Archive for Liberal Ignorance

Out of Town

I’ve been waiting to address the ado in Ferguson, MO until I can figure out what the hell happened and is continuing to happen. I’m going to keep waiting.

But as for what happened to America’s great cities, and the black people who live therein, I have something to say:

The Reverend Jesse Jackson is, to the surprise of all thinking people, right about something: “A spark has exploded,” he said, referring to the protests and violence in Ferguson, Mo. “When you look at what sparked riots in the Sixties, it has always been some combination of poverty, which was the fuel, and then some oppressive police tactic. It was the same in Newark, in Chicago, in Detroit, in Los Angeles. It’s symptomatic of a national crisis of urban abandonment and repression, seen in Chicago.”

A question for the Reverend Jackson: Who has been running the show in Newark, in Chicago, in Detroit, and in Los Angeles for a great long while now? The answer is: People who see the world in much the same way as does the Reverend Jackson, who take the same view of government, who support the same policies, and who suffer from the same biases.

This is not intended to be a cheap partisan shot. The Democratic party institutionally certainly has its defects, the chronicle of which could fill several unreadable volumes, but the more important and more fundamental question here is one of philosophy and policy. Newark, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles — and Philadelphia, Cleveland, and a dozen or more other cities — have a great deal in common: They are the places in which the progressive vision of government has reached its fullest expressions. They are the hopeless reality that results from wishful thinking.

Bingo. And to repeat: “This is not intended to be a cheap partisan shot.” I used to be a Democrat, a progressive, if you will. But I grew out of it. I realized, as Kevin D. Williamson puts it, that my “wishful thinking” had no bearing on the “hopeless reality”. I came to accept the wisdom and certainty in Margaret Thatcher’s observation that “the facts of life are conservative”.

But the facts of our cities were anything but:

For years, our major cities were undermined by a confluence of four unhappy factors: 1. higher taxes; 2. defective schools; 3. crime; 4. declining economic opportunity. Together, these weighed much more heavily upon the middle class than upon the very wealthy and the very poor. In the case of Philadelphia, the five counties in the metropolitan area have had a mostly stable population, but the city itself lost more than a quarter of its population between 1950 and 2000 as some 550,000 people fled to the suburbs or beyond. How many people matters, but which people matters, too: They were the ones with the means and the strongest incentive to relocate. Over the same period of time, Chicago lost a fifth of its population, Baltimore nearly a third. Philadelphia is one of the few U.S. cities to impose a municipal income tax (one of the taxes Mayor Rizzo raised), creating very strong incentives to move across the line into Delaware County or Bucks County. This is sometimes known as “white flight,” but that is a misnomer: In Detroit, the white middle class got out as quickly as it could — and the black middle class was hot on its heels. Upwardly mobile people and those who expect to be — i.e., those with an investment in the future — care a great deal about schools, economic opportunity, and safety. And they know where the city limits are.

The more progressive the city, the worse a place it is to be poor and/or black. The most pronounced economic inequality in the United States is not in some Republican redoubt in Texas but in San Francisco, an extraordinarily expensive city in which half of all black households make do with less than $25,000 a year. Blacks in San Francisco are arrested on drug felonies at ten times their share of the general population. At 6 percent of the population, they represent 40 percent of those arrested for homicides. Whether you believe that that is the result of a racially biased criminal-justice system or the result of higher crime incidence related to socioeconomic conditions within black communities (or some combination of those factors) what is undeniable is that results for black Americans are far worse in our most progressive, Democrat-dominated cities than they are elsewhere. The progressives have had the run of things for a generation in these cities, and the results are precisely what you see.

So, if you want fewer Fergusons, you know what you have to do:

Our cities need economic growth and opportunity, functional education systems, and physical security. And where have our few urban success stories come from? We saw a dramatic turnabout in crime and public disorder in New York under Republican Rudy Giuliani, and we’ve seen periods of relatively good governance in two-party cities such as San Diego. At the moment, our most prosperous cities are those such as Houston, cities that are themselves Democrat-dominated but embedded in heavily Republican metropolitan areas or states, and which govern in a way that is much friendlier to enterprise and middle-class interests than is the style that has long predominated in places such as Philadelphia or Detroit.

Houston or Detroit? Your call.

PS: In 1950, Detroit was the fifth largest US city, at about 1,850,000; Houston was 14th, at less than a third the size, 596,000. Today, their places are reversed: Houston is 4th at almost 2.2 million, while Detroit is 18th at barely 700,000. Just sayin’.

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[Bleep] Liberals Say

Aggie wrote this comment to a post below:

Yesterday, one of the low information crowd told me, quite seriously, that the Tea Party was an outgrowth of Occupy Wall Street. Can you believe that?

I can, Aggie, because I hear [bleep] like that all the time. It’s time to start a column of it.

Yesterday:

I was killing time in Cambridge and overheard two students at a language school waiting for their class to start. One was local, and worked in web design for politics. The other was from out of town, but noted that Massachusetts was a pretty blue state, that the politics must be left wing. The local one assured him that was so, and added “I hate Republicans.” The second one responded “I can’t imagine a Republican learning Portuguese.” They continued in like-minded palaver until their class started.

Why would a Republican not take Portuguese? Why would a Democrat? Is there a hidden logic to that statement? People learn Portuguese only to hit on hot Brazilian chicks. Can’t Republicans fantasize about Shakira?

But it was the “I hate Republicans” line that I really should address.

Now, we all use “love” and “hate” liberally (pardon the pun): We “love” pickles, but “hate” relish; love Sandra Bullock, hate Maggie Gyll…Gylen…you know the one I mean. The one everyone hates.

But “hate” Republicans? How many does this person know? There aren’t that many of us around here—which is why she felt so free to speak of us that way. What are the odds, as the other person observed, that one would be loitering outside a Portuguese language class? Or loitering anywhere other than near a Catholic girls’ school or a highway rest stop? It’s a safe hatred, a comfortable hatred, a without-fear-of-contradiction hatred. Aren’t those the most dangerous kind?

The Governor is a Democrat. The Mayor (of Boston) is a Democrat. Both Senators are Democrats, as are all nine Congressmen (it used to be ten until we mercifully lost one to redistricting). There are only four Republicans in the 40-member State Senate, and 30 out of 160 members of the State House. Shouldn’t Republicans in Massachusetts be pitied rather than hated?

Except for the threat (and reality) of violence, Republicans in liberal strongholds are like blacks in the Jim Crow South. Despised, resented, under-(or un-)represented, misrepresented—if our politics were as readily apparent as the dark skin of African Americans, we would only have more such stories to tell, not fewer. But probably not the threat (or reality) of violence.

Move over, “It’s Unexpected!”™ and Dispatches From the Front Lines of Socialized Medicine, we have a new standing headline, [Bleep] Liberals Say.

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Hey UN! What About This War Crime?

In the Democratic War on Women, that is:

A Democratic operative deleted her Twitter account Monday following a series of what some called racist remarks about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao.

Chao, former U.S. Labor Secretary under President George W. Bush, is Asian.

Kathy Groob, who describes herself as an “advocate for women in politics,” sent a series of tweets related to Chao at a political event Saturday.

According to WKMS, Groob sent the tweets in response to comments McConnell made at the event, in which he referred to his wife as “the only Kentucky woman who served in a president’s cabinet.”

In one tweet Groob wrote, “Hey Mitch, nothing against you wife and spouses should be off limits; since you mentioned, she isn’t from KY, she is Asian.”

Groob followed that tweet with another: “Google Elaine Chao, #MitchMcConnell’s wife. No mention of Kentucky, she is Asian” Groop wrote.

Her racially-charged comments drew a firestorm on Twitter from people who questioned why Groob was pushing a narrative that someone who is Asian could not also be from Kentucky.

In Chao’s case, she and her family came to the U.S. from Taiwan when she was a child. She has been married to McConnell for more than two decades.

So that’s what passes for an “advocate for women in politics” among Democrats. I’d hate to see a critic. I also love that her comment came right after she wrote that spouses should be “off limits”.

PS: You might want to station peacekeeping groups inside the Democrat Party. They are repeat offenders:

A Democratic activist has claimed responsibility for controversial radio ads that attempted to tie Mississippi Senate candidate Chris McDaniel to the Ku Klux Klan.

Ruth Harris, 65, of Jackson, Miss., said she and five other like-minded Democratic women pooled their resources to fund three radio spots urging voters to support Sen. Thad Cochran over McDaniel, a state senator, in Mississippi’s contentious June 24 GOP primary runoff.

“This is an Election Day alert. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. When Congressman Thompson says a group of Tea Party radicals scares him, we should listen. Last week the Clarion Ledger was able to tie McDaniel’s campaign to an ally of the Ku Klux Klan. And, this supporter of McDaniel’s campaign was a Klan lawyer,” Harris says as the ad opens. “If we stand by and don’t go to the polls today, do you understand what we could lose? We could lose food stamps, housing assistance, student loans, early breakfast and lunch programs — and disaster assistance, as well as cuts to Social Security and Medicaid.

“The right-wing Tea Party people are saying we are too lazy to care or too afraid to go vote. They say we only want a hand out or something for free,” Harris says as the ad closes. “We are not going to turn back the hands of time.”

PPS: They really don’t like themselves some Elaine Chao:

You’ll recall last year when Progress Kentucky sent out a series of tweets vilifying Chao and McConnell’s “very close ties to China.”

Progress Kentucky, a Democratic super PAC with its sights on toppling Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), has drawn backlash for a persistent effort to suggest that the senator’s wife’s Chinese roots have led him to embrace anti-American policies.

In a Feb. 14 tweet, the group made a particularly blunt jab suggesting that Elaine Chao, former labor secretary under President George W. Bush and McConnell’s second wife, was encouraging him to support outsourcing jobs to China.

“This woman has the ear of @mcconnellpress — she’s his #wife.May explain why your job moved to #China!” the tweet read.

I don’t really get racism. I guess it’s a liberal thing.

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Remembrance

Terrific remembrance/appreciation by Harry Stein of his father, Joseph Stein.

Terrific on many levels:

My father, playwright Joseph Stein, was so vital for so long that when he died in October 2010, at 98, some people were actually taken by surprise. Nearly half a century after his greatest success, ¬Fiddler on the Roof, he had been hard at work on a new musical.

At the service, I began my eulogy with an anecdote from a few years earlier. My father and stepmother were en route from New York to Westport, Connecticut, where one of his old shows was being revived, when he began feeling ill. They called ahead, and by the time they arrived at the theater, an EMS crew was waiting.

“How do you feel?” asked the head EMS guy.

“I don’t feel so good.”

“What hurts you?”

“It hurts me that George Bush is president.”

The line drew a roar from the huge crowd at Riverside Memorial Chapel, as I knew it would. These were his people, New York theater folk, as reliably left a bunch as you’re likely to find anywhere outside a university campus.

Terrific, not least, in how it captures the Neanderthalian humor of the Bush era. Mention of his name (even worse, Cheney’s or Rumsfeld’s) induced manic hyena howls of hypocritical hilarity. Audiences were easy, comedians grew lazy—I had to dismiss the equivalent of an entire month’s guest list on the Tonight Show for the unpardonable sin of safe, comfortable—unfunny—jibes at the Bush administration. Not for their politics; almost everyone I knew shared their politics. But for their lameness. Garrison Keillor and his Prairie Home Companion, the New Yorker Magazine, so many other media outlets I followed, died to me with their groupthink humor. Listening to shows like NPR’s “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me” felt like being a teetotaler at a boozy bash: why was everyone laughing so hard? (Besides, the joke is too close to the old one told by Jack Lemmon about Walter Matthau: after Matthau fell down a flight of stairs, Lemmon rushed to his side and asked “Are you comfortable?” Matthau rolled over and responded, “I make a nice living.”)

But the piece is also a touching account of love and alienation between father and son:

It was a situation surely familiar to others in families sharply split along ideological lines, though the generational divide generally runs in the opposite direction. My father simply couldn’t fathom how any thinking person, let alone someone who’d imbibed politics at his knee, could have ended up a . . . well, he never actually used the word, at least not directly. The closest he ever came was reporting the reaction of a friend, one of Broadway’s better-known composers, who had come across something I’d written: “When did your son become a Fascist?”

For my part, I understood his worldview far better—a Communist in young adulthood, he’d been a proud progressive ever since—but I found him no less frustrating. In other respects thoughtful, even wise, how could he not see the damage that today’s aggrieved and self-righteous Left was inflicting on the country we both loved?

Boy, ain’t we all been there.

I’ll leave it to you to read the piece. If you like theater (specifically Fiddler), it’s a tremendous behind the curtain look; if you like political history, there are some telling details on the American Left, especially among America’s Jews; if you like memoir, it’s a terrific remembrance of a remarkable life of an ordinary man.

And if you like humor:

Trying to do too much, both hands full, he’d fallen backward down a long flight of stairs, landing on his shoulder. He was to have surgery the next day, when the phone on his bedside table rang, and I picked up. It was Carl Reiner. “I heard what happened to your dad,” he exclaimed, more excited than alarmed. “It’s incredible, it should be in the Guinness book of records! I told Mel [Brooks], and he said, ‘It’s impossible, no 98-year-old could possibly fall down 14 steps backward and survive!’ ”

I tried handing the phone to my father, but he demurred, whispering that he was too tired. But I knew his old friend would cheer him up, so I held the receiver to his ear. He listened for a moment as Carl repeated what he’d told me. “Tell Mel,” he replied wearily, “that not only is it possible; there are several people to whom I’d highly recommend it.”

Now, that’s funny.

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He Won.

We’re Sad.

Americans really wish they elected Mitt Romney instead of Obama

Americans are so down on President Obama at the moment that, if they could do the 2012 election all over again, they’d overwhelmingly back the former Massachusetts governor’s bid. That’s just one finding in a brutal CNN poll, released Sunday, which shows Romney topping Obama in a re-election rematch by a whopping nine-point margin, 53 percent to 44 percent. That’s an even larger spread than CNN found in November, when a survey had Romney winning a redo 49 percent to 45 percent.

Two years ago, Obama won re-election with about 51 percent of the vote.

Of course, the poll should be taken with a grain of salt. While Obama is actually taking on the tough task of leading the nation, Romney is sitting comfortably on the sidelines where he is liable to receive a more favorable reception. Still, the finding comes as foreign and domestic crises have sent Obama’s approval rating tumbling back to 40 percent, per Gallup.

Also in the CNN survey, a record-low 46 percent say Obama “shares [their] values,” while only 49 percent say he is “sincere in what he says,” also a record-low.

OK, CNN is a terrible news organization and most of what they say is rubbish. I don’t believe this at all, but it’s fun to fantasize. In any case, we are getting the government that we elected – twice.

- Aggie

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Antisemitism At The Washington Post

- Aggie

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You Wanna Know Why We’re Such Dolts in Massachusetts?

Course you don’t.

But I’m going to tell you anyway:

The strong public support for the Massachusetts health care law has not wavered, despite the well-publicized troubles of the state’s new health insurance website, a new poll has found.

Sixty-three percent of adults said they support the law, which is intended to ensure that almost everyone has health insurance — the same percentage as in a similar survey conducted in 2011.

Fine. Whatever.

But get this:

Fewer than half the people questioned in the latest survey knew anything about the difficulties with the state’s health insurance website after it was retooled to comply with the federal Affordable Care Act, starting last October. The site often was down, and when it worked, consumers could not determine their eligibility for government-subsidized coverage and experienced other problems, forcing some to go without coverage temporarily and use paper workarounds.

Of course we like the law—we know nothing about it! It works, we love it. It sucks, we love it. We just love it. It’s ours and we love it.

Except it’s not our law. We had a law, called RomneyCare (love it or loathe it), but ObamaCare came along and kicked sand in its face. And everyone knows what a morsel of excrement that was.

But so what?

Ann Hurd is among the supporters, despite her firsthand experience with the balky website when she applied for health insurance in December.

“You weren’t able to get through to anything,” said Hurd, a poll respondent who agreed to answer follow-up questions from a reporter. “You’re just stuck there. You try like a week or two later and they get you to the next step. Then you were stuck there.”

Eventually, Hurd was able to learn the premium prices, which approached $500 a month, more than she said she could afford from her pay as a baker. Hurd, 39, of North Attleborough, joined the shrinking group of Massachusetts residents who are uninsured.

But still, she approves of the law. “I support it,” she said. “I don’t support the price.”

A law that was shoved down our throats (or up another orifice) to cover everybody ends up not covering Baker-Americans—and they’re cool with that! Unbelievable!

Aggie and I were talking the other day about the group-think mentality of this place. They listen to NPR and take the New York Times (two of the more propagandistic organs to exist since Joseph Goebbels left the business) and fancy themselves informed. Aggie suggested we start conversations at social events with “I was listening to NPR today, and…”, but instead of actually citing the taxpayer-financed drivel, switch to what Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage said. See how long the mindlessly-nodding heads continue to nod. I would try another tack. “I heard on NPR today that if you drink your own urine, your butt will get smaller.” “I read in the New York Times that Angela Merkel has a mole the shape of a groundhog on her left breast.” “Frontline had a program about how alien DNA means we’re de-evolving into pus in the next million years.”

If we were only dangerous to ourselves, maybe we could be ignored. But we’re like the Taliban. No matter how far removed we are from you, we can make your lives miserable.

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Blue States, Red Ink

What a shocker! Left-leaning states are more hostile to small business than right-leaning states:

Untitled

Before we get to the story, compare that map to the results of the 2012 election. Note the correlation:

Anyhow, enough from me.

Thumbtack, in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, has released the results from the third annual Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey. The study, drawing upon data from over 12,000 small business owners, provides new insights into state and local business environments across the nation.

“Creating a business climate that is welcoming to small, dynamic businesses is more important than ever, but rarely does anyone ask small business owners themselves about what makes for a pro-entrepreneur environment,” says Jon Lieber, Chief Economist of Thumbtack. “Thousands of small business owners across the country told us that the keys to a pro-growth environment are ease of compliance with tax and regulatory systems and helpful training programs.”

Some of the survey’s key findings include:

Utah, Idaho, Texas, Virginia and Louisiana gave their states the highest rating for friendliness to small business. Small businesses in Colorado Springs, Boise and Houston gave their cities the highest ratings.

In contrast, small business owners gave California, Rhode Island and Illinois an “F,” while Connecticut and New Jersey both earned a “D” grade. Sacramento, Providence and Buffalo were the survey’s worst-performing cities as rated by their small business owners.

Small businesses in Texas, Utah and Idaho have rated their states in the top five every year this survey has run, while California and Rhode Island have been rated in the bottom five every year.

The friendliness of professional licensing requirements was the most important regulatory issue in determining a state’s overall friendliness to small businesses. Closely following licensing requirements was the ease of filing taxes.

Once again, tax rates was a less important factor than the ease of regulatory compliance in determining the overall friendliness score of a jurisdiction. Two-thirds of respondents said they paid their “fair share” of taxes – that is, they felt like they were neither under-paying nor over-paying.

Despite what business-bashers like Barack Obama bloviate, owners of small businesses don’t bitch about taxes. It’s the red tape and the power-mad whims of the bureaucrats (if I may paraphrase) that drive them crazy. That’s why places like California are bleeding jobs to places like Texas. And why the country as a whole still hasn’t recovered from a recession (however Great it was) that ended five years ago. (If I may extrapolate.)

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Second City, Third World

Every so often, I search the web for news of some of my favorite topics: Detroit’s bankruptcy; Mexican drug cartels; National Health Service atrocities; Chinese coal mining disasters, etc. I am rarely disappointed.

Another favorite theme is gun violence in Chicago. I am sorry to report that, again, I am not disappointed:

At least 29 people have been shot across Chicago this weekend, four of them fatally, officials said.

There are details aplenty at the link, if you’re interested. Don’t know why you would be; you didn’t know the victims.

But that wasn’t the only story that came up:

Yesterday, GunsSaveLives.com published a story about a mass shooting in Chicago. They reported that on Monday night, six people were shot in the Windy City at a laundromat. They included teenagers, and according to the Chicago Tribune, all are on the road to recovery.

The coverage raised the question of how six people could be shot and wounded in a single incident in the United States and get minimal press. It was uncanny, to say the least. A man walked up to a laundromat in Chicago and pulled the trigger an estimated 19 times, according to witnesses. How was this not all over the news?

There were over 80 documented shootings in Chicago in this timeframe [between the UCSB shooting and June 4, the date of this story]. These include fatalities, botched robberies, and gangland killings.

Why is this information not causing a firestorm among politicians and the media? Why has this information not been brought to the attention of the public? Where is the outrage?

One might well wonder:

There are three very possible answers to this question, and they are not mutually exclusive.

The first is that Chicago is the seat and the base of the Democratic political machine in the United States. It is the bastion of state controlled, tax-burdened, socialist capital which helps choose the nation’s Democratic leaders. Chicago is the throne of the Empire of the Donkey.

Chicago is also home, until recently, of the most stringent gun laws in the country. There was no ownership of handguns, there was no concealed carry, and there was no way for law-abiding people to protect themselves except to call the police. That is how the Democrats want it, and Chicago is where they had it.

The changes to allow law abiding Chicagoans to arm themselves have not yet taken full effect, and it will be interesting to watch the changes in the city once they do. Chicago cannot and will not accept these changes wholeheartedly. The city which represents the Democratic idea of industrial socialism and state monopoly of force will never fully respect or abide such a fundamental right as of citizens to arm themselves.

Second, Chicago already has tough gun laws. How can these crimes happen if those guns are illegal? The reaction of the media and the liberal politicians is for the most part to plug their ears and sing loud gibberish whenever a gun rights advocate brings up Chicago. They do not want to hear that their unarmed citizens are at risk; it is inconceivable. The shooter in the laundromat incident fired 19 shots; anything holding 19 shots is illegal in Chicago. Criminals do not seem to care about the restrictions placed upon them by the government, but they do seem to take advantage of them.

Lastly, Chicago is the city where Barack Obama himself helped craft the gun laws which are choking the ability of law-abiding citizens there to defend themselves. It was his policies, and it was his efforts that helped keep Chicagoans disarmed in the face of rising violent crime. According to a piece by Brietbart.com, Obama himself declared that the type of laws Chicago had were the type of laws he wanted to pass on a national level. Magazine bans, “assault rifle bans,” background checks and licensing already exist in Chicago, just as they do for the most part in California where the Isla Vista shootings took place. Bringing attention to the gun violence in Chicago potentially hurts Obama, and that is something the liberal media cannot let happen.

I would also add that the overwhelming majority of the perpetrators and victims of Chicago’s epidemic of gun violence are black. This is an inconvenient and profoundly sad truth.

And those weren’t the only stories that came up:

HELP US – WE’RE DYING!

And while you’re at it, we also need to hear from you about all the ways you’re working around the clock to keep more innocent people from being killed in Chicago.

Seven killed, 23 hurt over the last weekend? Eleven more shot on Monday?

These are headlines we expect out of Syria, not The Windy City.

Seriously, what will it take for our country to recognize that there is an all-out war being waged on its soil?

Someone white dying? Nope, Sandy Hook took care of that and WE STILL ARE NO WHERE.

Too many of our men simply aren’t there for them, and every day we see evidence of this: they’re abandoning their kids, dropping out of school, going (or returning) to prison and falling victim to violent crimes at the hands of one another in cities like Chicago and states like Louisiana.

I believe that if we fix the men we fix the kids, male and female.

If we fix the men we fix the household.

If we fix the household we fix the community.

We in the white mainstream, liberal or conservative, may be discomfited by this straight talk. But if we are to have these long-awaited “conversations on race” (20 years overdue), are we to silence voices that live on the front lines, as it were?

The facts are that despite Chicago’s strict gun laws (Fox Butterfield, is that you?), gun crimes are proliferating, and black people are suffering the consequences, unto death. What do we plan to do about it? Besides nothing, that is.

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Not Fearing the Hashtag

About three weeks ago, CNN helpfully provided an outraged world with advice on how to #bringbackourgirls:

#BringBackOurGirls has now been tweeted more than a million times across the world, as global outrage over the kidnap of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls grows.

There are many ways to help girls, like those kidnapped in Nigeria, who face persecution, violence, poverty and other barriers to education.

GIVE

They link to several no-doubt worthy charities that seek to educate and emancipate girls in third-world anuses around the world. Not one of those charities, however, is equipped to actually bring back the girls.

And Boko Haram knows it:

Scores of residents in four villages in the northeastern Borno state of Nigeria, near the border with Cameroon, were killed Tuesday in Boko Haram raids, a lawmaker and residents said.

They said hundreds of homes were destroyed.

Heavily armed gunmen dressed as soldiers in all-terrain vehicles and on motorcycles attacked Goshe, Attagara, Agapalwa and Aganjara villages in Gwoza district, shooting residents and burning homes.

Villagers fled into neighboring Cameroon to escape the onslaughts, said Peter Biye, a lawmaker from the area who serves in the Nigerian lower parliament.

“We are still trying to compile a toll of the dead as people on the ground are still counting the number of casualties,” said Biye.

We’ve got 80 troops and a drone or two over there looking for the girls. But that’s nothing compared to what we’re prepared to do.

Boko Haram, meet Barack Hussein:

Training like Rocky Balboa for his own rumble in the Nigerian jungle.

If there’s one reason why this blog hasn’t taken off and become as widely read as Drudge or PuffHo (there are many reasons, alas), it is because we never blink or flinch at the nature of the world. In Iran, Gaza, China, Russia, Venezuela, Brussels, Washington, DC, we describe the undiluted evil we see, no matter how it sickens us. Most people don’t want to talk about it (even if their self-imposed ignorance doesn’t stop them from forming hardened opinions).

Most people are basically good. But it doesn’t take many despicable scumbags to make the rest of us miserable. The question, as ever, is what we’re prepared to do about it. Eighteen at Andrews AFB seems about the best we can muster.

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The Filthy Rich

God bless ‘em:

Judging by the Forbes 400 list, the richest people in America have been getting richer very quickly. In 1982, the first year of the list, there were only 13 billionaires on it. A net worth of $75 million was enough to earn a spot. The 2013 list has nothing but billionaires, with $1.3 billion as the cutoff. Sixty-one American billionaires aren’t rich enough to make the list.

Many regard this as a serious problem, seeing the development of a plutocracy dominating the American economy through the sheer power of its wealth. The French economist Thomas Piketty, in his new book “Capital in the 21st Century,” calls for an 80% tax on incomes over $250,000 and a 2% annual tax on net worth in order to prevent an excessive concentration of wealth.

That is a monumentally bad idea.

The great growth of fortunes in recent decades is not a sinister development. Instead it is simply the inevitable result of an extraordinary technological innovation, the microprocessor, which Intel brought to market in 1971. Seven of the 10 largest fortunes in America today were built on this technology, as have been countless smaller ones. These new fortunes unavoidably result in wealth being more concentrated at the top.

But no one is poorer because Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, et al., are so much richer.

The last line bears repeating:

But no one is poorer because Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, et al., are so much richer.

The author reminds us that previous technological leaps forward—the clipper ship, the steam engine, the railroad, oil and steel—have produced their own stinkin’ rich. We lambasted them too (Robber Barons), but, monopolies aside, who was harmed by those achievements? Doesn’t the history of capitalism, warts and all, declare it the the winner and still champion of all economic systems? A show of hands, please: how many would wish no ships, trains, steam, oil, or steel because some Rockefeller or Carnegie got rich off them? Go back to the horse and buggy if you wish, but it is human nature to try to improve the buggy or breed a better horse, and to get rich doing so.

Just as the railroad, the most important secondary technology of the steam engine, produced many new fortunes, the Internet is producing enormous numbers of them, from the likes of Amazon, Facebook and Twitter. When Twitter went public last November, it created about 1,600 newly minted millionaires.

Any attempt to tax away new fortunes in the name of preventing inequality is certain to have adverse effects on further technology creation and niche exploitation by entrepreneurs—and harm job creation as a result. The reason is one of the laws of economics: Potential reward must equal the risk or the risk won’t be taken.

And the risks in any new technology are very real in the highly competitive game that is capitalism. In 1903, 57 automobile companies opened for business in this country, hoping to exploit the new technology. Only the Ford Motor Co.survived the Darwinian struggle to succeed. As Henry Ford’s fortune grew to dazzling levels, some might have decried it, but they also should have rejoiced as he made the automobile affordable for everyman.

And the fact that Henry Ford was a vile antisemite is beside the point!

Everyone benefits when someone gets unimaginably rich, and not just from their inventions or innovations. The names Ford, Rockefeller, and Carnegie—and Gates, Ellison, and Zuckerberg—are now associated as much with philanthropy as they are with capitalism.

But that’s my point: there is no difference. Even more than the church (an example of concentrated wealth that makes capitalism look like Leon Trotsky), capitalism is philanthropy. Regulate it, sure, but to eliminate it negates human nature and will lead to famines and wars like you’ve never seen.

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Sealed With a Kiss

Waste not, want not!

Blogger Susan Crockford reports on Polar Bear Science that she received an email on May 22 from Dag Vongraven, chairman of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group [PBSG], that an upcoming report on worldwide polar bear population would contain a footnote that some polar bear populations are simply best-guess estimates.

“As part of past status reports, the PBSG has traditionally estimated a range for the total number of polar bears in the circumpolar Arctic. Since 2005, this range has been 20-25,000,” the footnote reads.

“It is important to realize that this range never has been an estimate of total abundance in a scientific sense, but simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand. It is also important to note that even though we have scientifically valid estimates for a majority of the subpopulations, some are dated.”

The note goes on to say here are no “abundance estimates” for bears in the Arctic Basin, East Greenland, and Russia.

Which is about the size of Rhode Island, right?

“Consequently, there is either no, or only rudimentary, knowledge to support guesses about the possible abundance of polar bears in approximately half the areas they occupy. Thus, the range given for total global population should be viewed with great caution as it cannot be used to assess population trend over the long term.”

Why should that stop anyone? Don’t you know how science works?

“Daniel B. Botkin, a world-renowned ecologist, is Professor (Emeritus), Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, UC Santa Barbara, and President of The Center for The Study of The Environment, which provides independent, science-based analyses of complex environmental issues. The New York Times said his book, *Discordant Harmonies: A New Ecology for the 21st Century* is considered by many ecologists to be the classic text of the [environmental] movement.” His Environmental Science, now in its Sixth Edition, was named 2004?s best textbook by the Textbook and Academic Authors Association.”

I have always attempted to maintain an objective, intellectually honest, scientific approach in the best tradition of scientific endeavor. I have, accordingly, been dismayed and disappointed in recent years that this subject has been converted into a political and ideological debate. I have colleagues on both sides of the debate and believe we should work together as scientists instead of arguing divisively about preconceived, emotionally based “positions.” I hope my testifying here will help lead to a calmer, more rational approach to dealing with not only climate change but also other major environmental problems. The IPCC 2014 report does not have this kind of rational discussion we should be having. I would like to tell you why.

To characterize where we are with this report and this issue, I would like to quote James R. Schlesinger, the first U.S. Energy Secretary, who said: “We have only two modes — complacency and panic.”—commenting on the country’s approach to energy (1977)

1. I want to state up front that we have been living through a warming trend driven by a variety of influences. However, it is my view that this is not unusual, and contrary to the characterizations by the IPCC and the National Climate Assessment, these environmental changes are not apocalyptic nor irreversible.

2. My biggest concern is that both the reports present a number of speculative, and sometimes incomplete, conclusions embedded in language that gives them more scientific heft than they deserve. The reports are “scientific-sounding” rather than based on clearly settled facts or admitting their lack.

3. HAS IT BEEN WARMING? Yes, we have been living through a warming trend, no doubt about that. The rate of change we are experiencing is also not unprecedented, and the “mystery” of the warming “plateau” simply indicates the inherent complexity of our global biosphere. Change is normal, life on Earth is inherently risky; it always has been. The two reports, however, makes it seem that environmental change is apocalyptic and irreversible. It is not.

4. IS CLIMATE CHANGE VERY UNUSUAL? No, it has always undergone changes.

9. What I sought to learn was the overall take-away that the reports leave with a reader. I regret to say that I was left with the impression that the reports overestimate the danger from human-induced climate change and do not contribute to our ability to solve major environmental problems. I am afraid that an “agenda” permeates the reports, an implication that humans and our activity are necessarily bad and ought to be curtailed.

10. ARE THERE MAJOR PROBLEMS WITH THE REPORTS? Yes, in assumptions, use of data, and conclusions.

11. My biggest concern about the reports is that they present a number of speculative, and sometimes incomplete, conclusions embedded in language that gives them more scientific heft than they deserve. The reports, in other words, are “scientific- sounding,” rather than clearly settled and based on indisputable facts.

In the parts I omitted, he says there is good science in the report. This is not among that good science:

Why measure the temperature? Why count the polar bears? We have models that do that!

Oops, wrong kind of model—but do you think she’d do any worse?

[T]he IPCC 2014 Terrestrial Ecosystem Report states that “there is medium confidence that rapid change in the Arctic is affecting its animals. For example, seven of 19 subpopulations of the polar bear are declining in number” citing in support of this an article by Vongraven and Richardson, 2011. That report states the contrary, that the “‘decline’ is an illusion.

In addition, I have sought the available counts of the 19 subpopulations. Of these, only three have been counted twice; the rest have been counted once. Thus no rate of changes in the populations can be determined.

The U. S. Marine Mammal Commission, charged with the conservation of this species, acknowledges “Accurate estimates of the current and historic sizes of polar bear stocks are difficult to obtain for several reasons–the species‘ inaccessible habitat, the movement of bears across international boundaries, and the costs of conducting surveys.”

No [bleep]! Who wants to traipse around the North Pole counting polar bears? (Count the number of legs and divide by four.) I’d rather roll on a polar bear rug with my climate model above.

Traitor Obama (if we are to believe half the Bergdahl story) is running hell for leather into the Global Warming fracas. May he wind up looking like the carcass in the picture, top (politically speaking, of course).

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