The Yeomanry & The Clerisy

I recently stumbled upon this excellent article in The Daily Beast from last October, and have never read a better description of the emerging class structure in this country, as unfortunate as that is. You may remember the old saying – as California goes, so goes the country – well let’s hope that this one time, we don’t follow California’s lead:

The OligarchsThe swelling number of billionaires in the state, particularly in Silicon Valley, has enhanced power that is emerging into something like the old aristocratic French second estate. Through public advocacy and philanthropy, the oligarchs have tended to embrace California’s “green” agenda, with a very negative impact on traditional industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, energy, and construction. Like the aristocrats who saw all value in land, and dismissed other commerce as unworthy, they believe all value belongs to those who own the increasingly abstracted information revolution than has made them so fabulously rich.

The  ClerisyThe Oligarchs may have the money, but by themselves they cannot control a huge state like California, much less America. Gentry domination requires allies with a broader social base and their own political power. In the Middle Ages, this role was played largely by the church; in today’s hyper-secular America, the job of shaping the masses has fallen to the government apparat, the professoriat, and the media, which together constitute our new Clerisy. The Clerisy generally defines societal priorities, defends “right-thinking” oligarchs, and chastises those, like traditional energy companies, that deviate from their theology.

The New SerfsIf current trends continue, the fastest growing class will be the permanently property-less. This group includes welfare recipients and other government dependents but also the far more numerous working poor. In the past, the working poor had reasonable aspirations for a better life, epitomized by property ownership or better prospects for their children. Now, with increasingly little prospect of advancement, California’s serfs depend on the Clerisy to produce benefits making their permanent impoverishment less gruesome. This sad result remains inevitable as long as the state’s economy bifurcates between a small high-wage, tech-oriented sector, and an expanding number of lower wage jobs in hospitality, health services, and personal service jobs. As a result, the working class, stunted in their drive to achieve the California dream, now represents the largest portion of domestic migrants out of the state.

The YeomanryIn neo-feudalist California, the biggest losers tend to be the old private sector middle class. This includes largely small business owners, professionals, and skilled workers in traditional industries most targeted by regulatory shifts and higher taxes. Once catered to by both parties, the yeomanry have become increasingly irrelevant as California has evolved into a one-party state where the ruling Democrats have achieved a potentially permanent, sizable majority consisting largely of the clerisy and the serf class, and funded by the oligarchs. Unable to influence government and largely disdained by the clerisy, these middle income Californians are becoming a permanent outsider group, much like the old Third Estate in early medieval times, forced to pay ever higher taxes as well as soaring utility bills and required to follow regulations imposed by people who often have little use for their “middle class” suburban values.


What Media Bias? Part 197

Been a while since I had one of these updates – but this is important, from Gateway Pundit:

The liberal media and conservative outlets are highlighting former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s speculation that Media Matters for America is being paid to attack her reporting that was perceived as critical of the Obama administration. That’s a dog bites man story. Of course the Democratic Party front group is paid to attack reporters and media outlets that critically report on President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.

What stood out in Attkisson’s comments about Media Matters, made in an interview with Brian Stelter on CNN’s Reliable Sources that was broadcast on Sunday, was the revelation that Media Matters helps produce news reports for CBS News—and given the matter of fact way Attkisson mentioned it—presumably other liberal news outlets as well.

It is widely known that Media Matters ‘works the refs’ in media–trying to spin reporters to discredit conservative media, talk radio personalities and politicians and to report favorably on Democrats…

This is not at all shocking, of course, but it is something that needs to be noted – because while we all usually just laugh at Media Matters’ absurd distortions, the plain fact of the matter is that the MSM seeks a seal of approval from Media Matters as well as other leftwing enforcers of fascist conformity.  Essentially, for an MSMer, getting the seal of approval of Media Matters  – or similar groups – is a requirement.  By checking with such groups they can ensure that their reporting and/or editorializing is in conformity with the Party Line, thus avoiding any chance of getting fired for accidentally allowing the truth to slip out.

Just be careful how you read MSM reports and remember that while they may contain facts, they are all run through what amounts to a censor’s office to ensure that nothing is reported without pushing the leftwing party line.

Playing All The Cards

I have said this many times before, but never with the sincerity or the gravity that I say it now – the political divide is beyond repair. There is not one inch of common ground left to compromise, reach agreement, or move forward on, and that fact is in full display with this election cycle. Recently, one progressive divulged his understanding, or lack thereof, of conservatism by characterizing it as an ideology that oppresses minorities and lacks empathy. Sadly, that pretty much sums up the progression of most progressives current political knowledge. It also lines up perfectly with the administrations childish characterizations of the political opposition, which should surprise no one. There is not one effort by this administration, or any current elected Democrat, to debate on substance, nor has there ever been. There are only incessant attacks on the personal character and motives of conservatives. On every domestic and foreign front, the progressive policies that they champion are proving to be abysmal failures, leaving personal mischaracterizations as the only arena in which they have left to do battle in. Donald Lambro over at Townhall has a good article here, and the following is an excerpt:

“Instead of talking about incentives to boost job-creating capital investment and business expansion, Obama and the Democrats talk only about fairness, gender equality, employer health care mandates, and making businesses and wealthier people pay “their fair share.” With his party facing its toughest election challenges in years, “and burdened with persistently high unemployment, Obama is playing the race, gender and class cards.”

There will be no cards left unturned this year by the Democrats, and the tone of the progressive anger will only be dialed up as we get closer to November and their prospects of losing power become more and more real. They are desperate to hold onto power, and absent any real achievement in foreign or domestic policy, they will become more unhinged, more desperate, and more vile in their attacks, as recently witnessed by Harry Reid and his obsession with the Koch Bros., and calling average Americans “domestic terrorists”. In my opinion, it’s important that conservatives allow this progressive anger and disdain for America to be on full display everyday, and possibly even encourage it. However, it’s even more important to offer mature, common sense alternatives to economic expansion and opportunity, healthcare access and reform, and foreign policy. Considering the childish nature of their policies, scripting common sense alternatives is the easy part. Finding someone to articulate those policies and have them resonate with a poorly educated populace is another matter.

If Speech Never Offends You, Then There Isn’t Free Speech

Mark Steyn points out some really horrific actions around the Western world of late suppressing free speech.

  • In Galway, at the National University of Ireland, a speaker who attempts to argue against the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) programme against Israel is shouted down with cries of ‘F***ing Zionist, f***ing pricks… Get the f*** off our campus.’

  • In California, Mozilla’s chief executive is forced to resign because he once made a political donation in support of the pre-revisionist definition of marriage.
  • At Westminster, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee declares that the BBC should seek ‘special clearance’ before it interviews climate sceptics, such as fringe wacko extremists like former Chancellor Nigel Lawson.
  • In Massachusetts, Brandeis University withdraws its offer of an honorary degree to a black feminist atheist human rights campaigner from Somalia.
  • In London, a multitude of liberal journalists and artists responsible for everything from Monty Python to Downton Abbey sign an open letter in favour of the first state restraints on the British press in three and a quarter centuries.
  • And in Canberra the government is planning to repeal Section 18C — whoa, don’t worry, not all of it, just three or four adjectives; or maybe only two, or whatever it’s down to by now, after what Gay Alcorn in the Age described as the ongoing debate about ‘where to strike the balance between free speech in a democracy and protection against racial abuse in a multicultural society’.

Here’s the thing, guys and gals, if you want to have not liberty but merely a moderately functional society, you have to allow free speech.  The reason for this is that if people are not free to say whatever they darn well please without threat of official or social retaliation, then the truth will not come out.  It is only by allowing everyone to have their say that we can have any chance of actually discovering what is going on.  While in a place of free speech you will get a large pack of lies being said, you’ll also ensure that the truth is told, as well.  And the truth will eventually be acted upon because it is, in the end, the only thing which will work.

It goes beyond just that, of course.  If you set out to keep everyone polite, then you will eventually allow the most rude to control all debate.  The theory behind politically correct speech is that we need to ensure that we aren’t denigrating anyone, thus allowing all people to have the courage to speak up.  It doesn’t work like that because the sort of people who are most willing to be rude will simply shout down everyone else – and claim they are doing it in the name of enforcing politeness.  Someone has a pet theory and then someone comes along and destroys it with facts – the rude claim that the person destroying the theory with facts is racist/sexist/homophobic/what have you and is exiled from the public square.  The pet theory goes on undisturbed and everyone is now afraid to challenge it…and the rude are in charge.

I’m very sorry to all and sundry, but you simply must allow everyone to have their say and you MUST NOT seek to do anything to them for saying it.  Corporate CEO writes a racist rant in a neo-Nazi website?  Condemn him.  Write an article refuting him. Point out to everyone that said store owner is a racist.  And then leave him alone.  You’ve got no business doing anything else.  Don’t organize a boycott.  Don’t organize a picket line.  Don’t pressure local authorities to investigate his business practices.  Leave him alone.  He did nothing but speak his mind and he must be allowed to do that without let or hindrance from anyone, ever.  You can only interfere when words are transformed into actions or where the words are clearly inciting someone to imminent action which will violate the rights of others.

It goes for both sides, of course – write the worst sort of slanders you wish about my Catholic Church.  You’re a CEO of a major corporation?  Fine.  I’ll write about it.  I’ll condemn it.  I’ll point out that you’re an anti-Catholic bigot.  And that is all I’ll do (well, I’ll also pray for you). It is no business of mine to try and wreck the business the CEO runs.  It is no business of mine to try and get him fired.  It is no business of mine to do anything to him because he has done nothing to me or to anyone else.  He just spoke his mind.

We’re all in this together, my friends.  There are 310-odd million of us and in such a large community there will be every possible sort of opinion.  We will not ever all agree on anything.  And we can’t function unless the truth comes out, and it only comes out if everyone can fearlessly enter the public square and speak their mind.  Drop all attempts to interfere in what people say.  Let them say it; if you think they’re wrong (or even downright evil) for what they say, then you must confine yourself to no more than saying things against them.  If we do this, we will remain free and relatively rational as a people – if we keep going down this route to controlling speech, we are doomed – and I mean “doomed” as in “doomed to death” because we will not survive, as a people, if we seek to control each other.

Hiding the Decline, ObamaCare Style

They just get more dishonest by the day:

The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, census officials said.

The changes are intended to improve the accuracy of the survey, being conducted this month in interviews with tens of thousands of households around the country. But the new questions are so different that the findings will not be comparable, the officials said.

An internal Census Bureau document said that the new questionnaire included a “total revision to health insurance questions” and, in a test last year, produced lower estimates of the uninsured. Thus, officials said, it will be difficult to say how much of any change is attributable to the Affordable Care Act and how much to the use of a new survey instrument…

Now, you can think that this is just some honest effort by the Obama Administration – or you can be rational and understand that they want a success that Low Info Voters can believe in and so they are just going to fudge the numbers until they get it.  This is much like the way they’ve finagled around with the unemployment and labor force participation numbers – can’t create jobs?  Then just change the way we report the number of jobs!  Have a completely unworkable health care system?  Then just change the way insured and uninsured are counted until you get fewer uninsured!

Just waiting for a report just before election day about how the number of uninsured Americans is at a record low…

But, it won’t work.  The problem with ObamaCare is not in the marketing, it is the fact that people are having to pay more for health insurance than they did before.  The problem is in the millions of people who have had their policies cancelled.  The problem is in the fact that the bloody thing just doesn’t work.  Democrats will pay the ObamaCare price this November no matter how many made-up numbers Team Obama comes up with.

Social Security Hitting Kids for Parents’ Debts

This is just hideous:

A few weeks ago, with no notice, the U.S. government intercepted Mary Grice’s tax refunds from both the IRS and the state of Maryland. Grice had no idea that Uncle Sam had seized her money until some days later, when she got a letter saying that her refund had gone to satisfy an old debt to the government — a very old debt.

When Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them.

Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family — it’s not sure who — in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter. Why the feds chose to take Mary’s money, rather than her surviving siblings’, is a mystery.

Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who are expecting refunds this month are instead getting letters like the one Grice got, informing them that because of a debt they never knew about — often a debt incurred by their parents — the government has confiscated their check.

The Treasury Department has intercepted $1.9 billion in tax refunds already this year — $75 million of that on debts delinquent for more than 10 years, said Jeffrey Schramek, assistant commissioner of the department’s debt management service. The aggressive effort to collect old debts started three years ago — the result of a single sentence tucked into the farm bill lifting the 10-year statute of limitations on old debts to Uncle Sam.

No one seems eager to take credit for reopening all these long-closed cases. A Social Security spokeswoman says the agency didn’t seek the change; ask Treasury. Treasury says it wasn’t us; try Congress. Congressional staffers say the request probably came from the bureaucracy…

This is just a desperate ploy from a government which is greedy for every dollar it can lay its hands on – but it also shows (if ObamaCare didn’t clue you in) that no one in government really knows what is happening…its all done behind the scenes with lobbyists and bureaucrats and staffers inserting things into bills and regulations without anyone accountable to the people really knowing what is going on.

This, of course, needs to be repealed – it is un-American to seek to collect debts owed by one person from another.  If the person who owes the money is dead and there’s no estate to collect it from, then the debt is a write-off.  Whether or not anyone in Congress will step up to fix this particular problem remains to be seen – but the ultimate fix to this is to prohibit Congress from passing laws of more than, say, 10 type-written pages…and to prohibit the bureaucracy from implementing new regulations (which also must not be more than 10 type-written pages long) before Congressional approval of each new regulation.

UPDATE – technically unrelated, but check out what is happening with the Bundy Ranch in Nevada.  True, its a dispute over grazing rights which has been going on for decades…but whatever one wishes to think about the particulars of the case, why did Uncle Sam whistle up an army to round of the man’s cattle?  Why make a “free speech” zone?

Given that this is Nevada and we have Harry Reid and the BLM is involved, I’m immediately suspicious that this is just another corrupt land deal – there are stories that this land is to be set aside for a solar plant with a Reid son involved.  I’m not so sure about that – this has been going on too long for that (since 1993).  I’m more thinking that since it is some really nice countryside (and the Virgin river runs year-round through it as it heads towards Lake Mead) that someone has a mind to build some resorts out there – and ol’ Harry has been more than once involved in screwy land dealings where, hey presto!, BLM land is made available to the “public” and Reid cronies make a killing.

The GOP’s War on Women Continues!!!!

The pay gap between men and women continues without sign of closing – even after repeated speeches by the pResident.  The GOP still does not pay women equally to men!!!

The White House continues to pay women 88 cents for every dollar men earn….. oh wait!!!

Another sign from the pregressives, do as I say! Not as I do!