Friday, May 24, 2013
I may here be mentioning something as fraught as IQ. It seems that I have a boffin-like disregard for what car I should drive. It has always seemed inexplicable to me that people pay large sums of money for a car when another car at half the price would do all the same things.
I cheerfully confess that I am a Toyota man. I own a small 15 year old Toyota and a small 8 year old Toyota. Neither has ever broken down. I drive the more recent one most of the time and lend the other one out wherever that would help someone that I know.
I have just been reading Kate Fox's book on the English, "Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour", which is, I think, the funniest book I have ever read. And she does explain cars.
She shoots down most of the reasons that people give for buying expensive cars ("better engineering" etc.). She says that in England cars are an index of social class. The makes of cars she mentions apply to England at the time she wrote (2004) so it would not mean much for me to quote specifics (though a Mercedes is not as prestigious as you might think) but what she says does fit with things I have noticed. And in England it would seem that each position on the class hierarchy does tend to have a type of car that goes with it.
I am rather relieved at that explanation as I had seen the purchase of expensive cars as pure insanity. My Toyotas are comfortable, reliable, easy to park and get me through city traffic at least as soon as any other car. So why spend money on a German car at twice the price?
So, as indexed by cars, I am at the bottom of the social class heap in most people's eyes, I gather.
I may however be redeemed by the fact that I also have a really old car for Sunday driving -- a 50 year old Humber Super Snipe, a big British luxury car of yesteryear. The Humber sure gets a lot of admiring comments wherever I take it. Which is ironic. I gather that a lot of people buy a particular car in the hope that it will be admired. But I can't think of any modern car that gets anything like the admiration that my ancient Humber gets. It seems to give people joy just to see it.
Calling all conservative educators (you know who you are)
I put up 9 blogs 6 days a week so it should be obvious that I can't give each one the attention that I think it deserves. Despite that they all get a good audience as blogs go.
I have long felt, however, that some of them would benefit from having a co-blogger. And that has recently been shown to be right. I turned over the day-to-day running of GUN WATCH to Dean Weingarten about 6 months ago. He has put a lot of effort into it and now gets TREBLE the readership that I used to get.
So I live in hopes that something similar could be achieved with EDUCATION WATCH. It gets about 300 pageviews every day, which may not seem much but which puts it in the top 1% of blogs. A newly started blog would be lucky to average 10 pageviews each day.
So if you are a teacher at some level or are otherwise particularly interested in education, this may be a good chance for you to make your voice heard on a regular basis. Email me here
Iceland says "No" again
The leader of the center-right Progressive Party was chosen as Iceland's new prime minister Wednesday and promptly announced a halt to talks with the European Union about joining the 27-nation bloc.
Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson spoke about the policy shift at a press conference after being selected premier.
'The government intends to halt negotiations between Iceland and the European Union,' he said. 'We will not hold further negotiations with the European Union without prior referendum.'
Iceland has engaged in on-and-off talks with the EU for several years. Gunnlaugsson's party has been opposed, in part because members fear that joining would mean giving up control of Iceland's vital fishing stocks.
The new government will also include Bjarni Benediktsson, head of the conservative Independent Party, who will serve as minister of finance.
Icelanders voted April 27, returning to power the parties who had governed for decades before the 2008 economic collapse, the Independents and the Progressive Party.
The two parties had ruled together from 1995 until the 2008 fiasco. After the collapse of the Icelandic banking sector that year, Icelanders voted in a liberal government led by the Social Democrats and the Left-Greens.
The small North Atlantic nation with a population of 320,000 went from economic powerhouse to financial disaster almost overnight when its main commercial banks collapsed within a week in 2008.
The value of the country's currency plummeted, while inflation and unemployment figures soared. Iceland was forced to seek a bailout from Europe and the International Monetary Fund.
Truth Floats Despite Tyranny on the Potomac
Progressivism thrives best when truth is suppressed, but suppressed truth is still truth. You can try to sink it, shred it, cover it and destroy it, but truth eventually rises to the surface. Truth floats. Always.
Currently, the various scandals within the Obama administration have put Progressives in defensive mode to protect an ideology built on lies. Each day brings with it a new scandal or a new angle to a previous scandal. Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS, and the DOJ's seizure of phone records have one thing in common: suppression of truth.
Americans are discovering Progressivism isn't all it is cracked up to be. Even the coolest of Progressive presidents can't deliver the goodies they promise if what they really intended to deliver was hidden inside a bag of lies.
By now, most everyone understands Progressive-speak for "hope and change" translates into high unemployment, an abysmal economy, a disastrous healthcare bill, excessive poverty, starving children, ridiculous food prices, losing wars, and terrorist attacks on our homeland. Four bucks gets you a gallon of gas, a college degree gets you nowhere, and with each new scandal, the White House deflects the blame on someone else and runs off to play another round of golf. That, my friends, is Progressivism in a nutshell.
In a most enlightening article, "Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression," author David Martin nails it when he states "strong, credible allegations of high-level criminal activity can bring down a government" and "the success of these techniques depends heavily upon a cooperative, compliant press and a mere token opposition party." Without a doubt, we have the makings of a perfect storm.
If you've never understood the connection between Progressivism and lies, all you need to do is take an objective look at the current administration's scandals. While all investigations are still active, a common thread weaves through each in that either the truth was suppressed to cover an action or an action was taken to suppress the truth.
In Benghazi it appears the administration suppressed the truth about an act (an al-Qaida-linked terrorist attack) to fit its pre-election "al-Qaida-free" story line. The same rings true regarding the seizure of reporters' phone and email records by the Department of Justice. Attorney General Holder claims records were seized for national security reasons, but that doesn't gel with what the Associated Press describes as an "unprecedented" seizure of records. In a recent statement, AP president Gary Pruitt said his organization held the in-question article describing a terrorist plot by an al-Qaida-linked group in Yemen "until the government assured us that the national security concerns had passed." With that in mind, might a more reasonable reason be that administration officials spent an awful lot of time traveling around the country pre-election reporting al-Qaida was no longer a threat?
Each day carries with it new discoveries about the heinous IRS scandal wherein acts of suppression served to squash the voice and rights of those who, unlike Progressives, have the intelligence to differentiate between the U.S. Constitution and a roll of toilet paper and embrace the freedoms and protections therein.
If you don't like what you see, it's time to get loud (not violent) Americans. Silence is acceptance. And so far, your silence is deafening... and dangerous...because silence becomes the well-insulated womb to which tyranny is given safe harbor to grow.
The IRS Fiasco Shows the Incompetence of Liberalism
Scandals are nothing new in Washington. Just about every president has faced an accusation of misconduct, whether moral or criminal. It should be no surprise that the Obama Administration would find itself in the midst of one, well actually 3 at present.
Many Republicans have been quick to declare this the end of Obama, even calling for impeachment. However, these scandals are not the personal failings of the President himself, rather they are the failings of the liberal philosophy which he and his entire administration espouse.
In case you were out camping without a cell phone for the past week, here is a brief recap in order of appearance:
Benghazi: the White House has been accused of failure to act and misleading the public about the events surrounding the 9/11/12 attack on the US consulate resulting in the death of Ambassador Stevens.
IRS: Conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status were targeted for extra scrutiny, beginning shortly after Scott Brown special election victory in 2010 through the 2012 presidential campaign. Also, confidential tax documents of prominent conservatives were leaked to the media.
Associated Press (AP) wiretapping: the Department of Justice tapped the phones of AP reporters and offices for two months in an effort to locate an administration leak.
APgate is troubling, but the problem for Republicans is that it’s legal and part of the Patriot Act. Any attempts to role this particular part of the legislation back has been convincingly voted down by both parties. Suddenly, the Republicans realize that an overreaching Patriot Act may not have been a good thing, but it feels politically rather than ideologically driven.
The IRS scandal is the most relatable and represents the most immediate problem for our country. Only a fool would believe that 2-4 field workers took it upon themselves to single-handedly institute a policy of red taping conservative groups. It rises higher, but I seriously doubt the President directed such actions.
Finally, we have Benghazi. It was a tragedy; of that there is no doubt. Was there negligence involved? Yes. Was there a poor attempt at PR misdirection? Most definitely. Were different department figure pointing at each other? AS sure as the sun shines. Is anything that happened impeachable? No. More than anything Benghazi is another example of an administration getting caught flat footed and stumbling to fudge the facts for fear that the American people could not handle the truth, especially so close to the elections.
And that, my dear readers, gets to the heart of what the week was really about: the competence of a government ruled by a party that believe the solution to every problem is more government.
This is not about Obama the man, or even about Obama the president. This is not even about Republicans and Democrats. This is about the fundamental failure of progressive liberal ideology.
Logistics alone make it impossible for a government to solve every citizen’s problem. Yet, a bigger government is expected to do just that.
Big government is inflexible; it cannot respond to priorities because, over time, there are too many competing priorities. The greater the bureaucracy grows the more it becomes impersonal, wasteful, over-stretched, and difficult to reign in.
Furthermore, big government does not trust you to know how best to run your life, yet other imperfect beings are somehow capable of properly directing your life as soon as they are employed by the government. People are fallible, and so is the state.
If liberals are right about the role of government, then how did these scandals happen? Do we truly need more government to stop these things from happening?
In Benghazi, should even more officials debated whether to send troops to save our people? Should there have been more security?
Perhaps there should not have been a consulate in a hot zone in the first place, especially one so ill protected. How effective can an isolated diplomatic post on lock down really be? It seems more prudent to have a smaller footprint in the middle extreme conflict areas (esp. when our military is not in the field), which would save more lives and treasure.
Regarding the IRS, do auditors need more laws and supervisors to prevent such abuse? What happened is already illegal.
Then again, maybe a simpler tax code would solve the issue. If the law is so simple even a caveman can do it, then less IRS agents are needed, or conversely, it would free up existing agents to more quickly process paperwork.
And finally, regarding the DOJ wiretapping the AP--do we need more Patriot Act provisions to protect the US by suspecting every citizen and stopping potential whistle blowers? Does the government need more power to track everyone’s movements and communications now that modern technology gives them the ability to do so? I think we need to take a serious look at the Patriot Act and begin rolling it back.
Sometimes, no matter how sound an idea is, both rationally and emotionally, no amount of debate will convince an opponent of the inherent fallacy of his position. In such cases, it is sometimes better to let our adversaries have their way so they can inadvertently hang themselves with their own errant ideas. This week is a perfect example of that. More government would never have solved these issues, nor many others faced by administrations past and present.
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in). GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.
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Posted by JR at 12:41 AM