Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Obama Rated A Failure

The Washington Post seems to be getting a real dose of reality lately. First, they put out an article admitting that the reason the Democrats are likely to lose the Senate - something the Post hasn’t admitted before - is Obama’s unpopularity dragging down their candidates. Now they put out an article admitting that a majority of the public sees Obama’s presidency as a failure. Yep.

The article in question addresses the results of a poll taken by The Washington Post and ABC News. It found that 52% of Americans believe Obama’s presidency is on balance “a failure.” Only 42% think his presidency has been “a success.” That’s horrible!

And it gets worse when you dig down into the numbers.
● 54% disapprove of his handling of the economy
● 56% disapprove of his handling of foreign affairs
● 65% say the country is on the wrong track
● 59% disapprove of his handling of immigration
● 56% disapprove of Obamacare
● 55% think Obama has done more to divide the country than to unite it
Yeah, that reeks of failure. And truthfully, I don’t think there is anything Obama can do to change any of this. He was counting on Obamacare becoming popular once people were forced into it, but it’s only gotten less popular over time. Beyond that, his legacy is bare.

Even one time sycophant Michael Moore said this of Obama's legacy: "When the history is written of this era, this is how you’ll be remembered: 'He was the first black president.' Okay, not a bad accomplishment, but that's it. That's it, Mr. Obama." Ouch.

As an interesting aside, the Democrats are mentally relying on polling showing that the GOP is way more unpopular than the Democrats as a way to tell themselves this isn't a problem. In that regard, this poll showed that Obama’s disapproval was at 54% and the Democratic Party’s disapproval is 61%, but the GOP’s disapproval is 72%. So they are somewhat correct. Nevertheless, their reliance on this is misleading. For one thing, when asked if people will change their vote to prevent a GOP senate, only 25% said that they were scared of a GOP senate. More people, 32%, actually say a GOP senate would be a good thing. Thus, people are more likely to vote for their local candidates than they are to worry about their approval of the GOP. Said differently, the 72% disapproval number is meaningless.

Even more to the point, however, the GOP’s low approval rating comes from Republicans, who won’t vote for the Democrats. Indeed, whereas 63% of Democrats approve of their party, only 34% of Republicans do. So this 72% number is entirely unreliable. Most importantly, though, Obama can’t really base his legacy on the opposition being less popular... life doesn't work that way.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

New York Election Cycle Hijinks.

Oh, those crazy, wacky New York Democrats. As we go into the final weeks of our state election that includes the Governor, the Dems in our legislature have just doubled down on stupid. Well, I guess that's just my opinion. To their credit they have managed to marginalize the Republican party in New York even though the Republicans hold the majority in the state Senate by one vote. In what these knuckleheads think will win them lots of votes, the senate Dems have introduced a bill in the Senate called "New York Is Home".

This bill proposed in June would create a state-level amnesty that would effectively make all illegal immigrants, and pretty much anyone who happens to cross the state line, a citizen of the State of New York. It would bar police from releasing any citizenship status information to the feds unless it involves "a criminal warrant unrelated to their immigration status", allow non-citizens to obtain professional licenses and permits, drivers' licenses, serving on juries, and bestows voting rights in local and state elections including running for local and state office, though federal law would still prohibit non-citizens legal or illegal from voting in our federal elections. As reported in the NY Post, the key sponsor are Brooklyn Assemblyman Karim Camara said that taking back the Senate is the key to getting this passed. The Senate sponsor Bronx Sen. Gustavo Rivera likens the proposed measure to the campaigns to legalize same-sex marriage and medical marijuana", both which passed and have been signed into law by Gov. Cuomo in the last few years.

If this gains local media traction, it might just backfire on the Dems. The two legislators who sponsored the bill represent "downstate" districts in NYC and those who represent "downstate" forget that "upstate" voters are not quite so liberal. Already the few competitive Republicans have been using this against their Dem opponents. It will only get louder and more ugly.

To be honest, my head nearly exploded when I first read this in the Post. But on second-sight, I am thrilled that the Dems have done this. It may just make this otherwise boring election cycle in New York more interesting.

Any thoughts or feelings?
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Monday, September 15, 2014

Sometimes You Get What You Deserve

This may surprise people, but I’m all in favor of Scotland breaking away from England. Why you ask? Is it my love of Scotland and its vast open soggy spaces? Nope. Perhaps it’s my love of freedom. Indirectly. More to the point, I’m a lover of irony and I think Scotland breaking away would be a great lesson for the world. Here’s how I see things...

First, I doubt Scotland will vote to break away. I know that some polls show the YES vote with a slight lead, but polls require no commitment. When it comes time to actually vote, people tend to get a little less fanciful.

That said, I can see a YES vote winning in a squeaker. If that happens, then Scotland will break away and chaos will ensue. In fact, the first thing I see happening is Scotland issuing a new currency (the “Duhmhass”) which they will discover offers the average Scott a good deal less buying power than the pound. Why? Well, here’s the thing.

A country’s currency is based on the economic potential of that country, and Scotland’s economic potential is about the same as if West Virginia broke away from the US. Scotland is a high tax country which relies on steady cash infusions from productive England to keep their sorry economy limping along. More than 55% of Scotts work for the state, putting them around East German levels. Their unemployment rate sits around 19%. They have no natural industries except sheep molesting. In fact, the majority of their largest companies are actually English companies who have opened branches in Scotland.

The one industry they do have is North Sea oil, but there are several problems with that. First, oil economies are notoriously fragile. Secondly, the commodity price of oil is falling at the moment and isn’t likely to recover for quite some time. Third, the Scottish National Party (SNP) has already made noises about nationalizing the industry. Not only will these statements alone chill further investment, but if they actually do it, then you can write off their oil industry for decades. And fourth, they are running out of oil in any event.

The issue of nationalization brings up another interesting point. Every single company of any size has warned against a YES vote. Many have threatened to close stores or hike their prices dramatically. Several Scottish banks have promised to flee to England. The SNP has responded by talking about getting even with these companies through nationalizations, heavy taxes or regulation, or other means not addressed. That’s a sure fire way to kill an economy. Indeed, that is the Hugo Chavez plan... the one that ended up with shortages of toilet paper and food and everything except shortages.

As I see it, here is what will happen if the Scott’s vote YES.

(1) Their currency will crash and they will be shocked to find themselves the poor man of Europe.

(2) The lack of English subsidies will crush their tax revenue base, which will lead to layoffs of government employees and hard choices when it comes to spending.

(3) They will push far left into quasi-socialism with the obvious result of following Venezuela into the toilet. This will be a great lesson for the rest of Europe in what not to do.

(4) England will shift solidly right. Indeed, the only thing making Labor competitive now is that Scotland votes overwhelming for them. With them gone, the Tories should dominate. The effect in England will be similar to the effect here if the Northeast stopped voting in our elections. This too will be good for the world as England, freed from its freeloading cousins, should undergo an economic renaissance.

(5) Other similar groups will follow Scotland’s lead. Specifically, I would expect Spain to break into three or more incompetent countries. Then Belgium will break into two. Italy might follow shortly afterwards, breaking into rich Northern Italy and dirt poor Southern Italy.

This will result in a serious shakeup in Europe, which may well inject a good deal of localized power into a system designed to trample the locals in favor of unification. The result should be an increase in competition of the kind we have here, where the states act as laboratories for ideas, which then drift upward. This could honestly revive European competitiveness to a large degree, and that’s a good thing. So let’s give the Scotts what they want and then let their suffering be a beacon of sanity for the rest of Europe.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11/2001 - Upclose and Personal...

A day that will live in infamy. I was going to give you my recollection of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 and a day that I will not soon forget. If only I could. Though my PTSD has long since subsided, I still remember the day where I believed everything changed for me. My outlook on many things change forever at 9:00am on that Tuesday in lower Manhattan. I would retell my story, but why. You've heard it all before in so many way and, to be honest, I have moved on. Truly, it has long since past the time to move on.

Today, lower Manhattan will once again be a subdued scene of mourning with the families as it has been for 13 years. Perhaps the names of the 2,606 people who died that day will be read. Pardon me for being harsh, but there comes a time where one has to move on. I would imagine that there are very few family members who lost loved ones in the attacks at the World Trade Center who have not move on. For those who still need the yearly memorial, I can sympathize. I really do. But the site has long since shifted from a place of unimaginable devastation to a construction site.

I have witnessed that transformation from my office window almost every day since November 2001 when we were finally allowed back into our building across the street from the World Trade Center. Until just recently, all access to that area has been cut off. A few month's ago, the security wall were taken down around the Memorial Park Plaza and it was opened up with no barriers. And only few weeks ago, pedestrian traffic was allowed to cross Church Street at Cortlandt Street. This may mean nothing to you, but it a major event to me. You see, no one has been allowed to cross at that intersection north of the building where I work since September 11, 2001.

It was a beautiful day for me when I was allowed to cross. I took the time to cross with a sense of great ceremony and victory. Once I crossed, I stood there looking from a perspective that I have not seen for so many years and said a prayer. A prayer to all the innocent people who lost their lives that day and to the brighter future when one day I will again be able to walk across that area with no hindrance like I used to. To maybe go to a Barnes & Noble to look for books or to that Krispy Kreme to buy a donut like I used to or to just catch some rays at lunchtime.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Ray Rice Issue... Oy

For those who don’t know, Ray Rice was a Baltimore Raven until Monday, when he was cut (fired) after a video surfaced showing him punching his then-fiancée (now wife) Janay in the face. This issue raises several issues that bother me. Let’s discuss.

Here is the background: Ray Rice was a popular player for the Baltimore Ravens. He’s a running back. Several months back, Rice found himself in serious trouble when a video surfaced of him dragging his unconscious fiancée (now wife) out of an elevator in an Atlantic City casino. He had knocked her unconscious during an argument.

A New Jersey prosecutor examined the case and let Rice enter a pre-trial diversionary program. Those programs require counseling and erase the crime provided the suspect stays out of trouble for some period of time. This is a very common approach to a first offense.

At the same time, the NFL examined the case and Commissioner Roger Goodell decided to suspend Rice for two games as punishment for domestic violence. The end, right? No. Before the ink was even dry on the suspension, people began to ask how a guy who knocked his fiancée unconscious could get only a two game suspension when players who commit lesser crimes (like using pot) can get as much as a lifetime ban. This did not sit well with many people. However, way more people supported Rice than wanted to see him punished further, as evidenced by massive amounts of player and sportswriter support and by the fans in Baltimore cheering him loudly during preseason.

Despite the support for Rice, the NFL realized it had made a serious PR mistake. To cover its rear end, the NFL created a new policy for domestic violence which includes an automatic six game suspension with the possibility of more. In issuing that policy, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a letter to the owners (for media consumption) in which he actually “admits” that he got the Rice suspension wrong, he apologizes to them for that mistake, and he announced he was issuing a new policy to give him greater powers to deal with these issues in the future. He couldn’t change Rice’s punishment, however, because of due process rights Rice has under their collective bargaining agreement.

As an aside, even while admitting this mistake, the NFL simultaneously tried to justify its initial two-game suspension by stating that Rice’s now-wife supported him and specifically asked that he not be punished. This is a position she continues to take today.

Monday, a new video surfaced showing Rice knocking out his fiancée in the elevator. The actual punch is missing because of the frame rate of the video, but it’s clear he rings her bell and she collapses.

The response was immediate... and wrong.

The Public: When this issue first arose, the public actually supported Rice. They cheered him and they opposed further punishment. The twitterverse and news shows were full of players, writers and fans saying that Rice had been punished enough, that the NFL should not punish him when his fiancée supported him, and that this was between them.

Personally, I think that’s faulty reasoning. One thing we know about domestic violence is that victims typically refuse to seek punishment out of fear or a misplaced sense of loyalty. Moreover, if something is a crime, then the system should punish it, whether the victim wants the crime punished or not. Anyway, that’s not what bothered me.

What bothered me is when the second video came out. Suddenly, every single one of these idiots who excused Rice before started calling for his head. But what is the justification? It’s not like the video tells us anything new. We knew he punched her. All the video does is add a visceral feel to it. And that is the troubling aspect of this change of heart: criminal decisions should be made on the basis of facts, not visceral response. Indeed, it is bad for society if we judge guilt or innocence on the basis of how viscerally we respond to evidence.

Moreover, if we are to accept the logic that we should not punish Rice because his fiancée has absolved him of guilt, as these people originally accepted, then how does having a video of the punch suddenly change that? What exactly changes just because we can now see the punch that makes us decide to suddenly disregard her views? It strikes me that both positions are emotional conclusions looking for justifications.

Even worse, these hypocrites are now attacking the NFL for botching this situation from the get go. Basically, they blame the NFL for letting this situation get to this point, when the reality is that they happily went along with the decision. This is nothing more than an attempt to shift the blame for their own lack of principle onto the NFL, and that is pathetic.

The NFL: The NFL responded to the new video by suspending Rice indefinitely. The Ravens cut him. I don’t condone Rice by any means, but this too strikes me as wrong. The NFL had all the evidence it needed to reach this decision when it first made its decision to suspend him two games. They gave him a two game suspension. To go back and add to that punishment because of a public backlash is wrong. Is the NFL policy an attempt to dole out justice or to garner public approval? If they are reacting to the public then it’s the latter, and if that’s the case, then it’s a crock.

Moreover, Americans are firm believers in the idea of double jeopardy, even in a non-legal context, and for the NFL to add to a punishment without new evidence of something not previously known violates our sense of fair play, and it certainly makes a mockery of the idea of due process if that process can be disregarded without evidence of previously unknown misbehavior.

As an aside, the NFL is now being attacked for its claim that it never saw this video before because the people who want to excuse their own lack of principle are demanding perfection in hindsight.

The Politicians: Ug. Obama, naturally, had to open his mouth to condemn Rice. This is a man who doesn’t do the things his job requires, yet he can’t seem to stop himself from delving into tabloid issues. Pathetic. Biden spent Tuesday trying to tie this to date rape and the Violence Against Women Act. Talk about exploitive. Why exploitive? Because neither Obama nor Biden said squat until the second video surfaced and this became a public topic. Essentially, they are bandwagoning a lynching.

On the other side, Ben Carson stupidly cautioned us not to “demonize” Ray Rice. Why would he say this? Even if he was right, and I don’t think he is, why open your mouth and imply that conservatives think wife-beaters deserve sympathy? This just plays into the idea that the GOP doesn’t like women, and worst of all, there was zero reason for any conservative to get involved in this.

On Rice Himself: Finally, let me say that it’s pathetic that Rice struck his fiancée and even worse that he punched her. No man should ever do that and he should be beyond ashamed.


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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

If You Can Read This Then...

If you can read this, chances are you did not get your education in the NYC public school system in the last decade. Frankly, I don't understand it. There is a war going on in the NYC school system. Those who want our children to be able to learn the basic skills of being able to read and write proficiently against those who want to use learning to read, write, and basic math skills as a political "mind" field.

In anticipation of the new school year that started today, the NYC Department of Education released the 2013/2014 test scored from the New York State public school system. They were by all account appalling!

Math scores passed grades 3-8 -
Asians - 66.6%
Caucasian - 55%
Black - 18.6%
Hispanic - 23.1%

English scores - passed grades 3-8 -
Asians - 49.5%
Caucasian - 49.4%
Black - 18.1%
Hispanic - 18.3%

These are up from past scores...what??? Am I the only one who sees a huge problem? Now, I don't know what the new Common Core curriculum is suppose to be or what it is supposed to achieve, but what the hell does this mean? And this was supposed to be an improvement!

Here are some other statistics. By the way, these are the scores that our Mayor DiBlasio and the UFT (United Federation of Teachers Union) are fighting their hardest to stop. Success Charter schools founded by Mayor Diblasio's nemesis Eva Moskowitz. I am guessing that they must make the public school system in NYC look bad. You see, poor Black and Hispanic students are not supposed to be able to learn because of their background - poor, minority, deprived etc. But please explain to me how they can do this?

Now, I admit, I am cherry picking*, but...

Success Charter Schools in New York City - same poor, minority demographics; chosen by lottery, not by test scores or any other means other than a parent or guardian took the time to fill out a form to enter the student's name in a lottery:

Math - 93.1% passed
English - 64.5% passed

Demographics -
Black - 59%
Hispanic - 39%
Asians & Caucasian - 2%

Oh, Success Charter schools have a non-Union teaching staff. Explain how any school system would want to hide this. Please explain why any public school system would not want to pick the brains of the founders of this charter school system for how and why they are so successful?

In fairness, all charter schools including union and non-union charter schools -
Citywide Charter School scores with the same demographic:
Math - 43.9%
English - 28.1%

On a related note - The top high school in New York City and the state (and one of the top in the country) - Stuyvesant High School - is on the block. Traditionally, those who are allowed to attend this specialized math/science High School are chosen by test scores. The demographics of this specialized school skew mostly Asian and Caucasian. Not because they are Asian and Caucasian, but because they score the highest on a specialized test. The problem is that very few Black and Hispanics pass this test, so the demographics skew too heavily to Asian and Caucasian students (mostly Asian). Being that we have a new progressive Mayor and new progressive School Chancellor, they see a problem...a demographic problem. The answer - lower the standards to improve the demographics. So, they propose to lower the standards to improve the the expense of that other unsung poor, deprived minority demographic that always seems to be left out of the "minority" demographic category - Asian students.

*I admit that I have skewed the statistics to make a point. The overall scores for charters are marginally better than the public school scores. However Success charters schools have 7 of the top 15 schools in all of New York state and have a majority of poor, minority students. My point is why are they being targeted by the Mayor and the school chancellor as bad for NYC and why aren't they working with the founders to find what they are doing right?

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Monday, September 8, 2014

A Cruel Summer for Feminists

by tryanmax
As Andrew noted in a recent article, the Democrats are continuing to push the idea of a Republican War on Women in the midterm elections. Unfortunately for them, feminism has proven to be its own worst enemy over the summer, overplaying its hand at almost every opportunity. In case you missed some of the happenings, here is a rundown:

First, they overplayed the victim card in the wake of the Elliot Rodger killings with the #YesAllWomen hashtag. It was meant as a response Rodger’s rambling manifesto, but the formulation was also a preemptive refutation of the “not all men” argument—as in “not all men are murderous psychopaths”—an argument only a feminist could find fault with. Suddenly, every woman on Twitter was a-feared that any man on the street could be her rapist/murderer. A leer or a catcall became enough to send delicate ladies into hyperventilating panic. But the Twitterverse called bullship on such exaggerated paranoia, forcing #YesAllWomen to grudgingly admit that #NotAllMen are lecherous predators, and outing those who refused for the stubborn man-haters they are.

Shortly after that, the Hobby Lobby decision failed to generate backlash despite the best efforts of HuffPo ,Mother Jones, Ms., Jezebel, Salon, etc. etc. etc. I don't know if it's because the ruling just doesn’t affect that many people, or if folks actually figured out that the decision doesn't actually do what its critics claimed. Far from letting Hobby Lobby off the hook for birth control entirely, the decision only exempts Plan-B type emergency contraceptives and some types of IUDs. Either way, feminists were left making judicial activism claims normally associated with conservatives. They were also boo-hooing that gays have more rights than women now, which seems strangely adversarial toward a group that's never been against them.

The same month, a rather small men’s rights conference was held in Detroit that also failed to catalyze a gender war. In the weeks leading up to the event, feminists predicted a writhing nest of white, straight, Christian and, of course, male bigotry. What actually materialized was a racially, orientationally, religiously, and even gender diverse group that discussed subjects like male joblessness, the education gap, and inequities in family law. Mainstream outlets including TIME that sent reporters to confirm their own expectations were instead forced to report that, even though they don’t like it, the MRAs raise some valid points. Darn it!

Next, Women Against Feminism seized the national spotlight. One could not imagine a more grassroots meme. It began on Tumblr and quickly spread to Facebook and Twitter before being highlighted in the press and on TV. The meme features women who post selfies while holding up notebook pages stating why they don't need feminism. Of course, with any grassroots movement, some of the arguments are trite and provide easy fodder for feminist attacks. However, most of the contributors are quite cogent. A common theme among these women is that they don’t need feminism because of its hostility toward any who disagree with it, an argument which immediately spays feminist attacks by confirming them. Women Against Feminism also puts feminism on its heels by forcing it to run to the dictionary to defend its definition, and standing on semantics is never good footing.

Throughout the summer, the left continued to ignore the DNR order on the debunked wage gap myth by rehashing tired arguments. Reports that millennial women earn at near parity to millennial men suggest that this might not be an issue for younger voters. Meanwhile, recent studies showing that the wage gap widens with age serve to underscore what conservatives have been arguing about lifestyle choices all along.

The end of summer means the start of the new school year. Normally, the walls of academia provide a safe haven for feminist ideology to flourish. But this year is a little different. For years, colleges and universities have been on crackdown mode against men accused of sexual misconduct, thanks in no small part to a media-generated crisis of campus rape. But now outlets such as NPR, LA Times and The Boston Globe are reporting a backlash.

Several men accused of and, in some cases, found responsible for sexual misconduct are suing and winning under Title IX, the same law used against them by their schools, claiming their due process rights were violated by low preponderance-of-the-evidence standards and presumptions of guilt. Numbers are hard to come by, but the sudden frequency of these cases has compelled the media to take notice. The coverage wasn’t able to help but expose flaws in feminist reasoning. One prominent activist in the area, Annie Clark, has been cited describing due process as an obstacle to justice in sexual assault cases. This is not a sentiment that most Americans share.

Meanwhile, some enterprising young women decided to confront college sexual assaults head-on by inventing a date rape drug detecting nail polish. Feminists everywhere rushed to praise the empowering innovation. Just kidding. They were livid, attacking the invention as promoting "rape culture" by putting the onus for rape on women. In other words, they'd rather see more women raped than take steps to protect themselves. But this is nothing new. Feminists always attack suggestions that women display any agency over their own well being.

Correction: The date rape drug detecting nail polish, called Undercover Colors, was actually invented by a group of men at NCSU. Still, this may help explain why the criticism was an order of magnitude above some of the other inventions linked to. After all, how dare a man do anything to help a woman. How patronizing!

The interesting thing about feminism’s bad summer is that it looks a lot like in-fighting. On social media, women have taken on women. On Hobby Lobby, the feminists positioned themselves against gays. In academia, Title IX is pitted against itself. Even the MRA’s keynote speaker was former NOW-NYC board member Warren Farrell whose liberal, if not feminist, credentials remain solidly intact. Conservatives and Republicans have been remarkably absent from gender politics this season. On this day, the War on Women looks like a war from within.

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Another Week of Chaos Open Thread

Hmmm, much hasn't really changed since last week. ISIS beheaded another journalist, the Ebola outbreak has spread to another country in Africa (that makes six, so far), and Russia is dabbling in nuclear war games with Ukraine as its test target. Yeah, Putin has been bragging that he could take Kiev in two weeks if he wanted to. The UN would have threatened Russia with more sanctions, but they were just too busy investigating the human-rights abuses in Ferguson, Missouri to see how they could use it against Israel.

Oh, here's something new! We droned a terrorist with great prejudice in Somalia and the Libyan terrorists were having a frat party at our abandoned Embassy compound swimming pool. Oh, did you hear the one about the 10 jetliners that have "disappeared" from the Libyan airport? Yeah, I am guessing someone may "find" them sometime around Thursday, September 11, 2014. Hey, I didn't say "Benghazi" once!

But hey, here's some good news! Obama has not been reported to have played one round of golf this week! That's a new record, right? Well, maybe he should have played a few rounds since his approval rating has now dipped to 39%. Actually it has been reported that there are big signs outside every campaign office of every Democrat running for the federal office that reads "Dear Obama, Please Stay Away". He has been doing a lot of private fund-raising for the DNC in general, but no one is particularly interested in any photo ops with him.

Any comments or reports of more chaos in your area?

UPDATE - I just read that the Democratic candidate just dropped out of the race for US Senate in Kansas against incumbant, three-term Senator Pat Roberts. Kansas is not a real "toss up" state, but it now looks like it may be solidly red.
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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Good Luck With That!

There are times I shake my head at the Republican Party’s inability to get its act together. But then the Democrats come along and prove that incompetence is a trait both parties share in abundance. What got my attention this weekend was that the Democrats finally put their “strategy” for 2014 on full display, and it’s a laugher. I can't imagine any of it working.

Rather than coming up with a platform that could win over a broad swath of the public, the Democratic plan involves agitating their supporters in the hopes of raising voter turn out among the faithful. That's a legitimate strategy for a low-turnout election like an off-year election. But the Democrats' supporters are demoralized by broken promises and six years of Democratic failure, so they need something rather dramatic to energize them, and this strategy just offers more of the same. Observe:

Attacking the Koch Brothers: The first part of the Democratic strategy involves attacking the Koch Brothers as invading Huns determined to force something unexplained upon the good people of America. Washington Democrats have been attacking the Kochs for a couple years now and ads have been running for months in places like Colorado. These ads accuse the Koch Brothers of trying to steal democracy but never really say how. Unfortunately for the Democrats, outside of pure wonks, no one knows who the Koch Brothers are. So this won't motivate anyone to turn out who wasn't already coming. What's more, Koch Industries has been fighting back by running some nice ads explaining what they’ve done for the state in terms of jobs and progress. This makes the attacks on the Koch brothers sound like paranoia. Further, the one billionaire whose name does seem to be sitting poorly on the public's lips is Michael Bloomberg, who has openly spent tens of millions to push things the public doesn't like, i.e. gun control. All told, this strategy is a failure.

War on Women Redux: As with every other recent election, the Democrats are pushing the idea that the Republicans are trying to turn women into sex slaves by banning abortion and contraception. Essentially, they are running ads accusing every Republican of being far-right religious right, with Debbie Wasserman-Schulz leading the charge on this. Sadly for them, the GOP doesn’t seem to have any Todd Akins this time who will lend credence to this idea. To the contrary, most of the candidates were smeared as mushy moderates in the primaries. In fact, the Colorado candidate is even taking the position that birth control pills should be available without a prescription to reduce the chance of unwanted pregnancy. I doubt the Democratic push will motivate many women, even liberal women.

Race Anger: The Democrats are hoping to push whatever outrage exists about the events in Ferguson to turn out black voters. This is the same strategy they tried with Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012. Unfortunately for them, Obama’s black vote actually fell in 2012 because the Martin thing didn’t resonate, and Ferguson hasn’t resonated either nor will it be remembered by election time. Moreover, Team Obama and the rest have put more effort into whining about the Washington Redskins name than they have in turning Ferguson into an election issue. I doubt this will motivate blacks to turn out in November.

Immigration: The Democrats accuse the Republicans of standing in the way of immigration reform and of racism. The problem here is that they have done nothing themselves to push immigration reform. And having Obama say he was going to do something by executive order, and then letting it be known that he would wait another year (after waiting several years already) sure sounds like a politician playing politics rather than carrying out his promises. With the Republicans shutting up about this issue, there is no open racism to agitate Hispanics to turn out either. All in all, I would be surprised if this turned out any Hispanic voters.

Poor Michael Sam: There doesn’t seem to be a gay strategy this cycle except to talk about Michael Sam. Even the gay marriage stuff seems to have stopped being discussed publicly as the courts have taken over and the advocates have run out of easy states.

Minimum Wage: The Democrats are still pushing the minimum wage issue, even though it has yet to gain any traction anywhere outside of Seattle. Nader and Biden are pushing this one. The problem here, of course, is that only a million or so people would be helped by a raise in the minimum wage (assuming they keep their jobs), whereas tens of millions of working poor will be hurt when prices at places like McDonalds and WalMart go up.

Interestingly, Obama and Biden are both pushing this using the phrase "take back the country." The problem with this is that (1) they have been in charge for six years, and incumbents can't really complain about the country having lost its way, (2) this is a decent populist phrase, except that there is zero substance behind it except the minimum wage stuff, which hardly defines the state of upset-ed-ness with the state of America, and (3) this sounds like a political slogan without anything else behind it.

The “Do Nothing” Congress: Finally, the Democrats (Obama himself actually) continue to push the idea that the GOP has run a “do nothing” Congress. The problem here is that (1) the Senate has done even less and that is run by Democrats, (2) there was no shutdown or implosion that can be pointed to as being caused by the Republicans, and (3) the Democrats haven’t enunciated a platform that was stopped by the Republicans. So the do nothing charge rings hollow. And given that Democratic supporters had a long list of demands and expected those to be pushed hard, which the Democrats did not do, it will be hard to motivate their supporters with this claim.

All in all, this election strategy sounds played out to me. They tried all of this before, but none of it had any traction in 2010 or 2012, so I don't see why it would work in 2014... especially with the Republicans being less stupidly confrontational. And ultimately, I just don't see anything exciting or outrageous enough to bring out their base here.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Back To Reality...

We at CommentaramaPolitics and our many affiliates hope everyone had a festive and restful Labor Day weekend. Now, it's back to school and back to reality. We have 62 days left before the 2014 Midterm elections. As far as the daily poll numbers are going, it is possible that the Republicans can take over the Senate, but it is just too close to call. Is anything happening in your district that could be earth shattering? Let us know.
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Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Film Guide

I've decided to release the film guide. It's called "The Conservative Guide To Films" and it contains a ton of information that will absolutely surprise you, as well as some hopefully insightful discussions of liberal and conservative films. You can buy it at Amazon here: LINK! (Paperback to come.) Enjoy!

Hollywood defines modern American culture, and culture defines "normal." It is through our culture that we pass our values and our beliefs from one generation to the next. By shaping our culture, Hollywood influences the way people see the world, how they solve their problems and to whom they look for solutions. It tells people how they should live, how they should act, and what they should believe. It is the parent so many parents are not, and unless conservatives want Hollywood raising a generation of reflexive liberals with no sense of personal responsibility, conservatives need to depoliticize the film industry to re-establish a cultural balance. That's where this book comes in.

"The Conservative Guide To Films" will help you understand what makes a film conservative or liberal. It will help you understand how the two ideologies present themselves and how to spot them. It will debunk a great many liberal boogeymen and it exposes Hollywood liberal hypocrisies. This is a book for anyone with an interest in films, culture, and politics.

Chapter 1: Why Political Messages In Films Matter

Chapter 2: Defining Conservatism & Liberalism

Chapter 3: How To Spot A Film's Ideology

Chapter 4: Conservative Myths: It's Not As Political As You Think
Is The Evil Corporate Villain Really Anti-Capitalist?
Are Missing Parents Anti-Marriage/Anti-Family?
Why Are There No Islamic Terrorists?
Is Gun Violence Anti-Gun?
Is Anti-War Always Anti-Military or Unpatriotic?
Chapter 5: Debunking Liberal Boogeymen
The Bloodthirsty Military
The Evil Businessman
The Republican Lobbyist
The Unreality of Guns
The European/Christian/Military Terrorist
Fascist Capitalists
Japanese Internment
Domestic Violence Demographics
The Southern Death Penalty
Chapter 6: Discussing Liberal Films
In Time (2011)
John Q (2002)
Norma Rae (1979)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
The China Syndrome (1979)
Erin Brockovich (2000)
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
Battle for Terra (2007)
Avatar (2009)
The Abyss (1989)
The Golden Compass (2007)
Do The Right Thing (1989)
Thelma & Louise (1991)
The Green Mile (1999)
12 Angry Men (1957)
Chapter 7: A Note On Liberal Sucker Punches
Paul (2011)
The Invention of Lying (2009)
Machete (2010)
The Men Who Stare At Goats (2009)
Happy Feet (2006) & Happy Feet Two (2011)
The Other Guys (2010)
Source Code (2011) & Flightplan (2005)
Punisher: War Zone (2008)
Chapter 8: A Note On Backfiring Messages
The Guns of Navarone (1961)
Wall Street (1987)
Chapter 9: Discussing Conservative Films
Brazil (1985)
WALL-E (2008)
Rollerball (1975)
The Incredibles (2004)
Gladiator (2000)
Dirty Harry (1971) & Magnum Force (1973)
Blade Runner (1982)
Drumline (2002)
The Blind Side (2009)
Battle: Los Angeles (2011)
Smokey And The Bandit (1977)
Adventures In Babysitting (1987)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Harry Potter (1997-2011)
Chapter 10: Compare And Contrast: Conservative vs. Liberal Films
Dirty Harry (1971) vs. The Star Chamber (1983)
High Noon (1952) vs. Outland (1981)
Platoon (1986) vs. We Were Soldiers (2002)
Apocalypse Now (1979) vs. Apocalypse Now (Redux) (1979/2001)
Star Trek (1966-1969) vs. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994)
Chapter 11: Hollywood's Liberal Hypocrisy
Anti-Gun Hollywood Promotes Gun Violence
Feminist Hollywood Is Sexist
Hollywood Environmentalism Isn't So Green
Hollywood Racism
Political Correctness Goes Awry
Chapter 12: What Do We Do Now?
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Labor Day...Why?

Monday is Labor Day! A day where we sit by the pool one last time, grill burgers one last time, and take advantage of one more holiday sale. But what is Labor Day all about? No, really what IS it all about?

How is it that no one has demanded that Labor Day be repealed as a national holiday? I mean, liberals should hate it because it makes the unemployed, poor people, and stay-at-home Moms feel bad about themselves. And conservatives should hate it because it is counterproductive to NOT labor and well, it's a Union/Socialist/Communist holiday brought to you by Union/Socialist/Communists in Europe mainly French...GET BACK TO WORK, YOU LAZY SLUGS!

Okay, maybe we can come to a compromise. Let's call it "End of Summer Day". That way we can all be equally sad, but still no Communists! Win-win - Yey!

All kidding aside, have a great Labor Day weekend! Please feel free to rant at will...
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

SNL: Obama Is Unparodyable

From the continuing category of how delusional liberals can be, we had a series of articles about Saturday Night Live last week in which they openly spoke about how they hoped to hurt Sarah Palin, how they hated the idea they helped George Bush, how they struggled with parodying Obama, and how they are just comics without bias.

The one that really got me, of all of this, was their discussion of Obama. In particular, check out this quote from SNL producer/writer James Downey:
“If I had to describe Obama as a comedy project, I would say, 'Degree of difficulty, 10-point-10. It's like being a rock climber looking up at a thousand-foot-high face of solid obsidian, polished and oiled. . . There's not a single thing to grab onto — certainly not a flaw or hook that you can caricature.
This is why Downey wrote his Obama “jokes” as being “about the effect he had on other people and the way he changed their behavior.”

Uh. No flaw to hook onto. Really?

Ok, how about this... even when Obama was still a phenomena, the joke about him (a MUCH repeated joke) was about him needing a teleprompter to sound erudite. That’s a HUGE treasure trove of caricature. In fact, when he spoke away from the teleprompter, his speech patterns became dangerously close to being a classic speech impediment. At the very least, he did things they poked fun at Bush and Palin and Clinton and Bush for.

Within weeks of taking office, you had Obama getting flipped the bird by tiny Honduras. How is that not ironic and funny? That’s the mouse that roared. In fact, it’s the mouse that told the Messiah to f-off.

Then suddenly you had Obama moving the Oval Office to local golf courses. He became so out of touch that he even found himself having to ask “whose ass to kick”... a classic “Read my lips” parodyable moment. At the least, his golfing deserved(s) a running skit where he would strip off his suit to reveal golf clothes beneath or hiding golfing gear around the office.

What else? You had him insulting the British by returning gifts and by not telling them he had dumped terrorists in their territory. He gave the queen an iPod with his own speeches on it... talk about arrogant and tacky. His wife went on insanely expensive vacations (I still remember them attacking Nancy Reagan for having expensive tastes). He got ignored at Copenhagen. He sent a ludicrous plastic-prop reset button to Russia. He told a nasty and inappropriate joke about Hillary drunk texting him.

And most importantly, none of this is political. None of this is aimed at his ideology or could be considered a political attack on him. In other words, all of this could be done safely without them having to poke fun at their own beliefs... not that a true “political satirist” as SNL often likes to consider itself would have a problem poking fun at their own beliefs. In fact, if you add that to the mix, you get these things too:
● His frosty relationship with Congressional and Senate Democrats, including his refusal to help them shape Obamacare.

● His failure to close Gitmo or stop torture or stop droning.

● The courts throwing out almost every executive decision he’s made.

● The surge in inequality and poverty.

● The lack of jobs and their attempt to pretend otherwise: “created or saved.”

● More debt than every other president combined.

● Cronyism, zero oversight over Wall Street, “too big to fail” becoming “too even bigger to fail.”
There is a wealth of material here, material that would have been easy fodder had the President been Bush or Bush or Reagan or Romney. Yet, somehow Downey and the others weren’t able to see any of this. Imagine that.

Not coincidentally, Jay Pharaoh, who does the Obama impression now for SNL stated in the article that he wanted to be sure that Obama wasn’t offended by his portrayal (they even dropped a skit that Obama felt was inappropriate). It’s funny how that was never a concern with Republicans. To the contrary, check out this pretty stunning quote from cast member Horatio Sanz...
I always kind of felt bad when Will Ferrell did his Bush impression because he was such a good old boy that you really didn't think, ‘Oh, this evil little rich prick whose dad and his friends got him in office.’ You thought, ‘Oh, he's just a good old guy I'd like to drink beer with.’ As funny as Will's impression was, the audience as a whole, the whole country, would probably see that as, ‘Oh, I like Bush. Because he's Will.’ You know, if Will hadn't done that impression, or at least made him likable, it may have tipped it the other way. I honestly think so. We made up for it. I think Tina's impression basically killed Sarah Palin.”
Bias much?
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Help Me Understand Something...

I just couldn't talk about Al Sharpton and NYC again. It's making me crazy, so please help me understand something. So one of my Facebook "friends" posted this graph from that great bastion of rational thought,

So being the curious person that I am, I went to the source thinking that I would find an article that would explain the context of this chart. Uh, no. What I found was just a series of out-of-context charts and graphs that prove pretty much nothing other than the top 1% of income earners are educated professionals (doctors, lawyer, MBA's etc) and earn a lot more than I do. And one category as "not working or deceased" that I really can't explain at all...what?

I digress. So the graph that he published on Facebook was the one above and this is our comment stream:

Me: "All it looks like to me is that by taking more from the top 20%, it just creates more in the bottom 20%..."

Friend's "Friend": "No thats not how that graph works. It's a distribution graph"

Me: Okay, so by distributing the wealth, as is indicated by the bottom graph, it pretty much visually represents that it would create a much larger bottom 20% (aka "poor people") How does that make it better?

Friend's "Friend": [no response]*

What am I missing? My mind is boggled. Frankly, this is a great example of taking something on political faith. We see what we want to see because there is no explanation or context.**

*I get that alot. Or in the alternative, I get "that was a stupid comment. You obviously watch Faux News" for which I respond "Uh, but you didn't tell me WHY it was stupid. Please elaborate." and their retort: [radio silence] - or something along those lines...

**I will be at the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament today watching tennis players hit tennis balls and stuff, so I will join in as I can. As always, please feel free to change the subject.
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Monday, August 25, 2014

ISIL = Worse Than Hitler

It seems that things are about to blow up with regard to ISIS or ISIL or whatever they want to call themselves. So we should probably talk about them. Here are my thoughts.

Islam Is The Root Cause: It’s funny how liberals love talking about root causes when it comes to crime or domestic violence or poverty, but somehow it’s anathema and racist to talk about it when it comes to Islamic terrorism. ISIL like al Qaeda and the thousands of other Islamic terrorist groups have continued to show that Islam breeds terrorists. There is no denying this. Hundreds of thousands of Islamists have joined these groups with the intention of hurting, killing and maiming innocent and unsuspecting people all in the name of spreading Islam by fear and force.

Backing Into A Corner: Team Obama is really backing themselves into a corner on this ISIL issue. For years now, they have denied that al Qaeda or Iran or anything else really poses any threat to the United States or her people. Yet, this past week, various Obama team members, including Defense Secretary Hagel, played up ISIL as “something we’ve never seen before” and “more dangerous than al Qaeda.”

This is bizarre. Team Obama are literally backing themselves into a corner where they will have no choice but to start a ground war to eliminate ISIL. Indeed, it’s impossible for Obama to make ISIL out as an existential threat to the United States and the free world and then do nothing about them. And don’t forget, this isn’t a group he can sanction with any credibility.

Elitist Priorities: It’s funny to me that the left always attacked Bush and Bush and Reagan for not caring about “real” people but instead only acting when the interests of their friends were at stake. So what are we supposed to make of this? Until ISIL decided to kill a journalist, Team Obama completely downplayed the threat from ISIL. Sure, they had taken over 1/3 of Iraq and a good chunk of Syria, but they were nothing but a group of thugs who would soon fail once the Iraqis got their act together. This wasn’t our problem.

Then they killed a journalist... a sacred journalist... and suddenly Team Obama springs into action: “This is an outrage! This is unheard of! They’re worse than Hitler!” What kind of statement is that? “Gee, so sorry all you dead Iraqi Christians and you wrong kind of Muslims, sorry all you girls who lost your human rights, but all of you together do not add up to the worth of the life of a single journalist.” This is what caring about real people is supposed to look like?

Stop With The Money: One of the things Hagel said was that ISIL is better at fund raising than al Qaeda ever was. He links their funding to their threat level. As I’ve pointed out many times before, I find this to be intensely stupid thinking. It doesn’t take money to be a great terrorist. I can cause more chaos in this country than al Qaeda ever did with just a good set of tools. This idea that it takes money to rain destruction on a country is silly

Cover-Up: Finally, I don’t think ISIL is any worse than al Qaeda, but I think Team Obama is pushing this line because he doesn’t want to be the president who let Iraq become a failed terrorist state. Hence, he’s planning to send in the troops. And the only way he thinks he can justify that while still pretending that Bush’s invasion was inappropriate it to pretend that something bigger and more dangerous has invaded Iraq than what caused Bush to go to war in Iraq. Ergo, his decision was smart and justified whereas Bush was being stupid.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

General Chaos Open Thread

Gloom, despair and chaos! Are things really as bad as they seem or is it just that we have more access to...well...every moment of every day from every corner of the world? Let's review - So there are riots in Missouri along with Al Sharpton, protests in New York along with Al Sharpton, earthquakes in Oklahoma, droughts in California, and our southern borders are hemorrhaging "migrants".

There is a growing Ebola epidemic/possible pandemic brewing out of West Africa, ISIS beheadings in Iraq or Syria (or Iraq AND Syria), a volcanic eruption in Iceland (maybe), Russian rebels in Ukraine, Russian military jets in US airspace daily, and China has invaded disputed area of India. Oh, and the Pope just announce that he might not be around in three years. But maybe it isn't all so bad because President Obama is still on vacation. Does anyone expect (or pray for) a full-on alien invasion from the Pleiades that will put us out of our misery?

Now, I happen to believe the world is like this all the time. We just have so much access to a constant stream of global news, it just seems like chaos. What do you think? Or if you don't buy my chaos theory, do you have more to add to the list?

I will be out for part of the day and will join in as soon as I can. Play nicely!
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Definition of Insanity Is...

Leftists can be so delusional. And they have such short memories. This time, it’s an article at Politico about their hope that Hillary can fix Obama’s foreign policy mess. This thing will make your head spin.

The article begins by telling us that Obama’s foreign policy is a mess. It’s a mess, says the author, because Obama’s foreign policy is basically “focused on fixing his predecessor’s mistakes.” The article then says that “‘Don’t Do Stupid Stuff’ may be sound advice for college-bound kids, but it’s not a foreign policy doctrine.” Wow. Of course, the article points out that this isn’t really Obama’s fault. See, since Obama was forced to spend so much time fixing “the economic mess he inherited. . . it’s understandable that Obama sought to limit America’s exposure to foreign conflicts.” Hence, it’s not his fault that even six years later he still has done nothing in the foreign policy arena.

Whoa! Hold the phone. That’s completely false.

Obama ran on the idea of closing Gitmo, fixing our foreign relations, and making the world love and respect us again. He promised to stop droning people, to end torture, to stop supporting dictators, to tell China to stop hurting our exports, and to refocus our foreign policy on do-gooderism. That was his promise, not “I’m going to ignore foreign policy while I fix the economy.”

And consistent with that, Obama tried to do precisely this when he first took office... sort of. Specifically, he did the bow and apologize tour and he expected that would fix the Middle East. He declared Bush evil and promised to never act that way again. He hit the reset button with Russia. At the same time, he tried to stand town tiny Honduras and bully tiny Israel into a settlement with the Palestinians. He sent people to dance for the Chinese and he promised to lead from behind at Copenhagen.

So the entire premise of this idea that Obama focused on the economy is wrong. The real problem is not that Obama did nothing, it’s that nothing Obama did worked. The bow and grovel tour didn’t change a thing. When nothing got better, Obama expanded droning and he continued to authorize torture until he’s out of office. Oh, and he expanded the droning into Pakistan and Yemen and Somalia. He also got us involved in Syria and Egypt and Libya, and he sent the navy to make sure any pirates near Somalia were OSHA compliant. Now he’s going back into Iraq. Iran is still going nuclear. He didn’t move the Israel-Palestinian thing even an inch, despite repeated attempts to beat the Israelis into submission. He’s also muddled his way through the Arab spring, ultimately siding with dictators in Egypt.

Standing up to Honduras didn’t work either. They ended up flipping us the bird and Obama walked away in a huff, leaving South American to Brazil, Argentina, and Cuba to carve up. Russia has been on a tear ever since the reset button, invading countries, arresting political opponents, extorting Europe, selling arms, and generally causing problems all around the world.

Obama did call out al Qaeda for racism in hiring, but they didn’t really change. He discovered he couldn’t close Gitmo because no one wanted these people back, so he tried to take away their rights and make them non-people. China laughed in his face and proceeded to cause problems in the region which are slowing building to armed conflict between China and Japan and some others.

Even at Copenhagen he discovered what happens when you let other people lead... they do things you don’t like, and he let them all but kill any international effort to fight climate change.

So let’s be honest. Obama did exactly what he swore he would in foreign policy and it blew up on him.

So what would Hillary fix? Well, this is where it gets interesting. See, the first premise was that Obama basically had no foreign policy. We just debunked that, but the author runs with it. He says Hillary must put human rights and democracy above our national interests and must stop dealing with evil dictators. She must support popular uprisings. And she must be willing to use the US military to back these things up.

But that’s exactly what Obama did!!

Moreover, at the same time the author says this, he attacks Bush for his “freedom agenda,” which he describes as “utopian.” The “freedom agenda” was an agenda to put human rights and democracy before our national interests and to stop dealing with dictators. Sound familiar?

Honestly, my head is spinning. So Obama did what Bush did, but it didn’t work, so the author pretends that Obama did nothing. He then tells Hillary to do what both Bush and Obama did, which didn’t work, but he criticizes Bush for advocating the very things he’s now telling Hillary to do! BANG! Arggg. My head!

Einstein's definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and to expect a different result. Think about that.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Texas Rumble - Gov. Rick Perry Versus Public Integrity Unit

As no doubt you have heard, on Friday a Travis County Grand Jury (that's Austin for you non-Texans) indicted sitting Governor Rick Perry with two counts of "abuse of power" over a line item budget veto. His alleged crime centers around Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, head of the Public Integrity Unit who Perry demanded resign after she was arrested, pled guilty, and served her time for DWI while serving as head of the "Public Integrity Unit".

On April 13/14, 2013, District Attorney Lemberg was minding her own business drifting back and forth over several lanes on a major thoroughfare in Austin, Texas. A concerned citizen who did not want to die, informed the cops who stopped her for suspicion of "driving while intoxicated".

Okay, because actions speak louder than words and because it is so darn entertaining, here are the videos of Lehmberg's field sobriety test and subsequent booking at the police station. Keep in mind this is a person who is charge of the "Public Integrity Unit". I have got to applaud the cop administering the test. He should win some kind of commendation for patience...

And her subsequent booking at the police station where she had to be physically restrained for being threatening and belligerent. [I mean, almost Hannibal Lector restrained...]

Yeah, my personal favorite is the insistence that she only had two glasses of wine so she couldn't possibly be drunk. Judging by her obvious stumbling, slurring, and other "tells", I am guessing that the wine glass must have looked something like this:

The blood test showed that her blood alcohol level was at .239, three times the legal limit.

There are ten things that you should know:

1. Governor Perry repeatedly demanded that Lehmberg resign because of her DWI and subsequent jail time.

2. When Lehmberg would not resign, he threatened to use his power of the line item veto to defund her department (Public Integrity Unit) and then made good on his threat.

3. The Governor of Texas (not just Perry) has the State Constitutional power of the line item veto.

4. Travis County District Attorney is an elected position.

5. Ms. Lehmberg is a very blue Democrat.

6. Austin/Travis County is the bluest county in the state.

7. If Lehmberg resigned, Perry had the authority to appoint someone to fill her position,

8. In a political attack ad by Wendy Davis, Dem candidate for Governor, it was alluded that the Public Integrity Unit was or should be investigating Perry and current Republican candidate for Governor candidate Greg Abbott for misuse of funds related to a grant to a cancer treatment center.

9. Wendy Davis is trailing Greg Abbott by double digits.

10. "Public Integrity Unit" is a wonderfully classic Orwellian name for a government investigative unit.

#11. I should add that Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg has not resigned...

Those are the basic facts. [Okay, #10 is just my opinion.] Now put all that together and come up with a reason that this is not purely political and why Perry should be sent to prison. I know you have thoughts. So let's hear them.
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Monday, August 18, 2014

Democracy Is Not Broken

For several months now, everywhere I’ve looked, there have been articles attacking the idea of Democracy (e.g. “What’s gone wrong with democracy”). These have come largely from the leftist MSM trying to come to terms with why people aren’t satisfied with their policies. Their conclusion is that something is “wrong” with Democracy. Let’s talk about this.

Before we start, let’s understand why the MSM is waxing philosophical on this. Whenever leftist regimes fail, the MSM always ponders if the “real” problem isn’t that the world is broken. This is why at the end of the Carter years, you saw all these articles about the US being ungovernable and “too large to be run by one man.” This is a leftist self-defense mechanism to help them avoid the fact that they failed, and it’s no different this time.

This time, the left has concluded that there is something wrong with Democracy itself because supposedly (1) it can’t solve problems and (2) it doesn’t lead to content citizens. The left bases this on the struggles it has had fixing the world economy, getting credit for making our lives better with Obamacare, passing their agenda like getting the public to agree to tax hikes or sacrificing to stop global warming climate change, their inability to solve any of the wars they’ve started (see e.g. Syria), and the near collapse of Democracies in places like Argentina and Russia and the growing unrest and chaos in Brazil, etc. Moreover, despite their best efforts to “help us,” the public just keeps getting angrier and angrier with them. Hence, there must be something wrong with Democracy!

But is there really? Well, no.

The first thing to note is that Democracy isn’t an instant process. In other words, it is wrong to assume that Democracy works like a machine which spits out a solution when you turn it on. Democracy is a process that can take years to find a solution and can take many twists and turns getting there. In that regard, it’s like the stock market. The market doesn’t zero in on the right price and stay there, it gets there little by little, often overshooting in either direction, but generally getting it right over time. Democracy is the same thing... it can be very wrong in the short term, but generally finds the right solution over the long term.

So anyone expecting a simple, instantly correct solution from Democracy will always be disappointed. Yet, this is what the left premises these arguments upon. Even worse, the left has wrongly defined its own desires as right. Basically, its argument is that “we are offering the right things... the public is resisting... hence, the public is wrong... and since the public can stop us in a Democracy, Democracy doesn’t work.”

This kind of thinking is how you end up supporting Hitlers and the such. If you believe this chain of logic, then dictators offer the promise of cutting to the chase and imposing “the right” solutions immediately. By comparison to these kinds of thinkers, Democracy seems slow and offers a high risk of never getting to the right place. But this chain of logic is wrong. Just because you think something is good for everyone doesn’t mean that you are right. And that is the key difference between Democracy and every other system. In a Democracy, you need to convince the public that you are right, i.e. you need to win them over to get your way. The result is a forced intellectual rigor that is much more likely to make you (1) find a genuine solution to a real problem, (2) work out all the flaws and defects in your idea, (3) obtain broad public support, which will help implement the idea, and (4) consider the benefits and harms to a wide swath of the public, which means you are more like to keep making society better rather than cause negative distortions.

A centralized government is never forced to go through this. A centralized government simply does what the handful of leaders think is right. The result is that they don’t consider the effects on most people, they are never presented with a need to work through any of the problems their ideas raise, and they lack public support, which means they will face public resistance.

As a result of this, Democracies are more stable because they do require broad public support. They are more likely to work for the benefit of the majority of the public. They are more likely to implement effective ideas as well because there is a competition of ideas, and as we all know, there is no better way to find the best solution than competition because it focuses people on what matters, it makes them put forward their best ideas and best arguments, and it creates an adversarial system that gives the opponents a chance to point out all the flaws which can then be fixed. And they are more likely to have broad public support, which means they will face limited resistance.

You don’t get any of that in any non-Democratic system.

It is no surprise that the American public is most upset about four things: (1) Obamacare, because it was steamrolled over them without any public input, (2) financial reform (all the way back to TARP), because it was done in secret and forced on them, (3) the Federal Reserve’s QE programs, because they were done in secret, and (4) the lack of jobs, because no genuine solutions have been offered. It’s also no surprise that the biggest hot button issues of the past 40 years have been foisted on the public by the courts. Unless you let the public work the problem out amongst themselves, you will never reach a long-term solution.

Finally, the idea that people aren’t content is wrong thinking as well. The lack of contentment is not a sign that Democracy is a failure, it is a clear sign that the current course is the wrong one. It is a sign that the public is rejecting the current solutions being offered and feels that the current leadership isn’t capable of offering solutions they will like. Said differently, it is a repudiation of the leadership, not an indictment of the style of government.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Summer Mayhem Open Thread

Wars everywhere, famine, floods in the Northeast, riots in the Midwest, and general angst everywhere. Well, that was just this week. It just seems like the world is going the hell in a giant handbasket. But it can't be that bad since President Obama is playing golf in Martha's Vineyard and, oh joy, Vice President Biden is swimming in the Hamptons...naked. So, let's relax and put it all into perspective. The floor is open. What's on your mind?'

Oh, here's something to start with. The San Antonio Spurs have hired Becky Hammon as the first full-time female assistant coach in the NBA. I don't know about you, but should be pretty big news in the world of professional sports. I think that it's pretty cool especially since it's in Texas where they hate women. No reports of rioting so far.
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