In America, two past events and one past trend are leading us inexorably — absent a black swan event — to one of two very grim American futures.
I got to thinking about where we are now, right now, with the Deep State on the verge of a successful coup against an elected American president; with Islam on the march around the Western world; and with all of our primary communication, education, and corporate outlets in Marxist hands. As I see it, there are two major past events and one major past trend that have left us with a grim present that leads to two potential futures, both equally disastrous.
Past Event No. 1: The first Past Event that has led to our current tenuous present is Kennedy’s 1962 Executive Order 10988, which allowed federal employees to unionize. Even Franklin Roosevelt had stopped short of taking that step. Although Roosevelt was in the trifecta of Leftist political presidents (Wilson, Roosevelt, and Obama), he explicitly stated that “It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”
What someone even as hard Left as Roosevelt understood is that, in the private sector, when the owners and unions sat down at the negotiating table, they both have skin in the game. The owners are paying any negotiated wages out of their own money and the union members have a vested interested in keeping the business going.
That’s not the case with government unions. The only people with skin in the game are taxpayers, and they’re nowhere near that negotiating table. Instead, politicians and union bosses sit down to figure out how much taxpayer money can be given to government employees without fomenting armed rebellion. The understanding when they leave the table is that a significant amount of that same money will find its way back into the politicians’ pockets, whether in the form of forced union dues or donations from employees who know precisely which politicians are raping taxpayers for the benefit of government employees.
Because unions have always been a Democrat Party game, Kennedy’s executive order turned America’s bureaucracy from a party-neutral form civil service working for America’s benefit into a giant arm of the Democrat Party. We all know and are grateful for that small percentage of government employees who have managed to retain the common sense and common decency that comes with conservativism.
The larger reality though, is that federal employees, from the upper echelons of the each administrative branch down to the mail room minions, are hardcore Democrat activists who know that, if Democrats lose power in Washington D.C., these employees lose their gold-plated benefits (far in excess of similarly situated workers in the private sector) and, quite possibly, they lose their jobs. That last, incidentally, the bit about losing jobs, was the threat Donald Trump brought with him to the White House, when he promised to shrink the bloated, ineffectual, bullying administrative state.
No wonder, then, that Obama was so easily able, either explicitly or implicitly, to encourage the federal bureaucracy to carry out the Democrat agenda, whether it was the IRS destroying pro-conservative and pro-Israel groups; the EPA destroying the energy industry and advancing an apocalyptic and redistributionist view of “climate change; or the DOJ and FBI actively weaponizing themselves against anything conservative and covering up anything that might harm Democrats. Moreover, as you think about this ideological takeover of America’s civil service, don’t forget that, thanks to a massive buying spree during the Obama administration, our administrative offices have more guns and ammo than the entire Marine Corps.
It is this armed, ready, and biased administrative state that is working hard to take down a properly elected president. The first effort was the Democrat-hatched “Russia collusion” accusation against Trump collapsed, which is collapsing for want of any evidence. With that having failed, the Democrat-controlled, weaponized, unionized administrative state is now attacking Trump very directly.
The no-knock raid on Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is intended to box Trump in on all sides. If he fires Mueller, that’s obstruction and he’ll be impeached. If he pardons Cohen, that’s obstruction and he’ll be impeached. If he does nothing, the Progressive cohorts in the DOJ and FBI will root through every attorney-client privileged scrap of paper in Cohen’s possession until they find something, anything.
As Stalin’s henchman Lavrentiy Beria so succinctly said, “Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime.” I like better the way Dan Bongino states the same sentiment because he also exposes the profoundly anti-American ideology underpinning Mueller’s actions:
A “blind” justice system is supposed to investigate crimes, in search of the people who did it. NOT to investigate people, in search of crimes. Police-state tyrants understand the difference, but they don’t care. They are obsessed with taking down Trump & the country with it.
— Dan Bongino (@dbongino) April 12, 2018
Thanks to Kennedy’s executive order, we are facing a government coup against an elected leader. The only time America experienced a more perilous internal threat was on the eve of the Civil War — and we know just how bad things got when that threat was executed.
In my optimistic moments, which are rare, I hope that the Inspector General’s report will expose the Deep State for what it is or that President Trump, a born fighter, has some magical Hollywood judo ending for us.
In my pessimistic moments, which are more common, I foresee that Trump will be taken down over his attorney’s $130,000 payment to a stripper. After all, the GOP hates Trump too and wants desperately to go back to a peaceful status quo in which members of the GOP accrued power by mouthing conservative platitudes and then governing like the rest of America’s Leftists. If Trump goes down, we may see a very swift descent into civil unrest and the collapse of America’s normative politics and safe civil space. [Read more…]
The wonders of a newly installed kitchen sink remind me how I learned that socialism is an irredeemably corrupt system that will always fail.
One of the things that I haven’t blogged in 2017 about is the fact that, owing to storm damage in January, I’ve been without a functioning kitchen this year. Six and a half months is a long time, which can only be explained by a lot of “becauses”: Because I’m not the only one who suffered from this, because Marin has very low unemployment, and because a lot of contractors closed up shop and moved away during the height of the recession, finding skilled labor to rebuild the kitchen has been difficult.
Things are finally starting to come together, though. I got my new counter two weeks ago. I got the new floor one week ago but it was installed wrong, so I need a new new floor. Last week, my stove and oven were reconnected. That’s all been exciting and, occasionally, frustrating.
But today! Today is a special day. Today I have running water in my kitchen.
Please understand that I’ve had running water in my house all along. With two bathrooms, there’s been water upstairs from the kitchen and downstairs from the kitchen. (Our house is built on a hill, so what would ordinarily be a two-story house is a sprawling two-and-a-half story house.) There just hasn’t been water in the kitchen.
It’s not until you don’t have water in the kitchen that you realize how much you depend upon that kitchen sink. Everything from quickly rinsing your hands after eating something greasy or sticky, to washing fruits, to cleaning dishes, is easier — much easier — when you have a kitchen sink.
But you know what the most important thing is about a kitchen sink? A kitchen sink explains why communism stinks. Yes, that sounds like a non-sequitur, but it isn’t. Instead, the case of the missing kitchen sink in East Berlin explains why, when Democrats moved hard Left, I baulked and, instead, moved right. This story begins in the 1920s in Berlin…. [Read more…]
Not all the lessons kids learn at college happen in the classroom. One young man is learning about socialism thanks to the dorm food policy.
The neighborhood kids are returning from college for the summer. Most of them have spent a happy year at their respective colleges and therefore what they have to say when asked is positive. Those in the STEM programs seem to have learned a lot; those in the liberal arts . . . well, they think they’ve learned something.
Not all the lessons they’ve learned have been in the classroom. One young man was complaining about the dorm food system at one of the University of California campuses. According to him, the food is really, really bad and it’s also expensive when compared to food available in restaurants near the campus.
Given how bad and overpriced the dorm food is, this young man’s preference would be to have his food delivered via UberEats. According to him, if three or more kids get together on a delivery, the cost per person for delivery is minimal. In addition, they get to enjoy good restaurant food of their choice.
Unfortunately, our young students don’t have a choice. If they live in campus housing, they are required to buy dorm food in order to create subsidies for less affluent students.
Yes, you heard that right: At least one UC campus has the equivalent of Obamacare for food. Buying the product is mandatory, even though the quality is poor and the price is high.
Those with means often end up spending twice on food. That is, they pay for the mandatory vouchers and then order in. Those without means are stuck eating poorly made, uninspiring food, stuck in a captive market that has no incentive to compete for price, quality, or convenience.
The kid who told me this story was just a little taken aback when I told him, in an appropriate low-key, smiling way, that he was seeing socialism in action. I hope that planted a seed. He’s a tremendously bright, logical kid and this might be the experience that leads him to appreciate the free market.
Photo credit: Cafeteria, by Shihmei Barger. Creative Commons license; some rights reserved.
Leftists love to rewrite the past, a creative totalitarian approach that allows them to forget all the lessons — both good and bad — that history teaches. For today’s lesson about the past’s relevance, this post looks at one movie from 1946 and one book from 1948 and uses their wisdom to expose socialist fallacies, both about economics and about human thought.
The movie from 1946 is Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life, the perennial Christmas classic that sees Clarence the Angel teach George Bailey that even an apparently undistinguished, and often frustrated, life can have inestimable value. It popped into my mind when I read an article giving tips for talking to a Leftist about “income inequality,” a catch-phrase justifying government wealth redistribution.
According to Beverly Hallberg, the first thing a conservative should do is seek common ground with the Leftist. After all, conservatives are as hostile to poverty as Leftists are. It’s just that conservatives seek a market-based approach, while Leftists seek a government redistribution approach. The second step in the dialog is to explain that we no longer live in a feudal age that saw wealth locked into
The second step in the dialog is to explain to the Leftist that we no longer live in a feudal age that sees wealth locked into generational land ownership and that is no longer socially or economically stratified. Instead, wealth and class are fluid commodities, with the former working best when constantly reinvested in the marketplace, thereby reinvigorating both the original investor and those downstream from that investment. According to Hallberg, the conservative needs to remind the Leftist about the fact that handing money to the government takes it away from small business owners that create most of the dynamism in the American marketplace:
True confession: I didn’t watch the convention last night. Mr. Bookworm, whose politics don’t align with mine, got to the TV first.
I did read about it, however, and I came away with the impression that it was a blessing that so many turncoat GOP operatives stayed away. Frankly, operatives are dull. Instead, this convention put up real people, with real concerns.
Also, the Melania “plagiarism” is a tempest in a teapot. The only thing it’s good for is giving Leftist something to say. Their problem with last night’s convention is that, other than Melania’s borrowed phrases (something everyone in politics does, Joe Biden more than most), there’s nothing they can point out without making themselves look like racists, cop haters, law-breakers, or America haters. Put another way, if the only thing that Lefties can pick on is five or six borrowed phrases, it was a staggeringly successful first night.
You’re not a fascist demagogue if you’re arguing for a return to the status quo of 2006 or so. Victor Davis Hanson made an excellent point at the top of his list at National Review (a #NeverTrump bastion) detailing the ten reasons Trump might win:
Blacks and Muslims should be angry at their criminal cohorts, not at us. In the context of an article about political correctness, Andrew Klavan said something I’ve been struggling to say for some time. He acknowledges that blacks are on the receiving end of much more police activity, something frustrating and insulting to law-abiding blacks, but that’s because the black community’s bad eggs commit a disproportionate amount of American crime. Likewise, because children have big mouths, perfectly nice Muslim kids in school find themselves being called terrorists, reflecting the fact that acts of mass violence all over the world come primarily from their co-religionists. That’s certainly not nice, but Klavan says that law-abiding blacks and Muslims are putting blame in the wrong place:
It seems to me if you are an innocent black person being troubled by the cops, if you are an innocent Muslim under suspicion from your neighbors, the people you should be angry at, the people to blame, are not the people acting on rational suspicion. The people at fault are the bad guys who have drawn that suspicion unfairly onto you.
A black man targeted by the police shouldn’t be angry at the police. He should be angry at the thugs and criminals who look like him and make his race a target. And before Muslims blame non-Muslims for the prejudice against them, maybe they ought to look to — and openly condemn — those Muslims who have given their religion a very bad name indeed.
The problem is prejudice, yes. But it’s the tribal prejudice that says we should blame others before we blame “our own.” “Our own” are the good guys, no matter what race or religion we are.
Someone should read those words out loud at the Republican Party Convention. They’re very important.
This is a good, long post. Mix a martini or make yourself some hot chocolate, find a quiet place, settle back, and read away!
Trump woos conservatives. The big news today is Donald Trump’s list of proposed Supreme Court nominees, all of whom of are, in John Yoo’s words “outstanding conservatives.” As regular readers know, this list means a lot to me. I have four hot-button issues which drive my candidate choices and Supreme Court nominees are my top concern.
Although I was a Ted Cruz gal, and truly believed I was a #NeverTrump voter, once Trump became the presumptive nominee, I rediscovered my motto that “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” That notion forced me to look at Hillary and conclude that, on the issues nearest to my heart, she will cause lasting, possibly irreparable damage.
These key issues are: (1) The Supreme Court, which Hillary will pack with Leftists; (2) our Second Amendment rights, which she has vowed to destroy (with the help of a Leftist Supreme Court); (3) Israel, which mirrors our own security situation and which Hillary will destroy; and (4) Islamic terrorism, something that Hillary will probably treat in the same way Obama does, given her history of making nice to people with terrorist connections (e.g., Huma, her Muslim Brotherhood gal pal; Yassir and Suha Arafat; and the Saudis).
On each of those issues, Trump promises the possibility of something better. And no, I’m not a fool. I know that Trump promises everything to everybody but, as I said, he still had the possibility of doing better than Hillary.
With today’s list of Supreme Court nominees, Trump assuaged my concerns on both Issue 1 (Supreme Court makeup) and Issue 2 (Second Amendment). I recognize that Trump can still do a bait-and-switch (something that the pundits to whom I’ve linked also fear), but he might not — unlike Hillary, who will definitely seek more Sotomayors, Ginsburgs, and Kagans.
Anyway, in addition to the Yoo reaction to Donald’s list, linked above, here are more reactions:
My take on the decision to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 in place of Andrew Jackson? I find all this change and revisionism both silly and expensive but, having said that, here’s my position: They’re replacing the racist, slave-supporting, Indian-killing founder of the Democrat party with a gun-toting, Republican black woman — what’s to dislike? I think it’s great. And now on to the collected news of the day.
Blame Democrats for today’s nasty politics. Politics has always been a rough-and-tumble business. After all, the people playing aren’t just winning cupcakes; they’re winning power. Nevertheless, for most of America’s history, there’s been a tacit agreement to conduct politics in a civil manner — fight hard, but attack your opponent’s politics, not his person. This year, that unwritten rule has vanished. One can point fingers at specifically nasty politicians, but the real story isn’t that nasty people do nasty things; instead, it’s that the American public is willing to accept that behavior. Andrew Klavan blames the Left for this cultural degradation:
As a proud right-winger, I’m appalled and disgusted by Donald Trump. Nonetheless, I feel a certain schadenfreudean glee at watching leftists reel in horror at his unbridled incivility. They truly don’t seem to realize: he is only the loud and manifest avatar of their own silent and invisible nastiness. In a veiled reference to Trump at a recent lunch on Capitol Hill, President Obama declared he was “dismayed” at the “vulgar and divisive rhetoric” being heard on the campaign trail. “In America, there is no law that says we have to be nice to each other, or courteous, or treat each other with respect,” the president said. “But there are norms. There are customs.”
Are there? When I hear this sort of thing from Obama and his fellow leftists, what I wonder is: Have they not listened to themselves for the past 50 years? Do they really have no idea how vicious, how low, how cruel, and how dishonest their attacks on the Right have been?
No, they haven’t; and, no, they don’t. The Democrat-monopolized media, which explodes with rage at any minor unmannerliness on the right, falls so silent at the Left’s almost ceaseless acrimony that leftists are never forced to confront what despicable little Trumps they often are.
American immobility. I’ve commented multiple times about the fact that Americans are less willing to relocate than they once were. The entire essence of America for several hundred years was people’s willingness to leave their homes, whether in the old country or the new, and to head south, east, north, or west in search of better opportunities.
Today, though, the combination of being weighted down by possessions (even the poor today own more than all but the rich owned in the past) and having welfare to turn to (no matter how minimal that welfare is) means that people in economically dead areas can stick around. It’s not a nice life, but it’s the life they know, and they can always make themselves feel better about things with a bit of meth or heroin.
Kevin Williamson got a lot of flak for saying that we as a nation need to stop expending energy and money on dying communities and should, instead, focus on the vital communities. Obviously, I agree. Now, Williamson, in the face of that flak, has doubled down and I still agree:
My answer is that if there’s nothing for you in Garbutt but penury, dysfunction, and addiction, then get the hell out. If that means that communities in upstate New York or eastern Kentucky or west Texas die, so what? If that’s all they have to offer, then they have it coming.
Mixed in with that common sense you’ll find some hard-hitting attacks on those who challenged Williamson. And I still agree with him.
The bottom line is that,while dying towns are sad and forcing people to leave their roots is sad too, at a societal level, that’s not a reason to keep functionally dead towns on taxpayer-funded life support.
(Incidentally, the same goes for Europe, which in its effort to preserve its past has calcified, making it less of a charming place, and more of a bizarre and frequently unpleasant place. I totally understood what Robert Avrech’s friend was talking about when he said that Eastern Europe, even without the Soviets, is “oppressive.”)
I received the following email from a friend. I really can’t add anything to it:
I just read the most ungodly economically ignorant article I have ever read. . . . It even beats out the $15 an hour minimum wage arguments, which at least are based on rational fantasy. [Bookworm here: Or maybe not so rational.]
Let me set this up: Bernie goes to Brooklyn, where he rails against all of the evil businesses he means to destroy, starting with Verizon. Bernie claims that Verizon has paid nothing in taxes, and that it is time for Verizon to pay its “fair share.” (I am starting to become violent every time I hear the word “fair” at this point.)
Sayeth the Bern, “[Verizon] is just another major American corporation trying to destroy the lives of working Americans.”
Verizon’s CEO responds calling Bernie an economic idiot in none too veiled language: “The senator’s uninformed views are, in a word, contemptible.”
After laying out all the facts, including the pivotal fact that, while an NY subsidiary lost money and paid no taxes, the parent company paid over $15.6 billion in taxes in just the past two years, the CEO states, “Nostalgia for the rotary phone era won’t save American jobs, any more than ignoring the global forces reshaping the auto industry saved the Detroit auto makers.”
Wonderful stuff. The CEO’s letter is worth a full read.
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:
As 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.
My daughter introduced me to a pro-Bernie site called I Like Bernie, But…. There, in response to various concerns voters might have about Bernie (e.g., he’s a socialist or a taxer), the website provides short, pithy, and entirely inaccurate responses aimed at setting those fears to rest.
Because I know that the website appeals strongly to young voters, I created a website called I Don’t Like Bernie, Because… that challenges the misinformation. Today I challenged the pro-Bernie’ website’s breezy promise that higher taxes on the rich will easily fund Bernie’s spending plans, leaving tons of money left over for everyone else. Here’s that post:
The new website I Like Bernie, But… tries to calm people’s fears about Bernie Sander’s socialist extremism. It states questions reflecting concerns that people might have about Bernie, and then provides pithy little answers refuting those fears.
In a previous post, I addressed the myriad falsehoods, omissions, and misconceptions in the website’s assurance that Bernie isn’t a dangerous socialist, he’s a good socialist. This post addresses the misleading answer to a concern that “I heard he [Bernie] wants to raise taxes.”
Here’s what I Like Bernie, But…. has to say about Bernie and taxes:
That’s simply false. Here’s the truth:
92,000 104,000 116,000 121,000 130,000 142,000 160,000 people and counting. I must have hit a nerve here…. Welcome to all of you, even the trolls (of whom there are many, and yes, dear trolls, I am ignoring you in the comments section).]
My older Little Bookworm can vote in the upcoming election, so she’s paying a bit of attention to things. She told me that, on her SnapChat and Facebook pages, all of her friends are mesmerized by Bernie and most of them are getting information from a website called “I Like Bernie, But….” I checked out the website, didn’t like it, and created my own website called “I Don’t Like Bernie, Because….” The following is my first post at the new website:
The website I Like Bernie, But… takes it upon itself to answer concerned readers who ask “Isn’t Bernie a socialist?” It assures these people that Bernie isn’t a socialist socialist. Instead, he’s a democratic socialist, which the website promises is something entirely different:
The above conclusions are just wrong, and they’re so very wrong that they need to be corrected and explained in a lot of paragraphs. Here goes:
To begin with, you need to understand what it really means to be a socialist. Only then can you understand that putting the word “democratic” in front of “socialist” doesn’t change anything.
So what is a “socialist” system? Think of the realm of available politics as a line moving from left to right. On the far left side are totalitarian regimes, which means government has all the control and the people have none. At the far right side is anarchy, which means there is no government at all, although the resulting chaos usually means that people have no control either. (Ironically, anarchy usually ends when a strong man takes over and creates a totalitarian regime.)
A month ago, my Facebook feed (which reflects the fact that many of my friends are Progressives) was suddenly overrun by a series of posters, all pointing out that minimum wage work is insufficient to support the cost of a two bedroom apartment. It’s unlikely that the new minimum wage laws that went into effect on January 1, 2016, in 14 states will change these charts:
Also, in a charming irony, that problem is worse in most blue states compared to most red ones, as you’ll see if you compare the two charts below:
There are three major bad ideas packed into the notion that minimum wage should be the Rolls Royce of salaries.
The first problem is basic economics: The reality is that a higher minimum wage benefits the few over the many:
Increasing the minimum wage is an inefficient way to reduce poverty, according to a Fed research paper that comes amid a national clamor to hike pay for workers at the low end of the salary scale.
David Neumark, visiting scholar at the San Francisco Fed, contends in the paper that raising the minimum wage has only limited benefits in the war against poverty, due in part because relatively few of those falling below the poverty line actually receive the wage.
Many of the benefits from raising the wage, a move already undertaken by multiple governments around the country as well as some big-name companies, tend to go to higher-income families, said Neumark, who also pointed to research that shows raising wages kills jobs through higher costs to employers.
On its face, then, the charts’ premise, which is that higher minimum wages will see everyone in better homes, is wrong.