Friday, January 24, 2014



Leftist hate in Australia  -- a personal observation

I am enrolled in the Queensland electorate of Griffith, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's old seat.  I used to get a nice Christmas card from Kevvy every year while he was there.  So I will be voting in the by-election caused by Kevvy's retirement after his recent defeat in the federal election.

The LNP (conservative) candidate for the by-election is Dr. Bill Glasson, a most energetic campaigner and an ophthalmologist by trade.  His father, also Bill Glasson, was a minister in the long-running Bjelke-Petersen (conservative) government of Queensland.  So the present Bill has name recognition.

I was sitting in my usual Buranda brunch destination about mid-morning yesterday when Bill and a campaign assistant walked in -- also seeking brunch.  The assistant was a nice-looking young lady who might have been his daughter.  She had "Vote Bill Glasson" written all over her t-shirt so she was at any event a helper.

Bill & Co. sat down beside a lady in a green dress.  The restaurant was busy so some tables were right up against one another.  Bill chose one such table.  As the lady beside him got up to leave, she launched a furious verbal assault on Bill:  Quite egregious behaviour in a restaurant.

I was too far away to hear what she was saying and I am pretty deaf anyway but a professional actor could not have done a better job of portraying rage and hate  than this woman did  -- finger pointing, tensed-up body and all other conceivable hostile body  language.  Bill just sat there.  She gave up after a few minutes and walked out.  She must have thought of more things to say, however, as she shortly thereafter came back into the restaurant and resumed her angry tirade at Bill.

It was a most remarkable assault on a man the woman did not know personally and who has never been a member of any government.  She appeared to have been blaming Bill for something some government had done but why she blamed Bill for it was  obscure.

When I had finished eating, I went over, shook Bill's hand, introduced myself as a Griffith voter and said I would be voting for him.  I then asked him what the lady had been on about.  He said it was confused but it was something about hospitals.  All Australian public hospitals are in a mess so that might be understandable.  The government that got Qld. hospitals into a mess was however the recently departed Leftist government.  So again, why blame Bill?

I then said to Bill:  "She was full of hate, wasn't she?".  He agreed.  Just his conservative political identity was enough to fire her up.


UPDATE:  A reader has sent me the following story:

This happened to me while my family and I were in Orlando, Florida attending my nieces wedding. My father (85 yo) mother (82), sister (56), brother-in-law (64), my wife(49) and I (47) were out eating dinner at a sparsely populated Chinese restaurant.

My brother-in- law jokingly asked me "so how do you feel about Obama?", in response to a statement I said about taxation. I made no reply to this.

Shortly thereafter, a woman left the table near us very quickly and went to get the check rather than wait for it to arrive at the table she was sharing with a man.

The next thing I know, the fat, long haired man is towering over our table and he starts to bellow. He told us how sick to death he was of us right-wing fanatics and we had better get used to the leftist running the country. He told us how much he hated us homophobic, racist assholes and wished we were all dead.

Keep in mind, my brother-in-law is Puerto Rican/ Italian mix and my nephew is gay and we had mentioned nothing racial or about sex all evening. He just lit into us.

After I had enough, I got up and motioned for him to follow me outside. He asked why should he go outside. I replied that was were I was going to tune him up. He did not follow me outside. He was taller and heavier than I am, but not near as solid.

This is happening more and more in America. F*ck 'em, let them suck on knuckles. This being polite to liberal assholes only begets more abuse. End it swiftly and brutally.

*****************************

Resolved: Obamacare Is Now Beyond Rescue

By Megan McArdle

Last Wednesday, Scott Gottlieb and I debated Jonathan Chait and Douglas Kamerow on this proposition: “Resolved: Obamacare Is Now Beyond Rescue.” I was feeling a little trepid, for three reasons: First, I’ve never done any formal debate; second, the resolution gave the “for” side a built-in handicap, as the “against” side just had to prove that Obamacare might not be completely beyond rescue; and third, we were debating on the Upper West Side. Now, I grew up on the Upper West Side and love it dearly. But for this particular resolution, it’s about the unfriendliest territory this side of Pyongyang.

Nonetheless, I greatly enjoyed the debate. I’m not ashamed to admit that the other side had a lot of powerful moments. Kamerow, a doctor who is also a former assistant surgeon general, made good points about the problems with the previous status quo. In the other seat, Chait was as passionate, witty and well-reasoned in his arguments as ever. (You can read his account of the debate here.) Given the various difficulties, we went in assuming that we would lose, so we were pretty surprised and pleased when we won.

What was the winning argument? We argued that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is an unstable program that doesn't deliver what was expected. For a lot of people, that hardly needs proving, given all the recent technical and legal gyrations. But for others, it does, and because most of them weren’t at the debate, let me elaborate. Scott spoke eloquently about the ways in which narrow networks and the focus on Medicaid are going to deliver an unacceptable quality of care. I talked about why this, among other things, makes the system so unstable.

In a nutshell, Obamacare has so far fallen dramatically short of what was expected -- technically, and in almost every other way. Enrollment is below expectations: According to the data we have so far, more than half of the much-touted Medicaid expansion came from people who were already eligible before the health-care law passed, and this weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported that the overwhelming majority of people buying insurance through the exchanges seem to be folks who already had insurance. Coverage is less generous than many people expected, with narrower provider networks and higher deductibles. The promised $2,500 that the average family was told they could save on premiums has predictably failed to materialize. And of course, we now know that if you like your doctor and plan, there is no reason to think you can keep them. Which is one reason the law has not gotten any more popular since it passed.

The administration and its supporters have been counting on the coverage expansion to put Obamacare beyond repeal. So what if the coverage expansion is anemic, the plans bare-bones, the website sort of a disaster? It’s a foundation upon which we can build -- and now that so many people have coverage, the thinking goes, Republicans will never dare to touch it. The inevitable problems can be fixed down the road.

But it’s far from clear that this is true. The law is unpopular, not only with voters, but also apparently with the consumers who are supposed to buy insurance. The political forces that were supposed to guarantee its survival look weaker by the day. The Barack Obama administration is in emergency mode, pasting over political problems with administrative fixes of dubious legality, just to ensure the law’s bare survival -- which is now their incredibly low bar for “success.”

Although the fixes may solve the short-term political problems, however, they destabilize the markets, which also need to work to ensure the law’s survival. The president is destroying his own law in order to save it.

Obamacare’s exchange facility was conceived as a “three-legged stool”: guaranteed issue, community rating, mandate. Guaranteed issue means that an insurer can’t refuse to sell you a policy. And community rating means that they can’t agree to sell you a policy -- for a million dollars. The problem is that if you set things up this way, it makes a lot of sense to wait to buy insurance until you get sick, at which point premiums start spiraling into the stratosphere and coverage drops. Enter the mandate: You can’t wait. You have to buy when you’re healthy or pay a fine.

There are actually other legs -- the subsidies, in particular, are needed so that you’re not ordering people to buy a product they can’t afford. But it doesn’t really matter how many legs the stool has; what matters is that it needs all of them. Take one away, and the whole thing is in danger of collapsing.

Unfortunately, whenever someone has voiced discontent with the way things are going, the administration has taken a hacksaw to another leg. For example, some folks who had policies they liked before were being forced to drop them and buy new policies they didn’t like so much. That caused an outcry, followed by an emergency grandfathering rule. Other major emergency fixes include:

· A one-year delay of the employer mandate (which our own Ezra Klein has shown is critical to both coverage expansion and cost control). It seems unclear that this will ever go into effect, as the regulatory difficulties of tracking compliance are enormous, and enforcing it will trigger unpopular changes in working hours and other conditions for many workers.

· Numerous extensions of enrollment and payment deadlines, even though these have led to consumer confusion.

· Changes in the rules governing the “risk corridor” programs that cover excess losses at insurers, with more potentially in the works. This buys peace with the insurers, but is going to be incredibly politically difficult for the administration to defend when the costs become clear.

Why does this put the law beyond rescue?

First, let’s define what we mean by “beyond rescue.” Is Obamacare going to be repealed in its entirety? No. Some of the provisions, such as letting parents keep their kids on their insurance until they’re 26 years old, have no chance of being repealed. Others, such as the Medicaid expansion, will almost certainly stand in some form, though I could see Medicaid being block-granted and then slowly whittled away under another administration. The fate of other pieces, such as the cost-control procedures and the exchanges, is still too cloudy to predict.

By “beyond rescue,” I mean that the original vision of the law will not be fulfilled -- the cost-controlling, delivery-system-improving, health-enhancing, deficit-reducing, highly popular, tightly integrated (and smoothly functioning) system for ensuring that everyone who wants coverage can get it.

The law still lacks the political legitimacy to survive in the long term. And in a bid to increase that legitimacy, the administration has set two very dangerous precedents: It has convinced voters that no unpopular provisions should ever be allowed to take effect, and it has asserted an executive right to rewrite the law, which Republicans can just as easily use to unravel this tangled web altogether.

Many of the commentators I’ve read seem to think that the worst is over, as far as unpopular surprises. In fact, the worst is yet to come. Here’s what’s ahead:

· 2014: Small-business policy cancellations. This year, the small-business market is going to get hit with the policy cancellations that roiled the individual market last year. Some firms will get better deals, but others will find that their coverage is being canceled in favor of more expensive policies that don’t cover as many of the doctors or procedures that they want. This is going to be a rolling problem throughout the year.

· Summer 2014: Insurers get a sizable chunk of money from the government to cover any excess losses. When the costs are published, this is going to be wildly unpopular: The administration has spent three years saying that Obamacare was the antidote to abuses by Big, Bad Insurance Companies, and suddenly it’s a mechanism to funnel taxpayer money to them?

· Fall 2014: New premiums are announced.

· 2014 and onward: Medicare reimbursement cuts eat into hospital margins, triggering a lot of lobbying and sad ads about how Beloved Local Hospital may have to close.

· Spring 2015: The Internal Revenue Service starts collecting individual mandate penalties: 1 percent of income in the first year. That’s going to be a nasty shock to folks who thought the penalty was just $95. I, like many other analysts, expect the administration to announce a temporary delay sometime after April 1, 2014.

· Spring 2015: The IRS demands that people whose income was higher than they projected pay back their excess subsidies. This could be thousands of dollars.

· Spring 2015: Cuts to Medicare Advantage, which the administration punted on in 2013, are scheduled to go into effect. This will reduce benefits currently enjoyed by millions of seniors, which is why they didn’t let them go into effect this year.

· Fall 2015: This is when expert Bob Laszewski says insurers will begin exiting the market if the exchange policies aren’t profitable.

· Fall 2017: Companies and unions start learning whether their plans will get hit by the “Cadillac tax,” a stiff excise tax on expensive policies that will hit plans with generous benefits or an older and sicker employee base. Expect a lot of companies and unions to radically decrease benefits and increase cost-sharing as a result.

· January 2018: The temporary risk-adjustment plans, which the administration is relying on to keep insurers in the marketplaces even if their customer pool is older and sicker than projected, run out. Now if insurers take losses, they just lose the money.

· Fall 2018: Buyers find out that subsidy growth is capped for next year’s premiums; instead of simply being pegged to the price of the second-cheapest silver plan, whatever that cost is, their growth is fixed. This will show up in higher premiums for families -- and, potentially, in an adverse-selection death spiral.

Each of these is likely to trigger either public outcry or providers leaving the market (leading to public outcry). Policy analysts can say that this is unfortunate but necessary -- that you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. Fair enough, but the administration has been manifestly unwilling to tell the eggs that. Instead, it’s emergency administrative fixes for everyone. And we sure can’t count on Republicans to save Obamacare by tackling the egg lobby.

Instead, I expect that the administration is going to issue “temporary” administrative fixes for most of the law’s unpopular bits -- just as it has so far. That’s not going to get any easier as midterms and then a presidential election creep closer. And then Republicans will make the “temporary” fixes permanent. And by the time everyone’s done “fixing” the original grand vision, not much of it will be left. This is why I argued that Obamacare, the vision, is now beyond rescue. And a surprising number of Upper West Siders apparently agreed with me.

SOURCE

*****************************

ELSEWHERE

Google hatred in San Francisco:  "San Francisco's transportation agency on Tuesday imposed fees and restrictions on Google buses and other corporate commuter shuttles, but the move is unlikely to stop the protests or quell the animosity fueled by the sleek private buses. The Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors voted 5-0 with one member absent to charge the corporate shuttles a fee of $1 per day per stop, prevent them from using some of the busiest Muni bus stops and require them to yield to public transit vehicles."

Can you really trademark the word  “candy”?  "The makers behind the popular mobile game Candy Crush Saga have received a sweet treat from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Almost a year after King.com Limited initially filed a trademark claim for the word 'candy,' the filing was approved by the USPTO Wednesday. Now, app developers with games on the market that include the word in the title are reportedly receiving emails from Apple asking them to remove their apps from the App Store."

The real lesson of Bridgegate: Privatize the Port Authority:  "Don’t you see the real problem here? It’s that a politician or one of his staffers has the power to willy-nilly reach their hand down into the local machinery of the economy and screw-up the lives of thousands of people needing to get to work. The sprawling government bureaucracy that is the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) runs multiple bridges, tunnels, bus terminals, airports, and seaports, as well as rail transit and real estate development. It operates a range of crucial business activities as bloated monopolies. But why? All these things done by the PANYNJ could be done better by private businesses, and they are done by private businesses in many other cities around the world."

Target to Drop Health Insurance for Part-Time Workers:  "Target Corp. (TGT) will end health insurance for part-time employees in April, joining Trader Joe’s Co., Home Depot Inc. and other U.S. retailers that have scaled back benefits in response to changes from Obamacare.  Target is the second-largest U.S. discount retailer by sales and had about 361,000 total employees last fiscal year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the largest regulatory overhaul of health care since the 1960s, creating a system of penalties and rewards to encourage people to obtain medical insurance. The law known as Obamacare doesn’t require most companies to cover part-time workers"

*******************************

For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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

****************************

Thursday, January 23, 2014



Fact-Free Liberals: Part II

Thomas Sowell

Words seem to carry far more weight than facts among those liberals who argue as if rent control laws actually control rents and gun control laws actually control guns.

It does no good to point out to them that the two American cities where rent control laws have existed longest and strongest -- New York and San Francisco -- are also the two cities with the highest average rents.

Nor does it make a dent on them when you point out evidence, from both sides of the Atlantic, that tightening gun control laws does not reduce gun crimes, including murder. It is not uncommon for gun crimes to rise when gun control laws are tightened. Apparently armed criminals prefer unarmed victims.

Minimum wage laws are another issue where the words seem to carry great weight, leading to the fact-free assumption that such laws will cause wages to rise to the legally specified minimum. Various studies going back for decades indicate that minimum wage laws create unemployment, especially among the younger, less experienced and less skilled workers.

When you are unemployed, your wages are zero, regardless of what the minimum wage law specifies.

Having followed the controversies over minimum wage laws for more than half a century, I am always amazed at how many ways there are to evade the obvious.

A discredited argument that first appeared back in 1946 recently surfaced again in a televised discussion of minimum wages. A recent survey of employers asked if they would fire workers if the minimum wage were raised. Two-thirds of the employers said that they would not. That was good enough for a minimum wage advocate.

Unfortunately, the consequences of minimum wage laws cannot be predicted on the basis of employers' statements of their intentions. Nor can the consequences of a minimum wage law be determined, even after the fact, by polling employers on what they did.

The problem with polls, in dealing with an empirical question like this, is that you can only poll survivors.

Every surviving business in an industry might have as many employees as it had before a minimum wage increase -- and yet, if the additional labor costs led to fewer businesses surviving, there could still be a reduction in industry employment, despite what the poll results were from survivors.

There are many other complications that make an empirical study of the effects of minimum wages much more difficult than it might seem.

Since employment varies for many reasons other than a minimum wage law, at any given time the effects of those other factors can outweigh the effects of minimum wage laws. In that case, employment could go up after a particular minimum wage increase -- even if it goes up less than it would have without the minimum wage increase.

Minimum wage advocates can seize upon statistics collected in particular odd circumstances to declare that they have now "refuted" the "myth" that minimum wages cause unemployment.

Yet, despite such anomalies, it is surely no coincidence that those few places in the industrial world which have had no minimum wage law, such as Switzerland and Singapore, have consistently had unemployment rates down around 3 percent. "The Economist" magazine once reported: "Switzerland's unemployment neared a five-year high of 3.9% in February."

It is surely no coincidence that, during the last administration in which there was no federal minimum wage -- the Calvin Coolidge administration -- unemployment ranged from a high of 4.2 percent to a low of 1.8 percent over its last four years.

It is surely no coincidence that, when the federal minimum wage law remained unchanged for 12 years while inflation rendered the law meaningless, the black teenage unemployment rate -- even during the recession year of 1949 -- was literally a fraction of what it has been throughout later years, as the minimum wage rate has been raised repeatedly to keep up with inflation.

When words trump facts, you can believe anything. And the liberal groupthink taught in our schools and colleges is the path of least resistance.

SOURCE

******************************

 Committee Members Raise Concerns about OSHA’s Intrusion into Family Farms

House Education and the Workforce Committee members today raised concerns about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) unprecedented intrusion into family farms. In a letter to OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels, committee leaders requested documents and communications surrounding guidance that unilaterally extends OSHA jurisdiction over farms with 10 or fewer employees.

“Family farms are the latest target of the Obama administration’s regulatory overreach,” said Chairman Kline. “All employers have a moral responsibility to protect their employees; however, federal law has long exempted family farms from OSHA inspections. This policy has been supported and enforced by administrations from both political parties for nearly four decades. The Obama administration must explain to Congress and the American people why it believes it can simply circumvent the law through executive fiat.”

“The Obama administration has repeatedly targeted farmers- the foundation of many communities across America and in my district - with new regulations, the latest assault coming in the form of the Department of Labor’s attempt to boldly reinterpret a policy that has been in place since 1978 and supported by both Republican and Democrat administrations,” said Rep. Walberg. “Federal law is abundantly clear that family farms are exempt from OSHA jurisdiction and this latest attack must stop immediately.”

Since 1971 OSHA has been responsible for enforcing federal workplace safety and health standards. Congress has adopted statutory language since 1978 that prevents OHSA from inspecting farms with 10 or fewer employees. This policy has been signed into law by presidents dating back to the Carter administration. As the members note in their letter:

Now, without any public notice or review, the Obama administration has begun to overturn this legal standard through executive fiat. The June 2011 guidance redefines “farming operations” in order to allow OSHA inspectors onto family farms. Under the agency’s new and unprecedented logic, it appears anything outside of the actual growing of crops and raising of livestock could be deemed “non-farming operations” that would subject family farms to OSHA inspections. The guidance is a clear attempt to circumvent the law and the will of Congress.

Committee members urge OHSA to withdraw its guidance and ask the agency to deliver documents and communications regarding this policy change by January 28.

SOURCE

******************************

A trip around Cuba

“Don’t even think about driving in Cuba.”  That’s what I was told by an American man and travel industry pro who has visited the Caribbean people’s republic more times than I’ve left my home country combined.

“But I’ve driven in Lebanon,” I said. “And Albania.” No one drives as badly as the Lebanese and Albanians, bless their hearts. Even the Iraqis and Israelis drive like Canadians by comparison. “Besides, Cuba hardly has any cars. How bad could the traffic possibly be?”

“The roads are dark at night and filled with pedestrians, bicycles, and animals,” he said. “There are no signs and you’ll be arrested if you get in an accident.”

Getting arrested in a communist police state ranks on my to-do list alongside being stricken with cancer and getting snatched off a Middle Eastern street by Al Qaeda.

I wanted to rent one of Cuba’s classic American Chevys from the 1950s and roam at will through the countryside, but who would I call if the car broke down or I got a flat tire? My cell phone does not work in Cuba. I can’t fix a Cuban car by myself—that’s for damn sure. Cubans improvise with all kinds of random things under the hood, including, as one resident told me, parts from old Russian washing machines.

Capital cities are bubbles. And much of Havana is in ruins after decades of hostile neglect by Fidel Castro. Most of it looks like a war zone minus the bullet holes. What does the rest of the country look like? Is it better? Or is it somehow even worse?

I had to get out of town. Renting a car wasn’t advisable, so I took a bus. I don’t like traveling that way, but it seemed like the best option. First stop: Bay of Pigs.

The warning to eschew renting a car, I have to say, was a bit overblown. I could have driven myself where I wanted to go without too much trouble. Traffic outside the city was miniscule, including pedestrian, bicycle, and animal traffic. The roads are smooth and wide open. Just ten minutes outside the Havana metro area, my bus had the road to itself. And the bus came with a guide, so I didn’t have to just guess what I was looking at.

It was an easy road, too. Most of Cuba is more or less flat. I could see off in the distance outside the window because the landscape is not forested. It consists mostly of grass, stray palm trees, sad little agricultural plots, and unused fields gone to the weeds.

Taking a bus came with another advantage I hadn’t foreseen. I didn’t have to stop at the checkpoints.

I’m used to seeing military and police checkpoints when I travel abroad. Every country in the Middle East has them, including Israel if you count the one outside the airport. The authorities in that part of the world are looking for guns and bombs mostly. The Cuban authorities aren’t worried about weapons. No one but the regime has anything deadlier than a baseball bat.

Castro’s checkpoints are there to ensure nobody has too much or the wrong kind of food.

Police officers pull over cars and search the trunk for meat, lobsters, and shrimp. They also search passenger bags on city busses in Havana. Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez wrote about it sarcastically in her book, Havana Real. “Buses are stopped in the middle of the street and bags inspected to see if we are carrying some cheese, a lobster, or some dangerous shrimp hidden among our personal belongings.”

If they find a side of beef in the trunk, so I’m told, you’ll go to prison for five years if you tell the police where you got it and ten years if you don’t.

No one is allowed to have lobsters in Cuba. You can’t buy them in stores, and they sure as hell aren’t available on anyone’s ration card. They’re strictly reserved for tourist restaurants owned by the state. Kids will sometimes pull them out of the ocean and sell them on the black market, but I was warned in no uncertain terms not to buy one. I stayed in hotels and couldn’t cook my own food anyway. And what was I supposed to do, stash a live lobster in my backpack?

I did see animals once in a while, but nothing I couldn’t have handled in a rental car. Cows sometimes wander across the road on open ranch land in the American West where I live. No big deal. In the forested parts of the West, deer dart in front of cars every day. That can be fatal for deer and driver alike. Cows on the road in Cuba were no kind of problem.

I was actually glad to see cows on the road because the bus slowed enough that I could get a good look at them and even take pictures. Whatever the Cubans are doing with cattle, it’s wrong. The poor things are skeletons wrapped in leather. No wonder milk, meat, and cheese are so hard to come by.

I know next to nothing about cattle ranching, but the eastern (dry) side of my home state of Oregon has plenty of ranches, and I can tell you this much: Oregon cows have a lot more land to roam free on. They wander for miles eating scrub out in the semi-desert.

Agricultural fields in Cuba are microscopic, whether they’re for ranching for farming. They’re misshapen and haphazardly planted as if they’re amateur recreational farms rather than industrial-scale operations that are supposed to feed millions of people. My father grows pinot noir grapes in a vineyard no larger than these, but he really is doing it for recreational purposes in his retirement. He’s happy if he breaks even.

Cuba doesn’t even break even—hence the checkpoints to ensure no one is “hoarding.” The country could produce many times the amount of food it currently does. Deforestation wouldn’t be necessary. Most of the Cuban landscape I saw is already deforested. It’s just not being used. It’s tree-free and fallow ex-farmland. I’ve never seen anything like it, though parts of the Soviet Union may have looked similar.

Imbecilic communist agriculture practices aren’t the only problem. An invasive weed from Angola is choking half the farmland that would be in use, and no one seems to have a clue how to get rid of it.

More interesting than the cows and the fields were all the people on the side of the road. I saw hundreds between Havana and Cienfuegos waiting for someone with a car to stop and pick them up.

Americans think hitchhiking is dangerous, and it can be in the US, but in many parts of the world it’s perfectly ordinary. In Cuba it’s sometimes the only way to get anywhere. Asking for and giving rides are as casual and routine as letting a stranger read the newspaper in an American coffeeshop after you’re finished with it.

My driver blew right on past the poor Cubans. The government-owned bus was strictly for foreigners who booked the ride in advance. No ragged peasants allowed!

Much more HERE

****************************

ELSEWHERE



A hard b*tch: "Texas state senator and aspiring governor Wendy Davis made herself known with an infamous 11-hour filibuster that blocked a proposed state ban on late-term abortions – an effort that eventually proved futile. Still, Davis' PR stunt reinvigorated the Left's “war on women” rhetoric. Pathetically, as it turns out, the abortion advocate had to conjure up some BIG lies to make her own biography sell. She was first divorced at age 21, not 19 as she previously claimed while testifying in a federal lawsuit (but don't anticipate any punishment for perjury). Also left in the shadows are key facts pertaining to her second husband, attorney Jeff Davis, whom she divorced in 2005. Mr. Davis financed the rest of his wife's schooling through Harvard before being dumped the day after her student-loans were paid off. She also made no effort to win custody of her two children. All this proves one thing: She's still a hero for Democrats.

DeBlasio Punishes 1% in NYC Snow Storm:  "Class warrior and New York City mayor Bill deBlasio seems to be acting on his apparent animus toward the 1% -- residents of Manhattan's (well-to-do) Upper East side confirm that section of the city remains unplowed in the ongoing northeast blizzard.  My husband, attending business meetings in the city, confirmed that buses and taxis are stuck in intersections on the UES and the streets are difficult to navigate. It is impossible to find any sort of transportation in that area. What de Blasio might consider is what that means -- not just for the prosperous residents -- but for the small businesses, cab drivers, truckers and other "workers" who serve that section of town."

*******************************

For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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

****************************


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Fact-Free Liberals

Thomas Sowell

Someone summarized Barack Obama in three words -- "educated," "smart" and "ignorant." Unfortunately, those same three words would describe all too many of the people who come out of our most prestigious colleges and universities today.

President Obama seems completely unaware of how many of the policies he is trying to impose have been tried before, in many times and places around the world, and have failed time and again. Economic equality? That was tried in the 19th century, in communities set up by Robert Owen, the man who coined the term "socialism." Those communities all collapsed.

It was tried even earlier, in 18th century Georgia, when that was a British colony. People in Georgia ended up fleeing to other colonies, as many other people would vote with their feet in the 20th century, by fleeing many other societies around the world that were established in the name of economic equality.

But who reads history these days? Moreover, those parts of history that would undermine the vision of the left -- which prevails in our education system from elementary school to postgraduate study -- are not likely to get much attention.

The net results are bright people, with impressive degrees, who have been told for years how brilliant they are, but who are often ignorant of facts that might cause them to question what they have been indoctrinated with in schools and colleges.

Recently Kirsten Powers repeated on Fox News Channel the discredited claim that women are paid only about three-quarters of what a man is paid for doing the same work.

But there have been empirical studies, going back for decades, showing that there is no such gap when the women and men are in the same occupation, with the same skills, experience, education, hours of work and continuous years of full-time work.

Income differences between the sexes reflect the fact that women and men differ in all these things -- and more. Young male doctors earn much more than young female doctors. But young male doctors work over 500 hours a year more than young female doctors.

Then there is the current hysteria which claims that people in the famous "top one percent" have incomes that are rising sharply and absorbing a wholly disproportionate share of all the income in the country.

But check out a Treasury Department study titled "Income Mobility in the U.S. from 1996 to 2005." It uses income tax data, showing that people who were in the top one percent in 1996 had their incomes fall -- repeat, fall -- by 26 percent by 2005.

What about the other studies that seem to say the opposite? Those are studies of income brackets, not studies of the flesh-and-blood human beings who are moving from one bracket to another over time. More than half the people who were in the top one percent in 1996 were no longer there in 2005.

This is hardly surprising when you consider that their incomes were going down while there was widespread hysteria over the belief that their incomes were going up.

Empirical studies that follow income brackets over time repeatedly reach opposite conclusions from studies that follow individuals. But people in the media, in politics and even in academia, cite statistics about income brackets as if they are discussing what happens to actual human beings over time.

All too often when liberals cite statistics, they forget the statisticians' warning that correlation is not causation. For example the New York Times crusaded for government-provided prenatal care, citing the fact that black mothers had prenatal care less often than white mothers -- and that there were higher rates of infant mortality among blacks.

But was correlation causation? American women of Chinese, Japanese and Filipino ancestry also had less prenatal care than whites -- and lower rates of infant mortality than either blacks or whites.

When statistics showed that black applicants for conventional mortgage loans were turned down at twice the rate for white applicants, the media went ballistic crying racial discrimination. But whites were turned down almost twice as often as Asian Americans -- and no one thinks that is racial discrimination.

Facts are not liberals' strong suit. Rhetoric is.

SOURCE

**************************

Obama Outlaws Conservative Free Speech

In 2010 millions of American tea-party constitutionalists, to include the GOP’s Christian base, united in a remarkable grass-roots effort to rein in our unbridled federal government and return it to its expressly limited constitutional confines. As a result, an unprecedented number of counter-constitutionalist lawmakers (read: liberal Democrats) were swept from office.

The Obama administration wasn’t going to take this lying down. Whether it was by tacit approval or via direct order remains largely immaterial. The president quickly and unlawfully politicized the Internal Revenue Service, using it as a weapon against his political enemies. In an explosive scandal that continues to grow, the Obama IRS was caught – smoking gun in hand – intentionally targeting conservative and Christian organizations and individuals for harassment, intimidation and, ultimately, for political destruction.

Not only has Obama faced zero accountability for these arguably impeachable offenses, he has since doubled down. With jaw-dropping gall, his administration has now moved to officially weaponize the IRS against conservatives once and for all.

Despite the furor over the IRS assault on conservative groups leading up to the 2012 elections, this man – a despotic radical who’s turned our constitutional republic into one of the banana variety – has quietly released a proposed set of new IRS regulations that, if implemented, will immediately, unlawfully and permanently muzzle conservative 501(c)(4) nonprofit organizations and their individual employees. (The 501(c)(4) designation refers to the IRS code section under which social welfare organizations are regulated).

The new regulations would unconstitutionally compel a 90-day blackout period during election years in which conservative 501(c)(4) organizations – such as tea-party, pro-life and pro-family groups – would be banned from mentioning the name of any candidate for office, or even the name of any political party.

Here’s the kicker: As you may have guessed, liberal lobbying groups like labor unions and trade associations are deliberately exempted. And based on its partisan track record, don’t expect this president’s IRS to lift a finger to scrutinize liberal 501(c)(4)s. Over at a Obama’s “Organizing for America,” the left-wing political propaganda will, no doubt, flow unabated.

These Orwellian regulations will prohibit conservative 501(c)(4) organizations from using words like “oppose,” “vote,” or “defeat.” Their timing, prior to a pivotal election, is no coincidence and provides yet another example of Obama’s using the IRS for “progressive” political gain.

Although these restrictions only apply to 501(c)(4) organizations for now, under a straightforward reading, they will also clearly apply to 501(c)(3) organizations in the near future.

Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel Action – one of the many conservative organizations to be silenced – commented on the breaking scandal: “One of the core liberties in our constitutional republic is the right to dissent,” he said. “But desperate to force his radical agenda on the American people, Barack Obama and his chosen political tool, the IRS, are now trying to selectively abridge this right, effectively silencing their political adversaries.”

Specifically, here’s what the proposed regulations would do to conservative groups and their leaders:

Prohibit using words like “oppose,” “vote,” “support,” “defeat,” and “reject.”

Prohibit mentioning, on its website or on any communication (email, letter, etc.) that would reach 500 people or more, the name of a candidate for office, 30 days before a primary election and 60 days before a general election.

Prohibit mentioning the name of a political party, 30 days before a primary election and 60 days before a general election, if that party has a candidate running for office.

Prohibit voter registration drives or conducting a non-partisan “get-out-the-vote drive.”

Prohibit creating or distributing voter guides outlining how incumbents voted on particular bills.

Prohibit hosting candidates for office at any event, including debates and charitable fundraisers, 30 days before a primary election or 60 days before the general election, if the candidate is part of the event’s program.

Restrict employees of such organizations from volunteering for campaigns.

Prohibit distributing any materials prepared on behalf a candidate for office.

Restrict the ability of officers and leaders of such organizations to publicly speak about incumbents, legislation, and/or voting records.

Restrict the ability of officers and leaders of such organizations to make public statements regarding the nomination of judges.

SOURCE

*******************************

Obamacare At ‘Significant’ Risk of ‘Death Spiral,’ Economist Warns

Economist John Goodman, who warned last October that Obamacare could plunge into a “death spiral” if not enough young, healthy people signed up for coverage, says that danger is now “significant” following news that the Obama administration failed to hit its young adult enrollment target.
“I think there is a significant problem here,” Goodman, president and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), told CNSNews.com. “I think the insurers are worried. I think the administration is worried.

“Remember, everybody is facing the wrong price. And sick people are facing a price that’s well below the cost of their care. Young healthy people are being overcharged. And so they need lots of young healthy people to join so they can get the money to pay the bills for the sick people. And the younger people just aren’t buying it.

“Part of the problem, I think, is that it’s been so difficult for people to sign up, and so the only ones who’ve persevered – sometimes trying a hundred times – are people who really have serious health problems.”

A death spiral - the insurance pool equivalent of bankruptcy - occurs when too many older and sicker people sign up for insurance relative to the number of younger, healthier people, Goodman explained, forcing everybody’s premiums up. But as premiums rise, even less young people sign up for coverage.

“That’s what we’re seeing so far,” Goodman told CNSNews.com. “Over half of all the people who enrolled are above the age of 45, and older people are more expensive [to insure]. We’re also seeing 20 percent of the people who are enrolling are going for the gold or platinum plans. Those people tend to be sick. They’re buying the more comprehensive plans because they plan to use a lot of health care.”

According to figures released this week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, only 24 percent of the 2.2 million people who have already signed up for Obamacare are between the ages of 18 and 34, just a little more than half of the 40 percent  the administration admitted it needed to keep premiums affordable.

When CNSNews.com asked Goodman how Americans would know if the system was crashing, he replied:

“Well, there won’t be any neon signs that say ‘Death Spiral Underway,’ but what you’ll see is premiums keep rising, and if premiums keep rising, then fewer healthy people will buy in and we may get to a point where you need government subsidies to prop the whole thing up. By that I mean government subsidies to the insurance companies.”

CNSNews.com asked Goodman whether he agreed with Washington  Post columnist Ezra Klein, who argues that “the risk of a ‘death spiral’ is over.” He replied:

“Well, no, and it turns out that 80 percent of all the people who signed up so far are getting subsidies. Well, they need lots of people who have higher incomes and who aren’t going to get subsidies. And if those people are unwilling to pay the high premiums that are being charged, then they’re in trouble. …Everybody is worried, and no one’s keeping the fact that they’re worried a secret,” Goodman added.

Obamacare’s “perverse incentives” will just encourage more young people to “game the system and wait until they get sick before they enroll,” he said, while insurance companies “try to avoid the sick” to protect their bottom lines. But that will be increasingly hard to do as tens of thousands of government retirees are dumped into the exchanges.

“Over the next three months, the federal government will end its risk pool and all the state governments will end theirs, and then all those people who are high-cost enrollees, they will go into the exchanges. And then there are cities and towns like Detroit, that have made promises of post-retirement care and they’re not funded, and so Detroit’s planning on sending all of its retirees to the exchange, and lots of other cities will do the same thing….”

“And then the Obama administration’s apparently going to allow hospitals and AIDS clinics to enroll people on the spot,” Goodman told CNSNews.com. “So if a hospital had a patient who’s having heart surgery, for example, that hospital is going to be able to get him enrolled in a private plan in the exchange to shift the cost over to that insurer. Apparently the hospital can actually pay the premium for the individual.

“You see, the premium is small compared to that hospital bill. So if we’re talking about a $50,000 hospital bill, they can afford to pay a $10,000 premium and come out ahead. So insurers are sort of quite vulnerable at the moment.”

However, if Obamacare does go belly up, there will be no easy way to replace it, Goodman warned. “We have destroyed the individual market, and it’s going to be very, very hard to move from where we are now to a real market, where people face real prices, which is what I think we have to do,” he said.

“Republicans who say we’re just going to abolish Obamacare need to be aware of the fact that they can’t just go back to the individual market, because it’s being destroyed. We need to think carefully about how we can get out of the mess we’re in, [because] just repealing the legislation isn’t going to be enough.”

SOURCE

*******************************

For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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

****************************

Tuesday, January 21, 2014



How the Years Between the World Wars Created the Modern World

From a historical standpoint, the period between the two world wars resonates powerfully in many directions. “See you in 20 years,” the diplomats said to each other as they left the Paris Peace Conference, and war did indeed break out 20 years and a few weeks after the Versailles Treaty was signed in 1919. The interwar period would be highly interesting if for no other reason.

But other significant historical trends — many of them only indirectly related to the war itself — were in process as well. European imperialism, admittedly influenced by the strains of global war, was developing its first real fissures. The intellectual movement associated with Modernism accelerated. The electronic media emerged rapidly — the BBC started radio broadcasts in 1921! Einstein got the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921. The great Max Weber died in 1920. Freudian terminology — think “Oedipus Complex” or “displacement activity” — were becoming household terms, at least in educated circles. Dress hemlines shot upward. Jazz altered popular music radically. Movies got sound and color!

After a short burst of showcase “democracy” in postwar Europe, totalitarian regimes and functional dictatorships seemed to be the wave of the future.

All of these trends make the Entre-deux-guerres, as French historians call the period, an unusually eventful and even fateful 20 years in the history of the world.

But for students of the idea and practice of liberty, the period is absolutely crucial in understanding and interpreting the twentieth century and hence our own world.

For one thing, the Entre-deux-guerres practically created totalitarianism. The Bolsheviks captured the Russian government in 1917/18. Shortly thereafter, Mussolini’s Fascism took control in Italy, and later Hitler’s Nazism in Germany. All three cases featured movements that gave life to the words “terrible simplifiers,” a phrase coined by historian Jacob Burckhardt during the late nineteenth century. Burckhardt meant the kind of mass movements guided by violent demagogues to which European civilization had become susceptible. The interwar years gave us such demagogues in spades.

And lesser simplifiers too. The first socialist governments ruled for various lengths of time in Western and Central Europe. And East-Central Europe was likewise guided by socialist policies, for most of the time after the mid-twenties by nationalist dictators. And where nominal socialists were not in power, the welfare/warfare state came to be the norm. The forces of collectivism found fulfillment in many, many ways throughout the world.

It was also during the interwar period that the heroes of the modern philosophy of liberty and the Austrian School in particular framed their profound critique of collectivism. This critique stands as the basis of modern Austrian economics and indeed for a great deal of modern thought about liberty.

From a number of perspectives, the First World War was the death knell of the century of bourgeois liberalism. It certainly paved the way for totalitarianism, statism, and the mass violence that distorts modern life. Some few understood all this early on. Still fewer — Mises and others — recognized the wave of the future for what it was, and fought back. But to understand this crucial period both on the general level and as a piece of the history of individualism, we must investigate ideas, culture, politics, economics, and more.

Some periods of history seem to produce a more intense human experience, to impact the future more than other epochs. I would nominate the 20 years between the wars as one of those intensive periods, both for good and ill. The period certainly produced a design for the world to come.

More HERE

********************************

The Left have always been with us

They want power; conservatives want liberty

In Machiavellism: The Doctrine of Raison d’√Čtat and Its Place in Modern History (English translation, 1957), Friedrich Meinecke wrote:

"The striving for power is an aboriginal human impulse, perhaps even an animal impulse, which blindly snatches at everything around until it comes up against some external barriers. And, in the case of men at least, the impulse is not restricted solely to what is directly necessary for life and health. Man takes a wholehearted pleasure in power itself and, through it, in himself and his heightened personality. Next to hunger and love, pleonexia is the most powerful elemental and influential impulse in man."

The lust for power has been an important and recurring theme in western historiography. Tacitus (c. 55 - c.117) mentioned it repeatedly in his Annals of Imperial Rome, as when he suggested that “the motive of Octavian, the future Augustus, was lust for power”; that Lucius Marcus Sejanus (a hatchet man for the emperor Tiberius) “concealed behind a carefully modest exterior an unbounded lust for power”; and that “Drusus Caesar’s degraded character was animated by power-lust.”

Tacitus was greatly admired by eighteenth-century historians, so it is not surprising that many of them emphasized the desire for power as a significant factor throughout history. This passage from Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is typical: “Of all our passions and appetites, the love of power is of the most imperious and unsociable nature, since the pride of one man requires the submission of the multitude.”

The works of Tacitus were known to many eighteenth-century Americans through the translation (1731) of Thomas Gordon, a radical whig who earlier had co-authored (with John Trenchard) the libertarian classic, Cato’s Letters. (Thomas Jefferson owned three sets of Gordon’s translation, two of which he donated to the Library of Congress in 1815.)

What made Gordon’s edition of Tacitus especially appealing was his own “Political Discourse Upon that Author,” a lengthy commentary that repeatedly warned against the temptations and dangers of power. Tacitus, according to Gordon, was “zealous for public liberty,” a “declared enemy to Tyrants,” and a historian “of extraordinary wisdom.” It is by reading Tacitus that we learn the invaluable lesson that only “treachery” will cause a free people to submit to tyranny. According to Jefferson, Tacitus was “the first writer in the world without a single exception.”

Thomas Gordon also translated The Works of Sallust (1743), in which we find the phrase “the ardent lust of domination.” This phrase caught the attention of Edward Wortley Montague, who presented an interesting analysis of the lust for power in Reflections on the Rise and Fall of the Ancient Republics Adapted to the Present State of Great Britain (1759). The “lust of domination, here mentioned by Sallust, though generally confounded with ambition, is in reality a different passion.” Ambition, which is a passion that “attends us from the cradle to the grave,” stems from “the desire of pre-eminence, the fondness for being distinguished above the rest of our fellow creatures”; and the nature of a specific ambition will vary according to “the different objects it pursues.”

The lust of domination is more general than mere ambition. It is a mode of “selfishness” whereby we attempt “to draw every thing to center in ourselves, which we think will enable us to gratify every other passion.” Montague goes on to argue that “selfishness” differs fundamentally from “self-love.”

"[I]f we rightly define these two principles, we shall find an essential difference between our ideas of self-love and selfishness. Self-love, within its due bounds, is the practice of the great duty of self-preservation, regulated by that law which the great Author of our being has given for that very end. Self-love, therefore, is not only compatible with the most rigid practice of the social duties, but is in fact a great motive and incentive to the practice of all moral virtue. Whereas selfishness, by reducing every thing to the single point of private interest, a point which it never loses sight of, banishes all the social virtues, and is the first spring of action, which impels to all those disorders, which are so fatal to mixed Governments in particular, and to society in general.

It is the selfish lust of domination, not the rational motive of self-love, that will transform the most mild government into the “most insupportable tyranny.” A man motivated by that “destructive passion” will need the assistance of like-minded people” to serve as “subordinate instruments” in his pursuit of power, and this will require that he “put on as many shapes as Proteus.”

[H]e must ever wear the mask of dissimulation, and live a perpetual lie. He will court the friendship of every man, who is capable of promoting, and endeavor to crush every man, who is capable of defeating his ambitious views. Thus his friendship and his enmity will be alike unreal, and easily convertible, if the change will serve his interest."

Montague’s analysis—which was quoted at length by James Burgh in his influential three-volume work, Political Disquisitions (1774)—was an effort to explain how the lust for power, if not held in check, will invariably corrupt rulers. “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” When Lord Acton penned this celebrated aphorism in the late nineteenth century, he was summarizing a theme that had been widely discussed and carefully analyzed by earlier classical liberals, radical whigs, and libertarians generally. As Bernard Bailyn noted in The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (an indispensable book for libertarians), the “systematic” problem of the lust for power and its corrupting tendencies was regarded by eighteenth-century Americans as applicable to “mankind in general.”

And the point they hammered home time and again, and agreed on—freethinking Anglican literati no less than neo-Calvinist theologians—was the incapacity of the species, of mankind in general, to withstand the temptations of power. Such is “the depravity of mankind,” Samuel Adams, speaking for the Boston Town Meeting, declared, “that ambition and lust of power above the law are…predominant passions in the breasts of most men.”

Quoting from various contemporary American sources, Bailyn continued:

"These are instincts that have “in all nations combined the worst passions of the human heart and the worst projects of the human mind in league against the liberties of mankind.” Power always and everywhere had had a pernicious, corrupting effect upon men. It “converts a good man in private life to a tyrant in office.” It acts upon men like drink: it “is known to be intoxicating in its nature:—too intoxicating and liable to abuse.” And nothing within man is sufficiently strong to guard against these effects of power—certainly not “the united considerations of reason and religion,” for they have never “been sufficiently powerful to restrain these lusts of men.”

As indicated by Bailyn’s reference to “neo-Calvinist theologians,” the ubiquitous problem of power-lust was discussed in ancient Christian as well as in pagan sources. In The City of God, for example, Augustine argued that “lust for power in arrogant hearts” was responsible for much of the moral corruption in Rome and played a significant role in its decline. Indeed, before Christianity became the state religion of Rome in the fourth century, Christian theologians took pride in contrasting the voluntary institutions of the Christian community with the coercive institutions of the Roman state. Tertullian argued that “all secular power and dignities are not merely alien from, but hostile to, God.” Secular governments “owe their existences to the sword.” All institutions of the Roman government, even its charities, were based on brute force. This is contrary to the way of Christians, among whom “everything is voluntary.” Rather than rely on coercive taxation, Christians contributed voluntarily “to support the destitute, and to pay for their burial expenses; to supply the needs of boys and girls lacking money and power, and of old people confined to the home.” Christians “do not hesitate to share our earthly goods with one another.”

Minucius Felix maintained that the Roman Empire began as a pact between criminals and murderers. The Romans acquired their power by “capturing, raping, and enslaving their victims.” John Chrysostom contrasted the use of force with the Christian community, in which “the wrongdoer must be corrected not by force, but by persuasion.”

Of all the sources that influenced how eighteenth-century Americans viewed power and its dangers, none was more influential than Cato’s Letters, a series of newspaper articles written during the 1720’s by the Englishman John Trenchard and the Scot Thomas Gordon. These articles, which were largely a popular presentation of the radical whig ideology found in John Locke and Algernon Sidney, are commonly viewed by historians as the greatest single influence on American political thought prior to the Revolutionary War. A complete collection of these articles was published in four volumes, and individual pieces were reprinted time and again in American newspapers. Then as now, the average person was not inclined to read weighty philosophical tomes, but the colonials did love their newspapers, and it was through this popular medium that Americans found many spirited passages about the lust for power. Here, from Letter #33, is one example among many.

"Power is naturally active, vigilant, and distrustful; which qualities in it push it upon all means and expedients to fortify itself, and upon destroying all opposition, and even all seeds of opposition, and make it restless as long as any thing stands in its way. It would do what it pleases, and have no check. Now, because liberty chastises and shortens power, therefore power would extinguish liberty; and consequently liberty has too much cause to be exceeding jealous, and always upon her defence. Power has many advantages over her; it has generally numerous guards, many creatures, and much treasure; besides, it has more craft and experience, less honesty and innocence: And whereas power can, and for the most part does, subsist where liberty is not, liberty cannot subsist without power; so that she has, as it were, the enemy always at her gates."

The unending struggle between liberty and power became the conceptual framework for many histories written by classical liberals and libertarians. As Lord Acton, the dean of liberal historians, put it, the “struggle for the concentration of power and for the limitation and division of power is the mainspring of history.”

SOURCE

*********************************

Thanks, Obamacare: 1,000 Jobs Lost in West Michigan

Concerns over the security and functionality of the exchanges aside, the president’s health care law is directly and solely responsible for the loss of 1,000 jobs in West Michigan, according to a new study:

    A new report out Thursday by Grand Valley State University found that there are at least 1,000 fewer jobs in West Michigan as a result of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly referred to as Obamacare.

    The report was conducted by GVSU economics professors Leslie Muller and Paul Isely in collaboration with Priority Heath. A survey was sent to local businesses with more than 50 employers in Allegan, Kent, Muskegon and Ottawa counties.

    "Firms are actually holding off on hiring or their reducing their hiring that they were thinking they were going to be doing because of the ACA," said Muller.

    The 1,000 jobs lost does not include the number of workers in West Michigan that have lost hours to ensure that they are kept as part-time employees. Nearly one-third of companies said they have cut employees' hours.

A thousand fewer jobs in the area; plus, one-third of employees now have had their hours cut. Devastating. That means if the Affordable Care didn’t pass, a thousand more Americans would be employed and countless others would be working full-time. This is only a small section of the United States, too. I’ll leave you with this exit quotation from the piece:

    "What is happening in Western Michigan is quite similar percentage-wise to what is happening in the rest of the country," Muller said. Comforting, isn’t it?

SOURCE

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

*******************************

For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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

****************************

Monday, January 20, 2014



English-Language Media Ignores Breivik’s Coming-Out As A Nazi

Robert Spencer

Last Friday, I published a translation of a Swedish report about a letter mass murderer Anders Breivik had sent to the media, in which he revealed that he was a Nazi, and that he had published his “counter-jihad manifesto” intending to destroy the counter-jihad movement. The Swedish news source Expo Idag (Expo Today) reported:

Anders Behring Breivik has sent out a letter to the international media that Expo Today has reviewed. He describes the letter as a sort of first step in a “peace negotiation” with his political opponents. In the letter, Anders Behring Breivik to some extent changes the rhetoric from that which he used in his so-called manifesto. He says that he used “counter-jihadist” rhetoric in the manifesto to protect “ethno-nationalists” and instead provoke a media campaign against the anti-nationalist counter-jihad supporters. He calls this a strategy of “dual psychology.”

Now Daniel Greenfield has picked up the story, but he is the only one: the English-language media has completely ignored this story, not even bothering to publish stories designed to shore up their earlier demonization of the counter-jihad movement, and claiming that Breivik is cravenly trying to obscure his counter-jihadist tracks, or simply delusional and crazy, as Greenfield does. Instead, no one mentioned it at all. Nothing. The Wall Street Journal published a piece about his claims that he was tortured, but that was as close as any mainstream media outlet came to covering this story at all.

Contrast that to the huge media barrage when Breivik’s “manifesto” was first discovered: I was on NBC for the first time in ten years, I was on the front page of the New York Times, I was on the BBC, and in a hundred other places — everywhere being blamed for the murders. But now, when Breivik says he was a Nazi and was not only not influenced by the counter-jihad movement, but was trying to destroy it?

This isn’t the first time the media has distorted Breivik’s story, although this is the first time it has done it by omission. Although Leftists and Islamic supremacists, as well as hard-Left governing and media elites, will continue to insist that there is something wrong with opposing jihad terror and Islamic supremacism because of this mass murderer, and will continue to claim that I and others somehow “inspired” him, it has been clear for quite some time that Breivik was not a counter-jihadist at all, and could not have been and was not incited to violence by the counter-jihad movement.

In all his quotations of me, Breivik never quotes me calling for or justifying violence – because I never do. In fact, Breivik even criticized me for not doing so, saying of me, historian Bat Ye’or and other critics of jihad terror: “If these authors are to [sic] scared to propagate a conservative revolution and armed resistance then other authors will have to” (Breivik, 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, p. 743). Breivik explains in his manifesto that he was “radicalized” by his experiences with Muslim immigrants in the early 1990s, before I had published anything about Islam (See Breivik, p. 1348).

Breivik also hesitantly but unmistakably recommended making common cause with jihadists, which neither I nor any other opponent of jihad would ever do: “An alliance with the Jihadists might prove beneficial to both parties but will simply be too dangerous (and might prove to be ideologically counter-productive). We both share one common goal” (Breivik, p. 948). He even called for making common cause with Hamas in plotting jihad terror: “Approach a representative from a Jihadi Salafi group. Get in contact with a Jihadi strawman. Present your terms and have him forward them to his superiors….Present your offer. They are asked to provide a biological compound manufactured by Muslim scientists in the Middle East. Hamas and several Jihadi groups have labs and they have the potential to provide such substances. Their problem is finding suitable martyrs who can pass ‘screenings’ in Western Europe. This is where we come in. We will smuggle it in to the EU and distribute it at a target of our choosing. We must give them assurances that we are not to harm any Muslims etc.” (Breivik, p. 949).

But from the media, there was absolute silence on all of this at the time of the murders and ever after, just as there is silence now about Breivik’s Nazi claims. And that, in a nutshell, manifests the sinister agenda of the mainstream media: the objective was never to uncover the facts surrounding Breivik’s heinous murders. It was just to discredit the counter-jihad movement. And for that, Anders Behring Breivik has already served his purpose. At this point, he is no longer useful.

 SOURCE

********************************

If the Republicans Take the Senate..

If the Republicans Take the Senate what can or should they do about Obamacare? The current unpopularity of the program is the reason it looks at least possible that they will not only hold the House but get a majority in the Senate. If so, what are their options?

The obvious one is to replace Obamacare with something that moves medical insurance in the opposite direction, towards something more like a free market. One  elements of such a bill would be legalizing interstate sales of medical insurance, another equalizing the tax status of individual plans and employer provided plans, which probably means making expenditure on individual plans deductible. Sponsors could plausibly argue that the savings from abolishing the ACA will more than make up for the lost revenue.

Obama can and presumably will veto any attempt to repeal his pet program. The Republicans will not have enough votes to override a veto, so their only hope would be to get enough Democratic senators and representatives to go along. That is going to be hard, but not necessarily impossible, depending on just how badly Obamacare is doing. One critical actor will be Hilary Clinton. On ideological grounds she should be even more adamantly in favor of preserving the program than Obama—but on political grounds she may be looking for a way of avoiding the political fallout from its failure. Organizing Democratic support for something she can plausibly represent as a compromise might be one way of doing so.

There is another alternative. Suppose the House and Senate pass a spending bill with nothing allocated to continued implementation of the ACA. Obama can veto it and force another government shut down. But it is going to be much harder for him to blame a shut down on the Republicans if both houses have passed a budget and his refusal to sign it is the only remaining obstacle.

 SOURCE

******************************

7 Lies Liberals Tell Young Americans

Saying that life is hard is kind of like saying the sun is hot, water is wet, or noting that politicians lie a lot. It's so obvious that anyone who's paying attention already knows that it's true. That being said, life's even harder when you're working under false assumptions that have been drilled into you by your teachers, college professors, Hollywood, and politicians in D.C. Much of what liberalism drums into the young skulls full of mush simply isn't true and millions of lives have been ruined by people finding it out the hard way. The good news is that the truth is out there if you're willing to look for it and not accept the easy answers that make you feel good.

1) You are a special little flower: We live in an "everybody's a winner," don't use red ink, don't offend anyone, participation trophies for everyone era where we build up self-esteem as much as possible. Then the college student who just went $100,000 a year in the hole to get a women's studies degree from a prestigious university finds that she's not even a stand-out at the $10 an hour job she only got because her father knew someone. This leaves her angry and baffled as to why she doesn't even merit a raise, much less a promotion. When you have that experience, it's easy to retreat into bitterness or video games where "greatness awaits" in a simulation where you get to restart over and over until you win. Contrary to what young Americans are taught in school, "experience trumps brilliance," hard work beats talent, and most people value you for what you bring to the table right now, not how wonderful your teacher said you were for "trying hard."

2) Social Security and Medicare will be there for you: Young Americans are expected to pay into Medicare and Social Security, but the programs aren't going to be there in their present forms when they get old enough to use them. In other words, we're defrauding young Americans. We're telling them to pay today so they'll be taken care of when they get old, but we have no intention of ever allowing them to collect. Unless there are massive changes made to our entitlement programs, most young Americans should expect to work until they die. Let me repeat that: if you're 25 years old, you will not get to retire at 65 like your parents because you will have to work until you drop dead. When there's a 100 trillion dollar difference between what we already owe and the money we're collecting to pay it, that's not even a legitimately arguable proposition. If young Americans would like to receive more than sack cloth and an occasional bowl of gruel from the government once they get long in the tooth, they should be demanding entitlement reform.

3) Faith isn't relevant anymore: Hollywood almost universally makes Christians look bad in TV shows and movies, liberalism has become reflexively hostile to Christianity, and militant atheists work overtime to attack people of faith. Yet and still, this nation has been a success in large part because of Christianity. If not for this nation's Protestant work ethic, fundamental Christian decency and biblically inspired dedication to human rights, we would have never been so successful. That doesn't mean all Christians are good and all atheists are bad because that's certainly not true, but Christianity offers up a moral order to the universe that atheism is incapable of doing, by its very nature. Although I have known some wonderful people in my life who didn't believe in God, on the whole I've found that Christians (and observant Jews for that matter) are happier, more stable and are generally just better human beings than the people who don't believe. Contrary to what Hollywood would tell you, Christianity doesn't keep people from "doing all the fun stuff" in life, it just steers them away from sins that are "fun for a season," but that will do a lot of damage over the long-term. Few things will turn out to be more integral to your happiness and success as a human being over the long haul than your faith.

4) The government is your friend: As a general rule the more contact you have with a government, the more miserable you will be long term. Some politicians, government workers and well-connected corporations that land big contracts are exceptions to that rule, but you're probably not in any of those groups. For you, the more the government gets involved in your life, the worse off you'll be. Those college loans? The government expects them to be paid. That welfare and food stamps? It's not much money, it comes with a lot of strings attached and you'll have to degrade yourself by leeching off of your fellow citizens to get it. Ronald Reagan once said, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’" He wasn't wrong about that.

5) Morality doesn't matter: It's ironic that Christianity is regularly attacked, it's considered bad form to talk about morals, and we worry more about offending people than doing the right thing; yet we're shocked at how degenerate our society has become. You want a society with no moral code, where no one is ever made to feel bad about doing disgusting things? Well, then you should expect school shootings, welfare fraud, a deterioration of marriage, women having five children out of wedlock with four different men, perverted politicians, etc., etc., etc. When you say morality isn't welcome, you don't get to pick and choose which dearly held precepts are trampled into the dirt in the public square. If you want your kids growing up in a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah, buy into the idea that morals don't matter and you'll be doing your part to make it a reality.

6) Politicians are investing in your future: There really was a time in American history when the people and the government were living with one foot in the present and one foot in the future. As a practical matter, that just doesn't happen anymore. Our political differences are so stark, our government is so big, our debt is so out of control and the quality of men the American people have sent to D.C. is so low that everything is about "the now." It's about what gets them through the next news cycle, the next scandal or the next election. There's not a single Democrat in D.C. who cares about what happens to you if you're not his relative or campaign contributor and sadly, most of the Republicans aren't any better. The only people in politics that are genuinely fighting tooth and nail to protect future generations of Americans are the decidedly unhip Tea Party and its allies in Congress. They've been relentlessly smeared for that because people who are frittering away the future loathe nothing more than people who expose how small and selfish they've become.

7) The world owes you a living: There was a time in America when, "The world doesn't owe you a living," was probably the mother's favorite phrase to repeat to her child after, "If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?" However, we've moved past that and now everyone seems to believe that if he gets a college degree, he’s owed a cushy, fulfilling job and all the cool stuff his parents had after a lifetime of work. Unfortunately, that's the wrong answer, kiddo. For most people, all a college degree entitles you to is THE CHANCE to find a job where you’ll be allowed to start proving yourself for low pay. If you're expecting more than that and daddy isn't going to give you a VP slot at his company, then don't be surprised if the world adjusts your expectations the hard way.

SOURCE

*****************************

Dolly Birds of the Hindu Kush



A few weeks back, I wrote:

"At this point, Americans sigh wearily and shrug, "Afghanistan, the graveyard of empire," or sneer, "If they want to live in a seventh-century s***hole, f*** 'em." But neither assertion is true. Do five minutes' googling, and you'll find images from the Sixties and early Seventies of women in skirts above the knee listening to the latest Beatles releases in Kabul record stores."

Dangerous Minds has now assembled a collection of these photographs - not just Kabul coeds and teenyboppers but scientific researchers, too - from the Seventies, Sixties and Fifties, and they're well worth taking a look at, if only to understand the totality of our failure there. There's also a portrait of King Amanullah's consort, Queen Soraya, in the Twenties wearing a sleeveless gown that would get her stoned in 21st century Afghanistan. Amanullah was the emir who regained control of his country's foreign policy from the British, but he and his wife were more westernized than any of the would-be heirs to his throne today. Queen Soraya, a practising Muslim, nevertheless went around riding on horseback - which no unaccompanied woman can do in her country after 12 years as an American protectorate. As I said:

If it's too much to undo the barbarism of centuries, why could the supposed superpower not even return the country to the fitful civilization of the disco era? The American imperium has lasted over twice as long as the Taliban's rule — and yet, unlike them, we left no trace.

America and its allies have the best tanks, planes, and guns ...but no will and no strategy. And so the tanks, planes and guns count for naught. Our enemies have nothing but will. The consequences of this distinction extend well beyond Afghanistan

 SOURCE

*********************************

For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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

****************************


Sunday, January 19, 2014



Shaking down business

Attorney General Eric Holder has long made an issue of race, obviously carrying a chip on his shoulder that dictates how he does his job. The latest affront to Rule of Law is that he and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (another bureaucracy created by the Dodd-Frank financial “reform” bill) have announced a $100 million settlement with Ally Bank for “discrimination” in making auto loans. It's the largest-ever such settlement against the auto industry, and the third largest overall. So far, Holder's Justice Department has extorted $810 million from the financial industry over so-called discriminatory lending practices.

But let's look at the facts – crazy talk, we know. The Justice Department accused Ally of “charg[ing] African-American borrowers more than white borrowers in interest-rate markups not based on creditworthiness or other objective criteria related to borrower risk.” However, Justice didn't have the pertinent data to make such a claim. Unlike the mortgage industry, the auto industry doesn't track a buyer's race, so Holder and Co. had to guess based on Census data for the racial composition of a buyer's neighborhood. Justice didn't bother looking at creditworthiness of the buyers, either – regardless of the supposed race – so how would they know Ally didn't assess it before making the loans?

The bottom line is that the Justice Department had nothing to go on and pushed forward with these trumped-up charges anyway. Ally caved rather than fight the inevitable Leftmedia PR battle. The Obama administration is far more concerned with its beloved but discredited “disparate impact” theory than upholding fair business practices, and the media will always dutifully fall in line.

Holder once accused the American people of being “essentially a nation of cowards” when it comes to race, while demanding a “national conversation” on the topic. It's time he participated in the conversation already happening instead of making up lies to persecute political opponents and the free market.

SOURCE

******************************

Why Economic Growth Is Exponentially More Important Than Income Inequality

In 1900, we had no airplanes, no computers, no cellphones, no internet. We had only rudimentary versions of cars, trucks, telephones, even cameras.

But in the last century, 1900 to 2000, as Stephen Moore and Julian L. Simon report in their underappreciated work, It’s Getting Better All the Time: 100 Greatest Trends of the Last 100 Years, real per capita GDP in the U.S. grew by nearly 7 times, meaning the American standard of living grew by that much as well. The authors explain:

It is hard for us to imagine, for example, that in 1900 less than one in five homes had running water, flush toilets, a vacuum cleaner, or gas or electric heat. As of 1950 fewer than 20 percent of homes had air conditioning, a dishwasher, or a microwave oven. Today between 80 and 100 percent of American homes have all of these modern conveniences.

Indeed, in 1900 only 2% of homes enjoyed electricity.

Michael W. Cox and Richard Alm add in their insightful Myths of Rich and Poor that as a result of all that economic growth today:

"Homes aren’t just larger. They’re also much more likely to be equipped with central air conditioning, decks and patios, swimming pools, hot tubs, ceiling fans, and built in kitchen appliances. Fewer than half of the homes built in 1970 had two or more bathrooms; by 1997, 9 out of 10 did."

Such economic growth has produced dramatic improvements in personal health as well. Throughout most of human history, a typical lifespan was 25 to 30 years, as Moore and Simon report. But “from the mid-18th century to today, life spans in the advanced countries jumped from less than 30 years to about 75 years.” Average life expectancy in the U.S. has grown by more than 50% since 1900. Infant mortality declined from 1 in 10 back then to 1 in 150 today. Children under 15 are at least 10 times less likely to die, as one in four did during the 19th century, with their death rate reduced by 95%. The maternal death rate from pregnancy and childbirth was also 100 times greater back then than today.

Moore and Simon further recount, “Just three infectious diseases – tuberculosis, pneumonia, and diarrhea – accounted for almost half of all deaths in 1900.” Today, we have virtually eliminated or drastically reduced these and other scourges of infectious disease that have killed or crippled billions throughout human history, such as typhoid fever, cholera, typhus, plague, smallpox, diphtheria, polio, influenza, bronchitis, whooping cough, malaria, and others. Besides the advances in the development and application of modern health sciences, this has resulted from the drastic reduction in filthy and unsanitary living conditions that economic growth has made possible as well. More recently, great progress is being made against heart disease and cancer.

Also greatly contributing to the well-being of working people, the middle class, and the poor in America has been the dramatically declining cost of food resulting from economic growth and soaring productivity in agriculture. As Moore and Simon report, “Americans devoted almost 50 percent of their incomes to putting food on the table in the early 1900s compared with 10 percent in the late 1900s.”

While most of human history has involved a struggle against starvation, today in America the battle is against obesity, even more so among the poor. Moore and Simon quote Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, “The average consumption of protein, minerals, and vitamins is virtually the same for poor and middle income children, and in most cases is well above recommended norms for all children. Most poor children today are in fact overnourished.” That cited data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau. As a result, poor children in America today “grow up to be about 1 inch taller and 10 pounds heavier than the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II.”

That has resulted from a U.S. agricultural sector that required 75% of all American workers in 1800, 40% in 1900, and just 2.5% today, to “grow more than enough food for the entire nation and then enough to make the United States the world’s breadbasket.” Indeed, today, “The United States feeds three times as many people with one-third as many total farmers on one-third less farmland than in 1900,” in the process producing “almost 25 percent of the world’s food.”

Moreover, it is economic growth that has provided the resources enabling us to dramatically reduce pollution and improve the environment, without trashing our standard of living. Moore and Simon write that at the beginning of the last century,

“Industrial cities typically were enveloped in clouds of black soot and smoke. At this stage of the industrial revolution, factories belched poisons into the air—and this was proudly regarded as a sign of prosperity and progress. Streets were smelly and garbage-filled before the era of modern sewage systems and plumbing.”

Not any of these truly dramatic advances for the poor, working people and the middle class could have been achieved by redistribution from “the rich.” Only economic growth could achieve these results.

Nor would it have been worth sacrificing any of these world shattering gains for greater economic “equality.” And Barack Obama’s leftist protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, economists have long recognized the conflict between economic equality and maximizing economic growth. Put most simply, penalizing investors, successful entrepreneurs, and job creators with higher taxes, to reward the less productive with government handouts, to make everyone more equal, is a sure fire way to get less productivity, fewer jobs, lower wages, and reduced economic growth.

The above history, and the future prospects below, are why to most benefit the poor, working people, and the middle class, our nation’s overriding goal must be to maximize economic growth. Consider, if total real compensation, wages and benefits, grow at just 1% a year, after 20 years the real incomes of working people would be only 22% greater. After 40 years, a generation, real incomes would be 50% more. But with sustained real compensation growth of 2%, after just 20 years the real incomes and living standards of working people would be nearly 50% greater, and after 40 years they would be 120% greater, more than doubled. At sustained 3% growth in wages and benefits, after 20 years the living standards of working people will have almost doubled, and after 40 years they will have more than tripled.

The U.S. economy sustained a real rate of economic growth of 3.3% from 1945 to 1973, and achieved the same 3.3% sustained real growth from 1982 to 2007. (Note that this 3.3% growth rate for the entire economy includes population growth. Real wages and benefits discussed above is a per worker concept). It was only during the stagflation decade of 1973 to 1982, reflecting the same Keynesian economics that President Obama is pursuing today, that real growth fell to only half long term trends. If we could revive and sustain that same 3.3% real growth for 20 years, our total economic production (GDP) would double in that time. After 30 years, our economic output would grow by 2 and two-thirds. After 40 years, our prosperity bounty would grow by 3 and two-thirds.

If we are truly following growth maximizing policies, we could conceivably do even better than we have in the past. At sustained real growth of 4% per year, our economic production would more than double after 20 years. After 30 years, GDP would more than triple. After 40 years, a generation, total U.S. economic output would nearly quadruple. America would by then have leapfrogged another generation ahead of the rest of the world.

Achieving and sustaining such economic growth should be the central focus of national economic policy, for it would solve every problem that plagues and threatens us today. Such booming economic growth would produce surging revenues that would make balancing the budget so much more feasible. Surging GDP would reduce the national debt as a percent of GDP relatively quickly, particularly with balanced budgets not adding any further to the debt. Sustained, rapid economic growth is also the ultimate solution to poverty, as after a couple of decades or so of such growth, the poor would climb to the same living standards as the middle class of today.

With sustained, robust, economic growth, maintaining the most powerful military in the world, and thereby ensuring our nation’s security and national defense, will require a smaller and smaller percentage of GDP over time. That security itself will promote capital investment and economic growth in America. The booming economy will produce new technological marvels that will make our defenses all the more advanced. With the economy rapidly advancing, there will be more than enough funds for education. There will also be more than enough to clean up and maintain a healthy environment.

With such booming growth, imagine where our exploding, rapidly advancing science will take us from 2000 to 2100. In a March, 2012 interview in the Wall Street Journal, pathbreaking, pioneering, futurist physicist Michio Kaku explained, “Every 18 months, computer power doubles, so in eight years, a microchip will cost only a penny. Instead of one chip inside a desk top, we’ll have millions of chips in all of our possessions: furniture, cars, appliances, clothes. Chips will be so ubiquitious that we won’t say the word ‘computer.’” Kaku further projected, “In this ‘augmented reality,’…the Internet will be in your contact lens. You will blink, and you will go online. That will change everything.”

Kaku continued:

"To comprehend the world we’re entering, consider another word that will disappear soon: ‘tumor.’ We will have DNA chips inside our toilet, which will sample some of our blood and urine and tell us if we have cancer maybe 10 years before a tumor forms. . . . When you need to see a doctor, you’ll talk to a wall in your home, and an animated artificially intelligent doctor will appear. You’ll scan your body with a hand-held MRI machine, the ‘Robodoc’ will analyze the results, and you’ll receive a diagnosis that is 99% accurate."

On the distant horizon beckons the personalized medicine made possible by the mapping of the human genome, so contrary to the central planning of Obamacare. Modern genetics is rapidly advancing to a redesign of plants and agriculture, the leftist European cant over “frankenfood” to the contrary notwithstanding. While Star Trek style teleporting eludes our science, high definition and 3D video conferencing will provide a similar feel. While Barack Obama thinks modern technology causes unemployment, 3D printing offers new vistas in manufacturing. Robotics has already produced driverless, automated cars, “lights out” factories, and robotic surgery. And that is mostly without advances in artificial intelligence that can expand the effectiveness of the human race to vast new realms.

George Gilder’s transformative book, Power and Knowledge, unrecognized in the current generation’s temporary Dark Age of the West, explains how breakthroughs in information theory are opening new vistas for previously sidetracked frontiers of physics, chemistry, and biology. That is opening the way for currently frustrated visionaries to achieve their dreams: “Peter Thiel wants supersonic flight and real genetic medicine, robotic vehicles, and new libertarian city-states at sea. Ray Kurzweil pushes for a prosthetic life, an upgraded bionic body with veins vamped with nanobots, chasing down viruses and cancers, repairing outworn tissue and extended by virtual worlds of glass and light.”

Kaku concludes, “If you could meet your grandkids as elderly citizens in the year 2100, you would view them as being, basically, Greek gods.”

This is the future that today’s so-called “progressives,” fixated on their literally dumb, static analysis concepts of economic “equality” and “redistribution,” would be denying tomorrow’s otherwise poor, working people, and middle class. Today’s so-called “progressivism” is just the late 19th century reactionary response to the rise of the industrial revolution. It is the surviving nostalgic project to stop history at Karl Marx, and return to the imagined, more bucolic world of the 18th century. This is all best reflected in the environmentalist extremist fraud of global warming/climate change, with Barack Obama’s EPA serving as the spear carriers even now still openly trying to reverse the industrial revolution (even if that is not what they themselves imagine they are doing).

But the future will overwhelm the present, and reject the past. Just as the technological breakthrough of fracking, and the resulting oil and gas boom, is overwhelming today’s EPA. The American people, pursuing the same vision of freedom and prosperity that inspired the first, original, American Revolution, will not be denied the bounty of the future. And ultimately leading that fight for the infinitely prosperous future will ironically be the very same young immigrants that today’s “progressives” think will put them over the top in their reactionary war to restore pre-capitalism.

SOURCE

*********************************

For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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

****************************