Sunday, May 31, 2015

Do Black Lives Matter? No, Apparently, Not Unless They're Good For The Race Pimp Business.

For the last two years the phrase “Black Lives Matter” has been a rallying cry for those who suggest black lives don’t in fact matter to whites or to the police. In seeking to make sure that no one misses the point, across the nation citizens just trying to go through their everyday lives have been subjected to restaurant sit ins, manufactured traffic jams and various other protests. As annoying as those activities are, the movement has become entwined with a more sinister trend, delegitimization of police.

From Barack Obama’s “The police acted stupidly” to Bill de Blasio’s suggestion that the NYPD’s “stop and frisk” program was racist to Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby’s invoking the thug mantra “No Justice, No Peace” as she indicted six police officers for the death of Freddy Gray, black Americans have been endlessly warned that the police are the enemy. They have been told that the police are racist and that the criminal justice system will provide them with no justice at all.

The consequences of this indictment of the police and the criminal justice system are exactly what you would expect. Police have been targeted, literally and lethally, across the country. From getting shot while sitting in their patrol cars, to getting attacked with axes as they stand on the street, to being swarmed as they try and make arrests, police today have targets on their backs like never before. Such is the obvious outcome from government officials and race pimps telling blacks that the police are the enemy.

That, however, is not the only outcome that was predictable as the false narrative behind the Black Lives Matter movement took hold. There is another, even more sinister tragedy that gives lie to the words themselves: skyrocketing crime and the flowing of black blood in the streets in places like Ferguson, New York and Baltimore. And, most of that blood is shed neither at the hands of whites or the police, but usually at the hands of other blacks.

As police have their authority and legitimacy challenged, the citizens of the neighborhoods they police have become targets and victims. Murder rates have jumped in NYC under de Blasio as police feel neutered. In Baltimore, as police have become fearful of doing their jobs, black citizens are paying the price as shootings and murders skyrocket and anarchy reigns.

Conservatives don’t typically suggest that every cop is a Boy Scout. The killings of Walter Scott and Akai Gurley are certainly troubling and rightly raise flags. And there are still many questions that remain about the circumstances of Freddie Gray’s death. But, thankfully, those deaths are news because they are so rare. Of the tens of millions interactions police have with black Americans each year, only a tiny fraction of them result in wrongful bloodshed or inappropriate behavior. Indeed, most of those interactions are with blacks who have been victims of crime or who are citizens seeking help from police.

But when police become the enemy, they cease to be able to provide the basic service they are intended for… fighting crime and preserving the peace. As crime victims are disproportionately black, when police become less effective, blacks disproportionately pay the price. To put that in perspective, following the April riots in Baltimore, where Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake told police to stand down so that rioters could have space to “destroy”, May saw an unprecedented jump in violent crime, with shootings up 72% from the previous year and murders reaching 43, more than any month since August, 1972. And most of those victims were black... and the hands of other blacks… but those lives don’t seem to matter to the liberals and the race pimps who are using the extraordinarily rare deaths of black men at the hands of police to decimate the entire criminal justice system.

While we’re told that “Black Lives Matter” what apparently is really the case is that only some black lives matter… those who give liberals and race pimps a platform upon which to enrich themselves or increase their power. The black lives of men, women and children who die at the hands of black criminals emboldened by the neutering of the police… not so much. And unfortunately, the latter outnumber the former exponentially.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Obama, Mohammed & ICANN - The Biggest Bad Deal No One's Talking About

Thankfully humans are no longer slaves to their environment. We have been able to use our creativity and ingenuity to adapt (some of) the world around us to make our lives longer, less dangerous and in many cases, more enjoyable. Throughout history there have been many inventions or innovations that have changed the world: The printing press. The internal combustion engine. Flight. The wheel. Plastic. Penicillin. Computers. Nuclear power. And much more.

Of all of the inventions of man however, the Internet has changed the world more, and more quickly, than any invention or innovation in human history. In what comes down to basically a quarter century – although it’s roots were laid in the late ‘60’s – what most people think of as the Internet, has changed practically every aspect of civilization. It has created a worldwide library people have easy access to from Manhattan island to an island is the south Pacific and most places in between. It has given a voice to the oppressed across the planet. It has changed the way we shop. It has changed the way they play. It has brought everything from scientific study to pornography to investing to our fingertips with the click of a button. It’s even changing the way people date and get married!

It’s no surprise that the roots of the Internet and most – although not all – of its innovations and superheroes have been American. At its root the Internet is about the sharing of information and ideas, and the United States has a stronger foundation for free speech and the free exchange of ideas than any nation in history. That fundamental freedom of speech, protected by the 1st Amendment, has fully taken root in the Internet and the result has been (mostly) spectacular.

It’s because the Internet has been such a revolutionary force for (again, mostly) good that the latest example of Barack Obama‘s hostility towards American Exceptionalism is so despicable. Although the Internet is truly international, since its beginning at its very foundation has sat an American guiding hand, seeking to ensure its basic functionality, smooth operations and widespread access. Barack Obama doesn’t like that. He doesn’t’ believe there should be an American guiding hand. Last year, his Department of Commerce announced that it was planning on relinquishing the last bit of control the United States has by transferring the power to assign domain names to an international body.

That might not sound like much… but it’s a BIG deal. Right now, the United States is the only country on the planet who can decide who is allowed to have a domain and who can’t. While Barack Obama and most of Washington regularly demonstrate exactly how incompetent our government can be, on the domain front they have been rock solid in support of free speech. Today I can register a domain criticizing Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Mark Zuckerberg, Iran or anyone else and not worry about the ability to say what I want… even if no one else was listening. Under Barack Obama’s plan that would no longer be true.

Today domains are managed by an international organization called ICANN, via a contract from the Department of Commerce.  That plan is to have ICANN accountable to some international organization, very possibly the United Nations. Yes, the very same body that put Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Russia on the Human Rights Council. That should work out well from anyone who wants to create a website promoting Falun Gong or exposing the Global Warming hoax, supporting Israel, or criticizing a rich and influential neighbor. Of course it might end up being some other "international" or "multistakeholder" organization that's even less accountable than the UN...  An OPEC for the Internet if you will. At least on the UN the US has a permanent seat on the Security Council!

Although Congress stepped in in December and stripped the Department of Commerce of the power to spend resources on transferring control when the ICANN contract is up in September, Barack Obama seems undeterred.  Last month Department of State Ambassador Daniel Seplveda told a Brussels press conference that he hoped that if the transfer was not completed by September, “significant progress would have been made”.

Once again Barack Obama wants what he wants, regardless of what the Constitution says. As we all know from his immigration power grab and his Obamacare waivers, the law is little barrier to Barack Obama's action.  This time however his disdain for the idea of American Exceptionalism is going to harm not only Americans, but anyone around the world who has looked to the Internet as a forum for free speech and the free exchange of ideas.   When censorship and crony capitalism replace free speech and free markets as descriptors of the Internet, we'll know how that happened.  When Beijing and Moscow get to decide what you can and can't say on the Internet, we'll no doubt look back longingly to the relative Wild West Internet of the early 21st century. When your ISP shuts off your service as they enforce a "multistakeholder" ban on Mohammed cartoons, we'll know exactly who's responsible.  Thank you Mr. President.

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Simple Infographic to Understand the Choice in 2016... More Barack Obama or a Return to Reagan

One of the most difficult games to play in politics is the notion of what might have been… How might things have been different had JFK not been shot? How might have things have been different had Al Gore won in 2000? How might things have been different had Mitt Romney or John McCain not run inept campaigns against Barack Obama?

We’ll never know what the outcomes might have been because there really is no way to objectively measure that when it comes to policy. Would JFK have scaled up Vietnam the way LBJ did or, if he did, would the Camelot mystique have protected him from the vilification that LBJ endured? Had Al Gore been in office on September 11th would we have invaded Iraq as he was on record believing Saddam had WMDs? We can speculate, but we can’t know.

We can however play the game that compares real data between presidents. And now might be a good time for that given we’ve got a presidential election coming.  On the one side are candidates seeking to maintain and further the liberal "successes" of Barack Obama, while on the other are a plethora of candidates seeking to harness the spirit of Ronald Reagan, inspired by his less is more approach to government.

And of course the press provides little actionable information when it comes to whose policies really were / are superior.  Witness their crowing about the unemployment rate hitting a seven year low without explaining (or understanding for that matter) the cause, which is certainly not a strong economy, but rather because people are exiting the workforce at a rate not seen since the 1970's.

Given that, I've created a simple infographic that just might help. (Click here for a larger image and here to download a high res version)  It looks eight measures that shed light on whether a future that furthers the ideas of Obama or Reagan might a better choice.  Unlike notions of what might have been, it compares actual outcomes on those eight measures during the first six years of each administration.  From inflation to the LFPR to food stamps, hopefully this handy infographic will help make the decision as to who to pull the lever for in 2016 just a little bit easier.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The War on Poverty - $40 Trillion Funding Failure Rather than Facebook or FUBU or Ford

Last year the United States celebrated the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty begun by LBJ in 1964. Over that time the country has spent approximately $40 trillion on welfare and redistribution programs of one sort or another – and that number doesn’t include expenditures for Social Security or Medicare. The program started out slow, but has steadily picked up steam so that today the United States spends over a trillion dollars on welfare programs every year. To put that $1 trillion in perspective, that is more than the GDP of every country on the planet except for the 15 largest. It’s bigger than the GDP of Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Turkey, the Netherlands and around 175 others.

That’s a lot of money, but it must be worth it as the War on Poverty must have been a success… right? Not so much. Today poverty in the United States stands at approximately 15% of the population. Fifteen percent sounds relatively low, except when compared to the 18% rate it was $40 trillion dollars ago. After $40 trillion dollars and 50 years, the War on Poverty has reduced poverty by a staggering 3 percentage points!  What's worse, the War on Poverty actually stopped the progress that was already occurring:  During the 15 years prior to the beginning of the War on Poverty, the poverty rate in the United States had dropped from 30% to 15%!

Indeed, the single biggest accomplishment of the War on Poverty seems to have been the proliferation of single parent households… i.e. children born out of wedlock. In 1964 the percentage of American children born to unwed mothers was approximately 4%... so out of every 20 babies born, only 1 was born to an unwed mother. Today 8 out of every 20 babies born in the United States is born to an unwed mother. And according to studies by HHS and others, that’s largely because the welfare state has made such as choice feasible: Holding constant a wide range of variables, including income, education, and urban vs. suburban setting, the study found that a 50 percent increase in the value of AFDC and foodstamp payments led to a 43 percent increase in the number of out-of-wedlock births.

And the proliferation of unwed motherhood has resulted in a dramatic increase in crime, violent crime in particular. According to the Atlantic Magazine: “The relationship [between single-parent families and crime] is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime. This conclusion shows up time and again in the literature.” In 1965 there were 20 violent crimes for every 1000 Americans. By 2013 that number was 37. That doubling might not sound bad, until you realize that the incarceration rate in the US tripled over that same period, which means that as a percentage of the population there are three times as many Americans incarcerated today as there were when the War on Poverty began, but with many more criminals locked up the violent crime rate has still doubled.

So almost $1 trillion a year of welfare spending for half a century has basically made a small decrease in the poverty rate, pushed unwed motherhood through the stratosphere and dramatically increased the violent crime rate and prison population in the country. That sounds like a typical government success story.

Now let’s compare that to what a trillion dollars in one year might look like were in the private sector. Below are fifteen companies whose combined North American revenue was $1 trillion last year: Amazon, Apple, Coke, Disney, ExxonMobil, Facebook, Ford, General Electric, Google, J&J, JP Morgan, McDonalds, Microsoft, Nike, Walmart. So these companies with a combined $1 billion in revenue, what have they accomplished? Simply put, they have changed the world. Walmart has almost single handedly changed American retailing and driven inflation down everyone. Amazon redefined retail even further. Microsoft and Apple essentially created the computer revolution. McDonalds feeds the entire US population once a month. Facebook has connected a billion people around the world. Disney has entertained generations, ExxonMobil has fueled their journeys and Ford has built their cars and trucks.

Not only do these companies employ millions of people directly, but indirectly via their suppliers they drive the employment of tens of millions of others. So with a trillion dollars in revenue – money that was willingly exchanged for products and services – these companies have directly or indirectly generated an income for tens of millions of Americans who in turn support millions more family members. And they accomplished all of that while providing material benefits to the country as a whole.

One has to wonder what might have become of poverty had the $40 trillion the government siphoned out of the pockets of hard working Americans over the last half century had been left in their pockets. How many more of those children born to a single mother might have been born into a two parent household, gotten an education and gone on to start the next Disney or FUBU or UBER? How many more Spanx or Harpo Productions or Mary Kay Cosmetics were never founded because single mothers were sitting at home waiting for a welfare check rather than coming up with some revolutionary entrepreneurial moonshot? How many Under Armours or Facebooks or Chipotles never got founded because children grew up in poverty with no positive male role models around to help guide them? How much poverty would have been eliminated had each year’s trillion dollars gone into financing new startups rather than creating a dependency ecosystem?

At the end of the day the War on Poverty has been nothing short of a disaster. Not only has it sucked $40 trillion out of the hands of American workers and entrepreneurs, but it has also created an environment where tragic of circumstances have become the norm for tens of millions of Americans. More crime, more broken families and more broken dreams are the outcome of a half century of government failure. The tragedy is that this abject failure took place during one of the most economically dynamic periods in American history, and as a result of another failed government policy tens of millions of Americans found themselves stuck in the quicksand of government dependency and never had much of a shot at pursuing the American dream and seeing what potential greatness they might have brought to the world.