Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Year That Was -- Winners and Losers

Now that the New Year is upon us, let us review the winners and losers from this past year!

Winner: The GOP. The GOP won an historic midterm election and gained control over the Senate. They also finally seem to have gained control over their own party and their own agenda. They have a strong pool of princelings, many of whom are even talking about new and legitimate issues to help win over the public. At the same time, large chunks of the conservative punditry have come back to reality and stopped trying to destroy the party. The left seems more insane than ever. Obama continues to do more harm than good to his own party and is providing the GOP with voter-ready issues to exploit on a nearly weekly basis. And Hillary Clinton appears to be a dud. They face an historic opportunity in 2016 to regain Reagan's popularity if they do the right things between now and then.

Loser: Genuine "Conservatives". We've been over this extensively, but to sum it up: this was the year the GOP fought back against the "genuine conservative" fringe who had been holding the party hostage and crushed them. Not only did every one of their candidates get beaten in the primaries by the GOP establishment, but they were exposed as being much, much smaller than most everyone believed. Indeed, rather than being the "base" of the GOP, these people were shown to be somewhere between 20% and 30% of the GOP (around 6% of the public). This has resulted in the neutering of people like Rush, Levine, Ted Cruz, and the Tea Party, who have spent the past few years trying to destroy the GOP and the conservative brand, and is allowing the party to shift back to real conservative ideas (rather than fringe obsessions) and toward things that actually matter to the public.

Loser: Hillary Clinton. The wheels came off the Clinton mini-bus this year in so many ways. First, it became a matter of open discussion that she's just not a good candidate. She has no charisma, no speaking skills, no political sense, and no loyal base. She's lifeless, uninteresting, uninspiring and gaffe prone. Secondly, the left has all but declared their desire to destroy her because her ideology is entirely corporate-establishment. The couple times she's veered from corporate-establishmentism to leftism to sway the base, she's been caught being highly cynical and has embarrassingly needed to backtrack. Third, she's awash in the worst kinds of scandals... those involving incompetence. Fourth, Obama has made it clear he won't help her, and her husband's help is more likely to highlight her missing skills. Worst of all, her aura of inevitability has been growing holes. That's really bad when that's all you have.

Winner: Jeb Bush. It was always questionable whether Chris Christie was real competition for Bush, should Bush choose to run. This year, however, Christie imploded and opened the door completely for Bush. Combine that with a good year of solidifying support and Bush has essentially cleared his path to the nomination and likely the presidency. Ug.

Loser: Race Hustlers. For some time now, the race hustlers have been losing their clout. With less than 1/3 of Americans caring about the race issue, their days are numbered and there seems to be nothing they can do to reverse that. Toward the end of the year they were thrown a minor lifeline when Michael Brown and Eric Garner were killed by white police officers. Whatever the real facts of those cases, tons of famous blacks bought the myth and even the public seemed to accept the idea that perhaps there was still cause to worry about the way some police officers respond to blacks... then the hustlers went too far in trying to whitewash Brown and demonize the police. In so doing, they danced dangerously along the edge of losing the moral victory they were clutching. Then it all imploded when a black criminal drove to New York and assassinated two police officers.

Rather than condemn this murder, the race hustlers jumped into defense mode and tried to disclaim responsibility for this killer's actions. Basically, they ignored the dead cops as they loudly blamed everyone but themselves and in the process they made it clear they cared more about their own images than the victims. This sat poorly with the public, who rightly saw this as the race hustlers condoning the assassinations and hypocritically showing indifference to the officers and their families. At the same time, newspapers like the NY Post began showing footage of these supposedly peaceful protestors chanting for the murder of police officers. Whoops. And it kept getting worse. A somewhat famous "peaceful" protestor was arrested trying to burn down a gas station in Missouri. Then another black male pulled a gun on a cop in Missouri and got shot. The race hustlers stupidly went all in and tried to claim that the Missouri cop was just another example of police abuse/racism and they actually claimed he should not have defended himself with his own gun... an unreasonable claim to any rational person. This confirmed to the public that the race hustlers' case was never an honest case, that it was always opportunistic and deceptive, and that they didn't actually distinguish between blameless young black males and thugs. This resulted in a massive backlash in which the public seems to have switch sides completely.

Loser: Feminists. Feminists had a miserable year. First, they got nothing from the Democrats and the "War on Women" sales pitch failed in the midterm elections. Even the liberal Pope told them to f-off. Secondly, it's become clear that average women have turned their backs on feminism. In fact, as I explained with 50 Shades of Grey, average women have completely rejected the fundamental beliefs of feminism and are embracing the very thing feminists want stopped. Even famous women are now openly rejecting feminism (click). Meanwhile, internally, feminism seems to have collapsed as well, with dinosaur puritanical feminists and pro-sex feminists going to war.

Then the Ray Rice thing happened and for a couple of weeks, it appeared that the feminists had been handed the gift of renewed relevance... but it was an illusion. Indeed, the feminists misunderstood the entire event. They saw the liberal journalists falling all over each other to lynch Rice and they thought they had found allies. They saw the NFL knuckle under and they thought they had a chance to control vast amounts of men. But within days, the journalists did what they always do and they flipped their outrage on its head and they began to whine about how unfair the NFL had been to poor Ray Rice -- completely undermining the message of feminism. Meanwhile, they discovered that not a single male NFL fan cared what the NFL did or didn't do off the field, and the NFL certainly wasn't going to do more than use feminists to polish their image without changing a single thing. So the whole thing Petered out with the feminists getting used without getting anything to show for it.

Then things imploded when the carefully crafted story of a campus rape epidemic fell apart when Rolling Stone got caught pushing an obviously false story about the University of Virginia. At the same time, Lena Dunham was exposed as having invented a rape just so she could falsely blame it on some mystery Republican. Suddenly, the rape crisis that had become conventional wisdom came into question and and disgrace. In the past week, a series of high profile female celebrities have made a number of statements minimizing the significance of rape and turning feminism's tenant of female empowerment into a joke.

Winner: Wall Street. Wall Street had a banner year all around. Not only is the stock market up massively, but the government enshrined "too big to fail," and even decided to reverse the one smart thing the government had done -- prevent Wall Street from speculating with taxpayer backed money. Basically, now the crony socialists get to continue to play "heads I win, tails you lose" with our money as both parties do their bidding.

Loser: Middle Class. Incomes continue to fall, housing won't recover, stock gains remain the province of the rich, net worth remains stagnant, and middle class-supporting jobs continue to vanish. Yeah, things aren't great for average people.

Loser: Obama. The year has not gone well for Obama. First, it became clear he has no positive legacy and the things he was counting on have all turned sour on him. Then he suffered an historic rebuke in the midterm elections, a rebuke that finally shook free the Democrats from his list of blind sycophants. Next, it became clear that his efforts to muscle his way to a legacy by Executive Order, which he sold as earth-shattering and finally proving his leftist credentials, were essentially duds. Now his task gets even harder because he faces a sane GOP Congress.

Loser: Democrats. It continues to become more and more clear that the Democrats' plan to wait for demographics to hand them a permanent majority is pure fantasy. Indeed, the number of Hispanics in the US population has all but stopped growing as Mexico has run out of Mexicans to export, the birthrate for American Hispanics has fallen dramatically, the birthrate for whites has increased, and the number of Asian immigrants has grown. Even a great many liberals are downright panicked about this. Adding to their panic, they have come to realize that whites are fleeing the Democrats in increasingly greater numbers as the Democrats openly implement their efforts to win more minorities. At this point, the only thing keeping the Democrats competitive is that conservatives have so thoroughly driven away woman and minorities. If the GOP can reverse this even by a couple points, the Democrats' demographic dream will turn into a nightmare.

As an aside, the Democrats' princelings got wiped out in the midterms. They suffered a total collapse in the midterms as well. They are infighting now; and best of all, they seem to have learned nothing. Obama is a millstone around their necks. Hillary looks to be Obama sans charisma... if that's humanly possible. They seem to have surrendered the South unconditionally. The GOP is increasingly controlling the midwest at the statehouse level and even is becoming competitive in the Northeast. And worst of the worst, they are stuck answering for Obamacare... every... single... day.

Winner: America. After the Great Recession and Obama's meddling, the US economy was counted down and out. A few years later, we are again the world's growth engine and its dominant economic, military and cultural power. No one else even comes close. In fact, interestingly, during the year a group of alarmists tried to claim that China's economy was now larger than ours, but the truth is that China's economy is about 75% of ours and will never come close to catching up. They also told us Germany was more popular, but good luck finding any element of German culture the world has embraced. Europe remains a eunuch. Japan is running backwards. South America went from BRICs to basket cases, and all those leftist government who used us as a punching bag are now straining and collapsing. Africa is 1,000 years from being competitive. The Middle East and Russia have collapsed as the falling price of oil dragged them down and as the US inched toward energy independence.

America remains the cultural, economic and scientific engine that drives the world. We are the world's inventors, builders, artists, singers, writers, salesmen, and protectors... and our dominance is so complete that no one else is even trying to compete.

Agree? Disagree? Who did I miss?

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Stopping Obama's Executive Orders

I've said before that there is only one way to stop the left from doing something. That is to take the very tools they create and use those tools against them. Logic, human nature and history all suggest this is true. Why am I raising this point? Because there is only one way to stop Obama's executive orders on immigration, global warming and whatever else: turn his usurpation of power against the Democrats. Let's discuss.

Let us begin with a quick history lesson. The Democrats were fine impounding money until Richard Nixon did it to their favorite programs. They invented the special prosecutor and used it with abandon against Reagan and Bush. They only changed their minds when the Republicans used it against Clinton. Then they raced to kill it. They happily used the Department of Education to nationalize education as they saw fit... until Bush used the same tools they created to impose his views on the country's education system. Suddenly, the Democrats discovered a deep love of state's rights and they demanded an end to federal interference. They loved judicial activism, until conservative judges began using the same tools to reverse liberal laws. The examples go on and on, on many levels. In each instance, the Democrats created some new lever of power which they used to impose their will on the system and an unwilling people, and they only gave up that power when the Republicans finally started using it against them... nothing else stopped them.

Indeed, in each instance, nothing short of the Republicans using this new power against liberal interests had the slightest effect on them. The conservative response typically began with hand-ringing about this being an abuse of power or illegal. Liberals laughed it off. Then conservatives tried to find ways to cut off funding or pass laws to stop the abuse. Again, liberals laughed. Why? Because if conservatives succeeded, all they would achieve was stopping the left from winning more gains... nothing would be reversed. And if they failed, then the liberals could continue to win more gain. Basically, they won no matter what. It was only when conservatives finally started using this power to reverse liberal policies and impose conservative ones that liberals finally saw a real potential for harm to their cause and they rushed to kill these new powers.

Why this matters now is simple: Obama has created a new tool to impose his views on immigration and global warming on the country by Executive Order. The conservative response, as always, is to shout that this is illegal and to seek to cut funding or pass laws stopping Obama from doing this, harrumph! But as the above demonstrates, this is no threat to the Democrats. It's a win-win for them, with the worst case being that they get some of what they want.

That's why we need a change of strategy. To stop Obama, we need to make it clear that we will use the same tools of Executive-imposed non-enforcement to neuter their favorite environmental laws or affirmative action laws or Obamacare provisions. Sure, the Democrats can reverse those actions the next time they win the White House, but eight years of ignoring Obamacare, for example, would be more than fatal to the law. The Democrats will immediately see the risk to everything they have built in Washington and they will freak out and work their butts off to find a way to stop anyone from being able to do this.

That's how you stop Obama, by making it clear that the cost of his ideological tantrum will be the neutering of all the laws they cherish. In fact, some leftists are already worried about this.

BTW, as an aside, there is a real problem with what Obama has done on immigration. His administration may decide not enforce the laws, but he can't grant an amnesty. That means the next administration can still deport these people. Basically, the best he can achieve is to give these people a two year stay of execution. That's hardly going to be worth it to these people, especially if they need to out themselves to make it happen. By comparison, eight years of the IRS not enforcing the Obamacare penalty will crush the system's actuarial assumptions... so will eight years of slow-walking subsidies to insurance providers, etc.

As always, the Democrats have much more to lose from this than we do, provided conservatives are willing to fight fire with fire.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! May Santa bring you everything you are wishing for, and may the spirit of the season remind you why we celebrate this time of year. :D
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The True Meaning Of The Season

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David). To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
– Luke 2:4-14 KJV

Merry Christmas everyone! Have a Joyeux Noel, a Feliz Navidad, a Fröhliche Weihnachten...well, whatever language you choose, enjoy the spirit of the season.

And to my Jewish friends, as we light the eighth and final candles on our menorahs tonight and our celebration comes to an end, let us pray for peace on Earth and good will toward men too -

Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us
to light the lights of Chanukkah. (Amen)

Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time

And we can't forget about Santa! If you have little ones, you can follow Santa as he travels the world courtesy of NORAD's Santa Tracker! But make sure they are asleep before he reaches your home town because it is a fact that Santa won't come until he knows that you're asleep!

Oh, I forgot, for the rest of us (or at least Tryanmax), there's Festivus

And now a word from Charles Dickens - God [substitute deity of your choice] Bless Us One And All!
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Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Left Assasinates Two Minority Cops

This weekend, an angry black male named Ismaaiyl Abdula Brinsley, walked up behind two New York City cops and assassinated them by shooting both in the head as they sat in their cruiser. The two officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, were part of an initiative to help reduce the crime in city public housing by just maintaining a police presence that local residents could turn to for help. This was murder. And make no mistake, this was caused by leftists and race baiters like Al Sharpton, Eric Holder and Mayor de Blasio.

The murderer in question came from Baltimore to do his dirty work. On the way to New York City, he also shot an ex-girlfriend. Before he left, he wrote on Facebook that he intended to kill some "pigs" in retaliation for Michael Brown and Eric Garner... people he wouldn't even have known about if the left hadn't turned them into their latest grievance.

Naturally, the left jumped up and immediately tried to disassociate themselves from this double murder, but that's just evidence that they know they are at fault. Indeed, within hours, de Blasio, Eric Holder, Al Sharpton and the families of Garner and Brown all issued statements that tried to shift the blame away from themselves. None of them actually condemned the murders. Indeed, de Blasio issued a statement that avoided any sort of condemnation. He spoke theoretically about how the police protect us from the "forces of criminality and evil" and how "it is an attack on the very concept of decency" when they are attacked. Notice that he never connects his theoretical opining with what happened to these two officers, he never mentions the event, and he never expressed outrage.

Holder was just as bad. Check out this non-committal statement: "Our nation must always honor the valor — and the sacrifices — of all law enforcement officers with a steadfast commitment to keeping them safe. This means forging closer bonds between officers and the communities they serve." Gee, did something happen? Is there something we should honor? Was there a sacrifice? Or does he just mean generically? Notice there is no mention of murder, outrage, families without fathers... all the things he would have raised if a cop had assassinated two drug dealers. Notice there is no promise of an investigation. There is no demand to find out what caused this thug to decide to murder two cops and to implement reforms accordingly.

The Brooklyn NAACP went even further in trying to make this sound like it was just a random event with no particular cause: "Gun violence continues to plague our city and we remain committed to working with both members of the community and law enforcement to address it in a nonviolent, peaceful, and productive way." Oh, so it was "gun violence"? It wasn't some thug who stated that he was coming to kill cops in retaliation for something the NAACP has been pounding away about. Do you think they would be as generic if it was a KKK member who wrote on Facebook that he was coming to NYC to kill two blacks in retaliation for the murder of some white woman by a local black thug? Doubt it.

Then you have Al Sharpton. Holder and de Blasio want to keep this event as far away from them as possible. That's why they are speaking in terms of theory and hypothetical sacrifices. Sharpton, however, knows he can't get away with that because he got in much deeper. Indeed, while Holder and de Blasio have encouraged the murder of these two cops only at a distance by not condemning the attitudes that lead people like Brinsley to do this and by pushing the idea that blacks are helpless victims of a murderous system, Al is actively stoking those flames in rally after rally by pushing the idea that white's don't value black lives and white cops are racists who will always be protected by the system. Hence, Al must work harder to separate himself from the atmosphere he has created. Consequently, he states: "We have stressed at every rally and march that anyone engaged in any violence is an enemy to the pursuit of justice for Eric Garner and Michael Brown." Funny, I don't recall that. All I recall is the constant claims that blacks can't get justice, that cops are racists, that the system thinks blacks don't matter, that whites don't value black lives, and that every black is in danger of rogue cops hunting them down.

Look, the left caused this just as sure as Hitler caused anti-Jewish pogroms in Germany in the 1930s. These people are stoking up the black community, telling them that they are victims of a system that is designed to allow racist cops to murder black males, and they lie and distort the facts in every instance they can find to prove it. You simply can't beat that drum, a drum which tells people that the reasons their lives stink is that some powerful group has victimized them, without the weaker-minded members of that group deciding to avenge themselves.

This is nothing new for the left. The left works by agitating people to violence. Then it quasi-condemns the violence to assuage their collective consciences while simultaneously actively condoning the causes and justifications that drove those people to violence. If any of these people who claim to want to stop violence actually were opposed to violence rather than just violence "against their own," then Sunday would have been a day of mass rallies at which people like Al Sharpton and de Blasio call Brinsley a murderer, condemn his violence, and make it crystal clear that they will never endorse, support or encourage violence to achieve their cause. That didn't happen.

And let me add this: these people are much worse than the cops they are condemning. Brinsley and anyone who spurred him on are cold-blooded killers. They encouraged a stupid, unstable, evil young man to murder two innocent people at random. By comparison, the cops accused of killing Brown and Garner at worst acted negligently or recklessly and ended up killing those young men by accident or as a result of a situation that spun out of control. Neither cop set out to kill anyone, but Sharpton, Holder and de Blasio's drone did. And if they can't see the fundamental difference, then they are morally vacant, worthless human beings. Equally to blame are all those smug leftists who have been attending marches, whining into microphones or even posting asinine thoughts on Facebook or twitter are to blame. You people got two minority police officers killed, two families left without fathers, all because you childishly express your selective outrage in ways that encourage others to kill. By the way, smuggies, to add the cherry to this crap cake, you also will be to blame the next time some young cop remembers this assassination and overreacts out of fear for his life. Nice work.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

When The Truth Isn't Good Enough, Just Lie!

You may have read the endless reams of articles about the little kerfuffle at Rolling Stone magazine last week. Here is a link to the original story published November 19 - A Rape On Campus:A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA by Sabrina Rubin Erdely.

It's a horrific story about a young freshman who was invited to a frat party and ended up being brutally gang raped by a group of frat brothers as part of some frat initiation. This horrific story spawned campus protests and caused the University Board to suspend all fraternity activities and issue a statement condemning the incident and any kind of campus sexual assault. Well, except that the story was not the least bit true. Yeah, it turns out that Ms. Erdely, in her zeal to find a victim to highlight and perpetators to condemn, failed to do what any credible journalist would do before accusing people of a horrific criminal act. She failed to do any kind of fact-checking at all. She took what this young woman said as the truth because she trusted her instincts and just ran with it. And so did the Rolling Stone editors. As a matter of fact, once someone bothered to actually check the facts and "discrepancies" in the article, it did not take long to find the story to be an almost complete fabrication. It caused a firestorm on Twitter and here is just one of many articles from the Washinton Post - The Full Demise Of Rolling Stone Rape Story on December 10.

Now this is really beside the point. It is Erdeley's explanation as to why she feels she has done nothing wrong that is truly disturbing. According to her...and I am paraphrasing what if none of it was actually true. It COULD have been true and that is good enough because there is a rape culture on college campuses today that must be stopped. But of course, that begs the question that if this "rape culture" is so rampant, why does she have to resort to fabrications to make her point? But even more hideous were her condemnations of any who would dare to take umbrage with her fabrications and distortions and then accusing them of being "rape deniers" and "supporters of rape culture". And the inevitable accusations of "blaming the victim" except in this story, there WAS no victim. Well, except the young men who were falsely accused, of course. But then, that's okay because they COULD have done it.

Anyway, you can read all you want about this issue with a simple "google search" if you want, but I find it scary that seemingly credible "journalists" now have no qualms about printing lies if it furthers their narrative. We used to call that "fiction", but now it is "journalism". This is just one example of the slippery slide downward into some kind of Orwellian nightmare.

Oh, and if you really want to see scary, check out the same type of kerfluffle surrounding HBO "Girls" writer/actress Lena Dunham's autobiography Not That Kind Of Girl and John Nolte's investigation for Breitbart - LINK. In her case she alleges that she was raped by a conservative, Republican student named "Barry" while a student at Oberline College. But this time her false accusations may cause a pretty hefty libel's her "brave" excuse - Lena Dunham on Rape Backlash

As always feel free to comment on this or any other issue...
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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bush Will Win The Nomination

In 2008, John McCain won the Republican nomination handily. I was shocked. How could this be? “The base” hates McCain because he opposes everything they stand for and he’s disloyal; indeed, he’s one of the few to whom the label RINO actually applies. Even worse, he’s unstable. Yet, he won. How? Well, I spent a good deal of time trying to figure that out. What I learned was shocking, and it tells me that Bush has already won our nomination.

Let’s start with McCain. How did he do it? Well, there were many “conventional wisdom” possibilities. Chief among these was the idea that the party simply prefers old guys “whose turn it is.” But conventional wisdom is almost always wrong. It tends to mistake correlation for causation. In fact, even worse, what it often tags as THE “cause” is more typically actually caused by the truth the conventional wisdom has missed.

This is like the misleading “running yards” indicator in the NFL. It has been observed that teams that run for more yards win more games in the NFL. Hence conventional wisdom says that having a solid running game causes teams to win. The reality, however, is that the teams with the most running yards tend to get those running yards in the fourth quarter at a point where they are way ahead and simply want to eat up the clock. Thus, in reality, being a winning team causes teams to run more, which gives them higher running averages. Ergo, the conventional wisdom is entirely backwards: winning causes teams to get more running yards, running yards do not cause wins.

This was the case with the “next old guy in line” theory. These guys (McCain, Dole, etc.) didn’t win because the party felt they were owed the nomination because of their seniority, they won because their experience taught them what they needed to do to win, something the young guys hadn’t learned yet. Thus, the conventional wisdom took a correlation (their seniority) and wrongly called it the “cause” of their victory, even though the real cause was something completely different but which correlated to their experience.

So how did McCain win? McCain won the nomination in 2005 and 2006. He did it by going to every single state in the union and campaigning for every Republican he could find at the local, state and national levels. He gave money and advice. He gave endorsements. He held fundraisers. He even donated to guys who were unopposed. And in so doing, he won the loyalty of the overwhelming majority of the most important, most connected, and most respected Republicans in every single state.

When the primaries began, these people returned the favor. They endorsed him... much to the shock of conservatives everywhere: “Why are these real conservatives endorsing HIM?!!” Many also helped organize his campaign in their states or even ran the campaign for him. This meant they used their own networks/contacts to help him. They even fundraised for him. The result was that his campaign became a juggernaut in state after state. And while talk radio toyed in 2007 and 2008 with choosing which “real” conservative they would back, they totally failed to notice what McCain had done and that he was jumping to insurmountable leads everywhere. They didn’t realize the race was over before it even began, it was just a matter of waiting for the votes to confirm it.

There was one more key aspect to his victory too, which I never realized until the recent talk radio civil war: the “base” that hates McCain and which make it “impossible” for guys like him to win are only about 20% of the party. Another 20% could be considered swing conservatives, who vacillate between wanting to win and making ideological statements. And the other 60% of GOP voters are much more moderate and prefer competence and a strong resume to ideological purity. That means the idea that the base will reject moderates as talk radio claims is simply wrong.

Enter Jeb Bush. For the record, I hate dynasties (it’s un-American) and I loath the idea of voting for another Bush. His family has all but destroyed conservatism twice now. G.W. stopped the Reagan revolution cold by ceding the moral high ground to the left by repeatedly characterizing Reaganism as something cold, uncaring, harsh, destructive and in need of being replaced by something kinder and gentler. He also never once defended Reagan against a campaign of slanders from the left. Moreover, he blurred Reagan’s common sense, middle class-ism with the New World Order of international governance, and he called that conservatism. The end result was the total halting of the Reagan revolution and the handing to the Democrats of a chance to become the permanent majority party. Only Hillarycare saved our butts.

W was a million times worse. He was sold to us as “don’t worry, he’s not like his old man... conservatives have nothing to fear... he’s one of you!” But right away, his administration reeked of corruption and robber baronism, which he falsely claimed was “pro-business conservatism.” His economic policy was disastrous Keynesian crap, which he falsely claimed was “free market conservatism.” He did stunningly liberal things, like create new Medicare benefits, which he called conservatism with a heart... again suggesting that conservatism is somehow immoral, cold and harsh. He totally embraced nation building, got caught lying to get us into a war with Iraq -- which let the left equate conservatism with war mongering. Add to that torture and his attempt to strip the Gitmo detainees of guaranteed human rights. He won the war itself (at first) but proved utterly incompetent in managing the peace, which resulted in thousands of lives and trillions of dollars lost. Katrina incompetence. The financial crisis. Wall Street bailout. Etc.

Each of these things destroyed Bush’s reputation with the public, especially as he never fought back, no matter how bad the political damage. Even worse, because he hid behind conservatism like a cloak or shield, conservatism became tarred with his sins even though he never once acted like a conservative. Consequently, by the time he limped away from office, conservatism was all but dead in America. The only thing that saved conservatism was Obamacare. Without Obama’s horrible presidency, the US would have become center-left akin to Germany or modern Britain.

So along comes Jeb. Jeb was an OK governor of Florida, though he proved not to be very conservative. Since leaving office, he has continuously criticized the GOP and conservatism. Yet, we are told not to worry because this Bush isn’t like the prior two. All I can think is, “Fool me twice, shame on me... fool me three times, WTF is my problem?”

In any event though, none of that matters. The race is over and Bush has won. Consider this...

The right is disorganized. Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Ben Carson and a number of lesser figures all want to be the talk radio champion. Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, and a few others are trying to win both the talk radio right and the more moderate mainstream right. This means that fringe 20% and the swing 20% are scattered among many potential candidates. The moderates are not.

Running against this collection of dwarves was Chris Christie. Unlike the others, Christie positioned himself as a moderate who could attract moderate and even Democratic votes. This makes him appeal to the 60% of moderates and some of the 20% of swing conservatives. Only, Christie is too bombastic, and has too many flaws. Bush does not. By entering the race, Bush automatically wipes out Christie and takes that 60%-80% support.

Further, so far, the dwarves have only played around with the idea of running. They’ve given speeches at various gatherings. They’ve tried to stake out some issue(s) that they think will set them apart, and they’ve pandered to the talk radio hosts. A few have sought out donors, but nothing on a grand scale. In fact, there seems to be this idea that they should do nothing until after the 2014 mid-term elections. Only Rick Perry and Rand Paul seem to be doing more.

Bush, by comparison, has spent the past few years following McCain’s lead. He has quietly helped leading Republicans everywhere he could. He spent his time distancing himself from the nasty conduct of the fringe right in recent years, and he’s sold himself to party insiders as Christie without the flaws. He’s also built a massive donor base – something Rush ignorantly pooh-poohed the other day. In fact, Rush bizarrely warped these people into the enemy of conservatism by describing Bush’s appeal to them as being his ability to “win the party nomination without owing anything to the tea party. Their wildest dream is to render the tea party conservatives an irrelevant factor.”

The result of this is that Bush has essentially sealed up the “moderate” vote which Romney proved was around 60% of GOP primary voters. He’s also got enough promises of endorsements and the such to make sure this support remains firm throughout. He’s collected enough money and promises of money to be able to stay in the race until the end no matter how things start – this means he can survive the early primaries, which are geared toward the fringe, until he can sweep states like New York and California. And he’s done all of this without talk radio realizing what he’s done, which means they will be fighting the wrong battle, i.e. they think the battle has yet to begin when in reality the end game is playing out now.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tuesday Open Thread

Yeah,'s Tuesday and I just can't bring myself to write about anything tonight. There's too much craziness in NYC right now to focus on just one thing. So let's open the floor to talk about anything you want to.

In the meantime, here are photos of puppies and kittens to calm us down...okay, they are for me, but you can enjoy them too.

Okay, now that we are all calm...what's on your mind?
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Monday, December 15, 2014

A Ground-level Update On Obamacare

This is a difficult time for Obamacare. The Supreme Court is looking at it again and may wipe out the subsidies most people get, which will destroy the law if it happens. But even if the law survives that, it remains deeply unpopular and has become an albatross around Democratic necks. Indeed, it has been blamed by several Democrats (including now Harry Reid) as the reason they got blown out in the midterms, and many are trying to position themselves as critics of the law they passed. What makes it so unpopular? Well, here's an example I've run across personally.

When I went to the hospital ER, they gave me a referral to a wound clinic. Ok, I thought, I don't know what they will do for me, but I'll go. So, imagine my surprise to discover that the wound clinic could not take a referral from the ER. When I inquired why they couldn't take the referral, I was told that Obamacare forbids this and, thus, they now require patients to go back to their GPs to get referrals. What if I don't have a GP, I asked, or if my insurance doesn't require me to use a GP as a gatekeeper? It doesn't matter... Obamacare prohibits this.

So I had to see my lousy doc and blow another $80 in insurance money and a $24 co-pay just to get a referral that I had already been given. What a waste!

When I got to the wound clinic, I was shocked to discover that this group of nurses are fantastic. They are MUCH, MUCH more knowledgeable at treating wounds than any of the doctors I've seen. And in one week, I already saw more improvement than my doctors had managed in six months. In two weeks, things were going so well that I can visibly see healing and I've even had a couple days where I didn't need pain pills. Wow! Fantastic.

Anyways, I started chatting with them, as I tend to do. I learned some amazing things:
(1) They lost 20% of their patients when Obamacare kicked in, because many insurance companies dropped wound care as a cost savings measure to compensate for other things the law forced them to cover. The nurses are furious about this because they said these were most often the people who needed the care the most, and now they are basically on their own. And I can attest to the fact that you can't duplicate this at home... no way, and GPs aren't trained to do this either.

(2) They lost another 10% of their patients because their clinic, which had been associated with the hospital but not part of it, was forced into the hospital structure to comply with Obamacare. I have heard similar things from cardiology groups, a vascular group and a bariatric group, i.e. that the law made it impossible for them to remain independent and, thus, they had no choice but to join the hospital. The result is that the wound clinic must now charge a $100 per visit hospital facilities charge, even though nothing has changed in the way they practice or even the location where they are located. The result of this was to drive away the people without insurance, who couldn't afford the extra $400 to $800 a month.

(3) The referral thing is costing new patients an extra trip to their GP every so often. Again, this is wasteful.

(4) Some of the treatments they provided in the past had to be dropped because of price pressure.
So the result here is that around 1/3 of people who saw these expert nurses no longer see them. Those that do see them are paying a good deal more to do so, and some services have been cut. Wasn't Obamacare supposed to be about getting more people treatment? Apparently, that's not the point. Apparently, the point is to strip people of anything beyond basic treatment.

In fact, Paul "I'm An Idiot But I'm Smug" Krugman scratched out an article recently in which he praised Obamacare for cutting the rate at which Americans were spending on healthcare. He based this on a huge drop in Medicare spending. What he missed was that the drop wasn't because people were getting the treatment more efficiently... they just weren't getting it because Medicare stopped paying for it.

Oh, and while the leftist media continues to try to scream that this program has been a success (something the public clearly doesn't accept), keep in mind that the plan called to insure 46 million people. But so far, only 8 million signed up, and only 6 million bothered to pay. That's a 12% success rate. Was that worth disrupting our entire healthcare economy and the policies of 270 million people? Was it worth stripping 30% of wound care patients of needed treatment? Hardly.
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Spend, Spend, Spend...

With all the other hysteria going around, Congress passed a $1.1 trillion budget to keep "The Government" open for a little while longer. And despite the all the fire-breathing Drudge headlines condemning the Republicans and Boehner for betraying us, it doesn't really look that way entirely. Like all federal spending budgets, it's got goodies for everyone especially politicians! Washington Post did a fairly good point-by-point breakdown of what it includes some interesting funding cuts. And like the title indicates they "did the skimming" so we don't have to!

Here are few of the points from the article that I am going to cut and paste mainly because I am too lazy to do anything else. You can read the whole article here - LINK

The law is still funded, but there's no new money for it. There's also no new ACA-related funding for the Internal Revenue Service and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the two agencies most responsible for implementing the law. The bill also would cut the budget of the Independent Payment Advisory Board -- what Republicans have called "the death panel" -- by $10 million.

Congress withholds funding for the Afghan government "until certain conditions are met," including implementing the bilateral security agreement reached with the United States.

Oh, this point is interesting. With all the calls for passing legislation to curtail all that "Citizen's United" campaign spending, our elected officials seem to just double-down (or triple or quadruple) the amount one can donate. This ought to set those anti-campaign spending advocates tongues a-wagging!

The bill would dramatically expand the amount of money that wealthy political donors could inject into the national parties, drastically undercutting the 2002 landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance overhaul. Bottom line: A donor who gave the maximum $32,400 this year to the Democratic National Committee or Republican National Committee would be able to donate another $291,600 on top of that to the party’s additional arms -- a total of $324,000, ten times the current limit. Read more on this here.

Democrats agreed to make some of the biggest changes yet to the 2010 financial regulatory reforms. In a deal sought by Republicans, the bill would reverse Dodd-Frank requirements that banks "push out" some of derivatives trading into separate entities not backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporations. Ever since being enacted, banks have been pushing to reverse the change. Now, the rules would go back to the way they used to be. But in exchange, Democrats say they secured more money for the enforcement budgets at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

This might be problematic for the anti-immigration crowd, but we can't just let the southern border states go broke taking care of Obama's new "migrant" children. And apparently we will be paying their home countries for the privilege...

The bill only funds the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees most immigration policy, until February. But negotiators gave new money for immigration programs at other federal agencies. There's $948 million for the Department of Health and Human Service's unaccompanied children program -- an $80 million increase. The program provides health and education services to the young migrants. The department also gets $14 million to help school districts absorbing new immigrant students. And the State Department would get $260 million to assist Central American countries from where of the immigrant children are coming.

Well, this is step in the right direction!

One of the GOP's favorite targets will see its budget slashed by $345.6 million. The nation’s tax agency also would be banned from targeting organizations seeking tax-exempt status based on their ideological beliefs.

Oh, no! This is really mean...
The legislation once again enacts a pay freeze for the vice president "and senior political appointees."

But the other Federal workers will get their raise, but no more music videos and Vegas conventions. And a military personnel with get the same payraise.

The bill allows a 1 percent pay raise ordered by Obama to take effect in January. And the legacy of embarrassing spending scandals at federal agencies persist as Congress once again banned or put limits on certain conferences, official travel and some employee awards.

Military service members will receive a 1 percent pay increase next year. But there's a pay freeze for generals and flag officers. The bill also ends a five percent discount on tobacco and tobacco-related products sold at military exchanges.

After a year of embarrassing scandals at the sprawling Department of Veterans Affairs, lawmakers are making good on promises to provide more money and oversight. There's a total of $159.1 billion in discretionary and mandatory spending. Of that, $209 million was added to address new costs related to the bipartisan veterans' reform bill passed last summer. The legislation calls for adding medical staff and expanding dozens of facilities. In order to specifically addressing the "wait list" scandal, the VA's inspector general is getting a $5 million budget increase to continue investigating lapses in patient care.

Well, anyway, here are some others:
- Cuts to food stamps, but white potatoes are now an official vegetable "eligible for purchase" with food stamps. Of course, why weren't they before now?
- Sadly, no money to save the sage-grouse, but there is money to save their habitat from further destruction. Poor sage-grouse...
- Official portraits of elected officials will now have to be out of pocket.
- Continue to fund Israel and will no longer fund the Palestinian Authority or Hamas.
- Oh, and you'll be able to get those cheaper incandescent bulbs for a little while longer...

There's more, but you can read it for yourself...well, the WashPo article anyway.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Thoughts On Torture

We've spoken about torture many times in the past and we disagreed quite a bit. That's fine, of course, because all good faith opinions are welcome here. :D Anyways, the Senate has now issued its report on torture and depending on your views, it will either shock you or it will confirm what others already believed. Here are my thoughts.

(1) The most important fact arising out of the report is that the seven or eight times the CIA claimed that torture got them critical information they used to stop terrorist plots were apparently lies. The Senate now reports that it never got anything useful related to those moments.

This directly demonstrates the problem with the torture debate in the past. I have heard for a long time from experts that torture simply does not work. What happens is that the torture subject will say anything to stop the torture. Thus, they will give false confessions and wrongly confirm anything you tell them, whether it's true or not. Basically, they will tell you what you want to hear. This confirms that.

The pro-torture argument, however, typically went like this: "What if you can save a city by torturing one guy? Wouldn't you torture them?" Well, sure, except that as this report and prior experience have shown, torture doesn't get you the information you need to make this scenario even close to likely.

(2) Even if torture resulted in some benefits, it's clear that it is not worth the harm to our reputation to be seen doing this. Reagan described America as a shining city on a hill and others have called us a beacon of light. We as a people talk about truth, justice and the American way, and we love practical solutions that get results. Torture is inconsistent with all of this.

(3) This report confirms that the CIA is out of control. For example, the CIA hid the torture program from President Bush for four months. That's ridiculous. The CIA is an agency that responds directly to the President under the supervision of the Congress. Yet, here they admit that they kept Bush in the dark about a highly controversial and dangerous program and then they lied to Congress about what they were doing. We can't accept this from any agency, but especially not from an agency with the power of the CIA.

(4) Unfortunately, the PR damage from this gives the left aid and comfort in their fight against America, American freedom and American capitalism. As long as things like torture continue, we open the door for the left to paint us as tainted and bad, and for them to jumble in things like attacks on drones under the cover of a generic misbehavior.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Hillary Clinton 2016 Goes Country...

Oh, you've got to see this! I have no idea what demographic this was supposed to appeal to, but, WOW, this guy just single-handedly tanked his own budding singing career. This new country music-style video was just released by the Stand With Hillary 2016 Super PAC and...well, bless their hearts. [Translation: You are morons. Walk away from that guitar and we will never speak of this again]

***WARNING*** What you are about to view may cause nausea, vomiting, blindness, erectile dysfunction, multiple organ failure, seizures, cankles, and hair loss. Please consult your physician before viewing. Do not click "play" if you have just eaten or are not heavily medicated...

I am speechless. If this is the way they think they will win the white, working class vote, then they need a new plan. Needless to say, it hasn't gone over too well at all. But the good news for anyone running against Hillary, SWH2016 is planning similar versions that target the Hispanic and millenial demographics.

Sadly, Hillary has all the money in the world (estimates range in the $1billion range) to spend on her as-yet undeclared 2016 Presidential bid. You see, she has to wait as long as she can to officially declare that she is running because, once she does, she will no longer be able to charge $300K a pop for her campaign speeches and no more free hummus either. Oh, yeah, those fees are made payable directly to the non-profit/tax deductible Clinton Foundation famous for its charitable good works.

But then again, the above isn't nearly as bad as the video produced for her 2008 campaign:

Oh, and just for fun, this is from the rally version at a Texas rally in 2008...

Questions or comments?
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Monday, December 8, 2014

Democrat versus Democrat

As we near the end of a President’s reign, especially an unpopular one, the members of the President’s party start to go their own way. This can range from simply talking about new issues that had been de-prioritized by the current administration to actively attacking the lame duck President. The Democrats are in the middle of that at the moment, and it’s going to cause them serious problems. Observe...

Here are some big examples of recent attacks by Democrats on Obama:
(1) Sen. Chuck “Chuckles” Schumer came out and basically blasted the Democratic obsession with Obamacare. He noted that this was not what was concerning the public at the time and he suggested that putting their eggs in this basket made the Democrats seem out of touch. He also suggested other problems with the law and he blamed it for destroying the Democrats in the midterm elections. Chuck seems to be setting himself up as a “prominent critic” of Obamacare... the only possibly positive legacy Obama has.

(2) Sen. “Dingy” Harry Reid is apparently on the verge of cutting a deal with Republicans to put in place $400 billion (over 10 years) in tax breaks. The White House has had no input into this and actually rallied liberals to kill the bill... after a veto threat. Think about that: a veto threat aimed at something Harry Reid is trying to pass!

(3) Sen. Robert “Illegal Fundraiser” Menendez has been working with Republicans to shape a new sanctions bill against Iran, despite Obama trying to play the “carrot only” game with Iran... and despite Obama claiming that GOP fears about Iran are paranoia.

(4) Obama wants to enact trade deals with Europe and the Pacific Rim countries to lower trade barriers. The Democrats are freaking out about this and are attacking the proposals as bad for American workers.

(5) Harry Reid’s aide David Krone has publicly blamed Team Obama for their losses in November... and aides never speak publicly without permission.

(6) Mary Landrieu attacked Obama over the Keystone Pipeline and arranged a vote to try to pass it over his objections. She fell only one vote short in the Senate. After her 12 point loss last week, she and others blamed Obama for failing to support her.

(7) Several Democrats, especially talking heads, have been positively freaking out about Obama’s immigration order. Others on the left are angered that he didn’t go any further. No one is happy and no one is staying silent.

(8) Lots of leftists and black race baiters are attacking Obama for not doing/saying more about Ferguson... or New York.
All of this is typical and means the Democrats are engaged in at least a low grade civil war. That’s rarely good. What makes this even worse though, is that this was isn’t about ideas, it’s about finger pointing, i.e. they all want to blame someone else for the party’s recent failures. At least in ideological battles like the GOP just fought, you have the chance to fix the things that went wrong rather than just whine that it was everyone else’s fault. Here the goal is basically just to pass the blame.

That said, there is an ideological component brewing in this fight and it’s one that is potentially highly destructive....

I wrote about the decimation of their princelings recently and in that discussion I noted that the Democrats seem to be making a mistake embracing those people in the first place. Specifically, by elevating a bunch of women, blacks, Hispanics and gays to the leadership positions to replace the boring looking/sounding white males who currently are “the face of the party,” the Democrats appear to be sacrificing their ability to pretend that they still are the party of mostly-conservative white working class males. Right now, with soft-spoken old white guys like Harry Reid (who claims to be a devoutly religious farmer who loves hunting) as the face of the party, the Democrats are able to sell the idea that they are not as urban, not as ethnic, not as anti-traditional values as they really are. But by swapping urban blacks, women, gays and Hispanics for the likes of Harry Reid, they are losing the carefully staged images they need to push this lie. In my opinion, that will cost them in rural America.

Anyways, adding to this, I am now seeing lots of articles being written by leftists who are arguing that the Democrats can no longer claim to have any real support among “working class whites,” and that they should accept this and openly embrace an agenda that better fits their new core, i.e. feminists, race baiters, gays and minorities.

I cannot tell you how much I hope they buy into this advice and change the image of their party. If they do, they will lose another 10% of the white vote, plus they will struggle with Hispanics and Asians (the fastest growing group of immigrants), who very much want the American dream... not the welfare dependency substitute.

It’s going to be fascinating to see how this plays out, particularly as all the old “moderate” Democrats fade away after being destroyed by Pelosi’s banzai charges and then Obamacare, and the face of the party becoming increasingly urban-ideological. If they also embrace a far-left urban agenda, they could well destroy themselves.

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Chuck Schumer Must Be Running For Something...

You may have missed this during the hubbub of Thanksgiving, but New York Senator Charles "Chuck" Schumer (D/NY) dropped a little bomblet on his fellow Democrats.

In a post-Nov. 4 election drubbing, he made a speech at a National Press Club on Nov. 25, he had this to say...
"After passing the stimulus, Democrats should have continued to propose middle-class-oriented programs and built on the partial success of the stimulus, but unfortunately Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them," Schumer said. "We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem—health care reform."

The third-ranking Senate Democrat noted that just about 5 percent of registered voters in the United States lacked health insurance before the implementation of the law, arguing that to focus on a problem affecting such "a small percentage of the electoral made no political sense."

The larger problem, affecting most Americans, he said, was a poor economy resulting from the recession. "When Democrats focused on health care, the average middle-class person thought, 'The Democrats aren't paying enough attention to me,' " Schumer said.

The health care law should have come later, Schumer argued, after Democrats had passed legislation to help the middle class weather the recession. Had Democrats pushed economic legislation, he said, "the middle class would have been more receptive to the idea that President Obama wanted to help them" and, in turn, they would have been more receptive to the health care law.

Schumer said he told fellow Democrats in the lead-up to the passage of the Affordable Care Act that it was the wrong time to pass the law.

"People thought—and I understand this—lots of people thought this was the only time to do this, it's very important to do. And we should have done it. We just shouldn't have done it first," he said. "We were in the middle of a recession. People were hurting and saying, 'What about me? I'm losing my job. It's not health care that bothers me. What about me?' … About 85 percent of all Americans were fine with their health care in 2009, mainly because it was paid for by either the government or their employer, private sector. So they weren't clamoring. The average middle-class voter, they weren't opposed to doing health care when it started out, but it wasn't at the top of the agenda."
-from National Journal 11/25/2014

Duh, ya' think, Chuck?? Oh, wait, but I thought it was going so well? But then again I can't say we didn't warn him...but...well, from his own words circa 2010, this is what he had to say...
"I am proud to support the historic Affordable Care Act – the 2010 health care reform bill that recently became law and will help over 30 million Americans, including almost 3 million uninsured New Yorkers to gain access to affordable health insurance.,."

Well, you can read the rest...LINK

Oh, he's just sad that his dream of replacing Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader has been dashed and yeah, he's up for re-election in 2016. So we can understand how desperate he may be to distance himself from his vast mistakes. By the way, Chuck has been Chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee since 2010, so he has been the key election strategist on the issues the Dems have been running on and responsible for the losing streak in the mid-term elections.

Any thoughts?
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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Practical or Spectacular?

More of a question tonight than anything. As we talked about the Dubai Airport over at the film site, we kind of shook our heads at the crappy state of many of our airports. This raises a question: when we build infrastructure projects like bridges, airports, train stations, and the such, should we just build them as cheaply and as practically as possible? Or should we swing for the fences and try to make them into architectural wonders?

Personally, I think aesthetics matter. When people think of America, they think of things like the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, the monuments in DC, the Miracle Mile and Loop in Chicago, the art-deco section of Miami, the San Francisco Victorian houses, and so on. We think of amazing projects like the Hoover Dam, the stadiums they are building today with incredible engineering which look like glass palaces and have retractable roofs, and of course Vegas. People think of these things because they are powerful images that speak to the character, style and dreams of the residents. They speak to a people who want to make a statement with their buildings.

Indeed, to me, what gives a city its character is its architecture. When you can drive through Columbus, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, St. Louis and not tell where you are, then something has gone wrong. Those cities may be large and prosperous, but they feel boring and lifeless. I want more. I want pride. I want an expression of risk taking, of a people who have one eye on the future. Yes, I do. As Americans, I think we should be showing off our skills. We should show the world what we can achieve and build infrastructure that truly represents the inventive dreamers who populate this country. Our cities should match the creativity and energy of our people, and they should leave our visitors in awe, just as they did in the 1930s and 1940s when the world looked with amazement at the marvels going up all over the country.

Yes, indeed. Yet, there seems to be a strain of thought in conservative circles that resists any discussion of aesthetics when it comes to city-building. I find that to be wrong short-sighted, and I don't see anything inconsistent with being conservative and yet considering the intangible aspects of infra-structure building. Or am I wrong about this? What do you think?
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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Open Thread - Riot Edition

Happy Holiday Season everyone? Did you have a good one? I have been out of touch with what is going on for the last week, but what the heck is going on? (Bear with me as I am having trouble typing with my Thanksgiving carving knife injury which is nothing so dramatic as Andrew's problem but it hurts!) What I can gather from reading the local newspapers is that protests are occuring all over the country. With Al Sharpton is fanning the flames of unrest because...well...that is what he does and President Obama is not helping to quell the flames because...well, that is what he seems to excel at. You have to admit that Obama does excel at pitting groups against each other and then stepping in to do...well...more to fan the flames of discontent. I mean, he is a seasoned "community organizer" after all.

I realize that this will be his legacy and what he has used his time to do. Civil unrest is his goal. But, with Al Sharpton as his wingman, what is the end game here? Does he really get off on cities burning, protests and civil unrest?

My opinion is that we should give Obama and Sharpton what they want. Police forces in the country are being too aggressive and should be reined in. Who needs low crime anyway. It is obvious to me that street criminals are just victims of their circumstances and should be treated as victims. Thugs are just "misunderstood" and it is the police that are the problem. Give them what they want and all will be better. We should just hug it out, right?

On the otherhand, I am a firm believer that we have to learn how bad things can get to realize how wrong mob rule can be. As we all know, laws are just for people who will respect them anyway. Obviously, only chumps respect the law, right? Yeah, it's the police that are the real problem.

Of course one can compare the current "unrest" to how the white, privileged class reacted to O.J. Simpson being acquitted of brutally murdering two people. You remember how we took to the streets and rioted after the injustice of the verdict was rendered then. Oh, wait...that didn't happen.

Anyway, maybe we can talk it out. Let's discuss.
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Monday, December 1, 2014

Kit's Thoughts On Black Friday Ferguson Protests

by Kit

The decision of the Ferguson grand jury to not indict was announced and events unfolding in Ferguson as many expected they would. The only difference was on the extent of the damage. On Twitter I saw the Left also behave predictably to the events; Darren Wilson was a guilty racist scumbag and if you think the jury’s verdict was the right one based on the evidence at hand then you are not merely a racist but an evil and deplorable human being without even the slightest ounce of basic decency and not worth the slightest bit of respect. Away with thee! Away!

This and proclaiming #BlackLivesMatter while responding to the riots in Ferguson that destroyed 12 buildings (some black-owned businesses) and thoroughly trashed others (many also black-owned) in a town of 21,000 (over 60% black) with attitudes ranging from timid criticism to implied support to explicit praise.

But what was interesting was the Black Friday Boycott. Aside from a few references in the news, this was largely ignored outside of the greater St. Louis area, to which Ferguson belongs. But the boycott did garner attention, largely because it forced 3 St. Louis malls to close early. Now a question might cross a few people’s minds: Why Black Friday and why target shopping malls? Well, the answer will probably not surprise you but it is worth exploring simply because it reveals something about protesting in the modern era, the Left in the modern era, and a possible opening for the Right.

They know that despite the huge flare-up of riots in Ferguson and protests across the rest of the country that as soon as the fires in those 12 buildings went out and the National Guard restored order to the town that the country and the world would move on to other things. And right now there is no shortage of news with Obama’s immigration edict the continuing insanity in Iraq, a possible nuclear surrender agreement with Iran, (sort of) withdrawal from Afghanistan, Ebola still killing, etc. That means they have to keep attention on Ferguson and the death of Michael Brown. And in order to do that they must maintain the momentum of the protests.

Here is where they face their conundrum, even if they do not see it. In order to maintain momentum they must keep attention to the protests. But in order to keep attention on the protests they must keep it relevant. That means they must carry out protests that will garner attention through the news media; the protests must be newsworthy. So they use tactics that will garner attention, make their protests newsworthy and annoy everyone else.

Tactics such as calling for people to boycott Black Friday by tweeting “Don’t Shop. Join the Movement”, interrupting Black Friday shopping by lying on the ground and clapping, or marching through the corridors holding their hands up and shouting “Don’t Shoot!” in a place where the gun most likely to shoot them is a nerf gun. In Oakland this meant protestors chaining themselves to train cars in West Oakland and in San Francisco vandalizing a Bank of America and a news van. This means, of course, means arrests and, most importantly, dramatic footage for the nightly and 24-hour news shows.

To a person organizing protests this is good. It gets attention. However, it also annoys everyone else and unlike the Civil Rights boycotts and sit-ins where the tactics they used and targets they picked had a direct connection to the policies they were fighting these protestors have only made rather vague “symbolic” connections. The Montgomery Bus boycotters could argue that if the Montgomery transit company does not like the hit they can integrate and the boycott will end. Don’t like the nuisance of arresting people for engaging in sit-ins? Integrate.

Here? There is no such connection. It has the basic appearance of a desperate appeal for attention. The organizers and protestors themselves have admitted its purpose is to “raise awareness” for their cause. When someone says their goal is “raising awareness” it reminds me of Spielberg’s quote about the sad state of modern filmmaking, “People have forgotten how to tell a story. Stories don't have a middle or an end any more. They usually have a beginning that never stops beginning.”

Raising awareness is a beginning that never stops beginning. You can raise awareness until doomsday and never get one step closer to reaching your goal. This is because when you march under the banner of “raising awareness” it means you have no goal or plan other than grabbing attention for your cause. And soon, people will see that you have no plan and they will get tired of your constant grabs for attention. Eventually they will simply stop caring. That is if your pointless tactics and lack of any real accomplishment don’t start annoying the crap out of everyone else. This was the fate of the Occupy Movement when even liberal college students realized that their “revolution” consisted of noting more than slowing traffic to a crawl and defecating in public parks.

But don’t expect the far left to realize this for two main reasons. First, “Raising awareness” has one major benefit: You can feel good about yourself without actually accomplishing anything. You don’t even need to work hard on developing a plan. Just “raise awareness” and you are “doing something”. Second, the very pointlessness of the strategy also allows the Left and race-baiters to keep playing their divisive games that accomplish nothing except filling the coffers with donations.

A person deeply concerned about the issue of police militarization but wise might attempt to point out that a number of whites have been killed by possibly trigger-happy cops (such as the Tosh.0 producer), that an over-militarized police force may impact blacks disproportionately now but, if not stopped, will eventually spread like a cancer to the rest of America. He then may point to William F. Buckley’s favorite phrase “Government can't do anything for you except in proportion as it can do something to you” and the old axiom, “Power corrupts”. He might even point to the “crackdowns” on lemonade stands of a few years back and SWAT teams hitting homes of people late on their student loans. This is a libertarian argument heard even in conservative circles prior to the Ferguson verdict.

But this would run counter to the argument of the race-baiting Left who wants to present an argument based solely on victimhood and blacks as victims of an inherently racist system. To claim that over-militarization of the police might eventually effect white (and other non-black) Americans would mean admitting the system is not as racist as they claimed. It would mean admitting that the issue is not primarily race but the size and reach of government.

So they will continue to “raise awareness” with tactics that only tick off locals trying to go about their daily business. When said locals complain their reply will be a variance of “If you are not with us, you are against us” argument, perhaps accusing them of “valuing property over people” or, if they are black, of “internalizing racism”. And, ultimately, they will self-destruct. It will be slow but it will happen.

If Conservatives are smart this will open the door for them to address this issue in a reasonable and rational manner that balances the need of liberty from the state and the need of security from the criminal. Not only would it allow Republicans, as Rand Paul has pointed out, to score votes among some black voters (some) but allow Republicans to make an effective case for limited government by placing this issue within the larger context of big government by pointing to the dangers of police militarization in an era of over-criminalization.

Rand Paul should not be the only Republican politician talking about this.
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