2014-09-14

War on Language


"We’re engaged in a major counterterrorism operation,” he told CBS, “and it’s going to be a long-term counterterrorism operation."

Pop quiz: who uttered that quote?

    A) George W. Bush
    B) Dick Cheney
    C) Don Rumsfeld
    D) John Kerry.

Time's up. The answer is D. So, had the Bush administration prevaricated and equivocated, er, I mean, been more careful about the words chosen to describe the goings on - and the press let him get away with it - everything would have somehow been better?

And, as Jonah notes, it is a bit odd that an administration that has no trouble identifying domestic issues as a war on women, war against the poor, war on science, war on reproductive rights, war against the middle class, war on unions, race war - just to name a few - is squeamish about identifying sustained drone attacks, bombing and coordinated ground offensives as war.

So we can be comforted. As Asawin Suebsaeng informs:
According to Secretary of State John Kerry, President Obama’s newly announced (and possibly illegal) war on ISIS in Iraq and Syria is not a war at all—it’s merely a large-scale act of counterterrorism.

2014-09-13

Beheadings Change Foreign Policy



Certainly we can all agree that beheadings are the violent actions of an enemy. But so were the murders of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, US Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith, and CIA contractors, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty in Benghazi.

How is Foggy Bottom certain that these journalists weren't just in the wrong place when a Youtube viewing made some viewers angry and their movie review poured out into the street and got a little out of hand - you know, victims of Peevish Movie Syndrome like those unfortunate souls in Benghazi?  Well, stop wondering because that just makes you a racist.

If you calmly finish the reading a children's book you're an unfit leader and an idiot.  If you hysterically blame movie critics you are solid.  If you dare question either of these suppositions you are a wacko, bat-shit-crazy conspiracy nut.  Oh, and racist.

2014-08-13

Obama v Obama

              [Click image to enlarge]

In 2011, President Obama had this to say:
After taking office, I announced a new strategy that would end our combat mission in Iraq and remove all of our troops by the end of 2011. So today, I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year.

And in 2012 his own Twitter post was pretty braggadocios about his involvement:


But now he is perplexed about how this all transpired:
What I just find interesting is the degree to which this issue keeps on coming up, as if this was my decision.

This video shows how he hasn't been entirely clear over the years about whether he has had anything at all to do with ending American involvement in Iraq:




As Jonah Goldberg notes:
It’s only now that the downside critics warned about for years is materializing that he suddenly feels the need to explain the invisible asterisk he put on all of his statements. It reminds me of the years he spent going around telling everyone they can keep their health plan if they want.

None of this was too difficult to decipher. This thought about leaving from 2011. One wonders if he will disavow the Afghanistan drawdowns too.

2014-08-01

GMO Hate

Neil deGrasse Tyson says what every sensible person knows about GMOs.



Does this make those who are religiously hysterical about this "anti-science"?

2014-07-25

Mexico v Iraq

Given the horrible human rights violations and tyranny that is imposed by Muslim extremists and the US's abandonment of the region, why is the left not equally concerned about the women, children, homosexuals and Christians in the Middle East?


Often those who speak out against illegal immigration are dismissed as racist xenophobes who don't care about the welfare of those who are entering the US illegally. Those who speak out are concerned about overburdening schools and other public services and the associated fiscal impacts. They also wonder about the cultural effects that may result from such a large influx of non-legal pilgrims - not that Octoberfest will be canceled, but that a culture of disrespect for law and order might prevail. But no matter, they are dismissed as mean-spirited, greedy, hateful and selfish. However, those same people who favor open borders tend to oppose any intervention in Middle Eastern countries. They complain that too much money (greed?) is spent on behalf of a people who culturally are not up to the task of western democracy (bigotry?). Even though the human rights violations are on par with Nazism, they say that we have our own problems (selfish?). Women are treated like animals, homosexuals are murdered and those who don't convert or leave are literally stoned, tortured or crucified. Why are some favored for an outpouring of American compassion and tax dollars while others aren't? Is this a moral way to distribute compassion? Is something else at play?

2014-07-15

On The Border



Granted, this is pretty rich humor. But it could have been so much better if hordes of Central American chiquillos were running past in the background. And if he could have knocked a laptop off the lectern while gesticulating so that the hard drive popped out and shattered followed by a dryly delivered, "Oh. I guess those emails have been lost too.", that would have been icing on the cake. That would have been comedy gold. But I'll give him props for a straight delivery.

There is no way in hell this issue will be resolved before election day. This is political manna from heaven. Anybody who does anything other than coddle and suckle these poor children will be painted as not just a racist (because expecting people to obey the law is inherently racist), but a horrible, heartless sub-human who hates children and wants to feed them to the wolves or catapult them into a fiery furnace. Its one thing to want to deport adults or push granny and her wheelchair over a cliff. But to want to drive busloads of children into the river or turn them over to drug lords - who just happen to be armed with some pretty sweet US supplied toasters? Oh the humanity.

If the buses weren't bought and paid for by Reid and his friends, they should have been, because this is political genius. When faced with answering for spying on the press, the Bergdahl-Gitmo house cleaning, the law is whatever I say it is, murder for movies, the VA crap care is what you can expect for all, "if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it", IRS thuggery, the mysterious hard drive massacre - just to name a few - its just a lot easier to say that your opponents want to deport these dear, innocent, little lambs. The choice is pretty simple - those other guys just hate brown children.

That and another October surprise that shuts down your favorite park, museum or fishing hole, and this could turn out to be a pretty good year for Harry's friends.

Saving the kiddos FTW.

2014-07-14

Both Sides Are Compassionate

Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the tugboat massacre. Not the greatest calamity on the face of the earth, but it does call to mind what others have noted - the most basic freedom is the freedom to quit. Or in this case, leave. 

Castro's Cuba, like many other dictatorial regimes, creates barriers to opting out. In this case, Cuban Coast Guard vessels rammed a tugboat filled with people trying to flee Cuban oppression, causing it to sink and resulting in the death of many of the dissidents. Not a particularly humane way to handle the situation.

Happily, we can still leave if we don't like things in America. Oddly though, many of those currently agitating on behalf of unmitigated ingress, are often the same people who want to turn back Cuban refugees coming 70 at a time on a tugboat or one or two at a time on a rubber raft, or who find it exhausting to help women and children and the Middle East.

None of this is intended to cast aspersions but is merely intended to remind us that most everyone has deep concern and compassion for those harmed by horrible circumstances. Even those with whom we disagree. Neither side owns the capacity for compassion just as the other side is not reflexively denying aid and comfort to others because of the skin color of those in need. Just as it would be irresponsible to simplistically say the left is turning their backs on the women and girls of the Middle East because they hate people with dark skin, it is inappropriate to say that the right's resisting annexation of the Americas is the result of unchecked racism.

Life is difficult and decisions are nuanced. Let's extend the respect of listening to and considering other's reasoning on matters and refrain from ramming their tugboat with the battering ram of dismissal by racism, or other name calling, that seeks to end the argument by dehumanization of the other.

The impulse to minimize the suffering of others is laudable and decent. But the devil is in the details.

2014-07-12

Democratic Sophism

Democrats are good at wording things in the worst possible light to paint their opponents as dark-hearted haters who are racist, sexist and homophobic to boot.  The headline below is just such an example:


The story in HuffPo.

Of course this all assumes that the economy is static and not dynamic.  But couldn't a similar headline have been written for Obamacare:


Source: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/341589/gao-report-obamacare-adds-62-trillion-long-term-deficit-andrew-stiles

2014-07-11

Central American Child Exodus

The left leaning Vox has provided some more of their "explanatory journalism" for the child illmigrant crisis at the US southern border. (Harsanyi discusses their left-ness)



The transcript:
Central America is in the midst of what the world recognizes as a humanitarian crisis. Criminal gangs are taking over much of the region and a civilian was more likely to be murdered in one of these countries over the last several years, than to be killed in Iraq during the height of the insurgency. Those gangs are recruiting young teenagers and if a teenager resists recruitment, will threaten, injure or even kill the teenager or family members.

As a result many teenagers and younger children are choosing to leave their home countries and seek asylum elsewhere in the region. They're going to Mexico, to Costa Rica, to Nicaragua and many of them are going to the United States. Since October 1st of last year, 52,000 children unaccompanied by adults have been apprehended by Border Patrol and that's not counting the tens of thousands of mothers who are bringing their children into the United States to flee as well.

Of course having so many people coming to the country, admittedly without papers, is causing a lot of controversy. Part of this is because they have strained the system which was built under the Bush administration to deal with 6,000 to 8,000 kids coming across the border alone every year, not 52,000.

But part of it because some would like the border to be force field to be able to automatically refuse anyone who doesn't have proper papers for being able to set foot in the United States. But there are very good reasons that the border isn't a force field. US law has an established process so that when someone comes across the border and doesn't have papers but fears for their life, there can be a way to determine if they're eligible for asylum or another form of humanitarian relief. But that is the system that is currently being overwhelmed.

So the question facing the United States right now is how far are we willing to go in the name of immigration enforcement without undermining the humanitarian commitment that if you fear persecution and you escape to America, we will try to find a place for you.
The impulse to help those less fortunate and in need is a wonderful and noble desire. I just wonder why this same concern is missing from the Iraq and Afghanistan debates? One can argue about why we got mixed up in that part of the world in the first place (President Clinton prehaps? Or the Democratic votes in the Senate?), but why are we abandoning those women and girls to their particular horrors?

Why are they any less deserving? Only because they aren't lucky enough to share a border with us?

2014-07-10

Limits on Welfare?

You see this wandering around the internet:


What does this mean when thinking about welfare?

2014-07-03

War on Women

Another example of how memes would look if the right used the same tactics as the left:

2014-07-02

Leftist Investment Hypocrisy?

Of course the hoots of hypocrisy rise from the left:


To be sure, investing via mutual funds usually puts you in the position of taking some bad with the good.  It is difficult to invest only in those things that are ideologically pure.

A response to the shouts of hypocrisy might be:


In case you are not aware of the investment practices of the left, you can find some info on it here, here and here.

More of this leftist lack of self awareness and double standard: Bain Charlatans

2014-07-01

Still Waiting...

But Barack is a unique figure in our politics. He is someone who I think can get us past some of the divisions that we’ve had that have so riven our politics. I think he is someone who can challenge this sort of special-interests bazaar that we’ve had in Washington, and that`s what we need.
~David Axelrod


2014-06-12

2014-06-08

Benghazi-dahl

Walking off post is not serving with honor and distinction. As Ralph Peters noted, desertion is not the equivalent of skipping class. And it appears that is what Bergdahl did. We should all be very careful about judging too harshly the decisions of those caught in the fog of war. However, it seems that his decision was less foggy than it was sympathetic to the Islamists he signed up to defend against. If similar evidence existed for a mall or school shooter that revealed similar ideological ties to the tea party, there is no doubt that the media would escort the judge, jury and executioner to the public square to hasten the tedious timeline of justice. But we still should be careful, and as Jonah Goldberg cautions, "Indeed, there are so many unknowns here that it might be best to withhold judgment on a lot of aspects to this story."

The notion of not leaving anyone behind is honorable (although, apparently, a post-Benghazi sentiment). And yes, Bergdahl is somebody's son. But those Taliban henchmen that were released are going to kill innocents again - maybe Americans and maybe not. But no matter who they kill, the slain will be humans that we should care about and they too are somebody's child. So yes, we seek to not leave anybody behind. But that honorable notion is competing with many other honorable notions. (And some not so great consequences like the increased risk to American service men and women - who are also somebody's son or daughter - of being taken hostage.) And such is the case with most of life's decisions and almost always is the case with foreign policy decisions. It is rarely black and white.

One of the problems in this whole affair is the same problem that has existed for the last six years. Everything is treated by the administration as though it is simply black and white issue for which they have the unambiguous answer. Anyone who dares to disagree or question any decision is either a fool or a villain with bad motives (ala the dismissals as a racist, sexist, homophobic, wealthy, anti-science or any other of a list of horribles) who is only deserving of mockery and contempt. It is not possible that anyone of moderate or higher intelligence could possibly disagree with them. And God forbid one should call into question the legality of such a move. Those who do are sure to be dismissed as kooks and wackos who are immediately thrown in with birthers that can only be motivated by racism. All of this is compounded by a lickspittle press who rarely confronts this President.

Foreign policy is ridiculously difficult at best. There are competing principles, ideologies, desires, goods and ramifications to every option. You often have to hold your nose and partner with, or make deals with, horrible, evil people. But we don't get a sense that these decisions are contemplative and filled with heart-rending trade offs but rather there are just wrong answers and our answers. There is such confidence in their Manichaean ways that consultation with Congress isn't even required.

As Nordlinger commented, that the story we get from the President is merely "Sergeant Bergdahl is somebody’s child, we don’t leave anyone behind, and that’s that. If only he could acknowledge trade-offs, in a messy, wicked world: a world of difficult and excruciating choices — but he cannot, apparently. For eight years of Ronald Reagan and eight years of George W. Bush, I heard the same thing: 'The president is simplistic. Everything is black-and-white to him. There is no nuance.' That wasn’t true. Before the invasion of Iraq, for example, Bush said over and over, 'There are risks of action and risks of inaction.' He had to weigh those risks. In Obama’s mind, however, everything seems to be clear-cut, inarguable. There is no gray at all. It’s his way or the highway. Before he was elected, we were assured that, whatever his policy views, he had a first-class temperament." That just isn't so.

It is no small bit of hypocrisy that the groups that used to look down their noses at the supposed simpletons that used to occupy the White House now seek to operate in simplistic black and white ways and then feign shock and disdain whenever somebody has the temerity to question. To be told in the face of contradictory information that this man served with honor and distinction makes it all feel more like narrow political interest than humanitarian. (Not to mention that Susan Rice seems to have no capacity for shame given the whoppers she has told and continues to tell.)

There is also the 'wag the dog' feel of all of this. This certainly knocked the VA controversy and the EPA's lawmaking without the formality and tedium of running it through Congress from the front pages. The dribbling out of different reasons to not inform Congress does not instill great confidence but more feels like rationale de jour to just see what sticks. For people who tout the greatness of government they sure do government badly.

One suspects this will run its course as all other difficulties for this administration have: the President will find out about this by reading about it in the papers, he will be more outraged than anyone, an investigation will ensue, construct fantastical strawman and smugly decapitate them in front of the world, dismiss those who disagree with the profound decrees or decisions with reddit-style snarky name calling, nobody will be fired, drag feet until we are all finally lectured about how this has all been discussed already and is old news followed by a 'what difference at this point does it make' style declaration.

And all of this without the benefit of an adversarial press. But don't worry, they haven't gone extinct. They'll return as soon as another Republican is elected.

2014-06-02

Miriam Ibrahim


Terry Jones, the pastor of Dove World Outreach Center, wants to burn a Qur'an and its an international crisis that demands the attention of and intervention by the Pentagon.  Meriam Ibrahim is sentenced to death because of her Christian beliefs and is forced to give birth in leg shackles.  No intervention for her.  

Using the left's reasoning, this could be explained as racism and the war on women since the Pentagon's lack of action on her behalf has a disparate impact on a woman of color.  

2014-03-17

Legalized Prostitution And Morphed Values

A long article but interesting look at legalized prostitution by Nisha Lilia Diu.

It is also an example of where supporters of an issue will morph over time and eat their own tail - become the very people whom they used to seek to destroy. For example, feminists who at one time might have lobbied on behalf of legalizing prostitution as a women's rights issue in order to "improve working conditions" or to provide health and retirement benefits without judgement of the behavior transform to see the logic of banning the activity and conclude that it may not be the most psychologically/spiritually uplifting or liberating profession for women. (Of course they never seem to see their double standard of heaping copious amounts of judgment on the men in these transactions. 'Women are just pursuing their only means of making a living or fulfilling their desire' whereas men should be expected to control their carnal desires. The soft bigotry toward women of low or different expectations.)

[BTW, a belief system that teaches that we are children of a moral God who expects us to control desires and be holy goes a long way toward achieving the feminist objective of mutual respect and controlling a man's desire.]

Heck, the tail eaters might even seek a shorthand method to discourage the behavior, to establish social norms and to protect the dignity, health and well-being of women by labeling the behavior as, say, immoral, just as religious folk do. Callow and myopic vigor often shakes its fist at the establishment and seeks to undo perceived intolerance without fully grappling with the attendant nuance and difficulties of large and complex issues. Sometimes there are no great solutions but only imperfect trade-offs.

Be careful which fences you tear down.



[The Ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail.]

2014-03-14

Warren Has a Problem With a Rigged System

You see this graphic floating around them interwebs:


But, it works equally as well with a few adjustments:


And, yeah, she never said the stuff in the second graphic, but hey, Lincoln hasn't said half the stuff attributed to him either.

The Devolution of American Politics

We often see this sort of dismissal of those who do not agree with the left:


But one might just as easily conclude the following to reflect how the left behaves:


2014-03-03

Government Solutions


Some thoughts on creating a permanent voting base by Ann Coulter:
Of course, the reason American workers’ wages are so low in the first place is because of the Democrats’ policies on immigration.

Our immigration policies massively redistribute wealth from the poorest Americans to the richest. It’s a basic law of economics that when the supply goes up, the price goes down. More workers means the price of their labor plummets.

Having artificially created a glut of low-wage workers, now Democrats want to artificially raise their wages.

Democrats show how much they love the poor by importing a million more of them to America each year.

You want a higher minimum wage? Turn off the spigot of low-wage workers pouring in to the U.S. and it will rise on its own through the iron law of supply and demand.

Australia has a $15 minimum wage for adults – more than twice the U.S. minimum wage.

Sound good? Try immigrating there. Australia has some of the most restrictive immigration policies in the world. Their approach to immigration is to admit only people who will be good for Australia. (Weird!) Applicants are evaluated on a point system that gives preference to youth, English proficiency, education and skill level.

Like Australia, New Zealand’s immigration laws are based on helping New Zealand, not on helping other countries get rid of their poor people, which is our policy.

It’s win-win-win-win-win for Democrats.

  • Employees who get a higher minimum wage are grateful to the Democrats.
  • Employees who lose their jobs because of the minimum wage hike are grateful to the Democrats for generous government handouts.
  • Poor immigrants who need government benefits are grateful to the Democrats.
  • American businesses enjoying the deluge of cheap labor are grateful to the Democrats.
  • Democratic politicians guaranteed re-election by virtue of ethnic bloc voting are grateful to the Democrats.
So, then, it is clear that Santa Claus can win elections by passing out gifts from the public gift bag to fix problems that he himself caused. But does this improve the lives of those involved?

2014-02-27

Inverted Reality

This from VDH.
Losing a job is freedom from job lock. A budget deficit larger than in any previous administration is austerity. A mean right-wing video caused the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi. Al-Qaeda was long ago washed up. The Muslim Brotherhood is secular. Jihad is a personal journey. Shooting people while screaming Allahu akbar! is workplace violence. Unaffordable higher premiums and deductibles are the result of an Affordable Care Act. Losing your doctor and your health-insurance plan prove you will never lose your doctor and your health-insurance plan — period! Being a constitutional lawyer means you know how to turn the IRS and the FCC on your enemies. Failure is success; lies are truth.

2014-02-19

Online Dates, Patriots & Racism

On a recent Freakonomics podcast, Alli Reed discussed how she created a fake dating profile as a test to see whether guys on an online dating service really read her profile or were only interested in looks. As she describes it in the resulting cracked.com article:
In making this profile, I made sure my creation touched on every major facet of being truly horrible: mean, spoiled, lazy, racist, manipulative, and willfully ignorant, and I threw in a little gold digging just for funzies. I maintain that there is not a human on this planet who would read this profile and think, "Yes, I'd like to spend any amount of the fleeting time I'm given on my journey around the sun getting to know this person." This profile is my magnum opus; it will be engraved on my tombstone. Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair:
She used her model friend's photo and in her attempt to make her fake persona seem as awful as possible, included in her profile such things as "On a typical Friday night I am: knockin the cups out of homeless ppls hands, its sooooo funny to watch them try to pick it all up lolllllll" and "The most private thing I'm willing to admit: convinced my ex i was pregnant and he still pays me child support lolololol"

To cement her racist bona fides, she added "keeping america american" under the topic "The six things I could never do without." On the podcast she explained, "To me, the worst person in the world is definitely racist. And keeping America American, to me, is sort of code for 'I don't like people who don't look like me.'"

And therein lies an interesting distinction in American culture today.

It is noteworthy that Reed sees patriotism as the expression of racism. But for some - I would guess most - patriotism is just love on one's country and/or a perceived set of values. No nefarious secret societies. No hidden agendas.

But some first assume others are racist and therefore everything those others do and say is either overtly or covertly racist. That is how during the 2012 election such words as angry, Chicago, constitution, golf, privileged, crime, welfare and professor were identified as racist "code" words. (Here, here) One can only conclude that words such as these are racist code if one first concludes, with or without evidence, that whoever is using such words is racist. Certainly people that the finger-pointer agrees with, or maybe even they themselves, have used such innocuous words, but they are excused from racist code accusations. Why? Well, because they just can't be racist. Nobody ever bothers to explain why that is so.

Generally speaking, no evidence of racism was ever provided, but rather, it was just assumed or asserted that the person or group was racist, ergo everything they said was outright racist or racist code. And of course, denying the accusation was further proof of the racism. This idiotic 'reasoning' works for many because no evidence was brought to prove the racism to begin with so none is needed to further the claim.

So it seems this is the case with Ms. Reed. There is nothing about the sentiment 'keeping America American' that is necessarily racist. Can she imagine George Washington hoping that the values that formed the new republic endure? Or is it possible that somebody today might hope that the better aspects that are perceived to be uniquely American continue on? Americanism is not tied to people who look similar as she suggests, it is a set of shared values. People of all races can and do share American values.

It is difficult to understand how somebody can make such a ridiculous leap from a wish that a particular set of values be retained to disliking others because of their physical features. By Reed's way of thinking, would a newly naturalized Muslim American be guilty of racism if she were grateful for the blessings of liberty bestowed by Americanism and wished for 'America to remain American'? She would, unless, of course, Reed is willing to limit this racist "code" behavior to a single race or group. And what could be more racist than that?

One wonders whether or not she would suspect code if a like-minded person, a close friend perhaps, lamented a shift in an American value that they embraced. One suspects that because Reed would likely assume good will and decency on the part of her friend that the notion of racist code would be dismissed out of hand. But on what basis does she assume bad motive or indecency for others? For it is only by attributing bad motive that she can conclude that code is at play. And on what basis is that judgment made? Is it based solely on disagreement on certain issues? Is there any evidence to back up her simplified, bigoted assertion?

And, by the way, of course the men were primarily motivated by a pretty picture. The only shocking discovery there is that anybody would be shocked to discover that.

2014-02-15

Power Corrupts

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.
John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton
Jonah Goldberg notes that Lord Acton had something else in mind rather than how we normally interpret the quote as giving rise to moral weakness in the person who exercises power. Acton is not saying that power is corrupting of those who have it so much as he is saying power has a corruptible effect on the perceptions of the non-powerful. The paragraph from which the absolute power quote is plucked is from a letter that Acton wrote to Bishop Creighton:
I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority, still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.
David Henderson helps to explain: "If people think 'the office sanctifies the holder', then it's easier for the office-holder to get away with bad things." It is a version of Hans Christian Andersen's, The Emperor's New Clothes. Because those being swindled did not wish to offend or be seen as contrary to the Emperor, they acted in ways not becoming honest persons. This obeisance to power made the townsfolk in the tale powerless to resist the trickery of the swindlers who exploited other human characteristics such as the desire to fit in.

Goldberg continues, "Power corrupts the way that other people view the powerful. Acton was speaking about how, when historians write about popes, they tend to forgive all sorts of things that they would condemn in lesser men."

We see a variation on this altered perception when observing how the powerful are judged by others. Often, movie stars are 'cut slack' when they lead lives of debauchery or live with mistresses rather than a spouse. Those around them quickly explain why we should not judge, how it is just artistic quirkiness or that it is none of our business; that some indiscretions and oversights are permitted in support of genius. When under the influence of power's radiation, people stop judging powerful, famous and influential people in the same way that they judge their business associates, family members or friends. Dispensations are given in lieu of interventions.

Goldberg points to such things as Justin Bieber having a pet monkey as evidence of the resulting altered expectations. "If you had the kind of money where any wish could be granted and the job of everyone around you is to say, 'Yes,' you would get a monkey. And that is why you know things are going to go badly, because everyone is saying 'Yes' to everything." Prudence and discretion prevail among the non-powerful when they are not under the irradiating influence of the powerful. The setting aside of normal council and judgment of behavior by the non-powerful is just the very sort of corruption Acton was addressing. Lord Acton's observation instructs the non-powerful to be wary of the corrupting influence that power may have on their judgment and morality. The powerful are not the only ones susceptible to power's inveiglements.

This plays out in the political realm too. One might speculate on how this kind of obsequiousness played a role in President Obama not fully understanding that the Affordable Care Act's health exchange website's launch was doomed. The inevitable results are compounded when pride and arrogance of the powerful are coupled with 'honest old ministers' and 'trustworthy officials' who are vested in shared outcomes and are therefore even less likely to be well versed in critical appraisal of the actions of the powerful. Nobody wants to be the one to tell the Emperor that "he hasn't got anything on." Even less so if the powerful are enacting outcomes you agree with.

More and more, the press's ability to judge has conformed to Lord Acton's observation about the corrupting influence of power. But their shared ideology with the left causes them to swoon under the influence of leftist power while giving them extraordinary abilities to resist the deleterious effects of power on judgment when power is held by the right. The shared desire for specific outcomes further alters the Acton effect and they look less like the 'honest old ministers' and more like the old Hollywood fixers Eddie Mannix and Howard Strickling.

By way of the Amazon description of The Fixers: Eddie Mannix, Howard Strickling and the MGM Publicity Machine, some 'splainin':
Eddie Mannix and Howard Strickling are virtually unknown outside of Hollywood and little-remembered even there, but as General Manager and Head of Publicity for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, they lorded over all the stars in Hollywood's golden age from the 1920s through the 1940s--including legends like Garbo, Dietrich, Gable and Garland. When MGM stars found themselves in trouble, it was Eddie and Howard who took care of them--solved their problems, hid their crimes, and kept their secrets. They were "the Fixers." At a time when image meant everything and the stars were worth millions to the studios that owned them, Mannix and Strickling were the most important men at MGM. Through a complex web of contacts in every arena, from reporters and doctors to corrupt police and district attorneys, they covered up some of the most notorious crimes and scandals in Hollywood history, keeping stars out of jail and, more importantly, their names out of the papers. They handled problems as diverse as the murder of Paul Bern (husband of MGM's biggest star, Jean Harlow), the studio-directed drug addictions of Judy Garland, the murder of Ted Healy (creator of The Three Stooges) at the hands of Wallace Beery, and arranging for an unmarried Loretta Young to adopt her own child--a child fathered by a married Clark Gable. Through exhaustive research and interviews with contemporaries, this is the never-before-told story of Eddie Mannix and Howard Strickling. The dual biography describes how a mob-related New Jersey laborer and the quiet son of a grocer became the most powerful men at the biggest studio in the world.
When shared ideology and the Acton effect collide, morality appears to be whatever those in communion say it is. Because of the shared ideology of many in the media and the politically powerful left, today's 'news' media, reminiscent of the old Hollywood press, functions as the clean-up squad for the Democratic party. The fawning, equivocation and favorable interpretations on behalf of simpatico political luminaries induces fremdschämen in anyone who isn't a sycophant. The inclination toward moral weakness brought on by the Acton effect is, when combined with shared ideology, transmogrified to relativism that is morally hyper-vigilant toward those one disagrees with and morally indifferent to those with shared ideology.

So while Hillary assembles an elaborate defense of Bill's promiscuities and explains to Diane Blair why his affair might have been understandable and partially her fault because she didn't properly recognize his stress (victim blaming that would be excoriated by feminists the world around if uttered by any other), or while Bill and she haven't lived together for 15 years and largely live separate lives, we are treated to a sanitized contemporary hagiography that explains away behavior - that might be questioned if done by a close friend or relative - as the deep, sophisticated and complex actions of a modern woman pursuing lofty moral goals and that they are a deeply in love couple that have a happy marriage and home life.

The Fixers work diligently to present the story they want to present because aligned ideals and power conspire to corrupt the non-powerful's perceptions of the powerful. One expects this of the staff. But we should have higher hopes for a free and independent press.

2014-02-04

Disparate Impact

Disparate impact states that, regardless of intent, any adverse impact of a policy or action toward a protected group is discriminatory. In the workplace this might, for example, take the form of a written and oral civil-service exam for firefighters where white applicants pass at twice the rate of black applicants. Even though there may be no intent or discernible discrimination in the exam and it is only testing fitness for service, an exam can be thought to be discriminatory if, based on test results, no blacks and only a few Hispanics would be promoted.

Recently, Jerry Seinfeld was asked why his show doesn't reflect the racial mix found in society at large.



Seinfeld's response was appropriate: "People think [comedy] is the census or something, it's gotta represent the actual pie chart of America. Who cares?" But why couldn't this be the response for any endeavor? Unless somebody is actively trying to exclude a particular race or other protected group or a behavior is clearly biased, why is anybody worried about this at all?

Mona Charen examines how disparate impact is being used by the Obama administration to restrict disciplinary activity in schools.
In the school context, the federal government is now arguing that if a disciplinary rule results in more black, Hispanic, or special-education kids being suspended or otherwise sanctioned, the rule must be suspect. The “Dear Colleague” letter from the DOE and DOJ explains that a disciplinary policy can be unlawful discrimination even if the rule is “neutral on its face . . . and is administered in an evenhanded manner” if it has a “disparate impact” on certain ethnic and other groups.

Under the new dispensation, teachers, principals, and other officials will have to pause before they discipline, say, the fourth black student in a month. “How will this look to the feds?” they’ll ask themselves. Will the student’s family be able to sue us? A variety of solutions to the federally created problem will present themselves. School officials can search out offenses by white and Asian students to make the numbers come out right. Asian students are disciplined at rates far below any other ethnic group. Is this due to pro-Asian bias in our schools, or it because Asians commit many fewer infractions? Oops, there we go into territory forbidden by the federal guidelines.
Equality of outcome, not equality under the law, is important under disparate impact. Behavior and personal responsibility is of no concern. Disparate impact winds up being the antithesis of King's dream. Instead of judging character, practitioners of disparate impact spend all their time judging skin color.

And, of course, it is a system rigged for certain protected groups. As Charen notes, no concern is raised over the disparate impact to males, Asians and others that are not in protected classes. This oversight is not confined to the schoolroom. What if disparate impact were applied to the subject of abortions? As one website notes:
Minority women constitute only about 13% of the female population (age 15-44) in the United States, but they underwent approximately 36% of the abortions.

According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, black women are more than 5 times as likely as white women to have an abortion.
Why aren't those who are enamored of the disparate impact theory up in arms over this? Certainly the data demonstrate that blacks are over represented among aborted babies. Why doesn't this disparity indicate racist motives among those who agitate on behalf of "choice" and "women's health"?

It seems clear that if pro-lifers wanted to demagogue the issue, they would certainly make this disparity the centerpiece of their opposition to abortion. That they don't speaks to their desire to be fair, decent and not impugn the character of those they disagree with. The lack of concern also seems to question the veracity of the notion of disparate impact since the Obama administration is not pursuing "group justice" due to high black abortion rates.

To channel Seinfeld, apparently people think [fill in the blank] is the census or something and it's gotta represent the actual pie chart of America. Who cares?

2014-01-28

Those People Just Like Me Are Evil

If you look today, the typical CEO makes 354 times more than the typical worker in his or her company.
CBS analyst Mellody Hobson made this comment while discussing income inequality, excessive CEO pay and capitalism. BTW, she is married to George Lucas who is worth $7.3 billion.



The stunning lack of self-awareness is only invisible to those who feel that intentions and do-gooder speechifying in order to guilt and shame everybody else is equal to or better than actually doing anything to alleviate the situation. The unbedecked emperor's sycophants thought he had a wonderful sense of style too. Odd, isn't it, that it is okay for one side to pass judgment while constantly haranguing the other side about the evils of passing judgement.

You would think that this band of moralizers could find just one acetic to preach their gospel.

But remember, an important part of leftist dogma is "Do as I say not as I do."

2014-01-17

You're Perfect. We Love You. As Long As You're Leftist.



The left believes they are wiser, kinder, better, more decent and sophisticated than the right. This graphic demonstrates some of that characteristic of the left. It is one of the most depressing things that is revealed about the philosophical differences between left and right. The left cannot simply disagree with those on the right; the right must be mocked, demonized and ridiculed.

The left isn't really interested in women's advancement, they are interested in leftist women's advancement. The left isn't really interested in black's advancement, they are interested in leftist black's advancement. The left isn't really interested in homosexual's advancement, they are interested in leftist homosexual's advancement. This is why any of these groups and others on the right are mocked and ridiculed by the left. This is why the left feels comfortable mocking and making racist comments about blacks such as Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Shelby Steele, JC Watts, Juan Williams, Clarence Thomas. (Juan Williams being a particularly pertinent example since he is a man of the left.) Similarly, leftists feel no guilt or shame about their own sexist impulses when they dismiss the woman of the right, or their homophobic comments about right leaning gays, or any other group they claim to care about when it deviates from the leftist mantra.

The right must be dismissed as stupid, ignorant, mean-spirited, war-mongering, selfish, greedy, hateful, nativist, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, bigoted, intolerant, fascist, misogynistic and hypocritical. That way the deep discussions about legitimate issues can be dismissed without rigor. After all, who needs to have a discussion with a cretin? There is no need to account for one's own actions or behaviors when one can just dismiss the humanity of the other side. The end justifies the means.

This is why the colossal double standards of the left do not trouble the left. That the Obama administration paid women less on average than men is of no interest to the left. That two stories were told about Benghazi is of no interest to the left. That Obama has held every possible position on gay marriage for the purpose of political expediency is of no interest to the left. The list is endless and the lack of 'progressive' introspection limitless. But it doesn't matter because bigger issues are at stake.

The left are experts at ridicule and use it as a substitute for thoughtful discussion. From Bill Maher to the MSNBC crowd to the President himself mockingly lecturing about "these things called aircraft carriers" and submarines during a debate. I'm sure the self-satisfied left thinks this is funny, but it is likely behavior that they would not approve of from their own children in a public forum. For a crowd that is hypersensitive to hate speech and meanness, they sure do engage in a lot of it. As Mark Steyn noted with regard to the Duck Dynasty dustup:
GLAAD wouldn't rather "start a conversation." But, if you don't need to, why bother? Most Christian opponents of gay marriage oppose gay marriage; they don't oppose the right of gays to advocate it. Yet thug groups like GLAAD increasingly oppose the right of Christians even to argue their corner. It's quicker and more effective to silence them.
The left cannot allow the right to be thought of as decent folks who just have a different vision or opinion because they would then be forced to deal with the arguments and ideas of the right. Instead they engage in voicing hostile, coarse and vulgar sentiments. They embark on the dehumanization tactic of ridicule and dismissal – they seek to DE-humanize their opponents. After all, one does not need to mount an argument with a sub species. Steyn is correct that something akin to shout-shaming a child is far easier than engaging in a discussion. It is shameful and sad. And, ironically, un-intellectual, unkind, unwise and unsophisticated – snarky graphics about how stupid one's opponents are notwithstanding.

And for those that tout science and facts and such as king, evidence contrary to their premise makes no difference. After all, science is settled so why shouldn't everything else be as impervious to thoughtful discourse? However, a few rebuttals for hope's sake:

  • Romney went to Harvard Business, Harvard Law, BYU, Stanford and Harvard.
  • George W. Bush went to Harvard Business and Yale.
  • Thomas Sowell went to Columbia, Harvard, University of Chicago, Harvard College, and Howard University and taught at UCLA, Amherst College, Brandeis University, Cornell University, Howard University and Douglass College.
  • Milton Friedman went to University of Chicago, Rutgers University, and Columbia University and taught at Columbia University, University of Minnesota and the University of Chicago and was a Nobel laureate.
  • Clarence Thomas went to Yale Law School and Yale University.
  • Robert Bork went to University of Chicago and taught at Yale and had as students Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Anita Hill, Robert Reich, Jerry Brown and John R. Bolton.

But in spite of the spiteful graphic, the left is uninterested in and unimpressed by these pedigrees. Again, the left is not interested in intellect per se, but is interested in leftist intellectuals. Just as VP Biden jettisons Catholic doctrine when it does not conveniently comport with leftism, so the left doesn't care about alma maters when those with substantial pedigrees don't conform to leftist doctrine.

  • Michele Bachmann went to law school, received a second degree in tax law and worked as a tax attorney for the IRS. This might be a respectable resume for anyone else, but because she does not hold leftist views she is vilified as a racist, bigoted, hater and is told that she should kill herself by decapitation.
  • Laura Ingraham went to Dartmouth College, University of Virginia School of Law and University of Virginia but is roundly dismissed as an idiot, bigot, racist, homophobe and worse. 
  • Ann Coulter went to University of Michigan, Cornell University and University of Michigan Law School but is called a moron, idiot, lunatic, troll, racist, sexist, white supremacist, bigot, hater, un-American and dumbass. (Space and decency prevents a full listing of leftist Coulter opprobrium.)
  • Stacey Dash isn't lauded as a black actress with differing views. She is dismissed as a "house nigga who loves her master," an "idiot" and a "cunt".

Similarly, Clarence Thomas and other blacks who dare to stray from the leftist plantation are ridiculed and smeared. The most vile, sexist and racist epithets are hurled at anyone on the right no matter what their educational pedigree is. Feminism, racial sensitivity, decency, nuance and any number of other concerns are kicked to the curb when leftism is jilted.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with any of those listed above is not the issue. (I certainly don't agree with every belief held by everyone listed.) Whether the left is blind to their double standard and lack of self-awareness is the issue. The left is tolerant of everyone except those they aren't tolerant of. The left is only interested in mistruths, "inartful articulations", political ambition, lobbyists, infidelities, awful behavior, name calling, big business, tax cheats, cover-ups, voter suppression, misogyny, sexism, legislating morality, flip-flopping, collateral damage, bigotry, hurtful language, religious sensitivities, silver spoons, reading material, mentors, church affiliations, associates, etc., when those things run afoul of leftism. Is the left supportive of blacks, Hispanics, Latinos, women, the poor, homosexuals, immigrants or teachers who hold conservative views? The answer is obvious.

Some dropouts that didn't make the list are:

  • LBJ (who dropped out of Georgetown Law) 
  • FDR (who dropped out of Columbia Law) 
  • Al Gore (who dropped out of Vanderbilt Law)

And yet, the left is mysteriously enamored of these fellow leftists. But, if the graphic is to be believed, what could these dropouts possibly have to offer? One wonders how the left feels about George Washington who never attended college.

When a Pope speaks out against the potential failings of capitalism in the absence of morality, he is a genius to behold and we are regaled with recollections of how certain politicians boast that Catholicism "has particularly informed my social doctrine. The Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who — who can't take care of themselves, people who need help," and how legislating this morality is the right thing to do. However, when a Pope speaks against abortion or homosexuality we are told that

  • such claptrap is a "nod to conservatives" - tossing them a bone, 
  • we are to set those notions aside and not "impose that on others," 
  • we do not "have a right to tell other people that" 
  • we need to quit trying to legislate morality.

When a leftist marries or adopts interracially it is a beautiful demonstration of a colorblind union of love. If somebody on the right dares to do it

  • he is saying "no to blacks; he has already said if he can't paint himself white he'll think white and marry a white woman," 
  • "His marrying a white woman is a sign of his rejection of the black community," 
  • "He's married a white woman. He wants to be white. He wants a colorless society. He has no ethnic pride. He doesn't want to be black," 
  • she is a "white man's whore," 
  • they think and live the "wrong" way, 
  • they are mocked in song that "One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn't the same," 
  • that the "other" is merely a "token," 
  • they have an "unsegregated adoption."

When a black holds leftist views he is evidence of improving race relations and the will of the individual to overcome – and oh, by the way, "is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy." However, when Herman Cain advances through life

  • he is a "house nigger," 
  • an "uncle Tom," 
  • "embarrassing", 
  • a "black monster," 
  • "doesn't think like a black," 
  • is not "black enough," 
  • is not an "authentic black", 
  • is a "white man's puppet," 
  • fits the racist stereotype of sexually aggressive black men.

When a leftist woman is successful she is a beacon of hope to women and embodies the American spirit of hard work. However, when Michelle Malkin does it she is

  • an "Oriental Auntie-Tom," 
  • a "yellow woman doing the white man's job," 
  • a "Manila whore" 
  • a "Subic Bay bar girl" 

Or if Sarah Palin is successful, she

  • "looks like a whore," 
  • is dismissed as an object of sexual desire, 
  • "would be the outstanding candidate" for the slave punishment of putting shit in her mouth, 
  • is a "retard making cunt," 
  • is a "dumb twat," 
  • is a "white bitch, with your slut daughter and retard child" 
  • should be "hate fucked".

Anything can be said about those on the right. And leftists can be as sexist, homophobic, racist, bigoted, mean-spirited and repugnant as they want. They claim to be none of it while doing all of it. Of course it is a double standard. Of course the left doesn't care. Anything is permissible for the cause. As Malkin has noted, 
What a tangled web libs weave when first they practice to aggrieve!
In the end, education and intellect are only of passing importance to the left. These things, along with everything else, are subordinated to leftism. Commitment to leftism is what matters most - thou shalt have no other gods before me.

2014-01-16

Voter ID

Voter ID

What a cynical disenfranchisement and discrimination against minorities, the poor, the young and women. I guess if you don't have the means to get a driver's license, or if you cannot afford the time and money it takes to get certain other forms of government ID, you are out of luck and cannot help your fellow man? You can't be a superhero? What kind of country is this?

2014-01-08

Outsourcing Medical Care

offshore outsource big pharma big corporation prescription

More on this here.

When we seek medical care or prescription medicine in a foreign country, we are seeking to avoid the higher cost 'of doing business' here in the U.S. Is this really any different than corporations seeking to lower costs by using the cheap labor, lower tax rates and regulation avoidance by outsourcing? Going out of the country for medical care is an attempt to avoid the "tax" that subsidizes the cost of R&D and professional care for the rest of the world as well as the cost of providing care to those less fortunate in the U.S. (cost transference). The cost of the indigent or uninsured that go to the emergency room must be borne by somebody. That is one of the reasons the rest of us pay $20 for an Advil when we go to the hospital. So how is trying to avoid the added cost of medical care and prescriptions by getting around the "tax" applied to U.S. medical care any different than the robber baron who takes jobs and his money offshore to avoid taxation? Shouldn't Americans pay their 'fair share'