Thursday, December 29

How Wall Street bought the Obama administration

I've got a lot of Dem friends who believe Dems are friends of the poor and would never give billions of tax dollars to Wall Street.

They also believe forcing banks to give mortgages to people who couldn't possibly make the payments had nothing to do with the eventual collapse of the mortgage industry. Oh well, can't fix stupid.

This article explains how Wall Street "bought" the Obama administration. They did it by the time-tested method of campaign contributions, which resulted in some of the most inept, see-no-evil Wall Streeters being appointed to regulatory positions.

Go read it.

Wednesday, December 28

Read this article

It's a cliche that the education of American students is growing worse every year. There are several theories as to the cause: Some blame a near-compulsory edict in highschools to pass everyone, regardless of proficiency.

This is surely true to some extent, but this is being reduced by state requirements that students pass proficiency exams to graduate.

A second theory is that the teachers themselves have, on average, declined in knowledge and talent. More inquiry needed here, I think.

Yet a third theory is that curricula have been vastly watered down by politically-correct crap, so that students spend less time learning core skills.

And a final theory is that over time, the very top positions in education have gradually been filled with people who are themselves so indoctrinated with leftist crap and political correctness that they bend all policies they touch to serve the Left's goals.

Regardless of one's favorite theory, you need to read this article. The money quote:
Increasingly, undergraduates are not prepared adequately in any academic area but often arrive with strong convictions about their abilities. So college professors routinely encounter students who have never written anything more than short answers on exams, who do not read much at all, who lack foundational skills in math and science, yet are completely convinced of their abilities and resist any criticism of their work, to the point of tears and tantrums: “But I earned nothing but A’s in high school,” and “Your demands are unreasonable.” Such a combination makes some students nearly unteachable.
Interesting stuff. And the conclusion is a hoot:

The article touches only lightly on a more serious possibility: what if the system leaders themselves can’t tell the difference between a credential and an education--because they themselves are only credentialed? Then the blind would be leading the blind.

In that case, the highest reaches of society could be manned by mediocrities who’ve been selected to edit prestigious journals without ever writing an article; who’ve been elected lawmakers without ever compiling a legislative record; who’ve presided over a depression and yet compare themselves to the greatest of past leaders — to Lincoln and to Roosevelt. Thank God things haven’t reached that point.

For those who aren't political junkes: the writer above is being facetious. In an interview, Obozo ranked his accomplishments as president behind those of just 3 other presidents: Lincoln, FDR and one other (I think Teddy Roosevelt, but unsure).

So yes, things clearly have reached that point.

Friday, December 23

U.S. missiles found in ship headed for China--BBC

Here's something novel:
Finland has impounded a ship bound for China carrying 69 [U.S.] Patriot surface-to-air missiles. The missiles were discovered during a customs search on the Thor Liberty, owned by a Danish company, at the port of Kotka, about 120 kilometres from Helsinki. The BBC is reporting the missiles were found in containers marked fireworks.
Containers marked "fireworks," eh? Probably just a mis-translation.

Later a German Defense Ministry official said the missiles were part of a German delivery for South Korea under a longstanding agreement. But the ship was unquestionably docking in Shanghai first.

Still unanswered is whether the missiles were indeed marked "fireworks." Also, how in the world could any legitimate government believe it was reasonable to ship advanced anti-missile missiles anywhere via China?

One thing you can count on: If this turns out to be a sale arranged by Obozo and company, U.S. outlets will quickly lose interest in getting to the bottom of this story.

Lying at the Department of InJustice

Stephanie Celandine Gyamfi is a career employee of the Department of Injustice's "Voting Rights" section.

A day ago she reportedly admitted to investigators from the department's Inspector General that she lied to investigators three times during an earlier investigation of leaks of sensitive case material to left-wing blogs and newspapers.

There's now a bet on whether she'll be fired or even mildly disciplined.

After all, lying to investigators is only a problem if it's a conservative lying. Dems get away with it all the time, courtesy of our lying, Dem-loving media.

Oh, and how do we know she's a Dem? Well, pictures of her office before the 2008 election show the walls plastered with Obama posters.

Imagine the howls of outrage if a career employee lied to protect a conservative president.

But if you're a member of the correct party, all is cool.

We are no longer a nation of laws, but a nation of corrupt, lawbreaking apparatchiks willing to do anything to advance their Party, their cause.

I'll be shocked if this corrupt piece of work doesn't keep her job without so much as a slap on the wrist.

Thursday, December 22

A once-great nation crumbles before our eyes

Despite the nation's financial disaster, the huge increases in electricity costs that Obama and the Democrats have set in motion, and the disaster of a tide of illegal immigrants pouring across an undefended border, most of you believe your lives will still play out pretty much as they have in the past.

I do *so* hope you're right. But you're almost certainly wrong--badly--and your naivete is touching.

Victor Davis Hanson was once like you. He lives on a farm in California's Central Valley, and writes that thieves are stealing everything they can get their hands on there.

"Hey, what's the big deal?" libs and Dems retort. The poor thieves are just trying to feed their families, or right historic injustices, so we shouldn't get upset.

Except they're stealing wire from street lights. In Fresno, hundreds of street lights have been stripped. In a desperate effort to stop this crime, city workers are now putting concrete armor around the bases. He reports that hundreds of bronze commemorative plaques have been ripped off of public buildings in his local town--presumably for their scrap value.

An old school had its bronze bell stolen. Even manhole covers have been taken--again presumably for scrap. The list is endless.
In our new Vandal state, one successful theft begets another.... In my case, one night an old boat in the barn was stripped. Soon the storage house was hit. Ten days later, all the antique bolts and square nails were taken from the shop. Usually — as is true with the street lights — the damage to the buildings is greater than the value of the missing items.

I spoke with another group of farmers at a rural fairground. Every single person I talked to has had the copper wire ripped out of his agricultural pumps within the last two years.

By what magic force will this not soon expand to where you live?

I'm not anti-immigrant, so save your breath. What I am is angry at the thugs who destroy street lights and steal manhole covers--or anything else.

Tuesday, December 20

675 Pakistani women victims of "honor killings" so far this year

December 20, 2011

AT least 675 Pakistani women and girls--included at least 71 under the age of 18--were murdered during the first nine months of this year for allegedly defaming their family's honour, a leading human rights group said today.

The official said figures were still being compiled for the 4th quarter and that a full report would be released in February.

Activists say murders of girls for "defaming the family's honor" are often dismissed by Pakistani police as private, family affairs.

Around 130 of the women killed from January to September were accused of marrying without permission. Some victims were raped or gangraped before being killed, he said.

Wait a second: This can't possibly be true, because there's not a single mention of it in the NY Slimes or the WaPo. (Link is to some paper in Australia or something. They probably don't even speak English there, so how can we trust 'em to report the truth?)

Plus, if it was true, American feminists would be bouncing off the ceiling demanding that the U.S. gummint cut all aid to Pakistan until they started frying some of the murderers of female family members. After all, U.S. feminists always sound off when crazy men start killing women, right? So this report must be false. Or else feminists are hypocrites. And that's hard to even imagine.

But seriously: Where's the outrage from the Left/"progs" about this? The Left/libs were outraged! by the spectacle of a rogue female U.S. soldier posing for pics with Iraqi prisoners wearing a dog leash, so you'd think that consistency would demand that... Ah, wait, yes, what was I thinking?

Let me conclude by saying that I've always been grieved by stories of so-called "hunters" shooting caged animals, or of people throwing bags of unwanted kittens or puppies in a river to drown. Should we not speak out at least as strongly to condemn the murderous thugs in Pakistan who murder equally defenseless females in Pakistan for having the audacity to (gasp!) marry without permission?




Sunday, December 18

EPA gives tax dollars to modern-dance troupe for...

Saw a short item about the EPA giving a paltry $25,000 tax dollars to a "modern dance" troupe in Utah to perform modern dance pieces about the environment, for grade-schoolers.

Predictably, one person interviewed thought the EPA had no business doing that, while the head of the troupe couldn't imagine what the fuss was about. As she put it, "We take federal money in this state for all kinds of projects, why not environmental education?”

Equally predictably, someone else noted that "It helps underprivileged children."

(How watching a modern-dance performance could possibly help an underprivileged kid wasn't explained.)

Then it struck me where I'd heard all this before: Davy Crockett--the famous frontiersman--represented Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives, and one winter while he was there a fire broke out in Georgetown, burning many homes and leaving scores of people homeless.

Crockett had witnessed the fire and the shivering victims, so when a bill was introduced in the House a few days later to provide a sum of money for their relief, he voted for it.

Later while doing some "electioneering" back in his home district, Crockett happened on a farmer plowing. The farmer recognized Crockett and proceeded to tell him that while he'd voted for him in the previous election, he wouldn't be doing so again. The reason, he said, was Crockett's vote in support of the bill providing taxpayer money to the fire survivors.

Crockett was taken aback. How could anyone object to the government relieving the suffering of victims of an act of God?

The farmer countered that the problem was that the Constitution didn't give congress the power to do such a thing. If Crockett and other reps believed the document gave them such a power, there was no limit to the amount of tax dollars representatives could vote to favored causes. As the farmer put it (wanting to use an absurdly high number to make his point): If congress felt free to appropriate $20,000 to a cause, why could they not as easily vote twenty million?

Why not indeed.

Moreover, there was no limit to the reason a congressional appropriation might be made. That is, if representatives violated the Constitution by giving tax money to one group or activity, what would bar them from doing the same for any other cause, no matter how goofy?

Crockett said he felt stunned. He confessed that he'd never considered the matter in that light, and was simply being compassionate to those in obvious need.

The farmer replied that he wasn't at all opposed to showing compassion for those in need, but that the Founders--for very good reasons--didn't grant congress (or any other branch) the power to give charity. If the fire survivors needed $20,000 to relieve their suffering, said the farmer, such an amount could easily be raised from the wealthy in Washington.

Alternatively, each member of congress could have donated a week's pay and raised most of that sum. But of course they had no need to give their own money when they could give yours.

Interesting stuff.

I'm becoming convinced that about three-quarters of liberal politicians and voters are like Crockett: they've simply never considered the ramifications of the policies they push. They simply believe it's the government's job to award money to things like dance troupes doing environmental dance pieces for school kids. It never occurs to them that this is the certain, absolute road to ruin.
===

It should be noted that there's considerable doubt that the speech referenced in the link--from work by Edward S. Ellis--was actually given. Similarly, there's no evidence that the farmer Ellis describes as helping Crockett see the light about the nature of the Constitution is real. Nevertheless, the article makes a great and valid point.

Wednesday, December 7

Obama: "Capitalism has never worked."--WaPo

The Washington Post has been a mouthpiece of the Democratic party for my whole life. Accordingly, if they write something mildly unflattering about a Democrat, chances are good that the story isn't fabricated.

A week ago a Post reporter wrote that Obozo said, in effect, that capitalism has never worked.

Hmm....

Seem t'me it works a hellofa lot better than socialism/communism. Need examples? See Cuba, North Korea, East Germany before reunification.

Of course if you refuse to take advantage of a free education (through high school), prefer hangin' on the corner to taking a low-wage job, spend all your money on crack and booze and have no concept of "deferred gratification," it's no wonder socialism is attractive! The gubmint will GIVE you food, housing, and checks. What could possibly be better?

Socialism "works" for those who don't want to or can't. Capitalism works for folks who are self-starters, well motivated. And the results of each system are just what you'd expect.

Funny that Obozo doesn't recognize that.

Or maybe he does, and his support of socialism is deliberate.

Chilling thought.

Tuesday, December 6

Two experiments on whether socialism is better than freedom

The Occupy crowd--including its well-to-do supporters among academics, Hollywood residents and Democrat leadership--wants more socialist policies. More freebies, more welfare state, less free market activity. Because private business is eeevil, dontcha know.

Great takedown of that thinking here. And a great summary by a commenter (edited):

The world has had a chance to observe two perfect experiments in the relative benefits of communism/socialism versus freedom/capitalism: East Germany vs. West Germany, and North Korea vs. South Korea.

In both cases there were no significant differences in the two populations, climate or natural resources. The only difference was the ruling ideologies.

Result: On one side blight, decay, starvation, misery, paranoia, repression.
On the other a cornucopia of production, wealth, openness, freedom.

Ask a typical US college professor and he’d say Side A was capitalism and Side B was communism/socialism.

But to any normal person the results of these two real-world, side-by-side experiments are both clear and stark. Pity that American education is so misguided and left-leaning that most Americans under the age of 30--including virtually the whole Occupy crowd--haven't a clue about this.

Starting with our President.

And for a fun experiment, ask any college student about the Berlin wall and the whole East/West Germany divide. They don't know because they weren't taught. Note it's been 23 years since the wall was torn down!

(H/t Peterike, Wretch, Maetenloch at Ace's.)

Sunday, December 4

House subpoenas Corzine to testify

I see Jon Corzine, the former head of bankrupt commodities brokerage firm MF Global, has been subpoenaed to testify on December 8th about his role in the collapse of the firm he headed, "MF Global."

For those with short memories, MF Global has been charged with using roughly a Billion bucks of investor funds for its own purposes--as opposed to investing investor funds in investor-owned accounts. This is illegal, and tantamount to theft.

As you can probably guess, the misappropriated money vanished, and very few details have emerged about exactly how that occurred.

All that's publically known is that the collapse was the result of huge investments in "European sovereign debt"--a strategy reportedly pushed by Corzine himself.

Ah, but here's the twist: Corzine is a former Democrat governor and Dem U.S. senator from New Jersey. As such he will almost certainly refuse to testify to anything meaningful. And the Dems will block efforts to slap him with any penalty.

What do you think would happen to some poor conservative businessman who refused to testify after being subpoenaed?

Different rules for different political classes, eh?

We are no longer a nation of laws, but a nation run--and ruined--by political corruption.

Saturday, December 3

It's a mystery to top Democrats

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as "bad luck."

-R.A. Heinlein

Funny stuff. The Obozo administration--abetted by top Democratic congresscreeps like Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durbin and others--constantly pontificate about the need to "create more jobs." But they seem to think the way to create jobs is to hire more gummint workers.

Are these top Dems really that clueless about where jobs come from? I really believe most of 'em really are. They've been living on the public checkbook for so long that they've forgotten (if they ever knew) that most jobs are created by businesses.

Having forgotten this, they constantly pass laws that make it increasingly hard for businesses to operate in the U.S.

And then when unemployment soars, they are...truly mystified.

Must be bad luck.