Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Endpoint Of Socialism

Kevin Williamson offers yet another warning to those misguided idealists* currently enamored with the radical leftist du jour, Bernie Sanders.

*An attempt at civility. A stronger term could be used to describe people who look at what collectivist government has done in countries like Venezuela, Greece, Puerto Rico, North Korea and Zimbabwe (among others) and say, "I wanna get me some of that!"

Using the example of Venezuela under the dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro, Williamson points out a few of socialism's salient features --

Economic Calamity --

In fact, the Maduro regime is so terrified of public discourse that it has stopped publishing basic economic data, such as official figures for inflation (estimated to be well in excess of 100 percent), unemployment (high), and economic growth (currently about negative 7 percent, it is thought). Not that Venezuelans necessarily need the statistics to tell their heads what their bellies have already learned: The United Socialist party’s disastrous economic policies have led to acute shortages of everything: rice, beans, flour, oil, eggs, soap, even toilet paper. Venezuela is full of state-run stores that are there to provide the poor with life’s necessities at subsidized prices, but the shelves are empty. 

"Free" Inaccessible Health Care --

The price of free stuff ends up being terribly high. While Venezuela has endured food riots for years, the capital recently has been the scene of protests related to medical care. Venezuela has free universal health care — and a constitutional guarantee of access to it. That means exactly nothing in a country without enough doctors, medicine, or facilities. Chemotherapy is available in only three cities, with patients often traveling hours from the hinterlands to receive treatment. But the treatment has stopped. Juvenile cancer patients taken by their parents to the children’s hospital in the capital are being turned away because the treatments they need are no longer available. The scene is heartbreaking, but that’s the political mode of thinking: Declare a scarce good a “right” and the problem must be solved, regardless of whether that scarce good is any more plentiful than it was before.

Tyranny --

The New York Times tells the tale of Enzo Scarano, formerly the mayor of San Diego, a fast-growing city west of Caracas. There were protests against the Maduro regime in San Diego, and so the mayor was stripped of his office and thrown in jail for nearly a year. Now, he wants to run for national office, but has been disqualified by the Maduro government. 
...Maduro wants to lock up opposition leaders; the American Left wants to lock up homeschoolers and people who hold dissenting views on climate change.

Also, 8/26 - KW with some thoughts on ignorance and its exploitation by the political class.

...we feel inadequate when we are confronted with a question that is beyond our range, and the anxiety is so intense that we frequently ignore Abraham Lincoln’s advice that it’s “better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

...Harry Reid lied about Mitt Romney and his taxes with impunity because the typical American voter — and certainly the typical knucklehead Harry Reid voter — couldn’t tell you what a private-equity firm does, but many of them resent the fact that private-equity managers make so much money doing whatever it is they do. You see variations on this with the issue of CEO pay: “The CEO of NastiCorp. makes 700 times the average employee’s income at his firm, heavens to Betsy!” as though the receptionists and parking-garage attendants and mail-room guys would be paid more simply because the chief executive were being paid less.

8/27 - And one more from KW as he psychoanalyzes Donald Trump and the rest of the GOP field. Typically witty and insightful.

8/28 - And yet one more - KW on HRC equating anti-abortion activists with terrorists. Keep 'em coming Kev.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Updating A Classic Photo


   The ever stylish Mrs. Clinton understands that orange is the new black.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bernie Sanders - Staunch Advocate Of Capitalism

The blogger at Bookworm.com posts...

"My Progressive friends are flooding my Facebook feed with posters dedicated to what they perceive as the “wit and wisdom” of avowed socialist and Democrat Party candidate Bernie Sanders."

Sanders' banalities are easily refuted by basic economics and the indefatigable Bookworm patiently educates her ignorant friends. However, she doesn't directly respond to the following Sanders statement -

"America is not supposed to be a country where 99% of all new income goes to the top 1%."

Instead, Bookworm first questions the validity of the statistic and then she goes off on a broadside about crony capitalism. It's true that Sanders, in the tradition of the far left, may have pulled the stat out of his rear end, but that's beside the point. What Sanders calls "new income" is actually "new wealth". What makes it new is that is was recently created. And the creators are entrepreneurs and innovators.

Being a doctrinaire socialist, Sanders thinks in terms of income - in his mind, income is money that magically accrues to an undeserving few. And "new income", according to Bernie, "goes" to the top 1% when it actually "is earned" by the top 1% -  entrepreneurs and innovators creating wealth and improving our standard of living.

Because of his misunderstanding of how the real economy works, Sanders makes a point quite different from the one he thinks he's making. By citing his stat, Sanders is admitting that the one-percent is responsible for 99% of the new wealth created in this country. Just as any true capitalist would.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Above The Law

Former AG Michael Mukasey details laws "allegedly" broken by Hillary Clinton during her tenure as head of the State Department. He also goes on to admonish her for a lack of common sense and responsibility.

It is no answer to say, as Mrs. Clinton did at one time, that emails were not marked classified when sent or received. Of course they were not; there is no little creature sitting on the shoulders of public officials classifying words as they are uttered and sent. But the laws are concerned with the sensitivity of information, not the sensitivity of the markings on whatever may contain the information.

...Once you assume a public office, your communications about anything having to do with your job are not your personal business or property. They are the public’s business and the public’s property, and are to be treated as no different from communications of like sensitivity.
That something so obvious could have eluded Mrs. Clinton raises questions about her suitability both for the office she held and for the office she seeks.

Madame Secretary should be facing some serious jail time. Given that FBI stands for For Barack's Indulgence, she's probably our next president.

A recurring theme : Tim Geithner gets to lead the very department (Treasury) that should have prosecuted him for tax evasion; Lois Lerner abuses her power as an IRS administrator and gets off with a comfortable retirement at taxpayer expense; Another income tax scofflaw (to the tune of $4 million or so) and suspected arsonist Al Sharpton's race hucksterism causes riots and deaths and he is rewarded as one of Barack Obama's leading advisors; Harry Reid's list of corrupt dealings is as long as it is "allegedly" criminal. It goes on and on.

Of course, Obama opponents don't qualify for this Justice Department immunity. Just ask Dinesh D' Souza and Bob Menendez.

And once Hillary becomes president her hand picked AG gets to decide whether or not to charge her with a crime. That prospect alone will keep her in the race come hell or high water.

Update - 8/17 - The indispensable Andrew McCarthy writes of an upcoming federal case in which one of the participants in the 9/11/2012 Benghazi attack, Ahmed Abu Khatallah, is, according to McCarthy, "alleged to have participated in the mayhem and to have prevented “emergency responders” from stopping it."

This sets up all sorts of problems for Clinton as Khatallah's lawyers will press to have the government's evidence made available for their perusal. That evidence includes Clinton's e-mails.

 If Mrs. Clinton thinks FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) is a headache, wait until she sees what happens when a top government official’s reckless mass deletion of e-mails takes center stage in a terrorism prosecution of intense national interest. Federal criminal court is not the nightly news. There, mass deletion of files is not gently described as “emails a government official chose not to retain”; it is described as “destruction of evidence” and “obstruction of justice.”

Update - 8/19 - Video featuring CNN national security analyst Bob Baer.

Update 8/20 - Attorney David French presents the case against Hillary Clinton.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Is Atheism Dead? And The Prager Project

One of the more fascinating op-eds appearing in the Wall Street Journal (12/25/2014) argued that science offers virtually ironclad proof that God exists. Here is that article, written by Eric Metaxas, and his companion You Tube video making the same points.

The video is part of an ongoing series of educational efforts produced by Dennis Prager. He calls his project Prager University and it features distinguished thinkers presenting their viewpoints on contentious topics. I've listed some of the more interesting of these below.

Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore discusses the pernicious effects of attacks on the genetically modified food industry -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSten18rI9A
and the silliness of "climate change" hysterics - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkdbSxyXftc

Was Truman right to go nuclear against Japan? - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmIBbcxseXM

How the Democrats lost the Vietnam War - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hqYGHZCJwk

Bret Stephens warns of the grave consequences of an American retreat from its role as the world's policeman - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=176KRhEAgUs

The crypto-racism of the left - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VBAEJlR4pk

Christina Hoff Sommers debunks the fable of the gender wage disparity - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oqyrflOQFc

The destructiveness of the minimum wage - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4j01L69eXdI

The (not so) Dark Ages - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cqzq01i2O3U

Why is Modern Art so bad? -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNI07egoefc

Amity Schlaes on one of the most successful presidents of the 20th century, Calvin Coolidge - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=661TPEvCCTU

Speaking of Coolidge - Long before anyone had ever heard of Arthur Laffer, Coolidge's Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon understood that lower tax rates could actually result in higher revenues. The Coolidge administration put this theory into practice and proved it to be true. Here is an explanation of how The Laffer Curve works - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqLjyA0hL1s

The truth about Hoover and the Great Depression -

George Gilder on Why Capitalism Works - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6adVQrSUAc
and What Creates Wealth - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=661TPEvCCTU and he asks Do You Pass The Israel Test? - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfN2IvnIA4M

Alan Dershowitz on Israel's right to exist - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12KJa4a0d64 and on the effect of Jewish West Bank settlements on peace efforts - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhbCtAz_BQc

Jonah Goldberg dissects and dismembers the concept of "Social Justice" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtBvQj2k6xo

Regarding taxes - how much is a "fair share"? - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnEe4oaSC88

The Progressive Income Tax (A real life tale) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6HEH23W_bM

Arthur Brooks dispels myths of capitalism - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_7Jv2oh9s4

Prager explains the Sixth Commandment - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RENPaY043o

Prager has also made a video denouncing the Iran nuclear deal - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4FkNbtkgps.
It's good considering its brevity, but there are better, more detailed denunciations available, for example -
This and this from Charles Krauthammer. This from Andrew McCarthy. And this from Victor Davis Hanson.

Monday, August 3, 2015


John Fund writing at NRO --

The inspector general for the government’s intelligence community, I. Charles McCullough III, has found that some of the 30,000 Clinton e-mails turned over to the State Department contain classified material. Taking a random sample of 40 e-mails, he found four with classified information — material that was classified at the time it was sent and that was extremely vulnerable to hackers and foreign intelligence agencies. A fifth e-mail concerning the 2012 Benghazi attack that left an ambassador and three other Americans dead is already public and appears to have contained classified information. In all likelihood, there are many more.

All this led McCullough to refer the matter to the Justice Department as a “potential compromise of classified information.” Not so long ago, the government took that sort of thing seriously. The U.S. Criminal Code states, with regard to documents or materials containing classified information: “It is a crime to knowingly remove such documents without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location.” David Petraeus, the former CIA director and Army general, pled guilty just this year to mishandling classified information after storing sensitive CIA data in an unlocked desk drawer at his home in Arlington, Va. If a desk in a house in Virginia is an unauthorized location, a server in a house in Hillary Clinton’s New York home is one, too.

Nathan Sales, a former official at the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security under President Bush, wrote last week here on National Review’s website:

The Clinton e-mails are potentially more troubling than the Petraeus affair. Digital espionage can be much more harmful than spying in the analog world. If Chinese or Russian spies wanted to copy the retired general’s black books, they would have had to mount a costly and risky operation to break into his house undetected. But hackers can compromise information on an e-mail server from anywhere on the planet, with just a few keystrokes.

Team Clinton is asserting that “any released emails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact, and not at the time they were transmitted.” But that is flatly contradicted by the State Department. Hillary can plead ignorance as to what was sent to her on her private e-mail account, but, as the liberal Cleveland Plain Dealer editorialized this week: “Clinton seeks to become president and commander in chief, but if McCullough’s findings are correct, she was at best inattentive about her handling of intelligence secrets when she was secretary of state even as she worked to shield her activities from public view. If that’s not a disqualification from the White House, it’s hard to imagine what is.”