Maybe it was a bad week for the Obama administration — and maybe it was a fine week.
If the Obama-ists weather these scandals with no damage except squawking from the conservatives, then they will know that they are invulnerable, and are free to use the IRS, the regulatory agencies, and the legal system to harass all enemies without limit.
The real test is of the Democratic Party. Does it stand with the Republic, or has it turned into a Leninist party that controls the government according to the will of the Leader? Based on the performance of the Dems at the Benghazi hearing, the latter seems the case.
There are opportunities, but they require a deep understanding of risk and security. A livelihood with day-to-day low-level insecurity and volatility is actually far more stable and secure than the cartel-state one that claims to be guaranteed.
The burdens of Fed manipulation and the cartel-state rentier arrangements will come home to roost between 2015-2017. Those who are willing to seek livelihoods in the non-cartel economy will likely have more security and satisfaction than those who believed that joining a rentier arrangement was a secure career.
There is a price to joining a parasitic rentier arrangement, a loss of integrity, agency and independence. Complicity in an unsustainable neofeudal society has a cost.
Read the whole thing.
(Via Lex and ZeroHedge.)
Translated interviews with young ethnic Norwegian men who live in parts of Oslo that are dominated by Muslim immigrants. Not encouraging.
An interesting case. Bellesiles? East Anglia? Don’t be silly — this is the Times, after all. But interesting nonetheless.
Science may be a noble endeavor. However, as with professional sports, if there’s enough money or opportunity for self-aggrandizement in it some people will cheat, and some people will be attracted to the enterprise precisely because of the opportunity to cheat. Stapels, the subject of the Times profile, looks like a real piece of work. It will be interesting to see if he succeeds in rehabilitating himself, even if non-academically, as he seems to be trying to do. Perhaps his post-academic career is just beginning.
(Via @blithespiritny on Twitter.)
This Politico piece is an example of wishful thinking, agenda-driven failure to acknowledge the big picture or both in its attempt to explain away the jihadist angle in the Boston bombing.
“We found a number of people who wanted to do bad things but didn’t want to see themselves as criminals,” a psychologist who works with federal law enforcement agencies told me. “They are murderers in search of a cause. They tell themselves, ‘I want to change the world.’ Some we give the romantic term ‘terrorist.’ They are people who want to do something bad, so they say it was for Al Qaeda or a jihad.”
Who’s angry and ready to raise their raise their pitchforks? Try the self-employed, who are now, according to Gallup, the large constituency most alienated from the present regime. Even the hapless Romney picked up their support against Obama.
The new core constituency of the GOP can best be identified as the enterprise base. They include small property owners, mainly in the suburbs, those who are married or aspiring to be so. They are more suburban than urban, and likely to work for someone else or themselves as opposed to working for the state. Combine the top half of private employees, over 50 million people, add some 10 million self-employed and you get to a serious economic, and political, base.
This group also includes many immigrants, particularly Asians, a constituency that should be tilting GOP but still isn’t. They, too, increasingly live in the suburbs, own homes as well as business. And rarely do they benefit from the prevailing crony capitalism.
Sarah Palin represented Kotkin’s enterpriser constituency better than any other recent national Republican candidate, and look at what happened to her. Kotkin is right about the political interests of middle class businesspeople. The problem for the middle class is that the Left understands their interests better than they themselves do and goes all-out to fight them.
Last weekend we set out from the marina at a local park, shortly before sunset. The weather was good with a 2/3 moon that provided plenty of light. A breeze kept the bugs down.
We entered an upscale residential canal and stopped for a bite.
[More photos below the break.]
Lawmakers, aides may get Obamacare exemption
Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, sources in both parties said.
Who could have seen this coming.
The talks — which involve Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Obama administration and other top lawmakers — are extraordinarily sensitive, with both sides acutely aware of the potential for political fallout from giving carve-outs from the hugely controversial law to 535 lawmakers and thousands of their aides. Discussions have stretched out for months, sources said.
It’s all “extraordinarily sensitive”. I wonder why.
A source close to the talks says: “Everyone has to hold hands on this and jump, or nothing is going to get done.”
Safety in numbers. If this deal goes down it’s a good reason to vote out every member of Congress.
Read the whole thing if you feel inadequately cynical.
The Tsarnaev’s were showered with a huge amount of things. And did they like it? No they hated it. Hated the whole idea of the dirty, degenerate, corrupt West. They hated the idea and took the goodies without a thought. Despite this the mainstream culture is set to respond to their attack with more things. More drones, detectors, armored vehicles, barriers, restrictions, weapons, armor …. more items the list of which goes on and on. But omitted from the catalog of responses will be any campaign to mentally engage radical Islam — to debate against it, denounce it or render it uncool — because that would be bigoted.
It is often forgotten that Freedom of Speech means debate. It means patches on software, not paint on the equipment box. It means fixing the insubstantial. It means mental action. This is important because in the case of radical Islam Freedom of Speech has been redefined as the obligation to remain silent. That obligation has even been given a special term: it is called Tolerance. And no one seems to have noticed that Tolerance is essentially the opposite of Freedom of Speech. It means don’t program. Don’t unhack the hack. Do nothing. Pretend it’s all a joke. Watch the whole system melt down. Tolerance is a rejection of the manifest truth that information matters because it can cure or it can kill.
George W. Bush’s biggest mistake was to avoid making a serious effort to confront radical Islam intellectually. He had the right general idea, which was that radical Islam is an existential threat that we must defeat, and that defeating it would require many years and the use of force to punish and destroy the Islamist regimes that attack the West through terrorist proxies and eventually WMD. He got about one-half of the use-of-force part right, which isn’t a bad outcome in the scheme of things. However, he failed almost completely in making a public rhetorical and intellectual case against radical Islam and for his geopolitical strategy. As a result of this failure, ten years later most Americans are ignorant about or misunderstand his strategy and have elected feckless leaders who are reversing his gains, while radical Islam is advancing against only weak intellectual opposition in its areas of operation.
-Internet service not working.
-Call Comcast toll-free number to find out if there’s systemic problem. Press 2 for high-speed Internet. Ignore recorded sales pitch for pay-per-view boxing match. No mention of systemic problems. Ignore recorded suggestion to press 1 to send refresh signal to modem (tried a few days ago, ineffective). Press another button to speak to a human.
-Complain about no signal.
-Comcast rep “checks your modem” and says it’s fine (subtext: you idiot).
-Optional: Point out to Comcast rep that there are many Comcast outages, outages always Comcast’s fault, everyone knows Comcast has lousy service, tired of being lied to by Comcast, etc.
-Optional: Comcast rep’s vaguely insulting non-apology apology — “I’m sorry you feel that way, sir” etc. (subtext: Comcast’s lousy service isn’t rep’s fault, you idiot).
-Check computer. Modem works, probably because something is misconfigured in Comcast network and Comcast rep’s action refreshed dropped connection.
-Repeat every few days until Comcast fixes problem.
Watching Kudlow tonight. The discussants agreed that the Republicans have mostly defeated the Democrats’ latest gun-control scheme, which has been reduced to arguments about the scope of federal background checks. This is small stuff as compared to the broad gun and magazine bans Democrats initially promised. Kudlow and at least one of his guests thought the Republicans would be wise to concede on the remaining issues, and Kudlow was eager to move the discussion on to the topic of Congressional budget negotiations. I think he missed the point. The Republicans won on guns for two reasons. First, the weight of public opinion shifted against the Democrats once people realized that the proposed anti-gun measures 1) would not prevent future mass-murders and 2) avoided dealing seriously with mental-health issues that seem to be much more connected to spree killings than guns are. The second reason why the Republicans prevailed was that, contra the Dem/moderate conventional wisdom, they stuck to their principles and didn’t concede on apparently marginal points. The Republicans wanted to win, were not eager for a deal and were willing to fight. That is a winning political position and the Democrats knew it.
So why don’t the Republicans apply the same principled, fighting attitude that defeated gun bans to other important issues such as federal spending, Obamacare and immigration?
A bit late to this. Yom Hashoah, Israel’s Holocaust remembrance day, was April 8.
Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors has twenty questions for American Jews:
Do you believe that the lesson we should learn from the Holocaust is one of tolerance?
Do you believe that the mainstream media reports fairly about Middle East issues?
Do you believe that Israel practices apartheid?
Do you favor the two-state solution?
Do you believe that the unrest in the Middle East would end if a Palestinian state were established?
Do you believe that Israel should compromise more for the so-called peace process?
Do you believe the settlements in Israel are an obstacle to peace?
Do you doubt that Islam desires to establish global dominance?
Do you believe that continued sanctions and negotiations will deter a nuclear Iran?
Do you believe that the international community has the right to dictate Israel’s appropriate response to terrorism in defense of its citizens?
Do you believe that you can be anti-Israel and not anti-Semitic?
Do you believe that the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe is caused by Israel?
Do you believe that Islamophobia in America is far worse than anti-Semitism?
Do you believe there would have been no Holocaust if a Jewish state had existed in Hitler’s time?
Do you believe Franklin D. Roosevelt was a hero to the Jews during the Holocaust?
Do you believe that American Jewry did all they could to stop the slaughter during the Holocaust?
Do you believe your life as a Jew would be unaffected if there were no Jewish state?
Do you believe social justice should be taught in public schools?
Do you believe that you are safer if only the government is armed?
Do you believe that another Holocaust can’t happen?
Wretchard discusses recent notorious Type II system failures. The Colorado theater killer’s shrink warned the authorities to no avail. The underwear bomber’s father warned the authorities to no avail. The Texas army-base jihadist was under surveillance by the authorities, who failed to stop him. Administrators of the Atlanta public schools rigged the academic testing system for their personal gain at the expense of students and got away with it for years. Wretchard is right to conclude that these failures were caused by hubris, poor institutional design and the natural limitations of bureaucracies. The question is what to do about it.
The general answer is to encourage the decentralization of important services. If government institutions won’t reform themselves individuals should develop alternatives outside of those institutions. The underwear bomber’s fellow passengers survived because they didn’t depend on the system, they took the initiative. That’s the right approach in areas as diverse as personal security and education. It’s also the approach most consistent with American cultural and political values. It is not the approach of our political class, whose interests are not aligned with those of most members of the public.
The Internet is said to route itself around censorship. In the coming years we are going to find out if American culture can route itself around the top-down power grabs of our political class and return to its individualistic roots. Here’s hoping.
Martin Kramer’s essay about Muhammad Asad: born Leopold Weiss in Vienna, Jewish convert to Islam, journalist, Islamic activist/reformer, Saudi courtier, anti-Zionist, Pakistani diplomat, translator of the Koran, lifelong wanderer. An interesting story.
This column must be read to be believed, not that anyone with more than two brain cells would be convinced by such poorly reasoned psychobabble. Check it out, and check out the comments — some of them are excellent.
(Via Of Arms & the Law.)
UPDATE: Or perhaps it really is an April Fool’s joke?