Sunday, November 30, 2014

Progressives Against Progress

In 2009, Democrats hoisted another trillion dollars of debt onto our descendants in a cynical attempt to "create" jobs. The so-called "stimulus" bill is what happens when politicians see a crisis as an opportunity to buy patronage with other people's money. The bill was not passed to spur economic activity and reduce unemployment and it certainly didn't. Barack Obama admitted as much with his Gruber-like mocking of the fools who bought into his "shovel-ready" sales pitch.

Both "public servants" and capitalists are motivated by their own self-interest. The former connive to separate property from its proper owners and use the proceeds to pay tribute to their (the politicians) benefactors. The latter seek profit-making opportunities by offering goods and services that people need and want, which in turn results in economic growth. Contra Hillary Clinton, the only job-creators are corporations and businesses. At best, government is a grateful bystander and at worst, a job destroyer. One of the most grating of campaign promises, made by Democrats and Republicans alike, is the commitment to create jobs. The only effective job-creating policy is to let free enterprise operate with a minimum of regulatory oversight. That way, jobs are created, and living standards improve, at no cost to taxpayers.

The Keystone Pipeline, (speaking of shovel ready), is a prime example of a privately funded, employment producing, economically and environmentally beneficial project that wouldn't cost us a dime. But it's opposed by the "green" lobby which pays for the election of Democrats. The result is the project gets shelved indefinitely, oil gets shipped by the far more environmentally hazardous rail car and oil tanker, and the Canadian government begins planning for an alternate pipeline, one that transverses its country, avoiding the U.S. altogether.

Opposing the beneficial and the successful is a defining characteristic of the left. Even an industry as mundane as retail has come under attack. Kevin Williamson's latest column examines the breathtaking hypocrisy of "social justice" warriors who protest Wal-Mart, an American corporation that has had an overwhelmingly positive global impact. Among its notable achievements has been making the poor less poor. Aside from providing employment for vast amounts of people - 1.3 million in the U.S. (almost 1% of all people employed in the country!) and 2.2 million worldwide, many of whom are not highly skilled or educated, it sells affordable necessities to low income customers.

It is remarkable that Wal-Mart, a company that makes a modest profit margin (typically between 3 percent and 3.5 percent) selling ordinary people ordinary goods at low prices, is the great hate totem for the well-heeled Left, whose best-known celebrity spokesclowns would not be caught so much as downwind from a Supercenter, while at the same time, nobody is out with placards and illiterate slogans and generally risible moral posturing in front of boutiques dealing in Rolex, Prada, Hermès, et al.


If economic “exploitation” means making “obscene profits” — an empty cliché if ever there were one — then Wal-Mart and the oil companies ought to be the good guys; not only do they have relatively low profit margins, but they also support millions of union workers and retirees through stock profits and the payment of dividends into pension funds. By way of comparison, consider that Hermès, the luxury-goods label that is a favorite of well-heeled social justice warriors of all sorts, makes a profit margin that is typically seven or eight times what Wal-Mart makes, even though, as rapper Lloyd Banks discovered, its $1,300 sneakers may not always be up to the task. If Wal-Mart is the epitome of evil for selling you a Timex at a 3 percent markup, then shouldn’t Rolex be extra-super evil?


A few weeks ago, I was very much amused by the sight of anti-Wal-Mart protests in Manhattan — where there is no Wal-Mart, and where, if Bill de Blasio et al. have their way, there never will be. Why? Because we’re too enlightened to let our poor neighbors pay lower prices. The head-clutchingly expensive shops up on Fifth and Madison avenues? No protests. Rather, they were bustling with the same class of people behind the protests, people busily accumulating — or at least making like Holly Golightly in the window at Tiffany’s.


Ironically, the anti-Wal-Mart crusaders want to make life worse for people who are literally counting pennies as they shop for necessities. Study after study has shown that Wal-Mart has meaningfully reduced prices: 3.1 percent overall, by one estimate — with a whopping 9.1 percent cut to the price of groceries. That comes to about $2,300 a year per household, savings that accrue overwhelmingly to people of modest incomes, not to celebrity activists and Ivy League social-justice crusaders.

Read it all here.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Builders And Destroyers

The advent of capitalism in the late eighteenth century launched an era of explosive wealth creation that continues to this day. Prior to this beneficent revolution, life was generally, as described by the seventeenth century philosopher Thomas Hobbes, "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." The Capitalist Miracle was and continues to be responsible for a drastic decline in global poverty, particularly among those peoples who have embraced it as their governing economic principle. That all this is true is completely uncontroversial to any knowledgeable and thoughtful person not invested in corporatism and/or the expansion of the welfare state. Still open to debate, however, is how capitalism got started. Kevin Williamson offers some ideas on this. And he castigates those bent on destroying the glorious free enterprise architecture and replacing it with, what Churchill called, "...a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, (the) inherent virtue (of which) is the equal sharing of misery."

The division of labor is the essence of civilization, the underlying source of practically every good thing about the material conditions of the modern world. It is why civilized countries do not have famine any more, why we are surrounded by technological wonders, why things like air travel and mobile phones go from being restricted to millionaires to being ho-hum over a short course of years. Most of the technological ingredients for the Industrial Revolution had been in place not only in Britain but in Spain, France, Italy, etc., for years. But British subjects and American colonists had the opportunity and the inclination to begin a finer and more robust division of labor than did their European counterparts. They were just a little bit more free — and a little bit more determined to be free — and that little bit made an incalculable difference, not only to them, but to the world.
They built something remarkable. And the idiot children of the Left are today cheering those who would literally burn it down, in Ferguson and elsewhere.

I am generally inclined toward outbreaks of orneriness, whether in Nevada or in Missouri. If the people of Ferguson believe that they are misgoverned, that their police are a problem, that the usual forms of legal and political redress have failed them, then, by all means, shake the foundations. And there may have been about five minutes at the beginning when that’s what this was about. The crowd in Ferguson is now very little more than a lynch mob. Maybe I should be ashamed of it, but there’s a little part of my heart that would leap at the sight of Americans setting fire to a tax office. But setting fire to an Autozone? Pathetic.

There’s a famous meme that made the rounds during Occupy Wall Street, with a hippie-dirtbag protester labeled “Wants More Government” and menacing police in riot gear closing down on him labeled “More Government.” Those of us who want less government do not want only that: We want what flourishes when men are left free to pursue their own ends. The Left, on the other hand, takes every instance of unhappiness as an argument for more government — including bad government. Our founding fathers knew when to build, and when to fight. More importantly, they knew what to build, and what to fight.

Added November 28 -- Rich Lowry with more about our great good fortune.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mugged By Reality

It was the respected political commentator, the late Irving Kristol who made the observation that "A neo-conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality." This statement is true, but unfortunately, it does not follow that all liberals who have been mugged by reality have the intelligence and open-mindedness to become neo-conservatives. A case in point --

On November 14, The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by a long time Democrat, Burke Beu.

I voted for President Obama again in 2012, then received a cancellation notice for my health insurance. This was due to ObamaCare, the so-called Affordable Care Act. However, I couldn’t afford anything else.

Beu goes on to say all sorts of bad things about Obamacare (And he throws in some invective about the failed 2009 economic "stimulus" bill as well. Exactly why did he vote for Obama in 2012?). Myopically, Beu attacks Obamacare from his vantage point on the left.

ObamaCare is a failure. For anyone who thinks this is a misprint because no Democratic activist would make such a comment, let me add that it is too big, too complicated and too expensive. Without a public option within its network of exchanges, ObamaCare is a giant blank check to the insurance companies that pushed it through Congress. It punishes responsible consumers like me and treats younger individuals as fools who are expected to pay the bills while not paying attention.

"public option..." The pathway to "single payer". (see below).


For most Democrats in Congress, Medicare was originally a model for health-care reform. Single-payer, universal coverage was the favored approach. Then Republicans let loose the “socialized medicine” boogeyman and Democrats panicked.

"Single-payer, universal coverage..." That doesn't describe Medicare (why the need for multiple payers to "supplement" universality?). How ever you call it, Medicare is fiscally insolvent, a scammers delight, (tens of billions per year lost to fraud) and the bane of doctors and providers who increasingly are refusing to accept its below market payments.
The fully contained, socialized, universal health care system of Mr. Beu's fantasies would be based on the VA model. Ah yes. That's the fix we need.
Monopolies are bad. Government monopolies are much worse.

Fearful that doing nothing was worse than doing the wrong thing, Democrats gave up on Medicare for the masses and opted for a drastic alternative. ObamaCare is an outrageous combination of private-market inflation, government bureaucracy, excessive mandates and a ridiculously delayed implementation schedule. When the thing finally kicked in, it hit hard—and there is plenty more pain on the way.

"Excessive mandates..." Definition - Mandates that force Burke Beu to purchase that which he doesn't need and/or can't afford.


We Democrats need to get over ourselves, start anew on a national health-care policy, and return to our progressive principles. We claim to be the party of the underdogs, but on ObamaCare we simply catered to a different set of fat cats.

As Jonah Goldberg might say, these views are like a piñata, yielding rewards whenever they're hit. Today's WSJ posted three letters from writers taking swings.

Robert M. Sussman --

My only response to Burke Beu’s "This Democrat Is Giving Up On Obamacare" (op-ed, Nov. 14) is to inquire where he has been for the last four years. From the start, the Affordable Care Act was poorly written and conceived and not supported by Republicans, who saw through the lies made by the Obama administration.
...The point is it’s been obvious for years that the law is a failure and needs to be completely redrafted. The fact that Mr. Beu just realized these things means he is part of the problem, not the solution. Unless voters deal with reality rather than clinging to their ideological beliefs, more bad laws will remain in place well beyond their time.

David Gayvert --

What Mr. Beu fails to see is that “progressive principles” will always, everywhere produce failure because they are based on a flawed premise: that human nature is infinitely malleable, and only in need of the “right” policy, program or enlightened leadership to lead it to perfection. Thus, even while acknowledging ObamaCare’s increasingly manifest failures—perhaps because this time, the policy in question impacted him personally—Mr. Beu cannot allow his abiding faith in Democrats’ ability to design and effect the ideal society to be shaken. Pity—plenty more epiphanies await.

Matthew Thompson --

For whom does Jonathan Gruber’s “too stupid” bell toll, Mr. Beu? It tolls for thee.
My thanks to the editors for publishing Mr. Beu’s pitiable lament. Nothing gives me quite so much pleasure as a “progressive” hoist on his own petard.

For the record, let me state that I absolutely reject the mean spirited Schadenfreude expressed by Mr. Thompson.
(hee hee hee hee)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

KW On Language And Politics

Another video, this one featuring Kevin Williamson. KW is a (self-described) radical libertarian from Lubbock who shatters the Mary Cooper* stereotype of a right wing Texan; that is, fundamentalist Christian, provincial, intolerant, credulous, ignorant, racist. Rather, Williamson is scientific, brilliant, learned, and worldly with eclectic interests. And, of course, as a libertarian, he's strongly anti-racist. One of Williamson's objectives is to get people to reconsider their assumptions about government and politics. You say you want a revolution - here it is.

It's apparent that Jonah Goldberg gets some of his libertarian ideas from Williamson. KW returns the favor, mentioning Goldberg's book in his talk. (Note that Williamson doesn't actually begin speaking until around the 14:00 minute mark).

*Sheldon Cooper's mom in The Big Bang Theory. In manner and intellect, Williamson seems much more like Sheldon (without the Asperger traits) than Mary. 
Williamson writes about his mother in his latest column. The main gist of the column however is best described by its title, Small Man in a Big Office.

In an elected official, patriotism means, among other things, elevating the interests of the country above the interests of party and career. President Obama has failed to do that, seems personally incapable of doing that, and in fact has done the opposite. He might be reminded, at the very least, that his presidential duty is to the citizens of the United States, not to citizens of other countries, regardless of where they happen to be located at any given moment. But the very idea of taking that seriously seems foreign to him.
We already knew that Barack Obama is a coward – a man who, to take one obvious example, pronounced himself opposed to gay marriage right up until the millisecond that political calculation demanded he do otherwise, and who now believes that it is mandated by the Constitution. His putting off his amnesty announcement until after the election – and his dishonest refusal to acknowledge that it is an amnesty – is another example. We already knew that he is a liar (“If you like your coverage . . . ”) and have some reason to suspect that he is a fool. But the fundamental problem is that he is a lawyer, one without the intellectual or moral equipment to be anything more than a litigator of the picayune. For President Obama and his enablers, the law is a species of magic: He is entitled to do whatever he pleases, even when it plainly violates both the national interest and our longstanding habits of government, if he can simply think of a way to say the right words in the right order as he acts. That isn’t governance – that’s alchemical hokum, transforming the dross of Democratic political ambition into pure gold.

Other recent KW columns.

Swearing in Latin at his favorite target, the IRS.

On the morality of assisted suicide. Williamson does not shirk from tackling difficult moral issues as he did here with rape and abortion.

Capitalism and the environment.

Justice Ginsburg and the eugenics instinct of the left.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

More JG (Writing This Time)

From Jonah Goldberg's latest G-file on NRO.

On Barack Obama's unconstitutional immigration order --

"Placating Obama’s wishes (For Congress to enact legislation codifying his executive order) doesn’t erase his lawless deed, it establishes a precedent for a new presidential power of lawless action. It’s against the law for me to steal your car. If I do it anyway and then say, “Look, all you have to do to nullify my lawless action is sign over the title to me, that way it will all be nice and proper” does that really make it all better?

... the story of the progressive movement can best be understood as activists going wherever the field is open. If the people are on your side, expand democracy. If the people are against you, use the courts. If the courts are against you, run down the field with the bureaucrats, or the Congress, or the presidency. Procedural niceties — the filibuster, precedent, the law, custom, the Constitution, truth — only matter if they can be enlisted to advance the cause. If they can’t, they suddenly become outdated, irrelevant, vestigial organs of racism, elitism, sexism, whatever. Obstruction, or even inconvenience in the path of progressive ends is prima facie proof of illegitimacy. The river of history must carry forward. If History hits a rock, the rock must be swept up with the current or be circumvented. Nothing can hold back the Hegelian tide, no one may Stand Athwart History. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. This is the liberal gleichschaltung; get with the program or be flattened by it.

Barack Obama’s leapfrog over the Constitution is perfectly consistent with Woodrow Wilson’s hatred of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. It is of a piece with FDR’s “Second Bill of Rights.” It is the latest chapter in the progressive cult of History in which they — and only they — know what the universe requires and no mortal authority, and certainly not any old piece of paper, can stand in the way. Why? Because History is their co-pilot."

On Grubergate --

"... Here’s Chuck Todd explaining a near blackout of Gruber coverage in the MSM. “I’m not saying it’s not a story. Look, I’m not in charge of any of those network newscasts. But what is the news today of that? It’s a political story.”

I’m a fan of Chuck’s but good lord this is absurd. First, all Todd does is cover “political stories.” I haven’t seen every one of his stints at the helm of Meet the Press, but I feel I would have heard if Meet the Press had become a cooking show on his watch.

Moreover, the news is huge. An indispensable architect of this trillion dollar monstrosity of a law has been exposed as not only a deliberate liar, but as one who stood to make millions off the law without disclosing his role as a paid consultant. People love to say that Bush lied us into war, but to date no evidence of deliberate lies has ever surfaced. Yes, false statements have come to light, but those statements were believed to be true at the time. They were corroborated by the U.N., the French intelligence service, and countless leading Democrats — such as Bill Clinton — and Hillary Clinton, who voted for the war. It’s awful and scandalous that we got so much wrong, but there were no deliberate lies in a regrettable rush to war.

You can’t say anything of the sort about Obamacare, which, as I argued in my column yesterday, was sold with lies, deception, and partisan brute force from Day One. And yet, if video of Paul Wolfowitz or Don Rumsfeld admitting that they lied or had secret financial interests in the war came out tomorrow, I cannot imagine Chuck Todd could say, “What’s the news of that now?”

The reason Gruber has been so outrageously under-covered by the mainstream media is obvious: The whole story is an indictment of the entire ecosystem of establishment liberalism, from the supposedly “explanatory journalists” who picked sides from the beginning, to the academic elites who serve as willing mercenaries for the Democratic party (while pretending to be unimpeachably objective followers of the facts) to the press corps that carries water for the whole enterprise. Grüberdammerung runs against the narrative that only lovers of limited government are driven by self-interest and greed. It gives the average person a glimpse into how the sausage is made and embarrasses the sausage makers."

Obama's reaction to the latest ISIS beheading (Obama uses the alternative acronym, ISIL, so that he can avoid reminding "folks" of his disastrous "Syria" policy - the 2nd S in ISIS) --

"... my jaw dropped when I heard Obama’s reaction to the beheading of Peter Kassig.

“ISIL’s actions represent no faith,” Obama said, “least of all the Muslim faith which Abdul-Rahman adopted as his own.”

Abdul-Rahman was Kassig’s Muslim name, which he adopted only while being held captive by Islamists. Perhaps the conversion was sincere, though I suspect Kassig did it to stay alive and certainly under duress and I can begrudge him it. Either way, there’s something disgusting about using Kassig’s Muslim name in order to score a propaganda point.

It’s even worse when that propaganda point is so incandescently stupid.

As Mona (Charen) notes one except Barack Obama thinks it’s a revelation that the Islamic State kills Muslims. No Kurd, no Shia, no moderate Sunni stays in his home when the Islamic State is at the gates, and says “Hey, we’re Muslim and Muslims don’t kill Muslims. We’ve got nothing to worry about.”

But it’s the phrase “least of all the Muslim faith” that is truly infuriating. Least of all? Really? So other faiths are more implicated in this atrocity than Islam? Which ones? Does he really mean to be suggesting that while the Islamic State’s actions “represent no faith,” if we have to assign blame, Islam is the least culpable? Could a team of rhetoricians, theologians and logicians working around the clock in some Andromeda Strain bunker beneath the Nevada desert come up with an argument that puts even a scintilla more blame at the feet of, say, the Lutherans or Quakers? On the one hand we have a bunch of dudes who shout “Allāhu Akbar!”, memorize the Koran, and rape and murder in the name of the Islamic State. On the other hand, we have a grab bag of Buddhists, Jews, Seventh Day Adventists, and Southern Baptists. And the one faith least implicated here is Islam? Really. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills."

Goldberg references a couple of recent TV appearances where he talks about Gruber specifically and corrupt left wing corporatism in general. The links are here and here.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

More JG Video

A few days ago I cited an entertaining talk by Jonah Goldberg. Well, here's a better one. Most of the jokes and many of the points are the same but here he focuses more on his most recent book, The Tyranny Of Cliches. Funny, inspiring and for the uninitiated, informative. Not that anyone should care, but this is why I'm a conservative.

And if you think Goldberg is joking...

Does Michelle know about this?

Monday, November 17, 2014

More Gruber, The Election, Etc.

Barack Obama on Jonathan Gruber -- The fact that an adviser who was never on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters is not a reflection on the actual process that was run.
No, he wasn't on the staff. He was outsourced - a well paid, overpaid, contractor. As John Fund points out -- Gruber visited the White House nearly twenty times, according to official visitor logs. The White House actively promoted his work on Obamacare and touted his testimony to Senate committees as "objective analysis."

It's remarkable that a World Class Narcissist like Obama has so little self-awareness. He claims to reject Gruber's disdain for voters, his distortions and obfuscations. What about his (Obama's) own blatant lies? Do they reflect an abiding respect for voters? Does he ever listen to himself?

BHO, 7/18/2009 -- Under our proposals, if you like your doctor, you keep your doctor. If you like your current insurance, you keep that insurance. Period, end of story. (...And that's for darn sure).

Well that was before the law was finalized and passed by Congress, right? How about a more recent, more informed statement.

BHO, 9/23/2013 -- Now, let’s start with the fact that even before the Affordable Care Act fully takes effect, about 85 percent of Americans already have health insurance — either through their job, or through Medicare, or through the individual market. So if you’re one of these folks, it’s reasonable that you might worry whether health care reform is going to create changes that are a problem for you — especially when you’re bombarded with all sorts of fear-mongering. So the first thing you need to know is this: If you already have health care, you don’t have to do anything.

That reactionary right wing network NBC reported that, ...the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.

"I completely disagree with (Gruber) in terms of the voters". Really? A Politifact compilation details 37 instances of Obama disseminating his lie, demonstrating that he wholly agrees with Gruber's assessment of the voters.

Nancy Pelosi is trying to remain competitive with Obama for the title of Most Dishonest Politician --

November 13, 2014 --
I don’t know who (Jonathan Gruber) is...
November 5, 2009 --
I don't know if you have seen Jonathan Gruber of MIT's analysis...

Fox News has the video evidence followed by Steve Hayes' comments. Hayes hits the MSM once again for media bias. It is mind numbingly repetitious but absolutely necessary to point out when it happens.

The Gruber embarrassment has Democrats contorting themselves into unsustainable postures. For sheer silliness, this one takes the cake. (John Fund again) --

A Pelosi spokesperson, Drew Hammill, told the Washington Post that “(Pelosi) said she doesn’t ‘know who he is,’ not that she’s never heard of him".

Ed Morrissey (Hot Air) --

Let’s not forget that when Gruber calls voters stupid, it can’t be applied to those who opposed ObamaCare on the very same grounds as he states in these videos. Critics had made these arguments all along about the deceptive structure of the bill, and the lies being told to cover it up. Gruber’s talking about the Obama coalition in these remarks. (My emphasis).

It's ironic but true that Gruber's insults target Obamacare supporters. As well they should. Leftists leave critical thinking at the door when it comes to politics and policy. Unfortunately they are not alone in their susceptibility to manipulation by smooth talking con artists. Think back to the whole "hope and change" mishegoss which was breathtaking in the scale of its dishonesty and deceptiveness. Post-partisan, Post-racial, Pragmatic, Conciliatory, Non-ideological, Transparent, Fiscally Responsible, Follower of the Constitution and the Rule of Law - everything Obama is not. These are just some of the descriptors tossed around by Obama and his campaign entourage, selling him to those gullible enough to believe he was something other than a far left-wing Alinskyite willing to do anything he could get away with to advance his radical agenda. Among the deceived were nominally conservative - David Brooks, Peggy Noonan, Christopher Buckley and others. Buckley, whose novel Thank You For Smoking mercilessly parodied the public relations industry, fell for the biggest and most obvious PR scam ever perpetrated - Obamaism. It is these impressionable "moderates" who share much of the blame for our current predicament.

For two reasons I'm pleased that we're finally past the midterm election season. First and foremost, the results were quite satisfactory. The only real disappointment was Scott Brown's loss in New Hampshire. Otherwise, Republicans swept all the races they could have and then some. The most significant achievement was, of course, the wrenching of power out of Harry Reid's cold, dead hands. Reid's deplorable anti-Koch brothers strategy failed spectacularly. The Senate can now resume its intended function - deliberating legislation and passing budgets. It will now become an ally of the House in investigating the Obama administration's many scandals. And, importantly, it will put a halt to the flooding of federal courts with Obama's uber-left nominees for judgeships. Each of the nine Senate seats transferred from the Democrats to the Republicans was a cause for celebration. (Soon to be ten following the Louisiana runoff election. This despite yet another one of Reid's cynical political ploys - allowing a vote on Dem candidate Mary Landrieu's Keystone pipeline proposal, after preventing such a vote for eight years). One enjoyable result wasn't a transfer but a hold. In Kentucky, it was predicted early on that Mitch McConnell's seat was in peril. His opponent was Alison Lundergan Grimes and she managed to provide the defining moment of the entire election season. Asked if she voted for Obama for president, Grimes refused to answer. She couldn't have rejected her party's leader more emphatically had she shouted, "I Hate Obama!" Her evasiveness clinched her defeat. McConnell thumped her by 16 points and now he'll be the new Senate Majority Leader.

Topping the list of favorable results in govenor's races was the expected, but still pleasing rout of the NY Times' favorite candidate, Wendy Davis in Texas. Scott Walker's win (Wisconsin) and Charlie Crist's defeat (Florida) were especially gratifying and gubernatorial wins in Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts are great gobs of icing on the cake. After the 2012 election, Democrats thought they were on the cusp of building a permanent national majority. Now Republicans have comfortable majorities in both houses of Congress and at the state level Democrats are practically an afterthought. The presidency is the only current success story for the Democrats and this is due in part to gimmickry - many people wanted to vote for the first black president. In two years they'll want to vote for the first woman president. How about a campaign slogan of I Love Mia in 2016?

Second, we now get a brief respite (a few months, at least) from the incessant political ads broadcast on TV and delivered in the mail. That this asinine propaganda actually sways voters - and it surely must or billions wouldn't be spent on it - gives credence to the Gruber, Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Dunham, and Mencken view of the American public. On the other hand, Democrats outraised and outspent Republicans and look at the results. Reason for hope.

A couple of other random observations --

Among the multitude of sins committed by the treasonous Edward Snowden was his release of the names of CIA recruits in Pakistan, a gift to violent, war waging jihadists. Naturally, this qualified Snowden for consideration for the Nobel Peace Prize. Too bad he didn't get it. Imagine the absurdist scenario of having one ludicrously awarded NPP winner, Snowden, on the lam trying to escape the prosecutorial clutches of another ludicrously awarded NPP winner, Barack Obama.

Consumer Reports 2015 Buying Guide recommends what to skip when buying a smart phone -- "Phone insurance and extended warranties, which are not worth it when you weigh the cost, high deductibles and low chance of using them."
Sounds like health insurance for the young and healthy under Obamacare. At least with phone insurance, there's no penalty for doing without.

Finally from the I Want To Be Clear Department, in Bret Stephens' weekly WSJ column --

While Ms. Psaki and other administration mouthpieces are at it, they might also explain how last week’s news that the Pentagon will send another 1,500 “military advisers” to Iraq honors Mr. Obama’s pledge from September, when he said, “I want to be clear: The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission.”
Yet the Apache pilots and their crews emphatically do have a “combat mission” when they fly out of Baghdad airport to keep ISIS from storming the city, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced in September that U.S. military forces deployed to Iraq will get combat pay.
One wonders what rhetorical legerdemain the administration will use to explain what those pilots are doing there. Demonstrating the principles of aeronautics? Teaching kinetics?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Must-Watch Video

I recently came across on YouTube, a talk given by Jonah Goldberg in Cleveland, Ohio in June of this year. The performance is typical Goldberg - cheerful and funny and filled with wise and witty observations. Much of what he says is familiar to conservatives but is well worth hearing just for the lively, coherent and entertaining delivery. As for non-conservatives, including leftists and the politically indifferent - I'm not overly hopeful, but if anyone could disabuse the general public of the myths and misinformation about conservatism, correct the benign reputation of (misnamed) liberalism - (Goldberg's book, Liberal Fascism, does a good job with that), and even convert a few of the misguided, it is Happy Warrior Jonah. During the talk, he's particularly good speaking about the left wing's darling du jour, Thomas Piketty, mincing no words in calling him "evil". And he gives a brief dissertation on the Capitalist Miracle, the world's greatest blessing that no one is aware of.

In his talk, Goldberg mentions his lengthy review of Piketty's book, Capital In The 21st Century. Here's the link to the review.

Also a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Phil Gramm and Michael Solon that more concisely picks apart Picketty's thesis.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Vote Or Die

Charles C. W. Cooke presents an excellent counter-argument to the populist view that low voter participation is indicative of a national malaise. Or it would be a counter-argument if there was an argument to counter. Proponents merely presume universal voting to be an unalloyed good. The British Guardian had this to say about the midterm election -- "The low voter turnout on Election Day last week in the United States was an international disgrace."

Cooke disagrees.

Pace Lyndon Johnson, who posited famously that “a man without a vote is a man without protection,” I remain as free as a non-citizen as any man who is able to choose his representatives. Like others, I may speak in sharp and harsh terms without interference or censure from the state — and I do. I may own firearms for my defense and carry them with me should I so wish — and I do. I may expect to secure my person, house, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures — and I do. With no meaningful exceptions, I enjoy equal protection under the law and the right to due process should I be accused of having violated that law. Given how hard it would be to repeal these safeguards, it seems fair for me to conclude that I may do these things not primarily because others vote to permit me to, but because the questions have been deliberately set outside of the standard democratic process and engraved deep into the highest law in the land: the Constitution.


The United States was established on the principle that just power is derived from the consent of the governed. Can an unwillingness to involve oneself in public affairs not be interpreted as a sign of contentment with the status quo — qui tacet consentire, and all that — or, at least, as an indication that one is happy to watch from afar as things play out? Is it not virtuous, too, for Americans who have no interest in matters political to stay away from the realm?

There's much more. Read it all here.

The Party pushing for universal voter participation is, of course, the Democrats. Take (Please!) Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for instance. (Sanders is technically an Independent, but proclaims himself a Socialist, making him a Democrat who is honest about his convictions. Barack Obama's Senate voting record was to the left of that of Sanders'). Sanders wants to make Election Day a national holiday to encourage more people to vote - people he assumes will be more likely to favor leftist policy. Unfortunately for him, this proposal, if implemented, is sure to backfire, as this Election Day Facebook post makes clear...

That prediction proved to be correct.

Democrats are also at the forefront of efforts to enfranchise felons, illegal aliens and other unqualified groups and to block voter ID laws intended to prevent voter fraud. This strategy has, at times, proven successful, most recently in the 2014 Virginia Senate race as votes from several thousand foreign nationals helped give incumbent Mark Warner his razor thin victory over challenger Ed Gillespie.
Democrats go so far as to dismiss the significance of elections with low voter turnout. At least, those they lose, like last week's. Clairvoyance being one of the superhuman powers he believes himself to possess, Obama had this to say following Tuesday's shellacking, "To everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you," the president said. "To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too."
Then listen up, Barry.

Democratic operatives are not the only ones pushing for more voters. The incessant naggers from the "Rock The Vote" crowd are among those pretending political neutrality. And from those with no such pretensions, (Lena Dunham, et al.), the disinterested and uninformed receive assurances that filling out a ballot will result in enhanced self-esteem.

Paradoxically, Democrats have no respect for the electorate they ostensibly champion. This was demonstrated recently by Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber's revealing comments concerning the deceptions utilized to confuse and mislead the American public during the campaign to pass the law.

This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure (the Congressional Budget Office) did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. OK? So it's written to do that. (Mr. Smart Guy Gruber means it's written not to do that). In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said healthy people are going to pay in -- you made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money -- it would not have passed. ... Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically, that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass. ... Look, I wish (health economist) Mark (Pauly) was right (that) we could make it all transparent, but I'd rather have this law than not.

David Limbaugh responds with an appropriate degree of outrage --

This is the stuff of outright tyrants -- arrogant, unaccountable, cavalier despots. This is political fascism. This is not representative government. This type of behavior nullifies the Constitution and disenfranchises the American people.

But, (as Ian Tuttle points out in an NRO column), Gruber's disdain for the electorate is far from an isolated sentiment among Democrats. Indeed, it's their faith in the irredeemable stupidity of the American electorate that inspires their efforts to expand it. A growing electorate becomes (collectively) less engaged in current affairs, less informed, and more susceptible to manipulation by enthusiastic obfuscators like Jonathan Gruber. And outright liars like Barack Obama.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Death Of Julia

Kevin Williamson (NRO) --

"A funny thing happened in the “war on women” — Mia Love and Joni Ernst won, Wendy Davis and Sandra Fluke lost. The representative who will be the youngest woman ever to have served in Congress, Elise Stefanik, is a Republican who won a formerly Democratic seat — not in Oklahoma or Texas but in New York. Senator-elect Ernst is a 21-year veteran of the Army Reserve and National Guard who served overseas during the Iraq war; Representative-elect Love, a daughter of Haitian immigrants who came to the United States fleeing the Tonton Macoutes, is a former city councilman and mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah.

The difference could not be more dramatic: The Democrats’ vision of an American woman’s life was best expressed in the Obama campaign’s insipid “Julia” cartoons, in which a faceless, featureless woman at every crossroads in her life turns to the federal government, as personified by Barack Obama, for succor and support. From negotiating a salary to managing her pregnancy, Julia cannot do anything for herself — at every turn, she is reminded that she enjoys political patronage “under President Obama,” in the campaign’s psychosexually fraught and insistently reiterated phrase. So much for the Democrats. And the Republican women of 2014? They helped fight wars and made new lives for themselves on foreign shores. They were women who ran for office on policy platforms, not on their uteruses."
"Who do Americans want to be when they grow up? Do women aspire to a life like Julia’s, or to one more like that of Lieutenant Colonel Joni Ernst? Would you rather be a sanctimonious sack of woe, like Wendy Davis, or a happy warrior, like Mia Love? Would you rather vote for a party that speaks to you as a citizen, family member, entrepreneur, taxpayer, etc. — or one that insists you owe it not only your vote but your obedience simply because you have a certain configuration of chromosomes or a certain surname?
It is one of life’s little ironies that it is the feminists and the party of so-called women’s issues who in the 21st century still have not quite figured out that women are individuals, and that there is more to them than the sum of their parts."

Monday, November 3, 2014

Growing The Wealth of Nations

It is gratifying that despite the considerable obstacles to growth and prosperity erected by global leftism, standards of living continue to improve thanks to free-market capitalism. Douglas Irwin in today's Wall Street Journal:

"The World Bank reported on Oct. 9 that the share of the world population living in extreme poverty had fallen to 15% in 2011 from 36% in 1990. Earlier this year, the International Labor Office reported that the number of workers in the world earning less than $1.25 a day has fallen to 375 million 2013 from 811 million in 1991.
Such stunning news seems to have escaped public notice, but it means something extraordinary: The past 25 years have witnessed the greatest reduction in global poverty in the history of the world.
To what should this be attributed? Official organizations noting the trend have tended to waffle, but let’s be blunt: The credit goes to the spread of capitalism. Over the past few decades, developing countries have embraced economic-policy reforms that have cleared the way for private enterprise."


"The reduction in world poverty has attracted little attention because it runs against the narrative pushed by those hostile to capitalism. The Michael Moores of the world portray capitalism as a degrading system in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Yet thanks to growth in the developing world, world-wide income inequality—measured across countries and individual people—is falling, not rising, as Branco Milanovic of City University of New York and other researchers have shown.
College students and other young Americans are often confronted with a picture of global capitalism as something that resembles the “dark satanic mills” invoked by William Blake in “Jerusalem,” not a potential escape from horrendous rural poverty. Young Americans ages 18-29 have a positive view of socialism and a negative view of capitalism, according to a 2011 Pew Research poll. About half of American millennials view socialism favorably, compared with 13% of Americans age 65 and older.
Capitalism’s bad rap grew out of a false analogy that linked the term with “exploitation.” Marxists thought the old economic system in which landlords exploited peasants (feudalism) was being replaced by a new economic system in which capital owners exploited industrial workers (capitalism). But Adam Smith had earlier provided a more accurate description of the economy: a “commercial society.” The poorest parts of the world are precisely those that are cut off from the world of markets and commerce, often because of government policies.
Some 260 years ago, Smith noted that: “Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice; all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.” Very few countries fulfill these simple requirements, but the number has been growing. The result is a dramatic improvement in human well-being around the world, an outcome that is cause for celebration."