I wish that Trey Gowdy could have made more headway on his various investigations, but there’s no doubt that he’s a superb cross-examiner. Clear, organized, and extraordinarily gifted at getting his point across — and in this case, his point is that the government has created a regime that deprives Americans of a core constitutional right without due process. It’s such a gross government overreach that I don’t even feel a smidgen of sympathy for the apparatchik caught in Gowdy’s crosshairs during this examination:
I received an email from a friend who was recently in Washington, D.C. and had the opportunity to speak to a couple of people who work in the government. He sent me this disheartening wrap-up of his conversations with them:
1) When you see global or national financial figures emanating from banks (e.g., World Bank, development banks, UN) etc., they are numbers pretty much created out of thin air.
2) Congressmen don’t make policy. Policy-making is generally delegated to 20-somethings to create and write up: congressman are too busy raising money and compromising themselves for votes: they simply vote on the legislation that their interns give them as a finished product. This is a big reason why government policy doesn’t work in real life.
3) Many alarmist defense-related issues that you read about (like us vis-a-vis the Chinese, Russians, etc) are simply designed to protect funding for the various armed forces branches.
4) EVERYTHING driven by the Obama administration is focused on their environmental agenda. They have defunded any and all global initiatives on building coal or nuclear power in developing nations, as well as actively tried to kill hydroelectric power on a global basis. Again, these are policies developed by 20-somethings implemented on the world at large.
5) The 20-somethings also pretty much run the White House and all government agencies. This is how it turns out policy by the Executive Branch.
So if you’re someone who does not have children or grandchildren in or nearing college, you should still be deeply concerned about what’s going on at America’s institutions of higher education. Every bit of misinformation and propaganda that’s being taught there ends up being directly implemented in our government.
My friend, who is one of the smartest, best-informed people I’ve ever met, went on to say that it’s tales such as these that have convinced him that Donald Trump is the better bet in the upcoming election than Hillary: “The Augean stables really need to be flushed out and I don’t see anyone but a true outsider with charismatic appeal and force of presence (a la Andrew Jackson) as having the fortitude and skill to pull it off. The problem, as I see it, is that most Americans really do believe that our government is more functional than it is.”
So far, Trump is saying a lot of the right things about issues that matter to me (Supreme Court, Second Amendment, etc.), but I don’t believe I’ve heard him talk about cleaning up Washington’s vast bureaucracy and making it somewhat functional again. If that was a goal, it’s entirely possible he could make it happen, so I’ll continue to live in hope.
Sometimes we’re lucky to end up with a super brilliant friend who has the gift of making complex information accessible (sort of like Thomas Sowell). My brilliant friend is Wolf Howling, who has spent the last few years delving deeply into the American Revolution and its causes. He wrote here before about the Writs of Assistance that helped drive the Revolution. Today, he’s shared with me an essay he wrote about how inextricably intertwined religion and revolution were in 18th Century North America:
While the Writs of Assistance controversy may have lit the fuse for the Revolution in 1756, it was on January 30, 1750, that the soil in which the Revolution would grow was first tilled. On that day, a young Congregationalist minister, Jonathan Mayhew, but three years out of Harvard Divinity School, would take to the pulpit at Boston’s Old West Church and, for his sermon, read from a document he had labored upon for several months, A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers.
In the sermon, Mayhew was responding to the fact that Anglican clergy in Britain were working to rehabilitate and glorify King Charles I, the tyrannical and hapless King who was beheaded on January 30, 1649 during England’s Civil War. Given that the English Civil War ended up pitting mostly Puritans (by 1750, known as Congregationalists) and Presbyterians (Dissenters, as they were then called collectively) on one side and against a largely Anglican force on the King’s side, it is not surprising that any attempt to rehabilitate Charles and demonize those who fought against him would draw a heated response from a Congregationalist Minister.
Little marked for whatever reason today – perhaps because of the left’s efforts to rewrite our Revolution as wholly secular – the sermon, which Mayhew had printed and distributed throughout the colonies and Britain, was at the time a very influential document. In his discourse, Rev. Mayhew explained that religion justified resisting a tyrant generally and Charles I specifically. Moreover, he argued that British liberties sprang forth from the natural rights God had bestowed on man, so that fighting to protect those rights from a sovereign’s encroachment was more than a secular option, it was a religious obligation. Mayhew, in one of his sermons, in 1750, also was the first on American soil to utter the words “no taxation without representation.”
Just yesterday, I wrote that suburban communities get addicted to federal funds and, once having done that, they are stuck with federal policies that require those same communities to commit slow suicide. Today, with perfect timing, there’s a news article making my point.
As readers of Cyra McFadden’s classic novel, The Serial: A Year in the Life of Marin County, know, Marin County, which had once been a Republican bastion, started trending Left in the early 1970s. The transformation was complete by the early 1980s. Marin County is now one of the bluest of blue counties in America. Also, in neighborhoods such as mine, the people buying in were children or weren’t even born yet during Marin’s conservative past.
The only barrier to moving to Marin is money: If you have unlimited amounts of money, you move to Tiburon, Ross, Greenbrae, or Belvedere. If you’re rich, you move to certain neighborhoods in San Rafael, Greenbrae, Larkspur, Sausalito, Novato, and Mill Valley. If you’re the “working rich” (meaning that you work damn hard to move to a mid-level house in an affluent community), you move to Corte Madera, Novato, Greenbrae, Fairfax, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Larkspur, Sausalito, and Mill Valley. If you’re low-income Hispanic (and, often, here illegally), you move to San Rafael’s Canal District. If you’re low-income black, you move to Marin City (which shares affluent Sausalito’s K-8 school districts and results in one of the highest funded, lowest performing school districts in America).
In Marin, there are no government ukases and there are no CC&Rs limiting people from moving into communities based upon race, religion, country of origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identification, etc. All of those limitations became illegal in 1964, when the Civil Rights Act passed. Instead, you move where your savings and income take you. The only racial dividing line in Marin is an unspoken one that keeps poor Hispanics in San Rafael and poor blacks in Marin City. This racial line gets enforced by gangs within the community. The blacks and Hispanics are not friends.
Fair Housing of Marin (“FHM”), which is a local iteration of Obama’s Housing and Urban Development agency, is unimpressed by the facts on the ground. As far as it’s concerned, Marin County is still a seething cauldron of deliberate racism; and infected pustule with a toxin in it stretching back decades, to the beginning of the Roosevelt administration. That’s how it came about that FHM held a recent forum explaining that current Marin residents must make reparations for past wrongs:
Bear with me, as I begin this post about America’s middle class committing genteel suicide by retelling the sordid story of a distinguished law firm at which I once worked. The story’s purpose is to illustrate something about middle class morals, which are too often tied to fear over missing the next mortgage payment.
Back in the day, I had a swift hand and a fairly decent memory. This was useful because, while I seldom understood the principles taught in my law classes, I was able to take detailed notes and then, parrot-like, reproduce their content for exams. I therefore had grades far in excess of my understanding and abilities.
These grades saw me land in a law firm that had no business employing someone as clueless as I actually was. More accurately, I should say that I was employed in the small branch office of an international law firm. That this office existed on the periphery of the firm’s primary location is central to my tale.
A short time after I started to work at the firm, I got hooked into the firm gossip mill, something that’s important for every striving employee. You don’t want to be the subject of gossip, of course, and it’s dangerous to be a gossip purveyor (although you may have to release innocuous tidbits to stay in the gossip game), but you definitely want to be on the receiving end of the big stories. You need to know which attorneys are tipplers, which are backstabbers, which are lechers, and so on. If you’ve got your eye on an eventual partnership — and every young attorney does — you make friends with the invaluable support staff, and you listen to their stories.
Paramount among the stories I heard was the one about the very high-level partner in our office who routinely padded the bills. In addition to adding an extra 50 hours or so to his bill every month (which, in the late 1980s, brought in more than $200,000 every year to the local office and made the partner look very good to the home office), he also padded the out of expenses costs he claimed. Thus, when business took him overseas, the unwitting client ended up paying for his family’s travel plus custom-made shoes and other luxury items that caught his eye.
Think of this as a bonus edition in the “Leftists always get it wrong” series, because I’m sure that I don’t need to explain at length what’s wrong with this poster. I include it because it so perfectly illustrates the way in which Leftists believe that they can change human nature.
As far as I can tell, this poster is kind of the apex of the irrational “kumbaya” thinking that drives so much Leftist policy. The useful idiots truly believe that, if you create the perfect national governments, followed by the perfect world government, all humans will be wonderful.
I so wish I could get the often well-intentioned useful idiots to understand that, if you’re hitching your wagon to a star that promises perfect human harmony, you’ve taken a deep dive into fantasy land. Moreover, those same useful idiots always believe that, rather than using enlightened self-interest to achieve prosperity and stable within and across nations, the only way to make this perfect system happen is to use the government to force the fantasy into reality. Once you go down that road, rather than having world peace, you are invariably putting one part of the globe or another (or potentially the whole globe, and all 7 billion humans) on the path to deadly totalitarianism.
Without diving into the details, there are two central flaws with this poster that negate everything it advocates: It assumes (1) that the money Bernie wants to spend belongs to the government, not the taxpayers, and (2) that the government will spend that money better under Bernie’s aegis than you would spend it for your own benefit or that past governments have spent it for the “public good.” One needs only to look at the history of socialism everywhere to realize that, when it comes to managing money (your money, that you earned), the government (which simply took it at gunpoint) does a lousy job and that individuals make smarter decisions.
Let me turn the rostrum over to Milton Friedman:
Having gone on at some length to demolish a single Leftist sentence riddled with lies, it’s time for me to tackle the next Leftist poster that I found on Facebook. I think this one will do for my next effort at exposing the rank dishonesty hiding behind some of those “cute” or “clever” posters your Leftist friends put up on Facebook:
There go those Leftists again, unable to distinguish between basic government services, which even the most extreme libertarians support, and an all-powerful, all-encompassing government that perverts our economy and exerts control over every aspect of our lives. To understand that difference, it’s useful to go back to the father of limited government, Adam Smith, and see what he had to say on the subject of government’s role in our lives (emphasis mine):
Bush didn’t, Obama wouldn’t, but the next president should: Call into the Oval Office the leaders of Muslim communities throughout America to say, “Because of the First Amendment, the fact that you and the people in your community practice Islam is irrelevant to us in America. Your faith is your business. What is relevant to me as leader of this nation is whether you support America or not. When all of you leave this office, you need to carry a single message to your communities: ‘You are either supportive of America or working to undermine America. If you’re in the latter category, you are on notice here and now that my administration will use every constitutional means available to track you, capture you, prosecute you, and imprison or deport you.’ End of story. Thank you for coming. Goodbye.”
Having got that off my chest, I’m about to engage in a speed round-up, because I’ve got about 40 articles — really good articles — to share with you.
A Cruz convert explains why. The most interesting point is that Trump started with something no other Republican has had since Reagan — vast name recognition.
Slowly catching on to the fact that Trump is the Republican Obama. I’ve been saying from Day 1 that Trump is a white Obama. He promises hope and change by using government power to shape America to his will. And let me say, that is my sole problem with Trump: That he’s all about big government, precisely as Obama is. I find that unacceptable. Jonathan Tobin is another one who’s finally figured out the whole Obama Doppelgänger thing.
Trump is a special interest candidate. And that special interest is Donald Trump.
Is the media sitting on big Trump stories? Ted Cruz thinks that there are some horrible stories to be told about Trump, which wouldn’t surprise me given his sordid personal life and . . . ah . . . colorful business life. Once Trump is the candidate, says Cruz, the media will “suddenly” discover stories that make Trump unelectable. I think Cruz is right because we all know the media, don’t we?
Trump’s enemy list makes me like him. George Soros has given money to 187 different special interest groups that are attacking Trump. (To be honest, a lot of them are attacking Cruz too. Indeed, on Sunday, I heard a New Yorker news hour on NPR during which the speakers agreed that Cruz is the more dangerous of the two leading Republican candidates because he actually believes in the Constitution.) In other words, here’s a list of 187 Soros-funded organizations that try to destroy anything conservative.
Will Trump win the nomination? Scott Elliott, an extremely astute election watcher and a man with a history of accurate election predictions, is not a Trump fan. He’s therefore created the “Stop-Trump-O-Meter,” which tracks the outcomes of state primaries and projects the outcome at the convention. Even if you’re a Trump fan, you’ll like Scott’s meter, because, if you ignore the name, it tells in a clear way where the candidates stand in the Republican primary.
If you destroy the polite people, you create room for the impolite ones. Glenn Reynolds points out that the GOP, RINOS, and the Leftist media establishment did everything possible to destroy the happy, tidy, law-abiding Tea Party. Now they’re horrified that destroying the Tea Party left rage in its place.
USA Today editors question Hillary’s fitness for office. USA Today, in its quest to be “America’s newspaper,” the one read in more hotel lobbies than any other paper, is careful about taking strong partisan stands. That’s why it’s impressive that the editors see Hillary’s penchant for secrecy, and the security-evading steps she took in pursuit of her paranoia, as a serious impediment to the presidency.
I’m baaack! We returned from our weekend trip to Yosemite late last night. Having disposed of the four loads of laundry the family managed to generate with three days of travel and two days of hiking, I’m ready to blog — and what I want to blog about is the way in which the National Park Service (“NPS” or, as I periodically think of it, the Nazi-o-nal Park Service) teaches about freedom and the free market.
I should start by exposing my bias: I’m completely un-American in that I don’t like Yosemite. I’m certainly impressed by Yosemite. The gigantic solid slabs of granite that reach hundreds of feet into the sky should impress anybody. It is a magnificent example of Nature’s raw power. I had to stop myself from laughing every time Mr. Bookworm reminded the kids that the vast walls rising above us, and the monstrous granite boulders strewn on the valley floor were all products of retreating glaciers. I kept wanting to shout out “Global warming! Climate change!” I kept quiet, though. He’s a true believer and he will always believe that this century’s experience with slight warming and climate change is not part of a natural pattern but is, instead, all our fault — with the only remedy being living in a cold house and buying taxpayer subsidized electric cars.
I wasn’t able to blog yesterday, but I was paying attention. That’s how I caught two examples of the truly irritating levels of ignorance that characterize those on the Left. The first thing that struck me was an advertisement running (ironically enough) on Truth Revolt:
Of course climate change is real, you dodos. It’s been real since the moment the earth came into being. It’s been real since the glaciers formed and retreated, over and over, for billions of years.
You know what I thought when I saw that stupid advertisement. I thought “Puberty is real. Help us fight it.” After all, no one enjoys going through puberty.
And then I saw an even more stupid poster, courtesy of my Leftie friends on Facebook:
“Progressives,” and even traditional liberals, would argue that while government may have the potential of being force multipliers for evil, they are also irreplaceable force multiplier for *good*.
Devil’s Advocate analogy: The Nazis used railroads to haul prisoners to concentration camps…clearly, railroads are a force multiplier for evil….should we therefore abolish railroads?
and moving from analogy to reality:
Large-scale government resulted in Stalin’s slave-labor projects such as the White Sea canal. But large-scale government also resulted in the flood-control and power-generation projects of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Should we not do the second because of the first–and who, absent big government, would execute things like flood-control works?
There needs to be a crisp and concise response to this kind of challenge.
My main problem with answering this question is that crisp and concise are not my forte. Still, I’ll try:
Not always, but often, private industry can build infrastructure if it’s allowed to profit from it (in which case it usually does the job better than government would). Moreover, even the most libertarian of us wouldn’t quarrel with the premise that basic infrastructure is a core government function. For example, it’s reasonable for government to build roads to ease commerce or, as happened in the 1950s with the interstate highways, to allow the military to move swiftly in America’s defense against foreign enemies.
Only government, however, which controls the police and military forces, can commit murder on a mass scale, not in the tens, hundreds, or thousands, but in the millions, tens of millions, and potentially even the hundreds of millions.
In other words, when it comes to good things, such as basic infrastructure, private industry can often carry the load (curtailing government’s reach) or government, when it acts, does so consistent with its most basic obligations. When it comes to evil, such as mass murder, imprisonment, torture, and limitations on speech and religion, only big government has the power and reach to carry out evil acts on an epic scale.
Here’s one other thought: As I pointed out in my “force multiplier” post, all big governments have asserted and always will assert that their acts are compassionate. They are acting “for the workers,” to “keep the peace,” to “save the nation’s soul,” etc. Regardless of motives, though, it is government’s manifest destiny, unless specifically and firmly curtailed, to grow larger and, once it reaches critical mass, to become tyrannical.
Finally, I’m not the only one thinking about the problem of big government and the problem of those who will never think it’s big enough: