Sunday, November 23, 2014

What I wish the President had really said.

It has been awhile since I posted here and I apologize for that. I promise to post a lot more often.
This is some wishful thinking that I sometimes like to do. My president's speech on immigration.

"Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I come before you tonight to address an important problem, immigration and to explain the way I see this problem and what our nation should do about it.

But first, let me say that we are a nation of immigrants and the freedom to immigrate here is one we should want for all people. Our first founding document properly says that "all men are created equal" meaning equal before the law. The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness then, belongs to 'all men.' And so America has always had an open door policy regarding immigration. I too believe we should have such a policy.

But such a policy, like any other policy, needs a structure and a method of operation. In other words, to have an open door policy we must first have a house with a door that can be opened and widely so. Right now we don't have that. Now, the question becomes what would this door look like? Would it be an iron door like the Soviet Union's Iron Curtain? Absolutely not. So what would such a door look like?

I envision a streamlined border crossing with a lot more agents and check points to efficiently and rapidly process immigrants and perhaps even with facilities for holdovers for further examination if needed. These checkpoints are needed because we must face the reality of the world around us. There are diseases that threaten to come here and enemies that want to destroy this country. We have to be cognizant of external threats. The streamlined check points will help do this.

What will the new border look like and how will it be operated and funded? Folks, these are the kinds of ideas that should be discussed and debated by our Congressmen and Senators on the floors of their respective chambers. That's not happening now. It will during the rest of my administration.

It is my hope that this new look border will be temporary as we move to address the rest of the problem. Yes, the rest of the problem. You see immigration has traditionally been treated almost exclusively as a domestic problem. It isn't. It's also a foreign policy issue and we need to address this aspect of it.

We need to find out why our neighbors to the south are not creating the conditions in their nations that exist here in the US so their citizens don't have to come here to be free and prosperous. Again, this is something that needs to be discussed not only by our congressional houses but by the State Department as well. Foreign Policy is this Department's domain. It needs to be developing policies with perhaps incentives or even disincentives to be applied to and/or negotiated with our southern neighbors. This isn't happening right now. It will going forward.

Our immigration problems are largely of our own making. Irrational immigration laws, poorly enforced by some law enforcement and ignored by politicians is just part of the problem. We have a terrorist threat because our past leaders have lacked the moral clarity and courage to destroy our enemies once and for all. We have a contagious disease problem because we have been shamefully negligent--even apologetic--about the one social system that has been number one is eradicating disease, capitalism. We need to be proud of our social system and shout its value from the roof tops and stop agreeing with the rest of the world that we are greedy and selfish and therefore evil. We aren't evil. We should lean on them to adopt individual rights. That is the concept that makes it all happen.

The State Dept has already started on this and I'll be submitting proposals to congress within the week.But one thing is for sure, we can't stay with the status quo.

Thank you and good night."

That's what I wanted to hear. Alas, well, maybe someday.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sander Levin's latest statist efforts

Today (July 21) I received his newsletter from my US Congressman Sander Levin D District 9 Michigan. In it he reports, New study:  "Affordable Care Act (ACA) lowers uninsured rate" according to which 9.5 million additional adults ages 19 to 64 are now covered by insurance, and the national adult uninsured rate declined from 20 percent to 15 percent. He adds that according to this Commonwealth Fund study "a large majority of enrollees report that they are generally happy with their health care coverage."

Well, I don't trust these numbers because the Commonwealth Fund is part of the Commonwealth Foundation which did a major part of the research for the Affordable Care Act so they have a vested interest in reporting rosy numbers. I'm interested in what's missing, the not so rosy numbers. I have been told directly by a few and have read many others complain that their health care premiums have increased along with deductibles. Where are those numbers?

Mr Levin continues with his support of "Not My Boss' Business Act" (H.R. 5051) or formally, Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act. (Should be government interference) He claims "Access to contraception helps to prevent unintended pregnancies, control timing of planned births and treat medical conditions like endometriosis. Yes these are desirable things. So what? I desire lots of things. Can I get the government to force someone to give them to me? But Levin is claiming that the Hobby Lobby decision allows Hobby Lobby to deny access to birth control for women.

Now look at what Mr Levin is really saying: if a company fails to provide employees with anything, it is then guilty of denying access to those things and is guilty of a crime. Congressman Sander Levin has made a living inventing crimes like denying access to just about anything. People don't have access to affordable health care, affordable education, now it's affordable birth control. Nowhere does he show anyone's rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness being violated. That's because there are no such violations. He is ignoring the fact that all those things that are no longer affordable are due to the policies he has legislated in the past. Government financing and regulation of education has made education more expensive not less. Same with health care and insurance.

If armed gunmen stood at the doors of your doctor or your insurance company and said no admittance, that would be denial of access. But not having enough money to pay for something or worse yet, not having someone forced to give it to you, is not denial of access. Businessmen have a moral right to decide what if any benefits they want to offer to employees. Employees have the moral right t decide what wages and benefits to accept. Government has no moral right to interfere in this activity except where rights may be violated. Mr Levin has also invented other crimes like predatory this or that or unfair this other thing. But that can wait for another post.

Lastly, the Congressman bemoans a Supreme Court decision that he says "...undercut the VRA{voting rights act-MN}by invalidating a key section of the law." He doesn't identify that key provision so I can't say exactly what he's talking about. But I have a feeling it's about the ruling that states can require ID for voting eligibility. Now why would he not want states to verify voting eligibility?

Mr Levin has been in office for over 30 years and should, like his brother Senator Carl Levin, retire.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Why Republicans Keep Losing to Democrats

It's not often that an article will provide glaringly obvious proof of why conservatives and Republicans have been impotent at stopping or even slowing the liberal's march to dictatorship.  Ayn Rand has said repeatedly that conservatives keep losing to liberals because conservatives share the same moral values as the liberals but don't preach those values as consistently as the liberals do. "In any conflict between two men (or groups) who hold the same basic principles, it is the more consistent one who wins." From the essay Anatomy of Compromise.

In the April 3rd Detroit News is an oped by Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. It is titled "Social justice a conservative cause" in which he asks:

"Who owns the term 'social justice'-conservatives or progressives?
Michigan's progressives desperately hope you say they do."

Well, I don't think Michigan's progressives are desperately hoping for any such thing. It's pretty much in the bag. Progressives have always owned the 'social justice'issue. But it's only a successful issue for them because the conservatives don't know how to respond to it. 'Social justice' is of course a collectivist concept based on the notion that the individual has no right to life--no life value--except for his value to the collective; that the group may do with the individual anything it wishes so long as it can claim some social good.

But America was founded on the principle of the supremacy of the individual not the collective. Man's right to life was held as unalienable, that is, politically and morally absolute. But not anymore. The concept of individual rights was and still is so poorly understood that most politicians did not know how to defend it. The Democratic Party has never embraced the ideal of individual rights. The Republicans did for awhile but only half-heartedly so, until the Goldwater defeat at the hands of progressive Johnson after which they dropped all loyalty to it and became the me-too party.

This op-ed by Mr. Brooks reeks of me-tooism. It's as if he's saying "See see! Us conservatives believe in the progressive idea of social justice too. We can be just as collectivist as they are. Never mind their admonition that America can't afford to wait for us conservatives to accomplish the same goals as the progressives can accomplish much faster through physical force. Ignore that. We want the same thing except through kinder, gentler, more voluntary methods." Is that the kind of rallying cry that would inspire hoards of followers?

Mr. Brooks correctly points out that the policies of the Obama progressives have failed to achieve their social justice goals.

"The simple fact is that intentions don't equal results. The left's policies aren't working - which means it's time for conservatives to step up to the social justice plate."!!!

Wow, where to begin. First, if those policies aren't working, don't you think a sharp conservative pundit would want to enlighten voters as to why they're not working, or that there might be something innately wrong with the concept of social justice? Nope, not happening. Ok failing that, wouldn't a half-sharp conservative pundit wonder how, since liberal policies are failing, is it in the interests of conservatives to 'step up' and make them work? Should conservatives be eager to beat the progressives to the punch?

Mr. Brooks is saying in essence that the progressives are going about it all wrong and that:

"Conservatives should start by asking the downtrodden what they need the most. In the conversations I've had over the years, I've identified three things: moral transformation, material relief and opportunity. These are the central components of a real social justice platform."

Presumably, these three things are all to be provided by the government, not by the people themselves as envisioned by the founders.

"Personal moral transformation is the most important."

Let's look at the first of these, moral transformation. A moral code is a set of principles we humans use to guide our actions through our daily life. So what are we supposed to be transforming from and to?

"To illustrate this point, (the importance of moral transformation-MN) I used the 2010 General Social Survey - the country's best sociological database - to identify what makes people happy."

But what makes people happy is such a broad and out of context standard as to be meaningless. Happiness is not doing whatever makes one feel good like whim worship. So what set of principles does this General Social Survey offer us? None. Just a picture.

"Take the example of two men identical in age, education, race and income. The first is religious. He's married with two kids. He also works more and participates in his community more than 90 percent of the rest of the country. The other man meets none of these qualifications. The first man is nearly 400 percent more likely to be happy."

In other words, real social justice must encourage people to participate in faith, family, community and work. Nothing wrong with that as such, but the encouragement here is of course government encouragement, i.e. force. But America is being destroyed by a thousand encouraging cuts. Millions have lost their homes due to government encouragement of home ownership. Right now government is 'encouraging' health care with ObamaCare, 'encouraging' education through Common Core not to mention the philosophy of progressive education as such, 'encouraging' our participation in NSA information gathering, 'encouraging' the destruction of the purchasing power of the dollar with Quantitative Easing.  It goes on and on endlessly. Nowhere in this op-ed is there a call for 'encouraging' politicians to provide citizens with the political and economic freedom that would enable them to provide for their own happiness.

Mr. Brooks' desire to hang on to the welfare state is revealed next:

"Moral transformation goes hand in hand with material relief. No less a libertarian than Friedrich Hayek argued that government should provide "some  minimum of food, shelter and clothing."
Right, and that's why I no longer consider Mr. Hayek to be a credible advocate for Capitalism. Again, people should be free to provide for their own welfare. Private charity has always been up to the task for those in need, except of course when government decides to step into the market with its 'encouragement' bubbles.

"The final piece of the social justice puzzle is opportunity - the path from welfare to well being. Opportunity is under attack everywhere you look."

True enough. He cites the need for education reform that will provide for our children's futures but says nothing about getting government out of education.

In closing the op-ed says:

Conservatives can speak powerfully to these issues. Transformation, relief, opportunity - we have the principles that form the basis of real social justice policies."

And that's why conservatives will keep on losing. Oh there may be a swipe at the progressives in this 2014 election as in the Reagan presidency but I don't see a love fest for conservatives on the horizon.

Nobody should want to own the issue of social justice because there is no such thing. That concept is an intellectual or cognitive package deal designed to destroy a valid concept - individual justice, the only kind of justice that exists, and replace it with the invalid concept of social justice. It permits its advocates to commit individual injustices in the name of all sorts of imagined unfairness such as those invented under egalitarianism. For example, John makes more money than Fred so fairness (social justice) requires that we take some of John's money (an individual injustice) and give it to Fred.

America was not founded on the principle of sacrifice but rather on the principle of rational self interest, a self interest that respects the same rights of others. Conservatives need to 'step up to the plate' of individual rights if they ever hope to win big again.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Congressman Sander Levin's Republican Bashing

My US Congressman Sander Levin of Michigan sent out his Congressional Connector newsletter this week and like usual never misses a chance to bash Republicans. Here is his first paragraph:
House Leaders Push Through “Polluter Protection Act”

"Instead of taking action to create jobs, or restore benefits to the 2 million Americans who have been cut off from Emergency Unemployment Compensation since December 28, the Republican Leadership of the House of Representatives brought a bill [H.R. 3826] to the House Floor on March 5th to strip the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to address carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants – the largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. The House approved the measure on a vote of 229 to 183."
First of all let me say that the reason unemployment benefits were cut off is because the emergency benefits legislation expired. Also Mr Levin's President Obama keeps telling us we are and have been in a recovery for several years so why the need for all the emergency benefits?

I'm glad the House passed HR 3826 to strip the authority from the EPA to shut down coal burning plants. First there is nothing in the Constitution giving government the right to manage the nation's power supply. The market would do that nicely if left free to do so. Second, the EPA is one of the biggest violators of property rights in the nation. It's mission is to protect the environment of every creature except one--man. The amoeba, earthworm, spotted owl, et al have a right to their environment. Man does not.

Remember eleven years ago when the eastern half of the grid went down for three days and we found out that most of our capacity was running just under max? Do you really think shutting down 4 more plants as has been done without any new ones built is a sign that Mr Levin cares about the integrity of the grid, that is, your environment and mine? I think that Mr Levin's desire to let the EPA keep shutting down plants and putting all those workers in the unemployment line where Obama's economic recovery now requires emergency benefits is a strange way to show a concern for the unemployed.

Mr Levin's anti-free market bias isn't confined to the environment. It's found in health care as well.
"Also on March 5, House Republicans voted for the 50th time to undermine health care reform. Speaking against the bill on the House Floor, Rep. Levin said, “This time it's the 50th time that House Republicans have brought up legislation to repeal or to undermine the Affordable Care Act.... Just look at this -- 50 votes. With zero votes to raise the minimum wage. Zero votes to renew unemployment insurance. Zero votes to guarantee paycheck fairness. Zero votes to pass immigration reform.” The House passed the bill on a vote of 250 to 160, but – as with the previous 49 attempts – the measure is not expected to advance further and become law."
Wow! 50 times? I admire their persistence even though it's been an exercise in futility. I say futility because the republicans keep limiting themselves to the practical arguments that ObamaCare doesn't work, is a practical disaster and so on conceding the moral argument to the Dems. The Democrats don't deserve the moral high ground. There is nothing moral about ObamaCare. But the moral argument terrifies the Republicans. They won't pick it up because they secretly believe the Democrats are right, morally right. Well they're not and the Republicans need to discover it soon and help the various Tea Parties educate the public. The reason they don't help the Tea Parties and seek to 'crush them' instead is because they're terrified of discovering they share the same anti-capitalist, anti-free market, anti-American collectivist premises as the Democrats.

Yes, the Republicans need bashing but not for the reasons Mr. Levin cites. The Democrats are misleading the people with false ideas as to what is in their interests. The Republicans need to tell the people that things like the minimum wage, welfare programs, subsidies to business and all economic regulations not to mentions this latest notion of guaranteed paycheck fairness[!!], are not in their interests and then explain why; that the history of capitalism in our school books is in error and demonstrate that fact. It will be an uphill fight for sure since the Democrats control the education system. The Republicans need to end that control. Education belongs to the free market not any political party.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Anti-Philosophical Nature of Today's Intellectuals

With a few minor changes I repost this from the New Clarion.

In the introduction to Ayn Rand's book "Philosophy: Who Needs It" heir to her intellectual estate Leonard Peikoff wrote "Ayn Rand was not only a novelist and philosopher; she was also a salesman for philosophy--the greatest salesman philosophy has ever had." Boy was she ever. The first of her writings I read was the title essay of her book "For the New Intellectual." Her nutshell compression of philosophic history in terms of Attila and the Witch Doctor immediately oriented me to the fact that if I wanted to understand the world's problems and by implication, their solutions, I must look at philosophy. And so I did.

But I feel like a Cassandra when I try to urge others to study philosophy and all I get is lowered eyebrows and remarks like "Philosophy! Who studies that nonsense?" And so it goes. Now I don't really mind it coming from other non-academics like myself. After all I thought that way myself until I read FTNI. But what really amazed me is the utter anti-philosophical orientation of today's educated class. They seem to think only in terms details i.e. this detail caused that detail and so on. There is no reference as to what principle caused the first detail. Here are two examples:

In the Jan. 9th Detroit News is an oped by Jennifer Carlson, assistant professor in the dept of sociology at the University of Toronto titled "Gun debate misses the mark in Detroit." The theme of the article is "Does Detroit need more guns, or more gun control? Both alternatives ignore the city's bigger problem - the culture."

She writes:
"On the one hand, guns exacerbate a culture in which human life is treated as valueless and disposable."
Unlike so many other modern intellectuals she happily does not blame inanimate matter, guns, as the cause of Detroit's crime but, rather perceptually, cites the culture. She is right.

But like so many thinkers of today she does not ask the next logical question: what causes a culture to be the way it is? To answer that question I think we should ask what is a culture? My dictionary says it's the concepts, habits, skills, arts and institutions of a given people in a given era. So we see that a culture is a dynamic mixture of the ideas and beliefs of many individuals, so by culture we mean the ideas and beliefs that dominate that society even though some are opposing views. Another way to say this is that the dominant ideas and beliefs are that society's prevailing philosophy.

It would be great if today's intellectuals would identify the dominant philosophy in Detroit, Michigan and the nation but they won't. Why? They believe philosophy to be irrelevant. Here is another example:

In the Thursday Mar 6th Detroit News, editorial director Nolan Finley penned an oped "America is on the path it chose". In it Mr Finley cites polls that show while Americans mostly don't like big government, they also don't want to cut the various welfare programs. He writes:
"Because he (Obama) believes that despite what they say they want, Americans prefer indulgence over sacrifice. The concept of smaller government appeals to them, but the reality of actually cutting programs makes them squeamish."
It's unfortunate that Mr. Finley uses the word indulgence, a pejorative term usually projecting the image of a glutton or one who is serving himself. I would have used the phrase self interest over self sacrifice. But for now I want to say that throughout the editorial Mr Finley does not ask the next logical question: Why do people vote perceptually against that which they want conceptually? Why are the culture's perceptions at war with their conceptions? Is there a field of study that can integrate man's perceptions and conceptions so that he doesn't act in contradictory ways? Yes. That field of study is Philosophy.

Philosophy is a broad science having five divisions of study, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics and aesthetics. In a nut shell, philosophy studies the nature of everything but in terms of principles, principles that us humans use to guide our lives.

That said, if you look at modern philosophy and see things like post-modernism, post-post-modernism, deconstructionism, and others you would probably conclude that it is all unintelligible drivel. And you'd be right. So, is regarding philosophy as irrelevant the proper attitude for our intellectuals to take?

Imagine for a moment you stepped into a time machine and were transported 100 years into the future. Upon arrival you discover life has deteriorated significantly. People are sick and dying all over the place. You inquire as to why they don't go to a doctor or hospital and are greeted with astonished looks and statements like "That doesn't do any good" and "Modern medicine doesn't make any sense." So you decide to check it out yourself by going to several hospitals. There you see doctors waving rattles and wands over the beds of sick and dying patients, nurses singing chants and incantations alongside patients. You are informed that it is like this throughout the nation.

So, Would you conclude that the science of medicine is irrational and is to be ignored? Or would you, based on your knowledge of 100 years ago, conclude that now it is more urgent than ever to study the science of medicine to discover the turning point at which it went irrational? Naturally you would decide the latter, hopefully. That is where philosophy stands today. It is not my intent here nor would it be appropriate to go into a history of philosophy nor do I have an extensive knowledge of it. I'll just say that the last major turning point where philosophy plunged into irrationality began with the writings of Immanuel Kant. There is no doubt that Rand's philosophy of objetivism marks a turning point toward a rational philosophy. But is there time for it to spread? I think so. Yes, philosophy needs salesman, lots of them and now more than ever before.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

It's the Principles, Dtroit

I'm re-posting this from The New Clarion in case any of my readers don't read the Clarion.

The Thursday 12/19 Detroit News carried an editorial by Reynolds Farley who once conducted the Detroit Area Study at the University of Michigan. Titled "The often-overlooked roots of Detroit's bankruptcy" it looks at these 'roots' only in terms of details, of concrete particulars as if no underlying principles were involved. This detail caused that detail which in turn led to this other detail. But no one asks the obvious question: "What gave rise to the first detail?"

Mr. Farley declares that "Long term economic and demographic trends brought Detroit to its present condition." After reeling off a plethora of depressing numbers of jobs and people leaving the city, all of which are true, he declares as a cause the fact that: "First, Michigan's system of financing local government and schools is broken. In 1911, the Legislature adopted a Home Rule Law encouraging communities to organize their own governments, generate their own tax revenue and pay for their own services. The law gave local governments no incentives to cooperate with one another in solving common problems and , over the years, the law was amended to make it difficult for communities to annex or merge."

I for one don't believe this to be the case. I have lived most of my 71 years in a Detroit suburb and can testify to the fact that local communities have often got together to solve problems. Nor do I accept the notion that it's the State's fault for not being foresighted enough to see that locals would eventually need incentives to cooperate.

But the point I really want to make is look at the cognitive pattern: the details of'economic and demographic trends' caused Detroit's demise. But what caused those trends? The detail of the 1911 Law we are told. But the 1911 Law is not an economic or demographic entity. It's a political one. Politics is a science that deals with the principles of social organization. Thus what is left out of the discussion is any mention of possible political principles that could have had a causal effect on Detroit's suicide. The 1911 Law is not a principle. It is a concrete law based on a principle, the principle of self government which I believe the 1911 Legislature was acting upon and wanted to encourage.

Detroit's failure to its citizens was not caused by an endless string of details but by the principles that gave rise to all those sad details. The main principle behind Detroit's sorry state is the principle that government--a political entity--should provide economic goods and services instead of the market place--an economic entity of voluntary trade to mutual benefit. Government has a legal monopoly on the use of force. It is not an economic entity. Political principles are not the same as economic principles and cannot be mixed. Our Declaration of Independence identified the political principle on which governments at all levels are to operate: "To secure these rights governments are instituted among men." The City (and State) abandoned its role of rights protector long ago and has tried to be the provider of economic services. The mixed economy is Detroit's state. Its real often-overlooked roots are the political and economic principles Detroit has tried to live by. It must now relearn the political and economic principles that actually created a once free and prosperous city. The principles of laissez faire capitalism.

Monday, December 02, 2013

The Real Zombies Are in Washington

It seems to me that Hollywood's creation of modern Zombies has taken on a new life. Not just for horror movies any longer, they are showing up in TV series like The Walking Dead and even on bumper stickers. Recently I saw one such sticker declaring "My zombie child just ate the brains of your honor student." Of course that was in jest, I think. But what is it with Zombies being portrayed as essentially brainless? Where did this idea come from? My 1967 Webster's collegiate dictionary says in part
"In west Indian superstition, a supernatural power through which a corpse may be brought to a state of trancelike animation and made to obey the commands of the person exercising the power.
Wow! Does that ever sound like Washington or what?

Now in most of my 71 years observing politics and human nature, I seriously doubt there is any supernatural power guiding the creatures roaming around Washington (or Lansing for that matter). But a recent movie I was informed of gave me a hint. In that movie, the zombies were created by a virus which killed the thinking part of the brains of otherwise normal people leaving only their automatic bodily functions still alive. Now to me that sounds plausible (almost). Except that in today's real world the virus would not be a physical one but rather a cognitive one, you know like a computer virus. If one of these enters your computer the whole thing dies instantly. Bang! Dead. It won't even add 2 & 2. This seems to support my theory that since it is a cognitive pathogen, then like computer viruses, there are different strains of it.

I think I have detected two different strains of this malady: the programmed and the non-programmed. The programmed virus injects into its victim a program of self destruction whereby its recipient has no choice but to follow a path that will lead to its own demise. It does this by implanting the impulse that destruction and death are good, things to be achieved. This strain is prevalent in humans calling themselves progressive or liberal or leftist. They are found in both political parties but mostly in the Democratic Party. They ignore the past. For example, the fact that no society on fiat money has ever avoided collapse means nothing to them. They stagger on.

The non-programmed virus leaves its victim with complete cognitive dissonance. These are mostly found in the Republican Party. That is why Republicans are often seen wandering around aimlessly, with no purpose, nothing to achieve, making herky-jerky motions and incoherent utterances, having no goal except to eat the brains of Democrats.

Now I want to add that there may be other strains of the virus. I suspect one has infected our news media with a particularly virulent submissive, obedient, unquestioning, pied piper form. But I'll leave that for other investigators to examine. Zombies, like all effects, have a cause and it's becoming obvious that this cause lies in academia. That is where the queen bee of brain deadness resides. They are the powers pulling the strings of media and political corpses.

Is Debbie Wasserman Schultz Right?

I repost this here for those of my readers who don't go the The New Clarion.

Gary North, former staff economist for Ron Paul, has a blog called Tea Party Economist in which he posts links to current political and economic news. His latest posting carries an article on Debbie Wasserman Schultz's claim that the Democrats will win in 2014 because they will stand solidly behind the Affordable Care Act aka ObamaCare. For those who don't know, Ms. Schultz is the national chairwoman of the Democrat Party.

Judging by the article's comments and other reactions around the web Republicans and conservatives are having knee-slapping guffaws over her announcement. But they shouldn't be in such a hurry to dismiss her words. There is a method to her seeming madness. You see she understands that the moral argument always wins over the practical argument. Her party and its sycophants in the media have been arguing that ObamaCare is a "moral imperative" and other moral platitudes. The Republicans have been confining themselves to the practical argument that ObamaCare doesn't work and in doing so have conceded the moral high ground to the Democrats.

She further knows that Obama will present himself to the voting public in a very presidential way. He will campaign against all the disastrous results of the ACA and promise to fix or get fixed all the problems. The public will vote for his Party because they will still think it cares about them which caring they consider to be of uber importance. They will not see the Republican's claim that ObamaCare is bad because it doesn't work, as having no more moral importance than fixing a flat tire. They will go with the Dems.

Unless that is, the Republicans learn to retake the moral high ground from the Dems. It's not that hard to do. For example, the next time a news anchor or politician or academic confronts a Republican with "you don't care about the needy" or homeless or uninsured or whatever malady is in vogue this week, he should reply with something like "hurting the needy is a strange way to show you care for them" and then back it up with an explanation of how government policies do in fact hurt the needy. There are many variants on this theme, and the evidence for them is all over the place. Republicans must give up the notion that free markets are evil because they are greedy and selfish. To do that Republicans must learn that such concepts (greed and selfishness) are fraudulent concepts designed only to destroy rational self interest.

But before the Republicans can take back the moral argument they must learn that it is theirs for the taking. The Dems never had a right to it. To defend capitalism and free markets is to defend man's unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and that this is the morally right thing to do.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Some Citizens Get It.

I normally post on editorials or news stories in the media but today I want to post on an excellent letter to the editor in the Nov 1st Detroit News titled "blame the media" by Walter Konarzevski. It's in response to an editorial by News editor Nolan Finley criticizing the White House press core's way overdue ability to criticize the President. Mr. Konarzevski writes in part:
"You did not cover Sen. Barack Obama objectively; if you did he very well would not have become president. You cheered his campaign, smeared his opposition, hid who he was and what he believed. You in fact support him in his falsehoods.

Now you are reporting on things that should have been reported on years ago. Too late, you should have told the truth to start with. You should have been reporters, not political operatives."
So true. If I knew Obama was a collectivist back in 2008 the News could have known it too. Mr. Obama was sworn in on Jan 20th 2009 and on that day the Detroit News editorial said in part:
"We have serious doubts about and major philosophical differences with many of the new president's idea for meeting those challenges, but debating those differences is for another day.

Today we join the nation in celebrating Obama's historic rise to the White House and are heartily encouraged by the tremendous faith and hope such a large portion of the nation has in him. We can't recall anything in modern politics to match the jubilation over Obama's ignauguration."
Yes there were a lot of high hopes that day. But I didn't have any. I could see jubilation over the first black man as president but skin color and ideas are two different things and I didn't like any of his ideas. The title of the editorial was "Bold leadership will make Obama presidency historic." Why would the editor believe Obama capable of bold leadership when it was common knowledge he had never managed anything?

Above the headline was a picture of Obama speaking that previous Sunday which was captioned:
Barack Obama has promised to try to build a broad consensus for America's revival. The theme at the Lincoln Memorial pre-inaugural event in Washington that Obama spoke at Sunday was "We are one.""
It wasn't long afterward that "We are one" became "We won." So much for unity. But while the press was all agog over Obama at least some citizens like Mr. Konarzevski and myself could see behind the curtain.

Monday, October 28, 2013

More of the Same Old Detroit

I'm re-posting this from the New Clarion where I posted it yesterday.

Ever since Detroit filed for bankruptcy in July of this year there has been a flood of articles in the media on the suggested causes of Detroit's demise and almost as many on suggested solutions. The solutions invariably call for more of the same poison that made Detroit sick in the first place: a political institution, city government, trying to provide economic services--something the marketplace is supposed to provide if left free to do so.

Let's remember that government is force. It has nothing to offer citizens except the management of force. It is not an economic entity. It cannot provide anyone with economic benefits unless it takes them from some citizens and doles them out to other citizens. On net balance the city does not gain anything.

You would think that someone would stop and say hey, lets re-examine this basic notion that government (force) is the only or at least a good way to provide economic services like roads, lighting, schools, parks, libraries, recreation and others. But no one is even hinting at having that conversation. Instead, judging by the endorsements for Detroit Mayor and city council members in the Detroit Free Press Sunday Oct 27th paper, the candidates are offering more of the same old tonic: a top down control of everything with only minor tweeks in the forced dosage.

According to Freep writer John Gallagher's article mayoral candidates Mike Duggan and Benny Napoleon "Each candidate says he believes that better management of existing city resources will lead to success." In other words same old/ same old just under new management. Mr. Gallagher continues: "Duggan says he will appoint a single Department of Neighborhoods to oversee all service delivery, while Napoleon said a police officer assigned to every square mile of the city will act as an ombudsman for neighborhood needs and complaints, with the mayor's office still responsible for coordinating service delivery."

Wow! That's all Detroit needs is another bureaucracy needing taxpayer funding--this one consisting of little neighborhood czars (evidently following Obama's czarist formula). Folks, this is how the politics of buck passing works in a mixed economy. Duggan will pass the buck to the Department of Neighborhoods and when it fails in a few years (next election) he will call for a better manager. Napoleon will pass the buck to the poor cop patrolling one square mile by himself for which he will need not a squad car but a tank. And when he fails to give the mayor the right data he'll get replaced too.

Other cities in financial trouble have privatized some if not all economic services and have or are returning to balanced budgets. There are benefits to be had from privatization. You see privatization introduces the profit motive. When people are free from the initiatory force of regulations they will offer the best quality for the lowest prices. It is in their interest to do so. Politicians and their bureaucrats have no skin in the game. They have nothing to lose for doing a bad job and, because of that, have no point in doing a good one.

If Detroit had a laissez faire economy the Detroit Institute of Arts would be privately owned and there would be no need to sell off its priceless works of art. Selling off such art is just one example of the unintended bad consequences of politicians with allegedly good intentions. Just look at the cell phone and iPod industries which are only lightly regulated. The quality keeps going up while prices keep falling. Detroiters can have that for their city services. How?

Whichever of these two men, Duggan or Napoleon, become mayor, it is up to the citizens of Detroit to demand he privatize, privatize, privatize. It won't be easy because the desire of politicians to be the providers of our daily bread (crumbs) is irresistible to them. It is the citizens who must tell them they no longer want their daily bread from them but rather, the political and economic freedom to provide their own.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Used Car Salesmen Wouldn't Try to Sell Me This

On the editorial page of the Sunday 9/22 Detroit Free Press is a local commentary purporting to show "6 conservative reasons for Common Core" by two conservatives. They are identified as "Chester E. Finn jr. and Michael J. Petrilli are, respectively, president and executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a right-of-center education policy think tank. Finn served in the Reagan administration. Petrilli served in the George W. Bush administration. Both are affiliated with the Hoover Institution."

Obviously these gentlemen are neocons, liberals who couldn't stand the consistency of the leftists in their political circles. But that is beside my main point. The entire article is based on the premise that the responsibility for education lies with the government instead of the market. This in turn is based on a more sinister premise: that your child belongs to the state. It talks about how "Michigan has been lauded for its education reform efforts..." "Michigan" here means Michigan government not Michigan citizens. Let's remember government is force. It forces kids to attend and forces citizens to pay for the education of their kids as well as the kids of others.

The article then makes the claim that "The Common Core arose as a state initiative..." Umm, not really. From a website

"Just because states "agreed" to adopt these standards does not mean they were state-led. The federal contractor-National Governors' Association, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation & the Chief Council of State School Officers sign-off on CCSS gives the appearance that they were state-led, but national standards have been pushed by special interests, for decades, since the Clinton era."

So who might these special interests be? From Michelle Malkin at
"Can you spell b-o-o-n-d-o-g-g-l-e? Remember: Bush’s educational foundation, the Foundation for Excellence in Education, is tied at the hip to the federally funded testing consortium called PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), which raked in $186 million through Race to the Top to develop nationalized tests “aligned” to the top-down Common Core program.
One of the Bush foundation’s behemoth corporate sponsors is Pearson, the multi-billion-dollar educational publishing and testing conglomerate. Pearson snagged $23 million in contracts to design the first wave of PARCC test items. The company holds a $250 million contract with Florida to design and publish its state tests. Pearson designed New York’s Common Core-aligned assessments and is also the exclusive contractor for Texas state tests.
And in Los Angeles this summer, Pearson sealed a whopping $30 million taxpayer-subsidized deal to supply the city’s schools with 45,000 iPads pre-loaded with Pearson Common Core curriculum apps. That’s $678 per iPad, $200 more than the standard cost, with scant evidence that any of this shiny edu-tech will do anything to improve the achievement bottom line.
As with all political posers who grab power under the guise of doing it “for the children,” don’t read their lips. Follow the money."
Ms. Malkin has several articles on the nature of Common Core and I recommend you read them.

Now the gentlemen give us their 6 conservative reasons for Common Core. The first is:
Fiscal responsibility. "The Common core protects taxpayer dollars by setting world-class academic standards for student achievement--and taxpayers and families deserve real results for their money." This is laughable. While this last phrase is true, families deserve real results for their money, government has never made anything cheaper than the market place nor given taxpayers their money's worth on anything. Amtrack, the Post Office, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Public education just to name a few, are all broke and massive failures. But we're to believe Common Core will help the government get it right this time? Conservative reason #2:

Accountability. "Common core demands accountability, high standards,and testing--not the low expectations and excuses that many politicians and the establishment have permitted. The Core standards are pegged at a high level, which will bring a healthy dose of reality to the education reform conversation." Nowhere in the article is it explained exactly how these high, more rigorous standards will achieve all these desirable goals. We are to trust that it just jolly well will. Good luck getting the teacher unions to kneel down to these stricter standards imposed by such well meaning bureaucrats. Conservative reason #3:

School choice. "Doesn't it force a "one-size-fits-all approach onto schools? The short answer: no. Standards describe what students are expected to know and be able to do. Written correctly [according to what standard? MN] they do not dictate any particular curriculum, or pedagogy. Plus, the information that comes from standards-based testing gives parents a common yardstick with which to judge schools. In the end Common Core is not a national curriculum--the standards were written by governors and local educators." It's nice that CC gives parents a common yardstick by which to judge schools. Evidently parents have never had one before! Truth is, parents, watching their kids fail to learn to read, write and do simple math have used a common sense standard to determine that public education has been a colossal failure. Nor is having a choice between bad schools a desirable goal. Conservative reason #4:

Competitiveness. "If we don't want to cede the 21st Century to our economic and political rivals--China especially--we need to ensure that many more young Americans emerge from high school truly ready for college and a career that allows them to compete in the global marketplace." While it's true that students need to be able to compete for global jobs, Common Core is not going to achieve that. Common Core is nothing more than the government stamping its feet demanding that kids learn and teachers teach or else. Or else what? Where's the teeth? Where is enforcement? By whom? No mention in the article or any other I've seen. Conservative reason #5:

Innovation. "The core standards are encouraging investment from states, [our tax dollars-MN]philanthropic groups and private firms--which is producing Common Core-aligned textbooks, e-books, professional development, online learning and more." I'm all for more online learning. But textbooks is where curriculum lives. The curriculum in those pages will have to be re-aligned to meet CC testing standards. What's going to be added? Subtracted? What is this re-alignment going to look like? No answers. This gives the lie to the claim that CC won't affect curriculum. Conservative reason #6:

Traditional education values. "Common Core standards are educationally solid. They are rigorous, they are traditional--one might even say they are "conservative." [This sales pitch is really stretching it.-MN] "We see the Common Core as a great conservative triumph.[???] They don't give in to moral relativism, blame-America-first, or so many other liberal nostrums that have infected our public schools." That is fantastic!!! I'm ecstatic! It means multiculturalism, egalitarianism, diversity, equality of outcome, all of which are based on moral relativism, will be finally banned from our public schools!! Pinch me. I must be dreaming. Ouch! I guess I am dreaming. Sigh.

Conservative triumph? An Owellian term for sure. But before closing I want to point out that CC calls for psychometric testing. This in my view will test students as they go through school to see what they are best suited to do in the work place. Their education will be tapered to an occupation designed for them by the educational bureaucrats. That is the real future goal of CC.