Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Victor Davis Hanson: The Winter Of California

On Winter Solstice Day, this grim essay seemed particularly apt. Some bold emphasis:
I am starting to feel as if I am living in a Vandal state, perhaps on the frontier near Carthage around A.D. 530, or in a beleaguered Rome in 455. Here are some updates from the rural area surrounding my farm, taken from about a 30-mile radius. In this take, I am not so much interested in chronicling the flotsam and jetsam as in fathoming whether there is some ideology that drives it.

Last week an ancestral rural school near the Kings River had its large bronze bell stolen. I think it dated from 1911. I have driven by it about 100 times in the 42 years since I got my first license. The bell had endured all those years. Where it is now I don’t know. Does someone just cut up a beautifully crafted bell in some chop yard in rural Fresno County, without a worry about who forged it or why — or why others for a century until now enjoyed its presence?
Yes, Victor, they do--when they have been taught that a beautiful bell made by old dead white guys doesn't count, and when they have no roots to the community at all.
The city of Fresno is now under siege. Hundreds of street lights are out, their copper wire stripped away. In desperation, workers are now cementing the bases of all the poles — as if the original steel access doors were not necessary to service the wiring. How sad the synergy! Since darkness begets crime, the thieves achieve a twofer: The more copper they steal, the easier under cover of spreading night it is to steal more. Yet do thieves themselves at home with their wives and children not sometimes appreciate light in the darkness?
But they don't have wives, and they really aren't sure where, or even who, are the children they have fathered.
In short, all the stuff of civilization — municipal buildings, education, religion, transportation, recreation — seems under assault in the last year by the contemporary forces of barbarism. After several thefts of mail, I ordered a fortified, armored mailbox. I was ecstatic when I saw the fabricator’s internet ad: On the video, someone with an AK-47 emptied a clip into it; the mail inside was untouched. I gleefully said to myself: “That’s the one for me.” And it has been so far. But I wonder: Do the thieves not like to get their own mail? Do their children not play Little League? Do they not want a priest at their funeral? Would they not like to drive their cars without worrying about holes in the street? Or is their thinking that a rich society can cover for their crimes without their crimes’ ever much affecting them — given that most others still do not act as they do?

I know it is popular to suggest that as we (age), everything seems “worse,” and, like Horace’s laudatores temporis acti, we damn the present in comparison to the past. Sorry, it just isn’t so. In 1971, 1981, and 1991, city street lights were not systematically de-wired. And the fact that plaques and bells of a century’s pedigree were just now looted attests that they all survived the Great Depression, the hipsters of the 1950s and 1960's, and the crime-ridden 1970s.
There is indeed something of the Dark Ages about all this. In the vast rural expanse between the Sierras and the Coast Ranges, and from Sacramento to Bakersfield, our rural homes are like stray sheep outside the herd, without whatever protection is offered by the density of a town. When we leave for a trip or just go into town, the predators swarm.

Last summer several cars drove into my driveway, the surprised occupants ready with all sorts of innocent-sounding inquiries: “We just are looking for a rental.” “Do you have scrap for sale?” “We’re having car trouble.” And so on.

All this serves as a sort of red/green traffic light: If someone comes out from the house, the driver poses the question and then abruptly leaves; but if no one appears, he strikes quickly. I remember three or four intruders I confronted this year who had trucks as nice as or nicer than my 2006 Toyota. Two had sports apparel more expensive than my jeans and sweatshirt. All were heavier than I. In other words, malnourishment, the desire for basic transportation, the need for clothing on their backs — all the classically cited catalysts for stealing — are not what is driving these modern vandals.

At a local gathering last week, lots of farmers — of a variety of races and religions — were swapping just such stories. In our new Vandal state, one successful theft begets another — at least once deterrence is lost. 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 would have given the thieves all the lost items rather than have had to fix broken locks and doors.
Yes, you weenie leftists, the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys have had Chinese-, Hindu-, Japanese-, Mexican-, and Sikh American communities, along with the various European ethnics, for decades before you decried an alleged lack of "diversity".
I just 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. The conduits taken from my own 15-horsepower and 10-horsepower pumps were worth about $200 at most. The repair bill was $1,500.

Most farmers have lost any steel or iron lying around their barnyards, whether their grandparents’ iron wagon hardware or valuable replacement furrowers and discs. Stories of refuse piled in their vineyards and wrecked cars fished out of their orchards are monotonous. Did the thieves never eat raisins, a peach, an almond? And did they not appreciate that if we did what they did we would all starve?

As I write, I am looking out the window toward my barn at a strange new trash pile that, presto, appeared overnight while I slept: all the accouterments of an old car — seats, dashboard, outside moldings, etc. — are heaped together, along with household garbage. What am I to do with it? I can’t burn it. (Believe me, an environmental officer would appear out of nowhere at the rising of the toxic smoke to fine me, as surely as he is absent when the garbage and refuse are tossed on the roadsides outside of town.) There is too much of it to pile into my $100-a-month Waste Management bin, where I put the plastic garbage sacks tossed by the mailbox each week. It would take two trips in my pickup to haul it to the distant county dump. So for now, the problem is mine, and not that of the miscreant who tossed it. Was he thinking, “Mr. Hanson has more time, more money, more concern over trash, or more neuroticism of some sort, and therefore is more likely to deal with my trash than I am”? — as if to say, “I can live in a neighborhood where wrecked car parts litter the road; he obviously cannot.” So are these tossers simply comfortable with refuse on our streets, or are they not, but, like irked toddlers with soiled diapers, expect someone else to clean up after them?

And is not that the point, after all? Behind the easy criminality of stealing metal or driving outside of town to toss your garbage is an implicit mentality, as frightening as it is never expressed. Someone will indeed take the garbage away. And someone indeed will have copper wire for others to harvest for their needs. And someone will pay the taxes and costs associated with the commission of the crime, efforts at prevention, and rare apprehension of the criminal. And lastly, someone most certainly should. In our crude radical egalitarianism, the fact that one has more, and another less, is de facto wrong, and invites popular remedies. Now, for every crime committed, a new sociology will arise to explain away its commission. We are back to the bankrupt French philosophers who asserted: “Property is theft!”

In the last 20 years, several vehicles have zoomed off the road and plowed into my rather short stretch of roadside vineyard. The symptomology has always been the same: The driver fled; no proof of registration or insurance was left behind. The cost of replanting the vines and replacing the stakes remained all mine. Even the car was towed away and impounded by the state for its fees. As I drive these days across the valley, I play a game of looking at vineyards abutting the road to spot newly replanted vines and fresh stakes; these car-induced blights are quite common. Occasionally, I see the Catholic version of the Orthodox iconostases so common on Greek roadsides — commemorative crosses and shrines erected to mark the spot where one driver did not survive the zoom into the vineyard or orchard.

I just asked a neighbor how many times he has been rammed at a rural intersection, with the other driver fleeing the scene and leaving the car behind (my tally: twice). He laughed and said, “None, but I can top you anyway. Last month a hit-and-run driver swerved off the road, hit the power pole next to my farm, and fled as the high-voltage cables fell onto my grape arbors — and smoked ten acres of overhead vineyard wire.”

I agreed that I could not top that. Who could imagine electrified grapes? I wonder how much in taxes the hit-and-run driver has paid this year to make up for the cost of a utility pole, and the repair of downed wires and a vineyard’s trellising system? Even more frightening are the thousands in our society — journalists, politicians, academics, activists — who get up each morning more concerned about the fleeing "undocumented" driver who destroys power and vines than the victims who pay for the carnage.

The immediate reaction of the victimized in rural central California is predictable and yet quite strange. As in 5th-century North Africa, farmers feel that civilization is vanishing and they are on their own. The “authorities” of an insolvent state, like petty Roman bureaucrats, are too busy releasing criminals from overcrowded jails to want any more. The stories of cyclical releases are horrific: Criminals are not arrested and let go just twice a year, but five and six and ten times. Sometimes we read of the surreal, like this week’s story in my local Selma Enterprise of one criminal’s 36 arrests and releases — and these are only for the crimes we know he committed and was caught for:

Chief says: Jail revolving door hurting Selma

Crime is Topic No. 1 in Selma, which makes the story of Adam Joshua Perez worth telling. Selma Police have arrested Perez 24 times since he turned 18 in October 2004. Charges against the Selma man have included burglary, theft, possession of narcotics, and weapons-related offenses, according to interim Police Chief Myron Dyck. In that time period, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department also arrested Perez eight times, and the Kingsburg Police took him into custody four times, Dyck said. Fresno Police also were looking at him for some car thefts, Dyck added. He calls Perez (born Oct. 23, 1986) a career criminal who’s getting the benefit of a broken criminal justice system. And there are other people like Perez on Selma’s streets, Dyck said.
Yes, there are.

There is also an unspoken acknowledgment of how state and local law enforcement now works, and it is predicated on a cost-to-benefit calculus. Reporting to the local police or sheriff a huge pile of refuse in your yard — even when the address of the tosser can be found from power bills or letters — or the theft of a tool from the barn is simply not worth the effort. It is not even worth the cost and trouble of activating a high-deductible farm-insurance policy. I guess the reasoning is that you in fact will replace the stolen item, and even if the criminal were apprehended, the costs of arrest, trial, and incarceration — even without the entrance of immigration authorities into the matrix — are too steep for a bankrupt state.

Indeed, farmers out here are beginning to feel targeted, not protected, by law enforcement. In the new pay-as-you-go state, shrouded in politically correct bureaucratese, Californians have developed a keen sense of cynicism. The scores of Highway Patrol cars that now dot our freeways are looking for the middle class — the minor, income-producing infractions of the generally law-abiding — inasmuch as in comparison the felonies of the underclass are lose–lose propositions.
If I were to use a cellphone while driving and get caught, the state might make an easy $170 for five minutes’ work. If the same officer were to arrest the dumper who threw a dishwasher or refrigerator into the local pond among the fish and ducks, the arrest and detention would be costly and ultimately fruitless, providing neither revenue from a non-paying suspect nor deterrence against future environmental sacrilege. We need middle-class misdemeanors to pay for the felonies of the underclass. 
The state’s reaction to all this is a contorted exercise in blaming the victim, in both the immediate and the abstract senses. Governor Brown wants to raise income taxes on the top two brackets by 1 to 2 percentage points, making them over 11 and 12 percent respectively. That our schools are near dead last in test scores, that many of our main freeways are potholed relics from the 1950s, that we just passed the DREAM Act to extend state financial support for college-age illegal aliens, and that the overtaxed are fleeing the state do not register. Again, those who in theory can pay, should — and should keep quiet about why they must suddenly pay a 12 percent income tax that was not needed, say, in 1961, 1971, or even 1991, when test scores were higher, roads better, and communities far safer.

There is, of course, a vague code of silence about who is doing the stealing, although occasionally the most flagrant offenders are caught either by sheriffs or on tape; or, in my typical case, run off only to return successfully at night. In the vast majority of cases, rural central California is being vandalized by gangs of young Mexican nationals or Mexican-Americans — in the latter case, a criminal subset of an otherwise largely successful and increasingly integrated and assimilated near majority of the state’s population. Everyone knows it; everyone keeps quiet about it — even though increasingly the victims are the established local Mexican-American middle class that now runs the city councils of most rural towns and must deal with the costs....official accounts in the media are either incomplete or censored to reflect a sort of Ministry of Truth groupthink.

Poverty, racism, class oppression, an uncaring society, government neglect, exploitation, greed — cite them all endlessly, as our coastal (liberal) lawmakers, academics, and bureaucrats largely do. But most of these elite groups also seek to live as far away as possible from rural central California, the testing ground where their utopian imaginations become reality for distant others. The influx of over 11 million illegal aliens has had a sort of ripple effect that is rarely calibrated. Sixty percent of Hispanic males in California are not graduating from high school. Unemployment in rural California (of legal Mexican Americans) runs over 20 percent. There is less fear now of arrest and incarceration, given the bankruptcy of the state, which, of course, is rarely officially connected even in small part to illegal immigration. Perhaps because illegal immigration poses so many mind-boggling challenges (e.g., probably over $20 billion lost to the state in remittances, the undermining of federal law, the prejudice shown against legal immigration applicants, ethnic favoritism as the engine of amnesty, subterfuge on the part of Mexico, vast costs in entitlements and subsidies), talking about it is futile. So most don’t, in fear of accusations of “racism.”

For those who do not leave the area, silence for now remains the norm. We pick up the litter from our farms on the implicit logic that the vandal — and, indeed, the state as well — expects us to, given our greater worry that his garbage would be likely to attract rats, flies, and other historical purveyors of illness. Dead cats, dirty diapers, used needles, baby carriages, shattered TVs, chairs, sofas, rotting lumber, broken windows, concrete blocks, tree limbs, used paint cans, household poisons, bags of used toilet paper and tampons, broken toys, fast-food boxes, toddler’s pools, tires, rotting chickens and dogs — anything that does not have easily detachable clean steel or copper — I’ve picked them all up from my vineyard and driveways.

I do not (yet) move wrecked Winnebagos and trailers onto my single-family-zoned rural parcel to garner rental cash, as do many of my neighbors. After all, some must not, if the careful zoning work of a century is to survive. When one dog in four is not licensed and vaccinated out here, we have a problem; when four out of four will not be, we should expect a 19th-century crisis. When there are three outdoor privies used daily behind a neighbor’s house, the local environment can still handle the flies, the odor, and the increase in the chance of disease; but if there were to be 100 in a half-mile stretch, civilization itself would break down.

Cynicism is the result. We pay no attention to news accounts of new state measures to check the source of metals presented at recycling centers, because we know these efforts are futile — as futile as the “seminars” in which we are told to fence everything in, to buy huge guard dogs, to install video cameras in trees, and to acquire electric gates — as if we were not so much being protected but being held prisoner.

I stay here, however, because I now ask: Why should we change our way of life rather than demanding that those who are changing it should look inward and themselves change?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

"Black Friday" insanity

As I watch the local and national TV news, I am shocked by the subtle egging on of the "Black Friday" shopping hordes--even on the relatively better Fox News. In a time of bad economic news, with personal debt at near record levels and with so many people paying off "underwater" housing mortgages, does this mad spending and camping out in front of stores for the latest Iphone or Xbox gizmo make ANY sense?

Perhaps the shopping mantra for the liberal media this year is this: We can't admit the Obamunist government mandates and Demunist economic "stimulus" policy, for which we were cheerleaders, utterly failed, and we know the future is hopeless, but we’re not going to allow the bad economy to ruin our "holiday" season.

The liberal media won't call it Christmas Season, of course.

Of course, I will shop for presents for my family and good friends too, but I will do it on my own sweet time and not get swept up in some media-driven frenzy. Nor will I go into debt for them. I don't think the supplies of goods are THAT low, and in this depressed economy, there will certainly be more discounted sales to entice me to buy in the future.

Then again, perhaps the Obamunists and their media apparatchiks are preparing us future proles for our lives under their socially rationed economic system, where we must stand in line for rationed goods like Cuba, or quickly spend our hard earned cash before it devalues in hyper-inflation like Argentina in the 1970's.

And under such economic policies, we will have to be prepared to be like the crazed shoppers who were pepper-sprayed on Black Friday at a Los Angeles Walmart by a woman who wasn’t about to miss out on one of the most sought after necessities of life — the new Xbox. Only next time, if the Obama Administration wins the 2012 elections and enough Demunists and RINOs hang on to their gerrymandered sinecures in Congress, next time the pushing, shoving, pepper spraying and even shooting may be over gasoline or bread or meat or even vegetables.

Perhaps the "Occupy" camps can be seen as training grounds for future Obama Red Guards. The Occupiers would be perfect candidates to put themselves in harm’s way to get their "fair share" of discounted playthings that they desperately need to keep their gray matter anesthetized. You could just picture many of them punching out the "rednecks" they hate, and then taking their electronic toys back to their Occupy Wall Street tents, and after taking some good drugs falling into a peaceful slumber, thinking to themselves, “Mission accomplished.” And the next day today, they will go back to the front lines fighting those "evil" guys on Wall Street for their Chairman Mao-bama— you know, the same Wall Street guys who have given Barack Obama more money than any candidate in history. But don't tell the Occupier dupes that!

I do not mean to imply that all, or even many, Black Friday shoppers are Occupy Wall Streeters or that all, or even many, Occupy Wall Streeters are Black Friday shoppers. Far from it. But the two groups have at least three things in common: They are very materialistic, they are angry about what they don’t have, and some have no qualms about resorting to mob violence.

When I use the word materialistic, I’m referring to wealth. And to be clear here, wealth is not what someone earns. Wealth is what someone owns. Wealth is cars and buildings and computers and television sets and iPods.

But wealth has to be created. It has to be earned by *somebody*. It takes money, management, and labor to produce all of those cars, buildings, computers, television sets, and iPods. The predicament that America now finds itself in is that there’s a lot of money and management around, but not enough good labor. At least not enough good labor at a cost that allows companies to manufacture goods at prices consumers are willing to pay.

Of course, there’s plenty of labor in places like China, India, Chile, Ecuador, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, and many other countries throughout the world. So it’s no mystery why these countries now produce a great deal of wealth.

The reason the Western world is broke is because it doesn’t have a workforce that is willing to work at wages that are competitive with non-Western nations. From Greece to California, from Italy to New York, the reason workers are unwilling to accept competitive wages is because they can afford to be choosy. Unemployment benefits (now extended to 99 weeks or more), food stamps (ditto), and other forms of "stimulus" welfare remove the motivation for Commiecrat ghetto lumpen proletariat to work at any job that is available to them, at whatever wage is being offered, in order to feed and clothe their families.Starvation no longer motivates people who are unemployed, because the government forces those with wealth to provide food, clothing, and shelter to those who don’t have them.

And with these factors removed from the survival equation, people can afford to camp out at Best Buy, Target, and Walmart for days on end and elbow, stab, shoot, and pepper-spray those who would stand in the way of their getting their fair share of stuff at the lowest possible prices.

Does this mean that people have to work 16 hrs a day for 10 cents per hour in order to compete with a Cambodian serf? Only if they have no more education than a Cambodian serf. Hopefully they went to school and learned a useful trade. NO, Bogus Ethnic Multicultural Commiecrat Studies Victimization is NOT a useful skill. "Social Justice" is also a worthless field. But if they actually studied in school, learned math, chemistry, physics, sciences, engineering, biology, a medical skill or perhaps computers, THEN they can make a good salary. They are not entitled to $30 per hour for sticking a bolt in a car door handle on an assembly line; those days are OVER! But if they can repair a transmission or restart some one's heart, or research how to get greater yields from grains, then they will certainly find jobs all over the place that pay $30 per hour. And that's ALL they're worth.

Then again, maybe not. The more productive business is bashed, the more it moves out of "blue" states, or now even out of this "blue" Demunist nation. (The "Red / Blue" political color scheme should be utterly the other way around, but I digress.) Perhaps they will study hard, like some US engineers, only to have the value of their study undermined by H-1B modern day indentured servant immigrants.

There’s no way to prove it, but I’d be willing to bet that a disproportionate number of those who had nothing better to do than camp out in front of superstores for several days prior to Black Friday are classified as “poor” by the federal government. But how in the world can poor people afford to go shopping for electronic toys?

Good question — and here are some facts about people whom the Census Bureau defines as “poor” that may help to answer it:
--43 percent own their own homes.
--80 percent have air conditioning in their homes.
--75 percent of poor households have a car, and 31 percent have one or more cars.
--97 percent have a color television set and 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.
--89 percent own microwave ovens.

Clearly, being poor in America is a whole lot better than being middle class in most other countries. In fact, so-called poor people in the U.S. live as well as those in the median American household of the early 1970s. So when you get right down to it, poverty is relative. But as the living standards of the poor rise, vote-hungry Commiecrat politicians simply make those rising standards the new baseline for poverty. And the RINOs meekly go along.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The "Super Committee" fails--GOOD!

Dick Morris explains:
Mark Twain famously wrote that "no man's property or liberty is safe while the Legislature is in session." The same could have been said for the Deficit Reduction Super Committee. Now that it has reached an impasse, we can all breathe easier!

There is a fundamental, deep difference between the parties in Washington. Democrats want higher levels of taxes and spending and Republicans want lower levels of each. The gulf between them can only be adjudicated by the electorate at an election. That's the way we do it in a democracy. To split the difference in a spate of legislative deal making is to deprive our people of their right of self-government.

Because we are not Japan, we use our elections to air fundamental policy differences. Because we are not Italy, we come to conclusions and are not always looking to split the difference in fuzzy compromise.

For the last weeks many conservatives have been concerned that our Republican members of the panel would sell us out and go for a tax increase. Some, like Tennessee's Senator Lamar Alexander, urged one. For them to have agreed to a compromise would have been disempowering to the voters. It would have been a sin.

Now the great question looms before us: How large should government be? Should it consume the 41% of our national resources it now does or even less than the 33% it did when Obama took power? Let the debate begin and let the voters decide. And let one or the other party return to Washington in 2013 with control of both Houses and of the White House, determined to enact the will of the voters.

The insiders in Washington wanted a deal because they don't trust the voters. The insiders on Wall Street wanted one because they want predictability. But this decision is not to be made by insiders. It will be made by voters. It is not the triumph of gridlock, but of democracy. The absence of a deal is not a failing of our system, but a manifestation of its most glorious success.

We are still, after all, a democracy. 
Not a surprise really.
Let’s get real here. Only the play-along-to-get-along media could hype a business-as-usual non-event like the supercommittee’s thumb-sucking task into sounding like the Cuban missile crisis — or at least the lead-up to the Super Bowl.
Sorry, but the truth is that the media’s hand-wringing over the supercommittee’s deficit-reduction work is nothing more than a monumental farce. By getting the public to focus on the choice of cutting $1.2 trillion from the budget over 10 years or triggering automatic spending cuts of $1.2 trillion, Congress is once again able to distract from what really needs to be done.

And by “really needs to be done,” I mean cutting a minimum of $1.5 trillion from the budget next year. Why $1.5 trillion? Because that’s what it would take to balance the current budget, which is already 10 times greater than it should be.

It’s all part of the same old Washington game, and the rules of the game are very simple: Democrats never agree to any serious spending cuts, and Republicans always give in (while pretending to be victorious, of course).

In other words, from the Democrats’ point of view, it’s: “Heads, I win; tails, you lose.” And from the Republicans’ point of view, it’s: “Just let us continue to eat in the Congressional dining room, work out in the Congressional gym and have access to insider stock-trading information, and we’ll go along with just about anything you ask of us.”

It never really mattered whether the so-called “spending cuts” came from the super committee or as a result of “automatic, across-the-board spending cuts.” Either way, the budget, the deficit and the national debt were guaranteed to continue to rise — and at an accelerating rate, at that.

What does this mean in terms of next November’s elections? Well, if the Republicans run a progressive candidate like Mitt Romney, once again allowing themselves to be intimidated by the Democrats’ constant admonishments that “voters want Democrats and Republicans to come together,” then they will have learned nothing from their Mush McCain mistake in 2008.

It’s scary to think about, but even Ann Coulter has fallen into the ageless trap of believing that conservatives should once again set aside their principles and nominate a candidate who can win. Not only is such a position unprincipled, it also yields either a losing Presidential race or a Republican President who does nothing more than carry the water bucket for Democrats. (Think George W. Bush.)

Perhaps the biggest tip-off that Romney has Democrats licking their chops at the thought of his winning the Republican nomination is that their liberal media cheerleaders keep insisting he is the candidate Democrats fear most. That’s a dead giveaway for just how badly they want him to be the Republican nominee. Trust me, the thought of running nonstop ads that feature Barack Obama thanking Romney for creating the model for Obamacare has them both salivating and cackling.

Of course, if voters bypass Romney and flee into the arms of Newt Gingrich, Democrats would also have a ball with some of Gingrich’s more infamous positions — supporting the Troubled Asset Relief Program, global-warming couch sessions with Nancy Pelosi, favoring an individual mandate for health care, and, worst of all, referring to Paul Ryan’s serious budget-cutting plan as “extreme right-wing social engineering.”

The important question of the day is not whether the super committee will “compromise” and work out a spending-cut plan or take the easy way out and allow automatic spending cuts to be triggered. Either way, you can be sure there will be no significant cutbacks in government spending.

A far more important question is: Will conservatives be smart enough and tough enough to understand that promising to cut the size and scope of government and put an end to the criminality in Washington is what got them elected to Congress in 2010?

Or will they misread the political climate once again and run scared — right into the arms of their socialist pals across the aisle — and hand the only Marxist President in American history a default victory that will give him the time he needs to finish the job of destroying what is left of the U.S. economy?

Monday, November 07, 2011

Why Liberals Want Gun Control

Q: Why do Leftists, Liberals, Demunists and Commiecrats want "gun control"?
A: So we can't fight back when they foment mobs and unleash them upon our persons, homes, businesses or other property.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan shows the way:
Even after the bandanna-wearing, rock-throwing, fire-starting fringe demonstrators took over a downtown Oakland building and blocked off a street late Wednesday, Mayor Jean Quan did not want police to intervene.

Instead, Quan asked that police hold off on any confrontation until daylight - or, barring that, send in negotiators to try to work out a peaceful resolution.

"She didn't want to incite the anarchists any more than they already were," said one source who was in the city's emergency operations center when Quan stunned the assembled staffers with her comments.

Finally, interim Police Chief Howard Jordan, with the backing of City Administrator Deanna Santana, made the call for police to take action. Both were in the emergency center with Quan.

The following day, at a press conference with Jordan and Santana, the mayor praised police for their handling of the situation, while a stone-faced chief and city administrator stood by her side.

Quan's command center call was the latest example of the mayor's resistance to using police force on demonstrators, a position that is being reinforced both by her closest advisers and her family.

In fact, eyewitnesses say Quan's husband was among the banner-wavers blockading the port in a nonviolent action earlier Wednesday.

Quan said at a press briefing the day after last week's riot that she was still hoping for a "peaceful resolution" to the Occupy encampment outside City Hall.
Sure you do, Jean. Sure....
But when asked what her idea of a peaceful resolution was or how it might be achieved, Quan said, "I don't know."
It will only be achieved when those goons are turned back by armed law-abiding citizens with weapons.

The Liberal Democrat Powers That Be won't help; in fact, they show their sympathy with the window breakers, robbers and looters.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Editorial Cartoon from 1934, Still True Today

But what has the Chicago Tribune, and ever other major newspaper, since come to?
The other plan of action they had was to infiltrate and slowly take control of the newspapers. Thank goodness for blogging.

Friday, November 04, 2011

How to respond to "Occupy Oakland" thug vandals

They form mobs, destroy property and threaten violence against working people. How to respond? With equal or more severe force. And one Oakland developer threatened to do just that, and one Oakland driver did just that! In a sane society we would give these guys medals.

Here's to you, Phil Tagami:
...though some businesses have been targeted and vandalized by Occupy Oakland protesters, there is at least one businessman who refuses to be intimidated.

Phil Tagami is a well-known Oakland developer. Late Wednesday night, instead of going over paperwork or brokering deals, he was forced to defend a downtown building where he personally oversaw $50 million worth of renovations.

He also has an office there.

“We had people who attempted to break into our building,” the landmark Rotunda Building on Frank Ogawa Plaza outside City Hall, Tagami said. According to comments he made to the San Francisco Chronicle, Tagami grabbed a shotgun that he usually keeps at home, went down to the ground floor and “discouraged them.”

Although they didn’t get inside the building, vandals did scrawl graffiti on the outside walls during the post-midnight riot that broke out after Occupy Oakland’s daylong general strike, writes the Chronicle.

“I was standing there and they saw me there, and I lifted it – I didn’t point it – I just held it in my hands,” Tagami said. “And I just racked it, and they ran.”
Meanwhile, a driver trying to get out of an Oakland BART transit station, after one of these creeps started pounding on his car hood, accelerated and hit the creep! He is unidentified at present, but hats off to him as well. Hats off to the BART Transit Cops for letting him go, too.

Lesson of riots: You can't appease the savages, like the Men's Wearhouse tried to do.

But I suspect the Commiecrats will try to prosecute these two guys. Why is that? Because they are in cahoots with the "Occupy" goons, as Mark Steyn points out:
Jean Quan, mayor of Oakland, and the Oakland City Council have made "preserving disorder" the official municipal policy. On Wednesday, the "Occupy Oakland" occupiers rampaged through the city, shutting down the nation's fifth-busiest port, forcing stores to close, terrorizing those residents foolish enough to commit the reactionary crime of "shopping," destroying ATMs, spraying the Christ the Light Cathedral with the insightful observation "F**k", etc. And how did Mayor Quan and the Oakland City Council react? The following day they considered a resolution to express their support for "Occupy Oakland" and to call on the city administration to "collaborate with protesters."

That's "collaborate" in the Nazi-occupied France sense: the city's feckless political class are collaborating with anarchists against the taxpayers who maintain them in their sinecures. They're not the only ones. When the rumor spread that the Whole Foods store, of all unlikely corporate villains, had threatened to fire employees who participated in the protest, the Regional President David Lannon took to Facebook: "We totally support our Team Members participating in the General Strike today – rumors are false!" But, despite his "total support", they trashed his store anyway, breaking windows and spray-painting walls. As The Oakland Tribune reported: "A man who witnessed the Whole Foods attack, but asked not to be identified, said he was in the store buying an organic orange when the crowd arrived."

There's an epitaph for the republic if ever I heard one.

"The experience was surreal, the man said. 'They were wearing masks. There was this whole mess of people, and no police here. That was weird.'"

No, it wasn't. It was municipal policy.
In fairness to the miserable David Lannon, Whole Foods was in damage-control mode. Men's Wearhouse in Oakland had no such excuse. In solidarity with the masses, they printed up a huge poster declaring "We Stand With The 99%" and announcing they'd be closed that day. In return, they got their windows smashed.

I'm a proud member of the 1 percent, and I'd have been tempted to smash 'em myself. A few weeks back, finding myself suddenly without luggage, I shopped at a Men's Wearhouse, faute de mieux, in Burlington, Vermont. Never again. I'm not interested in patronizing craven corporations so decadent and self-indulgent that as a matter of corporate policy they support the destruction of civilized society. Did George Zimmer, founder of Men's Wearhouse and backer of Howard Dean, marijuana decriminalization and many other fashionable causes, ever glance at the photos of the OWS occupiers and ponder how many of "the 99%" were ever likely to be in need of his two-for-one deal on suits and neckties? And did he think even these dummies were dumb enough to fall for such a feebly corporatist attempt at appeasing the mob?

I don't "stand with the 99%," and certainly not downwind of them. But I'm all for their "occupation" continuing on its merry way. It usefully clarifies the stakes. At first glance, an alliance of anarchists and government might appear to be somewhat paradoxical. But the formal convergence in Oakland makes explicit the movement's aims: They're anarchists for statism, wild free-spirited youth demanding more and more total government control of every aspect of life – just so long as it respects the fundamental human right to sloth. What's happening in Oakland is a logical exercise in class solidarity: the government class enthusiastically backing the breakdown of civil order is making common cause with the leisured varsity class, the thuggish union class and the criminal class in order to stick it to what's left of the beleaguered productive class. It's a grand alliance of all those societal interests that wish to enjoy in perpetuity a lifestyle they are not willing to earn. Only the criminal class is reasonably upfront about this. The rest – the lifetime legislators, the unions defending lavish and unsustainable benefits, the "scholars" whiling away a somnolent half-decade at Complacency U – are obliged to dress it up a little with some hooey about "social justice" and whatnot.

But that's all it takes to get the media and modish if insecure corporate entities to string along. Whole Foods can probably pull it off. So can Ben & Jerry's, the wholly owned subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch corporation UniLever that nevertheless successfully passes itself off as some sort of tie-dyed Vermont hippie commune. But a chain of stores that sells shirts, ties, the garb of the corporate lackey, has a tougher sell. 
The class that gets up in the morning, pulls on its lousy Men's Wearhouse get-up and trudges off to work has to pay for all the other classes, and the strain is beginning to tell.
Let it be said that the "occupiers" are right on the banks: They shouldn't have been bailed out. America has one of the most dysfunctional banking systems in the civilized world, and most of its allegedly indispensable institutions should have been allowed to fail. But the Occupy Oakland types have no serious response, other than the overthrow of capitalism and its replacement by government-funded inertia.
At heart, Oakland's occupiers and worthless political class want more of the same fix that has made America the Brokest Nation in History: They expect to live as beneficiaries of a prosperous Western society without making any contribution to the productivity necessary to sustain it. This is the "idealism" that the media are happy to sentimentalize, and that enough poseurs among the corporate executives are happy to indulge – at least until the window smashing starts. To "occupy" Oakland or anywhere else, you have to have something to put in there. Yet the most striking feature of OWS is its hollowness. And in a strange way the emptiness of its threats may be a more telling indictment of a fin de civilization West than a more coherent protest movement could ever have mounted.
Michelle Malkin posts what the lamestream media apparatchiks won't.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The hidden Obama inflation tax

It has been suggested in some quarters that The Tea Party Movement and their Republican allies have nothing to complain about because neither the Obama administration, nor Nancy Pelosi in her heyday of 2009-2010, raised tax rates. In fact, it is claimed through credits that the Democrats in Congress actually lowered taxes "for 95% of the population!"

Leaving aside the absurdity of cutting income taxes for that 47 percent of the population who pay no income taxes, this utterly ignores the hidden tax of inflation that is simmering away. The Fed has printed more money to pay for Barry and Nancy and Harry's "stimulus". This means more money is going after the same goods and services in our economy. This means the money you or I hold is worth *that much less*. In effect, our money *was* taxed away by Barry and Harry and Nancy, through the mechanism of currency devaluation and corresponding price inflation. You may have noticed prices creeping up in the stores already.

When Pelosi's Congress spent more money than they collected in taxes, and with nearly a *trillion* dollars of "stimulus" they certainly did that, they authorized the Treasury Department to borrow from the public by selling Treasury bills, bonds, and notes. The Treasury offers these securities for sale at public auction, and they are bid for and purchased by banks, pension funds, trusts, corporations, individuals, and above all foreign interests. These are widely considered to be the safest IOUs around. After all, they are guaranteed by the U.S. government.

Inasmuch as Treasury securities are offered at auction, there is no chance they will not be purchased. The Treasury can offer as high a rate of interest as is necessary to attract buyers. Thus, investors, including individuals, pension funds, banks, and life insurance companies needing safety of principal are induced to sell other private debt securities such as bonds, savings accounts, and certificates of deposit, and buy the government IOUs.

Sale of government securities thus absorbs the savings of individuals and corporations. The more that government borrows, the less money that is left over for other borrowers. As a consequence, other borrowers must offer higher and higher rates of interest in order to attract funds. Thus, when the federal government runs deficits, it tends to raise interest rates, and this in turn causes the cost of doing business to rise. As a result, business activity slows down, and both businesses and consumers curtail spending and the economy moves toward recession. Which also explains why Pelosi's and Reid's and Obama's "stimulus" was utterly ineffective.

However, all of the last paragraph assumes a money supply that is kept the same. Enter the "quantitative easing" (printing more money) of Ben Bernacke and the Federal Reserve.

It is widely believed that the Fed is sympathetic with the problems recessions create for politicians, and lowers interest rates in order to keep those politicians in favor with the public. That is not the case at all. The Fed is not a federal agency. It is owned and run by the banking industry. In fact, it is relatively insulated from political pressure, Democrat or Republican, but it has other reasons to act.

What are they? A recession means bad times for the banks. People stop borrowing, corporations lose business, and bank profits drop. When borrowers get into trouble, banks get into trouble. If the recession turns into a full-scale depression, widespread bank failures may result, as they did in the 1920s. Since the Fed is an organization made up of banks, it is clearly in the best interests of those running it to ward off the recession by lowering interest rates. And it does so by expanding the money supply.

When the Fed determines that interest rates should be lowered, or at least prevented from rising any further, it contacts private dealers who make the market in (i.e., who buy and sell) U.S. government securities. The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve meets and issues orders to purchase Treasury securities. (Remember, these are the same T-bills and bonds that created the rising interest rates in the first place by absorbing the savings of individuals and corporations.)

The Fed pays the dealers for the securities with Federal Reserve checks, which the dealers then deposit in their banks. The bond dealers' banks then forward those checks to the Fed (where the banks have their reserves on deposit), and the Fed credits the reserve accounts of the banks.

Now the bank has new reserves against which it can make loans. These fresh reserves are just like new deposits from customers, and can be expanded by the same process that all bank deposits are expanded. Under reserve requirements in effect at any point in time (the Fed can change them at will), these reserves can be expanded by five, six, or seven times through what is calls "fractional reserve banking." Thus, when the Federal Reserve buys $1 billion in U.S. Treasury securities, the banks can loan out $5, $6, or $7 billion to borrowers.

Where did the Fed get the money to buy the Treasury securities? It created it out of thin air. It credits the reserve account of a bank by a simple bookkeeping entry. What does the Fed have to back up its IOUs? It has the IOUs of the U.S. Treasury, that is, the Treasury's bills and bonds.

The Federal Reserve accounts thus balance: They show a liability of the bank reserves and the offsetting asset of Treasury securities. The Federal Reserve Notes in your pocket or checking account mean that the Fed owes you money, and these are in turn backed up by the T-bills they hold - which means that the government owes the Fed money. The U.S. government continues to issue more and more IOUs to cover its ever-growing deficits, and the Fed continues to buy these up and issue its own notes in their place.

This whole process is known as "monetizing" debt, which means that the debt of the federal government is turned into money. The government borrows money to meet its deficits, and the IOUs it issues eventually are converted into Federal Reserve Notes. Those greenbacks in your wallet that you think of as money are only government IOUs broken up and reissued by the Fed. And as a result of what the Fed did, your hard earned money is worth that much less...

Thus, in the long run, there is no difference between Nancy and Harry and Barry and the other liberals in the government fighting a recession by taxing money from you and giving it to "green jobs" or "the needy", and the Fed doing much the same by buying up Nancy and Harry and Barry's Treasury bills and giving the banks new reserves. The only difference is in the timing. The effects of government borrowing are almost instantly offset by the effects of government spending. But when the Fed monetizes the government debt, it takes months, or even years, for people to offset the influx of new money by raising their prices. The Fed action just postpones the inevitable a bit longer than the government action does.

Federal deficits, then, are the primary cause of continued inflation of the money supply. Once banks have loaned out their depositors' money to the maximum limit set by reserve requirements, the only source of new dollars is the Federal Reserve.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Dirty Laundry

Saw a link to this T-shirt at cafepress earlier. I think it's a pretty good response to those whose T-shirts express the idea that "Our totalitarians are cool."

The text reads “My Che and Mao t-shirts are in the wash”. Not bad. And, the back depicts the numbers of people killed by the Soviets and the Maoists next to the number killed by the Nazis (hint: each of the former racked up a higher body count), with a general admonition against totalitarianism.