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Democrats say: Hey, only WE can demean blacks

April 22, 2010 1 comment

James Taranto, one of the right’s wittiest and most insightful commentators, of the Wall Street Journal wrote in his Best of the Web piece today a follow-up to his Monday piece about the Democratic Party’s existential need to maintain the perception of a racist America in order to keep blacks voting Democratic. In today’s piece, he quotes the Media Matters response to his theory, which — again — is essentially that the Democratic Party has to perpetuate the myth that America is a racist nation in order to maintain the African-American vote:

First and foremost, it’s remarkably insulting. The implication of Taranto’s theory is that African-Americans aren’t sophisticated or observant or intelligent enough to know real racism when they see it, and are thus continuously duped en masse into voting for Democrats. It couldn’t be the case that black voters actually care about issues and have real reasons for voting Democratic, they’re just puppets who are motivated by racial sentiments that Democrats prey upon. Taranto and his pals at Fox & Friends might think they’re attacking the Democrats, but they’re actually demeaning black voters.

This is precisely what conservatives have been saying about affirmative action and the assumptions that underscore it and every other policies like it: that Democrats who say blacks can’t get ahead in this world without lowering standards are “remarkably insulting.” We’ve said over and over, essentially, that — and I’ll borrow Media Matters’ language here — affirmative action’s principle “implication … is that African-Americans aren’t sophisticated … or intelligent enough” to get into good schools or better-paying jobs without the benevolent white man’s help.

So, what is more “demeaning”: to (a) be a Republican and observe that people (in this case, African-Americans) who’ve put their trust in their self-proclaimed leaders (in this case, Democratic politicians) assume, naturally, that their leaders aren’t lying or exaggerating about race in America in order to keep them in the fold, or (b) to be a Democrat and observe that blacks are fundamentally incapable of achieving their full potential unless the government arbitrarily lowers the bar for them?

At least, if we Republicans are, in fact, guilty of “demeaning” blacks, all we’re saying is that they’ve fallen victim to something all humans are susceptible to: the bias that authority, or perceived authority, gives to whatever that authority says. In other words, it makes perfect sense that blacks believe the lies and distortions their Democratic leaders perpetuate about race in America, because blacks trust their leaders.  This is a fundamental truth about human nature, not the nature of blacks per se: we humans tend to believe most the people we trust most. So Taranto’s indictment is not of African-Americans, but of the Democratic leaders who mislead them on race issues — a point clearly lost on Media Matters.

The U.S. military is now a laboratory of social experimentation

April 22, 2010 1 comment

We’ve reached a lot of tipping points recently, but this one might be among the scariest, because it’s likely to be followed by even more drastic and radical social-engineering moves within the military. Soldiers cooped up hundreds of feet under water can’t smoke cigarettes or act like men anymore. I’ll bet anyone a hundred 2030 dollars that 20 years from now, you’ll be able to enter the military and refuse to go to war on ideological or political grounds … or because you didn’t enter the military to go to war, silly, but to get your school paid for.

A friend’s email response to me about this nonsense was nice ‘n’ poignant: “While we’re at it, let’s require all submariners to have two hours of sunlight per day. I mean, it’s totally unhealthy to be cooped up like that for so long. And what about more windows? Television? You know what’s also integral to the military? Letting it be run by the military with limited policy and pundit interference.”

Cadell and Schoen: Dems are delusional

March 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Hardcore Democrats’ delusion when it comes to health-care polling really is perplexing and its manifestation during the health-care debate of 2009-10 will likely make its way into political-science, political-psychology — dare I suggest mental-disorder? — textbooks soon.

To support this bill, despite the polling data on it, is one thing — perhaps even admirable in a very narrow way. To support it because of the polling — hanging your hat on the finding that just about everyone thinks the system needs to be fixed — is downright inexplicable. A couple Democrat greybeards are trying to talk them down from the ledge, but there’s little reason to believe the Three Stooges (Harry, Girly, and O) will listen.

The die-hard reformer’s argument goes like this: seventy percent of America says the system needs to be fixed. Ergo, 70 percent of America supports this fix. This logic applied in just about every other context, though, would make these very die-hards laugh, but somehow, in this context, their own paralogic makes perfect sense.

Let’s pick a couple different contexts.

Ask Robert Gibbs how he thinks teachers — probably 100 percent of whom would say our school system needs to be fixed — would react if we said, “Ergo, you must, therefore, support No Child Left Behind.” (Note: most teachers hate this law.) Gibbs, after smugly smiling and saying something snarky and rude would — rightly so — dismiss the assertion as ludicrous.

Pick any other topic. One more example before I wrap up:

Probably 98 percent of America (the other 2 percent resides in San Fransisco, Berkeley, and other such pockets of political and moral idiocy) would say the U.S. has a right to defend itself militarily against foreign enemies. You draw from that generalization the following: “Ergo, the Iraq War was a just war.” To do so would elicit more than a few LOLs or ROTFLMAOs from just about anyone capable of keeping up with simple logic.

But if that someone were Robert Gibbs, after picking himself up off the floor, he’d say, “But anyway, seriously”: this health-care bill must pass because 70 percent of Americans think the system is broken.

Why insurance?

March 10, 2010 Leave a comment

I know the answer to this, so I’m asking a rhetorical question here: When did health insurance become the standard? Someone decided it would be a good idea — yes, probably even profitable! — to offer insurance in the health-care market; others followed suit: more and more companies entered the market to offer insurance products, competition grew, plans varied, and all was well. Those who could afford it or otherwise thought it was a good idea bought policies. Some employers decided to offer it as a benefit.

Then the government stepped in during WWII and outlawed wage increases. Businesses started to offer health benefits as a way around these wage controls, because whether the pols in Washington who came up with the bright idea of wage controls understood it or not, businesses still had to attract and keep the best employees it could. Enter the employer-based health-insurance system. Nothing more or less than an accident of history — rather, an obvious consequence of wrongheaded liberal policy.

Now, for some unknown reason, this horribly nonsensical idea of providing health insurance that covers every visit and procedure — a model that makes NO economic sense whatsoever in the first place and which has been worsened by government mandates and hairy regulations — has become the standard.

Why?

I submit that the moral crime is not that 40 million-plus people are uninsured; it is instead that 250 million-plus people are. The insurance model itself is responsible for health care’s skyrocketing costs. Sure, medical technology is expensive and is a big reason for the increased cost, but it wasn’t cheap 10 years ago to build laptops, either, yet those prices continue to drop, despite the ever-more-powerful technology loaded up in those. And why are laptops (and DVD players, and plasma TVs, and so on) so much cheaper in real terms than 10 years ago?

You guessed it: First, because the government hasn’t established a right to Macbooks, so in order to increase market share, Apple has to find ways to reduce their prices. And second, there’s no insurance model — yet — that allows people to pay a cheap monthly premium for the right to buy a new laptop every other month for a nominal copay of $20. If such a thing existed and were widespread enough, you can bet Apple would jack up Macbook prices for those who lacked the insurance to make up for the loss it would take on all the insured who, divorced from the true cost of Macbooks, would abuse the system.

But it’s only a matter of time. You watch.

Soon enough, some Democrat will assert that no one should be forced to live without access to a computer and all of his Democratic buddies in Congress will agree. And from that day forward, the market will be distorted, twisted, and abused until it’s brought to its knees — just as the health-care industry has been — and soon enough, Macbooks, too, will be unaffordable to millions. And the government will step in again to fix the problem it created. (Think about it: what are the three major areas of the economy that have become unaffordable to most people? Higher education, homes, and medicine. What are the three areas of the economy in which the government has played an active role to attempt to lower prices for all? You guessed it: the same three. Interesting that it’s only made things worse? Or maddening. One of the two.)

And Democrats wouldn’t really care if Macbook prices rose as a result, let alone care to understand why. Because what would really matter — just as all that matters about health care — is that they’ll have locked up the laptop-user vote.

Of course the stimulus “worked” — but that’s hardly the point

February 19, 2010 1 comment

New York Times analyst David Leonhardt states the obvious without addressing — conveniently for him and liberal defenders of Keynesian economics — at all the larger question of what might have worked better than the $787 billion stimulus bill.

Of course if you give states money tied to keeping teachers employed, those teachers will stay employed (those are some of the jobs the stimulus “saved”). And of course if you give a business money, tying those funds to keeping people on its payroll (more jobs saved, saved, saved!) or adding people to it, that brand of stimulus will certainly stimulate.

So, to deny that the stimulus worked on the grounds that it didn’t create or save a single job in this way would be stupid (sorry, Sen. Brown). And to argue that the stimulus failed — as it certainly did — because it didn’t work as well or as cheaply as another approach would have, you’d have to understand economics. And since most Republican politicians are themselves economic boneheads, worsened by the fact that they don’t know how to communicate, all they can do is look like retards when they talk about the stimulus bill.

Yes, the stimulus bill created and saved jobs — perhaps millions of them, just as all these economists say. So the important question to answer now, as we look back — and it’s a question Leonhardt didn’t even raise in his piece, much less answer — is simple: at what cost? At what cost, both in real terms and in opportunity costs, did this monumental, some would say historic, spending package create jobs? A quick look at the recovery.gov website about in December estimated that the jobs saved and created by the stimulus in the state of Tennessee had totaled close to 10,000. Impressive, right? Right. Unless you divide the told stimulus dollars spent in Tennessee by the number of jobs that funding created/saved and find that we went into massive debt (which we’ll have to raise taxes pay back) to spend $235,000 on each of those Tennessee jobs. One more time: $235,ooo per job! That’s a helluva pretty penny. We could have given each of those 10,000 government-saved Tennesseans, say, $70,000 checks and said, “Good luck finding work,” and still had enough leftover to triple the jobs saved/created to 30,000. Do most economists agree not just that the stimulus created/saved jobs, but that this was a pennywise way to do it? I’d like to talk to the economist who thinks so, because I’m guessing there are about 300,000,000 Americans who’d beg to differ.

I’m trying to come up with an analogy that fits. Work with me here. Say the president gave you a brand-new Lexus to get you from New York to your home in LA. You’re thinking, “Sweet; I’m in! Five days’ time, gas money, and the risks of driving 2,300 miles are worth it to get a new car!” But then you’re told you don’t get to keep the car; it’s just a way to get you where you need to go. Either that, or you keep the Lexus but you’re responsible for the payments upon your arrival. All of a sudden, you’re thinking to yourself that a plane ticket might be the better way to go; all of a sudden, that drive doesn’t feel so romantic and five days on the road not so efficient a way to spend your time. But you don’t have a choice; the president is here to save the day for you and get you home. And now you’re going to complain about inefficiency? About not taking a plane instead? You’re going to say “this doesn’t ‘work’ for me”? The president has words for you: “It worked.”

So, what’s the plane ticket, then, in terms of the stimulus? Tax cuts. Certainty. Regulatory streamlining. Giving all business owners — and not just a select, pet few you’ve selected for aid based on political factors — what they need to boost the economy: more of their own damn money to spend growing their businesses.

Liberals love to lampoon these simple ideas for their simplicity and they like to call them “tired” and “old,” as if whether something works is purely a function of its complexity or novelty. But they’re tired and old because they work well and they’ve stood the test of time — time, and time again, and they work better than taking money from one sector of the economy and giving it to another … and at a fraction of the cost in a fraction of the time. Kinda like taking a plane from New York to LA for just under $400 and in less than 5 hours, instead of driving that kickin’, expensive Lexus for five days. But hey — you’d get to drive through Tennessee and — who knows? — maybe you’d meet a Tennessean on whom the president spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars to get him his $13-an-hour job pumping your gas.

Washington ignores biological threat, but hey – some people found work today!

February 3, 2010 Leave a comment

If the Washington Post‘s editorial (pasted below) on how frighteningly unprepared we are for a biological attack doesn’t frighten you, then you must be an ultraliberal like the rest of the clowns running Washington. See, ultraliberals — I use this term in the academic sense to refer to the hyper-progressives who believe that man (mankind, woman and womankind) is defined solely by his economic status. Nothing else matters to ultraliberals, whose mindset is, If people aren’t economically equal, what good is being alive? Boy, they’ve got the question precisely reversed, don’t they. But hundreds of billions will go out the door this year so politicians here can pretend they’re really attacking unemployment; meanwhile, they’re abdicating what is arguably their only real job responsibility: to keep Americans alive.

Scary stuff, people:

Obama must pay heed to al-Qaeda’s quest for biological weapons
Wednesday, February 3, 2010; A14

THREE THOUSAND people were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. More than 300,000 could be dead within one week after a modest attack with biological weapons.

For most people, the thought of such an attack is an unthinkable horror. For al-Qaeda, it is a lingering dream and one that it is working diligently to achieve. Two recently released reports indicate the United States has been aware of this threat for years yet remains “woefully” unprepared.

Al-Qaeda is engaged in a “long-term, persistent and systematic approach to developing weapons to be used in mass casualty attacks,” writes Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a senior fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Osama bin Laden, as recently as 2007, called on his followers to acquire such weapons to “escalate the killing and fighting” against Americans.

Mr. Mowatt-Larssen is not the only one sounding an alarm. “Each of the last three Administrations has been slow to recognize and respond to the biothreat,” concluded a report made public last week by the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, which was created by Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks and is led by former senators Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and James M. Talent (R-Mo.) “The difference is that the danger has grown to the point that we no longer have the luxury of a slow learning curve,” the report stated.

The Obama administration was given good marks for working to prevent terrorists from obtaining nuclear weapons, but “no equal sense of urgency” has been “displayed towards the threat of a large-scale biological weapons attack,” the report said. The administration was given low marks for its failure to tighten government oversight of labs that handle dangerous biological agents.

It received an F for failing to move aggressively with a plan to “rapidly recognize, respond, and recover” in the event of an attack. Producing large quantities of vaccines and establishing communications and distribution networks are key to preventing a biological attack from being devastating. Experts estimate that ramping up such a system would cost roughly $3 billion per year. The administration also received a failing grade from the commission for neglecting to establish programs to recruit and train the next generation of national security experts.

In Congress, some 80 committees and subcommittees have some oversight over homeland security. Such fragmentation, said Mr. Talent, “guarantees that much of what Congress does is duplicative and disjointed.” The commission recommended that oversight be concentrated in the House and Senate Homeland Security committees. This may yet be another problem that the Obama administration inherited, but it is now the president’s to fix. He must do so without a moment’s delay.

RE: Are America’s poor REALLY getting poorer?

November 30, 2009 Leave a comment

I sent the link in my last post to a group of friends with whom I regularly email about politics — it’s a nice mix of conservatives, moderates, and even a liberal. One of the fellas, who I’d characterize as a conservative Democrat, admitted that he hadn’t thought about the standard-of-living aspect of poverty in America, which he admitted was an important part of the debate on income equality, but added the following “but”:

If one looks at how many Americans are struggling to make their bills, not sure there is a lot of rosy optimism though. After all, just because I bought a washer 7 years ago doesn’t mean I have food today, or can afford to pay my electric at the end of the month. So, not sure how meaningful those measures are if we are looking at survival. Sure they are an indicator of standard of living, but that may not be the dominant concern.

A conservative in the group replied that it’s not about “survival” or the “basics” anymore, but is instead about “fairness,” and even worse, less about what one lacks than about what others have. It’s gone from making sure the poor have electricity, running water, and an education, to, “Why does that rich kid have an iPod and my kid doesn’t?”

I wanted to take it a step or two back, though, because I’m not sure anyone has challenged the notion of even the alleged and fairly-universally-agreed-upon “basic” rights. After all, isn’t it this very notion that created this monster of ever-expanding rights in the first place?

If you say, for instance, that everyone has a right to a basic education in this country (as even many conservatives contend nowadays) — and by “right” they really mean a “benefit” or “advantage” paid for by somebody else — then where do you draw the line? And that’s the problem. You can’t draw it firmly anywhere because you’ve recognized that there’s a line to be negotiated. The line will soon exclude nothing and circumscribe everything.

What started out as a right to a basic education turned into a right to a good education, which turned into a right to a good education where there’s also a good athletic or music program — and so on. And if K-12 is a right, then shouldn’t a college degree be, too? There are plenty today who say so. And from there it’s a small jump to a right to a good job, and then to a good job with “equal” pay (whatever that means), and from there an even shorter leap to a right to a good job with equal pay — that offers health benefits. (Next stop: universal care.) And don’t forget about the right to one’s first home … right on down the line of luxuries to that home not just as a place to hang your hat, but as an appreciating asset! Yes, this is now a right, too.

But we really have a fundamental right to only one thing in this world, in part because it’s the only right no one can possibly enjoy less or more of than the next guy, nor is it something one can feel envious of in another because we all would benefit from it in equal measure: that is, a government that protects us from outside and internal threats to our liberties. No more, no less. The rest is spun as “fundamental rights” by those who don’t understand the concept in the first place — and who don’t care to. All they really mean by rights is some benefit or advantage, bought and paid for by someone else.

Categories: Liberalism, Society