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Some Random Thoughts

Is public education even remotely worth it? 200 years ago, prior to widespread, public education, 90%+ of the people didn’t know the finer points of theology, philosophy and science; pretty much the same today. Where’s the net benefit in getting kids to go through 12 years of school? As one jokester put it, if you spent 12 years learning something, shouldn’t you be Batman, or something?

If Ebola is hard to catch, why the rubber suits?  Read today that some people in West Africa are dumping the dead in the streets for fear of being quarantined if the authorities find out someone died in the house. The fear is real as the governments there are probably doing it wrong – but dumping the body rather than prepping it for a funeral might actually cut the spread of the disease.

Meanwhile, we all sleep soundly at night as we learn the government which can’t make a website is bringing Ebola patients into the United States.

The only answer to Putin – if we wish to answer him, at all – is to re-fight the Crimean War.  That war is condemned in history as a just a horrible mistake which was terribly mismanaged by all concerned, but the truth is that the war needed to be fought in the 1850’s in order to curb Russian ambitions in the south of Europe. If Russia’s ambitions need to be curbed, again – taking Sevastopol would do the trick. That is, once again, if we wish to do anything – there is an argument to be made that its ok for Russia to run that area of the world.

It astounds me that anyone believes the pictures or statistics coming out of Gaza. Hamas is a criminal mob which has shown no willingness to tell the truth in the past – whence comes this global acceptance of Hamas-provided casualty lists? To be sure, given the nature of things, it is highly likely that some non-combatants have been killed in Gaza during Israel’s counter-attack – but what number and of what kind is entirely unknowable, and may not be known for a very long time to come.  One thing certain: anyone who is repeating Hamas claims on numbers or re-broadcasting alleged pictures of Gazan dead is either a willing tool of Hamas, or a fool.

People were shocked to find that a Hamas spokesman was repeating the blood libel against the Jews. Why?  By what evidence did anyone ever think that Hamas was something other than an anti-Semitic organization?

Interspersed among his 183 rounds of golf, Obama has endlessly claimed he will not rest until this, that or the other vital task is completed. I realize that most political speeches these days are canned – just the mere stringing together or words which come out sounding like the politician is saying something: but can we at least get a speech-writing program which isn’t quite so repetitious, and mendacious?

Did you know that our Congresscritters are allowed to charter jets on the taxpayer’s dime to go on political junkets? If you didn’t, I’ll bet you’re not surprised at all to find this out – if it were announced that our leaders were provided taxpayer-funded champagne baths, we’d all just take it in with a “yeah, so” attitude. Our Ruling Class is (a) ever more corrupt and (b) ever more likely to just hold us in contempt.  A little revolution, now and then…

Apparently, “sorcellerie” is French for “sorcery” – and you can get beheaded in Saudi Arabia for it.

This, it seems, is not a joke:

Despite the loss of high-profile talent like Ezra Klein, who took others with him to Vox Media…

Senator Walsh of Montana may drop out of the race because of a plagiarism scandal – naturally, Talking Points Memo tweets the following:

Sen. Walsh (R-MT) cancels public events, fueling speculation he may drop out of Senate race after plagiarism scandal

Walsh is a Democrat.

UPDATE: ISIS has massacred 1,500 people since about yesterday. Obama, of course, will do nothing – not even, it seems, arm the Kurds who are the most decent of all the Muslim peoples in that area. The world will do nothing. Ok. Fine and dandy. People are to be massacred in great, big, bloody batches – this is the new normal. But I don’t want to hear anyone bleating about Israel’s actions in Gaza.  Even if everything Hamas says is true, then what Israel has done pales in comparison to what ISIS is doing. If you aren’t out there at the anti-ISIS demonstration and demanding the US impose a cease-fire in ISIS, then you are a hypocrite and I don’t want to hear a peep out of you.

 

The Makings of a Progressive

If you believe, as I do, that we are living in surreal times, then you only need to consider that the reason why is because we are dealing with a surreal political opponent. The conservative opponent, the progressive, is made up of many moving parts, none of which have any moral grounding, feeling of shame, or basis in principle. To be a progressive, you must consider personal intent as the only measure of political success, you must have the ability to lie to yourself and your audience with no compunction whatsoever and with zero impunity, you must never hold a fellow progressive accountable, and you must subscribe to consensus through conformity. There is very little room for dissenting opinion in progressive circles and those who do stray from the consensus are shamed and humiliated and called “uncle Tom’s” or “extremists”. It’s quite easy to be a progressive actually and that’s the appeal of the movement. It doesn’t require any real critical thinking as the “group think” phenomena of the movement will form your opinion for you, It doesn’t require any personal accountability because there is always someone else to blame for your actions whether that be “old white Christian men”, or “unseemly corporate profits” otherwise known as social and economic justice, and it doesn’t require any admission of fact because results simply do not matter. If you had the right “intention”, well then the results of those intentions are not of material concern – you simply lie to yourself and those in front of you and move forward with nary a concern. This phenomena has been on full display throughout the entire Presidency of Barack Obama (if you like your President, you can keep him), and is seen very often in the actions of Harry Reid (he who refuses to bring any House GOP legislation up for debate yet blames the GOP for obstructionism), Nancy Pelosi (we must  pass it to find out what’s in it), Joe Biden (they’re going to put y’all back in chains), and Hillary Clinton (at this point what difference does it make). They are shameless, reckless, and lie as easy as they breathe.

Consider the progressive media echo chamber, MSNBC, and this excellent article which succinctly points out the alternate reality progressives live in. MSNBC has taken the art of political spin and demonization to new level, and shamelessly supports a political party in a manner that rivals only that of possibly the North Korea News Agency, or Pravda. And honestly, I have seen more objective reporting from Pravda.

It is impossible to have a coherent debate with any progressive simply because we are grounded in reality and they are not. We hold ourselves accountable, they do not. We have respect for the truth, they do not, and we subscribe to independent critical thinking through the issues, and of course they do not. In fact, the responses from progressives have become so predictable that any debate is simply an exercise in redundancy. To defeat this destructive monolithic movement will not be easy as their masses are wide and their allegiance’s are strong, but it must be defeated. Debate and compromise are pointless.

Another Blow to the ACA

A federal appeals court delivered another body blow to the ACA today declaring that the subsidies handed out on the federal exchanges violate Section 36B of the ACA which explicitly states that subsidies are available only through the State run exchanges. You would think that this would give Democrats reason to pause, and reflect on how the bill was written and hastily passed on purely partisan votes, but true to form the message from the White House is:

“it was obvious” that Congress intended subsidies, or tax credits, to be issued to Obamacare enrollees regardless of what kind of exchange they used to buy insurance.

“Obvious” means nothing in legislation and “law professors” should know better. To date there have been 41 unilateral changes to the poorly written, poorly implemented ACA that has resulted in my personal premium increasing by 70%+, and the cancellation of millions of other policies despite the “promises” by the POTUS. You would think that the way the bill was crafted, the rise in premiums and the cancellation of policies would have been “obvious” as well, but somehow that observation escaped them.

Now of course the Democrats will appeal this ruling and hope that the next court will rule on the wishes of the party rather than the rule of law. If that does happen, then this country will slip yet another notch into the “banana republic” territory, and give more emphasis to the Congressional lawsuit against the POTUS. The language in the law is very explicit in where and when subsidies can be administered, so if the Democrats are concerned with the rule of law, something of which they like to lead people into believing, then a rewrite of the legislation would be required. However considering that the favorability of the law that was sold on lies is very poor, passage of a rewritten version is not very likely, hence the Democrats need to continue to push this through the courts until they find one that is favorable to their “intentions”.

As it stands now, this ruling and the many other unilateral delays and exemptions have done much more to gut this bill and portend it’s failure than anything the Republicans have done.

 

What a Mess

Today’s news of the Malaysian Airliner just underscores the frightening fact that radicals, rebels and mal contents are running amuck in the void of world leadership. The “leading from behind” strategy of this president is a glaring failure. It would be nice to see our President get out in front of a crisis for once and take a strong moral stand, and this is the perfect opportunity to call out Putin for aiding and abetting these separatists. This is the opportunity to shame and marginalize Putin in front of the world and timing is important, but where is our President at a time when he should be standing up against aggression? At another fundraiser. In the Hampton’s no less. Palling around with the rich and the elite. It is beyond belief how disengaged and disconnected this President is, and if he doesn’t want the job, which all indications are that he doesn’t, he should do us all a favor and resign.

Hamas is in full attack mode, ISIS is strengthening their hold on Iraq, Libya is a jihadist breeding ground, Iran continues unabated, and terrorists of all stripes are having a field day. On the domestic front, our border is a sieve, our GDP and labor rates are shrinking, and the Democrats biggest concern is that women may have to pay a few extra bucks a month for contraception.

How is this Hope and Change working out for you?

UPDATE: I have a feeling that within the year, another attack similar to 9/11 will occur. Either here, in Western Europe or in Israel. The radicals of all stripes have gained momentum and grown in confidence over the last several years, and I think they are currently positioning themselves to carry out such an attack. Another big one is coming folks, it’s just a matter of when.

World War One

On June 28th it will be 100 years since the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire – Franz Ferdinand – was assassinated in Sarajevo, triggering the First World War. While I have over my life studied much history of war, I believe I have spent more time on the First World War than any other.  This is because there is something horrendously tragic about the whole thing – thought not, in my view, for the reasons most often given.

For most people with a cursory knowledge of the war, it is just a bloody, miserable waste.  Four years in the trenches with men being sent senselessly to their deaths by insensate commanders.  There is a bit of truth in that, but it does really get to the bottom of the matter.  In my view, our civilization committed mass suicide during that war – over a long period of time prior to the war, starting really in the 16th century but getting rolling in the 18th, we had stripped ourselves of that patina of Judeo-Christian morality which prevented us from doing really horrible things, while at the same time a false sense of security was created by the rising, capitalist prosperity (for some, not all).  We thought in 1914 that we had thrown off the shackles of a dead past and were moving inexorably into a bright future.  What we found is that we had lost our moral compass and were descending into a nightmare.

The men of 1914 went off to war singing.  In all the belligerent powers there was a sense of destiny and awe – we were going to have this thing out and then build a new world of peace, justice and prosperity. Listen to Rupert Brooke:

Now, God be thanked Who has matched us with His hour,
And caught our youth, and wakened us from sleeping,
With hand made sure, clear eye, and sharpened power,
To turn, as swimmers into cleanness leaping,
Glad from a world grown old and cold and weary,
Leave the sick hearts that honour could not move,
And half-men, and their dirty songs and dreary,
And all the little emptiness of love!

Oh! we, who have known shame, we have found release there,
Where there’s no ill, no grief, but sleep has mending,
Naught broken save this body, lost but breath;
Nothing to shake the laughing heart’s long peace there
But only agony, and that has ending;
And the worst friend and enemy is but Death.

Brooke ended up dying in the war – sadly, not in a heroic battle, but of blood poisoning.  But that doesn’t take away from the reality of what he did, and what he believed in. In his poems we see the whole spirit which animated all those caught up in the cataclysm. A few years on, Siegfried Sassoon wrote this:

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches, cowed and glum
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.

That is quite a change.  One can put it down to the sheer horror of war, but it is more than that, it is the betrayal of an ideal.  It was an ideal of patriotism, of manly courage, of the surety that your nation was glorious and deserved dominion unchecked because of the good that was in it. That it proved a false ideal doesn’t make the betrayal of it any less an affront.  Indeed, it might make it worse.  Marching off to war the men thought one thing and found something very different.  What the found was that ideal was non-existent.  What they didn’t know – and most people still have discovered to this day – is that the ideal was wrong because it wasn’t founded upon a firm understanding of God.  To be manly and patriotic is a grand thing, as long as one firmly recognizes that God is Sovereign.  Solzhenitsyn said that the problem of the 20th century was that Man had forgotten about God.  Indeed – and in the searing abyss of World War One, men found that as they had not God, they had nothing and all the patriotism and manly courage in the world could not redeem the fact that 9 million men had died in battle, and victory had been bought so dear by the victors that it was indistinguishable from defeat.  The real pity of it was that people did not, on the whole, turn back to God.

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The Progressive Clerisy

I wrote about this issue a while back, and just recently read this excellent article by Joel Kotkin speaking to the same, very real and very disturbing phenomenon which is hurting our country. First, a brief history:

“The very term Clerisy first appeared in 1830 in the work of Samuel Coleridge to described the bearers of society’s highest ideals: the intellectuals, pastors, scientists charged with transmitting their privileged knowledge to the less enlightened orders”.  

We see this phenomenon every day in print, on TV, in entertainment, in the digital media, and on the progressive blogs and certainly with the progressives that frequent B4V. Group think rules their world and if you stray from the orthodoxy, there are consequences. One small, but very revealing example was when one of the progressives over at AllPolytics misunderstood a post by a fellow progressive, he responded in a condescending, corrective tone. A response of which led the original poster to quickly clarify his comments. The subsequent response by the “correcting” commentator was priceless – he said, “you’re forgiven”. I had never seen anything quite like it, but it is a real and disconcerting phenomenon that this country must overcome. Joel provides another great example of this phenomenon including the cancellation of recent commence speeches by Condi Rice and Ayaan Ali Hirsi, to name a few.

The concentration of wealth and power is what fuels the Clerisy, and that also is a very real trend despite the flowery rhetoric of Obama’s endless speeches. Joel mentions that the number of federal workers earning more than $150,000/yr has more than doubled since 2007, and since 1990, the number of government workers has grown from approx. 5 million to approx. 20 million, “a growth rate roughly twice the population as a whole”. And while stock values and real estate holdings continue to increase in value and the portfolios of the rich, the country is realizing an historically low labor participation rate and a record number of people on welfare. And what is the response by the ruling elite to the current plight of the proletariat? Is it to tap into the vast reserves of domestic energy resources and ignite a boom of good paying jobs as seen in North Dakota? Is it to build the Keystone pipeline and create many well paying union jobs dotted throughout the interior of the US, and to keep that oil from going to China? Is it to reform the tax code and repatriate trillions of corporate dollars in an effort to encourage domestic corporate expansion and employment? NO! The ruling class answer to what ails the millions of people still looking for work, or of whom have simply given up is to raise the minimum wage to $10.10/hr. That’s what the progressive elite feel that they are worth, and if you oppose this effort, well then there will be consequences. A recent quote by Obama re: the Bergdahl release pretty much sums up the thinking of the ruling elite:

“It was a unanimous decision among my principals in my government and a view that was shared by my– the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And this is something that I would do again and I will continue to do wherever I have an opportunity,”

This current societal phenomenon won’t be easy to defeat, but it must be defeated if we are to ever get back to sensible healthy debates that move our country forward. And this means that we must do everything we can to defeat Hillary Clinton – she is the Queen of the Clerisy.

 

 

The Summer of Discontent

On the heels of the VA scandal and the recent downward revision of first quarter GDP growth, or lack thereof as it was revised into negative territory, this summer does not bode well for the Obama administration. And it shouldn’t.  The accountability of Obama on every issue is woefully absent, the incompetence is palpable and even the lap dog progressive media is having a hard time covering it up. Jay Carney’s press conferences are more and more contentious and growing more bizarre by the day. The administrations reluctance, if not down right refusal to answer direct questions, and make tough decisions is harming this country, and the VA scandal is the prime example. This is not a new problem. Obama knew of this problem in 2009. Spoke about this problem. Promised to resolve the problem and offer vets the “21st century care they deserved”, yet once again, we can chalk that up to just another empty promise. Should we be surprised? After all this was a guy who promised to heal the planet and cause the oceans to recede.

The VA scandal is just another addition to the myriad of real concerning issues that must be dealt with this summer leading up to the November election. Insurance companies are scheduled to announce their 2015 rates, and expectations are that those revised rates may financially shock some people. The federal government is also expected to have to bail out the insurance companies this summer, a provision written into the ACA and conveniently ignored by the media. Remember, we have to pass it to find out what’s in it. The Benghazi hearings will commence this summer and that promises to be contentious and interesting, and I expect many Democrats are a little worried about that discovery process. The IRS issue continues to unfold with recently divulged emails ensnaring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, and it was announced today that Judicial Watch has sued the DOJ over Fast and Furious, an issue of which Obama became so concerned about that he closed down the investigation claiming executive privilege. Add to all of this, the anticipated beginning of the “Ready for Hillary” side show campaign with her trying to convince everyone – “what difference does it make?”.

It proves to be an important and interesting summer. So much so, that I have sent in yet another contribution to the RNC this last week, hoping that they take the Senate this fall and at least put the brakes on this madness for the next two years. I encourage everyone to do the same.