My sister summed me up in a sentence: “For an incredibly neurotic person, you’re very normal and easygoing.” I know what she means. All my neuroses are turned inwards. They drive me crazy, but they don’t interfere with anyone outside of my brain. If you meet me, I’m friendly, good-humored, and well-mannered. I rarely take offense, and I’m always happy to help out.
I’m the living embodiment of the reminder to judge people by their deeds, not their thoughts. Unless of course, you think the deeds and the thoughts reflect on each other, magnifying each . . . which leads to me to:
The Obama latte salute
A military friend of mine had this to say:
What I find comical about this is the outrage. You’re surprised by this man? This is par for the course. And technically, he has no obligation to salute them back. A military officer not in uniform is only obligated to acknowledge a salute with a proper verbal greeting. My understanding is saluting the Marines of HMX-1 started with Reagan.
I think there are more important things to address about him like having absolutely no plan in Syria. This is comical considering the whole “what is our exit strategy?” nonsense during the Bush admin. We don’t even have an entry strategy here.
My friend is quite right, but I couldn’t resist reminding him about that outlook/action connection I mentioned at the start of this post:
I know that Reagan started it (and did you know that Reagan, whom the Left always castigated for not going to war, was in the Army Reserve as of 1937, and was barred from active duty during WWII only because of his vision?), so it’s not deep tradition, and I know that it’s not militarily necessary.
The thing is that, if it was clear that Obama really supported the military, and wanted to fight war in a way that’s not only ethical (which is a good thing), but that also keeps our troops alive and effective (another good thing), no one would have given a flying whatsit even if he’d hollered “Howdy, guys!” and blown soap bubbles at them. The optics mattered only because they were such a perfect visual representation of which we all know he actually thinks: “Blech! Marines again! And now I have to figure out how, and how many, of those baby killers to ship overseas this time….”
And my friend, who is a gentlemen down to the marrow of his bones, shot back:
I agree, we already know how he feels about the military. Saluting is what we call a military courtesy. Failing to simply be courteous says something about character.
I have such interesting friends.
Regarding the worsening mystery virus affecting children, when does correlation equal causation?
We’ve been hearing for a couple of months now about a serious respiratory virus affecting children across America. It’s been so bad that hospitals have been turning them away.
Well, here’s some more news guaranteed to make you unhappy: the virus just got worse. According to AP, children are now showing up with a paralysis that seems to be in the polio family and that may be related to the mystery enterovirus. So far, only nine cases have shown up in Colorado, but there’s no telling where paralysis problem might end up.
The AP’s not the only one paying attention to the virus. The New York Times has a long article about its effects on children across America (emphasis mine):
An outbreak of respiratory illness first observed in the Midwest has spread to 38 states, sending children to hospitals and baffling scientists trying to understand its virulent resurgence.
I love that line about “baffled” scientists. It reminds me of a wonderful Lord Peter Wimsey remark in Busman’s Honeymoon, when he and his new bride find a dead body in their honeymoon cottage. Being famous, the Wimseys are immediately besieged the press, one of whose members, Salcombe Hardy, is an old friend (emphasis mine):
“Can I say you’ve got a theory of the crime?”
“Yes,” said Peter.
“Fine!” said Salcombe Hardy.
“My theory is that you put the corpse there yourself, Sally, to make a good headline.”
“I only wish I’d thought of it. Nothing else?”
“I tell you,” said Peter, “the evidence is destroyed. You can’t have a theory without evidence to go on.”
“The fact is,” said Harriet, “he’s completely baffled.”
“As baffled as a bathroom geyser,” agreed her husband. “My wife’s baffled too. It’s the only point on which we are at one. When we’re tired of heaving crockery about we sit and sneer at one another’s bafflement. The police are baffled too. Or else they confidently expect to make an arrest. One or other . You can take your choice.” (Sayers, Dorothy L., Busman’s Honeymoon, p. 242 (Open Road Media, Kindle Edition)).
I feel a little like sneering at some bafflement too — in this case, the bafflement of those scientists trying to figure out how a rare virus that is connected to polio managed suddenly to enter the United States and infect American children.
I know that correlation is not causation, but I also know that not everything is pure coincidence. Isn’t it at least possible that the headlines about a bizarre virus striking down American children for the past two months might have something to do with the headlines from the end of July informing Americans that tens of thousands of Latin American children, many of them sick with diseases not seen in American children, were crossing the border? And isn’t it also possible that this baffling respiratory and occasionally polio-like illness might have to do with the fact that the Obama administration popped these children on buses and airplanes and then sent them all across the United States?
Again, I’m not saying that there has to be a connection, but I’d at least like to see some scientist say, “We’ve considered the possibility that this virus came with the immigrant children, but rejected it because….”
But they’re not saying that. Instead, the MSM just pretends the children’s crusade from Latin America never happened — so much so that it won’t even assure is that there’s no connection.
The country’s in the very best of hands (a song that’s never been more timely, I think)….
The media keeps its message consistent no matter the subject
The fact is that the American media is well-trained and it follows the Democrat playbook no matter the subject. A case in point involves doggies that have been Trayvon Martinized.
About that poor woman beheaded in Oklahoma
We know a few useful things about poor Colleen Hufford’s horrible death: She was beheaded, her murderer was an ex-con Muslim convert who had just been fired for arguing that women should be stoned, and another woman was saved from a similar fate when a company official with a gun shot him.
The police are trying to play this as just another case of workplace violence, and that may be true. But even ordinary violence reflects a zeitgeist. A former convict (which is what Alton Nolen, aka ‘Keem Yisrael, is), who converts to Islam in prison, will have two seeds planted within him: violence and jihad.
As always in these cases, please remember what my cousin, the retired prison chaplain, said about those prison converts:
It is not a contradiction to be a Muslim and a murderer, even a mass murderer. That is one reason why criminals “convert” to Islam in prison. They don’t convert at all; they similarly [sic] remain the angry judgmental vicious beings they always have been. They simply add “religious” diatribes to their personal invective. Islam does not inspire a crisis of conscience, just inspirations to outrage.
(Roger Simon has more on prison conversions to Islam and Caleb Howe has more on the lifelong anger and violence in Nolen that found its home in Islam) In other words, Nolen’s criminal history made him the kind of person who would commit murder — but his Islamic conversion made him the kind of person who would elevate this murder to the level of a jihad killing, complete with the sharia-compliant death of choice, namely beheading.
So yes, workplace violence or not, his religion mattered.
And what also mattered is that Nolen was stopped short by a gun. Jihad in America would be stopped pretty damn short if all of us were armed.
As for the shooting death of John Crawford in a Ohio Wal-Mart
John Crawford’s death is another one about which we know little, but it does look as if police were trigger-happy. Crawford was in a Wal-Mart aisle, someone called in a 911 because he was holding what looked like a gun, and the cops shot him. The video seems to show the cops firing instantly, without warning and, given how still Crawford was standing and the fact that his pop gun was pointed to the floor, they also shot without provocation. The cops, though, claim that Crawford was being threatening, something that might have been obvious outside of the silent film.
Radley Balko offers a great analysis of the bizarre intersections of so many societal issues in Crawford’s death: race, police malfeasance, societal paranoia about mass shootings, mental illness, etc. Something bad happened in that Wal-Mart, and two children lost their father.
I’m very interested in further facts. If Crawford’s behavior was frightening, so be it. But if trigger-happy cops killed an innocent man, let justice be done.
No, the Obama economy is not thriving
A few weeks ago, I asked for help rebutting a Forbes opinion piece claiming that the Obama economy is thriving, and that it puts the Reagan boom to shame. Just the other day, Forbes itself published an opinion piece rebutting that earlier, pro-Obama effort, and it’s a humdinger:
With the stock market cruising at all-time highs and the unemployment rate sitting at quaint levels, a fashionable new argument is making the rounds. Barack Obama is better at economic recovery than Ronald Reagan ever was.
The numbers make the case. Dow Jones Industrial Average the day President Obama was inaugurated in January 2009 was 7950; today it stands at 17,000. Unemployment in his first full month, that February: 8.3%, versus 6.1% today.
Ronald Reagan could not quite touch this standard. The Dow began his presidency at 950 and chugged to 1800 after five-and-a-half years. A 90% gain is nice, but short of the 115% gain since 2009. Unemployment over that span went from 7.4 to 7.1%—welcome enough, but overmatched by the post-2009 record.
And all the while under Reagan, there was double the consumer price inflation as under the comparable Obama period (26% vs. 13%). Interest rates were higher. Prime was at 7.5% in September 1986, in contrast to today’s 3.3%.
Whatever crisis, whatever “stagflation” Reagan faced as he swept Jimmy Carter from office in 1980, the results that came in well into his presidency pale in comparison to what the nation would put up under the leadership of Barack Obama.
This argument has glaring flaws, the most obvious of which (from a statistical point of view) is that the labor force participation rate has collapsed under Obama, while it surged under Reagan, rendering any kind of comparison of unemployment rates inoperable. The bald economic growth numbers, for their part, are double in the Reagan (20.3%) than in the Obama (9.7%) case.
Read the rest here.
By all means, let’s have over the counter birth control
To me, even the smallest dose of birth control pills acts like poison on my system. For most women, though, today’s low-dose birth control pills have few serious side effects, if one discounts the fact that they’re messing with women’s entire hormonal and reproductive systems.
Given all the other stuff that’s sold over the counter, there’s no reason for the Pill not to become an OTC drug too. This will lower women’s health care costs dramatically, both by increasing competition at the purchase level and by doing away with the perfunctory, but costly, doctor’s visit that precede prescribing the pill.
Obamacare supporters, of course, are incensed that conservatives believe the Pill should be an OTC drug because that would strip away large parts of their argument about imposing costly and ethically troubling Obamacare “women’s health” regulations on every employer and insurance company in America.
Could this be the reason race hustlers do what they do?
The retirement of Eric Holder, Attorney General of the US and race hustler extraordinaire, resulted in one of Roger Simon’s best posts. Simon begins with Holder’s extremely sleazy history: The same man who prosecuted Dinesh D’Souza for a $20,000 act of stupidity was the federal prosecutor who enabled the disgraceful pardon of Marc Rich, an exceptionally corrupt man who dealt with Iran during the hostage crisis and was lined up for 300 years in prison.
From that disgraceful beginning as an unprincipled party hack, Holder went on to become a hatchet man for the racism racket who turned the Justice Department into a purely political office advancing Obama’s hard Left, anti-constitutional, race-based domestic policies. That history leads Simon to this interesting thought:
Now I have a theory about the etiology of Holder’s fixation on race. When you know deep down you’re a dishonest person, when you have had to eat the bitter pill of your own corruption who knows how many times (even Clinton finally admitted that he had gone too far pardoning Rich and damaged his own reputation), you have to invent a narrative for yourself to justify your activities. So over may years Holder developed what I have called elsewhere a “nostalgia for racism.” No matter that racism was diminishing in our culture, he had to keep racism alive, believe it was alive. If racism were going away, he would no longer have a raison d’être, an excuse for his biased behavior, an excuse, as it turned out, to go beyond the law, act unilaterally and punish political enemies.
Why, yes. That sounds just right.
Think of Syria as you read this bumper sticker
It took me a couple of seconds to figure out the message behind this bumper sticker, and then I thought “That’s excellent.”
If you’d like one for your car, you can buy it here.
You can put lipstick on a male pig, but it’s still a male pig
With self-selected sex transmutations dominating headlines lately (“Lift ban on transgender military members“), I keep harking back to what I’ve said since the headline about a “pregnant” man (i.e., a woman who had her breasts surgically removed, and took hormones to grow facial hair). At the end of the day, when the surgically-adjusted, cosmetically-mutated, chemically-altered soft tissue is gone, and the bones are all that is left, what’s left is . . . the original sex.
To hold otherwise — to say that person who made this change is now actually a man or a woman, just because he or she wants to be — is a bizarre cultural delusion we’re fostering. On the great bell curve of biology, men are men and women are women, and that’s true regardless of surgery, make-up, hormones, and magical thinking. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t accord the person the respect, when possible, of treating him or her as s/he wishes to be treated, but it does mean that we have to accept biological reality.
Case in point: Mixed martial arts. There, a man who went through the surgical, chemical, cosmetic process of appearing like a woman insisted that he be allowed to compete as a woman. The outcome was not pretty, as his opponent Tamikka Brents, who was born female, ended up with a massively broken eye socket and a concussion. Brents explained what happened to her:
In a post-fight interview this week, she told Whoa TV that “I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life.”
“I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because [he] was born a man or not, because I’m not a doctor,” she stated. “I can only say, I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life, and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right. ”
His “grip was different,” she added. “I could usually move around in the clinch against…females but couldn’t move at all in Fox’s clinch.”
I’m not a doctor either, but I’m pretty sure that, men have different bone structure and heavier muscle mass. Even if a man is taken female hormones, if he’s in the world of MMA training, he’s pushing those still-male muscles to the max. He’s going to be a muscle monster, with the weight of a man’s heavy bones behind him. At the end of the day, biology will not be denied.
Views from the climate change gala in New York
Power Line has a wonderful photo gallery from last weekend’s climate change extravaganza in New York. It’s got everything from the mounds of garbage left behind to the hypocritical celebrities to the hard Left people behind the climate change movement. Check it out. Laugh. Cry.
Then, if you want to laugh and cry some more, please enjoy Jeff Dunetz’s 48-item-long list of all the bad things that happen, according to the change-istas, because of climate change. Reading that list, I keep thinking of Monty Python’s Life of Brian, when Brian’s followers see everything he says as a sign of something insanely stupid:
Lies, damn lies, and British crime statistics
Since banning guns, Britain has become the most violent country in the first world. Certainly, the police are conflicted about the whole crime-fighting thing. After all, the God of political correctness tells them that they shouldn’t fight crime if the criminals are blacks or Muslims. The police have therefore figured out creative ways to massage the (non)crime-fighting numbers — they lie:
The culture of fiddling crime statistics is ingrained within the upper echelons of the police service where target-chasing has led to the under-reporting of serious crimes including rape, according to a report by MPs out today.
The MPs said a delay by Scotland Yard in addressing claims that rape figures were skewed was a “damning indictment of police complacency, inertia and lack of leadership”.
In attacking Rush, it appears that the female of the species is deadlier than the male
Rush Limbaugh went on the offensive to smoke out the small group of people trying to destroy his radio show through email and social media attacks against advertisers. What I noticed immediately is that, of the nine people engaged in this conspiracy, six are female. You’ll never have a 50/50 split in a group of nine people, but it’s telling somehow, that the group is heavily weighted on the women’s side.
I can’t decide if this is because women are indeed more vicious, or if it’s because the Sandra Fluke kerfuffle managed to turn Rush into a slayer of women in the deranged feminist mind, or if it’s simply random that in such a small group, there would be twice as many women as men. The fact seemed noteworthy, regardless of the reason.
No wonder women are raping as much as men are
Feminists have insisted that the definition of rape must be expanded far beyond the traditional definition, which pretty much was limited to a man using his penis to penetrate a woman vaginally, orally, or anally. Nowadays, every man’s touch, look, or verbal bullying is included in the definition of sexual assault, at least on college campuses. In this way, women can claim (and the Democrat party can campaign on) the canard that 1/5 of women on campus will be sexually assaulted.
Relying on the feminists’ own definition of sexual assault, Glenn Reynolds makes the compelling and convincing argument — supported by data — that women commit sexual assault every bit as often as men do. I believe this completely. If you read the trashy but informative Daily Mail on a regular basis, as I do, you’ll quickly discover that several times a week, and sometimes every day, there’s a story somewhere in America about a female school teacher forcing a sexual relationship on an underage male (or, sometimes, female) student. One comes away feeling that America’s students are taught by an army of nymphomaniacs.
Step back, puny mortals, and let the wind take over
One of the problems I’ve always had with the whole climate change theory is the centrality it gives humans. Humans have indeed shown themselves perfectly capable of trashing the local environment. From prehistoric man driving mammoths to extinction, to the Aztecs destroying every bit of protein in their region (hence the need for human sacrifices, which were later eaten), to the Soviets turning lakes into acid puddles, to American manufacturers doing their damndest to destroy our own lakes (until capitalism saved them), to the California Gold Rush stripping off sides of mountains, we are a destructive species. But there’s a quantum difference between making a terrible, and too often lasting, mess here and there, and altering the entire climate around the world, all the way until we touch outer space. That simply didn’t (and doesn’t) make sense to me.
What makes a lot more sense is a new theory that says that shifting wind patterns account for the changing climate along the Northwest. I find it especially intriguing giving the close connection between wind and sun (and I’m not just talking Aesop’s fables here).
I’m glad the New York Times had the integrity to report on this new climate theory, but I had to laugh at the opening sentence (emphasis mine):
A new and most likely controversial analysis of Pacific Ocean weather patterns concludes that a century-long trend of rising temperatures in the American Northwest is largely explained by natural shifts in ocean winds, not by human activity.
It must have choked the writer, Michael Wines, to concede in the next paragraph that the theory didn’t arise from the fetid swamps of whacked-out deniers but, instead, appeared in “the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences….” Oh, yeah!
America’s topmost colleges accept robots and turn out morons
Okay, I’m exaggerating for effect in that subtitle. There is no doubt that America’s top colleges get to take in America’s best and brightest students and that they turn out products with a certain sheen. I contend, though, that these new graduates are actually more indoctrinated than educated, but that’s just my opinion. Or maybe it isn’t….
While they do not say that America’s premier colleges are turning out mindless Leftist drones, two Ivy League instructors have come out lately to that in their pursuit of the best and brightest, these institutes of higher education are producing boring, timid robits who will not take any chances, thereby stifling their own brilliance.
At The New Republic, you can read William Deresiewicz’s Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League, which has been shared on Facebook more than 191,300 times.
And at First Things, you can read Michael J. Lewis’s Children Who Never Play, which picks up where Deresiewicz left off.
In bureaucracies, the perfect is the enemy of the good
I credit Philip K. Howard with helping me move from mindless Left-liberalism to thinking conservativism. His book The Death of Common Sense: How Law Is Suffocating America, which I read shortly after it was published in the early 1990s, was an eye-opener because it made me realize that government not only is not the answer but that it can never be the answer. It took me another decade to complete my journey across the Rubicon, but I definitely couldn’t have done it without him.
Just recently, Howard authored a piece for The Atlantic explaining how the Stimulus got wasted, not because of any specific corruption, but because the money vanished into the bureaucratic crevices created by a million rules:
Modern government is organized on “clear law,” the false premise that by making laws detailed enough to take in all possible circumstances, we can avoid human error. And so over the last few decades, law has gotten ever more granular. But all that regulatory detail, like sediment in a harbor, makes it hard to get anywhere. The 1956 Interstate Highway Act was 29 pages and succeeded in getting 41,000 miles of roads built by 1970. The 2012 transportation bill was 584 pages, and years will pass before workers can start fixing many of those same roads. Health-care regulators have devised 140,000 reimbursement categories for Medicare—including 12 categories for bee stings and 21 categories for “spacecraft accidents.” This is the tip of a bureaucratic iceberg—administration consumes 30 percent of health-care costs.
And finally, some marvelous photographs and a joke
Nope, not my usual set of posters but, instead, links to two wonderful sites. The first explains why you won’t see Israeli women in burqas anytime soon, while the second is a panoramic photograph taken shortly after San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake. If you click on the image, you can zoom in to a specific spot; then, click again to zoom out.
Since I try to end on a laugh or uplifting note, here’s a delightful joke that a friend sent me (slight language warning), clearly in honor of Ezekiel Emanuel’s announcement that he, and everyone else, should try to die by or before age 75:
I recently picked a new primary care doctor. After two visits and exhaustive lab tests, she said I was doing fairly well for my age. (I am past seventy-five). A little concerned about that comment, I couldn’t resist asking her, ‘Do you think I’ll live to be 80?’
She asked, ‘Do you smoke tobacco, or drink beer, wine or hard liquor?’
‘Oh no,’ I replied. I’m not doing drugs, either!’
Then she asked, ‘Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?’ ‘I said, ‘Not much … My former doctor said that all red meat is very unhealthy!’
‘Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf, boating, sailing, hiking, or bicycling?’
‘No, I don’t,’ I said.
She asked, ‘Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have a lot of sex?’
‘No,’ I said.
She looked at me and said, ‘Then, why do you even give a shit?’
This week, when it comes to the top stories, all is not as it seems. What struck me as I read through report after report, and opinion piece after opinion piece, is that we’re surrounded by a swirl of optics that belie the truth. Evidence to support this statement follows:
College student opts to illustrate optics of rape by toting around a mattress
The mainstream media is filled with a bit of performance art by Emma Sulkowicz, a senior at Columbia. Sulkowicz claims that three years ago, on her first night in the student dorms, a senior raped her. Sulkowicz eventually reported the alleged rape to the college, which opted not to expel the senior, despite the fact that other female students eventually charged him with rape too. Three years after the fact, Sulkowicz, a performance art major, has come up with a senior thesis that, as I said, has garnered a good bit of attention from the MSM:
Beginning this week, Columbia student Emma Sulkowicz has vowed to carry her mattress around at all times until her alleged rapist is expelled from school. The performance, which doubles as Sulkowicz’s senior thesis, instantly went viral and has been splashed internationally across Facebook, Twitter, and even the Today Show as the latest chapter in the ongoing conversation on how colleges handle sexual assault cases.
Sulkowicz, a visual-arts major, says she was raped by a classmate in her dorm bed sophomore year, and when she reported the incident to Columbia administrators they botched the report, the investigation, and the hearing. In April, Sulkowicz filed a Title IX complaint with 23 other students alleging Columbia has mishandled sexual assault cases.
The MSM, understandably, is terribly excited by the optics here. Sulkowicz explains:
Over the summer, I was lucky enough to get into the Yale Norfolk Residency, and I worked on a video where I had to move a mattress out of the room. The idea of carrying a mattress got stuck in my head the way a song gets stuck in your head, and I unpacked why carrying a mattress is an important visual for me. I thought about how I was raped in my own bed at Columbia; and how the mattress represents a private place where a lot of your intimate life happens; and how I have brought my life out in front for the public to see; and the act of bringing something private and intimate out into the public mirrors the way my life has been. Also the mattress as a burden, because of what has happened there, that has turned my own relationship with my bed into something fraught.
What’s singularly missing from the articles I looked at (and I looked at 7 or 8) is any information about the rape. Was she asleep in her bed only to wake up to the feel of a knife pressed against her throat (as happened to a friend of mine who sports a large scar on her face that she received when fighting of her attacker)? Or had Sulkowicz invited the alleged attacker into her room and into her bed? Was Sulkowicz drunk or sober? Was her alleged attacker drunk or sober? The only detail Sulkowicz discusses is her claim that the attacker had anal sex with her. It’s still unclear whether they had any consensual traditional intercourse before the senior engaged in an act at which Sulkowicz drew the line or whether it was indeed a stranger rape or a rape without any preliminary consensual behavior.
Another interesting thing about Sulkowicz’s whole rape narrative is that Sulkowicz immediately decided not to report the rape to the police: “I didn’t report it at first because I didn’t feel like dealing with the emotional trauma.” Okay, I get that, but you can’t eat your cake and have it — unless, I guess, you’re an American college student. In that case, you can claim that you were the victim of a genuinely criminal act, but bypass entirely the criminal justice system (which as built-in rights for the accused) and, instead, simply complain to your college. Then, if the college refuses to follow the usual politically correct path of destroying the male student’s life, you take to the media, so he can again be tried without due process.
I’m sure something happened that night in Sulkowicz’s bed. I just can’t escape the feeling that what took place was something called “gray rape,” which boils down to a scenario in which a girl agrees to sex and then, feeling guilty about what she did, later cries rape. The media, of course, doesn’t care.
The media’s credulity regarding Sulkowicz’s very self-serving claims (after all, she now has a performance art thesis that’s garnered her fame throughout the Progressive world) may come about in part because of the media’s readily apparent statistical ignorance. After all, the whole “rape culture” (as in “1-in-5 college women will be raped”) is in itself totally untrue:
MYTH 4: One in five in college women will be sexually assaulted.
FACTS: This incendiary figure is everywhere in the media today. Journalists, senators and even President Obama cite it routinely. Can it be true that the American college campus is one of the most dangerous places on earth for women?
The one-in-five figure is based on the Campus Sexual Assault Study, commissioned by the National Institute of Justice and conducted from 2005 to 2007. Two prominent criminologists, Northeastern University’s James Alan Fox and Mount Holyoke College’s Richard Moran, have noted its weaknesses:
“The estimated 19% sexual assault rate among college women is based on a survey at two large four-year universities, which might not accurately reflect our nation’s colleges overall. In addition, the survey had a large non-response rate, with the clear possibility that those who had been victimized were more apt to have completed the questionnaire, resulting in an inflated prevalence figure.”
Fox and Moran also point out that the study used an overly broad definition of sexual assault. Respondents were counted as sexual assault victims if they had been subject to “attempted forced kissing” or engaged in intimate encounters while intoxicated.
Defenders of the one-in-five figure will reply that the finding has been replicated by other studies. But these studies suffer from some or all of the same flaws. Campus sexual assault is a serious problem and will not be solved by statistical hijinks.
Fundamentally, though, statistics and other icky facts just don’t matter to the Left. What matters is control, something perfectly exemplified in an opinion piece in Britain’s Guardian. The author, Jessica Valenti, accepts as true the overwhelming horrors of a campus “rape” culture (hyperlinks omitted):
Her performance may be singular, but the deep frustration voiced by Sulkowicz is being echoed by survivors across the United States. Despite increased efforts to curb campus assault and hold schools accountable – the FBI has changed its once-archaic definition of rape, a new White House task force wants answers, and schools like Harvard and Dartmouth have promised new policies – the nation’s university administrators are still failing young people in their care. In the last year alone, 67 schools have had students file federal complaints accusing their own colleges of violating the Clery Act or Title IX.
Oh, the outrage! College is a dangerous place for your daughter! Keep her at home, perhaps in a burqa. Oh, wait. Valenti isn’t saying that last bit. She just wants to control speech more and more (links omitted):
Late last week, the first state bill to require colleges to adopt an “affirmative consent” model in their sexual assault policies passed the California senate unanimously. The legislation, which is headed to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for approval by the end of this month (his office declined to comment), effectively requires the presence of a “yes” rather than the absence of a “no” – or else withholds funding from the nation’s largest state school system.
The legislation additionally clarifies that affirmative consent means both parties must be awake, conscious and not incapacitated from alcohol or drugs – and that past sexual encounters or a romantic relationship doesn’t imply consent. The California bill also, importantly, specifies that “lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent”.
It seems like a no-brainer to only have sex with conscious and enthusiastic partners, but detractors say the standard “micromanages” sexuality. The truth is that a “yes means yes” policy “helps to create a shared responsibility, instead of the responsibility falling on women to say ‘no’,” says Tracey Vitchers, chair of the board at Safer (Students Active for Ending Rape). Anti-violence activists are clearly excited about the bill, which – if all goes well – could be adopted by more states with large public university systems.
Pardon me for cynicism, but I don’t believe there’s a “rape culture” at college campuses. I believe that there is a “sexually-saturated, morality-free culture” at college campuses, brought about in large part by Progressive pressure on those same campuses to abandon the role of pater familias. Once upon a time, boys and girls lived in separate housing, and they were not allowed to take a person of the opposite sex to their rooms. Even when co-ed dorms first came into being, boys and girls occupied separate floors. Then, that changed so that they occupied the same floors, but had separate bathrooms. Now, they share everything — including copious amounts of drugs and alcohol that numb the smart parts of their brains.
My verdict based on the evidence available: Without more information, Sulkowicz definitely gets an “A+” for performance art and self-promotion. I’ll reserve judgment on the rape claim until there’s a full trial, complete with due process, a defense, and testimony under oath.
Obama — he of the Greek columns — explains that optics are hard
On Chuck Todd’s Meet the Press show, Obama finally deigned to explain why he went on a chortling, fist-thumbing golf game within minutes of announcing to the world that ISIS had decapitated an American citizen, something ISIS proudly filmed and then boasted about in a widely disseminated video. According to Obama, it’s just so hard to remember that the world is watching you. Somehow it’s unfair that the world’s eyes should be on the person who still bears the title of Most Powerful Man In The World, never mind that he’s reduced that power to the point where America’s weight in the world is no greater than any other little tin pot dictatorship’s world power.
Obama’s disingenuous claim that political theater is “not something that always comes naturally to me” unleashed a marvelous outrushing of tweets, some of which focused on his more egregious acts of political theater (faux Greek columns, speeches at the Brandenburg Gate) and others of which focused on his more embarrassing acts of visual ineptitude. Legal Insurrection has assembled some of these tweets.
Here are a few more for your enjoyment and delectation:
— Mike Werner (@mwerner89) September 8, 2014
— E-Du (@ezradulis) September 7, 2014
— Klown 2.0 (@realmyiq2xu2) September 7, 2014
— Jenn Jacques (@JennJacques) September 7, 2014
I’ll also add my favorite umbrella optic:
Commenting on Obama’s risible statement about his deep feelings on learning of Foley’s death (feelings so deep that he was giggling on giggling on the golf course just a few hours later), Scott Johnson had this to say (emphasis mine):
In this case, the photographs suggest that Obama wasn’t all that choked up about the beheading of James Foley. They document that whatever emotion he felt, if any, dissipated very quickly. On that day, the photographs belied the theater. You might conclude that Obama is something of a phony on a matter of great concern to ordinary Americans. Thus Obama’s irritation.
One is struck both by the falsity and the petulance of Obama’s comments. I think Obama lies even to himself.
I disagree with Johnson’s last sentence, insofar as it implies that Obama, when he speaks of his deep feeling, knows that the opposite is actually true, and that he’s a shallow, self-involved, unfeeling man. Instead, I would argue that, when Obama told Chuck Todd that he was really quite shattered, and simply forgot that mere Americans wouldn’t understand the visuals of a man so sophisticated that he could go from shattered to silly within minutes, he was telling the truth . . . his truth. After all, the first rule of malignant narcissism is that the narcissist never lies. Since the truth is defined by his needs, when he makes a statement in accord with those needs, he is telling the truth or, more accurately, he is telling his truth.
The Gaza optics reveal that at least one of the dead wasn’t an innocent child
Elder of Ziyon examined the case of one of those poor, innocent civilians who died in Gaza as a result of Israel’s “unconscionable” Protective Edge assault. He found some damn interesting stuff too.
The optics of Britain’s dissolution are infinitely worse than the reality
A new YouGov poll makes it seem very likely that, after more than 300 years of being a United Kingdom, England will be disunited from Scotland: A majority of Scots suddenly seem inclined to go it alone as their own nation. Traditionalists who are moved by centuries of union, are horrified to think that they might live to see the day when Scotland and England part ways.
One could argue in opposition that what we’re seeing here is a necessary Scottish “reconquista,” as Scotland shakes off the shackles of a mere few hundred years of joinder with England in order to return to its more natural state, which was almost a thousand years of independence. That’s a silly argument, though.
John Fund makes a more serious and impressive argument when he says that, beneath the “it’s all falling apart” optics of dissolution, a Scottish vote in favor of disunion would be a good thing. Currently, Scotland sends a disproportionate number of Leftist members to the British parliament. Getting rid of them would give Tories (who are vaguely conservative) a majority. Additionally, once unanchored to the British treasury, hard Left Scotland might find it economically unfeasible to pursue socialist policies. Sadly, with the older generations dead and gone, I doubt that there’s any possibility that Scotland could revert to the hard-headed, self-reliant Scotland that gave America and the free world some of her greatest supporters of independence.
Scotland, of course, is banking on its oil revenue to keep it afloat, while England will mourn the loss of that same revenue. Again, though, oil may not be all its cracked up to be. As the Saudi countries show, oil money too readily props up otherwise broken, ineffectual economies. And as Venezuela shows, when a government becomes too socialist and broken, even oil money won’t help.
Optics and truth when it comes to American economic health under Reagan and Obama
I’m crowd-sourcing here. A Forbes opinion piece makes a compelling argument that Obama’s recovery economy is much stronger than Reagan’s was, with a better stock market, better corporate health, and better labor participation. I suspect jiggery-pokery here.
The argument I would make, and that many in the comments to that same article make, is that the stock market is propped up by government-printed money that doesn’t have actual wealth backing it; that the labor market is worse because more people have dropped out of the labor force and because the majority of jobs created are part-time or low pay; and that the federal debt and deficit mean that, to the extent we’re completely overextended, even the slightest economic tremor could trigger a massive economic collapse that will make 2008 look like the good times in retrospect.
I would value your input on this one. Both collectively and individually, you guys are better at economic data than I ever will be.
Colbert, who will soon be filling David Letterman’s vacant chair, has a shtick. His shtick is that he’s a conservative, so his humor ostensibly attacks conservatives at their own game.
What makes Colbert’s shtick fundamentally unfunny, though, is that he has no understanding of conservative ideas or, indeed, of anything at all. His starting point is a parody image of conservatives — hate women, hate minorities, love the evil rich, want to kill everybody with guns. That’s not funny. It’s just crude.
Then, his alleged humor attempts to build on this parody, looking at headlines through the stained, warped filter of his politic animus. The result is something without any intrinsic humor. It only makes people laugh if they’re inclined to laugh at any insult directed to their political opponents, no wit or insight required.
My premise for this post, therefore, is that it’s not funny when ill-informed people try to parody something that they’ve already reduced to a parody. Working off this premise, I want to introduce you to a video and, even better, its rebuttal.
The video came about when Funny or Die partnered with Kristen Bell (who is the voice for the redhead in Frozen) does a Mary Poppins parody supporting a hugely increased minimum wage. The video’s production values are wonderful. Kristen Bell has a lovely voice to begin with and does a very good Julie Andrews imitation. The melody is a nice, subtle homage of “Spoonful of Sugar,” without simply being a retread. Really, the whole thing is great, except….
Except that the premise is insanely stupid. It accepts blindly that, if the government forces employers to pay people above market rate, everyone (except the evil, abusive employers, of course) will have more money.
The video makes no effort whatsoever to rebut the fact that the iron laws of economics work no matter what DemProgs desire. If the government forces employers to pay their employees more than the market will bear, employers will just hire fewer people. The result will be that a few people will have more money, although they’ll be expected to do more work for that money. Many small businesses may stagnate, rather than grow, shrinking further the employment pool. Ultimately, instead of having lots of people employed for low wages, you’ll just have lots of unemployed.
You know why the video makes no effort to work through these problems, of course. It doesn’t try because it can’t. In a battle between the iron laws economics and witless Progressivism, the former always wins. That leaves the latter with nothing more than superficial cuteness (a parody) justifying its simplistic economic demands (the parody piled on the parody).
The problem for conservatives, of course, is that their ideas, while inevitable, require some intelligence to explain and understand. And, because they’re complex, they require a little time and space. A short rebuttal to a well-produced video is hard to do. Reason’s Remy, though, has taken a stab at simplifying the rebuttal, and he’s done a pretty fine job:
So, if your Facebook friends start touting Bell’s Poppins, feel free to tag them with Remy’s Bert.
It’s actually not random that I’m putting up this video, so it’s not truly “just because” music. Listening to it, I realized that it perfectly illustrates my point about social and economic mobility in America — which is why “income inequality” should be a non-issue:
Over at JustOneMinute, Tom Maguire explains just how weak the Democrat spin is when it comes to celebrating the end of “job lock.” It’s a great post, but as quite often happens over at my blog, the real brilliance appears in the reader comments. From Ignatz:
I believe the Republican idea was to decouple insurance from employment not decouple the employee from employment.
Why do I like that? Because it sums up in one sentence what it took me an entire post to write.
Hat tip: American Thinker
When the CBO announced that Obamacare was going to have a deleterious impact on jobs over the next few years (as in 2.5 million fewer people in the work force), those opposed to Obamacare not unnaturally glommed on to those numbers as proof that Obamacare is an economic disaster. After a moment of stunned silence, however, Democrats came roaring back with celebratory paeans to the end of “job lock.” James Taranto helpfully rounded up some good examples, beginning with Paul Krugman:
In his New York Times column today, former Enron adviser Paul Krugman cheers the news that ObamaCare subsidies are expected to have a greater-than-expected disincentive effect on work:
On Wednesday, Douglas Elmendorf, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, said the obvious: losing your job and choosing to work less aren’t the same thing. If you lose your job, you suffer immense personal and financial hardship. If, on the other hand, you choose to work less and spend more time with your family, “we don’t sympathize. We say congratulations.”
And now you know everything you need to know about the latest falsehood in the ever-mendacious campaign against health reform.
Although it was charitable of Krugman to warn readers off the rest of his column, those who heeded his admonition not to read on missed his amusingly worded nod in the general direction of reality: “More subtly, the incentive to work will be somewhat reduced by health insurance subsidies that fall as your income rises.”
Krugman, of course, was not alone. He was just the most obnoxious voice in the rising Leftist chorus chanting “Hallelujah! Job lock is over!” James Taranto again:
E.J. Dionne, Washington Post: “Oh my God, say opponents of the ACA, here is the government encouraging sloth! That’s true only if you wish to take away the choices the law gives that 64-year-old or to those moms and dads looking for more time to care for their children. Many on the right love family values until they are taken seriously enough to involve giving parents/workers more control over their lives.”
Ron Fournier, National Journal: “The GOP has seized on CBO’s conclusion that the equivalent of more than 2 million Americans would use Obamacare subsidies to leave the workforce. No longer tied to jobs merely to cling to health insurance, some people will retire early, work part time, start a business, or spend more time with their families.”
Eric Boehlert, MediaMutters (on Twitter): “CBO: Obamacare will give workers more choices; some workers might chose [sic] to work less to spend more time w/ families….RW condemns as awful?” (Beats us what radiological warfare has to do with anything.)
Salon’s Alex Pareene is so excited, he wants to expand the welfare state even more: “Universal income and healthcare won’t create a Marxist (or even Keynesian) utopia of leisure. . . . But it’d give people the ability to spend more time with their families, to enrich themselves, to get educated, and even to just [futz] around a little more.”
Taranto goes on to note that, before the above spinning began, “leaving to spend more time with the family” was almost invariably a Washington, D.C., euphemism for “been fired” or “about to be arrested/indicted.”
Behind the puff and spin, though, as is often the case with Democrat pronouncements, lurk the lies and misinformation. Two examples struck me.
First, regarding “job block,” this is a concept that’s been floating around for quite a while now. Back in 2012, when Nancy Pelosi enthused about becoming a “whatever,” “job lock” referred to situations in which people with preexisting conditions were trapped in terrible jobs because they couldn’t risk leaving their employer-provided insurance policy behind. Many people, of all political stripes, recognized that this was a problem. (Republicans suggested fixes such as high risk pools or the ability to buy cheaper coverage across state lines.)
What the Democrats are so excitedly celebrating here is a new type of job lock, one that applies, not to people with preexisting health conditions but, instead, one that applies to people with preexisting low-paying jobs. Why? Because thanks to Obamacare, a large cadre of people suddenly cannot afford to move up professionally. They cannot afford to look for a better paying job. Heck! They can’t even afford to get a pay raise. After all, if they’re one of the unlucky ones, moving up by the wrong dollar will cost them $20,000.00.
Thinking about it, rather than saying that people are “job locked” under Obamacare, it’s more accurate to say that they’re “poverty locked.” While they can’t move up economically that’s to the $20,000 penalty for doing so, they can move down: they can take a series of low-paying jobs or, if they really want to, just leave the work force entirely. After all, that’s already what several million people have done in the Age of Obama.
The other Democrat lie is the implication that this thrilling “no job-lock status quo” can last indefinitely. In fact, the subsidies that people to have health insurance while holding low-paying jobs or being unemployed come about because other people are generating wealth that the government can take and redistribute. However, as more and more people find that creating taxable wealth for themselves is a counterproductive proposition (earn a dollar more in pay, pay $20,000 more for insurance), fewer people will be earning the kind of salaries that will fund all the subsidies. This is the perfect illustration of the Thatcher dictum — i.e., that socialism is wonderful until you run out of other people’s money.
The Democrats can spin the CBO’s prediction as much as they like, but the sorry fact is that it creates poverty-lock or job-loss, and that’s both personally demoralizing and economically unsustainable. In the end, people will find that they’ve gotten more than they bargained for. Not only will they be poverty-locked and job-lost, they’ll also be uninsured.
You and I already know that rent control means fewer and worse housing options for the poor and middle class, but this is such a nice, clear video, I couldn’t resist sharing it anyway:
For Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela’s death came like manna from heaven. After all, until Mandela’s passing sucked all the oxygen out of any other news stories, the headlines, even from Obama’s staunchest cheerleaders, were about Obamacare. The cheerleaders printed stories bravely admitting that the exchange is still bedeviled with problems, but assuring Americans that it’s way much, super-de-dooper, extraordinarily, wonderfully better and will soon be functioning perfectly. The naysayers not only pointed out flaws in the system, and told heartrending stories about on the people consigned to death because of those flaws, but also warned that the worst is yet to come. Newspapers and TV news stories were no longer happy places for our president.
Before Mandela’s timely passing, Obama attempted to change the subject by pivoting, yet again, to “economic inequality.” (Or as Ed Driscoll nicely said, “It’s Deja Pivot All Over Again.“) Boiled down to its essence, this Progressive (read: communist) world view says that there are poor people in America and there are rich people in America, and that’s simply not fair. All people should be poor!! Okay, the Progressives don’t actually say that last sentence, but one only has to look at every communist experiment in the history of the world to know that this is the reality behind heavy-handed government “correction” of “economic inequality.”
The Occupy movement, which nobody remembers now, was supposed to be the protest to end all protests when it came to economic inequality. Americans were expected to rise up against the evil one-percent. Only that didn’t happen. Too many Americans were unimpressed when they saw computer-toting Ivy League students making common cause with drug addicts, felons, rapists, all of them complaining that a tiny percentage of Americans are very, very rich. This cavalier response worsened when Americans realized that the Progressive/Democrat party is rife with one-percenters (Obama, Kerry, the Clintons, Pelosi, Reid, etc.), and reached a peak of disgust when the Occupy camps become rat-ridden cesspools that cost cities tens of thousands of dollars to clean up.
While a certain percentage of Americans, when polled, will reliably say they hate that the rich are so rich while their incomes are stagnating (although too few realize that Obama’s statist economic policies cause this stagnation), the reality is that, to Progressives’ (and Obama’s) despair, Americans just can’t get all that worked up about “economic inequality.” This reality lies in the fact that Americans know something Obama, Democrats, Progressives, and other Leftists refuse to recognize: America does not have a roach motel economy and that’s despite the Left’s best efforts to turn it into one.
What’s a “roach motel economy,” you ask? It’s one in which people are frozen in place, with minimal economic or social movement. That is, they check into an economic stratum, but they don’t check out. Or, as a spoiled prince says to Aladdin in the eponymous movie, “You are a worthless street rat. You were born a street rat, you’ll die a street rat, and only your fleas will mourn you!”
One doesn’t have to look to Disney to see what a roach motel economy looks like. In all non-free market societies, whether we’re talking ancient Mesopotamia, medieval Europe, or Castro’s Cuba, it’s not just that, as the Bible says, “the poor you always have with you.” What’s common to all these societies is that the same people are always poor. Check into Mesopotamia, 16th century France, or Cuba, and you’ll see that if the father was poor, then his father was poor, and his father was poor . . . going back to time immemorial (or the Cuban revolution). In each of these stagnant, stratified societies, there were always a few who managed to claw their way up the hierarchy, and another few who carelessly squandered their way down the hierarchy, but class and economic status were fixed. Likewise, in communist countries, everybody’s poor together, world without end, amen.
Just like Black Flag’s famous “Roach Motel,” poor people check in, but they don’t check out, nor do their children or grandchildren. Economic status (and class status) are fixed:
Up until Obama and his cohorts came along, the American view was very different. Class was mostly determined by economic status, and economic status was open to anyone who had the discipline and wits (and sometimes the gambler’s instinct) to make it happen. As the wonderful Tenement Museum in New York shows through census studies, immigrants lived in poverty, their children became working class, and their grandchildren were middle class or beyond. If you’re born into poverty in America, neither you nor your descendents are likely to become Bill Gates, but in a generation or so, unless you’ve become hooked on Welfare-crack, you’ll have left the slums behind. In a free-market society, with maximum individual freedom, social and economic mobility are a reality:
America hasn’t had a revolution because, Leftist propaganda to the contrary, the socio-economic boxes are not roach motels from which no one escapes. Instead, they’re stops along the road of one person’s life, or a family’s generations. People can check in and they can leave. Sometimes they move up and sometimes they move down, but movement is constant.
Of course, Obama and his crew are doing their damndest to halt this free flow of socio-economic movement. With true leftist instincts, through economic leveling, they want to consign this entire nation to the poverty box, subject to a few overlords who get to enjoy the nation’s vast resources. What these leftists don’t realize, though, is that America’s greatest resource has always been her people. Imprison them in poverty, and the overlords’ wealth will quickly vanish.
Charlie Martin, who has a real knack for simplifying fairly complex mathematical concepts, has a post today about the fact that, when it comes to Obamacare versus math, math wins every time. I’d like to add my mite to that, which is that, when you have no dog in the fight, you don’t care how expensive the fight is. As you’ve gotten used to, I’m going to make the journey from the specific (that would be me and my experiences) to the general (a wholesale condemnation of big government, which is the same as bad economics.)
I go to a different dentist from the rest of my family, because I started going to him 15 years ago, and never saw any need to change when they jumped ship to a different guy. I like the man, I like his office staff, and I like the care I’ve been getting there.
Because we have dental insurance, I’ve never once written a check to my dentist’s office. I get my teeth cleaned twice a year, like clockwork, and I have no idea how much it costs.
I went recently for a cleaning (you’d be dazzled by my smile) and, as always, didn’t pay. My husband also went recently and, as always, didn’t pay. The insurance statements for both our treatments came in on the same day. These statements revealed that both dentists charge more than our coverage allows for a cleaning, and that both dentists accepted as payment in full the coverage maximum, even though it was less than their “official” charge. One could say that this proves that insurance works, since the dentists’ willingness to cut their price to the insurance maximum shows that dental insurance controls costs. Maybe….
What was just as interesting, though, was the fact that my dentist charges $36 more for a cleaning than my husband’s dentist does. (If that dollar amounts sounds interesting to you, that’s also the recent decrease in food stamp money for a family of four over the course of a month.) My husband was upset that my guy charges more. I wasn’t: (a) I’m not paying it and (b) the insurance company “stiffed” both guys, so it’s the dentists who should care.
The really important point, and the one that completely eluded my husband was that — and I’m repeating myself here — I didn’t care. I get the services, but I don’t pay. I have no incentive whatsoever to shop around for a cheaper, yet still good, dentist, and my dentist has no incentive to change his prices. Either the insurance pays him his rate or it doesn’t. If it does pay his rate, his high charging gamble paid off; if it doesn’t . . . well, he tried, so no harm no foul.
This is a marketplace distortion, where there is no connection between services rendered and money paid. The problem isn’t greedy insurance companies; it’s disinterested consumers. As for the insurance companies, they don’t negotiate either. They just set caps and that’s the end of it.
I had the same situation years ago, when Kaiser paid for a jaw guard for me because I was grinding my teeth to dust. I made two visits to the dentist, the first to get a mold for the jaw guard, and the second to get the jaw guard fitted. The total time I spent there was about 40 minutes. I saw the dentist for less than ten minutes, total. I paid for the guard myself ($250 in lab costs). Kaiser just paid for the dentist’s time and services. I should add that this took place in the early 1990s, when money had more meaning. The dentist charged Kaiser $800 for his time and service — and Kaiser paid every cent. I actually called Kaiser to complain. I was pleased with my jaw guard, but this was still highway robbery. Kaiser was unmoved. The dentist’s charge fitted into its chart, and that was the end of that.
That event, incidentally, was when I figured out that the problem with America’s healthcare market wasn’t rising medical costs or greedy insurance companies (although both are factors). It was that the customer doesn’t pay, so the customer has no incentive to shop around or strike bargains. Because the person getting the services couldn’t care less about the price (it’s other people’s money), there is no competition and there are no cost controls.
My realization about medical costs twenty years also started my turn towards conservativism. That’s because I figured out that the more things that the government pays for, the worse the market distortion. The government is not using its own money, it’s using your and my money. We care about our money, but the government doesn’t. If it overspends, it just uses its police power to demand more money from us. That’s its nature, just like the scorpion’s nature. The only way to control this is to make sure that government is responsible for paying for the smallest number of things possible.
What frustrates me is that people in my neck of the woods don’t get it. I suspect we have one of the highest concentrations of MBAs in the world right here in Marin, and that we’ve probably got a fair percentage of American’s with STEM backgrounds too. But try to explain market realities (engaged consumers, competition, and distortion) to them, and you can see the moment that logic flees and faith takes over. Their eyes start whirling in their heads and they say “No, government is big enough to force price cuts.” Worse than this economic lunacy is the fact that they don’t recognize that they are advocating tyranny by applauding government’s coercive power to force free citizens to offer services to the government for lower than market prices. (In this regard, please note that Democrats now want to force doctors who, last I checked, weren’t slaves, to accept patients who will bankrupt them.)
If you want more information about government’s deleterious role in the marketplace, check out Wolf Howling, who calls Obamacare the “mother of all market distortions.”
AJ Strata, who knows complex computer systems, has a few choice words about the administration’s recent statements regarding its plans to fix the exchange.
Also, here’s something I’m not seeing discussed anywhere:
As you’ll recall, the anti-corporate Left concluded that GM was too big to fail and that banks are too big to fail (although not to big to shake down). However, the same Leftists seem perfectly good with the collapse of the insurance industry. When I say “collapse of the insurance industry,” I’m not just talking about the fact that Americans will be uninsured. For the Left, that’s an outcome devoutly to be wished, since they can then socialize medicine. I’m speaking, instead, about the actual collapse of companies that employ tens of thousands of people and have billions of dollars in pension plans.
Because insurance companies are no longer providing insurance (i.e., pricing their services using actuarial risk tables) but instead are simply being forced to pay for products by taking from the rich and giving to the poor (which makes them sound like Robin Hood, except they’re a Robin Hood who’s acting only because the Sheriff of Washington has a bow and arrow pointed at his back), they will go broke eventually. And if the young and healthy refuse to buy insurance, the companies won’t just go broke eventually, they’ll go broke immediately.
What happens to the American economy when Blue Cross and Blue Shield and AETNA and Kaiser and all the other insurance companies collapse in a distempered heap and, at the same time, hand their tens of thousands of employees pink slips, along with the assurance that all their retirement benefits are gone with the wind?
I’m thinking that, when that day comes around, 2008 will look like a trial run for total and complete economic collapse in America. I have no contingency plans for that eventuality. I can only hope that my family can salvage something from the wreckage, so that my last days aren’t spent at a level of poverty rivaling that of the average Calcutta street dweller.
UPDATE: Yuval Levin is on the same page as AJ Strata when it comes to the problems associated with the “best and the brightest” swooping in to help out.
I understand that the Dow Jones average consists of a very cherried-up bunch of stocks. Nevertheless, it usually is at least somewhat tied to what’s going on in the real world. That doesn’t seem to be true lately.
In the face of Middle Eastern instability; Iran being months away from having a nuclear bomb; a stagflation economy; a potential shutdown and, if Obama ignores the 14th Amendment, a default; and the Obamacare exchange’s disastrous, with all the future trouble that portends, the stock market keeps going up. That seems very counterintuitive.
I have to believe that what’s going on with the stock market now is a bubble. After all, because a stagnant job market, a weak economy, and unstable national security are all inconsistent with a strong, healthy market. Add in the fact that the constantly-changing Obamacare rules, regulations, and crony exemptions keep employers and investors befuddled and cautious, there should be no reason for the market to rise. And yet it’s rising. . . .
My question is twofold, I guess: Am I right that this is a bubble? And if I’m right, what the heck is causing it? Nothing I look at today signals to me that investors should be cheerful and optimistic.