IN DEFENSE OF GLENN BECK
Posted by Jared Law on October 7, 2009 in The 9.12 Project
The left detests him, and some conservatives say he’s undermining the cause. The truth is, he must be doing something right.
By Jonah Goldberg
For a self-described rodeo clown who frequently admits he isn't that bright, Glenn Beck must be doing something right. A de facto leader of the populist backlash against President Obama, he made the cover of Time magazine, with his tongue sticking out no less. His books are immediate best-sellers. His radio and TV shows have stratospheric ratings. His one-man comedy performances draw packed audiences, and the proceeds from his numerous ventures have him making north of $20 million a year.
But perhaps his most impressive feat is his ability to unite a broad coalition of liberals, media scolds and conservatives under the single banner of Beck-hatred.
Now, before I proceed, I should disclose the fact that I like Beck personally and that his support for my book Liberal Fascism was a huge boon, helping to push it to No. 1 on The New York Times best-seller list. As a Fox News contributor, I have appeared regularly on his show. Whether that gives me more, or less, credibility when I say I cannot defend some of the things he says is for others to decide.
Still, much of the anti-Beck backlash (He's an extremist! He's paranoid! He's hate-filled!) from the left is hard to take seriously. First, this is a crowd that lets Michael Moore and Janeane Garofalo speak for them, and that celebrated the election of unfunny man Al Franken to the Senate. If you think it's racist to oppose Obama's health care reform efforts, it goes without saying that you'll think Beck is an extremist. This is what liberals always say about popular right-wingers, including Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley. For over 20 years liberals, including Presidents Clinton and Obama, have insisted that Rush Limbaugh is everything from an unpatriotic hatemonger to an enabler of domestic terrorism. It makes sense that they'd give Beck the same business.
The darling of the left
Or consider Jon Stewart, the legitimately funny host of The Daily Show. Stewart is reminiscent of Will Rogers — a humorist who was nonetheless anointed by the National Press Club as the "ambassador at large of the United States." The liberal establishment swoons over him. The Television Critics Association bequeathed its award for outstanding achievement in news and information to a show that isn't even a news show. Times columnist Frank Rich seems to have a man-crush on the Peabody comedian, while PBS' Bill Moyers insists that "you simply can't understand American politics in the new millennium without The Daily Show." The hosts of NPR's in-house press watchdog show, On the Media, claim Stewart as their role model!
Stewart's M.O. is to launch lightning attacks as a left-wing pundit and then quickly retreat to his haven across the border in Comedystan, but Beck must be pelted from the public stage for blurring the line between theater and punditry? Really?
Over at MSNBC, which until recently floated no end of paranoid theories about neoconservative plots, Beck is boogeyman for his sometimes bombastic rhetoric about fascism and whatnot. Some complaints have merit, but this is the same network whose favorite conservative pundit is the populist Pat Buchanan, not even a Republican, who has written a book explaining why World War II was a mistake and how Hitler craved peace. Meanwhile, Keith Olbermann's shtick is far more dishonest: He pretends he's Edward R. Murrow reincarnated when he's really Al Franken with more important hair.
The conservative criticism has more bite. Many conservatives believe Beck is undermining conservatism with his often goofy style and his sometimes outlandish and paranoia-tinged diatribes. In an ode to conservatives such as William F. Buckley, my friend Charles Murray writes, "Don't tell me that we have to put up with the Glenn Becks of the world to be successful. Within living memory, the right was successful. The right changed the country for the better — through good arguments made by fine men." Murray is nostalgic for conservative leaders who were, like Murray himself, soft-spoken intellectuals.
There are problems with such nostalgia. First, there has always been a populist front on the right, even during the "glory days" when Buckley was saying he'd rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phonebook than the faculty at Harvard. Moreover, whatever Beck or Limbaugh's faults, they are more cheerful — and more responsible — warriors than the populist right-wingers of yesteryear. The Tea Partiers may be rowdy and ideologically diffuse, but their goals — like Beck's — are indisputably libertarian. And from a conservative perspective, popular libertarian uprisings should be preferable to the sort of statist populism so often celebrated on the left.
A more accessible movement
Most important, popularity is what the intellectuals were fighting for: to create a conservative culture (Americans describe themselves as conservative over liberal 2-1 ). By definition, making conservatism popular means making it less stuffy and intellectual and more accessible. Not only is Beck good at that, he actually gets people to read serious books in ways Buckley never could. Why defenestrate him from the house of conservatism merely to preserve the rarefied air?
Besides, why should conservatives support an unfair double standard? Liberals never see the antics of their more flamboyant celebrities as an indictment of liberalism itself. Perhaps it's time conservatives adopted a more liberal standard.
Jonah Goldberg, a member of USA TODAY's board of contributors, is author of Liberal Fascism, now out in paperback.
That was pretty fair, although Jonah forgot to mention The 9.12 Project, not to mention Glenn's Book, Arguing With Idiots: How To Stop Small Minds And Big Government debuted on The New York Times Bestseller List at #1, or that Glenn Beck's Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Gover... are concurrent bestsellers.
And let's not forget the March on Washington, D.C., which wouldn't have been as big or successful if it weren't for Glenn. But overall, it was more fair than not. But hey, that's what I, at least, expect from Jonah Goldberg.
What are your thoughts?
- JaredLaw (This post is from Jared Law's Blog)
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Posted by No Apology at 1:20 PM
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Second Amendment Foundation
MURDER DOWN, GUN SALES UP; PROOF THAT GUNS
DON’T CAUSE CRIME: SAF
BELLEVUE, WA – A ten percent drop in murders during the first six months of this year at a time when gun sales were up dramatically is more proof that there is no correlation between gun ownership and violent crime, the Second Amendment Foundation said today.
The FBI released data Monday that shows murders dropped by 10 percent from the same period in 2008. Meanwhile, according to data released by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) shows that during the first six months of this year, gun sales were up. January 2009 background checks rose 28.8 percent over the same month in 2008, February’s NICS checks were up 23.3 percent and in March they were up 29.9 percent over March 2008. The trend continued in April, with NICS checks up 30.3 percent, while May showed a slowdown, up only 15.5 percent, and in June they were up 18.1 percent.
“What this shows,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, “is that gun prohibitionists are all wrong when they argue that more guns result in more crime. Firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens are no threat to anyone. Perhaps violent criminals were actually discouraged by all of those gun sales earlier this year, because the media made a point of reporting the booming gun market.
“Anti-gunners,” he continued, “have lost another one of their baseless arguments. Millions of Americans bought guns during the first six months of this year, many of them for the first time. Yet with all of those new guns in circulation, coupled with an increased demand for concealed carry licenses around the country, the streets have not been awash in blood, as gun banners repeatedly predict.
“Hard facts trump hot air,” Gottlieb concluded. “These people are consistently wrong about our rights. Millions of bought guns, especially semiautomatic sport-utility rifles that gun grabbers want to ban because they say people aren’t safe with all of those guns in private hands. Well, the people disagree, and so does the data.”
The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nations oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control. SAF has previously funded successful firearms-related suits against the cities of Los Angeles; New Haven, CT; and San Francisco on behalf of American gun owners, a lawsuit against the cities suing gun makers and an amicus brief and fund for the Emerson case holding the Second Amendment as an individual right.
Bottom Line: Never let the Brady Bunch talk down to you, regarding guns and crime. And get a license to carry concealed. You'll be glad you did, and America will be the safer for it.
Posted by No Apology at 8:34 PM
Monday, December 21, 2009
There'll be nowhere to run from the new world government.
'Global' thinking won't necessarily solve the world's problems, says Janet Daley
[The committee to save the world - Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel, Gordon Brown and other leaders at the Copenhagen climate talks]
There is scope for debate – and innumerable newspaper quizzes – about who was the most influential public figure of the year, or which the most significant event. But there can be little doubt which word won the prize for most important adjective. 2009 was the year in which "global" swept the rest of the political lexicon into obscurity. There were "global crises" and "global challenges", the only possible resolution to which lay in "global solutions" necessitating "global agreements". Gordon Brown actually suggested something called a "global alliance" in response to climate change. (Would this be an alliance against the Axis of Extra-Terrestrials?)
Some of this was sheer hokum: when uttered by Gordon Brown, the word "global", as in "global economic crisis", meant: "It's not my fault". To the extent that the word had intelligible meaning, it also had political ramifications that were scarcely examined by those who bandied it about with such ponderous self-importance. The mere utterance of it was assumed to sweep away any consideration of what was once assumed to be the most basic principle of modern democracy: that elected national governments are responsible to their own people – that the right to govern derives from the consent of the electorate.
The dangerous idea that the democratic accountability of national governments should simply be dispensed with in favour of "global agreements" reached after closed negotiations between world leaders never, so far as I recall, entered into the arena of public discussion. Except in the United States, where it became a very contentious talking point, the US still holding firmly to the 18th-century idea that power should lie with the will of the people.
Nor was much consideration given to the logical conclusion of all this grandiose talk of global consensus as unquestionably desirable: if there was no popular choice about approving supranational "legally binding agreements", what would happen to dissenters who did not accept their premises (on climate change, for example) when there was no possibility of fleeing to another country in protest? Was this to be regarded as the emergence of world government? And would it have powers of policing and enforcement that would supersede the authority of elected national governments? In effect, this was the infamous "democratic deficit" of the European Union elevated on to a planetary scale. And if the EU model is anything to go by, then the agencies of global authority will involve vast tracts of power being handed to unelected officials. Forget the relatively petty irritations of Euro‑bureaucracy: welcome to the era of Earth-bureaucracy, when there will be literally nowhere to run.
But, you may say, however dire the political consequences, surely there is something in this obsession with global dilemmas. Economics is now based on a world market, and if the planet really is facing some sort of man-made climate crisis, then that too is a problem that transcends national boundaries. Surely, if our problems are universal the solutions must be as well.
Well, yes and no. Calling a problem "global" is meant to imply three different things: that it is the result of the actions of people in different countries; that those actions have impacted on the lives of everyone in the world; and that the remedy must involve pretty much identical responses or correctives to those actions. These are separate premises, any of which might be true without the rest of them necessarily being so. The banking crisis certainly had its roots in the international nature of finance, but the way it affected countries and peoples varied considerably according to the differences in their internal arrangements. Britain suffered particularly badly because of its addiction to public and private debt, whereas Australia escaped relatively unscathed.
That a problem is international in its roots does not necessarily imply that the solution must involve the hammering out of a uniform global prescription: in fact, given the differences in effects and consequences for individual countries, the attempt to do such hammering might be a huge waste of time and resources that could be put to better use devising national remedies. France and Germany seem to have pulled themselves out of recession over the past year (and the US may be about to do so) while Britain has not. These variations owe almost nothing to the pompous, overblown attempts to find global solutions: they are largely to do with individual countries, under the pressure of democratic accountability, doing what they decide is best for
their own people.
This is not what Mr Brown calls "narrow self-interest", or "beggar my neighbour" ruthlessness. It is the proper business of elected national leaders to make judgments that are appropriate for the conditions of their own populations. It is also right that heads of nations refuse to sign up to "legally binding" global agreements which would disadvantage their own people. The resistance of the developing nations to a climate change pact that would deny them the kind of economic growth and mass prosperity to which advanced countries have become accustomed is not mindless selfishness: it is proper regard for the welfare of their own citizens.
The word "global" has taken on sacred connotations. Any action taken in its name must be inherently virtuous, whereas the decisions of individual countries are necessarily "narrow" and self-serving. (Never mind that a "global agreement" will almost certainly be disproportionately influenced by the most powerful nations.) Nor is our era so utterly unlike previous ones, for all its technological sophistication. We have always needed multilateral agreements, whether about trade, organised crime, border controls, or mutual defence.
If the impact of our behaviour on humanity at large is much greater or more rapid than ever before then we shall have to find ways of dealing with that which do not involve sacrificing the most enlightened form of government ever devised. There is a whiff of totalitarianism about this new theology, in which the risks are described in such cosmic terms that everything else must give way. "Globalism" is another form of the internationalism that has been a core belief of the Left: a commitment to class rather than country seemed an admirable antidote to the "blood and soil" nationalism that gave rise to fascism.
The nation-state has never quite recovered from the bad name it acquired in the last century as the progenitor of world war. But if it is to be relegated to the dustbin of history then we had better come up with new mechanisms for allowing people to have a say in how they are governed.
Maybe that could be next year's global challenge.
Posted by No Apology at 12:35 PM
Monday, December 14, 2009
And this was before Climategate...
End ‘authority’ on climate change
"It isn’t necessary to list all the changes I have identified between what the scientists actually said and what the policy makers who wrote the Summary for Policy Makers said they said. The process is so flawed that the result is tantamount to fraud. As an authority, the IPCC should be consigned to the scrapheap without delay."
Prof Bruce Hewitson (Uninformed vitriol, November 19) pontificates on Andrew Kenny’s assessment (Ideology and money drive global-warming religion, November 16). Unfortunately for him, there has been a reformation. The time for pontification is over. The critics must be answered. Instead Prof Hewitson stood in his pulpit and preached the gospel according to St IPCC. He says he was a lead author for the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). That is not material — I was a coordinating lead author, but it gives me no mantle of infallibility. Instead, it gave me insight into the flaws behind the whole process.
The IPCC claims that it has thousands of scientists and almost as many reviewers of the scientists' work to produce their reports. There are two problems, however. In the scientific world I move in, “review” means that your work is scrutinized by several independent, anonymous reviewers chosen by the editor.
However, when I entered the IPCC world, the reviewers were there at the worktable, criticizing our drafts, and finally meeting with all us coordinators and many of the IPCC functionaries in a draftfest.The product was not reviewed in the accepted sense of the word — there was no independence of review, and the reviewers were anything but anonymous. The result is not scientific.
The second problem is that the technical publication is not completed by the time the IPCC reports. Instead, it produces a Summary for Policy Makers. Writing the summary involves the coordinators, the reviewers and the IPCC functionaries as before, and also various chairmen.
The summary goes out in a blaze of publicity, but there is no means of checking whether it represents what the scientists actually said, because the scientific report isn’t published for another four months or more.
In the Fourth Assessment, the s ummary was quietly replaced several months after it was first published because some scientists who were involved complained of misrepresentation.
In the early years of the IPCC, there was a slightly different process. The Summary for Policy Makers and the scientific reports were issued at the same time. In those years, however, the Summary for Policy Makers bore a warning that it was the last current word on the subject, whereas the scientific reports were correctly identified as being subject to continuing development.
Someone smelled a rat about the “last word” story, so the process was changed, and now the
summary is issued with no means of checking.
It isn’t necessary to list all the changes I have identified between what the scientists actually said and what the policy makers who wrote the Summary for Policy Makers said they said. The process is so flawed that the result is tantamount to fraud. As an authority, the IPCC should be consigned to the scrapheap without delay.
Dr Philip Lloyd Pr Eng
MD: Industrial and Petrochemical Consultants
Posted by No Apology at 3:39 PM
Thursday, November 26, 2009
The Art of Political War for Tea Parties
by David Horowitz
Posted by David Horowitz on Nov 26th, 2009 and filed under FrontPage.
David Horowitz was one of the founders of the New Left in the 1960s and an editor of its largest magazine,Ramparts. He is the author, with Peter Collier, of three best selling dynastic biographies: The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty (1976); The Kennedys: An American Dream (1984); and The Fords: An American Epic (1987). Looking back in anger at their days in the New Left, he and Collier wrote Destructive Generation (1989), a chronicle of their second thoughts about the 60s that has been compared to Whittaker Chambers’ Witness and other classic works documenting a break from totalitarianism. Horowitz examined this subject more closely in Radical Son (1996), a memoir tracing his odyssey from “red-diaper baby” to conservative activist that George Gilder described as “the first great autobiography of his generation.”
A specter is haunting America – the specter of a people rising. All across the nation Americans are waking up to the threat of a leftist elite determined to fundamentally change America, push through a socialist agenda, and make every citizen dependent on the state. The Obama machine is spending trillions of tax-payer dollars to finance their takeover of the American workplace and stifle the independence of the American people. But America is resilient nation, built on the principles of private property and individual freedom, and the resistance to their socialist plans has already begun.
In May 2009, just five months into the Obama administration, the people of California launched a tax revolt in the biggest spending state in the nation. So reckless were the leftist Democrats who run California (and have done so for as long as anyone can remember) that its deficit alone was larger than the budgets of most other states in the Union and of many of the nations of the world. Leftwing politicians don’t cut budgets; they propose new taxes. And California’s leftwing legislature did just that. But thanks to a constitutional amendment put in place by the California electorate through the state Initiative process, California legislators can’t raise taxes without a two-thirds referendum of the people. So they were forced to hold a special election in May to appeal to the electorate to pass five new ballot Initiatives to raise taxes.
But when the votes were counted, all five tax-raising Initiatives had been defeated by 60% margins. Even in San Francisco. A sixth Initiative designed by tax opponents to punish legislators who do not balance the budget passed by a more than 70% margin. Even in San Francisco. If one of the most liberal states in the Union is saying no to the soak-the-public philosophy of leftwing legislators, Obama socialism is in big trouble.
The revolt in California quickly spread to the entire nation through the efforts of the Tea Parties movement, the most innovative, exciting and powerful grassroots force in the history of American conservatism. It is vital to the health of this country that the Tea Parties movement grow. More to the point: it is essential to American survival that the Tea Parties movement succeed. On the eve of the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama said “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming America.” The Tea Parties movement is the American people saying no to Obama’s plans for revolution.
* * *
A movement without an effective strategy for defeating its opponents cannot succeed. Therefore it is important to reacquaint ourselves with the art of political war.
While Democrats are morally bankrupt and clueless about policy – about what makes things work — they still win elections because they understand a simple fact: American politics is driven by the romance of the underdog, the story of the little guy who goes up against the system and triumphs in the end. It is a story about opportunity and fairness. To win the hearts and minds of the American voter, you have to tap the emotions the romance of the underdog evokes. Whoever does so has a winning edge.
America’s heroes are all cut to this common mold. Whether it is George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Davy Crockett, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Amelia Earhart, Jackie Robinson, Ronald Reagan or Colin Powell, the theme is always the same: The common man who rises against the odds. America’s political romance is “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” to make things right. It is “Meet John Doe” who speaks for the voiceless. It is Luke Skywalker who saves the planet by using the good side of the Force to defeat the Empire. It is the odyssey of individuals who challenge power, overcome adversity and rise to the top. Everyone in America thinks of themselves as an underdog and aspires to be a hero.
The cause of the underdog wins American hearts because it resonates with our deepest religious and moral convictions of doing good and helping others. And because it is America’s own story. We began as a small nation, standing up to the world’s most powerful empire. We dedicated ourselves to the idea that all men are created equal. We are a nation of immigrants and a generous people who arrived with nothing and made fortunes in a new world. This is the American Dream.
It’s a story that will get you every time. But at election time, it’s the political left and the Democratic Party who know how to wield it as a political weapon, and Republicans and conservatives generally who don’t. Of course the Tea Parties have changed all that. And that is another sign that we are in an extraordinary political moment. The Tea Parties draw on the heritage of America’s own revolution as an underdog nation and are the voice of the people, oppressed now by their own government which is out of control and determined to crush them.
In positioning themselves as champions of the under-represented, neglected and oppressed, leftists employ a version of America’s story that they have manufactured through their grip on the media and the academic culture. They have transformed America’s story from an epic of freedom into a tale of racism, exploitation and domination. In their telling, American history is no longer a narrative of expanding opportunity, of men and women succeeding against the odds. Instead, it is a Marxist Morality Play about the powerful and their victims.
In staging their political dramas, progressives invariably claim to speak in the name of America’s alleged “victims.” Every policy of the Democratic Party is presented as a program to help these “victims”—women, children, minorities and the poor. Simultaneously, Democrats describe Republican policies as programs that will injure the weak, ignore the vulnerable, and keep the powerless down.
Republicans play right into the Democrats’ trap because they approach politics as a problem of management. To Republicans, every issue is a management issue—the utility of a tax cut, the efficiency of a program, the optimal method for running an enterprise. Republicans talk like businessmen who want a chance to manage the country so that it will turn a profit.
There is nothing wrong with instituting good policies and running things efficiently or turning a profit. But while Republicans are performing these Gold Star activities, Democrats are engaged in a different kind of drama. They are busy attacking Republicans as servants of the rich, oppressors of the weak and defenders of the strong. And enemies of “the people.”
Listen to Mario Cuomo describing Republicans to the Democrats’ 1996 National Convention:
"We need to work as we have never done before between now and November 5th to take the Congress back from Newt Gingrich and the Republicans, because ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, the Republicans are the real threat. They are the real threat to our women. They are the real threat to our children. They are the real threat to clean water, clean air and the rich landscape of America."
Mario Cuomo knows the language of political war.
Democrats connect emotionally with people’s fears and concerns. The appeal to help the underdog and defend the victim resonates with all Americans. This is because Americans are a fair-minded people. Most successful Americans came from humble origins themselves. They want to help others. They want everyone to have the chance to succeed.
So do Republicans and conservatives. But they rarely connect their policies and principles to this political romance.
There’s a good reason for this. Conservatives are busy defending the real America against the left’s attacks and the anti-American caricature they have constructed. Conservatives know that America is still a land of opportunity and freedom, and that nobody in America is really “oppressed.” (Otherwise, why would poor, black, Hispanic and Asian minorities be desperately seeking to come here? Why wouldn’t they be leaving instead?)
But politics isn’t just about reality. If it were, good principles and good policies would win every time. It’s about images and symbols, and the emotions they evoke. This is a battle that conservatives generally lose.
In the romance of the victim, as progressives stage it, Republicans and conservatives are always on the side of the bad guys—the powerful, the male, the white and the wealthy. It’s easy to see how patriotism plays into this trap. Defending America is readily mis-represented as an attitude that says: “I’m all right Jack, so you should be too.” The left relishes the opportunity to smear patriots as members of the selfish party instead of as defenders of individual freedom.
Ann Coulter has described the motto of the left as this: “Speak loudly and carry a small victim.” For the Democrats, the romance of the victim stirs the souls of their supporters and energizes their base. Equally important, it provides the nuclear warhead of their political attack. Conservatives are targeted victimizers, and leftists as the champions of the oppressed. Learning how to turn this around will turn around the political war as well.
Going On The Attack
Fortunately, conservatives can use the left-wing attack against them. Contrary to the left’s view, America is not a land of victims. It is a highly mobile society, with a citizenry that aspires upwards through the system, not against it.
Conservatives can also turn the left’s oppression myth around, and aim its guns at them. In fact, using the romance of the underdog against the left is the best way to neutralize their attack.
The way to do it is to recognize that the most powerful forces obstructing opportunity for poor and minority Americans, the most powerful forces oppressing them, are progressives, the Democratic Party, and their political creation—the welfare state.
There is really nothing new in this idea. Conservatives already oppose the programs of the left as obstacles to the production of wealth and barriers to opportunity for all Americans. What is new is the idea of connecting this analysis to a political strategy that will give conservatives a decisive edge in battle—that will neutralize the class, race and gender warfare attacks of the political left.
Here are the principles of political war that the left understands but conservatives do not:
1. Politics is war conducted by other means
2. Politics is a war of position
3. In political wars the aggressor usually prevails
4. Position is defined by fear and hope
5. The weapons of politics are symbols evoking fear and hope
6. Victory lies on the side of the people
Here are the principles explained:
Politics is war conducted by other means.
In political warfare you do not fight just to prevail in an argument, but to destroy the enemy’s fighting ability. Conservatives often seem to regard political combats as they would a debate before the Oxford Political Union, as though winning depends on rational arguments and carefully articulated principles. But the audience of politics is not made up of Oxford dons, and the rules are entirely different.
For starters, you have only 30 seconds to make your point. Even if you had time to develop an argument, the audience you need to reach (the undecided and those in the middle who are not paying much attention) wouldn’t get it. Your words would go over some of their heads and the rest would not even hear them (or be quickly forgotten) amidst the bustle and pressure of daily life. Worse, while you’ve been making your argument the other side has already painted you as a mean-spirited, border-line racist controlled by religious zealots, securely in the pockets of the rich. Nobody who sees you this way is going to listen to you in any case. You’re politically dead.
Politics is war. Don’t forget it.
Politics is a war of position.
In war there are two sides: friends and enemies. Your task is to define yourself as the friend of as large a constituency compatible with your principles as possible, while defining your opponent as their enemy wherever and whenever you can. The act of defining combatants is analogous to the military concept of choosing the terrain of battle.
Choose the terrain that makes the fight as loaded in your favor as possible. But be careful. American politics takes place in a pluralistic framework, where constituencies are diverse and often in conflict. “Fairness” and “tolerance” are the formal rules of democratic engagement. If you appear mean-spirited, nasty, or too judgmental, it will make the task easier for your opponent to define you as a threat, and therefore as “the enemy.” (See principle 4)
In political warfare, the aggressor usually prevails.
Conservatives often pursue a strategy of waiting for the other side to attack. In football this is known as a “prevent defense.” In politics it is the strategy of losers.
Aggression is advantageous because politics is a war of position. Position is defined by images that stick. By striking first you can define the issues and your adversary. Defining the opposition is the decisive move in all political war. Other things being equal, whoever is put on the defensive generally winds up on the losing side.
In attacking your opponent, take care to do it right. Going negative increases the risk of being defined as an enemy. Therefore, it can be counter-productive. Ruling out the negative, however, can incur an even greater risk.
Position is defined by fear and hope.
The twin emotions of politics are fear and hope. Those who provide people with hope become their friends; those who inspire fear become enemies. Of the two, hope is the better choice. By offering people hope and yourself as its provider, you show your better side and maximize your potential support.
But fear is a powerful and indispensable weapon. If your opponent defines you negatively enough, he will diminish your ability to offer hope. This is why Democrats are so determined to portray conservatives as mean-spirited, and hostile to minorities, the middle class and the poor.
It is important to work away from the negative images your opponent wants to pin on you. If you know you are going to be attacked as intolerant and bigoted it’s a good idea to lead with a position that is inclusive and fair-minded. If you are going to be framed as mean-spirited and ungenerous, it’s a good idea to put on a smile and lead with symbols that project generosity and charity.
The weapons of politics are symbols evoking fear and hope.
Conservatives lose a lot of political battles because they come across as hard-edged, scolding, scowling and sanctimonious. A good rule of thumb says be just the opposite. You have to convince people you care about them before they’ll care about what you have to say.
When you do get to speak, don’t forget that a sound-bite is all you have. Whatever you have to say, make sure to say it loud and clear. Keep it simple and keep it short. (A slogan is always better). Repeat it often. Get it on television. Radio is good, but with few exceptions, only television reaches a public that is electorally significant. In politics, television is reality.
Of course, you have a base of supporters who will listen for hours to what you have to say if that’s what you want. In the battles facing you, they will play an important role. Therefore, what you say to them is also important. But it is not going to decide elections. The audiences that will determine your fate are audiences that you will first have to persuade. You will have to find a way to reach them and get them to listen. And get them to support you. With these audiences, you will never have time for real arguments or proper analyses. Images—symbols and sound-bites—will always prevail.
Therefore it is absolutely essential to focus your message and repeat it over and over again. Lack of focus will derail your message. If you make too many points, your message will be diffused and nothing will get through. The result will be the same as if you had made no point at all.
Leftists have a party line. When they are fighting an issue they focus their agenda. During legislative battles, every time a Democrat steps in front of the cameras there is at least one line in his speech that is shared with his colleagues. “Tax breaks for the wealthy at the expense of the poor,” is one example. Repetition insures that the message will get through.
When Republicans speak during legislative battles, they all march to a different drummer. There are many messages instead of one. One message is a sound-bite. Many messages are an indecipherable noise. The result of many messages is that there is no message.
Symbols and sound-bites determine the vote. These are what hit people in the gut before they have time to think. And these are what people remember. Symbols are the impressions that last, and what ultimately defines you.
Carefully chosen words and phrases are more important than paragraphs, speeches, party platforms and manifestos. What you project through images is what you are.
Victory lies on the side of the people.
This is the bottom line for each of the principles and for all of the principles. You must define yourself in ways that people understand. You must give people hope in your victory, and make them fear the victory of your opponent. You can accomplish both by identifying yourself and your issues with the underdog and the victim, with minorities and the disadvantaged, with the ordinary Janes and Joes.
This is what leftists do best, and conservatives often neglect to do at all. Every political statement by a leftist is an effort to say: “We care about women, children, minorities, working Americans and the poor.” And: “Conservatives are mean-spirited, serve the rich and don’t care about you.” This is the left’s strategy of political war. If conservatives are to win the political war we have to turn these images around.
We also have to make our campaigns a cause. During the Cold War, conservatives had a cause. They were saving the country from Communism. It was a cause that resonated at every level with the American people. The poorest citizen understood that their freedom was at stake in making sure that conservatives were elected to conduct the nation’s defense.
In a democracy, the cause that fires up passions is the cause of the people. That is why politicians like to run “against Washington” and against anything that represents the “powers that be.” As the left has shown, the idea of justice is a powerful motivator. It will energize the troops and fuel the campaigns that are necessary to win the political war. Conservatives believe in economic opportunity and individual freedom. The core of our ideas is freedom and justice for all. If we can make this intelligible to the American electorate, we will become the majority again and stop the socialist juggernaut that threatens our American future.
* * *
Posted by No Apology at 4:01 PM
Sunday, July 26, 2009
UPDATE: 07.31.09 - Several people were wounded and more than 100 were arrested Thursday during clashes between the police and supporters of the ousted president, Manuel Zelaya, in at least four locations. The most intense violence occurred on the northern edge of Tegucigalpa, the capital, where one person was shot in the head. Leaders of the demonstrations accused the police of firing tear gas and live ammunition on "peaceful protesters". [ OH -and uh... Television footage showed some protesters armed with long sticks and pickaxes.] - Lifted from the NY Times.
Much ado over a non-coup
Manuel Zelaya violated the Honduran constitution, so it was legal for the military to remove him from office.
By WILLIAM RATLIFF
Special to the Los Angeles Times
We have heard a lot about Honduras lately, but there is much more at issue than the nighttime removal of President Manuel Zelaya on June 28 and its aftermath. The far bigger story is the disgrace of the world's major international political and economic organizations.
The Organization of American States and its ambitious leader, José Miguel Insulza, took the lead in dealing with the crisis.
The OAS gave the new de facto Honduran government three days to restore Zelaya or suffer suspension from the organization. Honduras responded by quitting first.
SHOOTING INTO THE DARK
But the OAS, the United Nations, the European Union, the World Bank and others were all shooting from the hip into the dark. These leaders had nothing to inform their decisions but fuzzy idealism, ideological prejudices, assorted self-interests and profound ignorance of realities on the ground in Honduras.
But that was good enough for them. Insulza rejected conversations among contending parties in favor of macho confrontation, ultimatums and polarization, to the cheers of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and other Chávistas. To their great shame, every OAS member-nation went along with Insulza. The OAS is indeed the Organization of American Sheep.
The Obama administration kept a low profile while setting up talks between the two sides, mediated by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias. The talks themselves -- as well as the U.S. focus on mediation rather than just confrontation -- brought howls of rage from Chávez.
ZELAYA WAS WRONG
The OAS declaimed its eternal rejection of the ``anti-democratic, anti-constitutional military coup'' by the new government. But it was Zelaya who was in the wrong.
The OAS diplomats can't have it both ways -- professing their unshakable dedication to national constitutions and the rule of law even as they militantly make a hero of a country's No. 1 lawbreaker.
What didn't the OAS, the U.N. and other leaders know before ordering Hondurans around? As Honduran lawyer Octavio Sanchez pointed out in the Christian Science Monitor, when Zelaya issued a decree ordering a referendum on changing presidential terms, he ``triggered a constitutional provision that automatically removed him from office.'' (Google the Honduran Constitution and read it for yourself -- Article 239.) Zelaya had ousted himself, so impeachment was unnecessary.
So it was quite legal for the military to remove Zelaya, although the nighttime act gave an impression of a military coup to outsiders.
It is Zelaya, Insulza, Chávez, the U.N. and all the OAS member-states who are playing at banana republic politics, not the government in Tegucigalpa.
Ratliff is a fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and the Independent Institute.
Further proof that Honduras acted in accordance with their constitution:
It cannot be right to call this a "coup." Micheletti was lawfully made president by the country's elected Congress. The president is a civilian. The Honduran Congress and courts continue to function as before. The armed forces are under civilian control. The elections scheduled for November are still scheduled for November. Indeed, after reviewing the Constitution and consulting with the Supreme Court, the Congress and the electoral tribunal, respected Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga recently stated that the only possible conclusion is that Zelaya had lawfully been ousted under Article 239 before he was arrested, and that democracy in Honduras continues fully to operate in accordance with law. All Honduran bishops joined Rodriguez in this pronouncement.
True, Zelaya should not have been arbitrarily exiled from his homeland. That, however, does not mean he must be reinstalled as president of Honduras. It merely makes him an indicted private citizen with a meritorious immigration beef against his country.
- Miguel A. Estrada
Miguel A. Estrada is a partner at the Washington office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. A native of Honduras, he was a member of the official U.S. delegation to President Zelaya's 2006 inauguration.
Posted by No Apology at 12:49 AM
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Saturday, July 04, 2009
Thursday, June 04, 2009
The fatal glitch with 'land for peace'
George Jonas, National Post
Published: Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Listen up, world. America and Israel have their marching orders from Jordan.
King Abdullah told the media last week that Barack Obama has a peace plan for the Middle East that he'll put on the table when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comes to visit later in May. At least, the U. S. President had better do so, King Abdullah warned, and the Israeli Prime Minister had better go along with it --or else.
"If there is procrastination by Israel on the two-state solution," Jordan's anointed told The Times of London, "or there is no clear American vision for how this is going to play out in 2009, then all the tremendous credibility that Obama has worldwide and in this region will evaporate overnight if nothing comes out in May."
Well, yes, the rate of evaporation is high in the Middle East. Under Levantine skies "tremendous credibility" can "evaporate overnight." No wonder the good Lord could part the Red Sea on the first try.
What's the deal? Is Mr. Obama using Jordan's ruler to float a trial balloon before Mr. Netanyahu arrives in Washington, or is the ingenious King using the Rose Garden from which to launch his own trial balloon? No one's sure, but the smart money says it's wily Mr. Obama dipping his toes in the water.
"Come on in, the water is lovely!"
But is it? The peace plan, as outlined by King Abdullah, would entail the gradual recognition of Israel by 57 Arab and/or Muslim countries, in return for Israel's gradual withdrawal to its pre-1967 borders. It sounds reasonable, except for three things.
One, 57 Arab/Muslim countries are 56 too many. They aren't likely to agree with each other on the time of day, let alone the recognition of Israel. Is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad going to recognize Israel? And if only one nuclear ayatollah doesn't, what does it matter who does?
Two, His Majesty's description of the peace-for-land computer game even in this Microbama update sounds suspiciously like the software of Bush Senior's "Madrid" or Bill Clinton's "Oslo" or the hapless Dubya's "Road Map." ("Road map to what," a wag asked at the time, "the scene of the accident?") The concept has been a historic failure, not because Israel wouldn't dole out land for peace -- it has, to all comers, sometimes unasked -- but because the Arab/Muslim side won't dole out peace for land.
Three, the Middle East conflict has zip all to do with Israel's 1967 borders. It has to do with Israel's 1948 borders. Had Israel's Arab/Muslim neighbours accepted Israel's 1948 borders, there would be no 1967 borders to dispute today.
The devil may be in the details in the Middle East as much as anywhere else, except no one gets that far because Beelzebub intercepts negotiators in the fundamentals. Long before some Norwegian idealist's starry-eyed peace plan runs aground on whether El Al may enter Arab airspace on a scheduled flight, negotiators have to deal with the law of return or the status of Jerusalem. Odds, anyone?
To think that peace in the Middle East is ripe for the plucking requires a kind of naivete one cannot readily associate with anyone savvy enough to get himself elected to the presidency of the United States. It's certainly difficult to associate it with Obama. And if someone who isn't naive proposes something that only a naive person would propose, chances are that he is -- well, what kind of a person is he?
Do I see someone raise his hand? Yes, sir, you in the blue shirt. Why, a cynical person, that's right. Thank you.
It takes a cynical person to adopt a naive person's proposal, take credit for the goodwill, then blame the inevitable failure on the side he wishes to betray or abandon. Which, I suggest, is precisely what Obama is planning to do.
The irony of King Abdullah lecturing Israel on a two-state solution isn't lost on anyone who remembers that the Hashemite Kingdom occupies about 80% of the former Palestinian Mandate. If the 1917 Balfour Declaration -- "His Majesty's government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people" -- resulted within six years in a homeland for a nation inside the territory of the British Mandate, it was neither Jews nor Palestinians but the princely Hashemite refugees from Saudi Arabia and their Bedouin and Circassian subjects. The Emirate of Transjordan came into being in 1923. Man proposes, God disposes, I suppose -- but that's a topic for another day.
Is there no chance for peace in the Middle East? Of course there is. Peace may come because a charismatic imam with trans-rational powers of persuasion convinces the Arab/Muslim "street" that peace is God's will. Or peace may come because a cosmic threat, planetary collision, epidemic or extraterrestrial invasion unites Earthlings. Or because of total exhaustion following devastating, possibly nuclear, wars.
Peace won't come from Microbama's release of Oslo 3.1. The software "land for peace" has a fatal glitch. It may produce land for Palestinians; it produces no peace for Israelis.
Trackposted to Leaning Straight Up, Allie is Wired, Woman Honor Thyself, and The World According to Carl, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.
Posted by No Apology at 7:46 PM
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Thoughts From An Ex-fetus
By George Jonas
Published: Wednesday, June 03, 2009
George Tiller, the 67-year-old physician shot last week in Wichita, Kan., was an abortionist. His suspected killer, identified by the press as Scott Roeder, 51, also felt entitled to decide whose life to terminate and when. To this extent at least, killers of abortionists resemble their victims.
Some people might object that there is a fundamental difference. Abortion is legal, while killing abortionists isn't. This is true -- at least, it's true today, although not long ago a medically unnecessary abortion was every bit as illegal as a medically unnecessary assassination. Killers of fetuses stayed behind bars for shorter periods than killers of physicians, but the law viewed both as felons.
The law continues viewing the killing of abortionists as a felony, and rightly so, but has come to regard the abortion of fetuses as a private matter between unborn children and their mothers. Will our grandchildren say we were enlightened or barbaric? Societies are entitled to determine their laws and institutions, but have no say in what their descendants will think of their choices.
We consider the ancient Spartan model barbaric, for instance, although in some ways it was much like ours. Spartans, too, regarded letting children live or die a private choice, although they did involve father in the decision, not only mother, and extended it to born children, not just fetuses. Another difference was that Spartans, instead of relying on vacuum suction, threw unwanted children off a mountain called Taigetos.
For Spartans, "unwanted" meant "substandard." For us, it means "inconvenient." We don't want standard or even super-standard children if they cramp our style.
Living in an epoch that is selfish as well as matriarchal, our lifeboats are no longer marked "women and children first," only "women first." We invent euphemisms, such as "choice" for killing, and sophomoric dilemmas, such as pretending not to know when life begins, to ensure that nothing hinders Virginia's quest for Santa Claus. No obstacle must interfere with her goal of self-fulfillment -- least of all an issue (as it were) of her healthy sexual appetite.
As I've written before, I'm not necessarily opposed to abortion, but then I'm not necessarily opposed to killing. I could even be persuaded that we should let mother be the arbiter of when to kill a child. King Solomon thought so, no doubt because he laboured under the illusion that an authentic mother would rather give up her child than kill it. As we now know, the good king might have been a trifle too optimistic.
In any case, giving parents life-and-death discretion rests on venerable historic precedents. Though tossing babies off a cliff is good sport, it's likely that many parents would have preferred prenatal vacuum suction even in Sparta, had the technology been available to them. "Substandard" probably meant physically deformed to Spartans, but it's not a huge leap to extend it to a fetus that's simply inconvenient. After all, a deformed child is a great inconvenience, so an inconvenient child might as well be deemed deformed.
The Spartan model has had a mixed press. Some people have used the word "brutal" to describe it. I'm not pushing it myself, but then I push nothing except an abstinence from fuzzy thinking. I don't particularly mind abortion on demand; I mind only the arguments used to support it.
My quarrel is with those who would oppose abortion if they thought it amounted to killing. I've no problem with abortion, but they do. They've a whacking big problem. First (as I repeated ad nauseam over the years) they must pretend not to know when life begins. They must pretend not to realize that life is an autonomous process, a continuum from zygote to old-age pension, a self-elaborating force that begins when it begins and keeps growing unless it's vacuumed out first. They must pretend not to recognize something that a cat recognizes: the difference between things alive or dead, animate or inanimate. They must pretend not to see that if a fetus were not alive, it wouldn't have to be killed.
They must cling to the illusion that a court can actually choose for life to "begin" at some arbitrary point: first trimester, second trimester, whatever. I think legal fiction should adopt the notion that life begins at 40 for the comfort of those who cherish their convenience but have no stomach for killing.
Some put the question in terms of a woman's right to control her own body. That would be valid enough in the realm of smoking, diet, liposuction or sex -- but abortion? Abortion means controlling someone else's body. Incidentally, I realize that as a man I have no authority to speak on the matter, but I'm not speaking as a man. I wouldn't dare. I'm speaking strictly as an ex-fetus.
And in my capacity as an ex-fetus, I say controlling someone else's body is where abortionists and their assassins meet. Please note that I say "meet." I don't say justify. Nothing justifies the assassin. Does anything justify the abortionist?
Gee, Mom, I don't know. You tell me.
Trackposted to Leaning Straight Up, Allie is Wired, Woman Honor Thyself, and The World According to Carl, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.
Posted by No Apology at 1:49 AM
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
The monetary collapse
by Ron Kitching
March 9, 2009
There is only one sure method for the final victory of a scientific idea, namely, by letting every contrary proposition run a free and full course. Carl Menger
Fiat monies are money substitutes. When the world was on a gold standard all nations had paper monies but upon demand they could be exchanged for gold at any bank any where at any time.
During the inflation of the 1920’s Keynes made a million pounds. Irving Fisher made $10,000,000 U.S. When the bubble burst Keynes scrambled out with 250,000 pounds. Fisher lost his entire fortune plus another $1,000,000 he borrowed from his sister-in-law.
Keynes declared that gold was a barbaric relic from the past, and advocated a fiat paper monetary system controlled by the state.
The Fiat Monetarist position of Keynes, Irving Fisher, and Fisher student, Milton Friedman has run its full course. We can all see the results today.
Frantic efforts are being made to reinflate the economic bubble, but they must in the end all be in vain. If leaders and their advisers persist with “stimulation”, the world will all end up as Zimbabwe is today.
Keynes was an outstanding speaker who knew how to influence public officials and politicians. And his admirers, Irving Fisher and later, Milton Friedman, showed politicians, that through a “controlled” on going inflation, they can make promises and keep them. But in the end, stones cannot be turned into bread, as Ludwig von Mises was never tired of pointing out in his many writings.
WW1 cost the English seven and three quarters of a billion pounds. The government declined to directly tax the population, as that would have made the war unpopular. So they abandoned the gold standard and inflated the currency.
Inflation is a secret tax. In his saner days, even Keynes declared: “By a continuing process of inflation, government can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.”
Instead of that capital being invested in competitive goods and services for which the world scrambled to buy, it was turned into bullets, bombs, shells, and all manner of man killing devices. Also the efforts of millions of men and women on both sides were turned to destruction instead of the usual peaceful competitive manufacture and provision of goods and services for the multitude.
Swiss Banker, Ferdinand Lips, in Gold Wars, stated that if the warring nations of Britain and Germany had been forced to pay for the war by using real capital, directly taxed from the populations of both sides, the war would have ended before Christmas of 1914. He maintained that the populations would have revolted at the taxation required to finance the conflict.
So, both antagonists suspended gold payments and resorted to the secret tax of inflation.
History shows that the depression which follows all inflations, is actually the healing process as the market adjusts to the remaining capital. As is the case at all times everywhere, free of state interventionism, entrepreneurs can then invest capital competitively in goods and or services for which the world will once more scramble to buy.
In their ignorance of Monetary Theory, the politicians and their advisers world wide are scrambling looking for a magic bullet. Keen students of correct Monetary Theory know that there isn't one.
The market oriented restructuring of the economy will be aggravated by the refusal of unions, and politics dominated by the unions, to reduce wages to a level compatible with the available capital resources invested competitively in viable profit making enterprises and services.
In other words in such a situation wages should be allowed to fall to a level that competitive productive enterprise can support.
So, with the National leaders, implementing vast “stimulation” programmes, the Nation is being led up a vast dry gully. It will take followers a long time to abandon state policy and seek the truth of the matter.
The world is now reaping the disaster which has grown from the seeds of fallacy.
AUTHOR: Ron Kitching, who celebrates his 80th birthday in April, was one of the organizers of the month long visit to Australia by F.A. Hayek in 1976. He is the author of Understanding Personal and Economic Liberty.
Posted by No Apology at 4:52 PM
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
h/t to Woodpile Report
Grand Illusion – Secrets of the Federal Reserve
James Quinn March 16th 2009
Cutting Edge Economic Crisis Analyst
The whole world is in a state of complete confusion. Americans are coming to the realization that their lives have been a grand illusion. You thought your neighbor had it made. They were driving a Mercedes, spent $40,000 on a new kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, sent their kids to private school, had a second home at the shore, and took exotic vacations all over the world. Now their house is in foreclosure and you are paying to bail them out. The anger and outrage in the country is at the highest level since the Vietnam War.
The American public is being misled by government officials, politicians, and the Federal Reserve regarding the causes of this crisis and the solutions needed to solve our economic tribulations.
The average American does not know much about the Federal Reserve. The government and the Federal Reserve prefer to operate in the shadows. If the American public understood what their policies have done to their lives, they would be rioting in the streets. Most Americans believe that the Federal Reserve is part of the government. They are wrong. It is a privately held corporation owned by stockholders. The Federal Reserve System is owned by the largest banks in the United States. There are Class A,B, and C shareholders. The owner banks and their shares in the Federal Reserve are a secret. Why is this a secret? It is likely that the biggest banks in the country are the major shareholders. Does this explain why Citicorp, Bank of America and JP Morgan, despite being insolvent, are being propped up by Ben Bernanke and Timothy Geithner?
The history of National Banks in the United States has been controversial since the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. The Constitution of the United States unequivocally states that only Congress has the authority to coin money, not an independent bank owned by unknown bankers.
The Congress shall have Power to coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures
Article 1, Section 8 – US Constitution
Our most recent horrifying experience with an all powerful central bank has led to the current worldwide financial crisis. In less than one century the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States has destroyed our currency and has allowed bankers to gain unwarranted power over the country. They had the ability and opportunity to bring down the worldwide financial system. When the average American is told that the dollar has lost 95 percent of its purchasing power since the inception of the Federal Reserve in 1913, they look at you with a blank stare and start wondering whether American Idol is on TV tonight. The systematic inflation purposely created by the Federal Reserve silently robs the average American of their standard of living. The government began keeping official track of inflation in 1913, the year the Federal Reserve was created. The consumer price index (CPI) on January 1, 1914 was 10.0. The CPI on January 1, 2009 was 211.1. This means that a man’s suit that cost $10 in 1913 would cost $211 today, a 2,111 percent increase in 96 years. This is a 95 percent loss in purchasing power of the dollar.
In the years following the creation of the Federal Reserve, inflation ran at double digit rates to finance Woodrow Wilson’s foreign intervention into World War I. The other notable period was in the years following President Nixon’s closing of the gold window in 1971. This led to rampant inflation that wasn’t tamed until the early 1980’s by Paul Volcker, the only independent courageous Federal Reserve Chairman in its history. The figures so far in the twenty-first Century seem modest. This is due partly to the methodical downward manipulation of the calculation by government bureaucrats. The period from 2010 to 2020 will show a dramatic jump caused by all of the money printing and reckless spending that is occurring today.
The average American might just conclude that prices always go up, so what’s the big deal about inflation. This is where the Federal Reserve and politicians have pulled the wool over your eyes. The CPI was 30.9 in 1964. Today, it is 211.1. This means that prices have risen 683 percent since 1964. The only problem is that your wages have not risen at the same rate, even using the government manipulated CPI. Using a true CPI figure, average weekly earnings are 64 percent below what they were in 1964. This explains why a family of five could live well with one parent working in 1964, but even with both parents working and using debt in prodigious amounts, the average family does not live as well today.
The dates February 3, 1913 and December 24, 1913 framed a year which placed our country on a downward fiscal spiral. The United States had tinkered with an income tax during the Civil War and the 1890’s, but the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. Until 1913, the U.S. government was restrained from overspending because it was completely reliant on tariffs and duties to generate revenue.
The Sixteenth Amendment changed the game forever. “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”
When you give a Congressman a dollar, he’ll take a hundred billion. The initial tax rates of 1 percent to 7 percent were rather modest. That did not last long. The top tax rate reached 92 percent during the 1950s and today rates are still 500 percent to 1,000 percent higher than they were in 1913. The government is addicted to tax revenue. In 2007, they absconded $1.2 trillion in taxes from American individuals. Does anyone think that the bloated government bureaucracy spent these funds more efficiently or for a more beneficial purpose than its citizens could have? Without $1.2 trillion in individual tax revenue, Congressmen would not be able to add 9,200 earmarks to the current $400 billion Federal spending bill every year.
According to the Federal Reserve’s own website, their duties fall into four general areas:
1. Conducting the nation's monetary policy by influencing the monetary and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.
2. Supervising and regulating banking institutions to ensure the safety and soundness of the nation's banking and financial system and to protect the credit rights of consumers
3. Maintaining the stability of the financial system and containing systemic risk that may arise in financial markets
4. Providing financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions, including playing a major role in operating the nation's payments system
The American public was told that the Federal Reserve would eliminate any future bank panics. From 1913 through 1920, inflation increased at more than 10 percent per year as Wilson spent vast sums during World War I and its aftermath. From the early 1920s to 1929, the monetary supply expanded at a rapid pace and the nation experienced tremendous economic growth. By the end of the 1920s, speculation and loose money had propelled asset and equity prices to unsustainable levels. The stock market crashed in 1929, and as the banks struggled with liquidity problems, the Federal Reserve cut the money supply. This was the greatest financial panic and economic collapse in American history so far - and it never could have happened without the Fed's intervention. The Fed caused the bubble with loose monetary policy. The Depression did not become Great until the Smoot Hawley Act in 1930 destroyed world trade and the raising of the top income tax rates from 25 percent to 63 percent in 1932 destroyed the incentive to earn money. Over 9,000 banks failed and a few of the old robber barons' banks managed to swoop in and grab up thousands of competitors for pennies on the dollar.
The Federal Reserve’s primary mandates were maximum employment, stable prices and moderate long-term interest rates. Their other chief function was to supervise and regulate banks to ensure the banking system is safe. Let us assess their success regarding their mandates:
• Unemployment reached 25 percent during the Great Depression; attained levels above 10 percent in 1982; and will breach 10 percent in the next year. Grade: Failure
• Since the Federal Reserve’s inception, the dollar has lost 95 percent of its purchasing power. Grade: Failure
• Interest rates have been anything but moderate since the inception of the Federal Reserve. They have consistently caused booms and busts by setting rates too low or too high. Grade: Failure
• The Federal Reserve was supposed to supervise the activities of banks. Instead, under Alan Greenspan, they stepped aside and let banks take preposterous risks while giving an unspoken assurance that the Fed would clean up any messes that they caused. This total dereliction of duty gross negligence has led the greatest financial collapse in history. Grade: Failure
Anyone who is not mad as hell at this point is not paying attention. Your tax-and-spend political leaders and your banker-controlled Federal Reserve have borrowed and spent your tax dollars, your children’s tax dollars, and their children’s tax dollars desperately attempting to prop up this bankrupt system. The unleashing of a never-ending tsunami of printed dollars by the Federal Reserve makes every dollar worth less. They have systematically created inflation that has slowly but surely reduced your standard of living. Politicians in the pocket of lobbyists, corporate interests, and bankers have used their power to tax in order to spend trillions on worthless projects in their districts to insure re-election. The combination of taxing and printing has led to a National Debt of $11 trillion.
Bankers love debt. The more debt, the more interest they collect. Issuing credit cards and collecting 21 percent interest and billions in late fees seemed like a "can’t miss" proposition. It was, until people couldn’t pay the debt back. Now the unwinding of the greatest debt bubble in history has created a Second Great Depression. Instead of learning from the past, the Federal Reserve has chosen to do exactly what led to the crisis. They have lowered rates to 0 percent and have printed money at prodigious rates. The Fed has doubled their balance sheet in the last 12 months.
They have loaned billions to the bankrupt banks that inhabit our financial system while accepting worthless pieces of paper as collateral. They will not reveal to the public the banks they have loaned money to or the collateral that backs up those loans. The arrogance of Ben Bernanke proves that the Federal Reserve answers to bankers, and not to the American public. The books and records of the Federal Reserve are not open to scrutiny by the General Accounting Office. Ron Paul has introduced the Federal Reserve Transparency Act which would open their books to the public. No organization with as much power as the Federal Reserve should be permitted to operate in the shadows.
The future is cloudy but the direction is clear. Government will spend trillions of dollars. Congress will increase taxes on the rich and secretly raise taxes on the masses by calling them cap and trade fees. The Federal Reserve will pull out all stops to create inflation. When you owe the rest of the world $11 trillion, inflation makes the debt less burdensome. The dollar will decline versus gold. With the enormous amount of currency creation and spending by the government, the economy will eventually pull out of this depression. The acceleration will take the Federal Reserve by surprise. They will be hesitant to raise interest rates. The inflation genie will get out of the bottle and will not go back. The hyperinflation that takes hold will lead to social unrest, rioting, and a drastic reduction in the American standard of living.
There is no solution that will not be painful to everyone in the United States. The only solution that would put America back on a path of sustainable prosperity would be a gold/precious metals backed currency that would force government and its citizens to live within its means. Congress would need to vote for something that would take away its power. With our current political system, this is impossible. Money is power. This leads to only one conclusion. The existing Ponzi scheme will have to collapse before we can adopt a rational financial system for America. It may take decades, or it may happen in 2010. No one knows.
Cutting Edge Economic Crisis Analyst James Quinn is a senior director of strategic planning for a major university. This article reflects the personal views of James Quinn. It does not necessarily represent the views of his employer, and is not sponsored or endorsed by them.
NOTE: This creation of debt has been underway for the past one hundred years.
See my April 2007 post: Hoisting the Black Flag
also see Sept 2008 post: The Federal Reserve Will Destroy America
Posted by No Apology at 9:45 PM
Sunday, March 15, 2009
h/t Right Truth
The Christian Science Monitor
The coming evangelical collapse
An anti-Christian chapter in Western history is about to begin. But out of the ruins, a new vitality and integrity will rise.
By Michael Spencer
from the March 10, 2009 edition
Oneida, Ky. - We are on the verge – within 10 years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West.
Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants. (Between 25 and 35 percent of Americans today are Evangelicals.) In the "Protestant" 20th century, Evangelicals flourished. But they will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century.
This collapse will herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile toward evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good.
Millions of Evangelicals will quit. Thousands of ministries will end. Christian media will be reduced, if not eliminated. Many Christian schools will go into rapid decline. I'm convinced the grace and mission of God will reach to the ends of the earth. But the end of evangelicalism as we know it is close.
Why is this going to happen?
1. Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. This will prove to be a very costly mistake. Evangelicals will increasingly be seen as a threat to cultural progress. Public leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society.
The evangelical investment in moral, social, and political issues has depleted our resources and exposed our weaknesses. Being against gay marriage and being rhetorically pro-life will not make up for the fact that massive majorities of Evangelicals can't articulate the Gospel with any coherence. We fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith.
2. We Evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught. Ironically, the billions of dollars we've spent on youth ministers, Christian music, publishing, and media has produced a culture of young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it. Our young people have deep beliefs about the culture war, but do not know why they should obey scripture, the essentials of theology, or the experience of spiritual discipline and community. Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures.
3. There are three kinds of evangelical churches today: consumer-driven megachurches, dying churches, and new churches whose future is fragile. Denominations will shrink, even vanish, while fewer and fewer evangelical churches will survive and thrive.
4. Despite some very successful developments in the past 25 years, Christian education has not produced a product that can withstand the rising tide of secularism. Evangelicalism has used its educational system primarily to staff its own needs and talk to itself.
5. The confrontation between cultural secularism and the faith at the core of evangelical efforts to "do good" is rapidly approaching. We will soon see that the good Evangelicals want to do will be viewed as bad by so many, and much of that work will not be done. Look for ministries to take on a less and less distinctively Christian face in order to survive.
6. Even in areas where Evangelicals imagine themselves strong (like the Bible Belt), we will find a great inability to pass on to our children a vital evangelical confidence in the Bible and the importance of the faith.
7. The money will dry up.
What will be left?
•Expect evangelicalism to look more like the pragmatic, therapeutic, church-growth oriented megachurches that have defined success. Emphasis will shift from doctrine to relevance, motivation, and personal success – resulting in churches further compromised and weakened in their ability to pass on the faith.
•Two of the beneficiaries will be the Roman Catholic and Orthodox communions. Evangelicals have been entering these churches in recent decades and that trend will continue, with more efforts aimed at the "conversion" of Evangelicals to the Catholic and Orthodox traditions.
•A small band will work hard to rescue the movement from its demise through theological renewal. This is an attractive, innovative, and tireless community with outstanding media, publishing, and leadership development. Nonetheless, I believe the coming evangelical collapse will not result in a second reformation, though it may result in benefits for many churches and the beginnings of new churches.
•The emerging church will largely vanish from the evangelical landscape, becoming part of the small segment of progressive mainline Protestants that remain true to the liberal vision.
•Aggressively evangelistic fundamentalist churches will begin to disappear.
•Charismatic-Pentecostal Christianity will become the majority report in evangelicalism. Can this community withstand heresy, relativism, and confusion? To do so, it must make a priority of biblical authority, responsible leadership, and a reemergence of orthodoxy.
•Evangelicalism needs a "rescue mission" from the world Christian community. It is time for missionaries to come to America from Asia and Africa. Will they come? Will they be able to bring to our culture a more vital form of Christianity?
•Expect a fragmented response to the culture war. Some Evangelicals will work to create their own countercultures, rather than try to change the culture at large. Some will continue to see conservatism and Christianity through one lens and will engage the culture war much as before – a status quo the media will be all too happy to perpetuate. A significant number, however, may give up political engagement for a discipleship of deeper impact.
Is all of this a bad thing?
Evangelicalism doesn't need a bailout. Much of it needs a funeral. But what about what remains?
Is it a good thing that denominations are going to become largely irrelevant? Only if the networks that replace them are able to marshal resources, training, and vision to the mission field and into the planting and equipping of churches.
Is it a good thing that many marginal believers will depart? Possibly, if churches begin and continue the work of renewing serious church membership. We must change the conversation from the maintenance of traditional churches to developing new and culturally appropriate ones.
The ascendency of Charismatic-Pentecostal-influenced worship around the world can be a major positive for the evangelical movement if reformation can reach those churches and if it is joined with the calling, training, and mentoring of leaders. If American churches come under more of the influence of the movement of the Holy Spirit in Africa and Asia, this will be a good thing.
Will the evangelicalizing of Catholic and Orthodox communions be a good development? One can hope for greater unity and appreciation, but the history of these developments seems to be much more about a renewed vigor to "evangelize" Protestantism in the name of unity.
Will the coming collapse get Evangelicals past the pragmatism and shallowness that has brought about the loss of substance and power? Probably not. The purveyors of the evangelical circus will be in fine form, selling their wares as the promised solution to every church's problems. I expect the landscape of megachurch vacuity to be around for a very long time.
Will it shake lose the prosperity Gospel from its parasitical place on the evangelical body of Christ? Evidence from similar periods is not encouraging. American Christians seldom seem to be able to separate their theology from an overall idea of personal affluence and success.
The loss of their political clout may impel many Evangelicals to reconsider the wisdom of trying to create a "godly society." That doesn't mean they'll focus solely on saving souls, but the increasing concern will be how to keep secularism out of church, not stop it altogether. The integrity of the church as a countercultural movement with a message of "empire subversion" will increasingly replace a message of cultural and political entitlement.
Despite all of these challenges, it is impossible not to be hopeful. As one commenter has already said, "Christianity loves a crumbling empire."
We can rejoice that in the ruins, new forms of Christian vitality and ministry will be born. I expect to see a vital and growing house church movement. This cannot help but be good for an evangelicalism that has made buildings, numbers, and paid staff its drugs for half a century.
We need new evangelicalism that learns from the past and listens more carefully to what God says about being His people in the midst of a powerful, idolatrous culture.
I'm not a prophet. My view of evangelicalism is not authoritative or infallible. I am certainly wrong in some of these predictions. But is there anyone who is observing evangelicalism in these times who does not sense that the future of our movement holds many dangers and much potential?
• Michael Spencer is a writer and communicator living and working in a Christian community in Kentucky. He describes himself as "a postevangelical reformation Christian in search of a Jesus-shaped spirituality." This essay is adapted from a series on his blog, InternetMonk.com .
Posted by No Apology at 11:29 AM