Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Progressive Argument Against Big Government...



"Progressives" frequently lament "corporate welfare," or in more economical terms they oppose subsidies and tax exemptions granted to politically connected corporations. Amazingly, I am 100% in agreement with them.

In theory a strategic, temporary subsidy based on sound economic logic could yield a net benefit. The problem is that rarely, if ever the redistribution of tax payers money is based on sound economic logic.

In Washington DC there are over 30,000 lobbyists that disburse several billion dollars a year to a multitude of politicians. The pharmaceutical industry along disbursed over $900,000,000 between 1998 - 2005. Of course this had nothing to do with the Bush administration's passage of Bush's 2003 prescription drug plan...

The size and scope of lobbying indicates that without a doubt that the redistribution of tax payer money is based not on economic or social logic, but on political connections engendered by large campaign contributions. And we can be certain that the connected corporations receive a massive return on their political investment. In fact, the Carmen Group, a mid-sized lobbying firm claims that for every $1,000,000 that its clients spend on its services, it delivers over $100,000,000 in government benefits!

So, I find it absolutely puzzling how "progressives" can support big government when tax payer funds are redistributed not according to sound economic or social logic, but to the corporations and interests that are most politically connected. In other words money will inevitably flow towards the most wealthy and connected interests. And even "noble programs" like the prescription drug plan are inevitably organized to maximize the gain of large corporate interests, as seen by clauses that allow pharmaceutical firms to greatly increase the cost of their products.

"Progressives" should not view "corporate welfare" as an aberration, but as the inevitable outcome of a redistributive state. Until the magical day in which government is clean and organized for the benefit of the public, "progressives" should be extremely cautious about expanding the size and scope of the state.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/08/AR2006090801610.html

Friday, February 27, 2009

UN Human Rights Council


Photo of 2009 lineup of UN Human Rights Council.

Relative to conservatives, most "progressives" put stock in international governing bodies such as the United Nations. And one of the frequent laments of "progressives" was about how the Bush administration strayed from the good graces of the international community.

While I was in no way a fan of Bush, I find it quite humorous that anyone could look to the United Nations for moral and legal guidance. Included in the 18 nation line up of the 2009 line up of the UN Human Rights Council are: China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia, all grave violators of human rights. I am sure that the Tibetans that were massacred in China and the women that were stoned to death in Saudi Arabia took great solace that the UN Human Rights council spend the majority of their time harassing Israel.

The Jimmy Carter Prize


The Chicago Freedom Forum is presenting a new award for individuals who have advanced the cause of "progressive" policies:

The Jimmy Carter Prize for the Advancement of Douchebagery.

This week's winner is Robert Reich, a member of Obama's economic transition team. In regards to the jobs that the stimulus plan will supposedly generate, Mr. Reich stated:

"I am concerned, as I’m sure many of you are, that these jobs not simply go to high-skilled people who are already professionals or to white male construction workers…I have nothing against white male construction workers, I’m just saying there are other people who have needs as well.”

I don't know where to begin, because Mr. Reich's statement reflects so many tenants of racist-marxist douchebagery.

To begin with, if you are going to spend billions of tax payer money on infrastructure projects it's essential to have the most skilled and experienced workers. To use anything but the best candidate, for whatever ideological reason, raises costs and lowers quality.

This represents the redistributive impulse in many "progressives." Rather than simply seek to redistribute jobs to "protected classes," Mr. Reich could have focused on expanding the skills and productivity of impoverished individuals and communities through construction training programs. Of course the track record of such programs is largely unproven, but at least it would have demonstrated the understanding that prosperity occurs through raising productivity and social capital, rather than having the state redistribute wealth to the less productive.

More than anything Mr. Reich displays the single minded obsession on race that many "progressives" possess. Viewing individuals and workers according to their merits and needs is beyond Mr. Reich's race-ist worldview. A "race-ist" individual doesn't necessarily hate people of particular ethnic groups; rather they simply view all individuals and social phenomena through the lens of race.

Race-ists are the opposite of economists; they ignore the mountains of evidence that economic factors like a worker's education, skill level and work ethic are the prime determinants of economic outcomes, instead believing that race is the grand factor. Paradoxically the commitment of race-ists to diversity leaves them totally incapable of viewing African-Americans and other "protected classes" as unique individuals.

For this and much more we proudly bestow the Jimmy Carter Prize for the Advancement of Douchebagery to Mr. Reich. The prize includes a one way plane ticket to Chavez's Venezuela and a collection of Noam Chomsky's writings.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The 10th Amendment (of that pesky constitution)


A common misconception about conservatives is that their reservations against federal government intervention stems from a general antipathy towards government.

The reality is that most conservatives are opposed to the federal government overstepping its constitutional boundaries, especially when it impinges on self government by local communities and states. This is seen in the 10th amendment of the constitution, which states:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

In this amendment we see that one of the main concerns of the founding fathers was guarding against tyranny of an overly active federal government. This is also the driving force behind the reservation of some governors against accepting funds from Obama's "stimulus plan."

Republican governors, such as Bobby Jindal (R-LA), as well as some democrat governors, like John Lynch of New Hampshire and Phil Bredesen of Tennessee are declining some or all of the federal funds because of provisions attached in which the federal government mandates that they expand and alter state and local laws. Not only is the constitutionality of this highly questionable, but it is also fiscally unsound, because federal funding would expire after two years, leaving the states with the burden of added entitlements without federal aid.

Rarely, if ever do we see an acknowledgement of the wisdom of the founding fathers who sought to guard against tyranny via clear and defined limitations on the size and scope of the federal government. Most "progressives" have shown indifference or even hostility to the fundamental American principles of limited government. From FDR to Obama "progressives" seem to view that "pesky constitution" as an impediment to their dream of expanding the size and scope of the federal government.

And as I read the following quote from Thomas Jefferson, I am quite certain that the constitution was written to guard against the power and ambition of politicians like Obama:

"Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have ...The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,500785,00.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2190174/posts

Terminal Illness


Pictured above: Red Ken Livingston, the former mayor of London.

In past blogs I have presented you with occurrences that point to cultural and spiritual ailments that European and to a lesser extent American elites suffer from.

Today, BBC was interviewing one of an estimated 4,000 British moslems who have volunteered to fight with the taliban against British and American troops. They coolly and uncritically accepted his explanation that "images of the war" had driven him to fight in Afghanistan.

They did not express outrage or confront him for the disloyalty that he showed to the country and culture that had provided him with unparalleled opportunities. Nor did they take a minute to explore the social and political significance of having British citizens taking arms against their own nation to spread islamic fundamentalism. And of course they did not use this as an opportunity to explore the question that perhaps this phenomena reflects serious problems in England's immigration policies, as well as their adherence to multi-cultural dogma.

The staff of the BBC have entered the degenerative stages of their terminal illness. They have abandoned all love of their own culture and country. They have become indifferent or even sympathetic to those who attack their country and culture. Their only outrage is caused by western nations, such as Israel, who dare defend themselves against islamic terror.

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23652231-details/UK+troops+fighting+British+Muslims+in+Afghanistan/article.do

http://europenews.dk/en/node/20299

Let's Counterfeit!


Economists are universally opposed to counterfeiting because it degrades the value and decreases confidence in a currency and causes inflation through the increase of the money supply. And history has shown that inflation is harmful because it erodes the purchasing power primarily of the working class and erodes any incentive to save and invest money. But, our savior Obama has decided to continue Bush's expansion of the money supply via the printing press, to help pay for his endless expansion of government programs.

So, I say if counterfeiting is good enough for our savior, it's good enough for us. Why bother expanding and improving production and human capital, when each American can end the recession by creating and spending counterfeit money. And when massive inflation occurs we can buy wheelbarrows to cart around money, like they do in Zimbabwe, which will of course stimulate our wheelbarrow industry. So write to Barack Obama and Ben Bernanke asking them to send you a printing press, so you can do your part to help foster change we can believe in!

http://www.brookesnews.com/082912obamanomics.html

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24949763-7583,00.html

Zombie Cheerleaders...

I am a long time listener of NPR. During the Bush years they provided healthy scrutiny towards government policies. I very much hoped that they would demonstrate the same in-depth scrutiny for the Obama administration.

But, without a doubt they have become uncritical supporters of Obama, substituted adulation for serious investigation. I am not a fan of FOX, but at least they are openly biased, whereas the zombie cheerleaders at NPR try to hide their partisanship behind intellectual language.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Red-Green Alliance


Within Europe, the most anti-democratic, anti-Semitic and anti-American impulses are found in the red (socialist) - green (islamic) alliances. Go to any anti-Israel march and you'll find socialists with che gueverra shirts, marching side by side with men and women in traditional islamic garb. This alliance is manifested in more disturbing ways than juvenile marches and Jimmy Carter's senile acts of douchebagery The UN is scheduled to vote on a binding resolution mandating that members curtail speech that offends religions, most notably islam. I am quite certain that there will be a one way application of this law: the mountains of hate speech emanating from mosques against Christians, Jews, Hindus and Baha'is will not be addressed, but rational critiques of islam and moslem immigration will be harshly dealt with. That's what you get when the most anti-democratic elements of the western world teams up with the islamic world.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,432502,00.html

Hillarious!

Obama gave a great speech yesterday. Although the topics were serious, Obama maintained his characteristic charm and sense of humor, even throwing in some hilarious jokes:

Health care reform will ensure expanded access to affordable, quality health care!

Since when has the introduction of federal government control ever resulted in an increase of affordability and quality?

The track record of the federal government shows that on rare occasions it can promote affordability (through rationing a good or service) at the cost of lowering quality OR it can maintain quality at staggering costs, as seen through our armed forces, but it cannot do both.

Obama's second hilarious joke was his claim that he will cut the budget deficit in half while simultaneously pushing through an $800,000,000,000 stimulus plan AND enacting costly health care reform AND bailing out car markets AND bailing out home owners AND expanding unemployment benefits AND bailing out state governments!

Forget Seinfeld - I'm getting my laughs with Obama!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cautionary Tale



One key element of intellectual conservatism is understanding the limits that humans have in controlling economic and social phenomena. History is fraught with examples of disasters caused by movements who thought that they could arbitrarily force human beings and social phenomena to conform to their abstract visions. The most dramatic example is seen in socialism, in which leaders pushed for the creation of a "new man" and "new economy" organized around their collectivist vision. Of course the inevitable result was famines, scarcity and gulags.

"Progressive" dogmas are rarely totalitarian, but most are based on the implicit belief that social and economic phenomena can be regulated to arbitrarily conform their visions of "social justice" without costly unintended consequences.

Before my "progressive" readers strike out at strawmen; I will unequivocally state that I am not against all regulation and all state intervention in the economy. I simply urge my readers to consider that each government "cure" is accompanied by a whole new set of economic and social "diseases" that prompt even more government intervention.

A brief glimpse of government intervention in the housing market demonstrates this:

1. To obtain the benefit of increased home ownership the government heavily intervened in the economy through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, tax write-offs and programs and policies geared specifically towards "underrepresented populations."

2. In addition the government encouraged loose credit by maintaining the prime interest rate at levels that were below inflation.

3. These actions obtained the intended benefit of expanded home ownership.

4. One of the unintended consequence of increasing the demand for housing was higher housing prices, i.e "unaffordable housing" which limited access to the housing market.

5. The government took advantage of rising home prices by dramatically raising property taxes, which made housing even less "affordable" for many Americans.

6. To counter the problem of "affordable housing" and expand housing among "underrepresented populations," the state encouraged the expansion of housing subsidies in general and government backed sub-prime mortgages in particular.

7. This greatly contributed to the dire financial situation of several banks.

8. Which of course prompted an extensive and very costly intervention in the financial sector, which will have a multitude of unintended consequences, among them an increase in the size of the national debt.

9. This will inevitably lead to higher inflation and / or much higher interest rates.

10. And of course the state will enact a whole new set of programs and policies to address the economic problems created by state intervention and so on and so on...

So, at the end of the day the housing market and most of the economy would have been in much better shape if we had exercised greater caution in our efforts to bend the market to our desires. The fundamental problems are that few voters can connect the economic problems of today with the policies of the past. And even fewer politicians are willing to take responsibility for the economic disasters that they created; it's always easier to "blame the market."

Like a Carton of Milk...


Like a carton of milk left in the sun, Jimmy Carter gets more rotten as time goes on!

Christians Behead Faith Healer...

Sorry, I searched and searched, but I couldn't find any such headlines, but it seems like the "religion of peace" has been really busy lately "spreading tolerance for other faiths."

Pakistan: Faith healers being shot, blown up, and beheaded

For failing to stop their “illegal and un-Islamic” business. "Faith healers: another casualty of lawlessness in Frontier," from The News, February 23:

PESHAWAR: Faith healers have either stopped practicing or have gone underground because of threats to their lives.

The faith healers of the city have been receiving threats for the past many months and the government failed to provide them security. A number of them were picked from various parts of the city and freed only after assurance that they would no longer continue their practice.

Phool Badshah — the latest victim in the city — was shot dead by unknown people at Khan Mast Colony in the Yakatoot Police Station jurisdiction. Police, as usual, are yet to work out the case.

The office of another faith healer was blown up with explosives in Kohati locality last month. He was threatened by a group to stop his “illegal and un-Islamic” business, but he refused. Abdul Nasir of Pandu, Naseer Shah of Kohat Road, two ‘pirs’ of Badaber and a number of others from across the city were either picked or attacked for practicing faith healing.

The murder of Pir Rafiullah of Taroo Jabba grieved the entire city. Armed men from picked him up from outside his residence last month and later his beheaded body was recovered from the boundary of Khyber Agency. No group claimed responsibly for his murder so far...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Predatory Lenders & Victimized Home Owners


Pictured above - serfs paying their feudal lord.

In 1982 Mr. Arturo Lopez purchased a 2 flat in the working class Chicago neighborhood of Bucktown. Mr. Lopez was careful and purchased a property and obtained a mortgage that were within his economic means. He dutifully made the $600 monthly mortgage payments.

Every few years the bank would raise his mortgage on the grounds that the property value was rising, irregardless of Mr. Lopez's financial situation. By 2008 the bank had raised Mr. Lopez's mortgage by 400% to $2,400 per month. Since his income had only risen by 100%, the financial weight of the mortgage had become crushing.

After investigating his financial statements Mr. Lopez learned that he had paid off the loan in 2007, yet the bank kept on charging him. In 2009 he retired and the combination of his lower income and higher monthly payments made it impossible for him to pay the mortgage. Faster than he could say "foreclosure" the bank had seized his property. Mr. Lopez was justifiably enraged, because it was as if the bank had become a feudal lord and he had become a serf who was merely renting the property.

Now substitute "government" for "bank" and "property taxes" for "mortgage" and you'll understand the basically feudal relationship that had evolved between the government and homeowners via property taxes.

Most "progressives" decry the financial ruin of homeowners caused by them voluntarily taking on mortgages that are above their means.

Yet, so few "progressives" seem concerned about the financial burden and ruin caused by the government doubling and tripling property taxes, regardless of the income of home owners. And so few mention the part that rising taxes play in the growth of foreclosures.

In the vast majority of cases banks will make the effort to ensure that loans are within the means of their constituency. Yet, when the government dramatically raises property taxes they do not take the home owner's income into account. Needless to say this has contributed to the exodus of working class and middle class families from many parts of Chicago and Cook County. Yet, not once have I heard the "progressives" who decry gentrification mention property taxes.

Are these "progressives" only able to envision scenarios in which "greedy corporations" are the problem and state intervention is the solution?

I'll leave you with some thoughts that I would like you to ponder:

To levy direct (income) and indirect (sales) is a necessary function of the state. But to tax a home every year under the threat of having the state seize it from you implies that you are the tenant and the state is the feudal owner of the land...which we should find far more troubling that "predatory lending."

The Grinch that (almost) stole Craigslist!


Relative to conservatives, most "progressives" lean towards greater regulation of economic and social spheres of existence. Sometimes I agree with their regulatory efforts, other times I do not, but I would always give them the benefit of the doubt, in regards to their noble intentions, that is until February 6, 2006.

On that a "fair housing" group, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Inc. filed a lawsuit against Craigslist because of a handful of discriminatory ads that were posted in the housing section.

For those who are not familiar with Craigslist, it is an online community, in which people can post free ads for apartments and any imaginable good, service and community event.

Craigslist has a remarkably effective flagging system, in which the vast majority of discriminatory apartment ads are quickly taken off when community members flag them. So, Craigslist succesfully balances the "progressive" value of fighting against discrimination, with the libertarian value of self-governance.

The lawyers in question demanded that Craigslist impose centralized control of ads, reviewing and screening each ad to make sure they are not discriminatory. Even more troubling was their demand that Craigslist "proactively volunteer personal information about posters who post a discriminatory preference to regulatory authorities for prosecution, without subpoena or warrant..."

This would have essentially transformed Craigslist from an open, free, self-regulating community to a closed, costly, centralized and externally regulated enterprise.

I have not doubt that these "progressive" lawyers are motivated by power and the fascist drive to control others. They cannot accept the reality of an enterprise that succesfully functions outside of their centralized control. They cannot accept that people and communities are capable of regulating their own affairs. They cannot accept that perhaps they are not necessary, perhaps the burdens they oppose on society outweigh the benefits that they offer.

Thankfully the grinch was beaten and Craigslist is still governed by freedom.




The Ghost of Neville Chamberlain...



The ghost of Neville Chamberlain, the former Prime Minister of England, paid a visit to the House of Lords to congratulate the British parliamentarians who successfully barred Geert Wilders, the Dutch parliamentarian, from entering England. Mr. Chamberlain stated:

"Jolly good show, you have secured peace in your time by giving into the demands of radical moslems. That dreadful old chap Mr. Wilders reminds me of another uncouth alarmist, Mr. Winston Churchill..."

Below is the text of the address that Geert Wilders was invited to deliver at the House of Lords on Thursday, February 12, 2009:

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. Thank you for inviting me. Thank you Lord Pearson and Lady Cox for showing Fitna [see it here], and for your gracious invitation. While others look away, you seem to understand the true tradition of your country, and a flag that still stands for freedom.

This is no ordinary place. This is not just one of England’s tourist attractions. This is a sacred place. This is the mother of all Parliaments, and I am deeply humbled to speak before you.

The Houses of Parliament is where Winston Churchill stood firm, and warned – all throughout the 1930’s – for the dangers looming. Most of the time he stood alone.

In 1982 President Reagan came to the House of Commons, where he did a speech very few people liked. Reagan called upon the West to reject communism and defend freedom. He introduced a phrase: ‘evil empire’. Reagan’s speech stands out as a clarion call to preserve our liberties. I quote: If history teaches anything, it teaches self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly.

That Reagan meant is that you cannot run away from history, you cannot escape the dangers of ideologies that are out to destroy you. Denial is no option.

Communism was indeed left on the ash heap of history, just as Reagan predicted in his speech in the House of Commons. He lived to see the Berlin Wall coming down, just as Churchill witnessed the implosion of national-socialism.

Today, I come before you to warn of another great threat. It is called Islam. It poses as a religion, but its goals are very worldly: world domination, holy war, sharia law, the end of the separation of church and state, the end of democracy. It is not a religion, it is a political ideology. It demands your respect, but has no respect for you.

There might be moderate Muslims, but there is no moderate Islam. Islam will never change, because it is built on two rocks that are forever, two fundamental beliefs that will never change, and will never go away. First, there is Quran, Allah’s personal word, uncreated, forever, with orders that need to be fulfilled regardless of place or time. And second, there is al-insal al-kamil, the perfect man, Muhammad the role model, whose deeds are to be imitated by all Muslims. And since Muhammad was a warlord and a conqueror we know what to expect.

Islam means submission, so there cannot be any mistake about it’s goal. That’s a given. The question is whether the British people, with its glorious past, is longing for that submission.

We see Islam taking off in the West at an incredible speed. The United Kingdom has seen a rapid growth of the number of Muslims. Over the last ten years, the Muslim population has grown ten times as fast as the rest of society. This has put an enormous pressure on society. Thanks to British politicians who have forgotten about Winston Churchill, the English now have taken the path of least resistance. They give up. They give in.

Thank you very much for letting me into the country. I received a letter from the Secretary of State for the Home Department, kindly disinviting me. I would threaten community relations, and therefore public security in the UK, the letter stated.

For a moment I feared that I would be refused entrance. But I was confident the British government would never sacrifice free speech because of fear of Islam. Britannia rules the waves, and Islam will never rule Britain, so I was confident the Border Agency would let me through. And after all, you have invited stranger creatures than me. Two years ago the House of Commons welcomed Mahmoud Suliman Ahmed Abu Rideh, linked to Al Qaeda. He was invited to Westminster by Lord Ahmed, who met him at Regent’s Park mosque three weeks before. Mr. Rideh, suspected of being a money man for terror groups, was given a SECURITY sticker for his Parliamentary visit.

Well, if you let in this man, than an elected politician from a fellow EU country surely is welcome here too. By letting me speak today you show that Mr Churchill’s spirit is still very much alive. And you prove that the European Union truly is working; the free movement of persons is still one of the pillars of the European project.

But there is still much work to be done. Britain seems to have become a country ruled by fear. A country where civil servants cancel Christmas celebrations to please Muslims. A country where Sharia Courts are part of the legal system. A country where Islamic organizations asked to stop the commemoration of the Holocaust. A country where a primary school cancels a Christmas nativity play because it interfered with an Islamic festival. A country where a school removes the words Christmas and Easter from their calendar so as not to offend Muslims. A country where a teacher punishes two students for refusing to pray to Allah as part of their religious education class. A country where elected members of a town council are told not to eat during daylight hours in town hall meetings during the Ramadan. A country that excels in its hatred of Israel, still the only democracy in the Middle-East. A country whose capitol is becoming ‘Londonistan.’

I would not qualify myself as a free man. Four and a half years ago I lost my freedom. I am under guard permanently, courtesy to those who prefer violence to debate. But for the leftist fan club of Islam, that is not enough. They started a legal procedure against me. Three weeks ago the Amsterdam Court of Appeals ordered my criminal prosecution for making Fitna and for my views on Islam. I committed what George Orwell called a ‘thought crime.’

You might have seen my name on Fitna’s credit role, but I am not really responsible for that movie. It was made for me. It was actually produced by Muslim extremists, the Quran and Islam itself. If Fitna is considered ‘hate speech,’ then how would the Court qualify the Quran, with all it’s calls for violence, and hatred against women and Jews?

Mr. Churchill himself compared the Quran to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Well, I did exactly the same, and that is what they are prosecuting me for.
I wonder if the UK ever put Mr. Churchill on trail.

The Court’s decision and the letter I received form the Secretary of State for the Home Department are two major victories for all those who detest freedom of speech. They are doing Islam’s dirty work. Sharia by proxy. The differences between Saudi Arabia and Jordan on one hand, and Holland and Britain are blurring. Europe is now on the fast track of becoming Eurabia. That is apparently the price we have to pay for the project of mass immigration, and the multicultural project.

Ladies and gentlemen, the dearest of our many freedoms is under attack. In Europe, freedom of speech is no longer a given. What we once considered a natural component of our existence is now something we again have to fight for. That is what is at stake. Whether or not I end up in jail is not the most pressing issue. The question is: Will free speech be put behind bars?
We have to defend freedom of speech.

For the generation of my parents the word ‘London’ is synonymous with hope and freedom. When my country was occupied by the national-socialists the BBC offered a daily glimpse of hope, in the darkness of Nazi tyranny. Millions of my country men listened to it, illegally. The words ‘This Is London’ were a symbol for a better world coming soon. If only the British and Canadian and American soldiers were here.

What will be transmitted forty years from now? Will it still be ‘This Is London’? Or will it be ‘this is Londonistan’? Will it bring us hope, or will it signal the values of Mecca and Medina? Will Britain offer submission or perseverance? Freedom or slavery?

The choice is ours.
Ladies and gentlemen,

We will never apologize for being free. We will never give in. We will never surrender.
Freedom must prevail, and freedom will prevail.
Thank you very much.

Geert Wilders MPChairman, Party for Freedom (PVV)The Netherlands

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Can anyone explain (part II)...



I came across a very interesting statistic on poverty:

There's one segment of the black population that suffers only a 9.9 percent poverty rate, and only 13.7 percent of their under-5-year-olds are poor.

There's another segment of the black population that suffers a 39.5 percent poverty rate, and 58.1 percent of its under-5-year-olds are poor.

Among whites, one population segment suffers a 6 percent poverty rate, and only 9.9 percent of its under-5-year-olds are poor.

Another segment of the white population suffers a 26.4 percent poverty rate, and 52 percent of its under-5-year-olds are poor.

What do you think distinguishes the high and low poverty populations?

The only statistical distinction between both the black and white populations is marriage.

William Galston, once an assistant to President Clinton, put the matter simply. To avoid poverty, do three things: finish high school, marry before having a child, and produce the child after you are 20 years old. Only 8% of people who do all three will be poor; of those who fail to do them, 79% will be poor.

Can anyone explain to me why "progressives" are so conerned about poverty in the African-American community, yet so few acknowledge the clear and indisputable connection between family structure and poverty?

An intellectually honest "progressive" should do whatever was in their power to combat single parenthood in the African-American community, yet so few have raised this issue.

Are they unable to accept any facts that contradict the "progressive" narrative of "activists" protecting "victims" against "oppressors"?

Are they too afraid of "blaming the victim"?

Can Anyone Explain...



In her book "Marriage and Caste in America," Kay Hymowitz documents the growing gap between how different sectors of the United States approach marriage and child rearing. Only 4% of college educated mothers give birth outside of wedlock. In contrast, 16.5% of women without a college education and a staggering 67% of African-American women gave birth outside of wedlock. Interestingly, we also see a large difference between the patterns of divorce. Among college educated women (who married between 1990 - 1994) only 16.5% were divorced, whereas the divorce rate among non-college-educated women was 46%.

Kay Hymowitz does not approach marriage and child-reaching as moral issues; rather, she presents them as behaviors with powerful economic and social repercussions. In particular, she makes a very compelling argument that this rapidly growing "marriage gap" has greatly contributed to America's widening economic inequality. She argues that America is turning into a nation of "separate and unequal families" and that the “marriage gap” is the chief (but not only) source of the country's widening inequality.

She points out how the majority (92%) of children with families earning more than $75,000 a year live with married parents (including step-parents) and at the bottom quartile, only 20% of children live with both parents. She cites Mary Parke from the Center of Law and Social Policy who points out that children living with a single parent are five times as likely to be poor, twice as likely to drop out of high school as those who live with 2 biological parents.

Her clear thesis is that married families accrue greater wealth because of the economy of scale -two individuals combining their wealth, splitting their expenses and investing the surplus. Each spouse's income provides insurance for the other against an unexpected loss of health and / or income. In addition, marriage allows for a division of labor that allows both parents to invest greater amounts of time, energy and wealth in their children's' academic and social development. According to Hymowitz, this helps explain the greater occurrence of academic and social pathology among the children of single parents.

For Hymowitz marriage was both a causation and a major correlation of the propensity to build economic and social capital. Those who plan and invest in the future, those who are educationally and professionally oriented are far less likely to have children out of wedlock and far more likely to improve their economic situation. And those who are committed to providing their future children with the best possible economic and educational opportunities will rarely have children out of wedlock. Overtime this has contributed to the development of two distinct castes in America. Especially troubling is the fact that these castes have distinct ethnic overtones; single parenthood is far more prevalent in African-American and to a lesser extent Latino communities.

So, can anyone explain to me why the majority of "progressives" are so resistant to acknowledging that family structure is a major factor in poverty and inequality?

How can people who claim to be so concerned about the poor ignore a vital factor in poverty?

http://www.amazon.com/Marriage-Caste-America-Separate-Post-Marital/dp/1566637090/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1235363554&sr=8-1

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Road to Hell...



I understand where most "progressives" are coming from; they see a myriad of economic and social problems and want to utilize collective resources to address them. With few exceptions "progressives" have noble intentions and believe that the conservative hesitancy to utilize state intervention stems from "selfish intentions."

Progressives are right that in theory, an honest, competent group of politicians and bureaucrats, motivated by a genuine concern for public welfare can create and administer programs and policies in which the benefits outweigh the costs.

But, at least in the case of Chicago, Cook County and Illinois government, honesty, competency and genuine concern for public welfare are virtually non-existent.

If "progressives" focused more on the actual outcomes of programs and policies and less on the noble intentions, I am confident that they would become more open to the merits of limited government.

Take the example of public housing. In the 1950's and 1960's "progressives" were rightfully concerned about a shortage of quality housing, especially for African-Americans who recently relocated to Chicago via the great migration.

Their statist solution was to have the government provide housing. In theory this was a good idea, but:

1. In the hands of city government public housing became a tool to bolster segregation. Not only did this appease white voters, it strengthened the monopoly of the Democratic Party in African-American neighborhoods. No matter how poorly the party treated them, they knew that they were ensured African-American votes, so a segregated wards were guaranteed victories for the Democratic Party. And Public housing residents knew that if they did not vote for machine candidates they would risk loosing their government benefits.

2. It created a crippling concentration of economic and social poverty for generations to come.

3. It allowed the Chicago Machine to dole out millions and millions of dollars to its allies in the form of inflated construction and maintenance contracts. And of course they companies provided ample employment opportunities for loyal party members. Needless to say the recipients of these contracts and jobs amply contributed to the Democratic Party.

Less than 50 years after their creation, the housing projects became so overwhelmingly awful that they city finally decided to tear them down. This, of course provided opportunities for the Chicago Machine to provide millions and millions of dollars in contracts and land to crony contractors and developers.

So, next time a "heartless conservative" seems less than enthusiastic about government intervention, focus on real, concrete results and not on noble intentions. As the saying goes "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." In the case of Chicago, we can be certain that this road will be over budget, behind schedule and still have mammoth size potholes.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Proposal for Progressives...

I have a proposal for my progressive friends who do not see the merits of limited government:

Let's agree that the benefits of state intervention in social and economic spheres outweigh the costs only under the following conditions:

1. Those who plan it are honest.

2. Their prime motivation is the benefit of the public, not serving connected, special interests.

3. The causes of this social and economic problem is accurately assessed.

4. A solution that effectively addresses the problem is created by highly competent individuals.

5. Those government bodies who execute the plan or program are competent.

6. They constantly strive to eliminate waste and achieve cost effectiveness.

7. The effectiveness of the program and policy is accurately and honestly assessed.

8. If its not effective, it is either terminated or reformed.

Now, think about the politicians and bureaucrats of Chicago, Cook County & Illinois.

Can you think of many that even meet the 1st two requirements?

Can you think of any that meet all eight requirements?

If you answered "no," the only logical answer is to limit the time, money and freedom that city, county and state government usurps from the tax paying public.

Of course I believe that the government has a role in promoting education, infrastructure, rule of law and basic public safety. Beyond that, we should be extremely cautious about allowing the state to usurp resources from productive individuals and productive sectors to government programs that are managed by ethically and even mentally challenged individuals.





Did He Sleep During History Class?



President Obama was an exceptional law student, but I suspect that he slept during history class, because he clearly is not aware of the wise and remarkably honest words of Henry Morgenthau Jr, the Secretary of the Treasury during the FDR administration. On May 1939, testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee he stated:

"We are spending more money than we have ever spent before and it does not work. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. We have never made good on our promises. I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started and an enormous debt to boot."

I don't fully blame FDR for prolonging the Great Depression through his failed economic policies, because he did not have the benefit of historical hindsight. But, Obama has no such excuse, he has access to the experience and analysis of Morgenthau, the Congressional Budget Office and contemporary economists, all whom indicate that his "stimulus plan" will have long term negative economic effects. Lucky for Obama, most voters do not know history and an electorate that is poorly versed on history is destined to repeat their mistakes over and over again.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Morgenthau,_Jr.

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3327

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/feb/04/cbo-obama-stimulus-harmful-over-long-haul/

Congraturashions!


Congraturashions mister Obama on march towards socialism!

Dialogue with a Dummy


Eric Holder, the new Attorney General declared that the United States was a "nation of cowards" when it came to discussing issues of race and that "we, as Americans, simply do not talk with each other enough about race."

Mr. Holders, I am not sure where you've been; for the last 15 years universities, public schools, corporations and the federal government have been obsessed with "celebrating diversity."

But, more importantly, I am certain that your discussion would resemble a dialogue with a ventriloquist dummy. The conclusions would be predetermined and no one would dare challenge "progressive" mantras on race and racism. It would be a one sided exchange of grievances; certainly critics of affirmative action and racially based economic redistribution, like Dr. Thomas Sowell, would not be invited to participate. Dialogues with dummies never lead to greater understanding; they leave unresolved issues and painful splinters.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Best Summary...


The best summary of the cause of our political and economic ills comes from the great economist and social critic, Dr. Thomas Sowell:

The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.

When an individual or a government lives within its means it must prioritize and make painful choices on the wisest use of limited resources. But when politicians utilize deficit spending they can satisfy "progressives" through expansive government programs and equally satisfy so called conservatives by maintaining artificially low (relative to expenditures) tax rates. This is a dangerously easy choice for politicians, because the political benefits are gained in their life time, but the full brunt of the costs will be incurred by the next generation.

I would not be opposed to Obama's pursuit of socialist health care and other lavish subsidies, IF it was in the context of a balanced budget. Even though I am not a socialist, I would have tremendous respect for Obama IF he said:

I can give you national health care, BUT we will have to dramatically cut other programs and raise your taxes. To increase government expenditures in the face of our already massive national debt will unduly burden the next generation of Americans.


I don't fully blame Obama for this, because if he spoke more like an honest economist and less like a slick politician, it's doubtful that he would have gotten elected.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Of Tribes and Tennis...


The "progressive" nation of the United Arab Emirates denied an Israeli athlete, Shahar Peer the right to participate in a tennis tournament by blocking her visa.

For the average westerner castigating an individual for the "crimes of their nation" is beyond the pale of reason. Furthermore most westerners view international sporting events as opportunities to transcend conflicts and foster goodwill among nations.

Unfortunately most westerners do not understand that many other cultures do not view the world in a similar fashion. Whereas westerners morality is based on individualistic-universal principles, moslem cultures are largely governed by tribal moral principles.

Individualistic-universal principles dictates that individuals are to be judged on their own merits, not the merits of their group. Whereas, tribal principles dictate that individuals should be judged by their group. Accordingly to this worldview, it's logical to castigate a young Israeli tennis player for the actions of Israeli soldiers, even if she does not support those actions. Of course this helps explain why Hamas and a large segment of the arab-islamic population has no moral qualms about targeting Israeli civilians through suicide bombings and missiles.

We, as westerners take it for granted that you can protest on behalf of a rival group, against the actions of your government. For example, we didn't think twice when Americans protested the abuse of moslem prisoners in abu-ghraib and Israelis protested against Israel's failure to assist palestinians against allied Christian militias during the Lebanese Civil War.

On the other hand, I have never seen a moslem protest against the murder of Israeli civilians. I have never seen arabs march on behalf of the Kurds that were slaughtered by saddam hussein and the Christians and Animists who were slaughtered in sudan. The reason is that tribal morality dictates that moral law only applies to your own group and not to other tribes. And your moral duty is to unconditionally support your own tribe against another.

This is not a simple exercise in philosophy or anthropology, because those who do not understand the culture and world view of their opponents will neither achieve peace nor victory.




Hipsters, Rednecks & Libertarians Unite!


Oregon politicians proposed raising the state beer tax by 1900%.

This may be the one issue that I will be able to unite the Hipsters, Rednecks and Libertarians!

Hipsters and other fans of microbreweries should oppose this, because it creates a competitive advantage to larger, corporate breweries that (through production of scale) can bear the added fiscal burden. Many local micro-brewers believe that this will put them out of business.

And hipsters and rednecks alike will be united against the rising cost of beer. Economists estimate that this will raise the cost of beer from $4.50 to $6.00 a pint.

And of course Libertarians are against excessive state intervention.

Regardless of your political persuasion, lets drink to good, cheap beer!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/16/oregon-beer-tax-of-1900-p_n_167318.html

A public relations failure to say the least...


In 2004 Muzzammil Hassan and his wife Aasiya Zubair Hassan founded Bridges TV, a satellite program that attempted to counter images of Muslim violence and extremism.

This week Muzzammil was charged with the decapitation of Aasiya, allegedly because she had initiated divorce proceedings against him.

A public relations failure to say the least.
Your thoughts?

An exception to the rule...


Pictured above - Andrew Carnegie one of the richest and most charitable men in American history.

In his visit to the United States Tocqueville noted that one of the things that makes the United States unique is the strength and scope of its civil society. He noted on countless Americans voluntarily contribute their time and money to thousands and thousands of charities, churches and civic organizations with no direct self benefit to themselves.

The more I learn about other cultures, the more I can tell you with certainty that this is an exception to the rule that this makes America a unique and wonderful country.

In many nations the wealthy watch as half their nation starves. But in the United States the great leaders of commerce from Carnegie (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Carnegie) to Gates (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Gates_foundation) voluntarily donated vast sums of money to better their fellow citizens. And many educated people, who I greatly respect, opt for lower paying jobs in the non-profit sector.

In socialist and social democratic countries in which the state supposedly intervenes on behalf of the poor, the typical citizen will not voluntarily spend a dime or a minute of their time on behalf of their brethren. Caring for the poor, supporting arts and education is the job of the state, not of private citizens.

That which takes a century to create can be undone by the sloth of a generation. I fear that as the nanny state expands and becomes the cradle-to-grave caregiver, our great civil society and sense of social initiative will wither. And as the state usurps more and more of our wealth, those who once gave freely and joyfully will tightly cling to their diminishing wealth.


Here are some great organizations; I encourage you to give to one or more of them - our messiah, the great Obama can not yet cure the blind and turn water into wine, so the poor and sick still need your help.
http://www.bpkids.org/site/PageServer


http://www.leukemiafoundation.org/


http://www.afmda.org/

http://www.wfmt.com/

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Voting with their feet...


In the 1949 East German election, socialist parties gained 76% of the vote and in subsequent elections they garnered nearly 99% of the vote. Based on the electoral results, we would assume that support for socialist policies was very strong. But, at the same time 1000's of people were "voting with their feet" and fleeing East Germany for West Germany. With their feet they were registering the discontent that socialism produced for them and many of their less fortunate countrymen.

Equally, we can learn a lot about the true feelings of Americans towards political and economic policies by observing how they vote with their feet. Between 2000 and 2005, Cook County lost more people than any county in the nation. In 2007 Chicago lost a staggering 5.5% of its population. California experienced a net loss of 144,000. Interestingly, the population losses were far more dramatic in middle class and white populations, which to a large degree overlap. The large population loss of native born Americans were partially offset by a large increase in immigrant populations in the the aforementioned areas.

So, there is no debate that a large segment of the middle class is dissatisfied with political and economic policies in Chicago, Cook County and California. The only question open for debate is what are they dissatisfied with, what are they fleeing from? And also, what are they migrating to.

Fundamentally, the middle class is fleeing areas in which the burden of the state has grown excessive. These families do not necessarily hold conservative philosophy towards big government; rather, they are leaving because of the economic burdens created by an ever increasing state. To fund their bloated administration, Cook County has levied the highest sales tax in the country and has continuously raises property taxes, even as home values have plummeted. And at every turn Chicago increases the burden on its citizenry by taxing and regulating every productive endeavor.

Under this scenario, the only populations that has an incentive to remain are the net beneficiaries of government services and the minority of individuals that are wealthy enough to pay the exorbitant taxes. And the middle class who financially or philosophically cannot bear the heavy handed transference of wealth, is the first to leave. When the population of those who are dependent on government services exceeds the middle class, the latter group loses the electoral power to vote in officials who will protect their interests. Faced with this situation, their only option is to walk away and find greener economic and political pastures. The only force that tethers the middle class to Chicago is the city mandate that public employees, such as firemen and teachers remain within the confines of the city. Without this highly undemocratic policy, an even larger segment of the middle class would flee. I believe that this exodus is a major underlying factor in the daunting deficits that California and to a lesser extent Illinois faces.

Liberal critics of my analysis will most likely counter my position will the following response: "they aren't fleeing the growth of the state, they are fleeing a lack of job opportunities..."

My response is: yes, a lack of job opportunities is also a large factor, but the exodus of jobs from Illinois and other areas is also connected with the tax and regulatory burden placed on businesses. When a locality makes it costly to do business, businesses flee, taking precious jobs and revenues with them. And anyone who has ever done business in Chicago and Cook County can tell you that the normally costly and time consuming task of obtaining permits and licenses is compounded by corruption and favoritism.

Also, many families are certainly voting with their feet against Chicago's generally terrible public schools. As quality suburban school districts show, most parents are willing to pay high taxes and high housing costs IF their children receive quality education. But, in the case of Chicago where terrible schools are coupled with high taxes and high housing costs, there is little reason to remain. And there is no doubt that to address the exodus, we must address the access to quality education. Why the schools are terrible and what can be done are complex topics that will be addressed in future posts.

Unfortunately, but undeniably people are voting with their feet against demographic changes. When neighborhoods in Chicago, as well as suburbs like Cicero and South Holland reached a demographic "tipping point," whites fled in droves. Most "progressives" will solely attribute this to racism. While racism can be a factor, I believe that social problems (gangs, crime, litter etc.) that occur alongside the diversification of neighborhoods are the main impetus for "white flight."

I base this on my years of experience working with landlords and tenants throughout Chicago. Contrary to my expectations landlords in upscale neighborhoods, such as Lincoln Park, Gold Coast and Winnetka never displayed the slightest reservation about renting to African-Americans or Latinos. The reason for this is that the landlords knew that African-Americans and Latinos moving into upscale neighborhoods were identical to their white counterparts in terms of education and professional development. Accordingly, there was no rational reason to believe that the diversification of their upscale neighborhoods would result in an increase of social pathology. So, few if any neighbors will "vote with their feet" against diversity.

Conversely, landlords in working class neighborhoods, that bordered blighted areas, knew that few if any educated and upwardly minorities would gravitate towards their working class, ethnic (Irish, Polish, Italian etc.) neighborhoods. The said individuals would seek out neighborhoods were equally educated and upwardly mobile individuals congregated, such as Lincoln Park and Hyde Park. They knew that a notable portion of the African-Americans and Latinos seeking to enter their neighborhoods were less educated and less financially stable than the current residents. Common sense and urban history dictated that a demographic shift would recreate the same social pathologies that characterized predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhoods.

So, the question is what government policies (if any) have resulted in the comparative deficit of social capital (education, skills, civic mindedness) found in the aforementioned communities?

I would say that first and foremost the same government created problems that caused whites to vote with their feet, cause educated, upwardly mobile African-Americans and Latinos to flee their own neighborhoods. Shitty schools and crushing taxes burden all productive citizenry, regardless of race or ethnicity. And attempts by wealthy "progressives" who send their children to private schools, to block efforts at school choice must be equally alienating. The end result is that many communities are left with few viable role models.

Another important issue is immigration, specifically the skills and education level of different immigrant groups. The reason why crime and social pathology are more pronounced in Latin American communities as opposed to Indian and East Asian communities is NOT because one group is better than another. The reason is that our immigration policies has tended to draw in the most educated, upwardly mobile segments of India and East Asia and conversely the least educated, least skilled segments of Latin America. In a post-industrial economy that increasingly rewards highly skilled and educated workers and economically punishes unskilled workers, this is a recipe for a proliferation of poverty and social pathology. So, indirectly people are voting with their feet against our current immigration policies.

We may agree or we may disagree with how our fellow citizens vote with their feet. But, we can all agree that it's a troubling phenomena, because it shows that many citizens believe that the ballot has failed them, that open and honest debate has become increasingly difficult and "real change" has become all but impossible. Regimes that ignore how their citizens' votes are destined to perpetually repeat their errors until they finally collapse. This was true for East Germany and it will be equally true for Cook County and California.

http://www.borjas.com/





















Thursday, February 12, 2009

Something Beautiful!

Many of my posts dwell on negative social and economic phenomena. Tonight I would like to share some beautiful music with my readers, particularly music that reflects a fusion of cultures and traditions:

Argentine-Jewish Tango: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLVrSkBrYZg

Polish-Jewish Tango: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-hg58QQmdc

Maria Callas sings Puccini: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOuri0VY74s

Sarah Chang plays Bach: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOVwokQnV4M

Jascha Heifetz plays Paganini: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPcnGrie__M

Rubinstein plays Chopin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGRO05WcNDk

Chopin nocturn: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEl9zn8JPW8

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Clash of Diversities (UPDATE)


As you'll recall from my previous post, the Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders was being charged by a Dutch judge for his movie Fitna, which is explicitely critical of Islam. Mr. Wilders was invited by Lord Malcom Pearson, a member of the House of Lords to show and discuss his movie with a group of British Parliamentarians.

The Home Office of the United Kingdom informed Mr. Wilders that he was barred from entering the United Kingdom because his "presence could threaten public security." This will be the 1st time that an elected European official has been barred from entering England.

Mr. Wilders response was "let them arrest me." He went on to express that he was "surprised and very saddened that the freedom of speech that was a very strong point of UK society has been harassed" and "It's incredible that an elected politician who was invited by one of your parliamentarians to a discussion with people who are against me, or in favour of me (was banned from the UK)."

We see that in contrast to 40 years ago, when the left was considered to be a force of free speech and open, intellectual discourse, we now find the left behind most instances of the suppression of free and open discourse. As a non-citizen, the most troubling issue is not Mr. Wilder's free speech, but the suppression of the right of free association and free discourse of the British parliamentarians.
This illustrates a very common philosophical ailment among members of the left - placing select social values (sensitivity, tolerance, diversity, etc.) far above the values of freedom and autonomy. For these individuals, the thought of allowing Mr. Wilder's (supposedly) flawed ideas to wither in the light of the market place of ideas is beyond the pale, for they seek to control the free flow of ideas almost as much as they seek to control the free flow of goods and services.

What makes this especially troubling is the very selective approach that the left has towards issues of free expression and hatred. In this case the very same governing bodies that are seeking to bar Mr. Wilders allowed the entrance of some anti-Semitic radical moslem preachers. Here is an excerpt from one of the sermons of Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, a preacher who was actually invited to England by Ken Livingston, the former mayor of London:

"Oh Allah, take the Jews, the treacherous aggressors. Oh Allah, take this profligate, cunning, arrogant band of people...Pour Your wrath upon them, oh our God. Lie in wait for them...Oh Allah, do not spare a single one of them...Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them, down to the very last one."

In addition Mr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi illustrious sermons have called for: the execution of gays, the beating of disobedient women and suicide bombings against Jewish civilians, as well as a boycott against Pokemon for its use of "Jewish and Masonic symbols...""

Apparently the European left is unable to see the gigantic irony in barring a speaker whose message is that islamic immigration is eroding political and economic freedom in Europe.

In the United States limits of freedom of speech promoted by the left usually center on implicit social pressure against those who do not conform to officially sanctioned ideologies. But, our "progressives" always look towards Europe for inspiration, so who knows what the future holds...




Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Letter from your Children & Grandchildren...


If we do not address the national debt, 30 years from now you may receive this letter from your children or grandchildren:

2-11-2039

Dear Mom and Dad,

I am writing to ask you how could you sit by and do nothing as the politicians of your day financially destroyed our generation through recklessly increasing the national debt. Your deficit spending was little more than a criminal transference of wealth from future generation to finance the entitlements of your generation. Why? Because, eventually every dollar the federal government borrowed had to be paid back with crippling interest.

If you picked up today's (2-11-2039) paper you would have seen that the interest on the debt is consuming 25% of our tax revenue and the remaining 75% goes towards paying your generation's social security, medicare and medicaid benefits. Of course neither I nor my descendants will enjoy these benefits.

So, how do we fund basic government functions? Through even more deficit spending, coupled with massive taxation and the endless printing of money, which has debased the dollar and lowered the living standards for virtually every American. But, even with that, we've had to cut back on education, defense and basic infrastructure like the repair of roads and bridges...if you thought Chicago had bad roads in 2008, you should see what our streets look like today!

And don't get me started on the great humiliation we face ever time we have to beg the Chinese, Koreans and Indians for an extension on the loans that you began and we have continued out of dire necessity. In order to keep them financing our deficit, through the purchase of government bonds, we've had to raise interest rates to nearly 20%. High interest rates are fine for attracting foreign investors, but they've made cars, homes and higher education, luxuries beyond the means of most ordinary citizens.

Don't tell me you didn't see see this coming. By October 31, 2008, the national debt had already surpassed 10.5 trillion dollars, over $35,000 per person! And interest payments alone were consuming 9% ($237 billion dollars) of your budget! But what did your "great man of change" do? Did he reverse the disastrous financial course that George W. Bush set in motion? No, less than a month into office, Obama presided over a so called "stimulus bill" that increased the national debt by 825 billion dollars...with compound interest that "stimulus bill" has cost my generation trillions of dollars!

And why, oh why did you not do anything about Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?!? You saw the disaster coming from miles away. In 2008, these programs were already consuming nearly 45% of your budget and you knew that by 2015 benefits were going to far exceed revenues. But, what did you do? You raided the "social security lock-box" to finance other government programs. And you refused to elect any politician who was serious about entitlement reform. Your "progressives" dared not touch their sacred entitlements, while most of your so-called "conservatives did not have the cajones to build a bridge over these bottomless financial pits. And so few liberals and conservatives said or did anything as the American Empire spent itself into oblivion in Iraq, Afghanistan and hundreds of military bases across the globe.

What an irony - the great generation of change left us with little more than a handful of change.

Sincerely,

Your children and grandchildren.

For more information on the national debt, you should read up on the concord coalition, a
very reputable bi-partisan group supported by the (liberal) Brookings Institute, as well as the (conservative) Heritage Foundation and the Comptroller General, David Walker:

http://www.concordcoalition.org/

http://www.facingup.org/why

http://www.usbudgetwatch.org/

http://www.publicagenda.org/wheredoesthemoneygo

Sunday, February 8, 2009

President, Planter, Philosopher, Architect, Archeologist & Psychic?


Since grade school I was aware that the great Thomas Jefferson was a president, planter, architect, archaeologist and philosopher, but recently I discovered that he may have been a psychic!

While reading Jefferson's writing, I came across many admonishments that clearly and directly address the political and economic ills that the United States now faces.

Of course the world has changed greatly since Jefferson, but the fundamentals of the human condition have remained the same. Read and reflect on this small sample of the wise and continuously relevant thoughts of Jefferson and you will certainly see that many of our current economic and political ills, from our massive national debt, to our bloated welfare state, to the war in Iraq, at least partially stem from the abandonment of sound Jeffersonian principles:

-A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government.

-The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

-I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

-Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government.

-I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.

-Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.

-Every generation needs a new revolution.

-Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.

-I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind.

-I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.

-I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led, and bearding every authority which stood in their way.

-I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.

-In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.

-It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God.

-It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness.

-My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.

-Never spend your money before you have earned it.

-No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.

-Nothing is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man.

-Peace and abstinence from European interferences are our objects, and so will continue while the present order of things in America remain uninterrupted.

-That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.

-The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the tracts which favor that theory.

-The spirit of this country is totally adverse to a large military force.

-The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

-Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.

-To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.

-To penetrate and dissipate these clouds of darkness, the general mind must be strengthened by education.

-When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.

-Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct.

-Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.

-Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.

Vat Vood You Say Herr Doctor Freud?


Herr Doctor Freud, your colleague Doctor Tim presented his fascinating psychoanalysis of the liberal sector sectors of Europe and the United States. According to the good doctor, growing segments of the said group have lost faith in the value of their culture and civilization. They exhibit strange thought patterns like rabidly and irrationally attacking Israel and promoting other cultures, while denigrating their own.

Herr Doctor, recently I listened to some hateful and racist rants against European-Americans by professor Jose Angel Gutierrez of the University of Texas. Mr. Gutierrez stated:

"We have an aging white America. They are not making babies. They are dying. The explosion is in OUR population. They are shitting in their pants with fear. I love it. We’ve got to eliminate the gringo, what I mean by that is if the worst comes to the worst, we have got to kill him."

Mr. Gutierrez went on to state:

"We are not immigrants that came from another country to another country. We are millions. We have an aging white America. They are not making babies. They are dying. It's a matter of time. The explosion is in our population."

Herr Freud, the issue is not Mr. Gutierrez's right to free speech (which I unconditionally support) or even the validity of his ideas - it's the very strange response of the recipients of his ire: European-Americans.

If a European-American were to speak hatefully of another group, or bring up demographic issues, they would be sharply reprimanded.

And I am certain that if a European-American were to repeat Mr. Gutierrez's rant on "the growth of Latino political power via the declining fertility of whites and the fertility of Latinas," they would be labeled a fascist or white supremacist.

But, Mr. Gutierrez's racist and supremacist rants are met by the deafening silence of the usual crusaders against racism. What's even more fascinating, is that not only is Mr. Gutierrez generously funded by the state to propagate his beliefs, he also received the Medal of Freedom from former president Bill Clinton. This implies support at the highest level of government. In addition, his ethno-political organization La Raza Unida receives corporate support through the Ford Foundation.

Of course Herr Freud, in no way am I proposing European-American nationalism, but I am fascinated by how segments of our academic, government and corporate elite can support the nationalism and racism of other groups.

Where does this come from? How can we explain this? Is it a lack of self confidence? Is it self hatred? Is it a sense of exaggerated guilt for crimes of the past?

Herr Freud, this is not an isolated issue, one of Mr. Gutierrez's publicly supported colleagues, Professor Armando Navarro of the University of California stated:

"Go back to Boston! Go back to Plymouth Rock, Pilgrims! Get out! We are the future! You are old and tired. Leave like beaten rats. You old white people. It is your duty to die. . . . Through love of having children, we are going to take over."

Another publicly funded professor, Charles Truxillo of the University of New Mexico openly discussed "demographic conquest" and even outright territorial conquest.

"...we are clearly going to be the majority in the Southwest in the next fifty - sixty years and especially here in California, by the year 2015 we're going to be more than fifty percent of the population...Republica del Norte," which would include the present U.S. states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, plus southern Colorado, along with several current Mexican states, is "an inevitability." The new "Hispanic homeland" should be brought into being "by any means necessary."

Herr Doctor Freud, I am not asking you to psychoanalyze these professors and the movements that they represent, because even though I find them distasteful they display a powerful confidence, ego and sense of self interest.

Herr Doctor Freud, I am more fascinated by the phenomena of individuals, groups and nations that laud and publicly fund individuals who call for their conquest and displacement. Never in history has a dominant group enacted policies that would lead to their own political and demographic displacement. What accounts for this self destructive impulse? My greatest fear is that an asymmetrical system that promotes nationalism in "protected groups," but suppresses rational expressions of self interest of the majority is unsustainable. One possibility is the gradual balkanization of society, another is that a reciprocal nationalism will be reawaken in European-Americans. I find both options highly worrisome, because history shows that while the achievement of relative peace, prosperity and equality takes at least a century of struggle, its disillusion can occur in but a generation.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSmNEupHWjs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sMHmerZdiA

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Two Chimps and a Balloon...


Chimp one watched as chimp two carelessly inflates the balloon, yet somehow he will be shocked when it bursts...no pictures better summarizes how most politicians and most of the public watched as we created an unsustainable bubble in the housing market and yet somehow were surprised when it burst.

The Fed kept interest rates below inflation, which created incentives for banks to carelessly issue loans and the public to carelessly accept them.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bought billions in sup-prime loans encouraging banks to issue even more of them.

Clinton and Bush stated that they were actively seeking to increase home ownership in "under-represented communities" and Janet Reno went as far as saying that she would actively prosecute banks that did not comply with their initiative, further fuelling the volume of sub-prime mortgages.

Of course many individuals, banks and brokers foolish behavior fuelled the bubble, but they were certainly encouraged by government created incentives.