[This is the addended transcript of my regular KVMR commentary broadcast on 14 September 2016.]
There was happy dancing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue this morning. The much publicized mirth has to do with what appears to a break in the longstanding doldrums in which our economy has been mired for the last eight years. Everyone by now has heard about the Commerce Department announcing the big jump in last year’s median income. It went up 5.2% in 2015 dollars after having declined since George W Bush left office. But before strapping on your dancing shoes, there’s more to this story than the headlines screaming ‘America gets a raise!’
Conspiracy (n) – an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; plot; a combination for a secret, unlawful, or evil purpose.
Mid-roaders are some of the most ideologically opaque critters that reside on the political landscape. In these pages I have attempted to gently take them to task for not willing (or able?) to define the tenets which make up their belief systems. They mostly busy themselves by trying to convince people that they have risen above the fray of partisan politics, endeavors they deem some distance below the heights from which they observe the rest of us.
Brother RL ‘Bob’ Crabb, Nevada County’s favorite mid-roader, RR critic, and graphical essayist, has prominently published the above cartoon in the 13Sep16 Union from whence I promptly filched it for the edification of RR readers.
The well-read will immediately notice that almost all of Bro Bob’s illustrated conspiracies are not conspiracies at all, but only labeled beliefs held by divers people not even uniformly paired with either the “vast Left” or the “vast Right”. For example, globally publicized and promoted Agenda21 is not a conspiracy, but a longstanding UN governance policy project that is being implemented through established and widely distributed ICLEIs (International Council for Local Environmental Intiatives renamed Local Governments for Sustainability). Even our own county government staffers have attended its lectures and classes. (Why the Left and some mid-roaders deny its existence, aims, and objectives is another story that has been extensively covered in these pages.)
The same guidance can be given for Bro Bob’s balloons labeled ‘Area 51’, Bilderberg Group’, …, and even ‘Elvis Lives’. But most of all, very few of the represented hyper-ventilations have anything to do with the 2016 election or the pap pushed by the major parties. But what I noted was missing in the mish-mash dredged from the depths of Conspiritoria were items like the Comey/Lynch Vote, Hillary’s Health, Trump’s Deplorables, Amnesty Reform, … the promotion of which really could be conspiracies to affect November’s outcome.
Finally, for his labors our celebrated cartoonist correctly selected the proper parsing tool from Friar Occam’s tonsorial kit. However, seeing how willy-nilly it was wielded here, I have to admonish Brother Bob to salve his fervor in the future so as not to filet himself.
We must always remember that more often than not the public mind is fickle, frantic, and foolish.
No one can escape the polls during this election season whose results will be deemed cataclysmic by at least half of the American electorate, no matter who wins. So all kinds of people from government, campaigns, and academia are attempting to peer into the collective public mind to determine its sentiment and portents. The instrument of choice for this endeavor is the poll. A poll is a type of survey which consists of applying a questionnaire to a sample of respondents drawn randomly from the population of interest.
Polls are abundant, there being at least twenty of them prominently quoted on a daily basis. To make sense of the plethora of divergent results, desperate people attempt to amalgamate them by various kinds of averaging each of which can stand about as much scrutiny as the legislature making laws, or worse, a bureaucratic brew drafting regulations. Here I want to disabuse the reader of giving much credence to any of the, say, ten polls to which he is subjected on any given day. The poll’s result is usually given by a set of percentages attached to alternative answers, percentages that are supposed to sum to 100% so that the waterfront is appropriately covered.
To add credibility to the poll, the media also often include the ‘margin of error’ and the number of people questioned or the sample size. As an article of faith the poll’s consumer is supposed to believe that the population was properly sampled and that the questionnaire was not loaded with agenda-driven queries meticulously wordsmithed. For the present exercise let’s all join that body of the faithful and concentrate only on the claimed credibility bestowed by stated sample size and margin of error.
[To continue reading this piece which goes on to contain numerical tables and graphics, please Download Polling Phollies ]
Amnesty – “an act of forgiveness for past offenses, especially to a class of persons as a whole”, Random House Dictionary (unabridged). “an act of oblivion, a general overlooking or pardon of past offences by the ruling authority”, Oxford English Dictionary (unabridged).
Amnesty for illegal aliens today has become the new third rail of politics for both sides. On long established principle the Republicans will not countenance it from their politicians (save the special amnesty once approved by Saint Ronald). The Democrats, aided by the lamestream, will do their damnest to implement it without using the word or letting their faithful learn of it (the latter being an unusually easy task).
Part and parcel of the progressive propaganda blitz on amnesty is the dunning of Trump’s immigration policy speech in which he declared that 1) legalization of resident illegal aliens will be done according to existing immigration laws, and 2) the disposition of remaining illegal aliens will be addressed after the border is secured. The rationale being that granting illegals amnesty by allowing them to shortcut the path to legalization, over those hundreds of thousands abiding by our immigration laws, is both unjust and motivates more illegal entrants, further breaking of our laws, and burdening the country’s fisc.
For openly stating that part of his immigration reform policy Trump has been likened to Hitler herding Jews during the Holocaust. The country’s leftwingers and socialists take every opportunity to remind their acolytes and the muddled mid-roaders that the fate of the fabled ‘eleven million’ under Trump will be midnight knocks on the door and cattle car trains full of Hispanics heading for our southern border. Unfortunately, the nation’s aggregate critical thinking skills are not up to parsing this ridiculous image that is daily tattooed on such minds.
But the bottom line is that any path to legalization, let alone citizenship, for resident illegal aliens that circumvents our laws is in fact amnesty. The information-free thinkers must always be reminded that these people within our borders are not ‘immigrants’ in the normative sense of the word, since our country was not party to any agreement that permitted their surreptitious entry. However, on these shores today that is not the dispensed wisdom; in the public square we, instead, pirouette with words few understand.
[This is the addended transcript of my regular KVMR commentary broadcast on 31 August 2016.]
For quite some time now Americans have heard the siren song of Nordic socialism performed consistently by our country’s Left from which more and more are actually outing themselves as socialists. In this election season we have heard Senator Bernie Sanders promote the Nordic style welfare state with statements like, “I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn what they have accomplished for their working people.” And in order to scoop up Bernie’s base, Hillary Clinton has echoed those sentiments as part of her promise to continue the policies of Barack Obama.
Obama has also been quite open about his embrace of socialism, especially of the Nordic type as this year he declared, “In a world of growing economic disparities, Nordic countries have some of the least income inequality in the world . . . There have been times where I’ve said, why don’t we just put all these small countries in charge for a while? And they could clean things up.”
In these commentaries I have reviewed the current status of the Nordics, concentrating especially on the fiscal unsustainability of their welfare policies, and the realities of their economies to provide the growth they need. Recently the non-partisan Council on Foreign Relations has published an essay by Kurdish born Swedish scientist and author Nima Sanandaji who has studied and written extensively on Nordic polity and policies. His most recent book – Debunking Utopia: Exposing the Myth of Nordic Socialism – presents compelling arguments backed by reams of data that expose a more realistic picture of how the Nordics got to where they are, and how their current performance should be compared, especially by Americans, on an apples-to-apples basis.
A correspondent sent me this transcription from a Warren Buffett interview in which he assembled the whole list of things we have all heard piecemeal here and there. This is something that I believe most Americans can get behind, and as history shows, when we overwhelmingly vote for something, it can come to pass in a hurry. So when will we get off our fat butts? Consider it, and then pass it on.
"I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," Buffett told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.
The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971 - before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land - all because of public pressure.
Congressional Reform Act of 2017
More evidence that our Great Experiment has failed. Great Experiment? - self-governance, the raison d’etre the Founders nominated for our Republic, ‘Is common man capable of governing himself?’ Today we have finally ‘educated’ our dumbest generation ever – the Millennials. These young people are now overwhelmingly ignorant of history, modes of governance, economics, and general American civics to a degree unmatched and unimaginable. For example, they seriously doubt that capitalism has been more beneficial to mankind than has collectivism, and are ready to demonstrate their credentials in the voting booth.
They care not a whit that the US today owes $122,000,000,000,000 which is more than the value of everything else we own that comes only to $121,000,000,000,000. And that unsustainable debt will explode as interest rates return to normal market levels. The proximal result is that all entitlements, from retirements to government healthcare, will simply end with the destruction of the dollar. Their own economic futures have been irredeemably pawned, and they have no clue.
Today there is clear indication that a majority of voting Americans have no idea that the protectionism promoted by both major candidates would make our country into an insular island of expensive labor and high priced goods/services that will be out of reach to most of our people. These people believe that government allocates capital better than the private sector, that economic decisions are not affected by tax rates, that wages can be raised by fiat without regard to productivity or value delivered by labor, and that the balance of risk and potential profits do not impact investment. Our union schools have purged it all from the minds of the most recent generation since the launch of President Johnson’s Great Society in 1965.
Whoever wins in November, America can never retreat from being a leading participant in global commerce. If it tries, chaos would ensue. More here from Dr Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations. The only thing here is not to confuse the control of our borders with starting a trade war. With almost 40% of our workforce refusing to enter job markets, these to aspects of foreign and economic policy are totally independent issues. The Democrats continue to hitch ‘The Wall’ to trade isolationism because they can field no legitimate reason to oppose it in the context of a new immigration policy.
The Obama years. These years have literally NOTHING to show for them that has benefited the country. Obama was presented with an unprecedented opportunity in 2009 with a dominant Democrat Congress to soar like an eagle. The recession that was in full swing when he arrived was merely a superimposed boil on an otherwise healthy economy. And he could have shown what a rocket ride America could have in its recovery. Instead, he squandered the whole thing with an ideological disaster, a program we now call Obamacare.
On the face of it Obamacare, passed in the dead of night with only Democrat votes, was a road to ruin. Now years later all of what reasonable people could see (including on these pages) have come true, and much more sewage is in the pipeline for the country to swallow. The progressive central planners wrote into the legislation terms that would limit the profit margins of large insurers to 5% (remember progs believe they know how much profit is socially just) which turned away investment capital as predicted. Also predicted was that the only ones who want to buy Obamacare are the destitute already on the dole, and the deathly ill heading for the final round-up – not much profit in either cohort. Now insurers have already started pulling out of the states’ programs with Aetna being the latest to bail.
All of this goes to sustain the Rebane Doctrine tenet that progs are butt stupid when it comes to most aspects of governance, and that goes double for managing an economy. As further corroboration, we notice that in this campaign the progs are not highlighting any of the last eight years’ accomplishments, and are thankful that The Donald has been been equally stupid in reacting to their tweets designed to keep him off message. Can you imagine the shift in polls if Trump ever gets his sh!t together and goes after Crooked Hillary, the weakest and most shameful candidate the Democrats have fielded in memory? By comparison Jimmy Carter was a giant.
[11aug16 update] Nevada starts ending solar subsidies. Very little has been covered about that in the lamestream. Nevada taxpayers (through their utility company) finally said enough is enough. They’ve been putting up with this folly for 18 years and concluded that if that industry cannot sustain itself after all these years of state help, then it’s time to pull the plug (more here). However, the government tit has been so comfortably exercised for so long, that a sudden stoppage of the $16M annual cost is not in the cards; they’ll do it over a number of years. The econuts are, of course, screaming and demand at a minimum that the 17,000 subscribers to the scam be able to continue their artificially low rates. We’ll see how this bamboozle goes down with the rest of the Nevada’s taxpayers. In the meanwhile, other states (e.g. California) with similar programs have yet to come to their senses, and some are even planning to double down on the insanity.
Meanwhile, Marxist Maduro plans to further mangle Venezuela’s economy that is already down for the count. The tyrannical president and holder of western hemisphere’s functional idiot title will hire Spanish communist economist Alfredo Serrano (pictured) to come and help revise the country’s economy (more here). Serrano has diagnosed Venezuela’s problem as not having enough government control of the economy. These people are the heroes of America’s own progressives who can’t figure out how come it’s so hard to fix the economy when it’s so easy to double down on government control. Now isn't this guy exactly the type Obama needs to figure out why his nostrums haven't worked. Don’t expect the lamestream to cover this, or our liberal minded readers to rein in their over-worked crickets.
DOJ's Loretta Lynch will continue her AG job under Clinton. That appears to be enough of a reason to shut down FBI's investigation of the Clinton Foundation from which the latest emails draw a compelling corroboration of 'pay for play'. Yes sir, nothing to see here folks. Just keep it moving along. (more here)
[12aug16 update] Focus on farts. The Left outdoes Trump every single day in the sinister silliness they spread across the land. As the latest example, in California we have cow farts that progressives now want to regulate and police to meet the state’s GHG target for 2030 (more here). It seems that Bossie’s is the next source of methane that needs to be plugged. The econuts have put their crosshairs on destroying California’s dairy industry by drafting regulations that will make our milk and cheese prohibitively expensive, because fighting flatulence is fiscally frightful to dairy farmers many of whom have already planted their pastures with nut tree orchards. And from the lamestream we hear the sound of silence.
This little monograph is the most recent in the series to explain Bayesian reasoning to the non-technical (but otherwise intelligent) reader, and will serve as a reference for future posts. Some previous efforts in this direction can be found here and here. In the sequel we repeat the exercise graphically without resorting to a rigorous development using equations.
Understanding Bayesian reasoning is important because of its place in all of our lives. Today it is marbled into literally every facet of what we do, what is done to us, how we handle uncertainty (e.g. risk), and how we attempt to reason. Bayesian methods underlie and enable countless technologies that range all the way from providing the water out of your faucet, the manufacture of your car, how your 401K is invested, to the detection of dreaded diseases. In the last thirty years Bayesian reasoning has literally become ubiquitous in all areas save demagoguery, journalism, law, and politics. The major effort of protagonists in those arenas is to hide and/or deny Bayesian reasoning to their audiences.
The years long debate on RR over how to deal with MJ grows in Nevada County now enters a new, and perhaps final phase. Our latest post on this was ‘Medical Marijuana Ordinance – BoS Meeting’. I want that post to be a preamble to the continued deliberations for NC's newly adopted MMJ ordinance that will continue with modifications and no doubt stabilize only after the November elections, and after more meetings with citizen stakeholders. The discussion/debate for this post-adoption phase needs its own venue on RR, and here it is.
[This is the addended transcript of my regular KVMR commentary broadcast on 3 August 2016.]
Liberal economist Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton maintains that 'Only (Hillary Clinton) Can Make Wages Grow Again', and then launches into a lecture on how economic policies by government fiat will outperform the market driven nostrums advanced by Donald Trump.
He rejects out of hand Trump’s workforce supply and demand argument along with lowering the American employers’ tax burden as ways to encourage and promote the ability of companies to raise wages. In Blinder’s epistle there is no recognition that workers’ wages are based on the value workers deliver to their employer, and that in turn is naturally dependent on the workers’ productivity. There is no reasonable way around these age old economic principles save through force by the government gun, and history makes plain the kind of economies which result from such autocratic policies.
It is important to understand the good professor’s counsel because he serves as an economic adviser to Mrs Clinton, and is a prominent national spokesman for a cadre of progressive economists. Blinder’s list of Clinton’s superior economic policies is 1) raise the minimum wage, 2) force corporations to share profits with workers, 3) launch government subsidized vocational education programs, and mandate employer provided apprenticeships, 4) compel states to provide pre-K education to all, and 5) increase the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.
On the last day of the Democratic Convention we suddenly saw some very un-Democratic displays of military officers on the podium, (borrowed) Old Glories galore, and shouts of ‘USA!, USA!, …’ from the floor. So much in fact that NPR’s Weekend Edition had to do a feature piece on it asking experts what is the meaning of this year’s Democrats coopting traditionally Republican totems. The answer, of course, is beyond simple.
To support the newest National Lie expertly floated by President Obama last Wednesday about how well the economy is doing, the Democrats scuttled back for instructions from their political bible, Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. And there it was, plain as day – when getting caught doing something bad, spout the good stuff from the other side while blaming your bad stuff on them.
“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.” Confucius
Since Turkey’s Erdogan most recently explained to the world of infidels – “Islam is Islam, there are no modifiers. Democracy is the train we ride to our ultimate objective.” – more and more articles now appear expanding on that truth by quoting leaders from America’s Muslim communities. One by Scott Richert is ‘Islam, Period’.
Pew Research has shown that the maturing seeds of Islamic terror are already among us. This we have reported before; however, the scope of the problem is something that expands as we understand the numbers and suffer the growing intensity of the so-called lone wolf attacks. Pew also reports on the insularity of Muslim communities that makes it difficult/impossible for so-called moderate Muslims to report any insipient radicalization of their members. From attitudinal surveys the population of potentially radicalizeable American Muslims today is about one in five adults. At a population of 2.75-3M, this yields a cohort of potential terrorists among us that numbers in the hundreds of thousands. And from this heating cauldron of hate we have no idea who or where the next Islamist will decide to do Allah’s will.
Social scientists tell us that historically it takes only 5% of true believers in some socio-political cause to destabilize an entire population. Fewer, if they become militants.
Progressive mantra, ‘Will trade liberty for peace.’
Daily terror - the drumbeat of terror is picking up the pace – in the last 24 hours an elderly French priest holding mass was decapitated in front of his congregation by two terrorists. An attending nun is fighting for her life. While in Berlin a physician was killed by a patient whose ethnic identity is still being kept a secret.
Ever wonder how the Democrats can spout the fantastic job that Obama has done with the economy (‘everything is already great’) from one side of their mouths, while from the other side they concurrently appeal for votes so that they can implement their plan to fix the stubbornly poor economy? Answer: such contradictions are invisible to their constituents.
[28jul16 update] The WSJ tells us “The next U.S. president will confront a deeply unsettled world”, and then goes on to compare the candidates’ foreign policy positions without making clear that only one candidate had a direct hand in deeply unsettling the world which, in the interval, she now claims to have learned to resettle. (more here)
[29jul16 update] When they venture into numbers, economists continually demonstrate themselves to be clueless about how economies operate. Even when they stay in the safe arena of rhetoric, they have to cover their butts with their notorious ‘… on the other hand’ pabulum fully adorned with tautological conditionals that a ten-year-old can generate. ‘Unemployment is expected to grow unless, of course, if interest rates go up then we may have a problem.’ Now what in hell are you supposed to do with that kind of horse manure?
But with numbers they really show themselves to be totally naked and unarmed. This January economists predicted annual GDP growth to finally spring back to the 3% level, thereby giving Obama some cover that his administration finally knew what they were doing in managing this recovery. No joy. With 1Q16 growth at 1.6%, and today we hear that 2Q16 came in at 1.2%, then each of the remaining two quarters will have to deliver 4.6% for the predicted annual 3% growth to be realized. Anybody wanna bet even their pocket change that this will happen? And what’s more amazing is that these people get hired by banks, big companies, and government bureaus for good salaries.
I’m not familiar with any other profession that stands still for such poor performance from their professionals. Well, maybe the so-called climate scientists peddling AGW hysteria. Neither group has computer models that are worth a warm bucket of spit.
[3aug16 update] By now everyone has heard of our $400M ransom payment in small bills delivered to Iran in an unmarked brown paper airplane. And the cover story comes from an arcane, dusty, and long-forgotten larder that's just chuck full of many more like it, all ready made to handle future payments. But the most remarkable thing is that they really believe we believe them. More here.
Tomorrow the Nevada County Board of Supervisors will meet to “Introduce/Waive further reading/Adopt An Urgency Ordinance adding Subsections … (long list of subsections) … of Article 5 of Chapter IV, of the Nevada County General Code, regarding Marijuana Cultivation Regulations. (4/5 affirmative vote required)” The meeting will be held in the Rood Center and the BoS agenda calls for the MMJ ordinance part to start at 1:30PM.
The new ordinance is a complex affair that has been much discussed and described in these pages – most recently here. The ordinance has two antecedents which have also garnered much controversy and form the prime input to the current ordinance scheduled for adoption. To aid in sorting out the evolution of these ordinances, you can download a comparative analysis generated over the last few days by Jo Ann Rebane (the wife of my life). It has been distributed to the interested BoS members and the principals on the pro/con side of the MMJ cultivation issue. Download Marijuana Ordinance Study v3 2016 Aug 25
It appears that enough dust has settled around Ms Senum’s unfortunate remarks about the nation’s police departments that we can bring closure to the factors involved in the considerable support she has received for her (now clarified) sentiments. My own support of her position was published in the 13jul16 Union and in these pages which garnered an extensive comment stream (here).
The revealing part of public attitudes became quickly apparent during the NC City Council meeting where public comment against Ms Senum was a bit in excess of two to one. At the meeting and in the media her antagonists almost uniformly demanded her apology and removal from public life. Not only that, but these folks expected the NCCC accede to their demands forthwith. The fact that the overwhelming part of them had no say in the matter beyond exercising their First Amendment rights did not occur to them, and upon reflection can still be seen to represent a broader national understanding of how policies should be made and implemented in the country’s thousands of electoral jurisdictions.
In this commentary I would like to expand on this audacious national misunderstanding, and clarify the various aspects about elected officials voicing and representing unpopular sentiments. What appears to confuse people are factors associated with such events that are independent of each other, and which should also be treated as such. These are –
Legal expressability: This is covered primarily by the First Amendment right of free speech, unless specifically proscribed by a public code of conduct for the elected office. All educated people know that the First Amendment does not guarantee the right for all possible instances of free speech.
Public expression by elected official: First, let’s all be clear that an elected official cannot effectively parse their speech into personal and public categories. All of their speech reflects on their duties and how they are perceived to execute their office. And all protestations to the contrary serve only to weaken the subsequent effectiveness of the elected official. After all, they were elected in great part for their displayed character and values which were taken by their constituents to be the ‘real person’ who would represent them.
Constituents’ shared sentiments: Until and unless the official’s constituents, publicly and in the aggregate, disagree and/or reject the official’s stated sentiment, it is reasonable to assume that silence presumes acceptance. Here it is important to consider the plurality of the aggregate (numbers matter), and that such disagreement does not automatically imply or dictate the official be unseated.
Representation of unpopular sentiments: In a free country, and still in America, sentiments which one cohort of franchised citizens embrace may be totally reprehensible to and rejected by another, perhaps the majority, cohort. Nevertheless, all such sentiments in every electoral jurisdiction have the right to representation in their governing bodies as enabled by the jurisdiction’s applicable election laws. In America there are no extra-legal provisions by which people from other jurisdictions may peremptorily have the offending official removed.
Who/what is required to unseat: The only provisions that exist for the removal of an official are those spelled out in the applicable laws and in any additional ‘code of conduct’ codicils to which the official is a signatory. Absent these, the official is tenured and secure in his seat, and may vacate it only through volition or reasons of health.
The topic of anonyimity in web comment streams has risen again in these pages. The most recent instigation was the advent of a commenter who signed himself “XXXXX” that set off a stream of responses from other commenters some of whom also use a ‘nom de web’. Under ‘Hillary’s First Loyalty’ I questioned XXXXX’s need to hide behind such a bizarre moniker. Readers ‘Bill Tozer’ and ‘jon smith’ pointed out that I had a naïve understanding of how the use of real names under real sentiments can be dangerous to one’s financial health.
This issue is a real one that has arguments on both sides which should not be dismissed out of hand, and therefore deserves its own discussion area which I provide here. My thoughts on the matter go back some years, and may now be dated by the amount of water under the bridge – cf ‘Internet Conversations – Sackheads & Scattershots’ and ‘A Sackhead Saga’ that also features RL Crabb’s contribution to the matter.
[13jul16 - This commentary sans update also appeared in the op-ed pages of today's Union.]
Well good for her, she has the courage of her convictions and the determination to represent her constituency – the people who voted for her. While I take great exception to Reinette Senum’s grossly uninformed assertion that the nation’s police “have obviously been given directives to go out there and kill. It’s insane and it’s meant to create mayhem”. Holding that belief and stating it publicly should not be grounds for requiring an elected public official to resign. It may be one of the few honest statements politicians have made in this election season about what they believe.
I have known Reinette for years and have enjoyed working with her on panels and local media broadcasts. We have broken bread together and taken the time to trade views and ideas. While as a conservetarian I don’t fly in tight formation with her politics and many of her public policies, I do respect her as a strong and energetic voice for a significant and perhaps dominant constituency of Nevada City neighbors who have visibly celebrated her many works in the community. Today she again represents these people in city government.
Progressivism's Litmus Test is their introduction of public policies that eliminate dependence of social order on culture, and their replacement with prescriptions based solely on the state's threat of gratuitous and arbitrary application of overwhelming force.
National Lie #53(or whatever) – Illegal aliens are a net contribution to our GDP. Really??
… according to a new report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML). The report noted that in 2014 unauthorized immigrants had a labor force participation rate of 70% compared to 62.9% for the overall population. (more here)
Get out an old envelope for a little arithmetic. The politically correct population of illegals in the country is somewhere north of 11M – the actual is somewhere between 15M and 30M depending on how you count. Never mind the actual number, say, it’s 15M, and assume all of them are workforce age. So according to BAML 0.3*15M = 4.5M are not even in the workforce. Now charitably assume that the remaining 70% or 10.5M in the workforce are unemployed at the nationally quoted level of about 5% which adds another 0.05*10.5M = 525,000 to the 4.5M already unemployed, giving a total of a bit more than 5M unemployed illegals in the country. So approximately 5M illegal aliens in the country are living off of some kind of government programs that should at least be paid for by the 10M working and taxpaying (sales and maybe payroll taxes) illegals to net out zero impact on state and federal budgets. In this we don't count the almost 2 of 5 people in jail who are illegals costing about $1.9B/yr to house. You have to be beyond dense to believe that the taxes paid by two low paid illegals are enough to support one unemployed illegal alien as you swallow National Lie #53. Now you can show the envelope to your friends.
Ms Patricia Smith, MMJ champion and president of the local Americans for Safe Access, invited Mr Eddie Garcia (NC SoJ steering committee) and me to have lunch and discuss the progress toward a draft of the new interim MMJ ordinance that the NC BoS will adopt before Labor Day. The county and stake holders promoting MMJ access have already met twice, and are scheduled to meet again before the new ordinance is finalized. In the interval Ms Smith is meeting with various community interests to get a wide range of feedback on attitudes toward growing MMJ in the county, and what should be contained in the ordinance. In November California will be among eight states that will vote on legalizing both MMJ and RMJ. Nevada County’s finalized MMJ ordinance will then be put in concordance with what comes down from Sacramento.
The AGW hysteria has become very hard to maintain in circles that still participate in scientific debate and within the public forum that follows such debate. The hysteria is unaffected by such debate within the community of grant-funded scientists and their political sponsors (wherein the 'debate is over'), and of course their double dummy lemmings (aka constituents) who swallow it all lock, stock, and barrel.
In yesterday’s (28jun16) WSJ, editorial board member Holman Jenkins Jr writes an incisive summary of the current state of the AGW fraud – ‘Climate Denial Finally Pays Off’ - and how AGW's entanglement of lies, innuendos, and just plain errors are causing it to finally begin unraveling among the community of nations. Substituting dodgy computer modeling for non-existent science to argue catastrophic man-made global warming, prompts even the UN’s IPCC to ask, “Are climate models getting any better, and how would we know?” (report here)
Meanwhile, it continues evident, as in these pages, many other online outlets, and the lamestream, that AGW’s true believers are beyond all reason, much as their forebears were during the Renaissance when settled (i.e. consensus) science taught that the world was flat and at the center of the universe. Then men risked their livelihoods and lives to disabuse Man of such nonsense. Today the situation is little changed save for the newly fashioned sacred cow.
Were true believers to possess adequate intellectual capacity, they themselves would ask why politically steered climate science is the only such endeavor in which additional study fails to reduce retrodiction (estimating the past) and prediction errors, but actually finds them increasing under more open inquiry. Such 'progress' doesn’t happened in real scientific endeavors – honest theories start with larger error bounds that then get reduced as the theories are refined and experiments conducted within open scientific scrutiny and debate.
Switching gears to a SCOTUS that promises to get scarier by the case, I ran into the prevailing opinion in their 4apr16 Voting Rights 8-0 ruling. There the court “in Evenwel v. Abbott lets states continue to apportion legislative seats according to total population rather than limiting representation to citizens or voters.” Writing for the court, Justice Ginsburg opined, “Representatives serve all residents, not just those eligible or registered to vote.” (more here)
This is most strange since members of Congress, elected by our franchised citizenry, are emplaced to “serve” that citizenry and its broader interests. Our federal government 'serves' non-citizen residents, especially our illegal aliens, through its various bureaus including ICE and Border Patrol which operate under laws made by Congress. Bringing in the notion of their also ‘representing’ the countervailing interests of resident non-citizens is a perversion of the Constitution. What I found most remarkable was that the four so-called conservative justices went along with this argument that allows our ‘living Constitution’ Left to gerrymander their liberal population centers into additional districts for Democrats. Or as Micklethwaite (q.v.) points out, these gerrymandered districts are America’s answer to Great Britain’s rotten boroughs of the 18th and 19th centuries, and function similarly to keep their rotten incumbents in office.
[1jul16 update] “The disunited state of America” is described by author Todd Buchholz in his just published The Price of Prosperity where the case is made that “nations are just as likely to unravel after periods of prosperity as after periods of depression” for all the reasons RR readers have debated in these pages over the years. Buchholz reports on the “entropic forces” that are tearing America apart – falling birthrates, globalized trade, rising debt, an eroding work ethic, and "the challenge of patriotism in a multicultural country." WSJ’s former editor George Melloan writes a succinct summary (here) of Bucholz’s essay that prescribes the re-establishment of patriotism and a common culture in our schools and immigrants as the antidote for halting progress toward what we also know as the Great Divide.
The message will have a hard row to hoe with our globalist progressives and their millions of low-information minions. These people remain blind to the blatantly obvious stirrings of a divided America. And when they do encounter fellow countrymen who sense, suffer, and report on the country’s divisions and Leviathan’s growing overreach, they respond with a politically hyper-correct defense right out of the manuals of the brown shirts and Red Guards of yore – you are a disloyal person ignorant of the blessings which government bestows on the people, you are an enemy of democracy and your voice should be silenced. And today much work is being done both publicly and behind the scenes to enable and enhance such silencing which these elite cadres look forward to implementing within our corrupt judicial system using the full powers of the nation’s constabulary.
The country has become so disjoint that the socialists in charge are even alienating their more devout leftwing compatriots who now view them as the globalist enemies of the American worker. It is already hard to count the number of splintered minorities that today make up the visibly disunited state of America.
Britain’s Brexit vote marks a watershed for Ruminations. It delivered a robust confirmation of the conservetarian tenets posted and debated in these pages for the last ten years. And given the state of the EU and what is happening there, we can expect more to come. As I monitored last night’s election returns on the landmark referendum before turning in, a number of thoughts crossed my mind after posting the following update to ‘Ruminations – 21jun16’.
Today’s Brexit vote underscores in spades the RR teaching that mankind neither understands nor knows the transfer function of human societies in any of its undertakings. For the layman, a transfer function is fundamental to understanding how a system works, i.e. with what outputs it responds to inputs. Yesterday the markets were setting new highs in expectation that the Brits would reject Brexit – the Dow was up over 230 points, crude was significantly up as gold was down. This evening at this writing the Dow futures are down 600 points, crude is down 5.66%, gold is up 4.66%. And our double dufus divisions of central planners understand none of this as they continue to prescribe ever more one-size-fits-all national policies for America led by our fearless community organizer who has learned not one discernible thing about governance in his two terms in the White House.
Today we are witness to decades of socialism’s advance in the west, and capitalism’s advance in the east. We have seen the demise of one great religion in Europe and the resurgence of another one in its underbelly. The west has fought one form of collectivist repression to a standstill, and then refused to recognize the rise of a more virulent form that daily demonstrates its intent to continue the conquest of the world promised by its prophets a millennium ago.
Consider the following in light of the administration’s recent barrage of lies about terrorism, Islam, and homeland security.
Proper use of Bayesian statistics and decision support has kept Islamists at bay in many countries – Israel is the poster child - around the world. Our homeland security apparatus eschews such modern advances under the politically correct and logically tragic label of ‘profiling’.
Since 9/11 over 580 people in America have been charged with terrorism, almost all of them Muslims.
Al Qaeda and ISIS have been the main recruiters, trainers, and inspirers of in-country terrorism around the world. Totally contrary to Team Obama’s lies, these and other Islamist organizations have come into being, gained prominence, and/or maintained their strength during the Obama years in the their war on western civilization, a conflict totally denied by America’s progressives and illustrated by our existential foreign policy. In response the best he could do to support his boss, CIA Director Brennan testified, “Our efforts have not reduced ISIS terrorism capability and global reach.”
"Ultimately, we ought to have the tools where we have a security test, not a religious test, a security test, and we think that's the preferred route to go.", Speaker Paul Ryan. “We have to start thinking about profiling.”, Donald Trump. Now who is unclear on the concept?
[23jun16 update] The insane nation debilitating laws and regulations promoted and passed by the Left is an ongoing torrent that is literally impossible to track and report by any one media outlet or blog. (The lamestream naturally ignores reporting on such matters.) But there are enough ultra-stupid ones in the stream that deserve notice. In Sacramento SB1139 comes to our attention. The Democrat railroaded legislation permits the state to give priority to illegal alien applicants to California’s medical schools. The reasons for doing such a butt stupid thing are beyond the comprehension of most Americans, and impossible to recount by the remaining light thinkers that stack the constituencies of our Agenda21 politicians.
[23jun16 update2] Today’s Brexit vote underscores in spades the RR teaching that mankind neither understands nor knows the transfer function of human societies in any of its undertakings. For the layman, a transfer function is fundamental to understanding how a system works, i.e. with what outputs it responds to inputs. Yesterday the markets were setting new highs in expectation that the Brits would reject Brexit – the Dow was up over 230 points, crude was significantly up as gold was down. This evening at this writing the Dow futures are down 600 points, crude is down 5.66%, gold is up 4.66%. And our double dufus divisions of central planners understand none of this as they continue to prescribe ever more one-size-fits-all national policies for America led by our fearless community organizer who has learned not one discernible thing about governance in his two terms in the White House.
When the country has a problem, it is prudent to consider government guilty until proven innocent.
This is a dated sampling of a few current happenings that give evidence our federal government is incompetent and/or corrupt, and in any case does NOT have the best interests of its citizens in mind.
Obama’s Mideast policy has been a disaster ever since he assumed office and promised to fix all the mistakes of his predecessor. What he has done instead is to abandon the pro-American gains in the region and fomented the rise of ISIS - the most serious existential threat to western civilization from radical Islam. Today his policies support an interminable extension of middling hostilities in Syria and Iraq along with the interests of Russia and Iran, which to most western observers appear somewhere between inane and insane, and in any case totally ineffective in promoting the security of the United States.
His actions there have long been decried by our military and security agencies that are limited in what they can publicly say to criticize their CinC. Now we learn that things have gotten so bad that Dept of State diplomats have joined in a strong critique of Obama’s regional foreign policy that has no visible strategy as its basis. Fifty-one of them have put their signatures on a letter that can only be seen as a censure of their President and his tight circle of westwing acolytes (led by that scion of policies foreign and domestic, Valerie Jarrett). More here and here.
A new low in America’s seedy law industry has been achieved as prosecutors hire tort lawyers to find and bring suit against Americans who inevitably have run afoul of this or that regulation. Finally a citizen in Texas is standing up to the sleazy attorneys who collude with corrupt prosecutors. The 17jun16 WSJ reports that “A seedy side of American law is the widespread collusion between the plaintiffs’ bar and government prosecutors, who trade contingency-fee lawsuits for campaign contributions. … While government lawyers are required to serve the public interest when pursuing prosecutions, lawyers working on contingency-fee deals have an interest in winning the maximum possible settlement. … When government makes the trial bar a business partner, the incentive shifts to bringing suits that offer the biggest potential settlements or verdicts. The goal becomes the private payday, not justice in the public interest.”
And sadly “this trial lawyer-government business model is widespread” across the land. More here.
As it seeks to abrogate the Second Amendment and disarm law-abiding Americans, our federal government is busy arming itself through agencies that never needed guns let alone become militarized extensions of what Obama promised as his 'civilian national security force' that would become equivalent to our traditional armed forces. In these pages we reported on this alarming trend (e.g. here and here) which is sold to our sitting members of Congress as nothing out of the routine. My own correspondence with Representatives McClintock and LaMalfa has produced no traction at all - their inquiries were stonewalled.
Well, the number of agencies that have bulked up with armaments has now reached a level so that mainstream media (always late) are beginning to take an alarmed notice. Former Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and CEO openbooks.com Adam Andzrejewski give us a partial list of federal agencies that are now armed with various inventories of semi-auto handguns, real assault rifles (military surplus), sniper rifles, mine-resistant urban assault vehicles, and stores of munitions that include millions of rounds of anti-personnel ammo NOT used in training. Consider a partial list of these now well-armed organs of the federal bureaucracy –
The billions of dollars Obama has spent in bulking up his administration’s departments and agencies brings up the obvious question asked by the authors, “Who are they preparing to battle?” When we consider the ever-present and currently crescendoing leftwing hysteria to disarm America, the answer is obvious – our government’s enemy is none other than the American citizen. More here.
‘We have met the enemy, and he is us.’ Pogo, 20th century philosopher
That observation has long been repurposed from its original context by pundits of various persuasions, none more consistently than by the elites of the Left. I posted ‘The Liberal Mind Inteprets Florida, etc’ to elicit a broader discussion and illustration of the schizophrenic mind of today’s Americana. The recently joined reader is encouraged to peruse the extensive comment stream following that commentary which itself provides a structured perspective of the contributions to come.
As most students and even casual observers of our socio-political scene quickly realized from the national post-Florida conversation, we are mainly of two minds. Those of the various conservetarian hues see the massacre as another chapter in the ongoing war between fundamental Islam and western civilization. Our enemies in that war consist of the various regiments of rapacious ragheads, their widely scattered brethren wannabes (e.g. Omar Mateen), and the ‘peaceful’ Muslims – states and private actors - who harbor and husband them before they strike.
That is not the case with the west’s socialists and specifically with their progressive element. These people long ago concluded that our world’s existential evil issued from western civilization and continues to do so to this day. The world’s current Islamic wars and massacres are the direct fault of the Great Satan (aka the USA). Had we left well enough alone, the Muslim world would be a community of nations enjoying their own unique pursuit of happiness in lands of compassion, milk, and honey. After all, they do share a common faith in Islam, that great religion of peace.
According to this mentality, it is primarily the words and actions of American Christians (Europe long since abandoned Christianity for secular humanism) that piques the ire of the otherwise sedate and sagacious Muslims. And that is why they take special joy in being able to exterminate Christians and those living in still-deemed Christian lands. The killers are the most devout followers of Allah, readily willing to sacrifice themselves daily to carry out his will. Our progressives take the further step of denying them even the consolation of their martyrdom by repudiating their loud claims to act in the name of Islam – after all, in the west we have always known better what those dark skinned towelheads are thinking than they do themselves. Of course, the Islamists correctly interpret such hubris as just the latest expression of the west’s much detested and enduring colonial mind.
However, for us in the west, and particularly in America, there is an underlying theme at work into which ‘the enemy is us’ plays – globalization. To the progressive mind the outlined American iniquities reinforce their almost two-century-old need to create one global state. And the biggest impediment to that is a vibrant, viable, and free United States. In this context, the Islamic wars are seen by these collectivist elites and their local lackeys as the most recent crisis not to be wasted in the pursuit of such a future.
Across this chasm, the conservetarians view a global government as the worst of all possible ends for human kind. They hold with Mickelthwaite and Wooldridge that “the lesson of history is that when countries compete to produce better governments, they tend to raise standards.” (The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State). This is another way of recognizing that monopolies – especially in governance and commerce – inevitably give rise to human pain and suffering. Our Founders knew that and did their best through our Constitution to give us federalism which is the perennial prime target in the cross-hairs of the American Left.
This morning’s massacre at an Orlando LGBT nightclub provides and ongoing confirmation of the chasm between Left and Right America. From the national Democratic leadership and their lamestream media right down to our own RR readers of a markedly progressive bent, their impetus is to deny, minimize, or ignore –