Author Archives: Cluster

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.

 

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.

The Petro Currency System

The reserve currency issue is an issue that should transcend partisan politics, as leaders of both parties have ignored this issue over the years to our country’s possible peril.  I want everyone to really think about this issue, because the financial storm that would ensue following the end of our reserve currency status and the eventual collapse of the dollar would make the 2008 housing crisis look like a spring shower. Here’s an excerpt from a 2011 article from CNBC warning of the prospects of losing reserve currency status:

“I think you could see a 25 percent reduction in the standard of living in this country if the US dollar was no longer the world’s reserve currency. That’s how valuable it is.”

That was a comment made back in 2011, and since then we have added a few more trillion dollars of debt, and printed a few more trillion dollars of QE (quantitative easing), “stimulus” money. For those of you unfamiliar with QE – this is a policy that started in 2009 wherein the federal reserve is literally printing and pumping into the economy approximately $80 billion a month, and the mere mention from Bernanke that he was going to slow down the printing presses made the DOW tumble a few hundred points. He quickly backed off that statement. QE is not only used to prime the DOW but it is also used to keep inflation and interest rates in check. In the article, it is mentioned that if the CPI were adjusted for actual economic realities, we would see 5% – 7% inflation on food and energy prices.

Fast forward to 2013. Recent international economic signals do not bode well for the continuance of our reserve currency status:

- China’s subtle dumping of the dollar — using bilateral trade agreements with other developing nations and, more recently, major economic powers like Germany and Japan

- The massive gold-buying spree undertaken by China and Russia — even in the face of extreme market manipulation by JPMorgan Chase and Co. and CME Group Inc.

- The dumping of long-term U.S. Treasuries by foreign creditors in exchange for short-term Treasuries that can be liquidated at a moment’s notice.

- The fact that bonds now are supported almost entirely by Fed stimulus. When the stimulus ends, America’s ability to honor foreign debts will end and faith in the dollar will crumble.

-  Blatant statements by the International Monetary Fund calling for the end of the dollar’s world reserve status and the institution of special drawing rights (SDRs) as a replacement.

These bullet points were taken from another excellent article on this issue found here, (hat tip to Spook for sending me this article) and it is a must read. Why the loss of faith in the US dollar? The fact that our government spends approx. $1 trillion more than it brings in, the fact that our government does not work within a defined budget and funds the government from continuing resolution to continuing resolution (CR’s), the fact that our debt to GDP ratio is now 101%, and the fact that there are no imminent signs of financial discipline or restraint by our federal government. This year our federal government is expected to bring in approx. $2.5 trillion in revenue, which would equal an historical high, yet they are spending $3.6 trillion and they say they need more. So the next time you hear a politician say that we need more money for education, and/or more “investment” in infrastructure, know that they are pushing us closer to the brink of financial collapse.

In spite of all of this, I remain the eternal optimist. We can avoid the loss of reserve currency status and the eventual collapse of the dollar but it will require that our elected officials define our nations priorities, put in place a budget that reflects those priorities and operate within it. It will also require that we aggressively act upon the impending economic boom of the 21st century and that is – energy. We must tap into our domestic crude oil and natural gas reserves to not only fuel our current society, but also to become a net exporter of these resources. That will generate the money necessary to put our country back on sound financial footing, but will also fuel the eventual transition to a new, greener, more sustainable energy platform.

The Gipper

50 years later, and still no one has articulated the downside to big government better than the Gipper.

Folks, since 1964 this country has spent over $15 trillion dollars on eradicating poverty and today, the poverty statistics are the same if not a little worse. It was reported not too long ago that 4 out of 5 American families are one missed paycheck away from poverty, yet every year and every campaign, big government politicians, particularly Democrats, run on helping the poor – do you believe them anymore? Do you really think more money will cure the problem? Do you honestly believe they want to solve the problem?

The other day Mersault understandably was frustrated over the VA health care administration, to which I remind everyone that is what government health care is – a bloated, inefficient bureaucracy ran by bureaucrats focused more on file organization and lunch breaks than the administration of care, and that is what we are all in for with Obamacare. No one has ever been able to explain to me how adding an additional layer of bureaucracy to an industry can bring down costs.

Welfare, disability, unemployment and labor force measurements are all at alarming levels, so my question to big government advocates is – how is this working out for you?

Sunday Open Thread

Just some politically conservative observations from a right wing extremist for us to discuss this weekend:

- I think Friday’s IRS revelations could potentially be very harmful to the White House. When this story broke, the administration was hoping to convince people that it was the result of just a couple of rogue agents in the Cincinnati office. Friday, it was revealed that this story now goes all the way to William Wilkins desk – an Obama political appointee and only one of two appointees in the IRS.

- I think the bankruptcy filing by Detroit should be a wake up call for all Americans regardless of your political stripe. Just 50 years ago, Detroit had the highest per capita income, the strongest manufacturing base and was arguably the model city for America, but now it is bankrupt and it is not the only municipality to file for bankruptcy, it just happens to be the largest so far. Detroit has over $18 billion in liabilities and when they began to lose some of their economic base, the model became unsustainable. Period. Now while the powers to be argue over the legality of the filing, the fact remains that Detroit is broke, aided by over promising, over spending, mismanagement and corruption all by the elected officials, and that is a sober fact that all citizens should be outraged over.

- I think the George Zimmerman case has exposed a very distasteful element in our culture and our media, and one that needs to be resolved if we are ever to “progress” as a society. I am not discounting the fact there are still some remnants of racism, but let’s not forget that those remnants are found on both sides of the political aisle, and both sides of the racial aisle. Interestingly enough, I think Booker T. Washington gave us all food for thought over 100 years ago when he said:

“There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs. There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don’t want the patient to get well.”

I think that “class of people” can also include many white people, who are forever trying to show their compassion by over looking so many “real” issues that plague the black community; namely out of wedlock births and the perpetual mindset of victimhood, of which Larry Elder had the courage to confront.

As a society, we have to confront some real hard truths if we are to move this nation forward in a positive direction and that will require all of us growing a thicker skin. We have to call out corrupt and incompetent politicians, we have to quit thinking in terms of who did what, and who said what, and start thinking in terms of identifying the problem and finding solutions, and when things aren’t going well, we have to lay down our political and economical biases, and  think of a new direction which is grounded in the Constitution. Unless and until we can stop the over emotional reaction to every thing that happens, and begin to approach the nations issues with clear eyes, we are destroying this great country that was given to us.

On a final note, while I didn’t care for her reporting or her politics, RIP Helen Thomas.

The Case for Health Care

The recent delay of the employer mandate is a just another indication that the legislative behemoth that is Obamacare, is overly cumbersome, not well thought out, and simply the wrong approach to what ails our health care system. A recent Examiner editorial properly pointed out the archaic approach that Obamacare really is – a heavily bureaucratic system in a digital age that will be, and already is, slow on implementation and ineffective in delivery. Even Obama’s biggest supporters, the unions, are finding this out and they are not happy. Unions are worried that the law will push employers to reduce many workers hours to part time, which is happening, and simply drop coverage for others who will then be subsidized by the new exchanges. And speaking of exchanges, the announcement of the delay of the employer mandate will now potentially expand the enrollment of the exchanges, which will explode expected costs, and of course all of this will be done on the honor system, since no verification will be required, which is a potential for enormous fraud. Add to this, the possible immigration reform which will exempt the newly minted citizens from the mandate, and add millions of low skilled workers to an already over supplied market and you have a recipe for huge unemployment in a category of wage earners who are in desperate need of relief.

I think we can also agree that health care insurance is not actually health care. For that you need a doctor, and a recent report paints a grim picture on the future of that practice. Why on earth would we turn a very highly skilled practice into essentially a minimum wage job? Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates are low, and with the lack of any tort reform in the bill, malpractice insurance continues to put the squeeze on doctors resulting in many of them leaving, or planning on retiring early. And remember death panels? Well, we’ve already seen that, haven’t we? Amazingly, this little girl had to go to court to receive her transplant. Let’s add to this rising premiums – my premium rose by 20% in June and included in the letter informing me of this was the possibility of “future rate adjustments”. I guarantee you those adjustments wont be reductions. Obamacare is a train wreck, but the good news is, we can stop it before it kills all of us, and we should.

What’s the answer? In my opinion, a blend of private and public healthcare, with the public option being administered at the state level. Start by block granting Medicaid to the states and allowing them to administer care and payment disbursements, so the program is administered to a smaller number of people resulting in more effective and humane treatment, and doctors realize their pay in a shorter period of time. Secondly, set up a program for “pre existing” conditions and “catastrophic care” plans. People in these two categories represent a minority of patients, and with state programs funded by additional taxes to private plans and possibly other fee based programs, these programs can be funded. Additionally, we need to means test, reduce some benefits and raise the eligibility age. Higher income people (the evil rich) should either not be eligible, or receive limited benefits, and this goes for Social Security in my opinion as well, which will make more funds available for those who truly need it. On the private side, allow insurance companies to compete for everyone’s business in every state, and drop the coverage requirements. Why am I paying for psychiatric care when I don’t need it, or want it? (Of course some would argue that). Free enterprise and competition is an amazing mechanism and has an uncanny ability to find a need in the marketplace and fill it, which will happen and at lower costs.

The Bigotry of Low Expectations

I am still in a state of shock over the following report:

The Alabama Federation of Republican Women (AFRW) strongly opposes “race-based standards for student achievement” pushed by the Alabama Department of Education, as reported in The Tuscaloosa News on Sunday, June 30. Minority students will be held to a lower standard, and would be tracked at a lower standard throughout their academic career from K-12.

Beginning this fall, the liberal Department of Education in Alabama will take their racism and apply it to education – how wonderful. Obviously progressive liberals believe that those children, and adults for that matter, of a minority skin color are handicapped, and incapable living a life on their own without assistance from the government, or a helping hand from the altruistic agenda of the progressives. This is just beyond belief, and I feel so sorry for those kids in that school district who don’t stand a chance if progressive liberals continue to run this country. Instead of offering school choice, allowing parents the opportunity to send their children to better schools, with better teachers, and giving them a real opportunity at success, progressives have decided to dumb things down even more, effectively destroying any chance these kids might have. It’s outrageous.

 

Watergate II

The lawless regime of Barack Obama is becoming well documented. First we had the invocation of executive privilege with Fast & Furious when congressional inquiry got a little to close to the truth. We have the refusal to even question the eyewitness’s at Benghazi, or even conduct on honest review of the sequence of events. We have the attempt to blame underlings in the IRS Cincinnati office for the unethical, and possibly illegal targeting of conservative groups. We then have the unilateral decision of the President to delay law in regards to Obamacare, which is completely unconstitutional, and now we have this:

The offices of a Dallas law firm representing a high-profile State Department whistleblower were broken into last weekend. Burglars stole three computers and broke into the firm’s file cabinets. But silver bars, video equipment and other valuables were left untouched, according to local Fox affiliate KDFW, which aired security camera footage of the suspected burglars entering and leaving the offices around the time of the incident.

I can not recall a time in my life where an administration has been more brazen, more polarizing, and more incompetent. Richard Nixon didn’t even come close to the contempt and disregard for law that this current occupant of the White House has.  Our country has never been as morally and financially bankrupt as it is today, and 90% of the blame can be laid directly at the feet of Barack Hussein Obama. If this break in can be traced back to the White House, impeachment will follow. That is a given.

From The Mind of Thomas Sowell

Here is a recent article written by Thomas Sowell that speaks to the systemic failure of leftism, and something of which individuals on the left either choose to ignore, or choose to blame other external factors on for that failure. I believe it is the latter. Remember when Obama partly blamed the Japan tsunami for having a negative impact on his brilliant economic policies? How about the left’s penchant to blame the gun? In my opinion, there is simply no possible way to objectively look at the current state of our economy, our country, and our world, and claim that leftism is a success. The following is a very poignant excerpt of the piece, and I do hope this makes it over to the new rebuttal blog. Enjoy:

Why has evil been such a hard concept for many on the left to accept? The basic agenda of the left is to change external conditions. But what if the problem is internal? What if the real problem is the cussedness of human beings? Rousseau denied this in the 18th century and the left has been denying it ever since. Why? Self preservation. If the things that the left wants to control — institutions and government policy — are not the most important factors in the world’s problems, then what role is there for the left? What if it is things like the family, the culture and the traditions that make a more positive difference than the bright new government “solutions” that the left is constantly coming up with?

Welcome To The Revolution – Open Thread

The “war on women” hoax the Democrats successfully pulled on the GOP last year and to which the brain trust of the GOP has been unable to find an answer to, can be easily combated in two very simple ripostes.

1. The Life of Julia – which really was an embarrassing admission by the Obama regime and the DNC that they believe women are incapable of living a successful life on their own without the help of government. Because obviously they are too frail and the men in their life are either incapable or unwilling of providing any help or would prefer not to have anything to do with them at all, to whom the DNC gives a free pass to, and of which leads us to:

2. Abortion – Why do progressives, the DNC and the Obama regime give a free pass to men – everywhere. Why does the left support the ability of a man to knock up any chick he wants without any responsibility. Why does the left only see that as a woman’s problem? Why will they not hold men accountable? To me, that is the real war on women. Too bad so sad honey, looks like you’ll have to kill your child. Wish there was someone else to help you out with this, but your pregnancy is YOUR PROBLEM!

This is the real war on women and if the GOP had a spine, they would let the women know without any ambiguity that the Democrats think they are incapable of carving out a successful life of their own without government assistance, and that if some guy gets them pregnant, well then that’s their problem. Really warms your heart doesn’t it?

In an unrelated topic – we now know that “creepy ass cracker” is not a racial slur, and bears no mention in the media. However, what Paula Dean mentioned in private company over ten years ago, should cost her career. This according to the language police and high minded social watchdogs. Also, when Jamie Foxx was promoting his movie “Django Unchained” he enthusiastically stated that his character in the movie got to “kill all the white people” to which there was uproarious laughter.

This is a surreal progressive universe we are currently in folks and we had better find a way back soon.