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Socialism On Any Level, Leads Only To Evil

by Flyovercountry ( 154 Comments › )
Filed under Marxism, Progressives, Socialism, Tranzis at March 28th, 2014 - 7:00 am

I usually stay out of debates centered around the topic of abortion, (or its more politically correct term, women’s individual reproductive choices,) but something happened recently that made me give it another thought. Before we get there however, I’d like to disclose a couple of things to you. I am Jewish, and while our religion shares some strong similarities with Christianity, and we are very close on many beliefs, we are also worlds apart in other respects. We do not proselytize. Christians from what I’ve been told, consider it one of their sacred duties to save the souls of others. That difference right there is huge, at least in terms of today’s topic. My faith is a personal thing, and usually does not come out at all in public anymore, unless someone chimes in with a comment on one of my posts citing the Old Testament as a means to tell me where I’ll be going in the after life. Politically speaking, I guess you could either label me as a free marketeer or a libertarian leaning Republican.

I was mad beyond words when the GOP Primary debates hosted by our good friends in the alphabet media excluded every other challenge America faced at the time in deference to that top tier topic of whether or not we could find any preposterous and equally painful circumstance which would allow women to make an horrific decision or whether we would instead have a society where we advertised family planning with K-Mart’s famed Blue Light. Our budgetary problems, Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weaponry, rampant unemployment, purposeful inflation of our economy, national defense, terrorism, bureaucratic overreach of every government agency, and pretty much any other topic worth mentioning were all shelved for a one and a half hour discussion of how much each candidate really really hated abortion, (and all women in general as the meme would be turned into later.)

Election time for me has always been more about economic concerns first, and stopping our shift leftward in this country to a point beyond return. I’ve shied away from the abortion issue, primarily because I’ve always felt it to be more of a distraction from other things which would or could help our side to win elections.

Special Note:

Since I mentioned elections in one of my posts and said our side, I must give this rhetorical shout out to the Third Party Advocates, who view everything from their own very very narrow prism: All hail to the Gods of the Third Party. Hail to thee, hail to thee, hail to thee. May our discussions be worthy of your acceptance.

With that disclosure out of the way, here’s what made me think twice about the whole thing. Earlier this week, it was reported that several, as in not an isolated group of sick lunatics, of the NHS Hospitals in Britain were burning the remains of aborted babies for use as a heating source. Let that sink in for just a moment, and please be sure to control your outrage for the purposes of good, and not evil.

My friends, this is one of those seminal, “how did we get here,” moments. Britain, by and large is not a Socialist economy. On the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, Britain ranks 14th in the world, two slots behind the United States, safely included in the, “mostly free,” category. (Yes, it upsets me to no end that for the first time in my life, Barack Obama has shepherded the U.S. economy from the, “Free,” category and seen us fall to the, “Mostly Free,” category. That’s another discussion entirely.) The NHS, Britain’s singular foray into that sad little experiment known as Socialism, is that shining example of what happens when the rights of the individual are sacrificed for the good of the masses.

I would suggest, not meaning to be immodest here, that some serious questions need to be asked. This is the one sector of the British economy that has been placed under the control of the top down thinkers, formerly referred to as the central planners. How is it possible that their finances are in such a state, with their nation’s smartest ruling elite apparatchiks in charge, that they felt it necessary to burn their dead as a substitute for heating oil? What does that say for the society at large, that they felt so little remorse for those dead babies that not one person with knowledge said, “perhaps we should be show more reverence, seeing as how we’re a hospital and all, for those no longer among the living?” Yes, acknowledging the Socialists reading this, there are those cultures which use cremation as a means of burying their dead, but they are not using the ceremony as a cheap means for keeping their lights lit. How is it that the very group of people who have established themselves as occupying the moral high ground in all things related to, “Social and Economic Justice,” found themselves burning dead babies for heat, against the ethics of every other civilized person on the planet? Those of us on the political right are lectured to continuously about how we are cruel for championing a system that sometimes leaves people behind, and creates winners and losers. I would argue otherwise, but I know that capitalism is not perfect, nothing is. I just also happen to no that comparing capitalism to Utopia and not against the other systems of economics put into place, is the only way to make it seem a poor choice. No where in capitalism would we ever be treated to a scene as horrific as that scene which is being played out in the hospitals of the United Kingdom.

This represents a dehumanization of our society that goes way beyond alarming. We are talking about man kind being on the edge of the proverbial abyss here. I think it’s time we stop and take stock of ourselves, before we jump off of the edge.

Economic Freedom Index: Rankings By Nation

Cross Posted from Musings of a Mad Conservative.

Putin’s pathetic dupes on the Right and Left

by Speranza ( 61 Comments › )
Filed under Cold War, Communism, Fascism, History, Marxism, Nazism, Politics, Progressives, Russia, Socialism, Tranzis, World War II at March 18th, 2014 - 7:00 am

Back in 1938 the folks on the right moaned and groaned about “the injustices of “Versailles and that Germany had a right to the Sudetenland because of all the Germans who lived there (despite the fact that the Sudetenland had never been a part of Germany)  and to force an Anschluss with Austria. The Left (including people who think jsut like Stephen Cohen) in the meantime  denied there was any starvation in the Ukraine, that the purge trials were justified, and that the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was a righteous one. The honeymoon between Right and Left lasted until Sunday morning June 22, 1941. People like Pat Buchanan will support any tyrant as long as that tyrant justifies his tyranny in terms of religion and “traditional values”.

by Ron Radosh

We live in strange times. The Cold War is over, yet when it comes to Russia seeking to maintain its control of Ukraine, a new group of apologists for Vladimir Putin has emerged. Once again, the group in the West supporting the hegemonic attempts of control of Ukraine by the authoritarian Putin regime is made up of stalwarts on both the Right and the Left.

Support for Putin on the Right comes from the paleoconservatives led by Pat Buchanan, the editors of The American Conservative, and the writers for the website Anti-war.com. The entire group comes from the precincts of what historians call the Old Right, a phenomenon that harks back to the old isolationism of pre World War II conservatives and the large group they organized, the America First Committee.  Their motivations have been succinctly summarized by James Kirchick.

A new concern has been added to the traditional non-interventionist trope. They are favorable to much of Putin’s growing domestic positions on issues such as the growing repression of gays in Russia, actions which they also look kindly upon and wish were social policy in the United States. Opposition to gay rights is combined with support for Putin’s attempt to build what he calls a Christian Russia, and concern for what Buchanan sees as something greatly lacking in the secular United States.  In his book Suicide of a Superpower, Buchanan titled two chapters “The End of White America” and “The Death of Christian America.” He seems to be saying, “If only we had a leader in the United States with the vision of Vladimir Putin.” Indeed, he asked in one column, “Is Putin One of Us?” His answer, as you have undoubtedly guessed, is yes:

Nor is [Putin] without an argument when we reflect on America’s embrace of abortion on demand, homosexual marriage, pornography, promiscuity, and the whole panoply of Hollywood values.

Our grandparents would not recognize the America in which we live.

Moreover, Putin asserts, the new immorality has been imposed undemocratically.

The “destruction of traditional values” in these countries, he said, comes “from the top” and is “inherently undemocratic because it is based on abstract ideas and runs counter to the will of the majority of people.”

Does he not have a point?

As he bluntly says, America is not the nation “we grew up in,” and Putin sees Americans as “pagan and wildly progressive,” a statement with which Buchanan obviously agrees.

On the Left, leading the charge that the neo-cons are again trying to push us into war — a charge they assert whenever anyone makes an analysis with which they do not agree — is The Nation magazine and its writers and editors. And the number-one supporter and apologist for Putin is the historian of modern Russia, Stephen Cohen of Princeton and New York University. [.....]

In Cohen’s cover story in a recent issue of The Nation, of which his wife Katrina vanden Heuvel is both publisher and editor-in-chief,  he claimed that American media coverage of Putin and Russia is “less objective, less balanced, more conformist and scarcely less ideological than when they covered Soviet Russia during the Cold War.” According to Cohen, Putin has worked to support American interests in stabilizing his nuclear-armed country, assisted U.S. security interests in Afghanistan, Syria and Iran, and has magnanimously freed over 1000 political prisoners.

Evidently, Professor Cohen does not acknowledge that in Syria, for example, Putin has managed to box the U.S. into working with and bolstering the Assad regime, to which Russia constantly gives new battle-ready helicopters, and which to this day has brutally seen to the horrendous deaths of hundreds of thousands of its citizens, all brought down with Russian assistance. We are somehow supposed to believe that this is in our security interests.

Along with Putin, Cohen depicts the demonstrators in Ukraine as hardly “right-minded oppositionists,” but in reality as a group whose politics are never examined and which, he implies, is most likely made up of far-Right extremists and includes fascists and anti-Semites.  [......] The now ousted president of Ukraine is depicted by Cohen as presiding over a real democracy, and not anything like what he believes are the false portrayals by the  historian Timothy Snyder, whose articles in The New York Review of Books paint a not-so-rosy view of the old Yanukovych regime.

To Cohen, the crisis arose only because NATO expansion in Eastern Europe forced Putin and Yanukovych to rightfully protect Russia’s national interests. Moreover, U.S.-funded groups in Ukraine were interfering with domestic politics by bringing NGOs to fund democracy promotion, while trying to put provocative missile-defense installations in countries like Poland, meant to “subordinate Ukraine to NATO.”

He is angry that at the Sochi Olympics, the U.S. sent a low-level delegation, which infuriated Putin because it included “retired gay athletes.” How dare the United States do such a thing, knowing that Putin believes gay people should have no rights?  [.....]

Professor Cohen,  we all remember, was sad at the demise of the Soviet Union. He hoped it would not collapse and that it would remain in existence under the leadership of his beloved Mikhail Gorbachev. The last Soviet leader, Cohen believed, would have created a democratic communist state built in the tradition of the purged and executed Bolshevik leader Nikolai Bukharin, of whom Cohen wrote an admiring biography.

The liberal columnist Jonathan Chait gets it correctly. Writing about those he terms Putin’s “pathetic dupes,” he singles out Stephen Cohen and accurately calls him “a septuagenarian, old-school leftist who has carried on the mental habits of decades of anti-anti-communism seamlessly into a new career of anti-anti-Putinism. The Cohen method is to pick away at every indictment of the Russian regime without directly associating himself with its various atrocities.” It is not surprising that Cohen is frequently a guest on the Kremlin’s TV propaganda outlet, Russia Today, just as he would have been welcome on Soviet stations in the Gorbachev era.  In a recent radio interview, Cohen writes:

I can’t remember any Soviet communist leader being so personally villainized, that is we wrote bad things about Khrushchev, about Brezhnev, about Andropov, but we disliked them because they represented an evil system. We didn’t say them themselves were thugs, murderers, assassins, which are words that we attach to Putin.

I think Professor Cohen should look a little more, because I recall plenty of people referring to the Soviet leaders as “thugs” and worse.

The truth is that Cohen analyzes Putin just as he analyzed the Soviet Union, for which he always apologized. In an interview in the new print Newsweek (not online), Cohen said:

We hit Russia’s borders under Bush because NATO was in the Baltics. Then we had this episode in Georgia in 2008 because we crossed Russia’s red line in Georgia. We’ve crossed it in Ukraine. I don’t understand why people don’t see this. That if you send, over a 20-year period, a military alliance which has it’s political components  – includes missile defense, includes NGOs that get money from governments but are deeply involved in politics in those countries, includes the idea of revolutions on their borders — then eventually you’re going to come up against a red line that, like Obama, they’re going to act on.

It’s the old apology for the Soviet Union by the Communists and fellow-travelers brought up to date to explain away Putin. Stalin and his minions in the West used to explain every Soviet action as a fault of “capitalist encirclement,” to which the poor USSR had to act to defend itself. So Cohen believes now we “went a bridge to far” in Ukraine. Putin had to act to defend the just national interests of Russia.

As for the suppression of gays in Russia, Cohen points out they were suppressed in America when he grew up. [.......]In other words, we may not like it, but one has to respect the feelings of the Russian public, and not inflict our values and decisions on them. He goes on to say “it’s not our concern,” and sarcastically remarks: “Are we supposed to form a brigade and go there and liberate Russian gays?” That is, my friend the historian of Russia Louis Menashe puts it, “reminiscent of turning back criticisms of the USSR with: “What about the Negroes lynched in the South!”

Once again, leftists like Stephen Cohen join with paleoconservatives like Pat Buchanan in opposing a stand for democracy, and in charging critics of Putin with unfairly and aggressively opposing Putin’s supposed just and necessary policies. When will we learn the lessons we should have learned from the past?

Read the rest -  The New apologists for Vladimir Putin – on the Right and the Left

Comrade Bill De Blasio takes control; and Gotham’s ‘divider-in-chief’

by Speranza ( 142 Comments › )
Filed under Communism, Crime, Democratic Party, Elections 2012, Marxism, Politics, Progressives, Socialism at January 6th, 2014 - 12:00 pm

The inaugural of Bill de Blasio was totally vulgar and classless even by the vulgar and classless standards of the Left.

Got to love this reference to The New York Times [a]s Mona Charen quipped, if the Chinese Communists buy it, the paper will definitely be more rightwing.

by Ron Radosh

In the 1940s, the New York City subways and buses were represented — as they still are now — by the Transport Workers Union, whose chief at the time was “Red” Mike Quill. A fiery Communist who left the Party in 1948 but remained firmly on the political Left, Red was famous for his quip: “I’d rather be called a Red by the rats than a rat by the Reds.”

I’m certain that New York City’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, wishes Quill were still alive. He would then have a major ally to work with when the time came for the MTA to negotiate a new union contract with the city. Judging from his inauguration, a parody of a left-wing gala dreamed up at the U.S. desk of the Castro brothers’ Foreign Ministry, de Blasio has taken his big win as a mandate to create social-democracy in one city.

De Blasio has pledged to make his term as mayor the time for implementation of a war against inequality. My colleague Roger L. Simon thinks he and those with him do not believe a word of what they say, that it is all “high comedy” and they “can’t be serious.” I disagree. The rhetoric may be old-fashioned and seem corny, but de Blasio is a certified red diaper baby, he was born and bred in an ideological cocoon of Marxism, and later, by his own word, was inspired by the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and Castro in Cuba.

He chose whom to appoint and who would speak at his inauguration, and if the talk was inflammatory and ideological, it was de Blasio’s intention. He would take the high road and let the words of his apparatchiks and celebrities like Harry Belafonte talk the talk for the true believers who would provide the inspiration. As Slate writer Matt Yglesias quipped on Twitter as he watched the speeches: “Daring of de Blasio to appear on stage with the embalmed corpses of Lenin, Mao, and Ho Chi Minh at his inauguration.”

Actually, it was not corpses who spoke. Rev. Fred A. Lucas Jr. told the audience that New York City was like a slave plantation run for the wealthy. Belafonte falsely asserted that Mayor Mike Bloomberg had increased the concentration of African-Americans in the city’s prisons. The city’s newly elected public advocate, Letitia James, called for a government “that cares more about a child going hungry than a new stadium or a new tax credit for a luxury development.” All this was even too much for the New York Times editorial board, who called the speeches “backward-looking … [and] both graceless and smug.” As for James’ comments, they were “the worst among them.” And Belafonte’s remarks, they noted, were “utterly bogus.”

Perhaps the owners of the Times were afraid that next on the mayor’s agenda might be Hugo Chavez-style press control or, God forbid, a takeover of the paper by the mayor’s press office carried out by administrative decree. No wonder the paper is considering a bid to sell to a Chinese magnate. As Mona Charen quipped, if the Chinese Communists buy it, the paper will definitely be more rightwing.

Jim Epstein, writing at The Daily Beast, understood what de Blasio is about better than anyone. Let him aim away, he writes, pointing out that “[h]is new job won’t afford him the political power of Lenin or Mao — or anything close to what would be necessary to reshape the city’s demography.” His plan to raise taxes on the rich will collapse in Albany where the state’s budget is created, the city’s budget has to be balanced by law, and he doesn’t have on hand the money he promised to the labor unions when new contracts are negotiated. Actually, he is only beholden to the teachers’ union in particular, since only they backed him in the primaries and did the legwork on his behalf.

[......]

The tragedy is that leftist do-good programs for the poor are self-defeating, and could make the city far worse. Moreover, they are based on a faulty understanding of why big cities like New York have both rich and poor living in their domain. Writing in the New York Daily News a few months ago, Ed Glaeser, a professor of economics at Harvard, explained that the city’s “extreme inequality reflects other extraordinary aspects of New York: the massive global financial markets based here, America’s most accessible public transit system, hyper-dense immigrant communities and broad social services, like public housing. These forces attract both rich and poor to New York, and New York should not be ashamed of that economic diversity.”

The poor flock to New York for the reason that it is there they think that there will be mobility that will let them eventually move up the ladder, making it what Glaeser believes is a “viable home for the poor.” It is and has been a port of immigrants who come to America via New York and view it as the starting place for their journey into the middle class.

Then there is the classic failure to comprehend the results of good intentions. Making the public welfare system give more to the poor in the form of various subsidies, Glaeser warns, means more of the poor moving to the city and hence an increase in the inequality. It also means more middle-class people moving out, as well as the wealthy that leave again for the suburbs or other states.

[.......]

Malanga’s ten-year-old prediction proved accurate. He also wrote that the council, in passing extremist legislation that hurt the economy, “could have political ramifications for years to come, because the council serves as the local political minor leagues, preparing candidates for higher office in New York.” Indeed. The result is Mayor Bill de Blasio, a dream of the far Left coming to fruition. [........]

So welcome, New Yorkers, to your future. The crowd at the inaugural cheered former Mayor David Dinkins — New Yorkers alive then well remember his time in office as a period of increased crime, a lack of basic services, higher taxes, a takeover of the streets by de-institutionalized mentally ill patients, and inefficient city government. Those who followed him in office successfully made the city a safe place to live and work in by undoing Dinkins’ failures.

The left favored what was bad for the city. Now with their man in office, New York City residents can see the past as their future.

Read the rest – Comrade De Blasio  takes the helm

Peggy Noonan has Comrade Bill pegged correctly with his despicable class warfare rhetoric. As Rodan and I have mentioned many times – New York City has become a victim of its fantastic success of the past 20 years (1994-2013). So many residents in New York City are not old enough or were not even born when the City was  in its crime ridden doldrums (late 1960′s – 1993) that the hipsters who habitate trendy neighborhoods such as Boerum Hill, Williamsburg, Park Slope, etc. take it as a given that it is a safe place to live.

by Peggy Noonan

Cities sometimes make swerves. That’s what New York did in November when it elected a left-wing Democrat, Bill de Blasio, as mayor. The city was saying, “Enough with the past, let’s try something new.” There’s no doubt they will get it.

Mayors Rudy Giuliani (1994-2001) and Mike Bloomberg (2002-13) led a renaissance of the city, which had half-killed itself in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s with bankruptcy, labor unrest and high crime rates. The city was thought to be unworkable, finished. For Mayor Giuliani the job was to stabilize, get the criminals off the street, let people feel safe again. Once that was done New York’s natural hunger and high spirits would reassert themselves, businesses would thrive and hire. He left behind a safer, more prosperous city. And there was the parting gift of his last days as mayor, during 9/11 and its aftermath, when—love him or hate him—he showed what a leader looked like.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers his inaugural address outside City Hall, Jan. 1. Associated Press

Mike Bloomberg, sworn in weeks later, had to lead the city as it righted itself, got over the trauma and refound its confidence. His job was to shake off the ashes and dust, expand and diversify the economy, help create jobs, lower crime rates even further, move forward. He succeeded. The other night at his last dinner as mayor, one of his daughters’ eyes filled with tears as she thanked him, in a toast, for leaving behind a city that her son could be proud of, love, and live in forever.

These imperfect men with their imperfect administrations and their big mistakes—they made a masterpiece. In the past 20 years, other American cities were going down—Detroit most famously—while New York not only became again what it was, the greatest city on the face of the Earth, but it looked like it, and felt like it.

***

Why did New York swerve from that path instead of continuing on it? A lot of reasons. You have to have some years on you to remember New York when it didn’t work—to even know that it’s not magically ordained that it will. You have to be older than 30 or so to remember when it wasn’t safe.

In 1991, there were 2,245 murders in New York. In 2013, there were 333. If you’re a 20-year-old voter, or a 40-year-old voter who came to the city from elsewhere, you don’t remember 1991, and how it felt. You don’t remember garbage strikes and grime. Your vision of the city is as it was in the Giuliani-Bloomberg era, a city ever rising.

And New York is a Democratic town. Sooner or later it was going to swerve. Though the largely untold story is that voter turnout in November was historically low. Only about a million of 4.3 million registered voters showed up at the polls. Bill de Blasio won in landslide, but it was a landslide from a severely reduced pile of voters.

***

No one knows exactly what’s coming, but Mr. de Blasio’s inaugural address on Wednesday was not promising. Whether you are a conservative or a liberal, you can choose, as a leader, to be a uniter or a divider. Mr. de Blasio seems very much the latter. He is on the side of the poor and the marginalized, which is good, but he took every opportunity to jab at those who are not poor and don’t live on the margins. “Big dreams are not a luxury of the privileged few,” he said. Whoever said they were? He is a political descendant of those “who took on the elite.” New York “is not the exclusive domain of the One Percent.” Who said it was?  [......]

This mayor will “reform” the stop-and-frisk policy of the New York Police Department. Exactly how, he didn’t say. But stop, question and frisk has been part of the kind of policing that helped New York reduce crime.

“We will ask the very wealthy to pay a little more in taxes so that we can offer full-day, universal pre-K and after-school programs for every middle school student.” The wealthy should not complain. “Those earning between $500,000 and one million dollars a year, for instance, would see their taxes increase by an average of $973 a year. That’s less than three bucks a day—about the cost of a small soy latte at your local Starbucks. SBUX -0.29%

[......]

There was no mention of the most famous impediment to educational improvement and reform: the teachers unions.

Mr. de Blasio acknowledges that his “progressive vision” is not supported by everyone. “Some on the far right continue to preach the virtue of trickle-down economics. They believe that the way to move forward is to give more to the most fortunate, and that somehow the benefits will work their way down to everyone else. They sell their approach as the path of ‘rugged individualism.’ ” But don’t worry, he doesn’t want to “punish success,” he wants to “create more success stories.”

It isn’t hard to unpack this. Those who oppose Mr. de Blasio are greedy and uncaring. They don’t offer a point of view, they “preach,” and what they preach is that the poor should be satisfied with the crumbs that fall from the tables of the rich. They “sell” this argument—my goodness, they’re trying to make money even while discussing politics—but the flawed product they peddle is “rugged individualism,” a phrase that hasn’t been used in this city in a century.  [........]

***

An inaugural address is a big thing. It declares an agenda but also sets a tone. An attitude. The tone Mr. de Blasio set was that of a divider.

A uniter’s approach would have been one that was both more morally generous and more honest. It wouldn’t set one group against the other, it would have asserted that all New Yorkers are in this together. Something along this approach: “To those who earn half a million dollars or more a year, we know and understand that your weekly paycheck is already subject to federal, state and city taxes. Which means we know you already contribute a great deal, and not only through taxes. So many of our citizens are deeply civic-minded. They give their time and effort to helping their local churches and synagogues; to building civic organizations; [.........]”

What was absent in Mr. de Blasio’s remarks was a kind of civic courtesy, or grace. The kind that seeks to unite and build from shared strength, the kind that doesn’t demonize. Instead, from our new mayor we got the snotty sound of us vs. them, of zero-sum politics.

It was not a promising beginning. Or rather what it promises is unfortunate. I already miss Mike.

Read the rest – New York’s Divider in Chief

The pajama game; and what poltical ignorance brings us

by Speranza ( 144 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Health Care, Politics, Progressives, Socialism at January 3rd, 2014 - 4:00 pm

When your opponent is in the process of destroying himself, do not interfere is Sun Tzu’s famous maxim. Republicans should not bail Obama out by changing the subject which in my opinion was what the shut down did. Mr.Will is correct, John Roberts (naturally  appointed by a Republican president) would have done Obama a huge favor by overturning the misnamed “Affordable Care Act”.

by George F. Will

Washington — This report on the State of Conservatism comes at the end of an annus mirabilis for conservatives. In 2013, they learned that they may have been wasting much time and effort.

Hitherto, they have thought that the most efficient way to evangelize unconverted was to write and speak, exhorting those still shrouded in darkness to read conservatism’s most light-shedding texts. Now they know that a quicker, surer method is to have progressives wield power for a few years. This will validate the core conservative insight about the mischiefs that ensue when governments demonstrate their incapacity for supplanting with fiats the spontaneous order of a market society.

It is difficult to recall and hard to believe that just three months ago some American conservatives, mirroring progressives’ lack of respect for the public, considered it imperative to shut down the government in order to stop Obamacare in its tracks. They feared that once Americans got a glimpse of the health law’s proffered subsidies, they would embrace it. Actually, once they glimpsed the law’s details, they recoiled.

Counterfactual history can illuminate the present, so: Suppose in 2012, Barack Obama had told the truth about the ability of people to keep their health plans. Would he have been re-elected? Unlikely. Suppose in 2012, U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, instead of rewriting the health care law to save it, had been the fifth vote for overturning it. Would Obama be better off today? Probably.

Franklin Roosevelt, emboldened by winning a second term in 1936, attempted to pack, by expanding, the Supreme Court, to make it even more compliant toward his statism. He failed to win congressional compliance, and in 1938 he failed to purge Democrats who had opposed him. The voters’ backlash against him was so powerful that there was no liberal legislating majority in Congress until after the 1964 election.

That year’s landslide win by President Lyndon Johnson against Barry Goldwater, less than 12 months after a presidential assassination, left Democrats with 295 House and 68 Senate seats. Convinced that a merely sensible society would be a paltry aspiration, they vowed to build a Great Society by expanding legislation and regulation into every crevice of Americans’ lives. They lost five of the next six and seven of the next 10 presidential elections. In three years we shall see if progressive overreaching earns such a rebuke.

In 2013, the face of U.S. progressivism became Pajama Boy, the supercilious, semi-smirking, hot-chocolate-sipping faux-adult who embodies progressives’ belief that life should be all politics, all the time — come on, everybody, spend your holidays talking about health care. He is who progressives are.

They are tone-deaf in expressing bottomless condescension toward the public and limitless faith in their own cleverness. Both attributes convinced them that Pajama Boy would be a potent persuader, getting young people to sign up for the hash that progressives are making of health care. As millions find themselves ending the year without insurance protection and/or experiencing sticker shock about the cost of policies the president tells them they ought to want, a question occurs: Have events ever so thoroughly and swiftly refuted a law’s title? Remember, it is the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

From Detroit’s debris has come a judicial ruling that the pensions that government employees unions, in collaboration with the political class, extort from taxpayers are not beyond the reach of what they bring about — bankruptcy proceedings. In Wisconsin, as a result of Gov. Scott Walker’s emancipation legislation requiring annual recertification votes for government workers’ unions and ending government collection of union dues, more than 70 of 408 school district unions were rejected.

[.......]

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Read the rest – The best argument for conservatism – real life

by George F. Will

It was naughty of Winston Churchill to say (if he really did) that “the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” Nevertheless, many voters’ paucity of information about politics and government, although arguably rational, raises awkward questions about concepts central to democratic theory, including consent, representation, public opinion, electoral mandates and officials’ accountability.

[......]

Somin says that in Cold War 1964, two years after the Cuban missile crisis, only 38 percent of Americans knew the Soviet Union wasn’t a member of NATO. In a 2006 Zogby poll, only 42 percent could name the three branches of the federal government.

Voters can’t hold officials responsible if they don’t know what government is doing, or which parts of government are doing what. Given that 20 percent think the sun revolves around the Earth, it is unsurprising that a majority are unable to locate major states such as New York on a map.

The average American expends more time becoming informed about choosing a car than choosing a candidate. But, then, the consequences of the former choice are immediate and discernible.

Many people, says Somin, acquire political knowledge for the reason people acquire sports knowledge — because it interests them. And with “confirmation bias,” many use political information to reinforce their pre-existing views. Committed partisans are generally the most knowledgeable voters, independents the least. And the more political knowledge people have, the more apt they are to discuss politics with people who agree with, and reinforce, them.

The problem of ignorance is unlikely to be ameliorated by increasing voter knowledge because demand for information, not the supply of it, is the major constraint on political knowledge. Despite dramatic expansions of education and information sources, abundant evidence shows the scope of political ignorance is remarkably persistent over time. And if political knowledge is measured relative to government’s expanding scope, ignorance is increasing rapidly: There is so much more to be uninformed about.

[......]

Political ignorance helps explain Americans’ perpetual disappointment with politicians generally, and presidents especially, to whom voters unrealistically attribute abilities to control events. The elections of 1932 and 1980 illustrated how voters mainly control politicians — by refusing to re-elect them.

Some people vote because it gives them pleasure and because they feel duty-bound to cast a ballot that, by itself, makes virtually no difference, but affirms a process that does. And although many people deplore the fact that US parties have grown more ideologically homogenous, they now confer more informative “brands” on their candidates.

Political ignorance, Somin argues, strengthens the case for judicial review by weakening the supposed “countermajoritarian difficulty” with it. If much of the electorate is unaware of the substance or even existence of policies adopted by the sprawling regulatory state, the policies’ democratic pedigrees are weak. Hence Somin’s suggestion that the extension of government’s reach “undercuts democracy more than it furthers it.”

An engaged judiciary that enforced the Framers’ idea of government’s “few and defined” enumerated powers (Madison, Federalist 45), leaving decisions to markets and civil society, would, Somin thinks, make the “will of the people” more meaningful by reducing voters’ knowledge burdens. Somin’s evidence and arguments usefully dilute the unwholesome romanticism that encourage government’s pretensions, ambitions and failures.

Read the rest- What political ignorance delivers

 

How political correctness brought down three Navy SEALS

by Speranza ( 137 Comments › )
Filed under Iraq, Military, Socialism at January 1st, 2014 - 9:11 am

I cannot imagine anyone wanting to serve in the United States military as long as Obama is the commander-in-chief.

by Kyle Smith

The night of Sept. 1, 2009, Echo Platoon of Navy SEAL Team 10 headed out into the Fallujah night. Their goal: concluding a five-year search for the al Qaeda killer who had been responsible for the shocking 2004 murders of four American military contractors — one of them an ex-SEAL — whose bodies were then burned, dragged through the streets and hanged from a bridge.

Iraqis chant anti-American slogans as a charred boy hangs from a bridge over the Euphrates river in FallujahPhoto: Getty Images

This night the SEALs departed with these words from their commanding officer: “Gents, stay sharp, and expect a firefight.”

In the event, no shots were fired, but the SEALs faced another kind of ambush: a humiliating, baffling, infuriating struggle with the military-justice system that would end with an unsatisfying victory.

Because the man those SEALs captured — Ahmad Hashim Abd Al-Isawi, aka “the Butcher of Fallujah,” a man who lived for mayhem — somehow sustained a bloody lip on the night of his capture.

The contrast between the two instances of violence seems, like many of the details of the case, absurd.

On the one hand, four Blackwater contractors were murdered and beheaded as they pulled security in a convoy that was attempting to deliver food.

On the other hand, Al-Isawi had a small cut on his lip that a doctor would later testify appeared to have been self-inflicted.

Yet for this latter instance of bloodshed three SEALs were charged with serious crimes. All of them — Matthew McCabe, Jonathan Keefe and one known by the pseudonym “Sam Gonzales” — were cleared, but in “Honor and Betrayal: The Untold Story of the Navy SEALs Who Captured the ‘Butcher of Fallujah’ — and the Shameful Ordeal They Later Endured” (Da Capo Press), his follow-up to his previous Navy SEALs bestseller, “Lone Survivor,” author Patrick Robinson asks why they were court-martialed in the first place.

Fair question, as is this one: If McCabe (the man who actually apprehended Al-Isawi) had wanted to abuse the prisoner, why didn’t he do so during the raid?  [......]

After Al-Isawi’s capture, he was taken into detention at the nearby Camp Schwedler, where the military policeman on duty, Master at Arms Brian Westinson, twice left the prisoner alone for a few minutes.

When presented to Iraqi police hours later, Al-Isawi had blood on his dishdasha and lip and told a preposterous tale of having been beaten and stomped by several men in boots. (The off-duty SEALs were wearing flip-flops).

But the lip injury was the only harm found on his body, and as the al Qaeda training guide known as the “Manchester Manual” (after the English city where a copy of it was discovered) advises, detainees should “always complain of mistreatment or torture while in prison.”

Westinson, though, partially supported Al-Isawi’s story: He said he saw McCabe “half-punch” the prisoner, once, though all of the other SEALs present denied this. Gonzales had already berated Westinson for leaving his post, and the SEALs came to suspect that Westinson had fabricated the story to distract from his own behavior on that night.

For weeks, their request for legal counsel was denied and the SEALs were ordered to sign confessions to lesser charges — meaning they’d be busted in pay and rank. [........]

The evidence against the three SEALs was so thin that you have to wonder if there was a hidden motivation. That hidden motivation was, of course, the prison located 18 miles from where the camp where Al-Isawi was detained: Abu Ghraib, and all of the opportunism and hysteria that those words bring to mind.  [.........] All realized that any hint of unpunished abuse anywhere in their chains of command could be lethal to their careers.

In a climactic scene, Robinson recounts how the SEALs’ lawyer shredded the prosecution’s case in court. “MA3 Westinson,” said counselor Lt. Cdr. Drew Carmichael, “has told six different versions of his own story.”

(Version two, told to a superior officer a couple of hours after the bloody lip was discovered: “This is all my fault. I left my post and he got hurt. This is all going to come on me.”)

After their public humiliation, McCabe and Keefe, who are also credited as co-authors of the book, understandably no longer possessed the same fire to serve, and so the Navy and the SEALs lost two fine men who resigned with heavy hearts. (“Gonzales” remained in the Navy, which is why Robinson doesn’t reveal his name).

In an open letter to his admiral, Keefe wrote, “When I think of those complacent prosecutors and investigators, deaf to our protests, I’ll always feel that rising anger I used to reserve for the enemy.”

[.......]

Red the rest -  How political correctness took down two Navy Seals

 

 

 

LOL DOOM

by Bunk X ( 26 Comments › )
Filed under Cult of Obama, Economy, Fascism, Humor, OOT, Open thread, SCOTUS, Socialism at November 19th, 2013 - 11:00 pm

monster-mouth-lol1

So much carp raining down these days. POTUS lied, the US Census Bureau has been caught fudging statistics, the MSM promoted the propaganda, the low-info voters bought it, MSNBC supports coprophaghia, and the next thing you know is it’s time for
The Overnight Open Thread.

Pope Francis calls out the evil nature of Progressivism

by Rodan ( 2 Comments › )
Filed under Christianity, Communism, Fascism, Hipsters, Liberal Fascism, Marxism, Nazism, Progressives, Socialism, Special Report, Theocratic Progressives, Tranzis at November 18th, 2013 - 12:21 pm

The Progressive movement is the most successful and brutal political ideology since the rise of Islam. Since its inception with the Jacobins of the French Revolution, Progressivism many factions which ranges from nazism to Communism has been responsible for the majority of wars and human suffering the last 2 Centuries. Pope Francis calls out this evil ideology and the misery it brings to humanity.

Vatican City ( AsiaNews) – God save us from the “hegemonic uniformity ” of the “one line of thought”, “fruit of the spirit of the world that negotiates everything”, even the faith.  This was Pope Francis’ prayer during mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta, commenting on a passage from the Book of Maccabees, in which the leaders of the people do not want Israel to be isolated from other nations , and so abandon their traditions to negotiate with the king.

They go to “negotiate ” and are excited about it. It is as if they said “we are progressives; let’s follow progress like everyone else does”.   As reported by Vatican Radio, the Pope noted that this is the “spirit of adolescent progressivism” according to which “any move forward and any choice is better than remaining within the routine of fidelity”. These people, therefore , negotiate “loyalty to God who is always faithful” with the king. “This is called apostasy”, “adultery.” They are, in fact, negotiating their values​​, ” negotiating the very essence of being faithful to the Lord .”

“And this is a contradiction: we do not negotiate values​​, but faithfulness. And this is the fruit of the devil, the prince of this world , who leads us forward with the spirit of worldliness.  And then there are the direct consequences. They accepted the habits of the pagan, then a further step: the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, and everyone would abandon their customs. A globalizing conformity of all nations is not beautiful, rather, each with own customs but united, but it is the hegemonic uniformity of globalization, the single line of thought . And this single line of thought is the result of worldliness . “

Conformity goes against God’s design of making each human a unique individual. Conformity of thought which is a Progressive concept is outright evil!

Silicon Valley turns on Obama

by Rodan ( 3 Comments › )
Filed under Communism, Marxism, Progressives, Socialism, Special Report at November 15th, 2013 - 1:00 am

The Tech Industry which is based in Silicon Valley is one of the pillars of power for the Democrat Party. They help fueled Obama’s win in 2008 and with their use of Data-Mining, allowed the Obama campaign to run circles around the Romney campaign. Now becasue of the NSA spying scandal and the failures of the Obama Regime, they are turning against the man they once supported.

In the months leading up to the 2012 presidential election, Silicon Valley was squarely in President Obama’s corner.

Google’s executive chairman coached Obama’s campaign team; executives from Craigslist, Napster, and Linkedin helped him fundraise; and when the dust settled, Obama had won nine counties in the liberal and tech-heavy Bay Area, scoring 84 percent of the vote in San Francisco. But a little over a year later, following explosive allegations from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that the government is exploiting tech companies to spy on Americans, some members of Silicon Valley are taking a new perspective: “F— these guys.”

That’s what Brandon Downey, a security engineer with Google, wrote late last month, upon learning that the NSA had broken into Google and Yahoo and was exploiting the data of millions of users, allegedly without the companies’ knowledge. He added, “We suspected this was happening, [but] it still makes me terribly sad. It makes me sad because I believe in America…The U.S. has to be better than this.”

Executives at Google, which issued a polite denial when the first revelations about PRISM came out, were publicly furious over the new revelations (which the NSA denied): “We are outraged at the lengths to which the government seems to have gone to intercept data from our private fiber networks,” David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer, told The Verge. This is the same company that in October 2012 gave $342,409 to Democrats and only $37,250 to Republicans, according to data from OpenSecrets.

Make no mistake, despite Silicon Valley’s disillusionment with Obama, they will still back the Democrats in 2014 and 2016. If the Republicans ever get back in power, they should do everything possible tro destroy the economic and political power of Silicon Valley. Put taxes on their products and take away tax write off from them. It’s time to break one of the pillars of Democratic power.

Overheard At An ObamaCare Exchange

by Bunk X ( 213 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Business, Communism, Corruption, Cult of Obama, Democratic Party, Economy, Fascism, Health Care, Healthcare, History, Liberal Fascism, Open thread, Politics, Progressives, Regulation, Socialism, unemployment at November 14th, 2013 - 8:00 pm

“Hello, Ma’am. May I help you?”

“Yes, I’m here to sign up for ObamaCare because my insurance carrier dropped me.”

“I can help you with that, but I need some information first. I need your age, weight, height, current medical status and your Social Security ID card with an ID.”

“Here’s my card and my driver’s license. I’m 67, 5′-7″, 210 lbs., diabetic, smoker, varicose veins, and have high blood pressure.”

“Do you drink alcohol?”

“All I can get.”

“Do you own a firearm?”

“What? Yes I do. For self defense.”

“Huh. Are you aware that ObamaCare provides free contraceptives and coverage for pregnancy?

“I’ve had a hysterectomy.”

“That doesn’t matter, because you’ll still be covered just in case. Who did you vote for in the last presidential election?”

“What does that have to do with medical insurance?”

“I’m sorry, Ma’am, but I need that information to process your enrollment.”

“I voted for Mitt Romney.”

“Okay. I’ve got your info entered and it looks like you qualify for ObamaCare Plan 9.
Please proceed down the hall to Waiting Room 2, Door 314, and an ObamaCaregiver will be with you shortly. Have a nice day.”

ObamaCare Exit

What a bizarre nightmare of bureaucratic fascism Obamacare has become. It has nothing to do with so-called “affordable health care” because it’s more insidious than that. Look beyond the facade of the ObamaCare website fiasco, and there’s nothing but expensive darkness, economic gloom, substandard medical care and more.

Make no mistake, the aging “baby boomer” generation, those of us born between 1946 and 1964, are the targets, because we’re old enough to remember atrocities perpetrated by the Left here and abroad. ObamaCare is just another vehicle designed to erase the past in order to promote a radical leftist agenda, and it’s got lethal teeth.

People still wonder how mass murderers like Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Ho Chi Minh & Pol Pot came to power and killed off millions of their own people. We’re witnessing the same process today, via a clever but insidious program known as ObamaCare, and that’s not hyperbole. If ObamaCare is fully enacted, the Missus and I will suffer, but I worry for my kids who will suffer more, because they won’t know why.

Teach Your Children Well.

[Crossposted here, just because.]

Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Obamacare

by Mars ( 107 Comments › )
Filed under Free Speech, Health Care, History, Liberal Fascism, Marxism, Politics, Progressives, Ronald Reagan, Socialism at November 14th, 2013 - 4:00 pm

Kyle Becker

Kyle Becker
On September 25, 2013

http://kylenbecker.com

Ronald Reagan predicted the exact maneuver that Barack Obama is undertaking to “transition” the medical system of America to a single-payer, universal healthcare system — which was his intention all along.

Speaking for the campaign “Operation Coffee Cup,” which opposed the Democrats proposing socialized medicine, future president Ronald Reagan lays out how the socialists intended to take over healthcare in this country. The following is an edited transcript:

“Now back in 1927 an American socialist, Norman Thomas, six times candidate for president on the Socialist Party ticket, said the American people would never vote for socialism. But he said under the name of liberalism the American people will adopt every fragment of the socialist program.

There are many ways in which our government has invaded the precincts of private citizens, the method of earning a living. Our government is in business to the extent over owning more than 19,000 businesses covering different lines of activity. This amounts to a fifth of the total industrial capacity of the United States.

But at the moment I’d like to talk about another way. Because this threat is with us and at the moment is more imminent.

One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.

Now, the American people, if you put it to them about socialized medicine and gave them a chance to choose, would unhesitatingly vote against it. We had an example of this. Under the Truman administration it was proposed that we have a compulsory health insurance program for all people in the United States, and, of course, the American people unhesitatingly rejected this.

So, with the American people on record as not wanting socialized medicine, Congressman Ferrand introduced the Ferrand Bill. This was the idea that all people of social security age should be brought under a program of compulsory health insurance. Now this would not only be our senior citizens, this would be the dependents and those who are disabled, this would be young people if they are dependents of someone eligible for Social Security.

Now, Congressman Ferrand brought the program out on that idea of just for that group of people. But Congressman Ferrand was subscribing to this foot in the door philosophy, because he said “if we can only break through and get our foot inside the door, then we can expand the program after that.”

Walter Ruther said “It’s no secret that the United Automobile Workers is officially on record as backing a program of national health insurance.” And by national health insurance, he meant socialized medicine for every American. Well, let’s see what the socialists themselves have to say about it.

They say: ‘Once the Ferrrand bill is passed, this nation will be provided with a mechanism for socialized medicine. Capable of indefinite expansion in every direction until it includes the entire population.’ Well, we can’t say we haven’t been warned…”

Maybe Obama meant something when he bragged about “fundamentally transforming” the United States of America?

http://www.ijreview.com/2013/09/81702-ronald-reagan-predicted-obamacare-scheme-get-socialism/

Please listen to this speech in it’s entirety, the edited transcript does not do it justice. Reagan detailed many of the aspects of Obamacare that are just now being understood by the general public. And he did it all the way back in the 60′s when another set of liberals tried the exact same thing.