Thursday, February 25, 2016

Truth breaking through?

From Salon, of all places:

It is in fact the bipartisan consensus of Washington’s soul-sick, brain-dead establishment.
If you doubt it, consider Barack Obama. In 2008, America was almost as angry at its government as it is today. Then as now, the media and political consultants to both parties were blind to the issue. But Obama and strategist David Axelrod sort of got it. Axelrod wasn’t much for specificity. He preached the “politics of biography” (sell the person, not the policy). So Obama spoke of transforming “Washington’s culture.” It was powerful stuff, but not quite powerful enough.
Voters knew the problem wasn’t “partisan gridlock” but a hammerlock of special interests. They could abide politicians’ incivility but not their corruption. Obama added some policy meat to the metaphorical bone of his message. He called whistle-blowers heroes and vowed to strengthen freedom of information, to let C-SPAN cameras film healthcare negotiations, end no-bid contracts, close revolving doors and never hire lobbyists to handle matters of special concern to their ex-clients. By late fall, nearly every speech he gave ended in a rousing call for reform.
Breaking those vows was the original sin of the Obama administration. No C-SPAN cameras ever filmed a meeting. He didn’t treat whistle-blowers as heroes; he broke records prosecuting them. He didn’t end no-bid contracts; he increased them. He didn’t ban lobbyists; he recruited them. (Healthcare industry consultants drove that team; he even hired a defense lobbyist to oversee Pentagon procurement policy.) Revolving doors kept swinging; every ex-Obama staffer you ever heard of now sits on some comfy corporate perch.  Republicans didn’t kill the reforms. Obama had the power to implement each one by executive order, but chose not to.
In 2008, Obama raised more money from big business than any candidate in eitherparty’s history and in 2009 he hired the most conservative economic team of any Democratic president since Grover Cleveland. He then sided with insurers against a public option, with banks against rescuing homeowners and with business against raising the minimum wage. If you’re highly educated and care more about cultural than economic issues, you may not have noticed. If you’re financially pressed, you may be torn between Sanders and Trump, or have given up on politics altogether.
Clinton calls it an “artful smear” to suggest that she, Obama or any Democrat is influenced by the money they say corrupts every Republican. Her anger is partly a pose. But any card-carrying member of the establishment will take any suggestion that the system is compromised as a personal insult. This is true of elite reporters as well as politicians.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Progressives vs Freedom of Speech

Now that students no longer study Orwell's 1984 in high school, it's probably not surprising that the rising generation is oblivious to the progressive assault on free speech. Here's a good reminder from George Will:

Bernie Sanders, greedy for power to punish people he considers greedy, has occasioned 2016's best joke (reported in Bloomberg Businessweek): "In the Bernie Sanders drinking game, every time he mentions a free government program, you drink someone else's beer." But neither Sanders' nor Hillary Clinton's hostility to the First Amendment is amusing.
Both have voted to do something never done before — make the Bill of Rights less protective. They favor amending the First Amendment to permit government regulation of political campaign speech. Hence they embrace progressivism's logic, as it has been explained separately, and disapprovingly, by two eminent economists, Ronald Coase and Aaron Director:
There is no reason the regulatory, redistributive state should distinguish between various markets. So, government that is competent and duty-bound to regulate markets for goods and services to promote social justice is competent and duty-bound to regulate the marketplace of ideas for the same purpose.
Sanders and Clinton detest the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, which they say their court nominees will promise to reverse. It held that unions and corporations — especially incorporated advocacy groups, from the National Rifle Association to the Sierra Club — can engage in unregulated spending on political advocacy that is not coordinated with candidates or campaigns. The decision simply recognized that Americans do not forfeit their First Amendment rights when they come together in incorporated entities to magnify their voices by speaking collectively.
Opposition to Citizens United is frequently distilled into the slogan that "corporations are not people," to which Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, adds this example of progressive insight: "People have hearts. They have kids. They get jobs. They get sick. They cry. They dance. They live. They love. And they die." And a few teach at Harvard Law School, as Warren was able to do only because Harvard did not die: It is descended from the first corporation chartered in colonial America.
Surely she learned in law school something she can relearn by reading "Are Corporations People?" in National Affairs quarterly by Carson Holloway of the University of Nebraska, Omaha. The concept of corporate personhood, he says, is not an invention of today's conservatives. It derives from English common law and is "deeply rooted in our legal and constitutional tradition."
William Blackstone, the English jurist who richly influenced America's Founders, said corporations are "artificial persons" created to encourage socially useful cooperation among individuals and are accorded certain rights so that they can hold property and have lives, identities and missions that span multiple generations. Early in America's history, many for-profit corporations were less important than the nonprofit educational and religious corporations that still produce America's robust civil society of freely cooperating citizens.
If corporations had no rights of personhood, they would have no constitutional protections against, for example, the arbitrary search and seizure by government of their property without just compensation. And there would be no principled reason for denying the right of free speech (the First Amendment does not use the word "person" in guaranteeing it) to for-profit (e.g., The New York Times) or nonprofit (e.g., the NAACP) corporations.
In his attack on the Bill of Rights, Sanders voted to exempt for-profit media corporations from government regulation of corporate speech. Why? Because such corporations, alone among for-profit and nonprofit corporations, are uniquely altruistic and disinterested? Please.
In 2007, in a Cato Institute lecture, Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit warned us: People who are eager to weaken protection of private property in order to enable government to redistribute wealth will also want to weaken constitutional protections of free speech in order to empower government to redistribute ideas.
Since then, college campuses have been responsive to people eager to regulate what others say, hear and see. Now, in the name of campaign finance reform, progressives like Sanders and Clinton want to expand government's regulatory reach to political speech.
Both are ardent for equality and, as Brown foresaw, the argument for economic equality easily becomes an argument for equalizing political influence. The argument is: Government regulates or seizes property in the name of equity, so why not also, for the same reason, regulate the quantity, content and timing of speech intended to "influence elections"?
Progressives, with their collectivist itch, are ever eager to break private institutions to the saddle of the state, and to fill private spaces with regulations. Do they consider government uniquely altruistic and disinterested? Please.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

“War is the health of the State.”

Surely This Problem Won’t Affect Me

Surely This Problem Won’t Affect Me

On a daily basis, I receive emails from associates in the UK and Europe that speak of the sheer madness of allowing refugees in the millions to pour into Europe. The riot in Cologne, Germany, by some 1,000 men who sexually assaulted 90 women, and robbed and threatened others, offers insight as to the scale of riots that we may expect to see in the future.
And the immigration of refugees is just beginning. The shock and horror that my associates express evidences that never before in their lifetimes have events such as these taken place, and that far worse is yet to come.
We tend to view this “scourge of the demon” as though it’s something new. Yet, in fact, it’s occurred many times before.
Randolph Bourne: “War is the health of the State.”
When there is warfare, people will subjugate themselves to the state as at no other time. They will allow themselves to be taxed and used as cannon fodder, and to have their rights stripped away, as they are in an “emergency” condition that requires sacrifice but will (hopefully) be over soon.
Unfortunately, it’s not intended to be over soon. Perpetual conflict means perpetual increase in power by political leaders. Therefore, the leaders will claim that they want it to all be over as soon as possible, but they actually will seek the opposite. Of course, the people don’t desire conflict, so they have to be fooled into believing that it’s necessary. The Nazis had a thorough understanding of this principle.
Hermann Goering:
Why of course the people don’t want war. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
It’s pretty easy to stop the “invasion” by Muslims into Europe, yet we see the EU making threatening noises to all member countries that if they don’t open the floodgates and let them in, there will be hell to pay. The EU government itself is therefore creating the problem that it will later claim it’s trying to control. The wars (Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, and more) are intended, in part, to push tax dollars into the military industry and, in part, to create a distraction from the economic mismanagement of the central government. The creation of large numbers of refugees (both real refugees and opportunists) is an additional benefit to the government, as they will create disharmony and fear throughout Europe as they fail to assimilate.
Hitler used the Jews as his excuse for creating a police state and going to war. The EU (and its allies) will create a crisis, then invoke martial law as an “unfortunate necessity” in order to contain the problem they’ve created. Goering, Goebbels, and Hitler knew quite well that you first have to create a demon, then you can subjugate your people in an effort to control that demon.
But, in doing so, you need a good marketing programme. You need regular propaganda going out to work the people up into a lather.
Joseph Goebbels: “Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”
On both sides of the Atlantic, governments, with the eager but blind assistance of the press, are creating a crisis of epic proportions. It’s essential that they do so, as they have already created an economic crisis of epic proportions and they need a distraction from that problem—one which allows them control over the people and the assurance of staying in power. Throughout history, warfare has provided that power for one group of political leaders after another.
It’s also important to make the people feel helpless, so that they’ll turn to their government to solve the problem. Therefore, the ability for individual retaliation must be taken out of the hands of the people.
Adolf Hitler: “This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!”
The EU government are presently causing the problem through mass immigration by refugees. But, surely, the very idea that such an influx of uncontrollable people could be a good thing is preposterous. How could anyone ever believe that any good could come of this?
Adolf Hitler: “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and, eventually, they will believe it.”
The “Muslim question” has been made into a political issue. Conservatives who see themselves as “sensible” will oppose the immigration, whilst liberals who see themselves as “caring” will support it. The extreme polarisation between factions will ensure that the lie (as absurd as it is) will receive the immovable support of roughly 50% of the population of Europe (and countries abroad).
Still, intelligent people are saying to each other every day, “Don’t these politicians get it? Don’t they understand that this influx of Muslims is a disaster in the making?” Well, yes, actually, they understand that all too well, which is why they’re all on board.
As in both of the previous world wars, we shall see the charade play out again. Each country in Europe will, in turn, join the war with “the enemy.” At some point, Russia will get dragged in, either through an overzealous military action, or through a false-flag attack, and a world war will be on.
The US and Canada, at first, will just contribute armaments and advisors, but, eventually, the American people will be persuaded that, without their involvement, the Muslims will overrun America as well. If the Americans don’t fall into line on cue, false-flag incidents will be created that will cost American lives that point directly to Muslims. Again, this is nothing new. The Americans have been dragged into war repeatedly in the same way in the past.
The question is not whether Muslims will overrun Europe. They will. (That’s the objective.) The question is not whether there will be war. There will be. The question is whether you live in a place that will be safe when it occurs or whether your present location will become unlivable at some point.
Of course, there will be those who recognise that, in this game, their own government is not their friend. Some will choose to prepare an exit plan, should it become necessary. Internationalisation offers the greatest likelihood of insurance against the threat of an overreaching government.
Insurance, after all, is purchased not due to a certainty that something will go badly wrong. It’s purchased when a disastrous outcome is likely enough to warrant having that insurance in place.
Editor’s Note: Unfortunately there’s little any individual can practically do to change the trajectory of this trend in motion.
All you can hope to do is to save yourself from the consequences of all this stupidity.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Orwellian destruction of comedy

Even comedians notice the trend.

John Cleese says political correctness has gone too far, especially on America's college campuses, where he will no longer go to perform. As BigThink reports, the very essence of his trade — comedy — is criticism and that not infrequently means hurt feelings. But protecting everyone from negative emotion all the time is not only impractical (one can't control the feelings of another), but also improper in a free society.
Cleese, having worked with psychiatrist Robin Skynner, says there may even be something more sinister behind the insistence to be always be politically correct.
"If you start to say we mustn't, we mustn't criticize or offend them then humor is gone. With humor goes a sense of proportion. And then as far as I'm concerned you're living in 1984."