Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thomas Sowell: Defending Rick Perry

OK, so Rick Perry can't speak well, like another Texas Governor that comes to mind:
But that does not mean he's wrong. Thomas Sowell outlines the defense:
The current outbreak of "gotcha" attacks on Texas Governor Rick Perry show one of the other pitfalls for those who are trying to pick a national leader. The three big sound-bite issues used against him during the TV "debates" have involved Social Security, immigration and a vaccine against cervical cancer.

Where these three issues have been discussed at length, whether in a few media accounts or in Governor Perry's own more extended discussions in an interview on Sean Hannity's program, his position was far more reasonable than it appeared to be in either his opponents' sound bites or even in his own abbreviated accounts during the limited time available in the TV "debate" format.

On Social Security, Governor Perry was not only right to call it a "Ponzi scheme," but was also right to point out that this did not mean welshing on the government's obligation to continue paying retirees what they had been promised.

Even those of us who still disagree with particular decisions made by Governor Perry can see some of those decisions as simply the errors of a decent man who realized that he was faced not with a theory but with a situation.

For example, the ability to save young people from cervical cancer with a stroke of a pen was a temptation that any decent and humane individual would find hard to resist, even if Governor Perry himself now admits to second thoughts about how it was done.

Many of us can agree with Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's contention that it should have been done differently. But it reflects no credit on her to have tried to scare people with claims about the dangers of vaccination. Such scares have already cost the lives of children who have died on both sides of the Atlantic from diseases that vaccination would have prevented.

The biggest mischaracterization of Governor Perry's position has been on immigration. The fact that he has more confidence in putting "boots on the ground" along the border, instead of relying on a fence that can be climbed over or tunneled under where there is no one around, is a logistical judgment, not a question of being against border control.
Sorry Tom, but a fence is utterly obviously needed, as it would help the boots on the ground. And in turn, boots on the ground help prevent destruction of, climbing over, or tunneling under the fence. The two *go together*, and it is not an either/or issue. Here, Rick Perry did an epic fail.

In fairness, Governor Perry DID order the National Guard (to the extent he can, he doesn't have absolute control) to the border, along with the Texas Rangers and the Texas Guard (Texas's own militia, basically). Further, he championed the Sanctuary Cities bill which would have denied state funds to any city declaring itself a sanctuary city. He also championed and signed Texas's shiny new Voter ID law, which helps minimize the potential for political chicanery. What good is it to Illegal Alien Hispander when the illegal aliens will be prevented from voting?

But Thomas Sowell is right about this:
Those of us who disagree with Governor Perry's decision to allow the children of illegal immigrants to attend the state colleges and universities, under the same terms as Texas citizens, need at least to understand what his options were. These were children who were here only because of their parents' decisions and who had graduated from a Texas high school.

Governor Perry saw the issue as whether these children should now be allowed to continue their education, and become self-supporting taxpayers, or whether Texas would be better off with a higher risk of those young people becoming dependents or worse. I still see Governor Perry's decision as an error, but the kind of error that a decent and humane individual would be tempted to make.

I have far more questions about those who would blow this error up into something that it is not. Error-free leaders don't exist -- and we don't want to end up settling for a warm body.

Ultimately, this is not about Governor Perry. It is about a process that can destroy any potential leader, even when the country needs a new leader with a character that the "gotcha" attackers demonstrate they do not have.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

San Joaquin Valley's New Crime Wave

From the local TV news: "Thieves Make Off With Vineyard's Irrigation System":
MODESTO (CBS13) — Thieves crushed a grape crop when they took off with the tools that help a local vineyard to grow.

Grape grower Frank Rashid was on track for a record-breaking year.

“See how beautiful?” said Rashid, gesturing toward his grapes.

But in an instant, thieves crippled all of his hard work.

“A lot of trouble for me, [and] the grapes; I can lose the crop, you know,” said Rashid.

Bad guys stole the grape irrigation system worth more than $10,000. And now, his petite syrah grapes are starting to shrivel away.

Rashid says someone walked on to the 14-acre family vineyard over the weekend and went straight for the pair of tanks.

Each tank has a pump.

“And we have here a flush controller,” said Rashid.

A valve and a motor, and that’s not all.

“These parts would hold the filter pressure pump, and they took it out,” said Rashid.

In his 12 years of growing grapes, Rashid has never been hit by thieves. He believes the criminals will cash in his equipment as scrap metal. He plans to install a fence — and even cameras — to protect his crop.

“It’s not just hurting me, it’s hurting the winery, everybody,” said Rashid.

With his livelihood and his business on the line, Rashid hopes to replace the irrigation system by the end of the week. If it’s not installed in time, he fears the crop will be completely destroyed in one week.
If illegal aliens are “doing the jobs Americans won’t do”, so we are told ad nauseum, they are also stealing the pumps Americans won’t steal.

Of course the liberal Demunist Commiecrats and their media apparatchiks will claim it is "racism" to claim illegal aliens, or their former anchor baby now teenage children, did this. But who else besides Mr. Rashid would know about his irrigration system? It would likely be young men without authority in their lives, and it would have to be someone who knows someone working the property, and black inner city youth didn't drive out there, and white or asian suburbanites didn't either.White rural youth? Possibly, but they would be too busy working on, or guarding, their own family farms. Think about who the thieves might be, and how they got there.

And President Obama mocks those who want more sensible border policies with tales of moats and alligators.

And this sort of theft has increased up and down the San Joaquin Valley. What has changed over time? A "multicultural" education system that condones this crime, and an influx of rootless single men, who are the most likely to engage in thieving. Victor Davis Hanson explains:
...readying oneself for the next break-in — so our inland “California Corridor” has become (a way of life for farmers) from Bakersfield to Sacramento.

More specifically, I have been on the lookout around my farm for a predatory, nearly new, grey/silver Toyota truck that drives in and then speeds out — always a day or so before the nocturnal theft. He’s clever, this caser — and audacious too, like a wily Sherman tank prowling through the hedgerows. (Why, if poor, is he not home growing a tomato garden or scouring the roadside for the ubiquitous tossed aluminum cans and plastic bottles?)

On three separate occasions from June to August, I have had copper wire stripped out of pumps, the barn ransacked, and the two locks pried off the shop and various things stolen. (Why did they steal buckets of 1900 antique bolts and square nails and leave alone a drill press and grinder? Ease of recycling? Ignorance?)

When Metal Grows Legs

One of the stranger things in the California Corridor is to periodically walk around a barnyard and notice: “Hmm, that set of rusted furrowers is gone? Hmmm, what happened to those sections of 2-inch pipe? Hmmm, didn’t I have an old compressor next to the shed? Have I got dementia, or wasn’t there once upon a time three metal ladders leaning against the shop?” It is as if they became animate, grew legs, and quietly walked off in the sunset.

Hippo Regius

Twice I ran into the barnyard to see the truck, with its two gangbanger youths, peel off in clouds of dust. (And, yes, as a CSU ex-professor, I know the party line: the dominant culture neglects/exploits/oppresses/fill in the blanks the “other” to such a degree that he sometimes must lash out, or, on occasion, to find validation, might just do something illegal like steal buckets of antique nails, or illogical, like in poverty buying a new truck, and thus so disturbs/finally wins the attention of those with privilege and their self-constructed norms. Been there and heard that for thirty years).

The Toyota is always around when theft occurs, and always speeding off when anyone spots it. Rural California is also like North Africa circa 420 AD: the few family farms left are mostly fenced or walled, the dogs large, the owners armed — trying to survive against organized Vandal attacks. All we need are mosaics in the courtyard portraying happier times as a testament to future archeologists. Maybe a “Cave Canem!” on the doorstep.

I know of no neighboring farm that has not been broken into or fought/scared off such intruders. 
Then and Now

So it is that in 1935 poor people scraped and saved to cast a bronze plaque for their Depression-era new city hall, and in 2011 rather more affluent people ripped it off to melt it down for a layaway payment on some chrome rims or another round of meth.
Jaws on Wheels

Seven days ago, I left to teach here at Hillsdale for my month vacation. My son, back home on the farm — he often rushes out armed when trucks come into the driveway at night — called. He mentioned in passing that the Toyota was back, Jaws-like circling around the farm in short bursts of speed to see if anyone was there. (The modus operandi (for these thieves) in the rural California hinterlands is to drive into a farm, check if anyone comes out, if so, either peel out or even stay put to “inquire” about a “rental” or “work.” If no one comes out, then break a window, grab a TV or computer and speed off. Also: Please do not suggest, “call the sheriff”; I have, and even “filled out a report” over the phone, no less. Enough said. And yes, I probably should sell the 140-year-old farm and move away, but also probably won’t. Why leave and give in to barbarism? There are still far more good than lawless people in the valley.)

Stealing Up For a Truck?

My point in this long excursus? Note the description “late-model Toyota.” I think it is a Tacoma, maybe 2009-11, so not a cheap truck by any means.

Earlier another youth drove in without seeing me mowing the lawn. I ran up; startled he stammered, “Hey, mister, I’m only looking for scrap metal to buy.” (What is it with the national epidemic with good wire or scrap metal?)
Obamunist inflation in commodity prices, partly.
I’ll pass on his shoulder to finger sleeve tattoos, the ink drops under the eyes, the shaved head, wife-beater T-shirt, the inked-in but impressive religious icon tattooed on the neck, and the whole nine yards. As I wrote earlier, I immediately noticed brand new hot-water tanks, still in their labeled cardboard containers, in the bed of his truck. They seemed very “metal” to me, but not very “scrap.” Words were exchanged and he backed out.

Here’s the point: he too drove a brand new truck, this one a custom-painted fire-engine red Dodge, hopped up, with an expensive stereo blaring.

Chrome-rimmed Poverty?

Where are we going with this?

Yes, I confess once more to the same destination as the flash mobs and the London riots. What we think in the West now as too little is far too much. Both these thieves could trade in their multi-thousand-dollar trucks for cash to buy food, rather than steal the property of others and cause mayhem to make their payments. Heck, the rims alone are worth $1000.

(Thieves and gangbangers create a climate of general fear; they ruin the sense of tranquility, and they betray 150 years of collective labor of the now dead to create civilization from near nothing. Shame on them. Americans should not need to have armored rural mail boxes.) To suggest that they could do without the trucks or go without the dole, is not — channeling the president’s most recent speech warning against anti-government zealots — the same as wanting children to suffer from mercury poisoning or to render us helpless against the healthcare industry or to destroy government and want to start over from scratch.
Subsidizing Stasis

Maybe it is a fine and noble thing that the Obama administration vastly extended unemployment insurance. And, bravo, that nearly 50 million are now on food stamps. But a tragic voice from the past warns us that the more we diminish human incentives and guarantee a sort of cushioned permanent poverty, two things result: one, fewer people scramble to find productive work; and, two, envy sharpens as they begin to turn on their benefactors as being cheap, or mean-spirited in never giving quite enough to ensure parity with “them.” A cherry-red new truck or silver Toyota is never quite what others might have.


The problem with those who invaded my farm this summer was not poverty, but too much — at least in the sense of driving late-model trucks as they sought to destroy the lives and tranquility of others to get things that, by the very fact of their mode of transportation, they did not need. For the last two years, I have witnessed two constants: late-model cars in the valley shopping centers, an epidemic of obesity apparent to the naked eye, majorities on plastic food stamp debt cards, without apparent work in mid-morning, and a general unhappiness in the check-out lines that the government, state, city, etc. is not doing enough for them. All that is coupled with a media message of a cruel, heartless society that needs to do more for its oppressed — and a popular culture that damns any so witless and heartless for pointing the contradictions out.

Welfare on Top and Bottom

The welfare state, aside from being broke, is eroding initiative and warping reality — both for the elite at the top, like the executives who just milked a half-trillion dollars in sweetheart loans from some idiotic “green” bureaucrat, to the late-model truck drivers robbing productive farms to pay for their stereos and hydraulic-lifters.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Jerry Brown: Still Governor Moonbeam? Not really....

Although he has a reputation for wackiness, he is actually more predictable than you might think:
After nine months back on the job, however, Brown has proved that his Moonbeam image is outdated. As the legislative session winds down, it’s tough to survey the bills that Brown has signed and vetoed and not conclude that he resembles his two predecessors, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Brown’s former chief of staff, Gray Davis.
For example:
Brown rejected SB 168, which, according to Ballot Access News, “makes it illegal to pay circulators on a per-signature basis, if they are working on initiative, referendum, or recall petitions.” By effectively prohibiting people from working as paid signature gatherers, unions had hoped to double the costs of initiative drives, which they view as the main way conservatives undermine the labor agenda. Brown also vetoed a bill that would have forced signature gatherers in initiative campaigns to wear signs branding them as paid gatherers. In doing so, he sounded downright libertarian: “I choose not to go down this slippery slope where the state decides what citizens must wear when petitioning the government.”

Conservatives are also thrilled by Brown’s veto of “card-check” legislation for farm workers—a measure that would have eliminated the secret ballot for union votes—though he did later sign a compromise bill making it easier for farm workers to unionize. (Brown signed the original legislation granting farm workers the right to organize 30 years ago.) He also vetoed a bill that would have mandated that union members dominate local civil-service commissions, which regulate rules and standards for government employees. And in vetoing a bill requiring children to wear ski helmets, Brown again sounded a libertarian note: “While I appreciate the value of wearing a ski helmet, I am concerned about the continuing and seemingly inexorable transfer of authority from parents to the state. Not every human problem deserves a law.”

Earlier this summer, however, Brown angered social conservatives with his approval of a bill that mandates the teaching of a gay-friendly curriculum in public schools, and he has signed various environmental and green-jobs bills into law. One of them was the atrocious SB 2X1, which requires that 33 percent of California’s electricity be generated from alternative, “renewable” sources by 2020. He gave a rousing speech attacking Republicans at a labor rally in Las Vegas recently, saying, “I refuse to let the Republicans and the non-union contractors get away with their schemes to reduce wages.”
 Jerry Brown plays eco-fiends and gay militants, but that isn't surprising. He is, however, much less of a union stooge than one might expect. So what to conclude?
Brown is paddling right and left. He usually paddles more to the left than to the right, but nothing too radical is going on here. He’s not much different than Schwarzenegger, who repeatedly caved to public-employee unions and signed aggressive environmental legislation but mostly rejected “job-killer” bills too ridiculous even for California. Conservatives’ enduring tolerance for Brown stems largely from the hope that he could still do the unexpected. Brown might yet take on the public-employee unions, even though they spent $30 million on his behalf to help win back the governorship. Brown might close the gaping budget deficit. Brown might actually be, as many reporters described him last year, the “Nixon goes to China” governor who reforms public-employee pensions.

It’s probably the case that Brown won’t do any of those things, which would be disappointing but unsurprising. Steering too far left or right will lead him to some rocky shoals. More than anything else, someone with Brown’s instincts seeks calmer waters—like most conventional politicians.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Truth Still Hurts: At Least 70 Avowed Socialists In Democrat Party

Never mind Barack Obama and his commie pals. Congress has been crawling with communists for years....

In October 2009, the "Democratic Socialists of America" released in its newsletter a list of 70 members of the U.S. Congress who are members of the organization. And it is a Who's Who of Commiecrat Creeps:

Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07)
Lynn Woolsey (CA-06)

Vice Chairs:
Mazie Hirono (HI-02)
Dennis Kucinich (OH-10)
Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX-18)
Diane Watson (CA-33)

Senate Members:
Bernie Sanders (VT) -- but at least he is honest

House Members:
Neil Abercrombie (HI-01)
Tammy Baldwin (WI-02)
Xavier Becerra (CA-31)
Robert Brady (PA-01)
Corrine Brown (FL-03)
Michael Capuano (MA-08)
André Carson (IN-07)--One of two Farrakhan followers in Congress. False claims of "Tea Party lynchings"
Donna Christensen (Virgin Islands delegate)--not such a big deal, but still there.
Yvette Clarke (NY-11)
William "Lacy" Clay (MO-01)
Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05)
Steve Cohen (TN-09)
John Conyers (MI-14)
Elijah Cummings (MD-07)
Danny Davis (IL-07)
Peter DeFazio (OR-04)
Rosa DeLauro (CT-03)
Donna F. Edwards (MD-04)
Keith Ellison (MN-05)--One of two Farrakhan followers in Congress
Sam Farr (CA-17)
Chaka Fattah (PA-02)
Bob Filner (CA-51)
Barney Frank (MA-04)
Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11)
Alan Grayson (FL-08)
Luis Gutierrez (IL-04)
John Hall (NY-19)
Phil Hare (IL-17)
Maurice Hinchey (NY-22)
Michael Honda (CA-15)
Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL-02)
Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30)
Hank Johnson (GA-04)
Marcy Kaptur (OH-09)
Carolyn Kilpatrick (MI-13)
Barbara Lee (CA-09)
John Lewis (GA-05)
David Loebsack (IA-02)
Ben R. Lujan (NM-3)
Carolyn Maloney (NY-14)
Ed Markey (MA-07)
Jim McDermott (WA-07)
James McGovern (MA-03)
George Miller (CA-07)
Gwen Moore (WI-04)
Jerrold Nadler (NY-08)
Eleanor Holmes-Norton (DC delegate))--not such a big deal, but still there.
John Olver (MA-01)
Ed Pastor (AZ-04)
Donald Payne (NJ-10)
Chellie Pingree (ME-01)
Charles Rangel (NY-15)
Laura Richardson (CA-37)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34)
Bobby Rush (IL-01)
Linda Sánchez (CA-47)
Jan Schakowsky (IL-09)
José Serrano (NY-16)
Louise Slaughter (NY-28)
Pete Stark (CA-13)--Pro-Illegal Alien Traitor.
Bennie Thompson (MS-02)
John Tierney (MA-06)
Nydia Velazquez (NY-12)
Maxine Waters (CA-35)--Burn LA Burn and Free OJ Simpson
Mel Watt (NC-12)
Henry Waxman (CA-30)
Peter Welch (Vermont)
Robert Wexler (FL-19)

The DSA is a political action committee and bills itself as the heir to the defunct Socialist Party of America. It's chief organizing objective is to work within the Democratic Party as the primary, but not sole, method of achieving public ownership of private property and the means of production.

"Stress our Democratic Party strategy and electoral work," explains an internal organizing document. "The Democratic Party is something the public understands, and association with it takes the edge off. Stressing our Democratic Party work will establish some distance from the radical subculture and help integrate you to the milieu of the young liberals."

But, actually, the number of those sympathetic to the socialist, in fact outright communist, goals of the DSA is substantially higher than 70. There is a close association between the DSA and the Congressional Progressive Caucus. At that time, the caucus website was actually hosted by the DSA. The Progressive Caucus website has since become an official U.S. government website as it remains today.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus website boasts 81 members as well as resource links to numerous pro-communist publications and organizations. Those links include Mother Jones magazine, Moveon.org, OneWorld, The Nation magazine, ACORN and the Institute for Policy Studies.

The DSA makes clear its preference for working within the Democratic Party for the change it seeks. "Many socialists have seen the Democratic Party, since at least the New Deal, as the key political arena in which to consolidate this coalition, because the Democratic Party held the allegiance of our natural allies," the group states in the "Where we stand" section of its website. "Through control of the government by the Democratic Party coalition, led by anti-corporate forces, a progressive program regulating the corporations, redistributing income, fostering economic growth and expanding social programs could be realized."

In addition to a national program of "massive redistribution of income from corporations and the wealthy to wage earners and the poor and the public sector," the DSA also calls for a breaking down the American-style notions of nationalism and national sovereignty.

"A program of global justice can unite opponents of transnational corporations across national boundaries around a common program to transform existing international institutions and invent new global organizations designed to ensure that wages, working conditions, environmental standards and social rights are 'leveled up' worldwide," the group says on its website. "The basis of cooperation for fighting the transnationals must be forged across borders from its inception. Economic nationalism and other forms of chauvinism will doom any expanded anti-corporate agenda."

It also states in the group's mission statement: "A democratic socialist politics for the 21st century must promote an international solidarity dedicated to raising living standards across the globe, rather than 'leveling down' in the name of maximizing profits and economic efficiency. Equality, solidarity, and democracy can only be achieved through international political and social cooperation aimed at ensuring that economic institutions benefit all people. Democratic socialists are dedicated to building truly international social movements – of unionists, environmentalists, feminists, and people of color – that together can elevate global justice over brutalizing global competition."

While the DSA tries to paint distinctions between its brand of socialism and communism, before scrubbing its website following the WND expose 12 years ago, the site included a song list that included:

--"The Internationale," the worldwide anthem of Communism and socialism.
--"Red Revolution" sung to the tune of "Red Robin," with these lyrics: "When the Red Revolution brings its solution along, along, there'll be no more lootin' when we start shootin' that Wall Street throng. ..."
--"Are You Sleeping, Bourgeoisie?" Lyrics included: "Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping? Bourgeoisie, Bourgeoisie. And when the revolution comes, We'll kill you all with knives and guns, Bourgeoisie, Bourgeoisie."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a longtime member of the Progressive Caucus and served on the executive committee. She was not, however, listed last year as a member of the DSA.