Thursday, November 18, 2021

The Kyle Rittenhouse Trial is More Than Just a Trial. It’s a National Rorschach Test...

The Kyle Rittenhouse trial is more than just a trial.  It’s a Rorschach test with only two possible answers. 

The basic facts of the case are widely accepted by everyone, that Kyle Rittenhouse shot three people on the night of August 25, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin amid a violent uprising that had been going on for days. 

Beyond that there’s pretty much nothing that’s agreed upon.  America is of two minds.  On one side are the people who believe that Rittenhouse is innocent and acted in self defense.  On the other are people who think that Rittenhouse is guilty of murder.

The schism itself has little to do with Kyle Rittenhouse, at least directly.  Instead it has virtually everything to do with how people look at America writ large.  Most of those who want to see Rittenhouse convicted were supportive of the riots and violence that erupted across the country last year.  It’s largely the people on the left, the people who find racism everywhere they look, find injustice and inequality everywhere they look, the people who basically hate America and freedom who want Rittenhouse locked away and the key thrown away.

On the other side are Americans who were horrified by what they saw 18 months ago, and not just the destruction that played out on their television screens night after night.  No, what was even more disturbing was that in many locales the police (usually neutered by politicians) were simply allowing it to happen.  These are the Americans who generally support the police and abhor the tyranny of the mob. At the same time they understand the concepts of private property and the rule of law, both of which are fundamental to our Republic. 

So once the verdict is handed down, the perspective that many Americans have on it will not be based on the facts presented in the courtroom, but rather their perspective on America.  And that’s problematic.  Why?  Because of the fact that we have in the United States a media that is fully ensconced in the anti-America camp, and to the degree that so many Americans look to it as they formulate their opinions on America, that doesn’t bode well for the Republic.  A century ago Mark Twain popularized the phrase “"Lies, damned lies, and statistics" which referred to the notion that people’s lack of understanding of statistics could be used to reinforce weak arguments.  Today a more appropriate construction might be “Lies, damned lies and the media”. 

Much of what went on in the streets of the country 18 months ago was driven by the media.  Much as they did with Vietnam, the media manipulated coverage, outright fabricated stories and covered up the reality of what was going on in the streets in order to destroy Donald Trump and further their hard left objectives. 

2020 was something of a perfect storm of opportunity and the cabal on the left spun it into fascist gold.  Today in America we’re living the lives George Orwell warned us about.  Reality and rationality simply don’t matter.

Every single person with a functioning brain understands that society cannot work if people are allowed to go into a store and simply walk out with anything they want, never bothering to stop and pay for said goods.  They understand that a nation cannot survive without a functioning system of law and order. They understand that a society cannot survive if anyone from anywhere can simply walk across its borders and not only stay, but be supported by the state.   They understand that mobs and mob rule never, ever, make life better for citizens and only result in chaos, brutality, subjugation and even death.

Those are fundamental truths that apply in any society anywhere on the planet.  Despite that, there is a significant element of the American population who are immune to such truths.  How does such lunacy take hold?

It takes hold when the elite, the opinion makers, those in the news, entertainment and the hierarchy of the bureaucracy are simply deluded.  The perfect example of that is the European loving elite who want to transform the United States into Europe.  They visit Paris and London and stay in 4 star hotels and eat at Michelin rated restaurants and think that’s real European life.  They come back to the United States and use the New York Times, CNBC and Hollywood to tell Americans that’s what we should strive for.  The reality is they’ve mistaken their weeklong vacation in Rome for the experience for what most Europeans actually live.  It’s not. Not even close.  And the truth is, they have an equally unreal understanding of what life is like for most Americans, particularly those in the working class, those without college degrees, those who don’t live in the bucolic environs of McLean, Virginia, the Hollywood Hills or the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The elite, the opinion makers in this country, with their journalism degrees from Columbia, their esoteric internships at blue chip foundations or their jobs in the bureaucratic swamp have little in common with the average American… But none of that stops them from giving America lessons and using their positions of influence to frame the news and influence policy.

These elites promote a fictional nirvana above the reality of life.  They tell minorities they’re victims of white racism and oppression, the poor they’re victims of heartless rich Republicans – despite the fact that most of the rich in America are Democrats – and they tell women they’re victims of male dominance.  The result is a segmented society where reality is sacrificed at the altar of victimhood. 

What’s important is no longer how well a school’s student body performs on academic tests, but rather the racial makeup of its student body or its teachers.  Skin pigment and gender identity trump military readiness and the ability to defeat an enemy on the battlefield.  Boardroom diversity trumps a company’s need to serve its customers and profit its shareholders. The greenness of its energy generation supplants an power company’s need and ability to deliver sufficient and reliable energy to customers. 

In the real world woke priorities simply don’t matter, but the elite have not only convinced half of the population they do, they’ve convinced them they’re the only things that do.  They have convinced half of America to view the world through a woke prism, with race being first among equals. 

And that’s where we are with the Kyle Rittenhouse case.  Half the country understands the basic premise of individual liberty, private property and most of all, the right to life and the right to protect it.  The other half feels like your life, your property and your freedom are not really yours, but theirs, to do with what they choose.  That’s how we get to the point where three white thugs causing mayhem and threatening to kill a white kid protecting private property end up getting shot and killed (two of them) by that same white kid, and the entire episode becomes a national Rorschach test on race. 

Monday, November 15, 2021

Just Because the Stormtroopers Aren't Kicking Down Your Door (yet) Doesn't Mean You're Free

Unconstitutional vax mandates have given Americans a glimpse into the control the government has – or thinks they have over our lives.  But have idea how much the government is involved with their everyday lives.  Most of us get up, go to work and come home without the government ostensibly telling us when to do this or what we have to feed our kids for dinner or when we have to go to bed.  We think we’re free, but we’re not.  Just because storm troopers aren’t standing in every doorway of your house doesn’t mean the government’s not there… they are, in a million different ways, invisible by design, and often the storm troopers are implied.

Not sure?  Let’s take a journey of a day in the life of a typical American.

You wake up at 5:00.  You’re literally laying on the embodiment of one of the most famous government rules, your mattress.  The government footprint is found on the tag that famously says:  “This tag may not be removed under penalty of law except by the consumer.”

You have a headache and go to the medicine cabinet.  There you’ll find the fruit of one of the most regulated industries in the economy, medicines.  Have you ever wondered why when you pick up a prescription you get a mini newspaper of information?  Have you ever wondered why it takes boxes the size of sandwiches to hold medicines the size of thimbles?  It’s because of the information manufacturers have to print on the boxes or on the tiny books inside the boxes telling you about every single thing that might ever happen as it relates to that medicine, no matter how rare or unlikely.  Of course in order to get an encyclopedia’s worth of information there they print so small that no one could read it, even if they wanted to.  And to that they add more online.  This is of course all driven primarily by government regulation and secondarily by manufacturers seeking to insulate themselves from lawsuits…

Now you head down to the kitchen to grab some breakfast. You open the refrigerator, which still has one of those mandated yellow stickers telling you how much energy it uses, and grab your pasteurized milk because unpasteurized milk is illegal in half the states and heavily regulated in most. Then you grab a box of cereal and read the required “Nutritional information” on the side of the box because your paper hasn’t arrived yet.

After breakfast you head back upstairs to the bathroom and you use the toilet that you have to flush twice because federal regulations limit how much water each flush can use and then jump into the shower and feel like you’re in a Seinfeld episode because the manufacturer wanted their showheads to have the EPA’s “WaterSense” designation.  From there you use toothpaste, antiperspirant and hair gel, all of which have differing levels of government regulation. 

Now you get dressed.  Unless you’re wearing a your birthday suit to work, virtually every single piece of clothing you put on will be regulated in one or more of a spectrum of ways, from labeling, sourcing, content and of course advertising. 

Dressed to kill and ready to take on the world you emerge from the morning’s regulatory morass into one of the most regulated parts of our everyday life:  cars.  Of course everyone knows about CAFÉ standards which regulate the MPG a manufacturer’s fleet much attain, but there’s so much more, covering virtually every single piece of the thousands of pieces that go into every car; wire harnesses, windshield wipers, head lights, seat belts, air bags, brakes, brake lights, door locks, trunk escape handles, plus things like pollution emissions, door strength, union regulations, nation of origin labeling, steel trade policy, and more.  And that’s before you even get on the road.  Once on the road most laws are state and local, although one of the few good things Jimmy Carter ever did – although of dubious constitutionality – was to make Right Turn on Red the default rule from sea to shining sea. There are laws about child seats, tinted windows, fog lights, not to mention the countless laws about virtually every aspect of actually operating a vehicle itself, starting with getting and maintaining a license and insurance.

Indeed, auto manufacturing may be one of the most regulated industries on the planet, but it’s far from alone. “The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has found that the industrial sector faces a staggering 297,696 restrictions on their operations from federal regulations.”

Now that you’ve safely transversed the route between home and office you enter a quagmire of regulations that extend from the building to virtually everything that goes on within.  There are of course building codes that cover literally every single thing that goes into a building from plumbing to electricity to the kinds of lights that can or must be used, how much ventilation there must be, fire exit signs, number and type of fire extinguishers, the number and size of bathrooms, numbers or sizes of windows, what paint can be used, handicap access, how many parking spots and how many must be reserved for handicap parking, and more.

The actual operating of the business offers more regulations… Minimum wage laws, hiring regulations, overtime laws, union regulations, maternity laws, a phalanx of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) rules and regulations, not to mention the mishmash of training requirements each state has.  Everyone knows it takes years to get the education necessary to become a licensed Doctor, Lawyer, Veterinarian, Accountant, Stock Broker, etc.  But those white collar jobs are far from the only ones that require licensing.  In Georgia in order to work as a hair “stylist”, one needs training, and lots of it:   

Required Hours:
Barber: 1500 Barber School Hours
Cosmetology: 1500 Cosmetology School Hours
Esthetician: 1000 Esthetician School Hours
Nail Technician: 525 Nail School Hours

And Georgia is far from alone.  39 states require licensing to become a Massage Therapist, 33 to work as an auctioneer, 26 a taxidermist, 13 a bartender, 8 a travel agent and 1 a florist.  Of course, it’s not just the license.  Most of those license requirements come with training, very often expensive training.

So once everyone is at work and licensed, it’s time to actually… work.  Regardless of what business you’re in, from selling cheeseburgers, financial planning or pouring concrete to running a gym, burying the dead or selling advertising, there’s likely a phalanx of regulations that constrain your operations, from general workplace regulations to industry specific mandates, all of which must be addressed in order to begin or continue operations.

Finally, after eight or ten hours trying to navigate the labyrinth of regulations while actually trying to do your job, you knock off for the day and the process reverses itself until you brush your teeth with the government regulated toothpaste, turn off the nightlight with its government mandated light bulb and snuggle up with your wife in your government approved bed for what might be the only thing left unregulated in America.

Just because you don’t see the stormtroopers at your door doesn’t mean they aren’t there. They are. They’re just disguised as benevolent bureaucrats and politicians who are just trying to make your life better.  Think about that the next time you hear someone say “the government should do something about this”.  They already are, and each time they do they take a bit more of your freedom with them, regardless of how trivial it might seem at the time.  Freedom, like the Grand Canyon, is not carved away in an instant, it’s carved away grain by grain and inch by inch, so slowly that one never notices, until one day you open your eyes and there’s a giant canyon where American liberty used to stand.  The difference is, that which went missing in the desert created a majesty that is the Grand Canyon while that which has gone missing from your Constitutional freedoms created a wasteland of coercion, corruption and complacency that is rapidly turning what was once the greatest nation on earth into a dystopian third world cesspool.  

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Do Black Lives Really Matter? It Depends on Who You Ask...

Do black lives really matter? Apparently it depends on who you're asking. In what seems counter intuitive in 2021, the answer from conservatives is generally yes, in that they believe all lives matter, regardless of color.  They will tell you that society and government should strive to be colorblind and that someone should never get less or more based on the color of their skin. The goal is to get government out of the way and let all citizens pursue freedom and opportunity equally, regardless of color.

For liberals however, the answer is quite different.  They say “Yes! Black Lives Matter!” But like the man who kisses his wife goodbye and tells her he loves her before he flies off to Miami for a “business meeting” that’s really just a premise for a romp with his mistress, it’s a lie. And it’s not even close.  Liberals don’t care about black Americans – other than their votes.  Three issues demonstrate it clearly.

First:  Murders.  The “Defund the Police” movement took center stage last summer.  The claim is essentially that police are killing innocent black men across the country, that white cops are hunting down black men and killing them. That is of course a fiction.  It’s not an exaggeration, it’s not hyperbole.  It’s fiction created out of whole cloth.  In 2019, there were a total of 1,089 people killed by police in America, 877 of which race was known. Of that 877 number 259, or 29% were black, 9 of whom were unarmed – although unarmed is not synonymous with innocent.  Given that blacks make up 12% of the population that 29% seems disproportionate.  At the same time however, given that black men make up 6% of the American population but are responsible for approximately 55% of all murders, the 29% of those killed by police doesn’t seem so disproportionate after all. 

But facts be damned!  So Black Lives Matter, Democrats and Antifa got together and pushed the Defund the Police movement.  Across the country police forces faced budget cuts, manpower shortages and the Ferguson Effect where officers subtly pull back from enforcement activities because they’re worried about being scapegoated by administrations that don’t have their backs.

The result of this insanity?  Crime is up around the country and, surprise, more dead black people… How many?  A lot.  Murders increased by 25% in the United States in 2020, more than double the increase in any year since at least 1960.  The total was 20,480, an increase of 4,056 over 2019, and given that blacks generally make up approximately 60% of murder victims, the leftist attack on American policing cost the lives of 2,474 black Americans.  That’s 2,474 funerals, families devastated and opportunities lost.  Those 2,474 black lives didn’t seem to matter.

On October 1st the New York Post ran a piece about the 21 children who have been murdered this year, triple the number from both 2019 and 2020.  The cover image was heartbreaking… but one notices that of the 18 faces shown, at least 17 of them are black.  Apparently those black lives don’t matter. 

Nor for that matter do the average citizens of urban communities who for years decried the lack of services in their neighborhoods.  Given the rampant crime in cities across the country, hundreds of thousands of small businesses who serve those communities have closed and large businesses are following suit.  In San Francisco the shoplifting has become so rampant that Walgreens has just announced it’s closing 5 more stores, which comes on the heels of 17 already closed due to shoplifting.  That will no doubt make life easier for the elderly black Americans who need to get their medicines or citizens looking for snacks or Band Aids or Halloween candy.  Their black lives don't seem to matter.

Second:  Schools:

Education is one of the most important elements of the lives of Americans.  School is often where young people learn to socialize, follow directions, work hard, pay attention and maybe be part of a team.  Of course all of that is secondary to the primary object of schools, which is teaching math, reading, writing, science and history.  On all of that, public schools in America are failing black students miserably.

Here’s proof.  Below are the 2019 scores in math and reading for black 8th grade students in eleven of the largest school districts.

Black 8th grade students proficient in:






















Los Angeles






New York






Washington, DC



(Scroll to bottom of page and select the city then 8th grade)

What are these numbers?  They are the number of black 8th grade students who are PROFICIENT or above in math and reading.  The average rate of achievement of proficient or above is 10% for math and 12% for reading.  That means that literally 90% of the black 8th graders fail math and 88% fail reading. 

This is a staggering level of failure on the part of schools.  Education is one of the most fundamental elements in equipping a young person for success in life and the public schools across the country are failing black students, criminally.  And just to be clear, it doesn’t have to be that way.  Watch Stand and Deliver or Lean on Me – both based on true stories – to see that it doesn’t have to be that way.  Or read about the Harlem Success Academy in New York or the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta.  Sadly, in most of America’s school systems young black lives don’t seem to matter. 

Third:  Open Borders

Employment is the single biggest driver of prosperity and financial success. Many, if not most Americans start out working at entry level jobs, often making minimum wage or somewhere close to it.  From there generally, as they gain work experience, confidence and skills, most people advance to different jobs or get promoted in ways that see their incomes increase. 

To the degree that many of the ill educated black students America's government schools are producing can get jobs, those jobs are likely to be entry level jobs.  But for decades the opportunities for those entry level jobs has been undermined by unfettered illegal immigration.  The result is that many of those entry level jobs are filled by illegal immigrants rather than by young black Americans.  As such, the opportunities for employment leading to advancement and financial and social success for those unskilled and uneducated black youth are curtailed dramatically.  Without such entry level jobs, the kind one would use to acquire the skills and experience needed to achieve the American dream, their opportunities are largely nonexistent.  Apparently their black lives don’t matter. 

All three of these areas are owned, lock stock and barrel by Democrats.  Democrats are the ones who want to defund the police.  Democrats control the teachers’ unions and almost every major city in the country where the schools are so bad.  Democrats are the ones who want open borders and refuse to enforce immigration laws.

There are other things as well, like Democrat social programs responsible for the dissolution of the black family and keeping generations of families on government handouts, but these three alone are enough to demonstrate that indeed, black lives don’t matter, at least not to Democrats. 

They want black votes and they use black faces and black stories to increase budgets, grow their bureaucratic ranks and strengthen their regulatory power, but they don’t actually care about black men and women and children.  And that’s the irony here. The worse conditions get for black Americans, the more black Americans vote for Democrats, the very party that played such a central role in the destruction of the black American family in the first place.  It reminds one of the ironic saying: “The beatings will continue until morale improves”.   

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

How Did Weak Men Become Strong Enough To Topple The Most Powerful Nation In History?

Donald Trump failed at business… a lot. USFL, Tour de Trump, Trump Resorts, Trump Airlines, Trump University, ect. Leftists love to point that out. But that’s not the whole story. Trump had great successes as well. Not only has he developed world class properties around the globe, but he was also the producer and star of one of the most popular television shows on TV for a more than a decade. Most tellingly of all was his renovation of the Wolman Ice Rink. New York had spent $13 million and six years trying to renovate the Central Park icon when in 1986 they admitted they’d failed and had to start from scratch. Trump offered to do the job in six months and under the $3 million budget. Reluctantly the city gave him the contract and he finished in 4 months at a cost of $2.25 million. In just four months Donald Trump demonstrated exactly how dysfunctional government is!

But it’s his failures that provide the life lesson that leftists never get: Whether in business, love or most things non-government related, failure is the sign that someone was willing to risk the consequences that come with it in order to actually try and accomplish something. I say non-government related because government is one of the few aspects of life where failure is the rule rather than the exception, and rarely does it result in soul searching.

Proof abounds! From a failed fifty year War on Poverty to the abject failure of government schools, to twenty year wars that end exactly where they started, government continues to grow and accumulate more power year after year, regardless of the demonstrable and perpetual lack of success.

But government is not the nation. Government is not the people. Government is supposed to be a mechanism by which citizens protect individual rights and defend the nation. But that’s not what it is today. Today it’s everywhere, all the time. There is nothing in our lives that is more ubiquitous than government regulation.

Leonard Read wrote an essay called I Pencil that looked at the countless elements and activities necessary to make #2 pencil. The whole point of the piece, written in 1958 in the midst of the Cold War, was to demonstrate the complexity of what goes into making a simple pencil, and how society benefits from freeing up markets to provide all of the necessary inputs and how it’s unlikely government control could accomplish that task. It’s extraordinary, and it’s just a simple pencil!

Now exponentially expand the complexity of that process from a pencil to our modern society and you understand what the challenge is. On the one hand, you look at the iPhone or Google or Tesla and you might conclude we’re doing pretty well with government regulating as much as it does… but in reality, that’s a mirage. While a Tesla may be a step up from a 55 Ford, it’s still just a car. While carrying your iPhone in your hand is a leap from being tethered to a wall phone, it’s still just a mobile phone and a personal computer, both invented in the early 70’s, years after the beginnings of the Internet.  

Over the last 50 years things have gotten smaller, faster and portable, but we haven’t cured cancer, we don’t have teleportation, time travel – as far as we know, and haven’t been back to the moon or beyond. We have lots of apps and services, but not much truly revolutionary.

Compare that to the 50 years from 1850 to 1900 when Americans invented such revolutionary things as the light bulb, the safety elevator, the telephone, the phonograph, the vacuum cleaner and the dishwasher. Or between 1900 & 1950 when they invented air conditioning, plastic, vulcanized rubber, television, talking movies, the photocopier and the transistor. Not to mention the airplane, helicopters, and nuclear power.

While technology is most certainly unleashing heretofore impossible advances in research, medicine and data analysis, (MRI machine, sequence of the human genome…) the relative lack of tangible revolutionary advances is extraordinary. And why is that? Are we at the end of science? Have we accomplished everything that man can do? Obviously not. It’s almost as if there’s something holding America back...

There is. It’s called regulation. Federal regulation from a seemingly endless array of agencies: IRS, EPA, OSHA, DOE, DOT, etc. The Competitive Enterprise Institute estimates that federal regulation alone costs the US almost $2 trillion per year in lost productivity. That’s essentially 10% of our GDP, annually!

Over the 50 years between 1921 and 1970 the American GDP grew at an average annual rate of 4.02%, while between 1971 to 2020 it grew at an annual rate of 2.73%, dropping down to 1.77% for the last 20 years. The result of that slowdown has been staggering. In 2020, after growing at a rate of 2.73% a year for 50 years the American GDP was approximately $21 trillion. Had it instead grown at the same rate it had the previous 50 years, the 2020 GDP would have been almost twice as high, $39 trillion. Imagine the R&D a whole additional US GDP could fund! $18 trillion, or put another way, every American household would have had another $50,000 to spend annually.

But they don’t. And it’s directly related to regulation. The Code of Federal Regulations contains every law and rule of the federal government. In 1938 it was 18,193 pages. After dropping down to 9,745 pages in 1950 it shot up to 56,720 pages in 1972 and by 2019 it stood at 185,984 pages.

On every one of those pages are rules that govern American’s lives. From what goes into their food to the employment conditions of every person who manufactured or transported or sold every single product they buy. From reporting rules for companies to bank deposit info to what's printed on the side of a can of corn or a box of cereal. Then there’s who you can or must rent your home to, how much energy your computer monitor uses, what you pay for gas and now what you have to put into your body.

That is the world the swamp dwellers have built, the one Donald Trump fearlessly leapt into a cauldron of fire to fight. Sadly, far too many Americans are either part of that system or comfortable with the illusion of security it provides. This exemplifies a line by G. Michael Hopf: “Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times.” Those who oppose Donald Trump’s attempt to save America from itself are those “weak” men. Like the European nations who grew soft under the security umbrella provided by the United States, those “weak” men flourished and took over media, academia, Wall Street and high tech while working America was focused on building on the promise of opportunity. Weak men’s control of culture has undermined the nation that allowed them to flourish in the first place, but as Joe Biden delivers the omnipresent government they desire, reality will shatter the illusions of security they hid behind while strong men’s failures and successes were building Pax Americana.

Monday, October 4, 2021

The Government is NOT Your Friend, Regardless of What They Tell You...

 Ronald Reagan once said:  "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the Government, and I'm here to help." He was right, the government’s not your friend and it most certainly isn’t here to help you. 

The dirty little secret about government is that its purpose is not really to make the lives of citizens better, but rather, to accumulate power at the expense of citizens.  Not sure about that? Ask yourself, how many government agencies have put themselves out of a job because they succeeded? There’re a few who technology left behind, like the Steamboat Inspection Service, others that served their purpose like the Defense Homes Corporation, while others were merged into other agencies like the General Land Office, subsumed into the Department of Interior.  In our history there have been less than 100 federal agencies that have actually been shuttered, and most of those existed in the early 20th century to deal with the Depression or the two world wars. 

According to the Federal Register there are 457 different agencies of the federal government.  That’s 457 agencies covering virtually every aspect of American’s lives, most of which are staffed by unelected bureaucrats, all of whom spend your money and many of whom write regulations that carry the force of law enforced by the police power of government. This includes everything from the State Department to the Geographic Names Board to the International Broadcasting Board to the ATF.  And that 457 is misleading.  While it includes a dozen organizations tied to Defense, there are dozens more agencies that come under it that are not listed in the Federal Register such as the DoD Education Activity or the Office of Naval Research.  Wikipedia lists a more realistic, but still lacking 1,500.   

The American government has become a leviathan.  It’s everywhere, involved in virtually every aspect of American’s lives, and it’s perpetual, regardless of its record of dismal failure.  Two examples: 

1) The War on Poverty, AKA the Great Society.  Brainchild of LBJ, the Great Society programs were created to address poverty in America.  They included things like food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, Headstart and others. 

When the Great Society programs were passed in 1964 the poverty rate was 15%, dropping to 13.9% the next year. By 1969 the rate was 9.7%. Exactly 50 years later, in 2019 the rate was 8.7%. That means that as a result of fighting the War on Poverty for half a century, after spending over $30 trillion, the poverty rate dropped by a rounding error, by literally 1%! 

Yet somehow the War on Poverty goes on, with more programs, more money, more regulations and of course, more employees.  Indeed, DHHS, which manages many of the programs, has a staff of 80,000 and an annual budget of over $1 trillion.

2) Public education.  American public education is really just a jobs program and revenue generating program for unions. William McGurn over at the WSJ looks at the performance of schools in the largest school districts.  The level of failure is extraordinary.  For example, in 2019 Atlanta public schools spent $17,112 per student and the result of all of that spending was that only 10% of students were proficient in math and 15% in reading.  So for all of that expenditure, fully 90% failed basic math proficiency and 85% reading.  And this dynamic has been going on for decades across the country.  New York City spends $28,004 per student and 75% of them lack proficiency in math and 81% in reading, while Boston spends $25,653 and has similar marks with 88% failing math and 85% reading. 

On average the US spends approximately $14,000 per student in education, (Elem – HS) more than any nation in the world other than Luxemburg. And what do we get for that extraordinary spending?  Not much.  According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2018 American students ranked 15th in the world for reading literacy, 18th in science and 37th in math!  Of all of the things that drive a society to prosperity, particularly in the technologically advanced world we live in today, education is easily one of the most important, and on that score government has failed miserably, spectacularly and perpetually. 

If the actual goal was to educate students, government would give that money to parents in the form of vouchers to kickstart a private / charter school revolution.  Sure, there’d be failures, but it’s hard to imagine how they could fail more spectacularly than the current systems are. But that’s not the goal…

The government spends $30 trillion over half a century and reduces poverty by 1%.  The government spends more on education than virtually every nation on the planet yet 85% of the students in its biggest (and most minority filled) school districts fail basic reading and math, the building blocks for success in our dynamic society.  And we’re supposed to believe government works for us?

American governments spend more money on education and social programs than anything else, more than the GDP of most countries. Yet they fail, year after year, decade after decade, but the funds keep growing, regardless of their catastrophically abysmal track record. And that tells you everything you need to know about the nature of governments. Their goal isn’t to solve problems. They’re not here to make life better for citizens. Their goal is not to protect the lives and liberties of citizens. No, government is the borg. Its raison d'etre is simple: Grow revenue and increase power for themselves and unions. Proof?  Despite the fact that the United States has 3,143 counties in 50 states spread out over 3,796,742 square miles, nine of the twenty richest counties are in a circle less than 100 miles across with Washington DC at its center.  And what is the industry that drives that wealth?  Finance? No. Entertainment?  No.  Steel or autos or high tech?  No. One thing:  Government power.

Accumulating power is the fundamental nature of government, and our Founding Fathers understood that, which is why they gave us the Bill of Rights and particularly the 9th and 10th Amendments. For the first 150 years of our nation those guardrails stood relatively firm, but today they are simply gone.  Sadly, America has become so detached from our Constitution that 90% of what our government does is unconstitutional.

Unlike in economics where the solution to driving prosperity is baking more pies, government is a zero sum game. They win you lose. The more power the government takes, the more influence it exerts, the less freedom citizens have and less control they have over their lives. At some point the expanse of government will spark a civil war between those who remember freedom and value prosperity facing off against those who seek to shelter themselves from cradle to grave under the blanket of government security, support themselves via government benefits that someone else pays for and use the police power of government to control what others think and do. What that civil war will look like is anybody’s guess, but like most civil wars it will not be pretty, and whatever emerges from the ashes will be a shadow of the greatness that once was America.

Monday, September 20, 2021

The Cabal That Cried Wolf and Undermined a Republic

Jussie Smollett, Crystal Magnum and Susan Smith are three names that at various times over the last 25 years have riveted America’s attention.  Smollett is a black man who lied about being attacked by two Trump supporting white racists in 2019.  Magnum is a black woman who lied about being raped by three white Duke Lacrosse players in 2006.  Smith is a white woman who killed her two boys in 1994 and blamed it on a fictional black carjacker.

While race was central to the first and incidental to the last two, as is with much news in America, the media focused on it extensively.  But race was not the issue that makes these three cases so despicable.  What makes them so heinous is that they sought to play upon the sympathies of the American public.  In the end they failed and all three ended up disgraced and Magnum and Smith ended up in jail.    

From Al Sharpton & Tawana Brawley 30 years ago to countless hate crime hoaxes across the country today, the consequence of these hoaxes is that when exposed to enough of them, people become inured to the issue such that when real crimes take place, the victim’s stories are often given little credence or are outright rejected.   

As despicable as these hoaxes are, they are simply individuals seeking to evade responsibility for their actions or attract attention, and largely don’t impact significant numbers of people beyond those targeted or involved. 

What is a much larger problem however is when such hoaxes are perpetrated by government.  And we’ve had a great deal of that.  Manmade environmental hoaxes have evolved from the Coming Ice Age to Acid Rain to Global Warming to Climate Change, with each one being manipulated to scare citizens and implement government policies and programs that never die, despite the fact that posited catastrophes never actually emerge.  Think about the “Peak oil” fears of the 70s and the ethanol programs we’re still stuck with today, despite the extraordinary increases in oil production and reserves.

Democrats have been manipulating Americans fears and goodwill for decades and today we are watching the culmination of that treachery.  It’s called Covid and it’s easily the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people. 

In reality, Covid is nothing more than a really bad case of the common cold.  Bad, certainly, but but basically the common cold nonetheless. From an epidemiology perspective that may not be completely accurate, but from a societal one it most certainly is. 

Like the flu – which kills about 36,000 people annually, Covid is largely transmitted from one person to another via airborne particles.  Over the last 18 months 42 million Americans have gotten Covid and 682,000 Americans have died from it.  The former number is likely much higher – possibly over 100 million – and the latter number is likely much lower, with many of those reported as dying of Covid in reality dying with Covid.  Keep in mind of course that that’s 682,000 people in a country of 350 million, and 95% of the dead had on average 3 or more co-morbidities and the average age was almost 75.

A little more perspective:  Heart disease annually kills 650,000 Americans while cancer kills 600,000.  We spend $350 billion a year on heart disease and $158 billion on cancer.  That works out to be $538,000 spent per person who died of heart disease and $263,000 per person who died of cancer.  Covid is a bit different.  Through March of this year the US spent $13 trillion on Covid and will likely reach $20 trillion by the end of the year.  By the end of the year the death total “from” Covid will likely hit 800,000.  That works out to be approximately $25 million per death.

Now these numbers are not exactly apples to apples in that much of the heart disease and cancer money went to research that would not benefit the people who died, while ostensibly Covid dollars went to ameliorating the virus and its associated impact on the nation.  Then of course there’s the fact that heart disease and cancer aren’t contagious while Covid is. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the survival rate from Covid is 99% or higher for men below 57 and women below 62 while the average 5 year survival rate from cancer is below 50%. 

The point here is simply that while Covid is certainly a cause of concern, it’s nothing close to an existential threat to the nation. But one wouldn’t know that from listening to the Democrats, traditional media, big tech and the healthcare industry.  For purely political and control purposes, they have conspired against the American people to hide facts about potential treatments, lied at almost every turn and sought to harness the police power of government to control virtually every aspect of American life over the last 18 months. The results have been catastrophic, from a fraudulent election to millions of failed businesses to an array of restrictions and mandates that don’t even pretend to be Constitutional.

As bad as all the obvious negative outcomes from this unprecedented destruction of freedom and staggering amount of debt will bring about, possibly the worst part of the last 18 months (besides the deaths, obviously) is that the cabal has basically wrecked what little confidence Americans had in their government.  After being manipulated, persecuted, prosecuted and insulted for the better part of 18 months, how much confidence does the average American have in their government today?  Practically none. Actually, now that a Democrat is back in the White House Democrats have embraced their inner statists and their trust has ticked up while Republicans have the lowest trust level in Government since Barack Obama’s first term – and that was back in May, which seems a lifetime ago.

And that undermining of government could very well come back to bite Americans of all stripes.  What happens when we get a real existential threat from something as deadly as Ebola and as easily transmitted as the Delta variant?  Will Americans believe that their government has suddenly become honest and responsible?  Probably not, and their skepticism grows as they see more hypocrisy and are saddled with a growing array of mandates that are demonstrably ineffective or worse, dangerous. 

The odds of a real virus borne existential threat are likely pretty low, but a visceral distrust in government is very much an existential threat to freedom and the Republic. Once before Americans were similarly distrustful of government and skeptical about its intentions and thirst for power.  The result was the Declaration of Independence.  I wonder what similar distrust in 2021 will engender... 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Taking Back September 11th and Taking Back The Republic

I was not, obviously, alive in 1776 when the United States was born.  I couldn’t be there when the 2nd Continental Congress was writing the Constitution.  I wasn’t part of the Union fighting to free the slaves or the troops who landed on the beaches of Normandy.  Nor was I a fireman running into the towers on September 11 or a soldier in Afghanistan routing out the people responsible for it.  But I’m here now.

There’s no way I’ll be able to accomplish in my life anything on the scale of greatness achieved by those men.  But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try.  Just because one can’t aspire to be a saint doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t seek to do good works. 

We’re just a couple of weeks away from the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks that changed the course of our history.  America in 2021 is seemingly a universe away from America in 2001.  In almost every way, the country is far worse off.  Americans are divided like never before.  The basic notion of the United States as a positive force in the world, a fundamentally good, if flawed, nation is under attack in our schools on our airwaves and tellingly, in our military.  Our borders are nonexistent – unless you’re Cuban – allowing literally millions of people a year to simply walk into our country unfettered. Fundamental tenants of American life, free speech, freedom of religion, private property, and the notion of innocent until proven guilty are evaporating right in front of us.

And then of course there’s Afghanistan.  On the international stage we are watching the real time collapse of American prestige, honor, influence and power.  Joe Biden and his woke cabal have turned a debatable policy of leaving Afghanistan into a military, humanitarian and political disaster of epic proportions.  Somehow, they have figured out how to not only abandon Afghanistan, but do so while providing the Taliban with potentially thousands of American hostages, betraying tens of thousands of Afghans who helped us over the last two decades and provide the enemy with tens of billions of dollars of American military equipment, ammunition and buildings. 

In a word, America circa 2021 is in decline.  And the pace of her collapse is quickening.  Things have been coming apart for a while but started in earnest when the media turned on George Bush after the war in Iraq, picked up steam with Barack Obama and the fiction that opposition equaled racism, and came to a head with the hatred of Donald Trump and reached its peak with the theft of the 2020 election. 

As a result of all of this, the United States are not so united.  The country is coming apart at the seams and the only way to keep it together is to once again give Americans confidence that their legal votes count, that their voices count and that the man or woman governing the country was legitimately elected.  Citizens who feel like their government is corrupt look for extra legal ways to solve problems, they evade taxes and regulations and eventually establish their own shadow forms of government and coercion. (See Mexico just across the nonexistent border) In the simplest form, a nation where the citizens feel like the government is corrupt will find that those citizens don’t obey laws unless there’s a gun pointed at their heads, and in the case of the United States, with a citizenry built on two centuries of freedom and liberty, that is going to take a lot of guns. 

Tens of millions of Americans are asking themselves “What can we do about this?” or “What the hell happened?” or “How the hell can we save this country?”

According to the traditional way things have always been done, nothing.  We could wait for 2022 and 2024 to go back to the polls and think “Maybe we’ll win!”  Don’t count on it.  Should we start a revolution or try to overthrow the government?  Umm… no.  Not only would such an effort be doomed to fail, but that would open a Pandora’s box of chaos from which I doubt we’d emerge as “One nation, under God” or as one nation at all.  But by the same token, by doing nothing America is rapidly becoming a fascist state run by tyrants of the far left.  So can anything be done?  I don’t know, but I’ve got a suggestion.

On the twentieth anniversary of September 11th Americans should take back the date from the terrorists who put it on our calendar.  How? By making September 11 stand for something else.  Make September 11 the day Americans stood up and demanded their country back, stated that they would not accept their nation being stolen under the cover of night, that they would not accept that America has become a third world dictatorship where social media robber barons and corrupt officials manipulate the voting machines and install their leader of choice.  Make September 11, 2021 the modern equivalent of July 4, 1776 and declare that we will not be ruled by unjust leaders with no legitimate right to govern. 

How do patriots do that?  By showing up at the doorsteps of their state capitals on September 11th and demanding that their legislatures lend their voices to the fight.  Those voices should demand that states with a margin of victory in the 2020 election below 3% audit those elections and decertify their electors in the event fraud is discovered.  That voice is not a request.  It’s a demand. 

Now of course the legislatures could refuse.  And even if they didn’t and made that demand, Congress could – and probably would – simply ignore them. And lastly, even if Congress were on board, the Supreme Court might insert itself into the mix and claim it’s unconstitutional.  We understand all of that, but none of that obviates the necessity of making a stand in the first place.  Remember, the Declaration of Independence was not the opening salvo of the conflict with England.

In 1768 there was the Massachusetts Circular Letter which declared The Townsend Act taxes were unconstitutional because Massachusetts was not represented in Parliament.  In response the British sent troops to restore “order” and the result was the Boston Massacre in 1770.  From there more taxes and more resistance, culminating in the Boston Tea Party in 1773.  This defiance brought about the Coercive Acts which sought to essentially turn Massachusetts into a police state governed by the Crown.  From there the table was set for Lexington and Concord, the Second Continental Congress and eventually the Declaration of Independence.  All along the way the British had opportunities to avert losing what would turn out to be the golden goose, but at each step they failed to do so. Will the states, Congress and the Supreme Court make the same mistake?

The state legislatures, Congress and the Supreme Court may indeed fail the American people once again, but it is up to us to make them understand that we take our Constitution and our democratic Republic very seriously and will no longer let them obscure what happened in 2020.  September 11th 2021 will be the first step in taking back the narrative, from the terrorists who struck at the heart of our nation 20 years ago and the country from the conspirators who struck at the heart of our Republic on the morning of November 4th. 

None of this is intended to take away from the courage and valor of those who ran into buildings on that fateful day.  Absolutely not. Their courage and bravery stand as beacons through the dark and will for ages...

In the end we may not be able to achieve the greatness of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln or the soldiers of D-Day or the men of NYFD, or the men and women who fought so bravely in Afghanistan, but we can certainly plant our flag and say “No more! We’re taking back September 11th and taking back our Republic!”

Thursday, August 19, 2021

The Lesson of Afghanistan is a Simple One, But Probably Not What You Think

 Joe Biden is being roasted for his indefensible handling of the Afghanistan exit.  As well he should be.  Indeed, his incompetence is so legion that he’s actually getting roasted by a media whose only job appears to be to prop up the Biden regime.  Both the New York Times and the Washington Post pilloried him while over at CNN: 'the debacle of defeat and chaotic retreat in Afghanistan' is a 'political disaster' for President Biden. The Wall Street Journal suggested his statement 'washing hands' of Afghanistan 'is one of most shameful in US history'. 

They’re of course right.  This may be the most incompetent diplomatic / military exercise in American history… and it came straight from the Commander in Chief and his incompetent cabal of woke advisors. 

Given the tragedy unfolding today, one wonders if Americans will learn the real lesson of Afghanistan.  Sure, while one lesson would be to never put a senile incompetent leftist in the position of Commander in Chief, that’s not the real lesson to be learned…

American direct involvement in Afghanistan started out twenty years ago after the attacks of September 11th.  It didn’t take long to discover that the Taliban had been giving Osama Bin Laden and Al Queda training bases and a home from which to attack the US.  George W. Bush sent troops in to rout them, which was largely accomplished within months.  But of course the troops didn’t come home. They stayed, with the ostensible mission of helping Afghanistan craft a nation that would no longer be a haven for terrorists, and a government unwilling to protect them.  We – Americans, not me personally as I did not serve during that time nor in that theater – built roads, schools, bases, buildings, shepherded the writing of a constitution, facilitated elections and helped form a government with all the trappings of legitimacy.  One of the most laudable efforts was help to give girls and women opportunities that they had essentially never seen in Afghanistan.

Of course, the Taliban, while defeated in terms of running the country, never quite went away.  They hid in the hills. They hid in Pakistan and actually took parts of it over.  They operated under the cover of night and gave a constant reminder that they were never far away, having been funded and shielded by the ISI, Pakistan's intelligence service.  

All of this “progress” cost a great deal, both in terms of money and the lives of brave servicemen.  When all is said and done, the United States will have spent somewhere between $1 and $2 trillion seeking to build Afghanistan into a democracy with a functioning military and government.  At the same time, 2,500 American servicemembers lost their lives executing that mission. 

All for what?  Not much, apparently.  In just a number of days the Taliban took over the entire country.  The president fled. Americans were airlifted from the roof of the embassy.  Girls are now being stolen from their families to be given as wives to Taliban fighters.  Those who assisted the Americans and local police are being rounded up and killed.  The Afghan military has essentially evaporated, leaving the Taliban in possession of tens of billions of dollars of American supplied weapons and equipment.  Soon the Taliban will bring Afghanistan back to the 7th century, from whence they came.  Sharia law.  Women in bondage. No freedom.  Economic backwater.

The lesson of Afghanistan is not that the United States couldn’t turn The Graveyard of Empires into a thriving democracy, such as our own. That was never in the cards.  The American colonies grew up as part of the British Empire and had been marching slowly towards a representative government with individual freedoms for centuries, culminating in the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the ratification of the Constitution.  Of course neither of those was the final word and the United States has been evolving towards a More Perfect Union ever since. 

Afghanistan doesn’t have anything resembling the history we have.  Just the opposite.  The nation, to the degree that is actually a nation, exists largely on a map.  The people are far more tribal than they are Afghani, and most live lives like those their ancestors lived 1,000 years ago.  Nation building in Afghanistan was always likely to be a failure, whether the United States spent $2 trillion or $20. 

And therein lays the lesson of Afghanistan, through the words of Ronald Reagan.  Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

Americans live in the greatest nation in the history of man, one that took literally centuries to get where it is today.  It’s far from perfect of course, and it’s always evolving, but the fundamental principles of limited government, individual freedom and free markets have been guides the entire journey. But because it’s not perfect, the left wants to destroy it.  Tear down our Founding Fathers because they didn’t think about 21st century mores when they were busy carving out a new nation.  Eliminate free speech because mean words offend vulnerable sensibilities.  Eliminate free markets because they do not provide for a perfectly equal distribution of wealth.  Divide the country by an endless array of hyphens so that professional victims can identify their “oppressors”. 

The freedom that Reagan spoke of, the prosperity the United States has created and the opportunities Americans enjoy are not predestined. They aren’t written into our DNA, not guaranteed by God and not irreversible.  Just as a generation of Afghanis who grew up in a relatively free nation are about to discover, what is here today is not guaranteed to still be here tomorrow.  History is important. Culture is important. Shared values are important.  Twenty years and $2 trillion dollars in Afghanistan prove that and demonstrate how quickly rights and freedoms can evaporate.  

To the degree that pampered leftists who, in a global sense were born on third and think they hit a triple, want to change the rules of the game called America, change the dimensions of the playing field and change the players in the lineup, they’re playing with fire. They think they know where those changes will lead.  They’re wrong.  Free speech, and the respect for the free exercise of such, once gone are almost impossible to regain.  Private property, once taken, almost never makes it back into the hands of the rightful owners and with it goes free markets and prosperity.  Government programs, once launched almost never end, and edicts, once written are almost never rescinded.  A government unleashed from the constraint of the Bill of Rights will never find its way back into the cage.    

Some people know that reality while others clearly don’t.  Compare a 25 year old Afghani woman who is now facing home detention, a burqa for life and a husband she didn’t choose to a 25 year old American grad student standing in $300 sneakers holding a $1,000 phone and barking “F the police”.  One clearly understands what freedom is while the other wallows in his utopian fantasy utterly clueless of how the world actually works.  There’s a reason millions of people risk their lives every year to come to America or literally cling to the wing of a flying plane in order to escape Taliban Afghanistan.  It’s called reality. 

It would be nice if the left would learn the simple lesson of Afghanistan, that freedom is fleeting and must be prized and protected, but sadly they are unlikely to allow machinations in the real world intrude on their delusional fantasies.