limits civilian casualties as the element of surprise reduces likelihood of a long, drawn-out firefight.)

Kabul says its own forces can perform the security and stabilization role U.S. forces have played and that night raids should at least be approved in advance -- even when conducted in partnership with Afghan units -- by obtaining a judicial warrant. It is the advance notice demand that should worry the Americans most.

There have been numerous incidents in Afghanistan over the years involving a "wolf in sheep's clothing" by which a perceived friend, in actuality, is the foe.

Kabul has proven incompetent at weeding this danger from among its own troops.

Most recently, after the burning of the Korans, just such a wolf-in-sheep's-clothing incident occurred when two U.S. military officers were shot dead from behind while at their desks in what was a very secure Afghan ministry office.

An absence of trust for our Afghan allies has long been a factor in the U.S. relationship with them -- even before the Koran burning incident and massacre contributed to their distrust toward the Americans.

Distrust was the reason for not giving advance notice to another ally -- Pakistan -- when a U.S. Navy SEALs team zeroed in on Osama bin Laden's hideout. The decision was made that it was better to kill the terrorist mastermind than err on the side of risking his being tipped off and escaping by giving Pakistan prior notice.

Similarly, it is better to ensure that the life of one American soldier isn't put at risk by erring on the side of informing the Afghan government in advance when conducting night raids.

Saving American lives is just as important, if not more so, than extinguishing the life of a well-known terrorist. As such, the same safeguards should be employed.

American lives in Afghanistan shouldn't be put at risk to satisfy Afghan sensitivities, especially when the Afghan government is incapable of purging itself of the wolf in sheep's clothing lurking within its own forces.



Time to Air Muslim Violence Against Christians

Did you read about Sheik Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, and his call this month to "destroy all the churches of the region?"

You might think that’s big news – big enough to garner some attention from America’s leading media – especially because the Grand Mufti is among the Muslim world’s leading authorities. He is President of the Supreme Council of Ulema [Islamic scholars] and Chairman of the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing of Fatwas, according to the Middle East Forum’s Raymond Ibrahim.

A Kuwaiti delegation had asked the Grand Mufti about a Kuwaiti parliament member’s call for the "removal" of churches in his country, later clarified to a ban on new ones. In response, the Grand Mufti called it "necessary to destroy all the churches of the region." He reportedly relied on the famous tradition, or "hadith," that the Prophet Mohammed ruled on his deathbed, "There are not to be two religions in the [Arabian] Peninsula."

But, the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today apparently didn’t find it newsworthy. It was relegated to conservative media (e.g., Washington Times, FOX online), Muslim-focused websites, and lots of blogs.

However appalling, mainstream media reticence to cover that news is understandable in one sense. Its coverage would force public discussion of dicey issues that challenge the political correctness that all-too-often pervades our thinking about relations between the West and the Muslim world.

We’d have to ask the inconvenient question of whether the Grand Mufti’s call is but one element of a "war on Christians" across the Muslim world.

And if we did that, we’d have to ask whether such intolerance, and the violence against Christians that has swept Muslim-dominated nations in recent months, reflects a fringe element or more mainstream attitudes.

Consider the events of recent weeks (as drawn from the monthly compilation that Ibrahim categorizes under "Muslim Persecution of Christians"):

"Half of Iraq’s indigenous Christians are gone due to the unleashed forces of jihad," he wrote. Many fled to Syria where, alas, "Christians are experiencing a level of persecution unprecedented in the nation’s modern history."

Meanwhile, 100,000 Christian Copts have fled Egypt since Hosni Mubarak’s downfall unleashed Islamic forces, while 95 percent of Christians have left northern Nigeria where the Islamist group Boko Haram has been slaughtering them. The group announced recently that it’s planning a "war on Christians" in the coming weeks to, a spokesman said, "end the Christian presence in our push to have a proper Islamic state."

Elsewhere of late, a dozen armed Muslim men stormed a church in Pakistan, seriously wounding several Christians; armed men ransacked a church in Algeria after threatening and attacking the pastor and his wife repeatedly since 2007; and 50 Palestinian Muslims stoned Christian tourists on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

Muslims attacked one pastor with acid and shot another in Uganda; Al-Shababb Muslims beheaded a Muslim convert to Christianity in Somalia (marking the third such beheading there in recent months); and Iran sentenced a Christian convert to two years in prison, arrested as many as 10 others while they met to worship at a home, and is preparing to execute a pastor for refusing to renounce Christianity.

One person who is not afraid to term the violence a "war on Christians" is Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the former Somali Muslim who fled to the West, served in the Dutch Parliament, wrote the controversial film "Submission," and lives in hiding in the United States due to her views about Islam.

"We hear so often about Muslims as victims of abuse in the West and combatants in the Arab Springs’s fight against tyranny," she wrote in a February 6 piece for The Daily Beast. "But, in fact, a wholly different kind of war is underway – an unrecognized battle costing thousands of lives. Christians are being killed in the Islamic world because of their religion. It is a rising genocide that ought to provoke a global alarm."

Hirsi Ali is a polarizing figure, so we shouldn’t be surprised that her piece drew fire from such individuals as Joyce Dubensky, CEO of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, and John Esposito, Founding Director of Georgetown University’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.

Yes, they agreed, anti-Christian violence in Muslim lands is real. But, they said, Christians are not the only minorities who face attack, nor is Islam the only religion with fundamentalists who espouse violence. Phrases like "war on Christians," they said, are inflammatory and overblown.

With violence against Christians mounting across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia – with thousands dead and millions fearing they may be next – this seems like an issue that deserves some attention.

Unfortunately, America’s top newspapers find it too hot to handle.



America needs more free speech, not less

When students from a Lutheran high school showed up at the Wisconsin Capitol for a visit, they encountered a protest against their state's governor. Spontaneously, the students began to sing and chant in support of the governor. It was a model of free speech on display -- people on both sides of an issue freely expressing themselves. However, according to a variety of reports, some activists called the school to complain. "People identified themselves as union leaders, protestors," the school's executive director told the Sheboygan Press.

In reaction to some conservative radio talk show hosts utilizing disparaging, though not illegal, speech, the Los Angeles City Council passed a resolution calling on local TV and radio stations to limit what the council sees as "racist" and "sexist" comments on their broadcasts. The council was wise enough to use a resolution that does not have the force of law. If the council was to pass a law attempting to restrict the speech of media personalities, it likely would be found unconstitutional because it would be the government seeking to regulate speech.

I will not defend crass comments of media personalities. While I might find them rude, crude and wholly inappropriate, I do think they have the freedom to express themselves. The public has a right to turn them off and ignore them.

In a time when more speech is needed, too many seem reticent to "defend while disapproving." Rather than expand dialogue and freedom of expression, it seems they want to restrict debate. Could it be they are afraid their philosophies may not fare well in the market place of ideas?




Obamacare’s contract problem: "Today, the Supreme Court begins three days of oral arguments concerning possible ... constitutional infirmities in Obamacare. The justices have received many amicus briefs, one of which merits special attention because of the elegant scholarship and logic. ... Now the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public-interest law firm, has focused on this fact: The individual mandate is incompatible with centuries of contract law. This is so because a compulsory contract is an oxymoron."

Sunset VAWA — sunrise domestic violence reform: ""Research shows that DV is initiated about equally by men and women; slightly more women than men are physically harmed by DV but nonetheless men still represent more than 40% of the physically harmed victims; the DV initiation rates for women, and especially young women, have been rising sharply in recent years; and DV has nothing to do with an evil patriarchy because the DV rates for bisexuals, gays, and lesbians all are higher than for heterosexual couples. VAWA thus not only 'has no clothes' but VAWA also has no empirically sound research legs to stand on."

Are food trucks really like child molesters? "The food police division of the California General Assembly is at it again, and this time the fella who knows the least about culture and food in blossoming metropoles is having the loudest say. Assemblyman Bill Monning (D-27) has declared food trucks an enemy of the state, a destroyer of schools, and buster of belts."

NY: City-funded group teaches homeless how to invade apartments: "It’s breaking and entering for dummies. Picture the Homeless, a Bronx nonprofit that has received at least $240,000 in taxpayer money in the last five years, is giving a crash course on squatting -- and city-owned buildings are a prime target. Two weeks ago, board member Andres Perez held a teach-in on how to wrest 'control' of vacant apartments. He called it 'homesteading.' ... He then led them through the next steps -- including filling out a change-of-address form at the post office and setting up utilities."

Israel ends contact with biased UN Human Rights Council: "Israel has cut working relations with the UN Human Rights Council, officials say, after it decided to investigate Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The foreign ministry has reportedly told its envoy in Geneva not to co-operate with the council or with UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay. It will also prevent a UN team entering Israel to assess the effects of settlements on Palestinian rights."



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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Obama is a psychopathic liar

In addition to the events discussed below, see here

This past Sunday, the Washington Post ran a lengthy front-page article on Obama's machinations during the debt ceiling debate last summer. See here. Rush Limbaugh spent a considerable amount of his on-air time Monday discussing one of the highlights of the piece: Barack Obama deliberately lied to the American people concerning the intransigence of the Republicans in the House of Representatives. The fact that a pillar of the sycophantic mainstream media would publish a story claiming that their hero lied is amazing.

In the United States there is great deference paid to the occupant of the White House. Justifiably so, as that person is the chief operating officer of the country and, more importantly, the head of state, representing the nation around the globe. His actions and demeanor set the tone for not only the political class, but the country as a whole. Over the centuries there have many exceptional but also a few inept men to hold the office of president.

Today, so much power is vested in the office of president that honor and integrity must be hallmarks of a president's character. Unfortunately, they are not with Barack Obama -- he may well be the most dishonest and disingenuous occupant of the Oval Office in history, and he will do more damage to the nation than all his predecessors combined.

His failings can no longer be excused by this historical deference or timidity fostered by race with the euphemisms of spin, obfuscation, fabrication, or politics being used to avoid the truth. Obama is extremely adept at exploiting the celebrity culture that has overwhelmed this society, as well as the erosion of the education system that has created a generation or more of citizens unaware of their history, culture, and the historical ethical standards based on Judeo-Christian teaching.

While the future of the country depends on dramatically altering the economic and governing landscape, it cannot do so unless the opposition politicians and average citizens forcefully challenge and respond to the lies and machinations of Barack Obama and his allies without fear of what may be said about them or to them.
The reality is that to Barack Obama. lying, aka "spin," is normal behavior. There is not a speech or an off-the cuff comment since he entered the national stage that does not contain some falsehood or obfuscation.

A speech on energy made last week and repeated on March 22 is reflective of this mindset. He is now attempting to portray himself as being in favor of drilling in order to increase oil production and approving pipeline construction, which stands in stark contrast to his stated and long-term position on energy and reiterated as recently as three weeks ago. This is a transparent and obvious ploy to once again fool the American people by essentially lying to them.

The performance by Barack Obama last August as referenced by the Washington Post was such an obvious and egregious falsehood that it could no longer be ignored. Yet there has been five years of outright lies and narcissism that have been largely ignored by the media, including some in the conservative press and political class who are loath to call Mr. Obama what he is, in the bluntest of terms, a liar and a fraud.

That he relies on his skin color to intimidate, either outright or by insinuation, those who oppose his radical agenda only adds to his audacity. It is apparent that he has gotten away with his character flaws his entire life, aided and abetted by the sycophants around him; thus, he is who he is and cannot change.



An ignoramus leading ignoramuses

Pew Research: Republicans More Knowledgeable Than Democrats

In the latest survey...Republicans outperformed Democrats on every single one of 19 questions. So Republicans are more knowledgeable than Democrats, contrary to what many would like to believe.

According to whom? None other than the Pew Research Center, a left-of-center organization. Moreover, Pew’s latest survey only reaffirms previous surveys demonstrating the same result.

In fact, the results weren’t even close. In a scientific survey of 1,168 adults conducted during September and October of last year, respondents were asked not only multiple-choice questions, but also queries using maps, photographs and symbols. Among other subjects, participants identified international leaders, cabinet members, Supreme Court justices, nations on a world map, the current unemployment and poverty rates and war casualty totals.

In a 2010 Pew survey, Republicans outperformed Democrats on 10 of 12 questions, with one tie and Democrats outperforming Republicans on just 1 of the 12. In the latest survey, however, Republicans outperformed Democrats on every single one of 19 questions.

Amusingly, the Pew report attempted to soften the stark partisan knowledge disparity:
“Republicans generally outperformed Democrats on the current quiz. On 13 of the 19 questions, Republicans score significantly higher than Democrats and there are no questions on which Democrats did better than Republicans. In past knowledge quizzes, partisan differences have been more muted, though Republicans often have scored somewhat higher than Democrats.”

“Generally outperformed?” “Somewhat higher?” That’s a curiously charitable way to describe the surveys, which went from previous blowouts to a complete shutout in the latest edition.

Those Pew results are confirmed by some surprising other sources. According to a New York Times headline dated April 14, 2010, “Poll Finds Tea Party Backers Wealthier and More Educated.” Shattering widespread myths, that survey revealed that Tea Party supporters were more likely to possess a college degree than their counterparts (23% to 15%), and also more likely to have completed post-graduate studies (14% to 10%). Tea Partiers were also more likely to have completed “some college” by a 33% to 28% margin, and substantially less likely to have not completed high school than non-supporters (3% versus 12%), or to possess only a high school degree (26% versus 35%).

Those results will probably come as a rude awakening to supporters of Barack Obama, but it won’t to anyone paying attention. As just the latest example, consider the cheap laugh line that Obama keeps repeating on his current reelection tour thinly disguised as an energy policy apologia. As gasoline prices continue to rise due in part to his agenda, Obama likens anyone critical of his failed energy decisions to a modern-day “Flat Earth Society” in speech after speech.

The problem for Obama is that his attempted slur betrays historical illiteracy, as summarized nicely by conservative blogger Clayton Cramer:
“Now, if you attended high school, or college, you would know (or should know) that there was no educated European who thought the Earth was flat. None. The dispute that made it hard for Columbus to get funding was that he insisted the Earth was 18,000 miles in circumference, so the Indies were a plausible voyage west from Spain. The experts who told the various governments of Europe that Columbus wasn’t going to be successful thought the Earth was closer to 25,000 miles around – and sailing west to the Indies was going to be a failure. Had there not been the Americas in the way, Columbus and crew would have died of thirst.”

On his current tour, Obama also inaccurately maligned former President Rutherford B. Hayes as disdainful of the telephone. As Mona Charen also noted this week, Obama also “told us that America invented the automobile and that John F. Kennedy had met with Nikita Kruschev when we were on the brink of nuclear war,” when in fact the automobile was invented in Germany and Kennedy actually met Kruschev one year prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

This is the same President who referred to “57 states,” misstated the Citizens United decision in an address to the nation, pronounced Navy “corpsman” as “corpse-man” and blatantly misrepresented that Japanese automobiles now average 45 miles per gallon to our 27.5 standard.

Meanwhile, gas prices continue to break records while the Trash-Talker-in-Chief trots out fraudulent “flat earth” and “Rutherford B. Hayes” rhetoric.

None of this disparages anyone of any educational pedigree. It does, however, once again debunk the notion among preening liberals that they collectively maintain a knowledge or educational superiority.



The Death of Trayvon Martin: Is There Nothing Progressives Won’t Exploit?

A 17-year-old kid is shot dead. Police are investigating…and progressives see an opportunity. The Trayvon Martin case, in addition to being a tragedy, is a case study in political exploitation and progressive tactics.

The shooting death of a 17-year-old is horrible, whatever the circumstances and no matter their race. But progressives seem to care about this case only because of the race of the victim. There are thousands of murders that don’t “fit the bill” for exploitation and thus are ignored by these self-appointed “justice seekers.”

What happened that night? I don’t know. But neither do any of the race hustlers, such as Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, who speak of it as if they are clairvoyant. They care deeply about Trayvon’s family… as long as there are cameras around.

This lack of actual knowledge doesn’t stop progressives – many of whom call for due process rights and the presumption of innocence for terror suspects in Guantanamo Bay – from demanding the head of George Zimmerman, the shooter in this case. The hypocrisy runs deep.

I understand the tragedy here but not the selective outrage. There are thousands of murders in this country each year. How many have you heard of? A large percentage of those murder victims are younger than 30. How many have you heard of? Only a few.

How many cause people to take to the streets in protest? How many occupy a large portion of cable news? How many do these progressives screaming for the head of George Zimmerman ever mention on their TV or radio shows? You know the answer.

For progressives to care about someone who has been killed there must be an ulterior motive. In the case of Trayvon Martin, there are many.

First, race. That news outlets can’t talk about this case without mentioning Trayvon’s race is a testament to how successful progressives have been in instilling a segregationist mindset in the media. That they rarely mention the shooter’s race is a testament to just how far progressives will go to exploit tragedy to advance their divide and conquer agenda. Zimmerman is Hispanic, not white, as originally thought. Since the race-hustling machine was already in motion and impossible to stop, they and their fellow travellers in the media simply ignore it.

Bill Maher, HBO’s resident crap-flinging monkey, tweeted, “No probable cause in #TrayvonMartin murder? If a dead unarmed teen and an angry racist with a smoking gun is too subtle a clue, what isn't?”

Is Zimmerman a racist? I have no idea (his father and neighbor say no), but I do know Bill Maher has no idea either. But that doesn’t stop progressive Maher from making a definitive statement on the issue. Facts don’t matter in pursuit of the agenda.

Second, policy. Progressives always have hated Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law. This case offered an opportunity to demonize it, and they took it – even though it does not apply to this case. Zimmerman wasn’t “standing his ground;” he was following Martin. Whatever happened when they engaged in their confrontation is a separate matter.

But again, facts don’t matter. The fascist progressives blame the law, almost as much as the shooter, for Martin’s death. Before any investigation is complete, calls for repeal (which were there before the shooting) are getting louder and louder. Mindless media drones and the professionally outraged progressive mob are calling for repeal. Screw facts; they demand action.

Third, politics. The one thing progressives value above all else is political power. They will dance on Trayvon Martin’s grave to keep people divided into the groups and sub-groups they’ve worked so hard to create and manipulate.

Media Matters, a fascistic group of anti-First Amendment progressives whose mission is allegedly to correct conservative bias in the media, has been promoting the Trayvon Martin story. What bias is there in this case? No one, right or left, doesn’t consider this a tragedy. It’s just that some don’t want to call for more blood without an investigation. But when Media Matters is involved, you can bet the Democrat Party is pulling the strings.

Enter MSNBC. MSNBC’s lineup is a who’s who of detestable bigots and professional hatemongers whose only goal in life is to advance the progressive agenda at all costs. Rather than focus on the life of Trayvon or the tragedy of his death, MSNBC had a segment entitled “The GOP agenda that produced ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws.” The dots were laid out so plainly even most of their intelligence-challenged audience could connect them – GOP pushed Stand Your Ground, Stand Your Ground is responsible for Trayvon’s death, therefore the GOP is responsible for Trayvon’s death.

Since many of the uninformed who watch MSNBC need things spelled out for them because they’re too busy trying to figure out why they can’t eat tomato soup with a fork, fill-in host and noted idiot racist Karen Finney went all-in. Mimicking the time progressives blamed Sarah Palin for the tragic Tucson shooting, only to have the insane man behind it be exposed as an anti-war, anti-Bush leftist, Finney blamed Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney for the death of Trayvon.

The only thing more disgusting than Finney knowingly (and believe me, she knows) exploiting the death of a 17-year-old for political purposes, or a “news” organization broadcasting that on their network is knowing of the other deaths and murders they willingly ignore because the victims, the perpetrators or both have the incorrect skin pigment to advance their agenda.

A human life is a human life to everyone – well,, to everyone but progressives. To them, a human life is a tool, a toy, a means by which their anti-liberty, anti-American agenda can be advanced, provided those involved in taking it have the correct type and order of melanin, genitals or any other subdividing characteristics they deem worthy of outrage. The rest? The thousands who don’t fit their mold? They can rot. They can rot just like those who fit the mold in the past, served their purpose and are now forgotten for new pawns.

The death of Trayvon Martin is a tragedy, just as the death of every person who passes in such a matter is a tragedy. How it came to be will be determined in the due course of an honest investigation, not by exploiting a family’s tragedy for votes and ratings.

The only way to give Trayvon justice, for non-progressives still interested in such things, is to let the investigation lead where it goes, not pass the same prejudgment on George Zimmerman progressives accuse him of passing on Trayvon. It’s time for progressives to stop dancing on Trayvon Martin’s grave, to stop dancing on the graves of all the victims they exploit, take off their bigoted blinders and join the rest of society.

They won’t. They can’t. It’s who they are. So it’s up to the rest of us to help them at the ballot box by continually rejecting any and everyone who would seek to abuse victims for political gain. Especially when that trail leads to the White House.

SOURCE (More commentary on GUN WATCH)



Liberating The Hunger Games: "As legions of fans descend on theaters this March to watch the The Hunger Games, I wonder how many will have also recognized in her books another theme that may well give her trilogy a shelf life equal to that of that of another great social critic, George Orwell. While Suzanne Collins’ story includes most of the critical elements needed to fit the sensibilities of modern movies -- the ever present potential of its teenage protagonist’s death, oppression by a barbaric central government, and a post-apocalyptic fantasy setting -- another theme is equally and perhaps more important: The quest for personal liberty."

Jump-start the economy with tax relief, not tax reform: "What this country needs is tax relief, not tax reform. All you have to do is look at American history to see the proof of this. When taxes are reduced, and the nation is at peace, the economy thrives and people prosper. When taxes are raised, and the nation is at war, the economy stagnates. There is no escape from these simple economic realities."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.



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Monday, March 26, 2012

Romney, Republicans, and the young

by Jeff Jacoby

"I don't mean to be flip with this," said Mitt Romney during a Q-and-A with students at the University of Chicago last week. "But I don't see how a young American can vote for a Democrat." He cheerfully apologized to anyone who might find such a comment "offensive," but went on to explain why he was in earnest.

The Democratic Party "is focused on providing more and more benefits to my generation, mounting trillion-dollar annual deficits my generation will never pay for," Romney said. While Democrats are perpetrating "the greatest inter-generational transfer of wealth in the history of humankind," Republicans are "consumed with the idea of getting federal spending down and creating economic growth and opportunity so we can balance our budget and stop putting these debts on you."

The government's record-breaking debts "are not frightening to people my age, because we'll be gone," Romney argued, but "they ought to be frightening to death to people your age!" He regretted not doing a better job of getting that message across to younger voters. "You guys ought to be out," Romney insisted, "working like crazy for me and for people like me: conservatives, who want to keep the cost of government down and give you a brighter future."

About one thing Romney is surely correct: Washington's staggering spending binge is entailing a burden of fearsome proportions on the millennial generation -- voters in their late teens and 20s. With the government more than $15.5 trillion in debt and continuing to borrow 40 cents of every dollar it spends, Generation Y is in for a prolonged economic beating. The national debt now exceeds the entire annual output of the US economy. Millennials will be paying for it through higher taxes, slower growth, reduced public services, fewer jobs, lower incomes, and a more uncertain future than their parents or grandparents confronted.

But that debt wasn't piled up without plenty of Republican help. During George W. Bush's presidency, annual federal spending skyrocketed from $1.8 trillion to $3.4 trillion, and $4.9 trillion was added to the national debt. Bush left the White House, in fact, as the biggest spender since LBJ. Granted, the profligacy of Barack Obama has outstripped even Bush's bacchanal: CBS reports that Obama has added more to the national debt in just three years and two months than Bush did in his entire eight years. Still, younger voters can hardly be blamed if they haven't noticed that Republicans are "consumed with the idea of getting federal spending down."

In any case, even persuasive economic arguments don't always sway voters. Romney's lament that twentysomethings aren't "working like crazy" for Republicans like him mirrors the frustration of liberals like Thomas Frank, whose best-selling "What's the Matter With Kansas?" made the case that heartland Americans hurt their own interests by not supporting Democrats. It takes more to win voters' loyalty than just appealing to their pocketbooks. Romney may be right about millennials' economic interests, but so far they've been voting like lockstep Democrats. They went two-to-one for Obama over John McCain, and backed John Kerry over Bush in 2004. Their enchantment with Obama may have fallen off -- according to the Pew Research Center, just 49 percent of young voters approve the president's job performance, a sharp drop since 2009 -- but they are still more likely than any other age group to describe themselves as Democrats.

It is common for voters to lean leftward when young and incline to the right with age. In a major report on "The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election," Pew notes that members of the "Silent Generation" -- those born before 1945 -- were once one of the most Democratic cohorts, but today are the most Republican. Baby Boomers, too, are moving rightward. Of voters born between 1946 and 1964, Pew finds, far more identify themselves as conservative than as liberal: "A majority of Boomers now favors a smaller government that provides fewer services. When they were in their 20s and 30s, Boomers were more supportive of big government."

But while "young = liberal" may be a familiar equation, it isn't chiseled in granite. Indeed, it wasn't all that long ago that the nation's youngest voters solidly backed the most influential conservative in modern American politics. In 1984, voters under 30 supported Ronald Reagan by a whopping 20-point margin. Not until Obama's election 24 years later would young voters so strongly line up behind any presidential candidate.



A Bad Economy's Silver Lining

The Economist hits the nail on the head - albeit a nail that has been well hit by many in the free market movement already. In the latest issue, they correctly observe that an ailing economy presents a golden opportunity to roll back economic restrictions and increase liberty. Whether it's gambling, alcohol, or another "sin" product or service, the case for easing restrictions on the sale and consumption of these "vices" is very tempting, in particular if the case can be made that such changes will increase potential tax revenue and/or create jobs.

As those who follow my weekly "Alcohol Regulation Roundup" series may have noticed, the "good" news has increased with each passing month. Southern states are trying to make it easier for brewers to operate, Northeastern states are increasing the hours and days liquor stores can operate, and dozens of states are considering privatizing state-run alcohol distribution or sales. It isn't just alcohol; gambling is a booming industry in more and more states. Some are increasing the places allowed to offer slots and another dozen states are considering legislation to legalize online gambling, casinos, or slots. We've even seen some smoking bans overturned! But with the economy heading towards a much needed recovery, there's still a lot more work to do. As noted in the Economist article:

.despite all these initiatives, many parts of America are still lumbered with a bizarre and complex array of restrictions on drinking, gambling and the like that seem entirely out of keeping with a country that proudly calls itself the land of the free. Even after Washington leaves the club, 17 states will still maintain a government monopoly on either the sale or distribution of spirits, or both .There are over 4,000 state and federal laws concerning alcohol, says Mr Coleman of DISCUS, and another 1,900 were proposed in 2008 alone. Rules about gambling are an equally perverse mix. Only 12 states have no casinos of any sort. But several more allow them only on boats or at racetracks. Another 12 limit gambling to Indian reservations. And four states still ban fireworks of all kinds.

Yes, this expansion of liberty is the silver lining of a terribly rough economic depression. And it's a silver lining that very likely will last into the economic recovery. Sure, with more people back to work and fewer complaining there will be a smaller number of legislators keen on expanding alcohol or gambling in their state. However, the work done by state-based and national groups such as DISCUS, The Brewers Association, Free The Hops, OpenTheTaps, CEI, The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, The Commonwealth Foundation, the Washington Policy Center, and many others will not be forgotten. We have shown that people want more freedom, choices, and better service. We have shown that liberty really does increase wealth, and enlightened many lawmakers to the idea of free market enterprise. So long as we keep chipping away at the roadblocks, we can continue to increase consumer and business freedom - regardless of the economic atmosphere.



GOP Will Lose the Future by Dissing College Grads

The angry, populist tone of the seemingly endless battle for the GOP presidential nomination may cripple the Republican Party in building a long-term connection with the fastest growing group of swing voters in the overall electorate: college graduates.

While the candidates focus their attention on the white working class as the key battle ground in their frantic struggle for advantage within the GOP, it’s actually more privileged voters who’ve earned four year college degrees who will play the key role in defeating or re-electing Barack Obama.

In 2008, an unprecedented 44 percent of all voters held bachelor degrees or higher, compared to just 28 percent of the electorate in Ronald Reagan’s landmark victory of 1980.

The Gipper, however, crushed Jimmy Carter among college grads (52 to 35 percent) while John McCain lost this segment of the population to Barack Obama (45 to 53 percent). In other words, the Republican candidate went from a seventeen point advantage (in both ’80 and ’84, as it turns out) to an eight point loss among those who completed college—a crippling swing of 25 full percentage points. George W. Bush represented something of a mid-point in this alarming decline in Republican appeal to the most educated element of the electorate, splitting college grads evenly with both Al Gore (2000) and John Kerry (2004).

Projections indicate that the segment of the population with undergraduate and advanced degrees will continue to rise sharply in 2012, and could conceivably represent a majority of all voters in 2016. This growth in the proportion of university-educated adults extends to every ethnic group in the country and represents inarguable good news for the American economy, but bad news for clumsy and misguided Republicans who seem determined to hand Democrats the advantage when it comes to educational issues.

Rick Santorum provided only the most egregious example when he went out of his way to insult college educated voters by questioning the value of their university experience and attacking President Obama as a “snob” for seeking to open higher education to more of our fellow citizens. No wonder Mitt Romney soundly defeated Righteous Rick among college graduates in hotly contested Ohio, winning their votes 43 to 35 percent. And even in the famously blue collar Buckeye State, college grads represented a full 45 percent of the GOP primary electorate.

Those with postgraduate study also amounted to a surprisingly significant voting bloc in Ohio – 18 percent of all Republican voters. And this nearly one-fifth of the electorate tilted even more decisively against Santorum – preferring Romney by a margin of 46 to 36 percent.

Appealing more successfully to the most educated segment of the population need not undermine the efforts of Rick Santorum or any other candidate to rally support among blue collar urbanites, ethnic minorities, farmers or anyone else. More than half of American adults may currently lack college degrees but virtually all of them want such credentials for their children.

In his stump speech, Romney has been trying out a good line about seeing the success of others as a spur to “ambition, not envy” and that formulation should apply to educational as well as economic success. After all, achievement in higher education correlates powerfully with performance in the workplace. Recent numbers indicate that those with university degrees face only one-fourth the unemployment rate of those with no high school diploma (4 percent to 16 percent).

Ironically, this field of Republican contenders amounts to the best educated crop of major candidates in the history of American politics: each of the Final Four holds at least one prestigious post-graduate degree. Dr. Ron Paul earned his MD from Duke and Dr. Newt Gingrich won a PhD from Tulane; Mitt Romney holds both law and business degrees (JD and MBA) from Harvard, while Rick Santorum got the same two degrees from Dickinson School of Law and University of Pittsburgh, respectively.

What’s more, Santorum’s family background shows the profound value of education in lifting the disadvantaged into the middle class and beyond. Contrary to the deliberately misleading impression that he grew up in the “coal fields of Pennsylvania,” young Rick actually came of age as the son of a father who earned a PhD and worked as a clinical psychologist while his mother toiled outside the home as well-credentialed administrative nurse; it was his immigrant grandfather who worked the coal mines.

It makes no sense for the former Senator to downplay or denigrate his own family’s success story because his parents’ progress exemplifies the sort of achievement that all mothers and fathers want for their children. Sure, it’s important to talk about protecting and growing manufacturing jobs because so many hard-pressed people depend on them, but those same workers dream that the next generation can do even better than industrial employment.

By the same token, when Newt Gingrich rails endlessly about malevolent “elites” he seems to deny his own elite educational background as a college professor and historian. It’s neither an accident nor an embarrassment that an America eagerly embracing meritocracy has elected four presidents in a row with degrees from either Yale or Harvard (or, in the case of George W. Bush, from both venerable institutions).

The American people instinctively respect elite achievement in academia at the same time they admire elite achievement in the world of business. Just as wealth creation by corporate leaders harms no one and promotes prosperity for the nation at large, so too advanced learning at top universities serves to open, rather than close off, opportunities for the populace. Republicans rightly slam Democrats for “class-warfare”--spreading resentment rather than respect for those Americans who achieve economic success. It makes no sense for those same GOPers to turn around and promote “anti-intellectualism” – encouraging similar spite for those who compile enviable educational records.

The GOP can’t possibly build a winning coalition by appealing only to the rich, but Republicans can definitely prevail by connecting with all those who want to get rich. Those who earn over $100,000 a year represented only 26 percent of the electorate in 2008 but those who intend to earn at that level at some point in the future could easily comprise a majority.

On a similar note, people with their own college degrees don’t yet dominate the voting public, but families willing to save and sacrifice to provide such credentials for their children surely constitute an overwhelming majority.

Appealing to such aspirations, rather than ignoring or dismissing them, will enable conservatives to honor the best American traditions of upward mobility and self-improvement. And with more and more of our fellow citizens seeking and completing college degrees, it’s also the only way that Republicans can win.




Could the JOBS Bill Make Matters Worse for Job Creation? "You’ve probably seen the headlines - the J.O.B.S. bill passed in the Senate. So that means more “jobs” in the American economy, right? As President Obama and a large portion of the Congress run for re-election, Washington is obsessed with this rather illusory concept of “job creation.” And the “J.O.B.S.” Act, named with an acronym that stands for “Jumpstart Our Business Startups,” is the latest legislative effort to stimulate business startups, and thus, to entice job creation. The bill actually resembles a hodgepodge of several different legislative agendas. And even if the bill accomplishes what its supporters claim, it is probably still several steps removed from actual “job creation.” It may also be yet another governmental wet blanket thrown on top of an economy that is ready to catch fire."

TN: Bill protects teachers allowing evolution debate: "The Tennessee Senate approved a bill Monday that would encourage teachers and students to debate evolution in the classroom, setting aside complaints that the measure would drag the state back onto the battleground over the teaching of creationism. Senators voted 24-8 to pass a bill that says schoolteachers cannot be punished for 'helping students to understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories' taught in public schools."

Good Samaritan laws in a stranger danger society: "Via Radley Balko comes the news story of a father of three who, so he claims, attempted to be a good samaritan and offer two teenage girls caught out walking in a snowstorm without protection a lift home only to be charged with disorderly conduct for his trouble. The girls, you see, were 'alarmed and disturbed' by the offer."

MN: Man arrested for siding code violation: "A Burnsville man on his way to work was arrested and thrown in jail without bond, and then subjected to electronic home monitoring. But it wasn’t for drugs or a DWI or some other major crime. Burnsville city leaders say Mitch Faber’s dealings with the law all stem from his failure to properly put up siding on his house.”



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