Thursday, December 31, 2015

Black Men and Cops: Why Race Matters...

Last week a Grand Jury in Cleveland declined to indict two white police officers in the killing of Tamir Rice, a 12 year old black boy who was shot while holding very real looking toy gun. This of course comes on the heels of a number of instances over the last few years of black men being killed by white cops.

I was listening to the radio with the host discussing the grand jury’s decision and talking about various elements of the relationship between blacks and whites and police. Many of the black callers felt they were treated in ways that whites weren’t. The host, who seemed to play devil’s advocate depending on the perspective of the caller, agreed that race certainly did impact interactions. Frankly, how could it not?

The reality is, race plays a big role in life. It is not a determinant of success or failure, but it plays a role, including interactions with police. This conversation made me think of a number of things I’d read recently. The Washington Post ran a piece that looked at the differences in gun deaths in the US based on race. Eighty percent of white gun deaths are due to suicide. Eighty percent of black gun deaths are due to homicide.

There were also a number of pieces about malls and theaters being shut down due to violence or mayhem caused by large groups of black teens. This on the heels of the “Knockout Game” we read much about and saw videos about in 2014 as well as the rioting in places like Ferguson and Baltimore. (In most, but not all, the perpetrators were black.)

There should be little question as to why cops, whether they are black or white, are more highly concerned when interacting with black men. The reality is, black men are staggeringly disproportionately represented among violent criminals in the US, according to the FBI, committing approximately 32% of all violent crime yet representing only about 6% of the population.  Compare that to non-Hispanic white males, who make up approximately 25% of the population and are responsible for approximately 45% of the crime.  White men commit violent crime at a rate of 1.8 times their size while black men do so 6.4 times... more than three times the rate.

The question should instead be, why is it that so many young black people across the country seem to engage in activity that is anti-social at best and brutally violent at worst? And this is not a white black issue. There are plenty of violent scumbags who are white, and it does happen that you sometimes see videos of groups of white “teens” behaving badly. The difference is however one of degree and the disparity of gun deaths is indicative of that problem. While white violence and anti-social behavior exists, it’s not overwhelming… In the black community it’s catastrophic. Murder is the number one cause of death for black men between the ages of 15-34. Indeed 44.7% of all deaths of black men 15-34 are murders. Compare that to white males of the same age cohort. Murder comes in at 4th place, accounting for 8% of all deaths. Even 8% is too high, but it’s tiny compared to 44%.

All of which brings us back to race and the feeling that many blacks have that they are looked at and sometimes treated differently than whites. That may indeed be true, but focusing on such an alleged disparity is focusing on the symptom rather than the disease. It is most certainly the case that most black Americans are law abiding citizens who are as troubled by black crime as whites. Indeed, given that the victims of black crime are overwhelmingly black, they are probably certainly more troubled.

Because police spend a disproportionate amount of their time interacting with black criminals and dealing with groups of black “teens”, it’s not surprising that officers are on higher alert when dealing with black citizens. That may not be fair, but it’s life in the real world with real people. If the goal is to have colorblind police officers who have no emotions, no experiences to draw on and no potential for discriminatory behavior, then we need Robocops rather than real police. There are bad police out there, and there is a need for training in some cases – as in the case Tamir Rice – but those are exceptions rather than the rule.

The solution to the problems between black Americans and the police is not turning the police into emotionless robots or meter maids, but rather creating an environment where police aren’t forced to exist on a heightened level of anxiety. If the black on black violence were to decline, if the major problems in black communities were truancy and vandalism rather than murder and assault, one would expect a less adversarial relationship to develop. The problem with trying to fix the relationship by heeling the police is that the real problems for black communities only get worse. Baltimore provides a perfect example of what happens when police are intimidated from doing their jobs… In 2014 there were 211 murders in Baltimore. In 2015 there were 344, an increase of 133, or 62%. That means that over the course of the year over 100 more black Baltimoreans were murdered than might have been had police not been intimidated into fearing to do their jobs. And that Ferguson effect is being felt around the country, with similarly tragic results for black communities. Unfortunately for the black men and women living in those communities, who are "championed" by movements like BLM and activists turned politicians like Barack Obama, actually solving community ills is much more difficult than protesting and race pandering…

Monday, December 21, 2015

Gratitude at Christmastime... For our Freedom of Speech

Christmas is, among other things, a time for gratitude. Gratitude of course comes in many shapes and sizes. Some people feel gratitude for family, others for health, others for prosperity and some for all of those things and more and no doubt some for much less.

Whatever one’s situation here in the United States, we, as a people, have much to be thankful for. Perhaps there is nothing more deserving of our gratitude than the Constitution, that imperfect document upon which our nation was founded. It has much in it that has allowed our nation to not only survive, but thrive. Separation of powers. Limited government. The Amendment process. And of course the Bill of Rights.

Of all of the rights protected by the Constitution, arguably the most important is found in the 1st Amendment: Freedom of Speech. Why? Because human interaction of all kinds is based on communication. Whether it’s talking to a girl in a bar, arguing politics with someone at work, discussing the gospels after church or advocating for less regulation in front of the city council, speech is typically the mechanism through which we share ideas, have our theories challenged, test our persuasive skills.

Free speech is of course a messy proposition. If you allow free speech to flourish, eventually you’re going to come across some speech with which you disagree. Which is of course why the 1st Amendment exists in the first place. We don’t need a 1st Amendment to protect singing Jingle Bells or Sandra Bullock movies or Archie comic books. No, speech that everyone likes – or speech that people don’t care about one way or another – rarely needs to be protected. It’s all that other stuff that needs protection. It’s the Playboy magazine in the 1950’s, it’s the Seven Dirty Words, it’s the right to say your congressman, or president or local sheriff is a jerk. Basically the 1st Amendment protects one’s right to say things that other people disagree with.

And there’s the rub in our holiday ointment. Although the Freedom of Speech is possibly the most important freedom protected by the Constitution, it is coming under fire across the country. From university speech codes and “safe areas” to wishing someone “Merry Christmas”, it seems that the fictional “right” to not be offended is superseding the actual right of free speech. That is a serious problem, and it brings to mind the answer Ben Franklin gave after the close of the Constitutional Convention when a woman outside Independence Hall asked him what kind of government we had: “A Republic, if you can keep it”. When the Freedom of Speech begins to be undermined, the Republic itself won’t be far behind.

Earlier this year a US Senator from Rhode Island suggested using RICO laws to prosecute those skeptical of the “climate change” hoax. Not long after a group of prominent “climate change” professors seconded that suggestion. Although President Obama voiced his support of the notion of Free Speech in the face of recent crybaby university protests, two years ago his administration encouraged universities to ban “any expression related to sexual topics that offends any person”, which might at some point put someone whistling at a girl or commenting about her beauty at risk of official censure. Also on the university hit lists are the countless incidences of conservative speakers being shouted down and turned away from campuses. And then there are the terrorists who attacked the Texas Draw Mohamed contests and Muslims who advocate for Sharia law.

Whether from the government or from aggrieved minorities or even environmental activists, the movement towards silencing critics or opponents is a troubling one because it cuts at the foundation of our liberty and our Republic. The danger of creating an echo chamber is that eventually there are no dissenting voices to highlight possible errors in judgment, miscalculations, biases or simply reality conflicting with theory. And invariably those things end up in legislation, which further diminishes other freedoms as well.

As painful as conflicting ideas might be, as unsavory as offensive speech might be, having them on the periphery of good taste or “settled science” strengthens the core of our Republic. Rarely are ideas or values stronger than when they must be defended. It is in building that defense that we find our ideas or values to be worthy… or lacking, which, at the end of the day is how ideas advance, how values are forged and how our nation prospers. That is something we cannot forget and something we cannot allow governments or groups to undermine.

So this Christmas, with a toast of egg nog, perhaps a nod of gratitude to the Founding Fathers for giving Americans a gift that so few people on the planet enjoy… the right to open our mouths and be found a fool or a genius or a rabble rouser or just another voice in the cacophony that makes up the tapestry of our Republic.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Liberals Shouldn't Be Shocked By Donald Trump's Success In The GOP Race... He's Their Creation

Donald Trump’s call to curtail immigration of Muslims until the government can "figure out what's going on” is probably a bit unworkable. If it’s someone’s goal to kill you, you shouldn’t be surprised that they are willing to lie about it beforehand. How are we supposed to know who’s a Muslim in the first place? Are they still a Muslim if they say they found Jesus just six months before? Two weeks? On the way to the airport?

Trying to limit Muslims coming into the country by asking them is simply unworkable. And doing a background check on every single person from a Muslim majority nation would be impossible. In addition, there are lots of Muslims living in India and Germany as well.

Regardless of his specific plan’s viability, Trump is very much on to something. His lead in the GOP race has only increased since he made his comment. (Indeed, just as it did after he made his comments about Mexicans.) And of course the left is going nuts about that…

But they shouldn’t, because, at least in the political arena, Donald Trump’s success is 100% due to their actions. Americans… or at least a lot of them… are simply tired of the first response to a terrorist attack being an admonition against blaming Islam, accusations of Islamaphobia or chastisement for the targeting of Muslims for hate crimes. They are simply tired of the default reaction being “What did we do to make them hate us so much?” They are simply tired of the media and Democrats contorting themselves into pretzels each time such an incident occurs in order to find a way to blame white, Christian, Tea Party types. The reality is, a significant majority of terrorist attacks around the world and the country are perpetrated by Muslims, and even data from Barack Obama’s politicized FBI show that the vast majority of hate crimes are against Jews,not Muslims. Despite the efforts of the left and the media, Americans recognize these facts. (Don't be fooled by the left's attempt to tip the scales by equating violence by common criminals and psychotic killers with terrorism. That's no more true than their suggestion that the greatest danger to black men is police rather than other black men.) America in 2015 finally has the correct answer to the left’s constant insinuation of that famous Chico Marx line: "Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" Americans have decided to believe their own eyes and Trump is benefiting from that new focus.

Most Americans believe in Freedom of Religion. It’s been part of our heritage for two centuries. It’s written in black and white in our Constitution. But that doesn’t mean that everything is acceptable however as a religion that demands human sacrifice would not be tolerated. That said, the reality is, for many Muslims that is exactly what Islam does, as can be seen by the deaths of 14 Americans enjoying a Christmas party in San Bernadino, 13 American soldiers working on Ft. Hood, or thousands of Americans simply working to support their families on 9/11. Americans recognize that in a world of 1.5 billion Muslims, hundreds of millions of them support the basic tenants of radical Islam such as Sharia law and the death penalty for leaving Islam, and many of those millions are motivated to destroy the United States and the west in their pursuit of a caliphate. Indeed, even here in the United States half of America’s two million Muslims would choose to live under Sharia law if given a chance and a quarter believe violence is an appropriate response to drawing a Mohammed cartoon as well as in pursuit of global jihad.

Despite these vast numbers of Muslims both home and abroad who seek to obliterate our freedoms and use violence to accomplish that task, liberals continue to proffer the notion that Islam is the “religion of peace”. Americans know better, and Donald Trump’s popularity is a manifestation of that reality.

Liberals of all sorts have condemned Trump for his “unconstitutional” proposal, as have most members of the GOP. But the reality is, there’s nothing unconstitutional about it. No one who is not an American citizen has any “right” to come to the United States, whether they are a Muslim coming from Saudi Arabia or a Mexican swimming across the Rio Grande. As much as liberals might hate it, as a sovereign nation the United States has every right to decide who it will allow into its doors. That’s not a politically correct thing to say, but it’s true nonetheless. Donald Trump is merely pointing that out, and more and more Americans are listening.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Speech Barack Obama Should Have Given Last Sunday... But Didn't

My fellow Americans, I’m speaking to you on the eve of the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the event that launched the United States into a war against fascists who sought to eliminate freedom and our way of life. That war was long and hard and uncertain… but we prevailed and today the United States is the greatest nation on earth.

Seventy four years later our nation is facing another fascist enemy, radical Islam. The events of San Bernardino last Wednesday, the events in Paris last month make it very clear that we are indeed at war. We may not be at war with Islam, but we are very much at war with radical Islam. In fact, the reality of this situation is that the vast majority of victims of radical Islam are actually fellow Muslims. From Pakistan to Saudi Arabia to Libya and beyond, by far the largest number of deaths has been among other Muslims. Unfortunately we cannot solve the schism that exists within Islam, that battle is not ours. If Muslim nations seek peace and prosperity for their citizens they will have to face the threats within.

What we can and will do however is utilize all of our resources to eviscerate radical Islam everywhere it may pose a threat to the United States, our allies or our interests. We will use every resource at our disposal to root out terror cells and capture or kill those who wish to do us ill.

On the domestic front we will not allow these radicals to use our freedoms against us. We will not allow a fifth column to grow and metastasize inside our body politic. I am, as of today suspending the acceptance of Syrian refugees until we have a more effective screening process. We will send resources to Turkey and Jordan and other nations to help support them, but we will not be accepting any more refugees for the immediate future. In addition, beginning tonight, persons seeking to travel to the United States who have traveled to any one of 30 different Muslim nations within the last 4 years will be subjected to extra scrutiny prior to being allowed to enter the country. This will no doubt be an inconvenience to many travelers, but it is a step we must take.

At home we are going to root out the radicals in our midst. We are not only going to be looking for terrorists, but we are going to begin a concerted effort to find the people who enable them with financing and other forms of support. In that vein I have directed the Justice Department to harness all applicable RICO statutes to find and take down whatever radical Islamist cells may be operating in the United States. That RICO order also applies to organizations that fund, harbor or otherwise support such cells. Those organizations may have foreign elements to them and if that is the case the CIA will be called in to coordinate in taking action. They may also be using mosques and charity organizations in an attempt to obscure their activities. Those attempts will not be successful. Americans and others in our country enjoy freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but they do not enjoy the freedom to plan and support those who wish to harm this country and kill the innocent. Indeed, I think it was Justice Jackson who said "The Constitution is not a suicide pact". I have directed Homeland Security make this initiative their number one priority.

On the international front, we will immediately begin bombing ISIS locations across Syria and Iraq and wherever else we find them, particularly those related to oil production. I am today having my Joint Chiefs of Staff alter the Rules of Engagement under which our military can and will operate. Currently the driving force of our ROE has been to ensure no or minimum civilian casualties. That is a luxury we no longer have. No longer will we allow terrorists to set up shop in hospitals and mosques and schools and target our aircraft with impunity. Our troops will begin targeting fighters wherever they are, which may regrettably result in greater civilian casualties.

In addition, we will begin fully supporting and arming Kurdish forces in Iraq as they seek to take back territory from ISIS.

I have also directed the Joint Chiefs to present me with a plan for putting up to 10,000 US troops in Iraq with the objective of training and supporting genuine anti ISIS forces fighting in both Iraq and Syria. Within that number will be special forces who have a list of the top 25 ISIS leaders and enablers. Their objective is to find and eliminate every person on that list. And let me be clear… not all of those enablers are fighters, nor are they all men... and some of them may be hiding far from the battlefield. None of those things will protect them.  When that list is done we will compile a new top 25 list of the next most valuable targets. In addition, we will be imposing no fly zones and no travel zones in various areas of both Syria and Iraq in order to stop fighters from targeting areas that have been freed from the grip of ISIS and stop shipments of oil that the group is using to fund its operations.

There are of course additional measures being considered that I will not go into.

Let me wrap up by saying this: From September 11 to the bombings of London, Madrid, Paris and countless attacks in between, it is now clear that we are very much at war with a strain of fascist, radical Islam and they seek nothing less than the destruction of our way of life, our freedoms, our liberty and our prosperity. Just as the United States did not let fascists prevail 70 years ago, we will not let these new fascists win today. We will not let them manipulate our freedoms to attack us at home and we will not let them hide behind religion and civilians elsewhere. As of today we are no longer fighting a defensive battle. We are at war with the cancer of fascist radical Islam, and we will be taking the battle to them, whether they are hiding here at home or killing innocent Christians, Jews or Muslims on the sands of Syria or Iraq. We may have made some missteps in the past, and we will undoubtedly make some in the future, but let me be clear… this is a war we will not lose. The United States and the world of freedom we helped shape will not acquiesce to those who hate what we and our forefathers have fought so hard for and worked so hard to build.

Thank you and good night, and God bless America.

Monday, December 7, 2015

San Bernardino - As Usual the Left Gets it Wrong on Guns and Christians

As usual, with the terrorist attack in San Bernardino the left gets it wrong on pretty much everything. Of course their first response was to call for gun regulation because… that’s what they do. Then when it became clear that it wasn’t a couple of white Christian Tea Party types who were responsible, they doubled down on gun regulation to try and distract from the fact that it was Islamic terror.

Whether it’s the focus on guns or the meme that it’s racist white Tea Party Christians who perpetrate most of these crimes, they are simply wrong.

Let’s take the latter first. Of the 21 mass shootings since 1990 that have taken the lives of 8 or more people, white men have been the killers in 10 of them, while minorities and or immigrants have committed the other 11. Of those 10, exactly one had anything to do with Christianity, politics or race, and that was in last year’s Charleston church murders. (See list here)

So in the worst of the worst shootings over the last quarter century, despite the left’s focus on white, conservative, Christian perpetrators, the killers actually fit the bill less than 5% of the time. But that doesn’t stop Democrats and their lefty media from seeking to further their agenda by pushing the white racist Tea Party Christian meme every time one of these events occurs.

Which brings us back to guns and the left’s goal on eviscerating the 2nd Amendment. As we’ve seen, they are not above seeking to exploit any tragedy to further their agenda, regardless of how wrong their narrative is. Despite the fact that California already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, they claim that we need more gun legislation. Their narrative is that if we could just get Americans to give up their guns – or take them if necessary – then the US would suddenly become a peaceful place.

They are simply wrong, America is already a pretty peaceful place – or at least most of it is. There are over 300 million guns in the United States. Each year 299 million of them are not involved with murders or crimes of any sort. The problem isn’t gun ownership… the problem is criminals on the street. According to a study by the Milwaukee Sherriff’s Dept., 97% of the suspects – and 85% of the victims – in non fatal shootings had criminal records. In homicides the numbers weren’t much different: For all homicides in 2011 -- those involving guns and those that didn’t -- 57 percent of the 72 suspects and 62 percent of the 66 homicide victims had at least six prior arrests. Six arrests! Baltimore has similar numbers and one would expect that they would be reflected in the rest of the country as well. So the problem is not guns, but rather criminals. And to put a fine point on the fallacy of the gun control reduces violence narrative, in Chicago, crime increased after guns were regulated… and dropped when the city was forced to begin issuing concealed carry permits.  Keep the criminals in jail and the crime rate would drop... but that would deprive Democrats of voters.

Something Democrats never mention is that in many countries with more restrictive gun laws than we have, crime rates are in fact actually much higher. Nor are they spared mass killings either. There was of course the attack in Paris last month, and the Smithsonian Magazine writes in a piece titled Outside the Americas, Knives Are Often the Weapon of Choice in Homicides:
In Japan, in 2001 a janitor wielding a kitchen knife killed eight children at an Osaka school where he worked, while a man in Tokyo went on a random stabbing spree with a dagger in 2008, killing four people. In South Korea, a disgruntled man killed eight people in a stabbing spree at his apartment complex in 2008. In Germany, a drunk 16-year-old stabbed 41 people at the opening ceremony of a Berlin train station. And last year, anti-knife campaigns ramped up in the U.K after a 13-year-old girl was stabbed to death.
In addition, in Israel today Jews are being stabbed and run over by cars on a regular basis… and there they have lots of guns. The problem isn’t guns, it’s people with bad intentions.  Get rid of the guns and they will still find knives, cars, bombs, poison or countless other ways to kill people.

Despite the facts, the left continues peddle gun laws as the solution to the problem of crime and a culture of violence they have fostered. Similarly contrary to facts, they continue to blame white conservative Christians for the massacres we see all too often see on our TVs and in our communities. We shouldn’t be surprised however as the Democrats and their media lackeys have a long tradition of manipulating and obscuring facts in order to hide from the failures of their progressive agenda. No doubt when the doors are closed lefties can be heard saying "Hmmm... If there was only a way to take the guns out of the hands of citizens the the government could simply start it implementing the social programs that would eliminate all this crime and racism and inequality and hurt feelings and..."

The founding fathers may not have been able to conceive of the notions of television or the Internet, but they sure understand human nature and the dark side of government.  Thank God - and James Madison & friends - for the 2nd Amendment.

Massacres between 1990 & 2015 with White Male Killers

1) In Sandy Hook 20 year old Adam Lanza had mental illness and was on psychotic medicines… Race, religion or politics were never issues.

2) In the Luby’s shooting 35 year old George Hennard had issues with women… Race, religion or politics were never issues, although he did express anger at white girls in particular.

3) In the Aurora, CO theater shooting 24 year old James Eagan Holmes was socially inept and was found insane… Race, religion or politics were never issues.

4) In the Kinston, AL shooting 29 year old Michael Kenneth McLendon killed his family and was depressed… Race, religion or politics were never issues.

5) In the Charleston church shooting 21 year old Dylann Roof was indeed a racist and targeted a black church.

6) In the Atlanta day trader shooting 44 year old Mark Barton was depressed and had paranoid delusions… Race, religion or politics were never issues, although he wrote that he hoped his wife and children, whom he killed, would see Jehovah.

7) In the Seal Beach, CA killings, 3 years before he killed 8 people, 41 year old Scott Evans was determined to suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder… Race, religion or politics were never issues.

8) In the Westroads Mall shooting 19 year old Robert Hawkins had a history of mental illness… Race, religion or politics were never issues.

9) In the Carthage nursing home killings 45 year old Robert Stewart was an alcoholic with relationship issues. Race, religion or politics were never issues.

10) In the Columbine High School massacre teenagers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were both psychopaths seeking glory. Race, religion or politics were never issues.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Black Lives Matter Movement: The Preening of Petulant Millennials vs. Actually Accomplishing Anything

I remember once hearing a question posed by some would be philosopher: “If you could do something that cured all of the ills of the world, but only if someone you despised would get the credit, would you do it?” It’s an interesting question with a number of elements to it. Are you really a humanitarian or do you just want to be seen as such? What’s more important, your legacy or the lives of others? Are you able to overcome petty jealousy for the “greater good”? Of course as it’s a hypothetical question you can answer and gain all of the approval without actually having to do anything.

I couldn’t help but think about that question when I read about a group of Black Lives Matter protesters shutting down Chicago’s Magnificent Mile shopping district on Black Friday. The protests were in response to the killing of Laquan McDonald by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. Shouting “No Justice, No Shopping” the protesters were demanding the resignation of the mayor, the police commissioner and the prosecutor. Their crimes? Not releasing the dashcam video earlier and taking too long to charge Van Dyke. He had been charged earlier in the week. Whether there was obstruction somewhere, we will see. Justice may be moving slowly, but the system is working.

But of course that doesn’t matter to the BLM protesters. The goal of the BLM movement is not to save black lives but rather to give protesters a feeling of making a difference while actually doing nothing. If the goal of the BLM movement was to save black lives, they would be protesting the murder of 9 year old Tyshawn Lee by a black gang member who targeted him because his father was in a rival gang. If the goal of the BLM was to save black lives they would be protesting the murder of another 9 year old, Jamyla Bolden, who was doing her homework at home when she was killed by a black man with a history of violence. If the goal of the BLM was to save black lives they would be protesting the drive by shooting of 10 year old Marlon Eason by two black gang members. But of course they’re not. We don’t see attempts to close down highways in Washington or restaurants in Atlanta to protest those killings.

Why? Because focusing on those kinds of things would take courage, would require more than facile sloganeering. The thing that distinguishes the BLM movement from real civil rights heroes of the last century is that men and women like Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, John Lewis and thousands of others did what they did in the face of real racism and threats of real violence… when police were spraying them with fire hoses, siccing 100 lb dogs on them and beating them with clubs. And those were just the government officials in front of the cameras. With the killings of Medgar Evans, Wharlest Jackson, four little girls in a Birmingham Baptist church and many others it became clear that it wasn’t only racist police that had to be feared but Klansmen and others seeking to stop the march of civil rights at any cost. Despite all of that, there were tens of thousands of people across the country who marched and sat in and sued for equal rights. That was courage. And it made a difference.

What we see today from the BLM movement and much of the left is not only not courageous, it’s nonsensical… in addition to being a disgrace to the memory and history of real civil rights heroes. It’s easy to picket a store where people are just trying to do their Christmas shopping and few are going to bother trying to cross your lines when they can simply choose Amazon. It’s easy to sit down in a bucolic Ivy League library and spew epithets until the targets simply go away. It’s easy to go on strike if your football team is so bad it doesn’t have anything to play for in the first place. While these are all courageous “civil rights” actions in the eyes of the lefties, most importantly, they can get activists seen on TV, pretending to make a difference. But make no mistake… They’re not making a difference. They’re not fighting for the right to vote. They’re not fighting for equal access to schools and universities. They’re not fighting to remove Jim Crow laws. No, these “civil rights” activists are fighting for “safe spaces” where they won’t get their feelings hurt. They’re fighting for “justice” for Michael Brown, an 19 year old black man who was killed while attacking a police officer after he had committed a robbery. They’re fighting to take names off buildings of men whose lives did not comport to modern values.  They're fighting to remove flags they find offensive.

Which brings us back to the initial question… Do BLM protesters truly want to do things of consequence that might actually help improve the lives of black Americans or do they simply seek glory? Count one for vanity. Picket gangs who are killing hundreds of young black men and women and children each year? Nope. Organize voters to dump leftist Democrats whose progressive policies have victimized urban communities across the country and saddled them with failing schools, high taxes, staggering crime and stultifying unemployment? Nope. Fight to repair black families where 72% of all children are born to single mothers? Of course not.

We don’t hear much of that, if any, because the BLM movement isn’t about finding solutions to the challenges that many blacks face in America. No, the BLM movement is an attempt by petulant millennials and other SJWs to find their inner Kim Kardasian so that people will pay attention to them and they can pretend that they are making a difference. They are making a difference, but it’s not the one they think it is. Take a look at Baltimore, Ferguson, Chicago and New York and see what’s happening with crime in general and murder in particular after the movement demonized police. The majority of the victims of those crimes are black men and women and children, many of whom are just trying to make their way through their daily lives of work or school or raising a family. They are doing so do so in crime riddled Democrat communities enabled by “activists” like those from BLM who focus attention on easy targets where they know they will encounter little resistance, but in the end accomplish less than nothing.

They do have one thing right however. There are problems in black communities across the country. The problem is not police however. The problem is not white racism or institutional racism. While those problems will crop up now and again, the real problems of black communities have much more to do with family breakdown, failing schools, black on black crime and individual responsibility – problems shared by the larger population but which seem to disproportionately cripple black communities. And of course government strangulation of freedom and opportunity.  But those are tough issues which don't lend themselves to empty headed sloganeering like "Hands Up!  Don't Shoot!".

Fittingly, the patron saint of the BLM movement is Barack Obama, the king of obfuscation, misdirection and failure. Perhaps when he is a “retired statesman” the country will finally have had enough of the tyranny of “community organizers” and “activists” who seek not to make real change, but rather to wrap themselves in the cloak and glory of “civil rights” as they seek to loot the public treasury and silence opposition. Something good from Barack Obama... finally!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

King Leonidas, ISIS and the Culture War Barack Obama Refuses to See… Nevermind Fight

A week and a half ago fascist thugs of ISIS attacked Paris. Three days later President Obama addressed the world from Istanbul and said the attack was “an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share.”

That is a wonderful sentiment, but like most things that come out of Barack Obama’s mouth, it’s wrong. There are not universal values.

Take freedom of speech. Across the planet, from China to Saudi Arabia to Russia to Venezuela, (and most places in between) nothing resembling freedom of speech such freedom exists. In the West, from Australia to England to Italy to Canada, freedom of speech ostensibly exists, but the restrictions continue to grow. Even here in the United States where freedom of speech is enshrined in our Constitution, it is under siege everywhere. On universities, the very places where ideas are supposed to be studied and debated, speech codes are suffocating liberty and mini fascists seek to limit your ability to say anything they disagree with. In everyday life criticizing anyone for anything opens one up for accusations of being racist or sexist or homophobic or some other form of intolerance.

Freedom of religion? One wonders how Coptic Christians in Egypt feel about freedom of Religion. Try wearing a crucifix in Saudi Arabia. How free do the followers of Falun Gong feel in China? Jews in Europe… Here in the United States Christians are under assault for refusing to participate in gay weddings while atheists seek to eliminate even the shadows of Christianity from the public square.

Freedom in general is not something found on most parts of the planet… Across the Muslim world women are slaves and getting raped is a crime for which one can be ostracized, jailed  or even killed. South America and Africa are rife with failed states where graft is the natural order of things and the populations are mired in poverty (real poverty… not what passes for poverty in the United States) while government officials and their connected cronies live in luxury. In China the government or government aligned corporations control virtually everything, even down to reproduction.

All in all, the values that Obama is suggesting are universal are nothing of the sort. Widespread notions of freedom of speech, freedom of religion and individual liberty simply don’t exist. The vast majority of people living on the planet today do not share or experience any of those values. There has never been a time in human history where a majority of people shared such values. Indeed it’s never even been close.

It is only with the rise of the West, where such freedoms and values were developed and flourished and codified, that the notion of “universal freedoms” could even be imagined. Such freedoms hit their apex with the writing of the United States Constitution. For the first time in human history there was a document that not only explicitly spelled out the rights of citizens that could not be impeded, but more importantly, explicitly limited the power of government to only those things it was specifically empowered to do by the citizens.

The reality is, the “universal freedoms” Barack Obama talks about simply don’t exist. They never have. But somehow he, along with the rest of the left pretend that they do, which is exactly why they seek to shift power away from the constitutionally constrained government of the United States to the unconstrained United Nations. They live in a fantasy world where if everyone would just put down their weapons and embrace one another that the world will suddenly be all right. They feel like if everyone simply kept the “fair share” of their income then magically the world become a nirvana in which every family enjoys a lifetime of Norman Rockwell dinners.

And that tells you exactly why ISIS is a problem and the West is in decline. Europeans, along with the left in America, willfully ignored what made the West a success in the first place… culture inspired by Christianity – although at times hindered by it as well, built on intellectual curiosity and empowered by individual liberty and freedom. The notions of freedom of religion and speech and private property as we know them today evolved in the West over a period of 800 years. They were not codified by an edict by a Pope or Martin Luther or Napoleon or Queen Victoria or even James Madison. These decidedly non-universal values came about as the result of a struggle between church and state and citizenry as well as between churches, states and citizens. Much bloodshed was spilled in the process of developing those values. They were hard fought for and won, and to the degree that they exist in other places around the world, for the most part they were brought there by westerners.

It is not so much that the West is collapsing because it’s being invaded (which it surely is) but rather rotting from within because it has spend the last half century protected in a cocoon of security provided by the American military. After rescuing much of the world from the Nazis and the Japanese in WWII, for more than half a century the United States has provided a bulwark against the Soviets and the Chinese and later the Russians. Under the protection of American power, the West - including the United States – deluded itself with the notion that peace was now the norm and that civilization had finally come to humanity. As such, it was possible to create vast social programs to nurture citizens from cradle to grave with little concern about fiscal or social responsibility. In addition, they opened their doors to allow millions of immigrants to enter their countries and enjoy those programs without ever being required to assimilate. Indeed, in many European countries assimilation could be almost impossible even if it were desired, which it rarely was.

Today we have the logical conclusion of the argument that no culture is superior to any other. Because Western culture is no better than any other, there is no basis to demand assimilation. Migrants by the millions move to the West and then seek to establish mini-me versions of the failed states and dysfunctional cultures they left behind… Indeed, across Europe there are movements under foot to implement Sharia law above national law while France, Britain and other nations are peppered with “No-Go” zones.

Given that it’s seen as racist or xenophobic to suggest that one’s culture is superior to another, it’s verboten to ask who put men on the moon, mapped the human genome or invented mobile phones. Such questions do not matter because all cultures are equal. And so it goes. As the self loathing West derides the very things that made it successful in the first place it finds itself under siege by those who are not only proud of their culture and values but are willing to both kill and die for them.

To see how this juxtaposition of passion and cultural apathy might play itself out, read or watch something about the Battle of Thermopylae. Observe how a small force of highly motivated and passionate fighters can have an impact exponentially larger than their numbers might suggest. King Leonidas and his men lose their lives and the battle… but the Greeks win the war. Unfortunately for America and the West, our impotent and incompetent leader is Barack Obama, who refuses to even see that we’re in the midst of a culture war, nevermind recognize that for the other side it’s literally a fight to the death. Let’s hope the next occupant of the Oval Office understands that America and the values she holds are not only, not universal, but they are exceptional, and indeed worthy of both praise and protection.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Paris attacks and the Mizzou protests are two sides of the same coin…

The ISIS attacks on civilians in Paris and the attacks on common sense across the country are two sides of the same coin.

Both were carried out by those who hate freedom…. Not their freedom of course, but yours. With ISIS (as well as fanatical Muslims around the planet) you are expected to live the way they want you to, to act the way they want you to, but most of all you must believe the way they want you to… or they will simply kill you.

At Mizzou, Yale and Amherst, protesters, (as well as liberals everywhere across the country, including the BLM movement) you are expected to understand their feelings of offense, recognize their “plight” and appreciate how difficult their lives are. Essentially you must believe them when they tell you the world is unfair for everyone other than straight white males. If you don’t agree they probably won’t try and kill you, but they will seek to kill your livelihood.

Both groups have their rules about what you can and can’t do and say. For the former it’s be Christian, be gay, drive a car if you’re a woman, be a girl in school, punish your rapist if you’re a woman or express a view that doesn’t comport with their interpretation of the Koran.

For the latter it’s pointing out that exponentially more black men die at the hands of other black men than white cops every year, support colorblind college admission standards, try police misconduct trials in a courtroom rather than the media, suggest women and men are indeed different with different abilities or that college students might be slightly over sensitive when it comes to being offended.

Neither group believes in the notion of free speech. Across the Muslim world one sees journalists and bloggers killed for the crime of speaking out against terrorism while in the west you have the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the murder of Theo Van Gogh and the fatwa on Ayaan Hirsi Ali among others.

At the same time, here in the US on the rare occasions conservative speakers make it to the podium on a college campus, they are usually shouted down; counter intuitive “free speech zones” greatly limit a speaker’s ability to be heard; and memorializing the victims of 9-11 is somehow racist. And when there aren’t enough actual incidents of racism or sexism or this or that ism, they must be contrived

At the end of the day, Paris, Mizzou, and bakers being bankrupted for not participating in a gay wedding are all about one thing… intolerance. Your ideas don’t matter. Your freedom doesn’t matter. Your life or livelihood doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that you understand our “pain” and agree with our ideas and bend to our will. If not, we will strike.

One might bristle at the notion of equating the terror in Paris with the “crybullies” on the left, but the parallel is appropriate. Terror is not an ideology, but a tactic, just as hunger strikes and temper tantrums by football players and other “aggrieved” groups are. In both cases the goal is the same: silence dissent, quash freedom, and coerce obedience. Whether it’s a threat to life and limb or a threat to the order of civilized society, both the demands and the actors should be rejected. The actors of the former should be hunted down and killed while the actors in the latter should be ignored, ostracized and in the case of students who think they have a right to interfere with the education of others, they should simply be expelled.

The poorly named “War on Terror” is a war we have no choice but to engage in and win.  We didn't start it, but we must win it in order for our civilization to survive.

The protest war of aggrieved crybullies on the other hand is one that we win by not engaging in. Like a child that bumps his knee, the attention is what propagates the wailing. Ignore him and his attention goes elsewhere. So too with the crybullies. Ignore them and their insipid demands and eventually they will have to start focusing on things of consequence such as getting a real education and learning to be productive members of society.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Twilight Zone Zombie Education Apocalypse: Detroit Government Schools Fail 95% of the Time...

Sometimes in life there are things that are so obvious that when others don’t see it you’re left scratching your head wondering if you are living in a Twilight Zone episode. Such was the case when I read a headline last week: Detroit Public Schools: 93% Not Proficient in Reading; 96% Not Proficient in Math.

Somehow the Detroit government schools, despite spending $1.2 billion a year – equating to $18,000 per year per student – were able to succeed in teaching reading only 7% of the time and math only 4% of the time. That is a failure rate of 93% and 96%. That reminded me of something I read a few years ago stating that 47% of Detroit’s population was illiterate. Now that statistic makes perfect sense.

How is it remotely possible that so much failure could continue year after year, decade after decade? (Could it be zombies?) Frankly, it forces one to ask a fundamental question… Most certainly a society needs an educated workforce in order to prosper, particularly in a world of rapidly increasing technology, but must government be the one in charge of the education?  And for black and Hispanic parents, the children of whom are largely the ones being steamrolled by the failing government schools, it makes you wonder why they keep pulling the lever for the Democrats who have been destroying education for 50 years.  And that doesn't even include the damage being done by Common Core!

Given that the Detroit government schools succeed less than 5% of the time, what might happen if… rather than spending $18,000 per student to support an administration heavy bureaucracy (15,000 staff vs. 3,300 teachers) the city simply gave parents a check of $18,000 per student? Then let the parents spend the money however they want and let Darwin’s law decide the rest. It would be virtually impossible for even the most incompetent  parents left to their own devices to fail as badly as the Detroit government schools have.

Or perhaps the city could simply sell the entire school system, much like cities across the country have sold contracts to provide other public services, everything from parking meters to trash collection to water to the issuance of business licenses. Even the most inept businessman would likely succeed more often than 5% of the time. And there are for profit and non profit school operators across the country, from Kipp Academy to Harlem Academy to a plethora of online operators. Whether private or charter or Catholic, virtually every alternative to traditional public schools outperforms those government schools operating in their same communities.

And it’s not like wholesale change hasn’t ever happened. After Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans a decade ago the city handed over management of 80% of the schools to charters, and not so surprisingly student test scores doubled.

But of course none of that will likely ever happen, because there are too many union jobs to protect and too many government regulators seeking to keep their power. Any parent, any businessman, any non government organization would be loathe to continue to fund a program that fails 95% of the time, but unions and government apparatchiks don’t actually care about educating children. In the Twilight Zone Zombie Education Apocalypse the machine must keep churning, regardless of the cost or consequence.  There are simply too many union jobs and too much government power at stake to risk losing them just so kids can learn to read and write and have a chance to go on to achieve success in life.  Pffffttt.

Keep that in mind the next time you hear union brownshirts clamoring for more government money “For the children”.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ted Cruz and the Oxymorons of Washington

Oxymoron: A figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction

One sometimes thinks the word started with our government: Government Intelligence… Government Efficiency... Government Accountability… In reality, it’s been around since the Greeks first coined the phrase, no doubt adding oxy to a word they probably used to describe their politicians too: Moron.

The Greeks may have invented the word, but the US government has perfected its common use. We have a welfare system whose ostensible goal is to get people back on their feet during hard times yet the numbers of people on the program never seems to go down. We have an education system that spends an ever increasing amount of money to somehow do an increasingly bad job of “educating” our students. Barack Obama has penned an agreement with Iran to keep them from getting nuclear weapons that actually rewards them for bad behavior AND makes it more likely they will get nuclear weapons!

As bad as those things are, and there are countless other examples, this very day we are witnessing possibly the single best example of government incompetence possible. So far this fiscal year the IRS has taken in more money than ever before, $2.6 trillion! Yet somehow they still managed to run a deficit of almost half a trillion dollars. And just two nights ago the utterly worthless GOP introduced a bill that enables even more incompetence in the form of a giant two year spending bill that would also raise the debt limit.  Somehow, Americans watch the middle class struggle while programs for the poor proliferate and the connected rich see their incomes skyrocket as Washington and its regulatory machine smothers more and more of the free market.

This is Washington unhinged. This is how liberalism works… including when enabled by the GOP. The government takes more and more of the citizens’ money, which leaves the citizens with less income with which to live their lives, nevermind have money left over to start businesses as they pursue the promise of prosperity. Seeing the resultant slowing economic growth, the government decides to come to the rescue by creating more regulations and more giveaways to make up for the “failures” of the free markets. It’s a viscous cycle… More government equals less freedom and less prosperity.

And today we have on full display the GOP’s disdain for freedom and prosperity. They seek crony capitalism for the specific purpose of ensuring their continued participation in the Washington cocoon – a comforting place where 7 out of the 10 richest counties in the country are located – out of a total of 3,143 counties! That Washington cocoon provides them with parties to attend, a staff to do their bidding, jobs for friends and family, introductions to the “right” people and of course a golden parachute upon leaving after having done enough favors for big business.

Unfortunately, this is likely a fait accompli as the anointed one, Paul Ryan, the soon to be head squish has jumped onboard. The result of this betrayal of the American people makes it only that much more important that voters look to someone like Ted Cruz to be the next president. We are at a point where the government continues to take more and more of our money, yet continues to demand to borrow even more, and this is while the GOP has both the House and the Senate. Ted Cruz has both the intellect and the intent to thwart the liberal enablers in the GOP. No one else in this race has shown the willingness to fight the GOP establishment the way Cruz has. Today’s treachery puts the nation on notice. If you want a change from the failure of liberal policies and crony capitalism, put someone in the White House who does more than talk a conservative game. Put someone in there who has shown a willingness to fight the leviathan of government and it’s GOP enablers. Someone who's not an oxymoron... That man is Ted Cruz.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Barack Obama as Commander in Chief ... The Pentagon as a social experiment

I’ve probably cited this before, but it’s easily one of the best speeches ever uttered in the movies. In A Few Good Men Jack Nicholson’s Col. Jessep explains life to Tom Cruz’s Lt. Kaffee:
… And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post.
This speech came back to me a couple of weeks ago as I was reading about women being given special treatment so that they would pass the Army’s Ranger school. This is just the latest example of Barack Obama misunderstanding – or more likely, not caring about – the fundamental mission of the United States military.

From Berghdal to troops being kicked out of the military for beating up child molesters to gays in the military to women in combat roles, to the dangerous Rules Of Engagement troops must operate under, the Department of Defense has become a playground for political activism and social engineering rather than what it actually exists for, which is to defend the United States from external enemies.

One reason that liberals like Obama feel like they can manipulate the military is because they see it as simply another arm of the government, rather than the unique entity it is. Wherever on the political spectrum one sits, the general role of government is to protect the freedoms of citizens, prosecute those who violate the laws and support economic prosperity via the issuance of patents & trademarks and enforcing contracts, etc. That definition is pretty opaque, but whether we’re talking about the SEC, the FDA or the EPA, the primary goal is not (theoretically) to be prepared to kill hundreds or thousands or millions of people while putting the lives of thousands of Americans at risk.

That however, is exactly what DOD does. The role of the Department of Defense is to defend the nation from external threats, which often includes killing the enemy in large numbers, often violently. At the same time, by definition, it involves putting at risk the lives of American personnel. That fundamentally makes DOD different than HUD or the GPO or the Education Department.

Given the extraordinarily high risks and dangers associated with putting the military in the field, the primary driver of policy should be to further the mission, not social agendas. But the reality is, Barack Obama doesn’t agree with that. To him, putting women in combat or moving the goalposts so that women can “pass” Ranger school is more about combating the “War on Women” than it is about a military prepared to face real combat.

To Barack Obama, gays serving openly in the military make perfect sense as gays can work in law offices or coffee shops or big box retailers with no impact on operations. But the military is not Wal-Mart, Starbucks baristas don’t train to kill people and in most law offices men don’t spend hours and weeks and years training with one another in close quarters where emotions and tempers and jealousies and hormones come into play and put people’s lives at risk while doing so. It’s true, that on the field of battle when the bad guys are shooting at you it doesn’t really matter if the guy next to you is gay or straight or confused if he’s on your side. The reality however is that 99.9% of a military man’s job is not spent in the heat of battle, it’s spent in the classroom learning, in the field training, on back on base regrouping. It’s in those environments where soldiers and Marines spend most of their time that the problems associated with gays in the military are felt, not in the foxhole.

The perfect demonstration of Barack Obama’s view that all government programs are but tools for his social agenda can be found in something tangential to the Defense Department. In 2010 Obama’s NASA Administrator said the following: “When I became the NASA Administrator — before I became the NASA Administrator — He (President Obama) charged me with three things: One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.

For Barack Obama the Pentagon is nothing more than a vehicle for achieving his progressive goals. That alone makes him an unfit Commander in Chief. Unfortunately the next Commander in Chief will pay the price for Obama’s folly. Not only will he inherit a military with morale at the lowest in years, he will inherit the smallest Navy in a century, a powerful and growing enemy in ISIS that is a direct result of Obama’s incompetence, and most dangerously he will inherit a world that increasingly lacks respect for American strength... which ironically, and unfortunately, increases the likelihood of actually having to use the military.

But on the upside he will have female rangers, gay couples and transgenders openly serving and a JAG Corps that has been cowed into towing the administration's line on Berghdal. No doubt that should make him feel better.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The People's House... A Historic Opportunity To Lead Should Not Be Squandered On A Squish

First there was Eric Cantor. Then there was John Boehner. Now there’s Kevin McCarthy. But somehow conservatives are once again being encouraged to grab defeat out of the hands of victory. This time by electing amnesty advocate Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House.

We’ve been told the House is dysfunctional. Nothing could be farther from the truth. This is exactly how the House is supposed to operate. When someone doesn’t have the confidence of his party and they are in the majority, he should be shown the door. But we’re told that a group of right wing Tea Party types are somehow keeping the people’s representatives from governing. If only that were only true! If it were, Obamacare wouldn’t be funded. It is. Barack Obama’s amnesty wouldn’t be funded. It is. The debt ceiling wouldn’t have been raised like a helium balloon. It was. Unfortunately, the conservatives in the House have had little success stopping the big government policies of Barack Obama, the Democrats and the GOP establishment.

So, now, today, after the three highest members of the House GOP establishment are either out the door or on their way out, members are being encouraged to put a guy who is 100% establishment, Paul Ryan, in charge.

Not only should they ignore pleas to put Ryan in charge of the House, they should select a real conservative from the Freedom Caucus like Jim Jordan or Mark Meadows. In addition, they should immediately call for a Motion to Vacate the Chair and stop Boehner from doing… pretty much anything.

Of course we hear the gnashing of the teeth from the usual quarters of the establishment telling us that this is a disaster for the GOP… that a fight over Planned Parenthood, a fight over the debt ceiling, a fight over the Continuing Resolution will be suicidal for the GOP if they end up in a stalemate that ends up “shutting down the government.” Frankly, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Two years ago we heard the same thing when Ted Cruz shut down the Senate as he fought to defund Obamacare. We were told that the GOP would be blamed for the government shutdown – which, sadly, is nothing even close to a shutdown as 83% of the government still operated normally – and would likely lose all chances to take the Senate and would probably lose the House to boot. Then when the election finally came a funny thing happened… the GOP picked up seats in both houses and picked up the Senate in an historic win.

In 2010 the GOP picked up the House telling the country it would stop Obamacare. Led by the establishment, it didn’t. In 2014 the GOP picked up the Senate telling the American people it would stop Obama’s illegal amnesty. Once again the squishes in the middle buckled. The only reason the House is in turmoil today is because enough Americans voted to stop Barack Obama that something called the Freedom Caucus exists to throw it into that turmoil.

As I quoted Jim Dint saying in 2010 when I wrote in support of Christine O’Donnell for the Senate from Delaware over the despicable squish Mike Castle, “I’d rather lose fighting for the right cause than win fighting for the wrong cause.” What’s the point of winning if the guys you elect do exactly the same things the guys you voted against would have done? The voters have had enough of GOP squishes… as was demonstrated by Mitt Romney’s dismal performance at the polls in 2012. They want leadership that is willing to stand up and say they will fight Barack Obama’s leftist agenda, and then actually do so. Fight on the killing of babies in the womb? Bring it on. Fight to stop empowering government largesse via another debt ceiling increase? Absolutely. Fight to stop the drive to turn the country into a third world banana republic via open borders? When do we start?

In 2010 and 2014 Americans showed the GOP they were willing to support a fight to when they sent Representatives and Senators to Washington who had indeed promised to fight the progressive cancer that has taken over Washington. Once again, once in power however, the party demurred from the fight.  The GOP establishment types were more interested in the perks of office, their privileges in Washington, making sure big donors were happy than actually accomplishing what voters had sent them to Washington to do.  That's the reason the GOP brand is so damaged, not "dysfunction".

We are in a unique moment in American history and for once the GOP has the opportunity to show real leadership when it really counts… i.e. in the run-up to the most important election in a generation. Not only should they not make Paul Ryan or any other amnesty loving establishment squish Speaker, they should find the most vocal, passionate conservative voice they can and proudly follow him as he leads a national debate on whether the future of America is one of prosperity driven by free markets and limited government or malaise and decline driven by government spending and regulation.  In the unlikely event they lose, so be it.  If a prosperous America is to be replaced by a third world banana republic, let freedom's death come after a full-throated defense of liberty rather than following a faux battle where party leaders put on a show for the little people but share cigars and whiskey in the halls of Congress as they divvy up the spoils of power.  

Now is exactly the time for such a full-throated fight, and appropriately enough history has put the People’s House on center stage. The question is, does the GOP have the courage to actually lead in a fight when it counts or would they rather play a paper tiger as Barack Obama sets fire to the United States Constitution?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Happiness doesn't come from equality of outcomes... Nor does prosperity

For years we’ve been hearing stories of schools scrapping dodge-ball, sports leagues eliminating scoring and schools passing students despite their lack of academic achievement. The reason, we’re told, is to protect the self esteem of students who might otherwise be harmed by coming up on the short end of a competitive stick.

Of course none of this is a surprise to anyone who has watched as liberals have transformed the United States economy from a dynamic prosperity creating machine to a middling debt addict where the middle class finds itself on its knees as the government takes care of those at the top and the bottom of the economic spectrum.

Tangentially… I occasionally play the lottery. If the jackpot posted on the sign on the road from downtown flashes over $200 million I’ll consider plunking down a dollar or two for a ticket. Of course I’ve never won but I find it entertaining to wonder for a brief moment what I might do with my windfall.

At the same time I’ve often wondered, if I actually did win the lottery, would I really be happy? Sure, I’d no doubt have lots of fun spending my millions, but would I really be happy? I’m not so sure. That might sound strange, but the history of many lottery winners seems to indicate that lottery money doesn’t bring happiness.

Here’s how these two tangential things are related. Happiness can’t be given to someone. Nor can self esteem. Yes, someone can give you money, and it can ameliorate some problems, but that doesn’t buy happiness. In a similar way, a parent or a school can tell a child they are wonderful, that grades or scores don’t matter… but the kids know better.

Happiness doesn’t come from having, it comes from earning. That’s the fundamental problem liberals don’t understand, whether it’s telling kids there are no winners or losers in sports, or the government giving people money and food stamps and phones and housing vouchers. Liberals focus on outcomes rather than opportunities. They seek a de jure egalitarian society rather than one governed by effort and innovation. It’s not enough for everyone to have the same chance at success based on some test or competition. No, the resulting output, whether it’s bank loans, jobs or college acceptance letters, has to reflect the hue and composition of the larger population or the test is by definition racist or sexist or some other ist. (While such a framework is supposed to apply in boardrooms and law enforcement, for some reason it never seems to apply in the NBA or the NFL…)

Liberals think that if they somehow make everyone equal, everyone will be happy. Once again they’re wrong. The Soviet Union and modern North Korea might be the best examples of “egalitarian” societies in modern history. And in both cases the people were indeed equal… but that equality was / is an equality of poverty, of desperation, of despair.

Just as there’s a difference between “equality” of outcomes and equality of opportunity, there’s a fundamental difference between earning something and being given it. Compare the way tenants of housing projects take care of their homes with the care shown by those who pay mortgages, or compare the level of pride expressed by a kid at winning a bronze medal to that of a kid being issued a participation medal. It’s natural to value something more when it’s earned, rather than when it’s given. Hard work doesn’t guarantee happiness, but it can instill pride, a sense of accomplishment and a sense of having done something of value, all things which are important elements of happiness.

It’s no coincidence then that as the government has become more generous in its gifts to citizens and its regulatory framework – intended to “protect” citizens from the verities of the marketplace – has become a leviathan akin to a straitjacket, the economic dynamo that was once the United States has become has become a lumbering husk of an economy that is kept alive via stratospheric levels of debt? The result is a workforce participation rate at levels not seen since the 1970’s, skyrocketing welfare rolls all while the percentage of people actually paying income taxes has fallen off a cliff.

At the end of the day, liberals claim they seek widespread prosperity and happiness. In reality however, whether it’s a participation trophy or a nanny state that “protects” the citizenry from virtually anything, they accomplish neither. From kids ill equipped to handle failure in life to millions of Americans who have simply stopped bothering to look for work, to the tens of millions who are on government assistance, liberals talk a game of prosperity but never actually realize it. Sadly, they're not the only ones paying the price for their failures. The entire country is.

But at least we can take solace in the fact that their self esteem won’t be hurt because success isn’t measured by actual results, but only by intentions…

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Why Culture Matters: The Natural State of Man is One of Poverty, Scarcity and Conflict

One of my favorite teachers in high school was Mr. Kelly. Ostensibly he was a reading teacher, but his interests were far more inclined towards history and cultures. We once got into a discussion about the great cultures throughout history. The obvious names came up… the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Romans, Aztecs, ancient China etc. Then he asked the question about what determines a great culture. My answer was something like: “A great culture leaves something tangible behind.” My reasoning was simply that whether the Parthenon, the Coliseum, various pyramids or the Great Wall of China, all of these cultures left tangible representations of their greatness. Mr. Kelly then posited that maybe that was the wrong measure. Maybe instead we should measure a culture’s greatness by the vibrancy of life enjoyed by its people during its heyday. In particular he mentioned two cultures in western Africa who left nary a trace of their existence, but apparently had a vibrant society centuries ago. He suggested that it was possible that they were every bit as great as the cultures as those we usually mention when discussing history. I was skeptical but it was an interesting discussion.

Sadly, after 30 years I don’t remember the cultures he mentioned. But I do remember the question itself of how we go about measuring great cultures. That question is very much relevant today. Since then I can’t remember how many times I’ve heard various professors or pundits or pontificators suggest something like “All cultures are equal and deserve the same level of respect”. I’m as skeptical about that today as when I first heard it. Yesterday’s New York Times provided a perfect example of that exact thing. In it was a story titled: U.S. Soldiers Told to Ignore Sexual Abuse of Boys by Afghan Allies. The various Marines and soldiers who became aware of the abuse were told by higher ups that they could not intervene because it was “their culture”. Indeed, a number of American servicemembers who took steps to stop the rampant pederasty were disciplined and even kicked out of the military.

This story comes on the heels of two other events that bring up the question of cultures. Europe is being invaded by millions of Muslims. The United States is being invaded by millions of Mexicans and others from Latin Americans.

Today we find ourselves in a situation where the West, home to the greatest accomplishments of mankind, are under siege by “migrants” from cultures and nations that are abject failures. The West in general, and the United States in particular, are the home of the greatest advances in human history – or in some cases harnessing innovations from elsewhere: Computers. Man on the moon. Mapping of the Human Genome. Flight. Nuclear power. The Mechanical Reaper. Air conditioning. The automobile. Plastic. Electricity. Add to those things that are essential to Western, or at least American culture: Representative government. Limited government. The outlawing of slavery. Freedom of speech and the press. Freedom of worship. Individual rights. Private property. Together these things have allowed the West to create nations where more people have enjoyed more prosperity, more freedom, and longer lives than any people in history.

Prosperity, freedom and longevity may not be the best measures of a culture’s greatness, but they are probably pretty close. Of course that doesn’t mean that either the United State or the West are perfect. They are not, not by a long shot. But for all of their failures they are by and large exponentially better places to live than the rest of the world.

It’s thus strange then that many of the beneficiaries of these advanced cultures seek to diminish them and draw an equivalency with other cultures, regardless of the reality. In much of the Muslim world women are 2nd class citizens… at best. Homosexuals are murdered. The freedoms of speech or the press or religion are virtually nonexistent. Most of the population lives in poverty, or not far above it. And of course there is the near constant threat of terrorism or war, as more than half of the ongoing conflicts on the planet involve Muslims.

Then there is Mexico and Latin America where the economies are in constant turmoil, where corruption is a way of life, where governments know few if any limits and where drug cartels reign supreme via bribes and brutality.

None of those things create a foundation for prosperity or freedom or longevity. But somehow not only are Americans and Westerners supposed to respect these dystopian cultures as equals, at the same time we are supposed to welcome the masses escaping them into our communities. It would be one thing if the vast majority of these “migrants” were seeking to assimilate into their new locales and contribute to their prosperity. They’re not. In Europe Muslims are seeking to apply “sharia law” in enclaves across the continent - UK - France and trying to bend the locals to their mores... including outlawing Octoberfest in Germany!.  Ninety percent of Middle Eastern “refugees” are on food stamps and “Asian” rape gangs proliferate, seemingly without fear. In the United States illegal immigrants receive government assistance at twice the rate of the native population while in some places they are responsible for over 1/3 of the murders and other violent crimes.

Unfortunately, the subject of culture is no longer simply an academic question to be discussed in Social Studies class. Today the question implies real world consequences such as poverty and death. While Muslim or African or Hispanic cultures may have positive aspects about them, and may have been great at one time long ago in history, today they are largely dysfunctional and often abject failures where the citizenry suffer great calamity both economic and physical.

Liberals in the west would have us eliminate all borders and welcome in anyone who might want to escape their failed states as we are assured that “diversity” is the key to the West thriving. As usual, they are wrong. The Judeo Christian foundations of the West, the march of limited government begun with the Magna Carta, the individual freedoms hammered out in the US Constitution are all elements of a culture that has laid the foundation for the success the West currently enjoys. While adding various elements of far less successful cultures may make liberal elites swoon, it doesn’t do much for the society as a whole, and in terms of jobs, education and quality of life it usually has a decidedly negative impact on those at the bottom of the economic spectrum… but not so much for the elites behind their walled gardens.

As this is America and liberals see racism and hate around every corner, I'll state that this is not some clarion call for a whitebread America or West. On the contrary. It matters not whether someone's hue is that of milk or oil. It’s the culture that matters, not the skin. Charles Napier, the British Army's Commander-in-Chief in India in the 19th century understood this. When confronted by Hindu priests angry at the Brits prohibiting Sati – the custom of burning a widow alive on the funeral pyre of her husband – he said this:
"Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs."
Can anyone imagine a General in Barack Obama's Army saying something similar and keeping his job?

Customs matter. Culture matters. The natural state of man is one of poverty, scarcity and conflict. The West has greatly succeeded in diminishing all three. Western culture is indeed imperfect and leaves much room for improvement, but there’s a difference between introspection and cultural suicide. Western elites don’t seem to know the difference. Maybe they should be forced to endure life in some of those failed states before they are allowed to diversify our culture out of existence.