Recommended Reading

Our “Constitutional Scholar” President has, in fact, acquired quite a legacy of flogging the Constitution into pulp. I highly recommend reading over Eric Cantor’s report on the bad behavior of regulators gone wild and an Imperial President unchecked by media scrutiny and unconcerned with the limitations of the rule of law.

Eric Cantor – The Imperial President

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THIS —>

—> Modern Parents are Idiots

Read it and cry.  I certainly did.

The fun thing is that as good as my parents were…I am circling the drain as we speak struggling to escape the whirlpool of failure that is consuming young people these days because, though my parents tried to push me into the labor force to teach me about the importance of hard work…NO ONE WOULD HIRE ME for more than a day at a time.  Why?

Say it again…because modern parents are idiots.  Bare with me, I’ll explain the connection.

The same attitude that causes “Nick” in the other post to sneer at someone who would try to make his kids earn some money while still in school (calling childhood work “slave labor” and saying such things were tantamount to child abuse) also convinced millions of modern parents to vote for lawmakers supporting laws such as:

  • Child labor restrictions so strict that even in farming communities, kids have a hard time breaking into the farming way of life and getting paid for it
  • Minimum wage laws that do not have exceptions for children (if you could pay a kid half of what you pau an adult to be a movie theater snack jockey or ticket ripper…your movie ticket would cost half as much and your 32 ounce soda would cost $1.50 instead of $5.75…and hey…I’d have gotten a job when I was 16!)
  • Extensions of health insurance coverage to protect all of those boomerang kids until they’re 26
  • ETC

The point is…because modern parents are very…very stupid…a whole generation has now grown up in a world where the expectation is that kids will live the high life and be provided for either by relatively well-to-do parents or by the government when the parents struggle financially.  This continues right up through college when kids get up to 47 THOUSAND dollars in college loans paid for by EVERYONE in the form of higher tuition and national debt at the same time (how is THAT a good thing?) so that they can go to college even if they don’t have a strong desire to do so.  ANd while there…they are coddled and live the high life AWAY from home…having to do none of the work to support themselves but thinking that they’re all grown up.  Time was that if you wanted to go to college, you worked HARD to pay for it.  My Mom worked three jobs to go to the University of Utah for a year.  But…I had no concept of this…I went to college and pissed away 40 thousand dollars to nearly fail out the first time I tried.  But I was “gifted” so I got second chances.  Lucky me.  Most kids won’t be so lucky.  Now that I’m finally having to learn about how hard it is to survive on my own (and not entirely succeeding, mind you)…I really wish I hadn’t had it so easy all those years.

Cross-post: Geek Social Fallacies Gone Wild

My co-author and I have both read the famous document The Five Geek Social Fallacies – in a nutshell, they explain why all geeks of a minimal geek magnitude have behavior patterns that most in the mainstream world would find unproductive or dangerous.

The five fallacies in bullet form:

  1. Rejection is Evil – Because most geeks spend their childhood being excluded from the cool crowd, they come to think that being isolated for any reason at all is the worst crime in the human arsenal.
  2. Friends Accept Everything About Me – If anyone dares to point out a character flaw, or disagree on an issue that is a core value for a geek, they must not be real friends!
  3. Friends Come Before EVERYTHING – Geeks tend to forge clingy, co-dependent, desperate friendships based on the principle that being rejected is the worst human crime and losing a friend is the worst form of being rejected…meaning that if you don’t put your friends above everything else, you are not a real friend because you’re rejecting their needs.
  4. Friendship is Transitive – To a geek, if you’re their friend…and someone else is their friend…that someone else should be your friend too!
  5. Friends Do Everything Together – To a geek, if you have a hobby that you do not wish to share with them, you can’t be a real friend.
I am bringing this up again because I believe it explains the behavior of the Science Fiction Writers of America.  A group that has become among the most fascistic, oppressive, groupthink-centered echo-chambers in the world.  I mean that literally.  They are HORRIBLE to people who do not toe the party line.  The only thing separating the SFWA from, say, a cult, is a compound in Montana.
See this spoof song:
But the reason that happens…they’re ALL geeks.  And geeks aren’t allowed to disagree with geek allies, because if there is a disagreement, it is a personal betrayal – a rejection – and, like a knife through the gut, it is intolerable and must be SILENCED.  I think this is why geeks are particularly vulnerable to the evils of utopian thinking.

The Bradley Fighting Vehicle!!

There’s a great movie that lampoons the military for wasteful spending, bad concept development, minimal oversight, and high-level corruption that characterized the Pentagon and senior military leadership during the Cold War called “The Pentagon Wars.”  This movie chronicled the development of a useless half-tank, half-rapid troop transport system known as the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

This began as a good idea – troops deployed in multiple overseas venues around the USSR and its communist allies during the cold war needed a way to safely get to the front lines very quickly.  The goal was to produce an armored vehicle that could move very quickly, provide covering fire, and move an entire platoon twenty clicks in a matter of minutes without the attrition common in WWII era troop transports (more than half of the casualties in the first two days of the Normandy invasion occurred in the process of getting the troops onto the beaches – they arrived in amphibious transport shells that had no shielding…men died by the hundreds before they had even left their shells or fired a shot).  This is a good concept.  But, as with all things governmental, this good idea was run through a series of concept meetings, development committees and contract talks, and at each level, higher-ups with cozy connections to public/private contract companies or even just a pet idea that they really wanted deployed added another modification to the blueprints for the BFV until, after over a decade of development, the concept went from light, fast-moving armored vehicle with a hatch for soldiers to lay down covering fire to a heavy mini-tank theoretically capable of repelling MORTAR FIRE that could now safely transport only 9 men…not the full platoon originally envisioned.  I say theoretically equipped to deflect mortar fire (and stinger missiles too!) because in practical tests, the metal used to barricade the vehicle would become hot enough to release toxic fumes and kill the vehicle’s occupants when it was actually struck with a missile or mortar shell.

I bring this up because this just came across the conservative headlines:

http://dailycaller.com/2013/07/10/defense-department-spent-34-million-on-unused-facility-amid-furlough-panic/

Even in a democratic administration that actively demonizes the military and claims to desire defense budget cuts, the pork barrel rolls on.  And the reason?  Bureaucracy will always…ALWAYS be wasteful, inefficient and ineffective.  The military is not immune to this.  One of the few things Bill Clinton did CORRECTLY (because he had significant bipartisan cooperation and the help of GOP budget hawks) was military base closure.  A lot of wasteful spending from the Cold War years was rolled back in a manner that made it easier, not harder, for the military to do its job.  But that kind of government waste reduction cant be limited to defense…and it can’t only occur once every thirty or forty years.  It needs to be ongoing and it needs to be unbound by agendas and branch mandates.  Just because Housing and Urban Development has what sounds like a noble mission statement does not mean that waste reduction within HUD is an attack on the poor.  It’s funny how Hollywood can see the failure of government bureaucracy when it happens within the Pentagon, but there’s never been a great Hollywood movie about the 50 billion dollars we owe Native American tribes that just…DISAPPEARED from Department of the Interior or the yearly excesses of the IRS or the GSA.

FACT: A bureaucracy is always slow to change, slow to adapt to problems, inefficient with money, and in need of oversight…whether it be the bureaucracy of a large multinational corporation or a government agency…and that includes agencies that Democrats seem to think are above questioning because they like the mission statement.  And that also includes defense, which the GOP seems to prefer to run on the principle of laissez faire when, in reality, defense spending is just as bureaucratic (read: stupid) as anything else.  Maybe if we were more hawkish about wasteful spending within DoD, it wouldn’t be such a hard thing to sell the American people on the need for a larger portion of the budget to go to defense (since the Constitution actually requires that we defend ourselves!)…and maybe…just maybe…people like my father who do good work advising the military would be able to keep their jobs and not face layoffs and furloughs because we spent billions of dollars on nothing at all.

Manipulative

The pro-life movement has a bad habit of gunning for shock-value in their advertising and viral video production…but all the pictures of the remains of an aborted baby or the footage of ultrasounds during dilation and curettage and especially during later term abortions are depicting an ugly truth in an insensitive way (that’s bad, in case you missed my meaning), whereas this video:

http://www.lifenews.com/2013/07/07/michigan-college-student-wins-national-pro-life-video-contest/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+lifenews%2Fnewsfeed+%28LifeNews.com%29 (click through to the youtube and judge for yourself)

…is manipulative on a whole ‘nother level.  I get a gut-twisting pain when I see children being asked to be the faces of political campaigns.  That should never…ever…EVER happen.  We are all ready to lambaste Organizing for America for its rallies full of children waving signs for Obama or the corrupt teachers’ unions for their propagandizing of the 2008 election using the children in their protection…so why do we praise the misuse of children in a pro-life video that won awards?  Just because it’s effective doesn’t mean we should do it.

Not to mention the fact that the studies show that would-be mothers who elected abortion generally feel an overwhelming sense of RELIEF in the first two years…not the horrifying nightmare of never-ending guilt portrayed in the video.  I’m as pro-life as anyone I know, but we have to tell the truth.  And the truth is that the guilt associated with abortions tends to arrive later…tends to creep in under the surface.  That isn’t our best angle…we need to stick to the undeniable facts.  It’s undeniably true that there are health risks…severe ones…associated with abortions.  It’s undeniably true that abortions tend to be predominantly carried out by the people our society is supposed to be HELPING – minorities, the poor, and the young.  It’s undeniably true that abortion destroys an innocent life with all of the necessary blueprint materials to be a person who would have the right to live the moment they were born.  And it’s undeniably true that when we are confronted with the humanizing aspects of our fetuses, as in the previous ad I mentioned here, we INSTINCTIVELY react with horror at the thought of killing them.  Beyond that…it’s undeniably true that Planned Parenthood lies to or obscures the truth from its customers on a routine basis, that they are not generally staffed with medical doctors with surgical privileges, and that they don’t allow their employees to refer to the fetus as a baby because it statistically significantly lowers the odds that the would-be customer will opt for an abortion.  It is undeniably true that PP claims to be about women’s health services when, in fact, they offer NOTHING related to women’s health other than basic consultation, pap smears, and abortion service.  For anything else, they refer you to real doctors.  Those are the things that we need to stay focused on.  We can’t get sucked into playing cheap psychological games and distorting the truth to sell our message.

Why Ann Althouse is a Hypocrite

Althouse is on the record as having no sympathy for men claiming that women have lied about their use of contraception and then gotten the men to pay child support for that lie for eighteen years.  I am inclined to agree with Ann that men shouldn’t be having sex if they’re not ready to be parents and in committed long term relationships.  But here is the correct response to Althouse’s cruelty toward men (which, IMHO, is the highest form of hypocrisy), penned in better language than I could have done myself:

http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/171982/

I find that I agree with Ann about 1/3 of the time and the other 2/3 of the time, I find her a little too brutal and Randian for my taste.  In this case, however, she is just plain wrong.  She is suggesting that, because the genders are not equal in the responsibilities they have in the actual biological process of procreation, the law should be unequal and biased toward women.  You’ll pardon me if I find it hypocritical for a woman to make that assertion and then get offended when someone calls them the evil “s” word for wanting to have their free sex…not to mention get children entirely on their own terms and force unwilling men to pay for them.

Bite me, Ann.  Bite me.

Post CPAC 2013, Thoughts on Everything

If this post meanders over hill and dale, I apologize in advance. After a few days at CPAC, I have quite a few thoughts whirling around in my head, and I’m not quite sure how to organize them into a coherent whole.

Let me say at the outset that I don’t believe the conservative movement is dead, nor do I believe it’s passé. Our ideas are right, profoundly relevant to the modern age, and in no need of “moderation.” I do think, however, that we should shift our emphasis — and fortunately, many of the speakers I saw at CPAC seemed to agree.

First point: We need to pay attention to Sarah Palin. Yes, yes, I know: unelectable (thanks mostly to mainstream media malice). But we still need to listen to what she says and watch what she does. As a conservative “populist,” she represents that huge “country class” that right now feels, for good reason, that it has no influence in Washington. Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I think Palin was mentioning the concentration of wealth and prestige in the counties that ring DC well before conservatives considered it cool to do so. She is also very much a critic of cronyism, which is not and should not be recognized as genuine capitalism. We would do well, I think, to select more candidates with her cast of mind — in other words, people who can defend the free market and attack the cozy relationship between Wall Street and K Street in the same breath. We would also do well to select candidates who are perfectly comfortable cracking jokes with college students the way Palin did at CPAC — candidates who are comfortable taking visible sips from a Big Gulp in the middle of a speech and teasing Mayor Bloomberg (something Palin also did, drawing a huge roar of approval from her mostly young audience).

Second point: Conservatives are right about the need to balance the federal budget. They are right about the debt. They are right about the current unsustainability of Medicare and Social Security. And they are right on taxes, spending, and the regulatory state. But the truth is, your average person doesn’t care. It’s all green-eye-shade accounting to him — something far removed from his daily life. What the average person cares about is his own financial stability. Does he have a decent job? Can he support his family? For many people, the answer is “no, not comfortably” — and this is what the left exploits. Very few people, I wager, feel that interacting with government bureaucrats is a pleasant experience; for every truly parasitical person out there who demands that government care for him from cradle to grave (the Occutards come to mind instantly, though they’re scions of the upper middle class rather than representatives of the downtrodden poor), I’m sure there are a hundred others who aren’t proud of being government dependents. How could you possibly think that taking a number and waiting your turn on a hard plastic chair as you hope against hope that you’ll fit the state’s one-size-fits-all formulas and qualify for public assistance is either ideal or dignifying? On the other hand, it’s something. Government services are as crappy as hell, but many people perceive them as a source of security. Such services aren’t guaranteed in perpetuity, of course, but most people don’t understand that economic argument, and they absolutely will not vote Republican until we provide them with viable alternatives.

Third point: As Robert Putnam documented years ago, the diverse and animated civic society Alexis de Tocqueville and others described as a key feature of the early American republic has been steadily collapsing around our ears. Outside the upper class (which seems to be maintaining its civic culture if Charles Murray is correctly interpreting the sociological evidence), people feel at loose ends and are longing for the purpose that used to be drawn from intermediary institutions like extended families, churches, fraternal organizations, ethnic societies and the like. Thus, they are susceptible to Obama’s empty rhetoric of caring and connectedness. Of course no one ever achieved success and prosperity on his own. That’s common sense. Unfortunately, the president has no intention of restoring those local entities that could truly bring us together and create an environment conducive to human flourishing. Obama’s intention is to grow the state — but until the GOP makes a concerted effort to speak to the American public’s anomie, Obama’s well-meaning middle-class supporters (and those upper class supporters who mistakenly conflate Obama’s promises with the vibrancy of their own communities) will fail to grasp this reality.

So let’s see — how can I tie this all together? Well, I think one thing we need to do as a movement and as a party is to take a cue from the social teaching of the Catholic Church and bring the vulnerable among us into the center of our mission. Entrepreneurship is awesome, certainly, and we should continue to promote it. But many people aren’t small business owners and have no ambitions to be such — they’re regular working stiffs for whom all this talk of cutting back burdensome taxes and regulations simply doesn’t resonate. If, however, we aggressively take back the moral high ground on the poor – a high ground the left illegitimately occupies, mind you – we might have more success. Republican groups need to have a presence in under-served communities. We need to put our money where our mouths are and support those local charitable organizations which struggle daily to bring people out of poverty. We need to ask people in these neighborhoods what they need and then try to provide it through non-governmental channels. We need to be out there mentoring kids, visiting the elderly, and sheltering and feeding the homeless.

We also need to emphasize those issues that are especially relevant to the poor, the working class, and the lower middle class. For example, let’s talk more about school choice, and let’s be bold about it. As we all know, many urban districts spend more than $10,000 per pupil to turn out young adults who are functionally illiterate and innumerate, a travesty of justice that destroys the prospects of success for countless inner-city young adults. But even suburban school districts are failing to adequately educate our kids. As a matter of fact, recent statistics suggest that while our lower class kids have caught up with lower class kids in other parts of the world in mathematics, all of our kids are lagging behind in reading, and our upper class kids are lagging behind in math. At this point, I think it’s time to be militant: Instead of pouring thousands per pupil into a heavily bureaucratized, socialized public school system, why not give half of what we spend to each kid for parents to use as they see fit? Leftists, I’m sure, would argue that loosening the government’s controls on public education would result in kids “not learning what they need,” but that’s what’s happening now. No — I think what really chaps the left’s hide about the concept of letting education funding follow the kid is that some will consequently escape left-wing indoctrination and left-wing meddling.

Again, conservatives are right about things like raising taxes on the rich. The rich, for the most part, pay more than their “fair share” if you define “fair share” as “in a proportion equal to the proportion of America’s wealth they earn.” Moreover, every time we’ve ever agreed to raise taxes, the left finds brand new ways to spend our money, and we end up right back where we started in the same financial hole. But we will never convince the majority of the electorate to feel sorry for the “job creator.” Let us look elsewhere for our dominant theme.

Quick Note on the Storm…

Just a quick stub thread to let folks know that I have no major changes to my forecast from last night after taking a peak at the latest model projections and the current surface and upper air analyses.  There is surprisingly good model agreement on the track, intensity and moisture profile of this storm…the only areas of some quibbling are in the exact placement of mesoscale heavy snow bands and the exact thermal profile of the atmosphere.  Those things will play havoc with local accumulations, but my general regional snowfall and wind forecasts remain largely unchanged.

David Horowitz to the GOP: Get Angry!

Via Power Line:

How Republicans Can Win

The only way to confront the emotional campaign that Democrats wage in every election is through an equally emotional campaign that puts the aggressors on the defensive; that attacks them in the same moral language, identifying them as the bad guys, the oppressors of women, children, minorities and the middle class, that takes away from them the moral high ground which they now occupy. You can’t confront an emotionally based moral argument with an intellectual analysis. Yet this is basically and almost exclusively what Republicans do.

Large populations of the African American and Hispanic poor are concentrated in America’s inner cities – Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Harlem, South Central Los Angeles. In these inner cities the unemployment rates are off the charts, the school systems so corrupt and ineffective that half the children drop out before they graduate and half those who do are functionally illiterate. They will never get a decent job or a shot at the American dream.

In these inner cities, every city council and every school board and every school district are 100% controlled by Democrats and have been for more than 70 years. Everything that is wrong with the inner cities and their schools that policy can affect, Democrats are responsible for. Democrats have their boot heels on the necks of millions of poor African American and Hispanic children and are crushing the life out of them every year. But Republicans are too polite to mention it.

Subverting family structures through a misconceived welfare system, encouraging food stamp dependency, providing incentives to bring into this world massive numbers of children who have no prospect of a decent life just to earn a welfare dollar. These are the corrupt fruits of Democratic welfare policies which are spiraling out of control. Republicans criticize these programs as “wasteful.” They need to start attacking them as destructive, as attacks on the human beings who are ensnared by them.

The way for Republicans to show they care about minorities is to defend them against their oppressors and exploiters, which in every major inner city in America without exception are Democrats. Democrats run the welfare and public education systems; they have created the policies that ruin the lives of the recipients of their handouts. It’s time that Republicans started to hold Democrats to account; to put them on the defensive and take away the moral high ground, which they now occupy illegitimately. Government welfare is not just wasteful; it is destructive. The public school system in America’s inner cities is not merely ineffective; it is racist and criminal.

ROAR!

But seriously: I think Horowitz is right about this. Fighting with honor shouldn’t mean we have to be super nice and never punch back. A truly effective argument appeals to more than just the bloodless intellect. Indeed, there are three legs to the rhetorical stool: emotion, authority, and logic. If you emphasize one at the expense of the others, your stool will fall down.