Western Washington University: “Help us be less White!”

April 16, 2014

clueless1

Here’s a thought experiment for you: Imagine a university that, through sheer chance, wound up with a mostly Black or Asian student body. Concerned faculty meet, their brows furrowed gravely. What can be done to fix this problem?

And then, a solution! Solicit advice from students and alumni on how the university can make itself  “more White.”

And now imagine the national furor that would erupt.

That’s what should happen to Western Washington University in Bellingham, which is worried that it is too White:

Western Washington University sent a questionnaire to students asking them for advice on how the administration could succeed at making sure that in future years, “we are not as white as we are today.”

The question notes that WWU’s racial make up does not perfectly reflect the nation at large, and asks students to consider strategies that other universities have used to focus on skin color as the paramount indicator of a student-applicant’s worth.

The president of WWU has stated that his explicit goal is to reduce the white population on campus, according to Campus Reform.

“I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, that we as a faculty and staff and student body, as an administration, if we 10 years from now are as white as we are today, we will have failed as a university,” said Bruce Shepard, president of WWU, in a 2012 address.

Maybe I’m just a parochial, knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing, supremacist White guy from a middle-class, suburban background, and so I’m too reactionary and by definition racist to comprehend the enlightened attitudes of our academic betters. Evidently I’m too stupid to see that nothing is more important than skin color. And I’m just crazy enough to still take seriously something once said by another noted reactionary:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

WWU President Bruce Shepard probably would like to tell Dr. King he had it backwards: he should have wanted his children judged not for the content of their character, for then they could have earned admittance to Western Washington University based solely on the color of their skin.

This is progressive racialist nonsense laid bare. Instead of looking for real diversity, such as an intellectual diversity ranging from Right to Left and a cultural diversity not inextricably tied to skin tone, the academic Left divides society into group identities, to which everyone is assigned regardless of individual belief (1). You can bet WWU’s struggle to be less White is informed by Critical Race Theory and is meant to battle the Leftist scapegoats, structural racism and White privilege.

The only factors that should ever be considered in admissions decisions are academic performance and, if you want to give aid, economic need. One of the few things California has done right in recent years is to ban “affirmative action” in college admissions, though that battle is never truly over.

If I were a student a WWU, I’d transfer. I wouldn’t want to be associated with such a race-obsessed institution. If I were a donor, I’d cancel my donation. And if I were a citizen of Washington, I’d demand to know why the state legislature is funding an institution that not only discriminates based on race, in contradiction to everything this nation is supposed to stand for, but asks for advice on how to do it better!

This is just bunk. (3)

Footnote:
(1) An example I came across years ago: a man of Black African ancestry, born in Francophone Africa but raised in France, identifies wholly with France — French culture, French history, the French language. His heart stirs when he sings La Marsellaise (2) or sees La Tricolore. Now, is he “French,” or (in American racial-cultural terms) “Black?” The gentleman himself would tell you he is French, and proudly so. The racialist, on the other hand, sees only the melanin in his skin. The rest just makes him a self-hating victim of “cultural imperialism.”
(2) Whatever else I might say about France, they do have the best national anthem on the planet.
(3) I’m sure you know what word I really meant. But, this is a family show.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Democrats’ “Look it’s Elvis!” strategy not playing on Main Street?

April 14, 2014
"Don't get distracted"

“Don’t get distracted”

The Democrats would really rather you talk about anything other than Obamacare, which has become a huge millstone around the neck of their political fortunes (1). To distract you from this anti-constitutional monstrosity and rally their base voters, they’re desperately deploying the weapons that have served them so well in the past, such as the Race Card.

Another weapon is the “War on Women,” the accusation that, in short, Republicans and conservatives want women barefoot, pregnant, and underpaid, shouting that women only earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. (2) There’s no denying that the “Sexism Card” was effective in the 2012 election, but how is it working for them, now?

If a Pittsburgh waitress is any indicator, not so good:

She gave a dramatic eye-roll in reaction to all of the fuss that Democrats and the president attempted to create over equal pay for women last week.

A Democrat herself, she said she has carved out a decent, comfortable life for her family over the years as a waitress at a local restaurant.

“I am in many ways my own boss,” she explained. “It is up to me to get the order right, treat people well, and use my personal skills to increase my wages.”

And she is “sick and tired of my party treating me like a victim. This is not 1970, and it’s insulting.”

Her last remark is telling. Progressives have long dreamed of instituting nationalized health care in the US, but the ACA’s passage was controversial (to say the least), the bill has never been popular, and it’s rollout to date has been a train wreck. Now faced with an electoral shellacking potentially worse than 2010′s, they’ve gone back to their happy place in the 1960s and whipped out the magic fetishes that have always saved them before: cries of racism, sexism, and class warfare.

Only, as the astute waitress observed, what worked 40-50 years ago doesn’t necessarily work now. American society has made enormous progress on issues of unfair treatment based on gender or race, and only an ideologue or a charlatan –or a desperate pol (or, in this case, all three)– would claim otherwise.

Remember what Lincoln said?

“You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”

The Democrats have been able to fool enough of the people, but, at some point, people get tired of being taken for fools. They notice how dog-eared those cards in the Democrats’ deck have become from being played so often and they’re not impressed anymore. In fact, as our waitress noted, they’re insulted. And insulted people take their business (and votes) elsewhere.

More from the article:

Barack Obama has divided this country since the beginning of his presidency. He has not been transformative; instead, he has indulged one special-interest group after another — women in this case, but also blacks, young people, the lesbian-gay-transgender community and Hispanics in earlier instances.

He has governed by sliced-and-diced division, fear, secrecy and resentment, all accented with toothless executive orders used as political weapons.

This is definitely not the transparent and compassionate administration that he promised.

Maybe this is what happens when you over-promise, or maybe this is who Barack Obama is.

Or the answer is “C,” both. Obama and the Democrats clearly over-promised to win over a public tired by war and frightened by an economic crisis, but it is also who Obama is: a political “slice-and-dicer.” Remember that Obama got his start and his education in retail politics as a community organizer, a profession invented by Saul Alinsky. The whole point of community organizing is not to unite or build bridges, but to divide communities into “us and them” and then organize your faction to achieve your goal by setting them against the other guys. Thus no one should be surprised that Obama has operated this way over the course of his presidency.

It’s who he is and all he knows.

PS: The article’s author, Salena Zito, is a great reporter who looks at politics from a “Main St.” perspective, the point of view of the people the Beltway often forgets exist. You should add her to your reading list.

RELATED: John Fund on the race card as a losing game.

Footnotes:
(1) And deservedly so.
(2) And even though even the White House admitted that was wrong.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Well, scratch Mike Huckabee from the 2016 contenders list

April 13, 2014
Foot, meet mouth

Foot, meet mouth

Not that the former Arkansas governor and current FOX host was on my list, anyway (1), but making statements as facile, lazy, and, yes, ignorant as this should give anyone pause:

Fox News personality and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee stunned a New Hampshire crowd on Saturday by likening the federal government’s treatment of airport passengers to the totalitarian regime of Kim Jong-un.

‘My gosh, I’m beginning to think that there’s more freedom in North Korea sometimes than there is in the United States,’ he told a partisan crowd at the inaugural New Hampshire Freedom Summit.

‘When I go to the airport, I have to get into the surrender position, people put hands all over me, and I have to provide photo ID in a couple of different forms to prove that I’m not going to terrorize the airplane,’ he deadpanned.

In a speech filled with jokes, Huckabee seemed deadly serious.

Really, Mike?

Look, the TSA can be infuriating, it’s definitely ineffective, and it should be disbanded, but as if we were in North Korea? Please, spare me the hyperbole.

North Korea is a nightmare realm ruled by an alcoholic man-child whose subjects fear him as a god. It is a bizarre mix of Confucianism and Stalinism in which all bend to the will of the Dear Leader, lest they die by flamethrower. It is a land of starvation and cannibalism, where multiple generations of whole families are consigned to a vast gulag of prison camps. In fact, all of North Korea is a prison masquerading as a nation.

And to compare the United States to that, even if just to get your point across through the shock value?

That’s just stupid, Mike, and I don’t vote for stupid.

via ST’s Hot Headlines

Footnote:
(1) He rubs me the wrong way, giving me the impression he’s a right-wing statist who would keep feeding Leviathan, not much better than the left-wing statists running the show right now. Others, of course, may well see him differently. Big tent, and all that.


North Korea: the nightmare of living under a god

April 11, 2014

North Korea Yeonmi Park

There’s an interesting and frightening interview posted to Business Insider today with Yeonmi Park, a woman who escaped from North Korea with her family as a teenager, but needed years to get over the brainwashing she endured there. An indoctrination so intense, she believed the late Kim Jong Il could read her mind:

Yeonmi Park grew up in North Korea, under the watchful eye of then-leader Kim Jong-il.

Though she escaped with her family when she was 15, it took her years to get over the intense brainwashing she experienced. In a recent interview with Australian public broadcasting channel SBS, Park went into unbelievable detail about growing up in the totalitarian state.

Growing up in North Korea, according to Park, was like “living in hell.” She describes constant power outages, no transportation, and watching classmates and friends disappear without a trace. While that may be unsurprising, the most interesting part of Park’s experience is her admission that she believed Kim Jong-il to be “a god” who could literally read her mind.

“I had to be careful of my thoughts because I believed Kim Jong-il could read my mind. Every couple of days someone would disappear,” Park said.

Ms. Park’s story is part of a larger program on mind-control shown by SBS, the Australian public broadcaster.  The whole show is worth watching.

In an article at SBS, she tells more of her own story:

I lived in North Korea for the first 15 years of my life, believing Kim Jong-il was a God. I never doubted it because I didn’t know anything else. I could not even imagine life outside of the regime.

It was like living in hell. There were constant power outages, so everything was dark. There was no transportation – everyone had to walk everywhere. It was very dirty and no one could eat anything.

It was not the right conditions for human life, but you couldn’t think about it, let alone complain about it. Even though you were suffering, you had to worship the regime every day.

I had to be careful of my thoughts because I believed Kim Jong-il could read my mind. Every couple of days someone would disappear. A classmate’s mother was punished in a public execution that I was made to attend. I had no choice – there were spies in the neighbourhood.

George Orwell’s 1984 depicts the UK after an atomic war and a Socialist revolution. Big Brother is a de facto god to the people: his every word the undeniable truth, no matter how it contradicted what he might have said just the day before. Your innermost thoughts known to him, and he held the power to make you willing to accept your own death and the deaths of those close to you as just. His Animal Farm is a parable of a just revolution hijacked by an anti-democratic cadre, who maintain power by turning the other animals against each other and all into slaves. Both are taught as works of fiction, but Yeonmi Park’s story reminds us that they were more like docu-dramas and that the story hasn’t come to an end.

It reminds me of a saying of John Adams:

“It is weakness rather than wickedness which renders men unfit to be trusted with unlimited power”

Our second president was right, but left something out: it’s not just that Mankind is too morally weak for any one person to hold absolute power, but there is also the weakness that makes us willing to surrender our responsibilities as citizens and entrust a small group of people or a single person with unlimited power. It is dangerous because, eventually and inevitably, that power will fall into the hands of evil men.

And then what is to stop them from proclaiming themselves gods?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


North Korea: Kim III orders execution by flamethrower

April 10, 2014
"I've got some bad news, boss..."

“Really? Let’s hold a BBQ…”

Sometimes I wonder if Kim Jong Un, a reputed heavy drinker, doesn’t sit around late at night nursing a bottle of scotch and fantasizing about the various outré ways he can whack people who have ticked him off:

A senior North Korean official has been executed with a flamethrower after Kim Jong-un branded him an ‘enemy of the state’, it has been claimed.

O Sang-hon is said to have been brutally killed for his close ties to the communist leader’s uncle Jang Song-taek, who was himself publicly tried and executed in December after being found guilty of corruption and ‘counter revolutionary’ activities.

Mr O is thought to be the latest of 11 senior Workers Party figures to have been executed this year over their links to Mr Jang, with South Korean media reporting that Kim Jong-un has plans to execute or imprison hundreds more of his supporters and extended family members.

Mr O had been Mr Jang’s deputy at North Korea’s ministry of public security, and his execution by flamethrower took place after being found guilty of helping his boss turn the state department into a personal security division and hide corruption, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported.

The ministry of public security has since been closed, with all 11 of the most senior officials said to have been either executed or sent to one of Kim Jong-un’s concentration camps in a second wave of vengeance following conviction of Mr Jang.

I’m not so sure a life sentence in in the North Korean gulag is much better than death, in fact I’m certain it’s in many ways worse, but execution by flamethrower? Mind you, that’s after we’ve had reports of execution by mortar and by being thrown to the dogs.

Use of a flamethrower brings a whole new meaning to “firing squad.”

Take this news with the usual caveats about “if it’s true,” but, regardless of its verity and in spite of its egregiousness, Kim’s savage, quixotic tyranny is a “teachable moment” for advocates for advocates of limited government, because it shows quite clearly the dangers posed when government is not restrained and its powers are not carefully limited. And when the Rule of Man replaces the Rule of Law, no one’s life, rights, or property is safe.

No need for flamethrowers to prove it: just ask the Sacketts of Idaho.

PS: I fully expect Kim to up his game — the next execution just has to be by tac-nuke.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Today’s progressive hypocrisy: Dick Durbin’s (D-IL) war on women

April 8, 2014
Dick Durbin

Hypocrite

Continuing their quest to find something, anything at all, to distract people from the failures of Obamacare and to rally their increasingly dispirited base, Democrats and the MSM have turned to harping on “pay equality,” the idea that women are paid less than men for comparable work. A recent news article propaganda piece in The Huffington Post reported that a study showed women earning 77 cents for every dollar a man earned. Even though this study has been shown to be shoddy and tendentious, and even though the White House admitted the 77-cent figure is wrong, loyal troops such as Dick Durbin have gone onto the Senate floor to loudly proclaim the need for a “Paycheck Fairness Act” to address this horrific discrimination.

Maybe Senator Durbin should start with his own staff:

Durbin took to the Senate floor on Tuesday to preach on the importance of passing legislation aimed at solving the gender pay gap.

“How serious is equal pay for equal work to working people across America?” said Durbin, “I think it’s critical.”

The average female salary is $11,505 lower than the average male salary in Durbin’s office, according to an analysis of Senate salary data from fiscal year 2013 that showed that more than two-thirds of Democratic Senate offices pay men more than women.

Four of the five highest paid staffers on Durbin’s staff are men, according to the analysis.

Of course, it’s hard to gain access to that pay, when women don’t have access to the higher-paying  jobs, themselves. As the Free Beacon points out, none of the Senate Democratic leadership has a female chief of staff.

Why do Dick Durbin and Harry Reid hate women?

PS: To be clear, Durbin and his colleagues couldn’t give a rat’s rear end about “paycheck equality” or any of the other “Look! It’s Elvis!!” issues they’ve been throwing against the wall. But they’ve seen the electoral train wreck headed their way, thanks to Obamacare, and they’re looking for anything that might soften the blow. Hence, too, Harry Reid’s “Koch conspiracy” insanity. It’s pathetic, really.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Obama Administration’s Engages in Contortions to Claim that Obamacare Is a Success

April 6, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Where “contortions” means “spin like an out of control top.”

Originally posted on International Liberty:

I’ve observed , reported , mocked , written , and explained that Obamacare is a cluster-you-know-what.

So I’m rather bemused and frustrated by the latest pro-Obamacare spin that the law is a “success” because there are now 7 million people who have picked a plan.

There are lots of reasons for normal people to have a what-the-expletive-deleted response to this declaration of victory. For instance:

The goal of Obamacare was to insure the uninsured, yet that number has barely budged, so why is the Administration allowed to move the goalposts to something far more modest?

Obamacare also was supposed to lower premiums by $2500 and allow everyone to keep their plans and their preferred providers, so what happened to those goals?

And why should we even believe the White House spin when we have no idea whether people who have picked a plan have actually paid for that plan?

Moreover…

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(Video) Why the elderly are fleeing the Democrats

April 1, 2014
"Revenge of the angry mob"

“Revenge of the angry mob”

Consider this to be a coda to yesterday’s post about the Gallup poll showing the electorally active senior vote shifting decisively away from the Democrats. It’s anecdotal evidence, but still illustrative:

Key line, per David Freddoso:

“Not only did my premium go up,” this 91-year-old New York gentleman notes, “but my coverage went down.”

And it’s not just the Democrats’ lock on the senior vote that’s been endangered by Obamacare’s trashing of the healthcare system: I don’t know how Mr. Centola’s son feels, but I’m willing to bet he’s not happy with the people who foisted this mess on the American people — and his father. Were it my parents or grandparents being jerked around like this, there would be steam coming out my ears and I’d be looking forward to the chance to vent it on election day. I suspect there are many more children and grandchildren who feel the same way.

Ticking off a large, politically active group is not a path toward happiness on election night.

Hectic day today, but I couldn’t let this one go by without notice.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Survey shows elderly voters fleeing Democrats

March 31, 2014

Fail

This news from Gallup probably has staff of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reaching for a bottle:

U.S seniors — those aged 65 and older — have moved from a reliably Democratic group to a reliably Republican one over the past two decades. From 1992 through 2006, seniors had been solidly Democratic and significantly more Democratic than younger Americans. Over the last seven years, seniors have become less Democratic, and have shown an outright preference for the Republican Party since 2010.

In 1992, 53% of senior citizens, on average, identified as Democrats or said they were independents but leaned Democratic, while 39% identified as Republicans or leaned Republican, resulting in a 14-percentage-point Democratic advantage in seniors’ party affiliation. Last year, 48% of seniors identified as or leaned Republican, and 45% Democratic, a three-point Republican advantage.

It’s a truism of American politics that older, retired voters tend to turn out for elections more than other demographic groups. In a midterm election, such a self-motivated group can have an outsized influence because other groups often aren’t as enthusiastic to vote when the election lacks the drama of a presidential race.

The Democrats remember what happened in the last midterm election, which was a slaughter for them at both the federal and state levels. Without the Obama of 2008 or even 2012 at the top of their ticket (1), that eager-to-vote “senior bloc” could again make a serious difference.

Gallup goes into a long analysis of the influence ethnic factors might have on the elderly shifting toward Republicans (they tend to be more White as a group), and it’s an interesting read. But, I’ll offer another explanation which I, without doing any polling, think plays a much larger roll:

People don’t like being lied to.

That’s what Obama and the Democratic Party did when they promised a) if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor; b) if you like your insurance plan, you can keep your insurance plan; and c) we won’t touch Medicare.

Lie. Lie. Lie.

That last is especially galling to seniors, because the Medicare Advantage program is very popular and Obamacare just guts it. Perhaps there’s a general unhappiness among the elderly with the administration and the direction of the nation (I’d be surprised if there weren’t), but the cuts to Medicare and the interference in the doctor-patient relationship is very immediate, very personal and very probably frightening for many of these people. They’ve been lied to, they’ve been played for suckers, and no one I know likes that feeling, or the persons who made them feel that way.

And that’s why this poll has to have Harry Reid retreating to his Happy Place, because it looks very much like payback for those lies is coming soon.

via Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt

Footnote:
(1) They’re probably grateful the Obama of 2014 isn’t, either.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Greetings from Obamaland…Oops, I Mean Greece

March 29, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

It’s easy to mistake the two; Obama has us well down the same road.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

As much as I condemn American politicians for bad policy, things could be worse.

We could be Greek citizens, which would be very depressing. Indeed, you’ll understand why I put Obamaland in the title after you read today’s column.

Simply stated, Greece is a cesspool of statism. The people seem to be wonderful (at least outside of polling booths), but government intervention is pervasive and atrocious.

Here’s an example. As I was coming in a taxi from the airport to the city yesterday, we passed some sort of protest. There were a couple of hundred people at the rally and probably about 50 riot cops.

I naturally wondered about the situation, expecting that it was radical statists or some of the crazies from Golden Dawn. But the cab driver explained that it was pharmacists.

So why are pharmacists protesting? I found out from some of the locals at…

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#CApolitics: Third state senator (D) arrested on corruption charges

March 26, 2014
Not smiling now, I bet.

Not smiling now, I bet.

Earth-shaking news in California politics broke this morning with word of the arrest of State Senator Leland Yee (D, SD-8) on charges of public corruption, including soliciting donations beyond the allowed limits in return for legislative services and –ahem!– firearms trafficking. You can read the indictment (PDF) via the NBC BayArea site (1). From their article on the arrest:

California state Sen. Leland Yee was arrested on public corruption charges as part of several arrests made by the FBI Wednesday morning during a massive FBI sting, the FBI told NBC Bay Area.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California said that Yee and current Chee Kung Tong leader Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow were among 26 defendants charged in a federal criminal complaint.

Yee and Chow were arraigned before Federal Magistrate Judge Nathaniel Cousins in San Francisco this afternoon.

The federal criminal complaint, filed on March 24, was unsealed in San Francisco Wednesday, charging the defendants with firearms trafficking, money laundering, murder-for-hire, drug distribution, trafficking in contraband cigarettes and honest services fraud, announced Haagm FBI special agent David Johnson and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge José M. Martinez.

Yee was charged with conspiracy to traffic in firearms without a license, and to illegally import firearms as well as a scheme to defraud citizens of honest services.

Chow’s charges include money laundering and conspiracy to trafficking contraband cigarettes.

From what I gather from skimming the indictment, Yee stands accused of soliciting bribes both to retire his debt from his failed mayoral run in San Francisco and to fund his current campaign for Secretary of State. He is also accused of offering to facilitate an arms deal through New Jersey between a dealer Yee knew and “UCE 4599,” an unidentified FBI undercover agent… in return for a “donation.”

The connection between Senator Yee and “Shrimp Boy” Chow seems to be Keith Jackson, a well-known Bay Area political consultant and associate of Yee. Chow, who has a long record and has been under investigation for years, introduced UCE 4599 to Jackson, who then apparently started supplying weapons for UCE 4599′s “associates” to guard their (imaginary) marijuana farms in Northern California. Jackson and others also apparently ran their own drug ring and even attempted to solicit murder-for-hire. Jackson was also Yee’s money-maker for the illegal donations.

There is no accusation that Senator Yee had anything to do with drugs or murder-for-hire, but, still, he sure keeps nice company.

Aside from the organized crime drama and political corruption, this has serious implications for the Democrats in California. Yee is the third state senator (2), all Democrats, to be indicted or convicted in the last several months. Senator Roderick Wright was convicted of felony voter fraud in January, while Senator Ron Calderon was indicted for corruption in February.

Since the 2012 election, Democrats have held a supermajority in the California legislature, controlling both chambers with two-thirds majorities. Under the state constitution, that gave them the power to do pretty much whatever they wanted: pass irresponsible budgets, fund wasteful programs to their heart’s content, you name it. The Republicans were bystanders, and it didn’t look like they’d have any power any time soon.

Then the majority started crumbling in the state senate. First came Andy Vidak’s (R-SD26) surprise victory in a 2013 special election, then the conviction of Wright and the indictment of Calderon. That last broke the supermajority in the senate, and now Yee’s troubles (3) deepens the hole they’re in. Now, at least, the Democrats have to actually deal with the Republican senate caucus, if they want to get anything done. This means Proposition 13, the measure that protects homeowners from exorbitant property taxes and mandates a 2/3rds majority to raise taxes, making it a prime Democrat target, is safe for a while. The Democrats are likely to regain those seats, given the districts, but a smart Republican or independent candidate might make some populist hay running on a clean government platform. We’ll see.

From a larger view, this is what happens in a state when a party overwhelmingly dominates for too long: without credible opposition, legislators and other government officials come to feel entitled, become complacent, and think of themselves as rulers, not employees subject to the audit of the people. Corruption sets in. California has long been dominated by the Democrats (in the legislature, for decades), but a conservative friend in a long-time Red state has voiced similar complaints. It shows the problems that can set in when a strong two-party system withers to one.

One hopes that revelations such as Senator Yee’s purported activities will lead to soul-searching among the Democrats (4) and the rise of good conservative candidates in more areas to help redress the balance.

For the sake of California’s political health, we need both.

RELATED: More from the San Jose Mercury News.

PS: Did you know Yee once sponsored a measure to require state buildings to be designed according to Chinese Feng Shui principles? There’s a reason we’re called “Crazyfornia.”

Footnotes:
(1) And kudos to them for linking to a primary source. Too few online MSM outlets do that.
(2) But not the last, I bet.
(3) Because Senate President Steinberg (D) is desperate to keep those seats in Democrat hands, rather than risk a special election, Wright and Calderon have been allowed to go on “paid leave,” rather than being expelled. Yes, they still draw a salary, but at least they can’t vote. I’m sure Yee will be shown the same “courtesy.”
(4) Oh, stop laughing. It could happen. Maybe.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


North Korea: all men must now wear Kim Jong Un’s hairstyle?

March 26, 2014
x

Bah! You call that a “haircut?”

When you’re the boy god-king of the world’s largest prison camp masquerading as a nation, you can get away with weird, petty stuff like this:

If you are a man in North Korea, we sincerely hope you have a round face. It’s the shape that will work with your new haircut.

That new haircut is reportedly called the “Dear Leader Kim Jong Un,” modeled after—you guessed it—North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s impenetrable block of black hair atop his chubby cheeks. The style reportedly became a state-mandated guideline about two weeks ago, though experts familiar with the country have said there’s no evidence a new hairstyle rule has gone into effect.

According to the article, this isn’t something new for North Korea: Kim’s father, the late, demented Kim Jong Il, launched a state campaign against long hair on the grounds that it sucked the nutrients from one’s brain.

Really.

Anyway, a TV campaign was launched and “journalists” would go to people’s homes to confront them about their overly lengthy locks. This being North Korea, I suppose they were lucky not to be shot or fed to the dogs.

Back to Kim III, and regardless of whether this is true, it’s another illustration of why limited, constitutional government is best; when there are no limits to the powers of the rulers, there are also no limits to what they will do the the ruled. North Korea is just the extreme example that clarifies the point.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Time for a Free-Market Postal System

March 25, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Revisiting one of my pet peeves: privatizing our hugely inefficient and money-losing postal service. In this case, Mitchell presents Britain’s success at doing just that.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

It’s not often that I agree with the Washington Post , but a government-run monopoly is not the best way to get mail delivered.

Moreover, it’s not often that I agree with the timid (and sometimes reprehensible) Tory-led government in the United Kingdom, but they just put the Royal Mail into the private sector. And that’s something deserving of loud applause.

Here’s a slice of the big news from the Financial Times.

The goal of privatising Royal Mail had defeated governments for 40 years. …Even prime minister Margaret Thatcher balked at the political risk of selling off a public service that carried the Queen’s head on its stamps. This time, the legislation went through parliament.

My Cato colleague, Chris Edwards, is suitably impressed.

Here’s some of what he wrote for Cato-at-Liberty.

Britain privatized its Royal Mail in 2013, proceeding with an initial public offering of shares that raised about…

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(Video) Jonah Goldberg on the real meaning of “social justice”

March 25, 2014
Justice is individual, not social

Justice is individual, not social

“Social justice” is one of those phrases the left loves: stripped of all precision, it means whatever progressives want it to mean — raising the minimum wage, economic redistribution, “rights” for this or that group, etc. It forms a hot mess of unrelated issues, until you see he common thread behind it: “social justice” means doing whatever progressives think is good, and this good is accomplished through the State, with progressives in charge. And, if you disagree, you must be a racist, fascist, misogynistic, reactionary, greedy capitalistic homophobe. (Did I miss anything?)

Anyway, the invaluable Prager University has published a new video that features Jonah Goldberg explaining the real meaning of “social justice:”

Try some of these arguments on liberals you know. Then have fun watching their heads explode.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Got cancer? Got #Obamacare? Good luck…

March 19, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Among the many “benefits” brought to us by the Affordable Care Act has been the narrowing of provider networks. To deal with increased costs brought on by Obamacare’s increased coverage mandates, insurance companies are offering fewer doctors and hospitals on their approved lists. For many people, this has meant losing access to the physicians they liked, contra President Obama’s oft-repeated promise lie.

If you’re a cancer patient, you have a particular problem. We’ve met Edie Sundby, a stage-4 cancer sufferer who’s losing her provider network, thanks to Obamacare, but what if you were able to keep your doctors, but needed specialized or experimental treatment?

Under Obamacare, good luck:

Some of America’s best cancer hospitals are off-limits to many of the people now signing up for coverage under the nation’s new health care program.

Doctors and administrators say they’re concerned. So are some state insurance regulators.

An Associated Press survey found examples coast to coast. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is excluded by five out of eight insurers in Washington’s insurance exchange. MD Anderson Cancer Center says it’s in less than half of the plans in the Houston area. Memorial Sloan-Kettering is included by two of nine insurers in New York City and has out-of-network agreements with two more.

In all, only four of 19 nationally recognized comprehensive cancer centers that responded to AP’s survey said patients have access through all the insurance companies in their states’ exchanges.

Not too long ago insurance companies would have been vying to offer access to renowned cancer centers, said Dan Mendelson, CEO of the market research firm Avalere Health. Now the focus is on costs.

This is a marked deterioration of access to the premier cancer centers for people who are signing up for these plans,” Mendelson said.

Those patients may not be able get the most advanced treatment, including clinical trials of new medications.

Emphasis added.

The article mentions another problem, one that’s been noted since the Obamacare web sites went online: it’s hard to tell if the physician and hospital you want are included in the plan you’re looking at. Thus someone in Los Angeles  may sign up thinking they have access to a top-notch cancer facility, such as Cedars-Sinai, only to discover the truth after they develop cancer. Their only options then are to go elsewhere (if there is an “elsewhere”) or pay out of pocket, which may be financially devastating or downright impossible.

Later on, the writer quotes officials who feel these are not serious problems, that they can be worked out, but what about the people who need treatment now and used to be able to get it under the old system? Though the large insurance companies were nothing better than rent-seeking collaborators in Obamacare, I’m not blaming them for this; they’re just acting rationally in the face of increased costs, a problem created by government.

At the end, the writers report that the Obama administration has promised “closer scrutiny” of insurance companies, especially for cancer care, presumably to include the design of provider networks. Great. So the solution to a problem created by regulation will inevitably be more regulation, which will make the problem worse and a genuine solution more difficult, not easier. Here’s the process:

  1. Government creates a problem through bad regulation.
  2. Businesses respond logically to the problem, irking consumers.
  3. Consumers complain about the response.
  4. Government proposes more bad regulation to deal with the response, ignoring the core problem government itself created and creating new ones.

Rinse and repeat.

Meanwhile, the poor cancer sufferer keeps on suffering.

Thanks, Obamacare!

via Dana Loesch

RELATED: In the Elections Have Consequences category, Colorado Mountain College is cutting back on hours for part-time faculty to avoid the expensive new employer mandates under Obamacare. I wonder how many voted for Obama? Whoever you are, congratulations. You got what you voted for. (h/t Conservative Intelligence Briefing)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Sweden, Spending Restraint, and the Benefits of Obeying Fiscal Policy’s Golden Rule

March 16, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

It’s really kind of embarrassing to admit the world’s most successful capitalist nation in history could learn a thing or two about sound public fiscal policy from what was once the poster-child nation of Social Democracy. But useful, like many such humblings. One hopes our leaders in DC will learn it well.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

When I first started working on fiscal policy in the 1980s, I never thought I would consider Sweden any sort of role model.

It was the quintessential cradle-to-grave welfare state, much loved on the left as an example for America to follow.

But Sweden suffered a severe economic shock in the early 1990s and policy makers were forced to rethink big government.

They’ve since implemented some positive reforms in the area of fiscal policy, along with other changes to liberalize the economy.

I even, much to my surprise, wrote a column in 2012 stating that it’s “Time to Follow Sweden’s Lead on Fiscal Policy.”

More specifically, I’m impressed that Swedish leaders have imposed some genuine fiscal restraint.

Here’s a chart, based on IMF data, showing that the country enjoyed a nine-year period where the burden of government spending grew by an average of 1.9 percent…

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Whether You Call it Socialism, Statism, Fascism, or Corporatism, Big Government Is Evil and Destructive

March 15, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

In one sense, it’s just arguing over terms, but I do think proper nomenclature is important to understanding. But Mitchell has a point that “Socialism” and “Fascism” are too emotionally charged and may instead impede understanding. “Statism” is a good, neutral noun to use in their place, though I also like Goldberg’s (from H.G. Wells) “Liberal Fascism.”

Originally posted on International Liberty:

Regular readers may have noticed that I generally say that advocates of big government are “statists.”

I could call them “liberals,” but I don’t like that using that term since the early advocates of economic and personal liberty were “classical liberals” such as Adam Smith, John Locke, and Jean-Baptiste Say. And proponents of these ideas are still called “liberals” in Europe and Australia.

I could call them “socialists,” but I don’t think that’s technically accurate since the theory is based on government ownership of the means of production. This is why I’ve been in the strange position of defending Obama when some folks have used the S word to describe him.

I could call them “fascists,” which Thomas Sowell explains is the most accurate way of describing the modern left’s economic ideology, but that term also implies racism. But while leftists sometimes support policies that hurt minorities

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At last, someone has found the best strategy for @TheDemocrats

March 14, 2014
Not trolling

Concern troll

Examining the utterly brutal numbers (PDF) for the Democrats in a poll conducted jointly by The Wall St. Journal and NBC, David Freddoso offered this advice:

So anyway, the ideal campaign for Democrats would send President Obama to Hawaii for a few months, run ads against the health care law they all voted for (they’re already all over this one), send Bill Clinton out to stump in as many races as possible, and hope for the best.

I’d accuse David of concern-trolling, but he’s too nice  guy for that.  Me, on the other hand…

Still don’t get why Bill Clinton is so popular, though.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


How do you know a Democrat is panicking? Updated

March 13, 2014
"It's on"

Press in case of impending election

When he brags about supporting George W. Bush, that’s panic talking:

A longtime House Democrat in electoral jeopardy this fall says he supported former President George W. Bush more than President Obama.

Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), first elected in 1976, is a top target of Republicans in a state where Obama has long been deeply unpopular. He is facing a state senator, Evan Jenkins, who switched to the GOP to challenge him, and the House Democratic campaign committee recently added him to its “Frontline” list of members that need the most help saving their seat in November.

“There’s no question my critics try to blame Obama-Rahall for everything,” Rahall told The Hill. “I mean, the snow blitz that’s coming tonight is probably Obama-Rahall’s fault. And they won’t have that to do two years from now, so it’s obvious they’re leaving no stone unturned to defeat me this time. Because it’s the last time they’ll have Obama around! It’s that simple.”

“Hey, don’t blame me for that guy from my party who’s been in the White House for the last five years!”

The schadenfreude here is sweet, my friends. For years, after the shock of 9/11 wore off soon after the liberation of Iraq, the Democrats hurled vile calumnies at President Bush in their desperate quest to regain power. No comparison was too low, no lie too blatant, no fantasy too lurid. After Obama was inaugurated in 2009, the “blame Bush” deflection efforts became so common as to become ritualized, a two-minutes hate. George W. Bush, not the greatest president but a good man, was the new Emmanuel Goldstein.

And now, thanks to a rotten economy made chronic by Obama’s policies, his arrogant contempt for the rule of law, and the chaos created by his signature legislation, Democrats are starting to demand they be compared to… George W. Bush.

Pardon me, I need to laugh: smiley rofl

It wouldn’t surprise me to see several more as Election Day draws near.

Via Jim Geraghty, who offers a second example.

RELATED: More from my blog-buddy, ST.

UPDATE 3/14/2014: From David Freddoso’s Conservative Intelligence Briefing, a Republican-commissioned poll shows Rahall’s likely opponent, State Senator Evan Jenkins, ahead by 14 points. Even accounting for partisan bias, Rahall’s congressional career looks like toast. Freddoso offers a possible reason:

In Rahall’s particular case, his vote for the Progressive Caucus budget (which contained a carbon tax) will probably be his undoing. There’s just no way out of that one when you represent coal country.

Voting against your constituents’ interests? Huh. Funny how that works out.


Bit by bit, Obama repeals #Obamacare, so Republicans don’t have to. Updated: Sebelius denies delay?

March 12, 2014
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

It’s long been known that the individual mandate is the foundation of the Affordable Care Act. Without the requirement for healthy young people to buy more insurance than they need or pay a penalty tax protection money, there would never be enough revenue coming into the system to pay for the elderly and those with preexisting conditions. And amidst all the waivers (1) and delays for unions and businesses claiming hardship under the new law, the one thing they’ve refused to rescind was the individual mandate, itself.

Until last week, when it was done in secret:

ObamaCare’s implementers continue to roam the battlefield and shoot their own wounded, and the latest casualty is the core of the Affordable Care Act—the individual mandate. To wit, last week the Administration quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance or else pay a tax penalty.

This latest political reconstruction has received zero media notice, and the Health and Human Services Department didn’t think the details were worth discussing in a conference call, press materials or fact sheet. Instead, the mandate suspension was buried in an unrelated rule that was meant to preserve some health plans that don’t comply with ObamaCare benefit and redistribution mandates. Our sources only noticed the change this week.

That seven-page technical bulletin includes a paragraph and footnote that casually mention that a rule in a separate December 2013 bulletin would be extended for two more years, until 2016. Lo and behold, it turns out this second rule, which was supposed to last for only a year, allows Americans whose coverage was cancelled to opt out of the mandate altogether.

The WSJ article then goes through the various classes of exempted individuals and what they have to do to claim that exemption, but the short version is that if you feel you’ve been burdened or harmed by Obamacare –including not being able to afford the new, more expensive even though subsidized policies mandated by Obamacare– you can have a two-year hardship exception based solely on your word.

Yes, you read that right: our new, wonderful, Heaven-on-Earth healthcare-for-all law is now recognized as such a problem that people have to be exempted from obeying it.

Why are they doing this, you ask, since it’s sure to throw the ACA’s finances even more out of whack? Why are they gutting the core of the bill that has been a progressive dream since at least Truman? Trust me, it’s not from empathy for the very people the law is harming.

Have a look at this article from the Conservative Intelligence Briefing and this other from National Journal. (And, for a laugh, this desperate spin from DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. (2) ) Both deal with the possible fallout from the Republican win in the special election in Florida’s 13th congressional district, one the Democrats thought they had a good chance to win against a flawed Republican candidate.

Instead, they lost, and a good part of the reason was popular anger over Obamacare (3). And now they’re looking at possibly losing seats in the House, in addition to an increasingly-likely loss of their Senate majority.

None of this is guaranteed, of course, but it’s a scary-enough prospect to have them reaching for the whisky bottle while quietly throwing Obamacare’s key provision under the bus, a move that stinks of desperation.

This is significant not just for its electoral consequence, either. Once exceptions like these are granted, it will be danged hard for Obama or a future Democrat president to take them back  and start enforcing the rules (4). And with The One establishing the precedent that the president can ignore laws that are inconvenient to him, what’s to stop a future Republican president from ignoring the ACA altogether?

The Republican-dominated House has voted roughly 50 times to repeal Obamacare since taking control in 2011. I think they can take a breather.

Bit by bit, Obama is repealing it for them.

via Salena Zito and Ben Domenech

PS: I agree with Josh Blackman. Republicans should send opt-out forms to all their constituents — and the Democrats’, too.

PPS: For those who are having trouble affording insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the president suggests cutting back on cable TV and cell phone use. No, really.

Footnote:
(1) And that was just through 1Q 2011…
(2) That is, the race-baiting Debbie Wasserman-Schultz
(3) As Jim Geraghty points out, Republicans have, thank God, improved their ground-game, too.
(4) Do you really think he’s going to reimpose them in 2016, just as the presidential race heats up? No way…

UPDATE: Sebelius denying there’s been a delay to the individual mandate? Hmmm…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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