Wednesday, December 26, 2012

People Not Responsible For Wrong Doing Not Punished For Wrong Doing!

Shocking, I know, but people are breathlessly reporting that the four "State Department officials" who resigned over the Benghazi scandal didn't actually resign, and likely won't receive any real punishment.

Here's the thing: they didn't do it.  I know that at least half of the outrage is along the lines of "Hey, the Administration said these people are responsible, so why aren't they being held responsible."  I get it.  I also think it's silly and wrong-headed.

We know they aren't responsible.  They had no authority to be responsible.  The fact the Administration tried to tell us they were responsible in the first place is simply another crime and another part of the coverup.

When I went through the Benghazi Files, I pointed out that the minimum security standards were not met.  I pointed out that Ambassador Stevens repeatedly asked for additional security.  I pointed out that only one person, the Secretary of State, had the authority to waive those minimum standards, and therefore the authority to deny the requests for additional security.

That's it.  Hillary Clinton is the only person with the authority have done what was done- leave the Benghazi mission woefully unprotected.

Insofar as an investigation is called for, it is only called for to the extent that we should verify if Mrs. Clinton was acting under pressure from the President, or if she made those choices on her own recognizance.  Personally, I believe it taxes credulity to say that the President was not at least aware of, and therefore in a position to overrule, the decisions made regarding the Libyan missions' security.  This is why I think the President is directly responsible, and should be impeached.  But even if you don't believe that, it is even harder to believe that four mid-level staffers would make the decision not to provide adequate security all on their own.  That decision had to be made, and a signature given, by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

So I don't care that these four staffers are not being punished.  They didn't do anything wrong, so far as we know.  All of the decisions which lead to the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans were made by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.  They are the only ones who even had the authority to make them.

Why "Gun Control" Doesn't Work

Okay, since we're still apparently "having the discussion" about gun control- a "discussion" which mostly involves responsible gun owners being harangued for the actions of a criminal- I think it's time we point out why Gun Control laws have never worked, and will never work.

Take this case, for instance.

See, the perpetrator in that instance was already a violent felon.  He'd killed his grandmother with a hammer.  Without looking, I'm guessing that the manslaughter charge was from a plea bargain, but that's a rant for another time.  Legally, he already wasn't allowed to have guns of any variety.  Not a hand gun, not a rifle, not a shotgun- none of it.

It's almost as if someone who is intent on committing one crime doesn't care about the fact he may be committing more than one.  It's almost as if no amount of laws will convince criminals to obey them.

On the other hand, stricter gun control laws do disarm responsible citizens who could otherwise defend themselves.  As the fine folks at PJ Media point out, the Newtown, CT shooting was stopped by a show of force.  That is, the police showed up with guns, and the shooter didn't even wait to confront them; he just shot himself.

William Spengler was shot by emergency responders.

Neither of them was stopped by an unarmed populace wagging their fingers.

It may be a cliche to say "if you outlaw guns, then only outlaws will have guns," but it is also true.  I can point to Europe, where they have a significantly higher instance of violent crime, even with their very strict gun control laws, than the United States.  I can point to Mexico, which has virtually banned private ownership of firearms.  How's that working out for them?

Rather than be reactionary and try to ban the icky, scary gun, maybe we could look at these things the way we do other crimes.  Do we ban computers because the hacking group 'Anonymous' exists?  Do we ban hedge funds and mutual funds because people like Bernie Madoff exist?  Do we ban cars because their are crashes and because criminals use them?

No.  We don't.  We don't do those things because that would be a terrible infringement on innocent people's liberty in response to specific crimes.  Yet every time a gun is used in a crime, especially a high profile crime, "guns" are blamed rather than the perpetrators.  Do we blame money for Bernie Madoff?  It can be argued that he ruined more people's lives than the shooter in Newtown, CT, and certainly more than William Spengler in Webster, NY.

We already have laws against murder.  Ponzi schemes were illegal before Bernie Madoff started his.  People who have decided to break the law don't care what the law is. 

My defense against the Bernie Madoff's of the world is a combination of common sense (don't believe unbelievable promises) and finding a financial manager I can trust.  What defense should I be allowed against someone who wants to kill me?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Ban Human Nature

This piece, from Ace, sums up why I think most "gun control" advocates are either naive or dishonest. 

As Ace points out, the only realistic way to stop gun violence is to prevent anyone anywhere from having a gun.  That means police and the military, too.  As long as guns exist, there is the possibility bad people will get them and do bad things with them.  So the only plausible "gun control" that could prevent mass gun violence is an absolute ban on guns. 

Now, Ace's point is primarily the dishonesty with which gun control advocates routinely act.  He points out that they claim not to want to "ban guns," and yet, logically, that is the only policy they can pursue.  I have a different point.

The only way to stop tragedies like what happened in Newtown, CT is to ban human nature.  That's it.  The only thing that could have stopped this particular tragedy, or any of the others before, is to lobotomize the entire population.  Sure, it's the "nuke the site from orbit" form of deterring violence, but there's a reason that quote ends with "it's the only way to be sure."

Do gun control advocates believe that murder didn't exist until the 1364?  Do they believe that people have not been wreaking violence against each other since before recorded history?

Here, they will often fall back on the dishonest line of argument that "guns make murder easier."  That is, as far as it goes, a true statement.  It is much easier to shoot someone with a handgun than it is to stab them with a knife.  What it misses is the amount of effort these mass killers go to.

They often purchase semi-specialized equipment.  They usually purchase special magazines and a fair number of them.  They purchase ammunition, sometimes for weeks or months before the actual atrocity.  Many of them map out exactly what they're going to do, and even have a plan for how to deal with the police (it usually involves shooting themselves, but it's still a plan).

Yet, for all this effort, we're supposed to think they would be deterred just because they could "only" use a bow or crossbow?  Or are gun control advocates actually seeking to ban all projectile weapons?  Well, I guess no one could possibly use an axe or a hammer to kill someone.

The fact is that people have been killing each other for as long as there have been people.  You're never going to stop it, either.  Indeed, what makes it so easy to commit these kinds of acts is not the existence of guns, but human nature.

See, everyone wants to feel safe.  Weapons, by definition, are not safe (there is no such thing as an unloaded gun).  Therefore, people tend to want to avoid weapons.  In most cases, if you got people to sit down and think through it, they probably wouldn't be afraid of the weapons.  They wouldn't even be afraid of some unknown assailant having a weapon.  Their problem would be, I believe, that weapons make them realize how dangerous the world is in general, and they don't want those reminders.  No one wants to be forced to realize, every single minute of every single day, how fragile life is.

So most people avoid weapons.  My mother grew up on a farm in Western Texas.  Her daddy required that she and her sister be familiar with how to shoot.  Nevertheless, she's not particularly comfortable around guns.  She doesn't particularly like them.  In a life where guns were just a fact of life, and were used to save lives both human and animal on more than one occasion, she still would rather avoid them.

The problem with "most people" avoiding weapons, and wanting others to avoid weapons, is that it means the bad guys are more likely than the average person to have a weapon.

Imagine if this young man had walked into that school with an axe, or a sword.  With the possible exception of the specific body count, do we really think the outcome would have been much different?  No one there could defend themselves.  To the extent they could, it would have been because they could have met him on some kind of equal footing; say, by grabbing a baseball bat from the P.E. closet.

You're never going to stop this kind of violence.  It has been with us since the first caveman realized it was easier to kill Grog and take his stuff than to barter with Grog for Grog's stuff.  It will continue until the race of Man is gone.

It's simply human nature.

Let's Be Honest

There's a problem in our country.  It's a deep sickness that affects everything we do, or see.  It's called "politics," and I don't believe it has a cure.

On Friday, the the town of Newtown, CT was the scene of a terrible act of evil.  A young man, apparently mentally ill, took a veritable arsenal to a school, after having already killed his mother, and killed over two dozen people.  He then took his own life.  This is a senseless act of mindless violence.

"Senseless": It has no sense.  No amount of rational thinking will ever allow us to understand what was going through that young man's head.

"Mindless": He wasn't using his mind.  Perhaps he was incapable of using his mind.  Someone thinking clearly doesn't target innocent children in some random act of violence.

As a nation, we all feel wounded by the events that unfolded.  Some of those wounds will close quickly.  Some of those wounds will never close.  The only thing we should be worrying about is how provide some measure of comfort and compassion to the survivors of Friday's attack.

Yet, for some reason, people believe politics must be brought into the discussion.

One professional political pundit, I can't even remember which one, remarked that 2nd Amendment advocates would probably be calling for "arming kindergartners," before we even knew all the victims.  See, it was important to get it on record immediately that more people having guns wouldn't have stopped this attack.  Never mind that he's wrong.

In what was supposed to be a prayer service for the victims and their families, the President decided to make a call for increased gun control.  On the other side of things, 2nd Amendment advocates were pre-politicising the event, since history says that exactly what did happen (increased call for gun control) would happen.

Now, those are things that can certainly be discussed.  It is in our nature to want to avoid this kind of pain and monstrosity.  When something like this happens, we rightly review to see what, if anything, could be done to prevent future recurrence.  So I don't have a problem that it's being discussed.  I do have two problems with the discussion, however.

The first, and most important, is the timing.  The political discussion was occurring, on both sides of the aisle, by around 1 PM CST, if not earlier.  The President politicized a prayer service.  It seems little or no consideration was given to the grief of those affected.

The second reason, however, is that the discussion is not honest.  As Ace so correctly pointed out on Friday, whenever Liberals say they want to have a "discussion" about guns, what they really mean is they want to demonize them and push for more gun control.  They're just smart enough that they know they can't say that out loud.  For the gun rights advocates' part, they seldom mention the shear danger involved with a totally armed populace.

Today there will be more posts from me.  I've been out since last week with a bad back, and today is the first I can even really use my laptop while laid out on the couch.  I hope to avoid some of the dishonesty in this discussion.  Most of all, I hope that we can all be honest about our goals, and see the facts for what they really are.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Shocker!: Democrats Negotiating in Bad Faith

So, for weeks, if not months, we've heard nothing from Democrats on the "Fiscal Cliff" except for the need to "raise revenue" by which they mean tax rates.  This is such a thoroughly silly idea, that it doesn't even bear the most basic of scrutiny.  For one thing, we don't have a "revenue" problem, we have a spending problem.  For another, raising tax rates does not actually increase government revenue.  If anything, it has a depressive effect by also slowing growth.

Now, however, we finally have some movement on the Democrat side.  They've shifted positions!  Wait, no, that was the goal-posts they just moved.  See, now, it's not enough that we merely raise tax rates on actual job and wealth creators.  No, now we also have to further extend Unemployment Benefits past 99 weeks.  As though nearly 2 years of unemployment was not absurd enough, now it needs to be longer.

Let's assume that Democrats were negotiating, in the beginning, in good faith.  Let's say they really wanted to reduce the deficits and (eventually) start paying down the debt.  Let's further grant that they really believe that increasing tax rates will increase revenues this time, despite its utter failure every time it's been tried in the 40+ years.  Even assuming those things (which aren't true, but go with me here), does it make sense then to further increase spending?

Even if we did have a revenue problem, and not a spending problem, in what world does it make sense to increase spending further when our deficits are already about 10% of GDP, we're already spending nearly 150% of tax receipts, and our debt is over 100% of GDP? 

The short answer: none.  It doesn't make sense.  Increasing spending is the absolute wrong thing to do to close the deficits, even if you grant that increasing tax rates would increase revenue.

If that is the case; it if it is true that increasing spending is absolutely and obviously counter-productive, then it follows that the Democrats were never negotiating in good faith.  They want the Fiscal Cliff.  They want higher taxes on everyone.  They simply assume that the spending will continue.  Since we haven't had a budget in 4 years, but we've been spending anyway, I don't see how they're wrong, either.

Republicans must not budge on this.  Let's go over the fiscal cliff together.  And then, when it's time for another "continuing resolution" to keep spending money we don't have?  Don't do that either.  When it's time to increase the debt ceiling again?  Don't do that, either.

The American People voted for the Fiscal Cliff.  They also voted for deadlock, since they didn't see fit to give the Democrats the house back, or even a filibuster proof majority in the Senate.  Give them what they asked for.

Let it burn.

GOP Communication Classes?

On the CBS morning show "This Morning" Dick Armey suggested that much of the Republican plight in the November election stemmed from candidates who "said some dumb things."  He believes the Republican Party needs to educate candidates on how to avoid saying such dumb things.  With due respect to former Leader Armey, this is hogwash.  No one should need to be "educated" so that they don't say that the body has rape-sensing hormones that prevent pregnancy, or that rape is "a blessing."  In fact, no one did say the latter, and the former was at least based on a scientific hypothesis.  The hypothesis has been soundly debunked, but it was an actually proffered hypothesis once.

No, the Republican Party needs to figure out that the Tea Party isn't going anywhere, and join forces.  If the Republican party would partner with local tea party groups to help vet candidates, and put forward candidates who are both acceptable to grass-roots conservatives and unlikely to say "dumb things" in the first place, then we'd be in a better position.  The problem with that is that the Tea Party represents opposition to much of what is wrong with the Republican Party, and the Republican Party doesn't like to admit that it has things wrong with it.

Until the local Tea Parties are accepted as legitimate partners with the Republicans, the two will work to cross purposes and Democrats will continue to be elected.  In those instances when Republicans have embraced the Tea Party, they have experience success.  Take a look at the Texas Congressional Delegation, for instance.  Scott Brown was elected on Tea Party sentiment.  He was not re-elected because he tried to out-Democrat the Democrat.

Communication is, indeed, an issue.  It probably did cost us a couple of otherwise safe seats.  But rather than focus on the window-dressing, the Republican Party needs to partner with grass-roots groups to help select men and women who are already able purveyors of the Conservative Message.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Michael Moore: "Go Union!" History: "That's New."

Michael Moore is on twitter spewing against Michigan's Right To Work law, just passed by their legislature.  According to him it's some kind of travesty.  Never mind that every right to work state in the nation is doing better, economically, than Michigan right now.

So, on twitter, he claimed that anyone working on his next movie would have to be part of the union.  Well, that's his choice, really, but it would be a departure.  See, as recently as 2009 (the last time he made a movie), Michael Moore was avoiding using union labor wherever he could.

It's always so strange to me that these limousine liberals are all pro-union- right up until they see what union labor costs.

Yet More BLS BS

So the November Unemployment numbers came out today.  The BLS claims 146K jobs created (just under what's needed to keep up with population growth) and yet somehow unemployment dropped from 7.9% to 7.7%.  Quietly released also were downward revisions in the numbers for both September and October.

Now, beyond the obvious question of how the UE Rate could go down when we're not even employing people at the replacement rate is the question of why the BLS would produce such obviously faulty numbers.  The answer to the first is easy enough.  Part of it is legitimate; yet more people are no longer counted as "unemployed" even though they are, in fact, "unemployed."  Part of it is not.  This number is fairly obviously false, and will be quietly revised downward next month or the month after. 

So the question that remains is "why?"  Why produce these numbers that are, to anyone paying attention, obviously incorrect if not outright fraudulent? 

On this, I have a theory.  It's not exactly a secret that the Bureau of Labor Statistics works for the President.  Prior to the election, they were padding the numbers (thus the quiet downward revisions for September and October's numbers) to help Obama get re-elected.  The Media helped with this, too, by absolutely refusing to analyze the unemployment numbers at all.  But what incentive does the Administration have to lie now?

My answer: the Fiscal Cliff negotiations.  Right now, just over half the country says they would blame Republicans more than Democrats if we re-entered a recession due to the fiscal cliff.  It is my belief that people would blame Democrats more if they knew how bad the economy really was.  If people saw 8%+ unemployment rates, they'd realize that we aren't in some "weak recovery" but still in a recession which has been extended by the disastrous policies of this President.  If people understood that, they would realize that the people who actually want to help them and help grow the economy are the Republicans. 

Any support for increased taxation would evaporate.  The calls for "the rich" to pay "their fair share," would be nonexistent.  People would begin to understand that we do not have a "revenue" problem.  And then the Republicans would have much more power in Congress.  They would have more power because even the Democrat controlled Senate would start feeling the pressure to reduce spending, rather than attempt to raise taxes.  The Democrats would start feeling constituent pressure to reduce regulation, and start loosening the Government's strangle-hold on the economy.

So we get the same "sunny days are here again" news we got prior to the election.  Once we've gone over the fiscal cliff, as Democrats want, we might start seeing real numbers again.  See, then, it will be because those Evil Republicans were just too hyper-partisan and wouldn't just give Obama everything he wanted.  Instead, those Evil, Intractable Republicans wanted Obama actually to negotiate!  In good faith!  How dare they!?

#CultureWar: Madison Rising

Welcome to the first in a new post category for Dedicated Tenther.  #CultureWar will focus on Conservatives in the trenches in the Culture War.  Mostly this will focus on music, because that's where we're best represented.

If you have tips about any #CultureWar soldiers (that would be: entertainers who are conservative, and not shy about it) please send them my way.


Madison Rising is a Conservative Rock (yes, apparently this is a genre) band.  You've probably heard or seen their version of the Star Spangled Banner.  That's only the tip of their rock and roll iceberg.  You can buy their music (please do) via the iTunes store or CD Baby, or you can just donate to the band via Pay-Pal (but why, when they're music is so good?).

I've listened to some of their music, and I have to say it's good.  This is not a case of a band receiving praise because they're trying to fill a niche I see needs to be filled, but because they fill it well.  Just as conservatives can listen to liberal weenies like (insert band here) and just enjoy the music, anyone can just listen to Madison Rising for some good hard rock and roll.

Their Star Spangled Banner is below the fold.  Go check 'em out and send them some of your coin.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Politics of Conflict

Going back to 1972, at least, a good rule of thumb is that Republicans will lose low turnout elections.  High turnout elections have tended towards Republicans, but the reason for the high turnout matters.  For instance, Clinton's election in 1992 was a very high turnout, but the semi-spoiler of Ross Perot gave it to the Democrat.  Barack Obama's election in 2008 was very high turnout, as people turned out to vote for the First Black President.  However, both the 96 and 2012 elections had many fewer votes, relative to the prior cycle.

So it seems that the Republicans' best chance to win elections is to encourage high turnout.  High turnout gives Republicans a much better chance of winning than low turnout.  So the question becomes, "how do we encourage high turn out?"

Here, I have a suggestion.  I do not remember the 1980 and 1984 elections at all.  I do recall the 1988 election some (c'mon, I was 8), and I remember 92 and on pretty well.  Basing this guess on what I've heard about the Reagan elections, I feel fairly safe in making the suggestion.  Conflict wins elections for Republicans.

Reagan did not just run against Carter in 1980, he ran against the idea of Carter as well.  That is, he clearly defined two teams, and then asked American voters to join one.  People voted in droves, and mostly chose Reagan's team.  When Bush 41 ran in 1988, he drew similar team lines.  "Read my lips, no new taxes."  Contrariwise, Bush 41 lost to Clinton in 92 because he'd reneged on that "no new taxes" pledge, and people could see no difference between the two.  The guy who tried to draw clear team lines was Ross Perot, who didn't have the needed infrastructure to win.  Bush 44 barely won over Al Gore.  The reason that election was so close was, once again, the lines between the two "teams" were blurred.

Of note here is that I'm using the term "team" on purpose.  This isn't about parties.  One thing Ross Perot's runs in 92 and 96 prove is that there are certain partisans who will always vote for their party.  Those aren't the ones who are choosing a team in each election.  The teams are for those who are less partisan.  Maybe they normally vote R or D, but they can be persuaded.  Maybe they don't normally vote at all.

So how do we draw those team lines?  We use conflict.  Reagan was good at doing this affably, but the conflict needs to exist.  Let's take a couple of looks at popular culture to make the point.

American wrestling, currently existing as the WWE, used to be a very minor niche of entertainment, and just didn't have a following.  That all changed decades ago, when someone- I'm not sure any but those who were following then even remembers who- decided to make the show more exciting.  How was that done?  He took the persona of the bad guy.  Now, audiences had someone to root against (him) and, by extension, someone to root for.  To this day, the WWE uses this formula, and experiences great commercial success.  Professional boxing is trying to do the same thing through building up and promoting rivalries.

American Idol burst onto the scene 11 years ago.  From the beginning it was wildly popular.  However, the 2011 season was weak, and the 2012 season was weaker.  The show is flailing trying to maintain its power.  What changed?  Simon Cowell left.  Simon Cowell, the acerbic Brit and primary judge, was the primary draw for the show.  Why?  Because he created conflict.  While everyone else was heaping praise on contestants, Simon would make up some off-the-wall simile to say "that sucked."  It drove conflict on the judging panel, and it drove conflict with the contestants.  You could root for or against Simon, and therefore for or against specific contestants or the other judges.  With him gone, there is no conflict.  Randy has tried to fill his shoes by being a little more honest with the contestants, but he doesn't drive conflict.  He's too conciliatory when he's telling someone they suck.  So Idol is in decline.

It is this last part that I think is important.  No one who was paying attention could seriously believe that Mitt Romney and the SCOAMT had any positions really in common.  There was disagreement.  However, Mitt Romney seemed to run from conflict.  Mere disagreement will not suffice; a clear conflict, a rivalry is necessary.  It gets people excited and encourages them to pick a side.  Instead, people didn't see that there were sides to pick, and so people stayed home.

If Republicans want to win the White House in 2016 (assuming The Great Collapse has not already occurred), they must embrace conflict.  When the Democrat says, "We need to raise revenue," the Republican needs to respond "No, we don't."  Direct contradiction is the most basic form of conflict.  It gets people's attention.  Imagine if, during the debates, SCOAMT had said, "...and so I'm proposing to raise revenue by blah, blah..." and Romney had immediately rejoined, "Raise revenue?  Don't you mean raise taxes?  Please, Mr. President, be honest with the American people.  And while we're being honest; we don't have a problem with revenue, we have a problem with spending."

That's a clear line.  That creates Team Raise Taxes and Team Cut Spending.  On item after item Romney could have chosen to engage in conflict, and therefore give the American People some one to root for and someone to root against.  Had he done so, maybe we'd be talking about President Elect Romney today.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

We Do Not Have A Revenue Problem

As the deadline to stop the automatic tax increases and budget cuts collectively known as the "Fiscal Cliff" looms ever larger, we here a lot about "increased revenue."  This is simply 1984 Newspeak for "tax rate hikes."  The only question, it seems, is whether they should be called tax hikes, in which case actual marginal rates would go up, or whether it should be called "closing loopholes," and use the obfuscation of keeping marginal rates the same but removing deductions to increase taxes.  Based on both the Republicans' and Democrats' talking points, you'd think that the United States Government was the orphan Oliver asking, "Please sir, I'd like some more."

This is ludicrous.  The United States does not have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem. 

According to, the United States Government took in 2.486 trillion dollars in 2012.  According to Economy Watch, the projected US GDP for 2012 is 15.880 trillion dollars.  This means that the US Government will take in around 15.6% of GDP in direct revenue.  This a little on the low side, but well within statistical averages for the last several decades.

Taking in roughly 1/7th of the GDP as revenue should be more than sufficient.  The problem is not revenue.  The problem is spending.  For 2012, the US Deficit is projected to be over 1.3 trillion dollars.  That means the United States is spending more than 150% of the revenue it takes in.  Total Debt is projected to be over 16 trillion dollars, or roughly 103% of GDP. 

This is insane.  There is no way, if we confiscated all the wealth from every person living in the United States, that we could pay our bills.  This is like a family making $250,000/yr spending $380,000, and already being over one million dollars in debt.  What has to be cut is spending.  And the biggest drains on the treasury are entitlements, followed by military spending.

Any discussion of the budget that does not include massive cuts to entitlement and (sorry, to say) military spending is simply not serious.  Any discussion of the budget which has as its premise that we need higher revenue is simply not serious.  It is political posturing, and posing for the cameras.  Such discussions are aimed to score political points and harm political opponents.  Anyone engaging in such rhetoric should be immediately dismissed as unserious, at best, and disingenuous at worst.

Speaker Boehner, this means you.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Beware Liberals Bearing Newspeak

I normally pay the amount of attention to Cory Booker that one would more readily associate with one's appendix function.  However, when FotB tsrblke sent me this on twitter, I just couldn't help myself.

Time to mock a self-important liberal douche mercilessly.

Let's start where he does:
This morning, I will begin living on a food budget of $30 a week / $4.32 per day.  This is the financial equivalent of the budget provided to people participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, in the State of New Jersey.  I will live only on a SNAP equivalent food budget for the next seven days.

Okay, first off, what part of "supplemental" didn't you understand, Mr. Booker?  The assumption is that SNAP will not be the only way you're paying for your groceries.  The assumption is that you will have some other form of income- a job, disability, or some other form of government assistance.  Proving that you'll have a hard time living on an amount you were never intended to live on proves precisely nothing, you self-important sub-moron.

A Twitter user tweeted me her opinion that "nutrition is not the responsibility of the government".  This comment caused me to reflect on the families and children in my community who benefit from SNAP assistance and deserve deeper consideration.  In my own quest to better understand the outcomes of SNAP assistance, I suggested to this specific Twitter user that we both live on a SNAP equivalent food budget for a week and document our experience.

So are you saying that nutrition is the responsibility of the government?  You do realize, do you not, that anything that is the government's "responsibility" is also theirs to withhold?  Also, I sincerely doubt that anyone in Cory Booker's "community" relies on SNAP for their groceries.  Whether or not they receive it is a different matter, but I sincerely doubt anyone around him relies on $30/week for their food.

My goals for the #SNAPChallenge are to raise awareness and understanding of food insecurity; reduce the stigma of SNAP participation; elevate innovative local and national food justice initiatives and food policy; and, amplify compassion for individuals and communities in need of assistance.

This just might be his most ignorant quote.  And that's saying something.  First off, "food insecurity" is something dreamt up by the loony left.  The idea of 21+ meals a week is due directly to American affluence.  Most cultures in the world still get by on one or two meals a day.  I don't wish that on anyone, but let's not pretend that starvation is some big problem in America.  It's certainly not a big enough problem that Government needs to get involved.

As for reducing "the stigma of SNAP participation?"  Seriously?  We want to reduce the stigma of living off the government teet?  How about we increase the stigma?  How about people who have to rely on forcing their neighbors to provide their meals have a little bit of shame?  Relying on the benevolence of others should be humbling, at least, and "shaming" is not going too far.

"Food justice initiative?"  Seriously, now he's just throwing random words together.  What the heck is "food justice?"  Is everyone now entitled to a pound of Swish Shard per week?  Is having a rib eye the new desegregation?

As for compassion, hows this?  Give to food banks.  Give to local charities.  Cory Booker is not a poor man.  The Tarrant County Food Bank can feed three people for a dollar.  How about, instead of this stupid "#SNAPChallenge," he uses that $30/week to feed 10 people per week?  How does that sound?  But, of course, it's not about charity and compassion, it's about an ever-growing government, and the need that Liberals have for Government to "take care" of people 24/7/365 from cradle to grave.  Nevermind the resulting loss of Liberty.

We'll end here:
We have much work to do at the local level to address a legacy of structural inequities in the American food system.  As more and more working people and families - many holding down more than one job - face greater and greater challenges to juggle housing, medical, and transportation costs, meeting nutritional needs becomes a serious problem and a social justice issue.

What "legacy of structural inequities?"  Unless he really does mean that everyone should be entitled to their weekly rib eye, I have no idea what he's talking about.  As for those "working people and families" that are "holding down more than one job," don't they, by definition, have more income than just $30/wk to buy groceries?  And before I cry about their challenges to juggle "housing, medical, and transportation costs," I think I want an accounting of where their money goes.  Do they have ipads?  Iphones?  Is Mr. Booker perhaps unaware that health insurance premiums have gone up $2,500 per year for families since the very beginnings of Obamacare, and that they'll be going up any more?  I wonder about Mr. Booker's take on repealing ObamaCare so that those "working people and families" might be able to keep that $2,500/yr for themselves?

Let. It. Burn.

House Republicans are already preparing to capitulate to Barack Obama on tax increases.  When he rejects that offer, then they'll come back with tax increases and another increase to the debt ceiling, providing him everything he wants.  In addition, John Boener and GOP leaders are removing fiscal conservatives from their places on House committees.  This is all just more evidence that the GOP is dead as a conservative party.  So let it burn.

But what does "let it burn" mean?  Well, I think it means different things to different people, so I'll explain what I mean, and you can chime in in the comments (hint, hint).

First, "let it burn" does not mean a complete disengagement.  If it looks like things really can be turned around, we have to be willing to rush to the point of conflict to turn things around.  However, it does mean not spending one more minute defending the Republican party.  Not one more dime sent to the RNC or any Republican incumbent. 

It also means disengaging, as much as possible, from the coming economic collapse.  Taxes are going to go up.  Growth is already anemic, and higher taxes will just cripple the economy further.  This means a collapse is very seriously nigh, and we must be prepared.

We must be prepared for the collapse itself.  This means making as sure as possible that you have the means to take care of your family during the collapse.  Form informal groups and cooperatives with others, banding together to see your families through the tough times ahead.  I have a family farm I hope to have operational before the collapse, if it holds off long enough.  Food, shelter, and clothing are the most important things you can secure.  If you can do that through a job that pays well enough, that's fine.  If you can't, then you need to find a way to provide those things.

We must be prepared for the possible societal collapse.  That sounds alarmist, but it is an entirely possible consequence.  Over 51% of the voting public in the United States voted for Barack Obama, who promised them no end to their free stuff.  Once the economic collapse comes, their free stuff goes away anyway.  With luck, enough progress will be made politically that "the masses" will be willing to wait for economic relief.  If there isn't, then our Society, with 60+ years of class warfare rhetoric, 40+ years of racial warfare rhetoric, and an especially divisive President is ripe for societal unrest.  Part of being prepared for that unrest is the same as being prepared for the economic collapse.  Food, water, shelter.  Add physical safety and you're okay.  Another part, though, is being ready to lead.  Which leads us to the third thing we have to prepare for.

We must be prepared to rebuild.  Whether "just" an economic collapse, or a complete societal collapse, those who have prepared are most likely to come out of the trouble in a better situation.  Their preparations will give them advantages over their unprepared neighbors.  This means those unprepared neighbors will look to them for relief.  Those neighbors will either look to the prepared as leaders, or as targets.  If properly prepared, we can be seen as leaders and guide the rebuilding.

Let it burn is as much a path and strategy as anything.  It requires preparation and commitment.  It is not simple resignation and a complete disengagement from the economy, society, and culture.  It is an acknowledgement that "it" is going to burn anyway, and a prioritization of limited resourced based on that realization.

Boehner Preparing to Sell Out

Hint to Congressional Republicans: if you let Speaker Boehner remain as speaker and continue his "leadership," you will succeed in doing something Democrats have been trying to accomplish for at least 30 years.  The complete destruction of the Republican party.

Breitbart is reporting that John Boehner and the House Republicans are considering a "Doomsday" plan to avoid the so-called "Fiscal Cliff."  Basically, they plan to roll over and give Barack Obama exactly what he wants- higher taxes on job and wealth creators, and nothing much else.  Yes, Obama is also calling to increase the debt limit, but we probably won't hit that until after the new congress is sworn in anyway, he knows that Boehner has plenty of time to capitulate on that, too.

Let us be very, very clear, here.  The United States Government does not have a revenue problem.  The US Government took in nearly $2.5 trillion dollars in 2012.  That is more than enough revenue to do everything the Federal Government should be doing, with some (a lot) left over.  To put it in perspective, 2.5 Trillion seconds ago was around 74,000 BC.  What the United States Government has is a spending problem.  Spending, especially on entitlements, must be cut.

Of course, spending cuts are politically difficult, and tax rate increases, especially on the "very wealthy" are politically easy.  Class warfare sells, after all.  Unfortunately for "politically easy" tax rate increases, of any variety, are not the answer.  This is true for a variety of reasons.  For one thing, even if we confiscated all the wealth from every person living in the United States, we couldn't pay our bills.  For another, tax rate increases traditionally reduce GDP, and therefore reduce revenue.  On the other hand, lowering tax rates increases GDP, growing the tax base, and increasing revenues.

Now, I understand we are not going to get tax rate cuts out of any deal.  We have, as the weenies in Congress are so fond of pointing out, "One half of one third of the Government."  So there is no way we "win" this fight.  However, perhaps we should be looking for a "lateral win."  That is, maybe we should change the goal we're pursuing.  We're not going to get tax rate cuts.  We can't even prevent tax hikes (if nothing happens, the old Clinton Rates go back into effect, and the Democrats in the Senate won't even consider something that doesn't allow the top marginal rate to go up).  So let's redefine "victory."

Obama and the Democrats are fond of pointing out to the balanced budgets and surpluses of the Clinton years.  Few realize that the US Government had virtually nothing to do with that.  The Clinton years were the rise of the Internet.  They were the "dot com" bubble which burst just before Clinton left office (people usually forget that part, too).  So, yes, the Federal Government was doing quite well in those years, but that was despite Clinton's economic policies, not because of them.  However, we should embrace their idea.  The Clinton economy was so good, let's go back to all of those tax rates.  All of them.  And, since we're now expecting a return to "Clinton's" (really Newt Gringrich's) balance budgets and even surpluses, we don't need to raise the debt ceiling, either.

In this case, the correct answer is to embrace the reversal of the Bush tax rates.  Don't merely "allow" the Bush rates to expire.  Push a bill fully embracing the return of the Clinton rates.  Push a bill explicitly refusing to raise the debt limit for, say, one year.  Let's really test the Democrat's economic theory.  If they're right, and raising tax rates will increase revenue and decrease the deficit, then it is every American's Patriotic duty to do their part to help, by working even more for the Government than they do already.

Give it one year, and then go back to the table.  One year of Clinton rates, and I'm guessing most of America will support Republican calls for reduced taxation and reduced spending.  And, if not-  Let it burn.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Racist Eugenicist Margaret Sanger to Rachel Carson: "Well Done."

Update: This is what happens when I don't get enough caffeine.  Yes, Rachel Carson, not Corrie.  Corrected below.  *sigh*

From the Competitive Enterprise Institute comes this piece, detailing how Rachel Carson's Silent Spring was basically completely wrong.  Check out their piece (video and PDF).

I want to make a different point though, going back to the "perfectibility of man" premise so many Liberals accept.  Rachel Carson wrote a book which basically called anyone who used DDT mass murderers.  She claimed there were side effects of DDT which were harmful to humans (beyond those in any chemical- including natural ones- there aren't), and then said they made bird eggs super-duper fragile, so that birds weren't hatching.  Now, there has never actually been any scientifically rigorous proof of that, either, but let's grant it for the moment.

Is she saying that birds are more important than people?  I'm sure she would tell you otherwise.  See, she believes in the perfectibility of man.  One consequence of the concept of the perfectibility of man is the resulting concept of the perfectibility of man's designs.  See, if man is perfectible, so is anything to which he sets his hand.  So any negative consequences of anything humans do are completely unacceptable.  Anything which has any negative side effects at all must be banned.  Those who use it anyway must be shunned.

However high-minded this philosophy may think it is, it fails to apply its own test to itself.  For, if man is perfectible, and therefore anything man does should be perfect, then any negative consequences are unacceptable, and the enterprise must be abandoned.  When we apply that rubric to the idea of the perfectibility of man, however, we find the concept of the perfectibility of man also has negative consequences, and so must be abandoned. 

The concept of the perfectibility of man required that Rachel Carson and her compatriots oppose DDT and other pesticides.  As a result, more millions of African babies have died than those ever aborted by noted Racist Eugenicist Margaret Sanger's Planned Parenthood ever has.  Those deaths are negative consequences, so, by their own rules, the opposition to DDT must be abandoned.

Of course, there's one other option.  Maybe Rachel Carson just hates black people.

The Imperfectibility of Man

I've already posted this morning on Bob Costas's ignorant (at best) comments on Sunday Night Football last night.  I've also posted about San Bernardino going all "Thunderdome."  AoSHQ Moronette AlexTheChick posted over at Double Plus Undead an open letter to Costas and Whitlock which I highly recommend you read.

But I want to get a little more into this mentality that says "Guns bad."  It's the same nanny-state mentality that says that more Government is always the answer, and any failure of Government is not due to the fact that Government is incapable of doing certain things, but due to the fact that the Government needs absolute unchecked power.  This idea is based on a fallacy to which it seems both Whitlock and Costas fall prey.

There is an idea, ascribed to by teenagers and leftists, known as the perfectibility of man.  According to this idea, if people would just "be nice" to each other, and if the right rules were in place, all the evils in the world would go away.  This is the core premise behind such failed ideologies as Marxism and other collectivist systems.  It ignores the facts of human behavior.  People are not perfect, and no rules or enforcement thereof will make them so.

Case in point: perhaps my favorite quote directed to Messrs. Costas and Whitlock is this, "What caliber did OJ use?"  Human beings are violent, jealous, lazy, evil beings.  People don't like to acknowledge this, but it's true.  All that cursing you use?  It's a form of violence.  It's a very minor way to vent your aggression so that you don't actually become physically violent.  Human nature is evil. 

Now, this is a hard concept for two reasons.  One, if you accept it, you have to accept your own evil.  In the case of Bob Costas and Jason Whitlock, I'm sure they would vociferously deny that charge.  Second is that it means you must accept that evil will occur in the world, often for no good reason. 

It is the concept of the perfectibility of man that caused people to look for someone, other than Al Qaida and Osama Bin Laden, to blame for 9/11.  It is the concept of the perfectibility of man that causes bleeding hearts across the globe to try to "understand" murderers and rapists.  It is the concept of the perfectibility of man that says if we'd just take all the weapons away, no one would ever be violent again.

However, man is not perfectible.  Indeed, a central truth you must accept if you wish to actually address the balance of evil in the world is man's imperfectibility.  If man is not perfectible, then Government cannot be the solution, since it is run by imperfect men.  If man is not perfectible, then a better armed society is safer than a less armed society, since such a society would give the (relatively) innocent the means by which to protect themselves.  If man is not perfectible, then we do not have to wonder "why" atrocities occur; we can blame the perpetrator for their actions and treat them accordingly.

San Bernardino: A Leftist's Dream Made Reality

Somehow, I don't think Mad Max is going to come save the day.

San Bernardino, CA, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.  Despite what should be protection from their various debt obligations, at least temporarily, the city finds its fiscal situation continuing to deteriorate.  Indeed, their situation seems to be so bad, that the City Attorney, Jim Penman suggested that citizens arm themselves and lock their doors because they simply don't have enough police to protect the citizenry.

The New Mayor of San Bernardino, CA

With respect to the people of California, you asked for this.  Government is only supposed to do a very few things.  Providing police protection is one of those things, but your insistence on forcing your government to provide all kinds of other services, in addition to your love of the abomination that is Public Employee Unions, has led to this. 

Money that does not exist cannot be spent, and what cannot continue will not.  If what you are willing to cut is your police force, then you will be the ones who must supply that protection.  So while your government pays outrageous salaries to its officials, you are the ones on the hook.  Perhaps your children will learn the lessons you obviously have not, and might possibly correct the situation.

Until then, I recommend stocking up on the leather and spikes.  It looks like that's what the fashion-conscious will be wearing after the apocalypse.

Bob Costas: Idiot

So, during his spot in last night's Sunday Night Football game between the Dallas Cowboys, who should still fire their GM, and the Philadelphia Eagles, Bob Costas decided to wax eloquent on Gun Control.  In a spot in which he quoted heavily from noted intellectual light-weight Jason Whitlock, Mr. Costas essentially blamed the existence of guns for the deaths of Kansas City Chiefs Line Backer Javon Belcher (suicide) and his live-in girlfriend (and mother of their child) Kasandra Perkins.

If they hadn't owned a gun, Costas opined with Whitlock's words, they might still be alive.  Yes, Mssrs-Highly-Paid-Media-Personalities-Who-Live-In-Very-Safe neighborhoods, because there is no way on earth a six foot tall, or taller, man weighing well north of 200 pounds (and probably not far south of 300) could possibly have killed his girlfriend with, say, a knife.  Nicole Brown Simpson was unavailable for comment.  Failing a knife, he could have used his hands and feet- a means by which you are much more likely to die than any firearm. 

Whatever happened that night, Javon Belcher attacked and murdered his girlfriend.  He then drove to his team's offices, where he shot himself in front of whitnesses.  A man so out of his mind is not suddenly going to reach clarity just because he has to grab a knife, a pipe, a rope, or use his bare hands instead of a gun.

You want to talk about "gun culture?"  Let's look at Virginia, where high fire-arms sales correspond (just coincidentally, I'm sure) with dropping violent crime rates.  Let's look at Texas, Oklahoma, and Arizona, where a "gun culture" of routine ownership has not, somehow, lead to mass murders and the streets running with blood.  Let's look at Michigan, with it's own open-carry law where, excepting the cesspools of Flint and Detroit, you don't exactly have to be afraid to walk to your car at night.

Guns do not cause violence.  Guns do not cause us to "escalate confrontation."  Whatever your beliefs about the Wild West, it wasn't like the movies.  A well armed populace actually decreases violence.  This is especially true when the nature of those weapons is that of the gun- the great equalizer.  As written by Robert E. Howard "Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing."

So spare me your holier-than-thou pontifications about the state of our "gun culture."  Don't try to tell me that violence and murder never existed before the firearm.  Don't try to lay the blame of young Mr. Belcher's actions on the tool he used in their commission.  The blame lies solely with Mr. Belcher, who, for whatever reason, killed the mother of his child, and then himself.