Thursday, January 31, 2013

Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, Iceland's president, 'Let banks go bankrupt'

As Iceland's President, Olafur does speak for Iceland, though he has little formal power.  Most power resides with the Prime Minister.  Iceland's current unemployment rate is 4.8%.  Eat your heart out almost everyone else.  Australia is 5.4%.  Canada is 7.1% and America's rate is too fudged to be worth mentioning. Obama's statistics are about as believable as Stalin's.  You will get no honesty from the Left unless it suits them.


The latest media lie

MSNBC edited  tape  to make Newtown residents look like “heckling gun nuts” has been all over the story of NBC’s latest… I was about to say “latest ethical lapse,” but that would imply they have any ethics to begin with. Let’s just call it the latest example of NBC lying so egregiously, even a few other liberal media outlets are calling them out on it. Twitchy deserves our thanks for catching the lie and presenting the truth.

And now the cover-up begins at NBC. Erik Wemple at WaPo has the latest:
MSNBC is reviewing its portrayal of the testimony of Neil Heslin, the father of a Sandy Hook victim, at a legislative hearing in Hartford on Monday. The 33-second video clip in question… features a graphics box saying “Mocked and Loaded. Sandy Hook Victim’s Father Heckled by Gun Rights Advocates.” “We’re reviewing the video in question,” says an MSNBC source.

Smart move, considering that Heslin wasn’t, in fact, heckled. Audience members merely answered a challenge that Heslin posed from the microphone.

Which isn’t stopping “news” outlets like BuzzFeed and HuffPo from continuing to spread the heckling story, because it confirms their biases. It’s too good to check.

So now MSNBC will “review” it, and in a few days they’ll put out a press release saying they’ve taken measures to ensure it won’t happen again, and that’ll be it. If somebody gets fired over it, they won’t tell us who. It’ll be just like their completely opaque response to the deceptively edited George Zimmerman 911 call.

And they’ll continue to do this kind of crap, because they have no incentive to stop. The left will continue to spread lies and disinformation, and it’ll be passed along by willing dupes who can’t or won’t look past their ignorance and lazy prejudices.

All we can do to fight this is tell the truth. Push back. Every day.



The Demonization of Liberty

Individuals enlisting in the U.S. Armed Forces must swear an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” But what happens when the only crime perpetrated by the “enemy” is supporting and defending the Constitution?

Such is the dilemma facing future military officers at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point — who are being taught to view freedom-loving Americans as violent, racist terrorists-in-waiting. As part of the federal government’s ongoing jihad against common-sense fiscal conservatism and constitutionally limited government, West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) has issued a new report making some dangerously irrational generalizations about the “far-right.”

Entitled “Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right,” the West Point report provides a stunningly one-sided demonization of conservative ideology — and simultaneous embrace of “progressive” liberal thought.

Written by Dr. Arie Perliger, director of terrorism studies at the CTC, the report warns of the rising militancy of so-called “anti-federalists” — or Americans who embrace radical notions like “civil activism, individual freedoms and self-government.” In other words, anyone expressing support for the fundamental democratic ideals upon which our nation was founded could be a terrorist.

According to Perliger, these “anti-federalists” are dangerous because they “espouse strong convictions regarding the federal government, believing it to be corrupt and tyrannical, with a natural tendency to intrude on individuals’ civil and constitutional rights.”

Wait — government isn’t corrupt? And warrantless wiretaps, forced participation in a Social Security Ponzi scheme and Barack Obama’s health insurance mandate aren’t intrusions on our liberties?

Of course they are — but apparently exercising one’s First Amendment freedom to speak out against these assaults on liberty is a one-way ticket to a government watch list. However, advocating vociferously in support of these anti-American policies is completely permissible.

“While liberal worldviews are future- or progressive-oriented, conservative perspectives are more past-oriented, and in general, are interested in preserving the status quo,” the report claims. “The far right represents a more extreme version of conservatism, as its political vision is usually justified by the aspiration to restore or preserve values and practices that are part of the idealized historical heritage of the nation or ethnic community.”

In case those racial undertones were too subtle, Perliger’s report proceeds to put a much finer point on it.

“While far-right groups’ ideology is designed to exclude minorities and foreigners, the liberal-democratic system is designed to emphasize civil rights, minority rights and the balance of power,” he writes.

Translation? “Extreme right wingers” aren’t just terrorists, they’re racist terrorists.

This shameful playing of the race card is nothing new. Who can forget the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s insidious “See Something, Say Something” video — a disgusting bit of race-baiting propaganda which portrayed white men in hoodies as menacing figures intent on attacking African Americans, Asian Americans and Latinos.

Like so many myths propagated by the far left — i.e., “gun control reduces violence,” “tax cuts must be paid for” or “government spending stimulates the economy” — the whole “right-wing radical” myth is easily debunked.

In fact, according to a DHS-funded study released last year by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism, America’s militant left is far more likely to engage in acts of violence than its militant right. According to the report — entitled “Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1970-2008” — the overwhelming majority of domestic terrorist attacks in America have been “extreme left-wing” in their ideological origins (364) followed closely by single-issue groups whose ideologies were classified as “other” (337).

By comparison, “extreme right-wing” groups accounted for far fewer (58) attacks.

In other words, it’s not tea partiers we need to watch out for, it’s people like Obama’s terrorist buddy Bill Ayers.

As the Obama administration ramps up its assault on our liberties, we must not forget that these intrusions affect Americans of all creeds and colors. It’s also important to remember that taking a firm stand against these intrusions doesn’t make one a radical, a right-winger or a racist — just an American exercising your right to free speech.

This is why West Point must immediately fire Perliger — and publicly repudiate his reckless statements.



The Conservative Temperament and libertarianism

The conservative temperament means accepting the constraints imposed by the current state of the world. Social change is possible, but activists need to acknowledge human nature if they are going to succeed. A plan that involves dissolving the nuclear family or eliminating humanity's selfish instincts fights against millions of years of evolution. It's bound to fail.

Conservative philosophers understand the path-dependency of human culture and the cost of working against it. You will never find a conservative activist calling for a 10 day week or eliminating religion, even among the atheists! Rather, conservatives push for the development of social institutions that work harmoniously with human nature to increase our well-being, including market economies and property rights.

This is why conservatives are not social liberals. All human societies with some amount of social equality have settled on the traditional nuclear or extended family as its smallest unit of organization. Logic does not prevent an enterprising young person from doing a little erotic theorizing to invent novel romantic arrangements, like polyamory. But the conservative's private life isn't some puzzle to be optimized. He knows that people are happiest in long-term monogamous relationships. He knows that being married is the best way to live longer, to stay out of poverty and prison, and to provide a healthy home for his children.

The conservative temperament holds some influence over me. It makes me careful to design my policy recommendations to sell to real human beings, with all their limitations and biases, and not logical robots. But I am too much a libertarian to use the law to support social arrangements that I think are good for people, as conservatives often do. I believe in the primacy of individual liberty as the basis of human dignity. But conservative thought makes me less eager to support or recommend novel social arrangements than many libertarians. It leads me to question the libertarian orthodoxy that says we can be happy by living however we want.



California at Twilight

What starts in California often spreads to the nation as a whole -- so deserves general attention

by Victor Davis Hanson
We keep trying to understand the enigma of California, mostly why it still breathes for a while longer, given the efforts to destroy the sources of its success. Let’s try to navigate through its sociology and politics to grasp why something that should not survive is surviving quite well — at least in some places.

Conservati delendi sunt

The old blue/red war for California is over. Conservatives lost. Liberals won — by a combination of flooding the state with government-supplied stuff, and welcoming millions in while showing the exit to others. The only mystery is how Carthaginian will be the victor’s peace, e.g., how high will taxes go, how many will leave, how happy will the majority be at their departure?

The state of Pat Brown, Ronald Reagan, Pete Wilson, and George Deukmejian is long dead due to the most radical demographic shifts of any one state in recent American history — as far away as Cicero was to Nero. One minor, but telling example: Salinas, in Monterey County where the murder rate is the highest in the state, just — at least I think the news story is not a prank — named its new middle school after Tiburcio Vasquez.

A convicted murderer.

He was the legendary 19th-century robber and murderer who was hanged for his crimes. But who is to say that Vasquez is a killer, and Henry Huntington a visionary?

The New Demography

California has changed not due to race but due to culture, most prominently because the recent generation of immigrants from Latin America did not — as in the past, for the most part — come legally in manageable numbers and integrate under the host’s assimilationist paradigm. Instead, in the last three decades huge arrivals of illegal aliens from Mexico and Latin America saw Democrats as the party of multiculturalism, separatism, entitlements, open borders, non-enforcement of immigration laws, and eventually plentiful state employment.

Given the numbers, the multicultural paradigm of the salad bowl that focused on “diversity” rather than unity, and the massive new government assistance, how could the old American tonic of assimilation, intermarriage, and integration keep up with the new influxes? It could not.

Finally, we live in an era of untruth and Orwellian censorship. It is absolutely taboo to write about the above, or to talk about the ever more weird artifacts of illegal immigration — the war now on black families in demographically changing areas of Los Angeles, the statistics behind DUI arrests, or the burgeoning profile of Medi-Cal recipients. I recall of the serial dissimulation in California my high school memorization of Sir Walter Raleigh:

Tell potentates, they live/Acting by others’ action/Not loved unless they give; Not strong but by affection; If potentates reply/Give potentates the lie.

There were, of course, other parallel demographic developments. Hundreds of thousands of the working and upper-middle class, mostly from the interior of the state, have fled — maybe four million in all over the last thirty years, taking with them $1 trillion in capital and income-producing education and expertise. Apparently, they tired of high taxes, poor schools, crime, and the culture of serial blame-gaming and victimhood. In this reverse Dust Bowl migration, a barren no-tax Nevada or humid Texas was a bargain.

Their California is long gone (“Lo, all our pomp and of yesterday/Is one with Nineveh and Tyre”), and a Stockton, Fresno, or Visalia misses their presence, because they had skills, education, and were net pluses to the California economy.

Add in a hip, youth, and gay influx to the Bay Area, Silicon Valley, and coastal Los Angeles that saw California as a sort of upscale, metrosexual lifestyle (rule of thumb: conservatives always find better restaurants in liberal locales), and California now has an enormous number of single-person households, childless couples, and one-child families. Without the lifetime obligation to raise $1 million in capital to pay for bringing up and educating two kids from birth to 21 (if you’re lucky), the non-traditional classes have plenty of disposable income for entertainment, housing, and high taxes. For examples, read Petronius, especially the visit to Croton.

Finally, there is our huge affluent public work force. It is the new aristocracy; landing a job with the state is like hitting the lottery. Californians have discovered that, in today’s low/non-interest economy, a $70,000 salary with defined benefit public pension for life is far better than having the income from a lifetime savings of $3 million.

Or, look at it another way: with passbooks paying 0.5-1%, the successful private accountant or lawyer could put away $10,000 a month for thirty years of his productive career and still not match the monthly retirement income of the Caltrans worker who quit at 60 with modest contributions to PERS.

And with money came political clout. To freeze the pension contribution of a highway patrolman is a mortal sin; but no one worries much about the private security’s guard minimum wage and zero retirement, whose nightly duties are often just as dangerous. The former is sacrosanct; the latter a mere loser.

The result of 30 years of illegal immigration, the reigning culture of the coastal childless households, the exodus of the overtaxed, and the rule of public employees is not just Democratic, but hyper-liberal supermajorities in the legislature. In the most naturally wealthy state in the union with a rich endowment from prior generations, California is serially broke — the master now of its own fate. It has the highest menu of income, sales, and gas taxes in the nation, and about the worst infrastructure, business climate, and public education. Is the latter fact despite or because of the former?

How, then, does California continue? Read on, but in a nutshell, natural and inherited wealth are so great on the coast that a destructive state government must work overtime to ruin what others wrought.




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