The Bookworm Beat 2/11/16 — the “watching the political parade” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265As this election year’s craziness continues, I keep trying to keep myself from getting upset. My mantra is that I should save my energies for things I can change, either directly or through my own small contributions. For everything else, I need to relax and watch the passing spectacle. That’s what this post is all about.

Socialism’s shortages kill people.  One of the hallmarks of socialism is shortages, with Venezuela being the latest example.  Canada has socialized medicine.  (They also have cheap drugs, but that’s because American companies invest in R&D, costs they recoup by passing on to American drug purchasers, while the Canadian government helps supplement drug costs.)  That’s why a teenager in Canada who could have had a stem cell transplant died — the donor was available, but the hospital beds weren’t.

Unemployment is a core feature of a centralized economy.  The theory behind a centralized (i.e., government managed) economy is that everyone works and everyone benefits.  The reality is that the more the government manages the economy through taxes and rewards to cronies, the more it stifles individual initiative — and the result is unemployment.  With the Obama economy staggering into its eighth year, one can’t really blame millennials, who have never seen a functioning free market, for thinking that the best they’ll ever get is more government hand-outs, courtesy of Bernie.

The media is trying to ignore Ted Cruz to death, but he’s still the strongest conservative candidate.  The media willingly gave Donald Trump free advertising by covering him endlessly.  It wasn’t just that he was “so clever” that he played them.  They wanted to be played because they believe that, outside of his core 35%, he’s unelectable.

Ted Cruz, on the other hand, is scary.  After all, Rush anointed him the closest thing we’ll see to Reagan in our era.  Since savaging Cruz hasn’t been working, the media is trying a new tactic:  ignoring him.  That is, they are deliberately denying the American people a chance to hear from a top-ranking presidential candidate.  Gawd, but our media is corrupt.

Still, Ted Cruz plays the long game, and Fox News Latino thinks he’s still got game.  Philip Klein also thinks that New Hampshire is anomalous, since it’s kind of like Europe in that even its conservatives are Leftists.  Look at the rest of conservative America, and Cruz is still the last conservative candidate standing.

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Black Lives Don’t Matter . . . to the power-mad, punitive Black Lives Matter movement *UPDATED*

black_lives_matterChildren intuitively understand that the person who can cause pain is the person with the most basic, easily-accessible form of power around.  No matter how many times I told my two when they were little that making someone feel happy is every bit as much a show of power as making them sad or hurt, when the lust for power came upon them, they tried to inflict sorrow and pain on family, friends, and enemies every time.

Expressing power through inflicting pain is quick, easy, and satisfying to the most primitive, undeveloped parts of our brains.  Which gets me to Leftists….

Not too long ago, I wrote a post explaining that Leftists have a punitive governing style.  The free market metes out natural consequences, both good and bad.  If you create a desirable product or offer excellent service, the market will reward you with money.  Conversely, if you create a shoddy product or offer lousy service, sooner or later the market will catch up with you and punish you, again financially.  How the market treats you depends on how you treat the market.

Leftists, however, like to hand out consequences based upon metrics they determine, which are quite often unrelated to bad market behavior.  Profits, which are a good thing in an honest market, are bad things to socialists.  Bernie therefore promises to use the power of government to punish those who dare to profit too much (with “too much” being defined by Bernie’s subjective standards).  Likewise, socialists don’t believe in natural market-based rewards for good products and services.  Instead, they believe in using the power of government to reward their friends and cronies.  Everyone who doesn’t earn a reward is bad and, therefore, merely by existing as an unrewarded actor in a socialist economy, satisfies the Left’s lust for punitive power.

This Leftist love affair with the dark side of power animates what is currently the loudest movement on the Left — the Black Lives Matter movement.  Like locusts swarming crops, the Black Lives Matter activists are never still.  Instead, they’re constantly in motion identifying and punishing new “racial perpetrators.”  First, with the springboard of the Michael Brown “hands up; don’t shoot” canard, it was police forces, even though in many majority black communities, the police are a very thin blue line indeed between black predators and their black prey.

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The Bookworm Beat 2/9/16 — the “nothing about New Hampshire here” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265All of the posts I’ll link to pre-date today’s New Hampshire primary. This is a NH primary-free zone. You might find it refreshing. And now, to the good stuff:

Trump could destroy conservativism in America for decades.  I think Charles Krauthammer hits the ball out of the park on this one (not to mention hitting the nail on the head):

The threat to the GOP posed by the Trump insurgency is not that he’s anti-establishment. It’s that he’s not conservative. Trump’s winning the nomination would convulse the Republican party, fracture the conservative movement and undermine the GOP’s identity and role as the country’s conservative party.

There’s nothing wrong with challenging the so-called establishment. Parties, like other institutions, can grow fat and soft and corrupt. If by establishment you mean the careerists, the lobbyists, and the sold-out cynics, a good poke, even a major purge, is well-deserved.

That’s not the problem with Trump. The problem is his, shall we say, eclectic populism. Cruz may be anti-establishment but he’s a principled conservative, while Trump has no coherent political philosophy, no core beliefs, at all. Trump offers barstool eruptions and whatever contradictory “idea” pops into his head at the time, such as “humane” mass deportation, followed by mass amnesty when the immigrants are returned to the United States.

Turning our military into a vast climate change boondoggle. The worst news this week was the announcement that, as Islamic jihad gets more aggressive around the world, climate change will become the military’s top priority. Only old-fashioned war-mongering fascists will cling to the outdated notion that the military’s top priority is defending America against foreign enemies.

A couple of comments. First, I’ve already seen this pivot to climate change in action during Fleet Week in San Francisco. The Navy ships I’ve visited, rather than boasting about their military capacity, boast about their carbon footprint (or lack thereof).

Second, this will turn the military budget into the greatest, and most corrupt, slush fund ever in the history of American government. The only good thing will be that, once the military is a giant green machine that can’t fight, but does use little batteries to power its tanks, we’ll stop hearing from inane Leftists horrified by the thought that their children, who enjoy the benefits of a nation under the protection of the greatest military in the world (and one, moreover, subject to constitutional control), might actually view our military as a blessing, rather than a curse.

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[VIDEO] The boondoggle behind dirty electric cars

ford-focus-electric-2As the “proud” owner of one fully electric car and one hybrid electric, I’ve written before about the fact that they are an economic scam. The government throws money at potential purchasers, but even with the huge financial incentives, only the upper middle class and beyond can afford them. In other words, the taxpaying working class funds rich people’s electric cars. It’s disgusting — but the system is what it is, so when Mr. Bookworm, who is very supportive of green causes, wanted to get us some subsidized new cars, I wasn’t about to say no.

Also, the electric cars are fun. The Ford Focus Electric may only have a 60 mile range, but it’s a darling little car to drive and goes from zero to sixty with surprising elan. As for the Ford Fusion Hybrid-Electric, while it only has a 20 mile electric range before switching to hybrid mode, that little battery was enough to qualify for discounts and carpool lanes. It lacks zip, but it’s still a lovely car to drive (and would be just as lovely if it were only a hybrid, without the electric part). If you’re going to get the benefit of a corrupt government boondoggle (and I don’t blame Ford for a minute, since I think the corruption emanates from Democrats), the Fords are a lovely way to go.

Aside from the financial scam, though, electric cars are also a green scam. This is something else I’ve known for some time, but Bjorn Lomborg puts it all together in an easy to understand video:

The Bookworm Beat 2/4/16 edition — “it’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265It’s been some time since my last round-up so, without further ado:

A primer for those who need to be reminded why Hillary should be incarcerated, not inaugurated. Deroy Murdock has a knack for political parables. Using the example of the “Foggy Bottom Department Store,” he makes it clear just how heinous Hillary’s conduct has been in connection with her egregious national security violations.

And a primer on foreign trade and capitalism. Larry Elder has a truly brilliant piece about the benefits that flow to America from low tariffs and foreign trade — benefits that are very real even when it seems that American jobs are going away. I urge you to read it. (This is a different issue, of course, from the Democrats and Chamber of Commerce types manipulating and violating American law to ship in cheap labor at the expense of American citizens.)

One of the things I like about Ted Cruz is the long list of people who hate him. You can know a man by his friends and by his enemies. Strong conservatives respect Ted Cruz; RINOs (and RINO’s are the majority of “Republicans” in Congress) hate and fear him. That works for me. Spengler, aka David P. Goldman, has more to say about Cruz’s well-earned Iowa victory (it was a brilliant ground game, not cheating) and about Cruz’s rejection of the Washington establishment and embrace of ordinary conservatives — core conservatives — across America.

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Teen Vogue: Further evidence that conservatives desperately need to enter the world of teenage-girl’s and women’s magazines *UPDATED*

Teen VogueSometimes life has a peculiar harmony.  Yesterday morning, Instapundit linked to a post I did in 2012 noting that women’s magazines have been one of the strongest vehicles in America for Progressive propaganda, and agreeing with Glenn Reynolds that conservatives need to get in the women’s magazine business if they want to change the culture.  Yesterday afternoon, the mail brought me a copy of Teen Vogue, which apparently arrived here as a freebie after my daughter bought some online clothes.  This little magazine, which is directed at America’s young women, proved to be an eye-opening read, and a reminder that Glenn Reynolds is as right now as he was in 2012.

The magazine, of course, is overrun with pages and pages of fashion and cosmetic advertisements, as well as a handful of articles pushing fashions for the upcoming season. What the magazine is really selling, though, is Progressivism.  It beings with the very first substantive piece after the advertisements, which is a “Letter from the Editor” (Andrew Bevan, an openly gay fashionista).  The letter is entitled “Feminine Force,” which is this edition’s “theme.”  To that end, Bevan expresses delight that that, after a brief disenchantment with “feminism,” women in America are embracing the idea all over again:

What a difference a couple of years makes.  It was just 2013 when the web lit up with stories about big-time female celebrities who preferred to distance themselves from the word feminist.  I’m not gonna [sic] out them here, but you can Google it.  Maybe it took a new generation to embrace the term (it simply means believing in equal rights for women!) and to stand up for the cause — especially on social media, which has gained, not coincidentally, a lot of traction in those two years.  Lena Dunham, Rowan Blanchard, our wise and wonderful cover star Amandla Stenberg . . . Tavi Gevinson, Jennifer Lawrence, Cara Delevingne, and so many others are using their platforms to support opportunity for women, and the message is overdue.

That is a peculiarly disingenuous little paragraph.  While feminism once was about such simple concepts as equal civil rights (voting, owning property, etc.), and equal workplace rights (equal pay for equal work), it now has nothing to do with “equal rights” for women.  Women have already achieved those equal rights.  Indeed, they achieved them as a matter of federal law by 1964.  Now, while there may be a few scattered employers who try to cheat women, the institutionalized marginalization of women is in the distant past.

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[VIDEOS] The Left’s unchanging tactics leave the world a dark and ugly place

The patriarchy in action

The patriarchy in action

The horrible thing about Leftism . . . okay, let me rephrase that: One of the many horrible things about Leftism is that it trains its adherents to look at the world through dirt-colored glasses. Everything that is good and beautiful and charming is perceived as dark, depressing, and awful. No wonder the Progressives on my Facebook page are so big on “You are wonderful” affirmations. They need those periodic reminders to offset some of the illogical hate that fills their minds.

I have here two examples of the dirt-colored glasses Progressives have to wear in order to maintain their Leftist bona fides. The first one is a horribly shot amateur video, with tinny music, that is still well worth watching. A large dance troupe performs the national dance of Ukraine — the Hopak. It is a tour de force:

What is HOPAK DANCE? /// Hopak nedir?işte Ukrayna’nın meşhur “HOPAK” dansı.. Mutlaka izleyin. Seveceksiniz.. :)-National dance of Ukraine! “HOPAK”You gotta watch it..

Posted by Bora Yeter on Wednesday, September 2, 2015

(If the video doesn’t load, you can view it here.)

When I watched the video, I was impressed and amazed. It’s beautiful and exciting and strong. But that’s not how Lefties see it. Here’s a line from the comments section that, to me, is destined to be a Leftist classic: “What they’re doing is impressive, but isn’t that focus on the men’s dancing really just a reminder of the patriarchy?”

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The Bookworm Beat 1/19/16 — the speed round-up and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265Another day, another incredible collection of articles I think you’ll like, all of which I’ve tried to present in a way that’s both interesting and brief.

Yet another government lie. Is everything we think we know about the cost of living data false? And worse, is the actual cost of living increase we’re facing in the double digits in many cities? The Chapman Index says we’re the victims of a sustained lie hiding how much less our money buys.  In other words, inflation is much worse than you realize.

Rank and file Marines horrified by Obama orders. Actual Marines, not people who just pretend to be military experts for the sake of advancing the Obama administrations social re-engineering goals, are appalled by the demand that the Marines feminize everything, including the word “rifleman.” Incidentally, I found this link on the Facebook feed of a young Marine friend who raised in Progressive Marin. He noted that nothing can re-engineer the fact that, at a basic biological level, women aren’t as strong as men — and no amount of gender illusions will change that reality.

Conservative voters like Cruz. GOP establishment figures have always hated Ted Cruz, which I think is because he’s made them look like what they are — liars who told the voters one thing and then voted with Obama on just about everything. Now that the Republican primary is narrowing, the principle that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” appears to be coming into play, and the GOP is starting to line up behind Trump (who has, like the GOP itself, a distinguished RINO record on many issues). It’s worth remembering, therefore, that ordinary people — voters, not players — like Cruz.

Thomas Sowell on elections.  Elections aren’t about revenge or anger or “making a statement.”  Instead, as Sowell says, “They are held to choose who shall hold in their hands the fate of hundreds of millions of Americans today and of generations yet unborn.”  My brain is always a better and smarter place after reading Thomas Sowell.  I wish more Americans, especially young Americans, would read him.  Sadly, it turns out that, thanks to 50 years of Leftist control over education, too many of America’s so-called best and brightest are a terribly ignorant group of people who know nothing about America’s history, constitution, or political structure.  (H/T Sadie)

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Impressions of the Democrat Party debate

Democrat debateHaving watched the Republican debate on Tuesday, I decided that it behooved me to watch the Democrat debate today. A few things before I begin. First, I did not take notes, so I’m riffing here a bit without any specific road map. Second, I tried to watch the debate through two filters: a sane conservative filter and a unicorns and fairies Progressive filter. Third, barring short video clips, I hadn’t seen Hillary talk at length in years and I hadn’t seen Bernie talk at all. As for O’Malley (is that his name?), I’d never seen him talk at all. (I prefer reading to watching videos.)  With those parameters in mind, here goes:

I’ll start with the voices. As I commented with regard to the Republican debate, voices matter to me. Ten minutes into the debate, I knew precisely whom — or, should I say, what — each candidate brought mind. This is Hillary:

What an incredibly grating, hectoring attack dog she is.

This is Bernie:

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If you read one thing today. . . read Daniel Greenfield about the Leftism brand

Yelling and pointing Bernie SandersIf you read one thing today, read Daniel Greenfield about Leftism as a brand.  He perfectly describes the milieu in which I grew up and in which I live:

The left originally wanted to be seen as associated with the lower class, even though it actually came out of the upper classes. Political activism requires leisure. It’s not really for working people. This created the image of a “dirty” leftist dressed in working clothes.

But without being able to actually organize enough workers as canon fodder in a violent revolution, the way they had in Russia, this image was a dead end. So the left embraced its upper class roots. It became a movement of the glittering people. A moneyed class choked with its own compassion.

And the conservatives were depicted as fat Walmart shoppers, bible-thumpers, gun-lovers, ignorant, inbred, dirty… you’ve heard the list. Conservatives were lower class. Not aspirational at all.

The left was New York and Los Angeles. The right was flyover country. The left was spending more to buy less food and clothes. The right shopped in bulk and got value for its money. The left was always getting a higher education without actually working. The right worked without the education.

This was the new liberal brand. It made liberalism seem like a leisure class with the money and time to pursue its pleasures and its goals while conservatives lived a lower class lifestyle.

Liberalism had become a movement of upper class elites violently hostile to the working class and openly contemptuous of it. That contempt was returned leading to the political disasters of the Democratic Party among white voters, particularly in the south. But at the same time it made the liberal into an aspirational figure.

Colleges became finishing schools for teaching youth the manners and attitudes of a new elite. The political emphasis of the curriculum was the point. If you wanted to move up the ladder, you needed to embrace the left’s way of thinking and living. If you didn’t, you were part of the dirty lower class.

The message was unstated and insidious. It’s embedded as an attitude that the younger generation quickly picks up on from popular culture and then from their education. The path upward lies through the left. The left is the movement of the beautiful and successful people. It’s the future.

That’s the power of a brand. A brand can make a product seem like it’s associated with an elite until in a cargo cult response people will buy that product to seem like members of the elite.

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The Bookworm Beat 1/8/16 — the “world gone mad” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I don’t know how this happened, but in just three days of collecting articles on my cyber-spindle, I’ve managed to gather together almost thirty solid links I want to share with you. No time for chat, therefore; instead, I’ll plunge straight into my fascinating “world gone mad” edition:

If you only have time to read two things today

This is a meaty round-up. If you don’t have time to pursue all these links, I recommend two articles, both of which say things we already now, but each of which expresses those ideas with such clarity that you must read them:

1. Noemi Emery’s Obama’s Pass From The Press.

2. Kevin Williamson’s Mrs. Clinton is Professor Click.

The danger to America from Obama’s unconstitutional efforts to grab guns

Mike McDaniel didn’t need to hear Obama’s tearful press conference to know what was coming down the pike. Before Obama even opened his mouth, Mike spelled out the benefits of having a civilized and armed society, as well as the constitutional limitations Obama planned to (and did) blow past on his way to gun confiscation.

I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that Obama lied about guns in America

Oh, and just about everything Obama said during the press conference was a lie.

Indeed, the very first lie was about those 30,000 deaths annually, with the implication that these are 30,000 annual gun homicides. There aren’t:

At a Jan. 4 press conference, President Barack Obama’s press secretary, Josh Earnest, exclaimed that “30,000 gun deaths in America” was enough evidence for the administration to push past Congress to establish laws to combat gun violence.

“Thirty thousand gun deaths in America every year. Twenty thousand children under the age of 18 have been killed by a firearm over the last decade. Hundreds of law enforcement officers that have been shot and killed over the last decade. And in the face of all these statistics, what’s Congress done?” Earnest asked.

However, Earnest’s efforts backfired when Emily Miller, a reporter for WTTG and author of the book “Emily Gets Her Gun,” noted that 20,000 of those deaths were due to suicide.

Obama also ignore yet another truth: guns don’t just take lives, they save lives. It’s really beyond me why the NRA and other special interest groups don’t track down every single person who lives today because a gun protected him (or her) and have that person do a commercial: “Hi, my name is ___________. I’m here today because a legal gun saved my life. [Tell story.]” Finish with glowing images of survivor surrounded by happy loved ones.  These commercials should flood every type of media:  Television, print, and internet.

Was Paul Ryan more Machiavellian than we realized?

Conservatives in America were deeply disappointed when Paul Ryan pushed through a budget that fulfilled every Democrat’s dream. What the heck was he thinking?

What he might have been thinking about was repealing Obamacare. According to Rick Moran, the recent vote to repeal Obamacare was only possible because of the Ryan budget:

The key to this vote was getting a budget bill passed. Once that happened, reconciliation came into play – the first time since Obamacare was passed and Republicans were in the majority. Of course, there aren’t the votes to override the president’s veto, but the path forward for the people to take back control of their health insurance options has been cleared.

The question remains whether, over the long run, the Ryan budget will do more good than harm.

Culture can be a source for good

In America, of late, popular culture hasn’t done much for the public weal. It’s therefore nice to be reminded that something as simple as a song can be a source of profound good — as was the case with a Yiddish song that powered Jewish partisans during WWII, and that has frequently been recorded since then.

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The Bookworm Beat 1/4/2016 — the “I’ve got a secret” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I have sitting in front of me a piece of a very juicy story that’s happening in real-time — and I can’t do anything about it right now! Two things stop me: The first is that, as I said, I currently only have a piece, and I need more information to understand fully what is going on; the second is that I don’t know yet whether what’s happening is operating under a confidentiality agreement.

The fact that I got some of the information means that someone (and I know who) violated confidentiality, but the whole thing is too sensitive for me to charge into. I’m going to keep an eye on things, though, and I’ll let you know when/if I have a real story. Meanwhile….

On guns, using Alinsky against the Alinsky-ites

Saul Alinksy may have had an ugly ideology, but he was a master tactician. One of his mandates is that you have to make your political enemy play by his own rules. The Virginia GOP is making noises about doing just that, although I doubt GOPers will have the courage of their convictions:

Virginia’s radically anti-gun Governor and Attorney General were probably quite pleased with themselves when they spitefully severed concealed carry agreements with 25 states, including all but one of its neighbors.

They probably didn’t anticipate the backlash they’ve received, which includes calls to recall or impeach Attorney General Mark Herring, and pushes for legislation that will both strip elected officials of the ability to make such unilateral decisions, and get a little payback.

Herring’s announcement came three weeks before the start of the General Assembly session, which is controlled by Republicans. In November, a bill was filed that would require Virginia to recognize permits from other states. If approved, it would reverse Herring’s ruling.

Carrico said he’ll address the issue come January.

“A lot of the governor’s power is deferred to the General Assembly at that point and I’ll be getting with my collegues to circumvent everything this governor has done on this point,” he said. “I have a budget amendment that I’m looking at to take away his executive protection unit. If he’s so afraid of guns, then I’m not going to surround him with armed state policemen.”

Read more here.

It would be fruitless and damaging to try stripping Hillary Clinton of her Secret Service detail. Having said that, it would be brilliant if, at every campaign stop, people ask her why, because she is such a strong anti-gun campaigner, she shouldn’t be stripped of that armed coverage.  And I’d love to see the same question asked of Obama at town halls.

I suspect both will reply that they need security because they’re targets.  Statistically speaking, though, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the average citizen of Chiraq is just as likely to be a target — the only difference is that the Chiraquian cannot defend himself (or have others defend him).

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