Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Evangelicals, Ron Paul and War
Is supporting war more important for evangelicals than their social values? Isn’t Ron Paul a social conservative? He opposes abortion, gay marriage and promiscuous sex, he has never been divorced and certainly supports family values, but he believes in limited government. Two of his brothers are ministers. Why then are evangelical leaders now opting for Santorum, and before him Gingrich? The one big area of disagreement with Ron Paul is war; foreign wars and the domestic one against drugs. For this they oppose him. Santorum supports unending war in Afghanistan, backing Israel without limit and a new war against Iran.

Earlier there was a major far leftist candidate who supported all the issues that evangelicals oppose, and was a vocal proponent for expanding Israeli settlements on the West Bank and promoting the war on Iraq. He was overjoyed when open homosexuality became allowed in the military, he supports abortion, gay marriage and the leftist agenda for big, intrusive government; power to labor unions as well as expanded, unconstitutional police powers within the U.S. Evangelicals adore him and went all out to support him 2006, when he lost his primary race and ran as an independent for the Senate. He is Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.
All this shows how evangelical leaders put support for wars ahead of their social values. ...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Regulatory Czar wants to use copyright protection mechanisms to shut down rumors and conspiracy theories
As Congress considers vastly expanding the power of copyright holders to shut down fair use of their intellectual property, this is a good time to remember the other activities that Obama’s “regulatory czar” Cass Sunstein wants to shut down using the tools of copyright protection. For a couple of years now, Sunstein has been advocating that the “notice and take down” model from copyright law should be used against rumors and conspiracy theories, “to achieve the optimal chilling effect.”

What kinds of conspiracy theories does Sunstein want to suppress by law? Here’s one:

… that the theory of global warming is a deliberate fraud. [From page 4 of Sunstein's 2008 "Conspiracy Theories" paper.]...

...Suppose you are a simple public-spirited blogger, trying to expose how Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Tom Wigley, and other Team members conspire to suppress the research and destroy the careers of those who challenge their consensus views. If Sunstein gets his way, Team members will only have to issue you a takedown notice, and if you want your post to stay up, you’ll have to go to court and win a judgment that your version of events is correct....

Doctors Grow Disenchanted With Obamacare’s Costs and Burdens; Health Care Law Arbitrarily Discriminates
69% of physicians are “pessimistic about the future of medicine” because of the 2010 healthcare law, notes Dr. Marc Siegel in USA Today. “Just 13% of those surveyed backed the Affordable Care Act.” “When surveyed by” the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, “83% of doctors said one likely change to the medical system as a result of the law would be increased wait times.” “73% said it would not reduce costs.” “The concern of doctors is reflected among the American people: Support for the law has sunk to 29% in the latest Associated Press poll.”...

...Obamacare is causing layoffs in the medical device industry. Obamacare will raise the cost of insurance by a massive 55-85 percent in Ohio, according to one study. It will harm life-saving medical innovation, concluded the Harvard Medical School Dean and others. It taxes medical devices and cosmetic surgery, and raises taxes starting in 2013 on investors. Obamacare also breaks many campaign promises, and increases state budget deficits.
The European Crack-Up
A Belgian journalist who interviewed me recently about the European debt crisis asked me whether I believed in the European Project. I replied that I would answer her question—if she would tell me what the European Project actually was. By revealing my doubts, I proved to her that I suffered from the strange kind of mental debility known as Euroskepticism, a condition supposedly compounded of low intelligence and aggressive xenophobia. The low intelligence manifests itself in the patient’s view of European institutions as a gravy train for a transnational nomenklatura, rather than as the beginning of a new, generous, and free-spirited type of postnational identity. The xenophobia manifests itself as a secret desire for conflict and war, the European Union and its predecessors supposedly having been responsible for the avoidance of war on the Continent over the last 65 years.

The journalist then asked whether I thought that nationalism was dangerous. The question implied that the choice before Europe was between the European Union and fascism: that all that stood between us and the ascension to power of new Mussolinis, Francos, and Hitlers were the free lunches of senior Eurocrats. I replied that dangerous forms of nationalism existed, of course, but that in the present circumstances, supranationalism represented by far the greater danger. Not only was such supranationalism undemocratic, for it reflected no widespread demand or sentiment among the population; it also risked provoking the very kind of nationalism against which it was to stand as the bulwark. Further, the breakup of supranational polities in Europe tends to be messy, as history demonstrates.

I was not entirely fair, however, in implying that no one could say what the European Project was. José Manuel Barroso, a fiery Portuguese Maoist student leader who became the preternaturally dull president of the European Commission—perhaps not as great a change as one might suppose, many a revolutionary being a frustrated bureaucrat—once let the cat out of the bag. Asked the same question that the journalist asked me, Barroso responded, “Sometimes I like to compare the European Union as a creation to the organization of empires.” He hastened to add that the E.U. was not a traditional empire. But it is surely the case that an empire in Europe, large, rich, and powerful, would assuage the feelings of a political class frustrated by having inherited a smaller role in world affairs than that of their predecessors, who ruled real empires many times larger than their own countries....
Schools ‘spy’ on fat kids
...Big Brother is joining the battle of the bulge.

A group of Long Island students will soon be wearing controversial electronic monitors that allow school officials to track their physical activity around the clock....

...But privacy advocates and parents worry that schools are using electronic monitors in phys ed without families’ knowledge or consent.

“I didn’t even know it was going on, and I’m active in the school,” said Beth Huebner, of St. Louis.

Her son, a fourth-grader, wore a Polar Active monitor in class without her OK last fall at Ross Elementary School.

“We have gotten no information about the Web-site security or where the data will go,” Huebner said....

Let’s have a proper debate about the welfare state
...Having inflicted a triple defeat on the bill last week, by voting 224 to 186 against proposals relating to disability and incapacity allowances, the Lords had won a special place in the hearts of leftists opposed to the Lib-Cons. These unelected lords and ladies are ‘the only decent politicians left’, chirped one commentator. Another described them as ‘a blessing’. These observers will no doubt be disappointed that the Lords yesterday failed to deliver a fourth blow to the government’s plans, though hopefully they’ll have learned a lesson about how daft it is to rely on the whims of the rich and aloof when pursuing political agendas.

There are two problems with the notion that state welfare is so sacred it should never be reformed, even if that means getting the most undemocratic layer of the British political class to ringfence it from those grubby inhabitants of the elected Commons. Firstly, such an allergic reaction to the idea of having a serious debate about the size and shifting nature of state welfare means that the problems associated with welfarism – which are myriad – are never clarified, far less tackled. And secondly, calling on the unelected second chamber to fight the Commons over welfare is an insult to democracy and to the British public, who are reduced to the level of paupers who need good-hearted Lords to fight their battles and preserve their pennies.

You don’t have to be a fellow traveller of the Lib-Cons (I’ve never voted for either party) to recognise that the welfare system in Britain does need reform – radical reform. The problem with the government’s proposed reforms is that they’re driven by a penny-pinching mentality, designed to save the state cash. The real motivation behind welfare reform should be a humanist one – a recognition that intensive welfarism, the intrusion of the ‘caring state’ into every aspect of less well-off people’s lives, has damaged both individuals and communities and therefore should be questioned and challenged and, in part, done away with....

...With their poverty-porn images of families too sick and destitute to care for themselves, and their love of Lords who stand up and make grandstanding speeches about ‘helping the poor’, today’s welfare-defenders are taking us into Downton Abbey territory – back to a pre-welfare state world of poor laws and posh pity where the very rich were pleaded with to help the lame and the weak. That is the essence of much modern welfare thinking. ‘Please, my lord, stop the evil politicians from taking away my grub and my blankets.’ Screw that. The less well-off are more than capable of looking after themselves, and don’t need to have democracy overturned in their name by unelected twits and their dizzy cheerleaders in the media.
A Look At How Health Reform Is Driving Doctors Out Of Business
...According to Parija Kavilanz of CNN Money, physicians blame "shrinking insurance reimbursements, changing regulations, and rising business and drug costs" for their recent financial troubles.

As private practices become victims of health care reform and Medicare and Medicaid cuts, many doctors are being forced to shut their doors. ...

...56% of physicians said health care reform will diminish the quality of care they are able to provide...

10 Reasons The U.S. Is No Longer The Land Of The Free
Below is today’s column in the Sunday Washington Post. The column addresses how the continued rollbacks on civil liberties in the United States conflicts with the view of the country as the land of the free. If we are going to adopt Chinese legal principles, we should at least have the integrity to adopt one Chinese proverb: “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.” We seem as a country to be in denial as to the implications of these laws and policies. Whether we are viewed as a free country with authoritarian inclinations or an authoritarian nation with free aspirations (or some other hybrid definition), we are clearly not what we once were.

Every year, the State Department issues reports on individual rights in other countries, monitoring the passage of restrictive laws and regulations around the world. Iran, for example, has been criticized for denying fair public trials and limiting privacy, while Russia has been taken to task for undermining due process. Other countries have been condemned for the use of secret evidence and torture.

Even as we pass judgment on countries we consider unfree, Americans remain confident that any definition of a free nation must include their own — the land of free. Yet, the laws and practices of the land should shake that confidence. In the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, this country has comprehensively reduced civil liberties in the name of an expanded security state. The most recent example of this was the National Defense Authorization Act, signed Dec. 31, which allows for the indefinite detention of citizens. At what point does the reduction of individual rights in our country change how we define ourselves?

While each new national security power Washington has embraced was controversial when enacted, they are often discussed in isolation. But they don’t operate in isolation. They form a mosaic of powers under which our country could be considered, at least in part, authoritarian. Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack basic individual rights such as due process, placing them outside any reasonable definition of “free,” but the United States now has much more in common with such regimes than anyone may like to admit.

These countries also have constitutions that purport to guarantee freedoms and rights. But their governments have broad discretion in denying those rights and few real avenues for challenges by citizens — precisely the problem with the new laws in this country.

The list of powers acquired by the U.S. government since 9/11 puts us in rather troubling company....

Saturday, January 21, 2012

From the 1932 Southern Baptist Convention:

That we oppose the continued large expenditure by the Government for military and naval equipment; that we oppose military training in the schools and colleges, whether denominational or state; and that we favor full and complete disarmament as rapidly as it can possibly be accomplished, except such armament as may be absolutely necessary for police duty within our own territory and on our borders. Moreover, we reaffirm our hearty approval of the international agreement to renounce war as a national policy and our gratitude at the growing conviction among Christians of the incompatibility of war with the ethical principles of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In Keystone XL Rejection, We See Two Americas At War With Each Other
America has two basic economies, and the division increasingly defines its politics. One, concentrated on the coasts and in college towns, focuses on the business of images, digits and transactions. The other, located largely in the southeast, Texas and the Heartland, makes its living in more traditional industries, from agriculture and manufacturing to fossil fuel development....

...Oddly, in their self-righteous narcissism, the urbanistas seem to forget that driving production from more regulated areas like California or New York to far less controlled areas like Texas or China, may in the end actually increase net greenhouse gas emissions. The hip, cool urbanistas won’t stop consuming iPads, but simply prefer that the pollution making them is generated far from home, and preferably outside the country.

The perspective in the Heartland areas and Texas, of course, is quite different. They regard basic industries as central to their current prosperity. Oil and gas, along with agriculture and manufacturing, have made these areas the fastest growing in terms of jobs and income over the past decade....

Obama kills Keystone pipeline plan; Why he did it
A pretty amazing presidential decision out of the White House today, to kill the Keystone XL Pipestone plan to bring 700,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada to Texas.

Treating Canada, our largest trading partner, next-door neighbor (or neighbour), most trustworthy longtime friend and ally in good times and Afghanistan, as if it can only sell all that oil to us instead of building a shorter pipeline to British Columbia and selling to -- wait for it -- China.

After all, who needs a secure energy source from a best friend when you can pay a fortune to buy it from unfriendly people in faraway unstable places?...

Jobs Vs. Greens? On Keystone Obama Chooses His Base
...For Obama, what matters is that the green left is making Keystone a litmus test. Obama fundraiser Wendy Abrams, for example, a well-heeled Chicago enviro-activist and Rahm Emanuel buddy whose family owns the country's largest privately held medical equipment maker, recently warned that the Keystone decision would show whether Obama "really wants to begin the transformation to building a renewable energy future."...
Justice Department coordinates suits with ACORN's Project Vote
...Readers will also recall that ACORN activists have long been involved in voter registration fraud, either directly or through its Project Vote affiliate. At least 70 ACORN/Project Vote employees have been convicted of voter registration fraud in a dozen states since 2006. According to a 2009 House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform report, approximately a third of the 1.2 million new registrations turned in by the two groups in 2008 were fraudulent.

Despite all this, documents obtained recently by Judicial Watch via the Freedom of Information Act suggest that President Obama -- who was employed by Project Vote as a community organizer early in his career -- and Attorney General Eric Holder have no qualms about working closely with present and former ACORN and Project Vote operatives on voter registration drives aimed at people on public assistance. Take, for example, an April 2009 letter to deputy assistant attorney general Sam Hirsh from former ACORN attorney and current Project Vote director of advocacy Estelle Rogers. She described preparations for a subsequent meeting about Department of Justice plans concerning National Voter Registration Act litigation in states deemed not being sufficiently aggressive in registering public assistance recipients.

Among those to be included in the meeting, according to the Rogers letter, were Nicole Kovite, director of the public agency project for Project Vote; Spencer Overton, deputy assistant attorney general for legal policy; Cecilia Munoz, then-director of intergovernmental affairs in the Obama White House; and Tino Cuellar, special assistant to the president for justice and regulatory policy. Munoz was recently promoted to chief domestic advisor to Obama....
Secular Theocracy
...During the Enlightenment, nationalism became the new civic religion, in which the nation state was not merely a substitute for the church, but a substitute for God, and political religion benefited from being more tangible than supernatural religion in having the physical means of violence necessary to enforce mandatory worship and funding. Nation states provided a new kind of salvation and immortality; one’s death is not in vain if it is “for the nation,” which will live on.[15]

This “myth of religious violence” lived on with legal theorist John Rawls who claimed that the modern problem is a theological one and the solution is political. For Rawls, since people believe in unresolvable theological doctrines over which they will kill each other, a secular state must rule.[16] Similarly, Stanford law professor Kathleen Sullivan, a secularist, has claimed that as a necessary condition for peace to avoid a “war of all sects against all,” religion must be banished from the public square.[17]

As Canavaugh notes, “[O]nce the state had laid claim to the holy, the state voluntarily relinquished it by banning religion from direct access to the public square . . . then what we have is not a separation of religion from politics but rather the substitution of the religion of the state for the religion of the church.”[18]...

...In Politics as Religion, Emilio Gentile notes that the “religion of politics” is “a system of beliefs, myths, rituals, and symbols that interpret and define the meaning and end of human existence by subordinating the destiny of individuals and the collectivity to a supreme entity.” A religion of politics is a secular religion because it creates “an aura of sacredness around an entity belonging to this world.”[23] And according to Cavanaugh, “People are not allowed to kill for ‘sectarian religion’…. Only the nation-state may kill…. it is this power to organize killing that makes American civil religion the true religion of the U.S. social order.”[24]

Among most Christians in the U.S. for example, very few would agree to kill in Christ’s name, while killing and dying for the nation state in war and supporting “our troops” is taken for granted. The religious-secular split enables public loyalty by Christians to the nation state’s secular violence, including invasive wars, torture, and “collateral damage,” while avoiding direct confrontation with Christian beliefs about the supremacy of God and natural law teachings.[25]

Hence, the secular theocracy exalts a sovereign and powerful state that pervades all of life and compels obedience not just to its mandates but to the secular nationalism of the Zeitgeist itself, for which the populace is forced to conform to and fund. This worldview dominates public schools, colleges and universities, elite media, entertainment, and an ever-expanding array of government domains in law, health care, welfare, retirement, transportation, commerce, parks and recreation, etc. Not coincidentally in the modern era when nation states have displaced God, Cavanaugh notes, “it does not matter that the U.S. flag does not explicitly refer to a god. It is nevertheless a sacred—perhaps the most sacred—object in U.S. society and is thus an object of religious veneration.”[26] And worship in the secular theocracy in schools and at public events consists of singing the “National Anthem” and saluting the flag in “The Pledge of Allegiance,” which as described by its socialist author Francis Bellamy, “is the same with the catechism, or the Lord’s Prayer.”[27]...

Environmentalism and the Leisure Class
...In turning down Keystone, however, the President has uncovered an ugly little secret that has always lurked beneath the surface of environmentalism. Its basic appeal is to the affluent. Despite all the professions of being "liberal" and "against big business," environmentalism's main appeal is that it promises to slow the progress of industrial progress. People who are already comfortable with the present state of affairs -- who are established in the environment, so to speak -- are happy to go along with this. It is not that they have any greater insight into the mysteries and workings of nature. They are happier with the way things are. In fact, environmentalism works to their advantage. The main danger to the affluent is not that they will be denied from improving their estate but that too many other people will achieve what they already have. As the Forest Service used to say, the person who built his mountain cabin last year is an environmentalist. The person who wants to build one this year is a developer.

Environmentalism has spent three decades trying to hide this simple truth. How can environmentalists be motivated by self-interest when they are anti-business? Doesn't that align them with the working classes? Well, not quite. You can be anti-business as a union member trying to claim higher wages but you can also be anti-business as a member of the aristocracy who believes "trade" and "commercialism" are crass and not attuned to the higher things in life. Environmentalism is born from the latter, not the former. It has spent decades trying to pretend it has common cause with the working people. With the defeat of the Keystone Pipeline, this is no longer possible. Too many blue-collar and middle-class jobs have been sacrificed on the altar of carbon emissions and global warming....

...What finally focused my attention on the aristocratic roots of environmentalism, however, was a chapter in Thorstein Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class. Although the book is justly famous for coining "conspicuous consumption" and "conspicuous waste," there is a lesser-known chapter entitled "Industrial Exemption" that perfectly describes the environmental zeitgeist. Veblen posed the question, why is it that people who are the greatest beneficiaries of industrial society are often the most passionate in condemning it? He provided a simple answer. People in the leisure class have become so accustomed affluence as the natural state of things that they no longer feel compelled to embrace any further industrial progress...

...It is not that the average person is not concerned about the environment. Everyone weighs the balance of economic gain against a respect for nature. It is only the truly affluent, however, who can be concerned about the environment to the exclusion of everything else. Most people see the benefits of pipelines and power plants and admit they have to be built somewhere. Only in the highest echelons do we hear people say, "We don't need to build any pipelines. We've already got enough energy. We can all sit around awaiting the day we live off wind and sunshine."
Environmentalists have spent decades trying to disguise these aristocratic roots, even from themselves. They work desperately to form alliances with labor unions and cast themselves as purveyors of "green jobs." But the Keystone Pipeline has brought all this into focus. As Joel Kotkin writes in Forbes, Keystone is the dividing line of the "two Americas," the knowledge-based elites of the East and West Coasts in their media, non-profit and academic homelands (where Obama learned his environmentalism) and the blue-collar workers of the Great In- Between laboring in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, power production and the exigencies of material life....

Putting tribespeople in a human zoo
...Eco-tourism is a booming business in the Andamans. Alongside those eager to visit the largely untouched wilderness in some of the islands, a certain type of traveller has been keen to get a glimpse of the 300 to 400 remaining members of the ancient Jarawa tribe, which some anthropologists believe are ‘descendants of some of the first humans to move out of Africa’....

...It’s all too easy, however, to point the finger at policemen or tour guides who can supplement their wages substantially by turning a blind eye to tourists who want to enter the reserve. Even eco-tourists, keen to experience tribal life as a break from their own dull, spiritual-less existences, are not really to blame. Rather than criticising those who want to visit the ‘human zoo’, attention should instead be turned on those fighting for the Jarawa tribe to be kept isolated from the world.

Despite the way environmental groups such as the local Society for Andaman and Nicobar Ecology (SANE) like to cast tribespeople as ‘human ecology’, the few remaining members of the Jarawa tribe are actually human beings. They are capable of adapting and integrating into society. Indeed, young members of the Jarawa tribe have been seen wearing jeans and t-shirts, enjoying sweets and biscuits and have been heard singing popular Bollywood songs. A local teacher has reported that children from the tribe asked whether they could attend school with non-Jarawa children and there have been reports of a tribe member meeting with government officials and asking for mobile phones and the building of schools....

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Peer Reviewed Study: Increased Solar Flux Drove Global Warming During 20th Century
While reviewing the bounty of solar and climate information found at the Global Warming Science site, we found the adjacent chart (this is the 'C3' revised version using annual HadCRUT global temperatures instead of monthly).

Clearly, there is a strong relationship between solar activity (magnetic solar flux) and global temperatures.

The relationship is not perfect but it represents a significant improvement over the incredibly lame human-CO2 and global warming / climate change relationship claimed by the IPCC's anti-CO2 Climategate scientists and alarmists....

Climate Sensitivity – Zero
Satellites have been monitoring the Earth’s temperature for 30 years. For the first fifteen years, temperatures were rising. For the last 15 years, temperatures have been steady, while CO2 emissions have gone through the roof....

The New Authoritarianism
... Today’s progressives cannot be viewed primarily as pragmatic Truman- or Clinton-style majoritarians. Rather, they resemble the medieval clerical class. Their goal is governmental control over everything from what sort of climate science is permissible to how we choose to live our lives. Many of today’s progressives can be as dogmatic in their beliefs as the most strident evangelical minister or mullah. Like Al Gore declaring the debate over climate change closed, despite the Climategate e-mails and widespread skepticism, the clerisy takes its beliefs as based on absolute truth. Critics lie beyond the pale.

The problem for the clerisy lies in political reality. The country’s largely suburban and increasingly Southern electorate does not see big government as its friend or wise liberal mandarins as the source of its salvation. This sets up a potential political crisis between those who know what’s good and a presumptively ignorant majority. Obama is burdened, says Joe Klein of Time, by governing a “nation of dodos” that is “too dumb to thrive,” as the title of his story puts it, without the guidance of our president. But if the people are too deluded to cooperate, elements in the progressive tradition have a solution: European-style governance by a largely unelected bureaucratic class.

The tension between self-government and “good” government has existed since the origins of modern liberalism. Thinkers such as Herbert Croly and Randolph Bourne staked a claim to a priestly wisdom far greater than that possessed by the ordinary mortal. As Croly explained, “any increase in centralized power and responsibility . . . is injurious to certain aspects of traditional American democracy. But the fault in that case lies with the democratic tradition” and the fact that “the average American individual is morally and intellectually inadequate to a serious and consistent conception of his responsibilities as a democrat.”...

...The Left’s growing support for a soft authoritarianism is reminiscent of the 1930s, when many on both right and left looked favorably at either Stalin’s Soviet experiment or its fascist and National Socialist rivals. Tom Friedman of the New York Times recently praised Chinese-style authoritarianism for advancing the green agenda. The “reasonably enlightened group” running China, he asserted, was superior to our messy democracy in such things as subsidizing green industry. Steven Rattner, the investment banker and former Obama car czar, dismisses the problems posed by China’s economic and environmental foibles and declares himself “staunchly optimistic” about the future of that country’s Communist Party dictatorship. And it’s not just the gentry liberals identifying China as their model: labor leader Andy Stern, formerly the president of the Service Employees International Union and a close ally of the White House, celebrates Chinese authoritarianism and says that our capitalistic pluralism is headed for “the trash heap of history.” The Chinese, Stern argues, get things done.

A victorious Obama administration could embrace a soft version of the Chinese model. The mechanisms of control already exist. The bureaucratic apparatus, the array of policy czars and regulatory enforcers commissioned by the executive branch, has grown dramatically under Obama. ...
Roman Catholic church's paedophile investigator jailed for possessing thousands of child porn images
A Catholic Church child safety co-ordinator who was in charge of investigating sexual abuse allegations was jailed for 12 months today for internet peadophile offences....

...The revelations that the church hired a peadophile in a key child protection role will add to the controversy surrounding the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales over its handling of sexual abuse....
Liberals Love Their Daddy
Twelve years ago, I wrote an article entitled “Electing Our Daddy,” which pointed out that every four years Americans go to the polls not just to elect a president bur also to elect a daddy, one who will take watch over them and take care of them, send them to their room when they put bad things in their mouths, force them to share with others, and protect them from the boogeyman.

Well, you’ll never guess what happened this week. A liberal named Carl Gibson wrote an article inappropriately entitled “Grow Up, Ron Paul,” which, hilariously, confirms what I stated in my article.

The reason that Gibson’s article is inappropriately titled is because it suggests that Ron Paul’s (and libertarians’) desire to end the paternalistic state reflects that he’s not “grown up.” Gibson thinks a grown up should want the government to care of adults just as a parent takes care of his children....

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Government: The redistributionist behemoth
Liberals have a rendezvous with regret. Their largest achievement is today’s redistributionist government. But such government is inherently regressive: It tends to distribute power and money to the strong, including itself.

Government becomes big by having big ambitions for supplanting markets as society’s primary allocator of wealth and opportunity. Therefore it becomes a magnet for factions muscular enough, in money or numbers or both, to bend government to their advantage....

...This reticence, in an age in which political reticence is rare, reflects the difficulty of articulating principled defenses of these practices. They go undefended because they are generally popular with a public that misunderstands their net effects and because the practices are the political class’s vocation today. The big winners from these practices are that class and the interests adept at collaborating with it.

Government uses redistribution to correct social outcomes that offend it. But government rarely explains, or perhaps even recognizes, the reasoning by which it decides why particular outcomes of consensual market activities are incorrect. When taxes are levied not to efficiently fund government but to impose this or that notion of distributive justice, remember: Taxes are always coerced contributions to government, which is always the first, and often the principal, beneficiary of them...

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Labor unions primary recipients of Obamacare waivers
Labor unions continued to receive the overwhelming majority of waivers from the president’s health care reform law since the Obama administration tightened application rules last summer.

Documents released in a classic Friday afternoon news dump show that labor unions representing 543,812 workers received waivers from President Barack Obama‘s signature legislation since June 17, 2011.

By contrast, private employers with a total of 69,813 employees, many of whom work for small businesses, were granted waivers....

Liam Byrne is right – we need 'radical reform' of the initiative-zapping, soul-destroying welfare state
...For many well-off Liberal commentators – who, notably, have no interaction with the welfare state, except in the sense that buddies of theirs probably manage huge chunks of it for a fat wage packet – the welfare state is a sacred thing and criticism of it is the equivalent of blasphemy. Yet Byrne surely has a point when he says the welfare state is in need of "radical reform" and we should seriously explore how to get "communities working again". Indeed, I would go further and say that the expansion of the welfare state into more and more areas of less well-off people's lives is one of the worst developments of recent years, seriously zapping resourcefulness and social solidarity from working-class communities.

Byrne's mistake is that he seems motivated by a narrow desire to save the state money. The financial cost of social welfare is "simply too high", he says, and we should "bring down [the] benefits bill to help pay down the national debt". That is a Scrooge's approach to the problem of the welfare state. The really terrible cost of ever-expanding welfarism is measured not in cash, but in the impact welfarism has on working communities, on those who have been made increasingly reliant upon the charity, largesse and therapeutic meddling of the massive and monolithic welfare machine. Relentless financial and therapeutic intervention by the state into poor people's lives has, not surprisingly, had a pretty devastating impact both on social interaction and individual aspiration.

When people come to be more reliant on the state than they are on each other, community bonds fray and social solidarity falls into disrepair. ...

BofA Must Pay Excess Settlement Funds To Acorn Clones
Bank of America (BAC) must turn over excess funds from a record $335 million discrimination fine to community organizing groups. Critics say it's a "political backdoor" to subsidize Democrat-tied Acorn "clones."

The unusual mandate is buried in a Justice Department filing last month detailing settlement terms with the nation's largest bank. Prosecutors had alleged BofA's Countrywide Financial mortgage unit discriminated against minority homebuyers in the years leading up to the financial crisis.

Funds not passed out to alleged victims after two years will be handed out to "qualified" groups unconnected to the case that provide credit and housing counseling and similar services to blacks and Hispanics in areas where the discrimination allegedly occurred....

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Ron Paul Had Accurate Conspiracy Theory: CIA Was Tied To Drug Traffickers
...Earlier this week, I looked into Paul's claim in the same speech that the war on drugs had racist origins and that the medical community played a role in lobbying for drug prohibitions. That charge was more or less accurate.

So is Paul's claim about the CIA and drug trafficking, a connection I explore in the book "This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America." (An excerpt of the chapter on the CIA appeared in The Root.) The following is drawn from my book.

Since at least the 1940s, the American government has organized and supported insurgent armies for the purpose of overthrowing some presumably hostile foreign regime. In Italy, the United States helped pit the Corsican and Sicilian mobs against the Fascists and then the Communists. In China, it aided Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang in its struggle against Mao Zedong's communist forces. In Afghanistan, it once backed the mujahedeen in their fight against the Soviet Union and today backs warlords in opposition to the mujahedeen.

All of these and other U.S.-supported groups profited, or still profit, heavily from the drug trade. One of the principal arguments made by the Drug Enforcement Administration in support of the global drug war is that the illegal drug trade funds violent, stateless organizations. The DEA refers specifically to al Qaeda and the Taliban, but the same method of fundraising has long been used by other violent, stateless actors whom the United States befriended....

Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies
...The thing I loathe most about election season is reflected in the central fallacy that drives progressive discussion the minute “Ron Paul” is mentioned. As soon as his candidacy is discussed, progressives will reflexively point to a slew of positions he holds that are anathema to liberalism and odious in their own right and then say: how can you support someone who holds this awful, destructive position? The premise here — the game that’s being played — is that if you can identify some heinous views that a certain candidate holds, then it means they are beyond the pale, that no Decent Person should even consider praising any part of their candidacy.

The fallacy in this reasoning is glaring. The candidate supported by progressives — President Obama — himself holds heinous views on a slew of critical issues and himself has done heinous things with the power he has been vested. He has slaughtered civilians — Muslim children by the dozens — not once or twice, but continuously in numerous nations with drones, cluster bombs and other forms of attack. He has sought to overturn a global ban on cluster bombs. He has institutionalized the power of Presidents — in secret and with no checks — to target American citizens for assassination-by-CIA, far from any battlefield. He has waged an unprecedented war against whistleblowers, the protection of which was once a liberal shibboleth. He rendered permanently irrelevant the War Powers Resolution, a crown jewel in the list of post-Vietnam liberal accomplishments, and thus enshrined the power of Presidents to wage war even in the face of a Congressional vote against it. His obsession with secrecy is so extreme that it has become darkly laughable in its manifestations, and he even worked to amend the Freedom of Information Act (another crown jewel of liberal legislative successes) when compliance became inconvenient.

He has entrenched for a generation the once-reviled, once-radical Bush/Cheney Terrorism powers of indefinite detention, military commissions, and the state secret privilege as a weapon to immunize political leaders from the rule of law. He has shielded Bush era criminals from every last form of accountability. He has vigorously prosecuted the cruel and supremely racist War on Drugs, including those parts he vowed during the campaign to relinquish — a war which devastates minority communities and encages and converts into felons huge numbers of minority youth for no good reason. He has empowered thieving bankers through the Wall Street bailout, Fed secrecy, efforts to shield mortgage defrauders from prosecution, and the appointment of an endless roster of former Goldman, Sachs executives and lobbyists. He’s brought the nation to a full-on Cold War and a covert hot war with Iran, on the brink of far greater hostilities. He has made the U.S. as subservient as ever to the destructive agenda of the right-wing Israeli government. His support for some of the Arab world’s most repressive regimes is as strong as ever.

Most of all, America’s National Security State, its Surveillance State, and its posture of endless war is more robust than ever before. The nation suffers from what National Journal‘s Michael Hirsh just christened “Obama’s Romance with the CIA.” He has created what The Washington Post just dubbed “a vast drone/killing operation,” all behind an impenetrable wall of secrecy and without a shred of oversight. Obama’s steadfast devotion to what Dana Priest and William Arkin called “Top Secret America” has severe domestic repercussions as well, building up vast debt and deficits in the name of militarism that create the pretext for the “austerity” measures which the Washington class (including Obama) is plotting to impose on America’s middle and lower classes.

The simple fact is that progressives are supporting a candidate for President who has done all of that — things liberalism has long held to be pernicious. I know it’s annoying and miserable to hear. Progressives like to think of themselves as the faction that stands for peace, opposes wars, believes in due process and civil liberties, distrusts the military-industrial complex, supports candidates who are devoted to individual rights, transparency and economic equality. All of these facts — like the history laid out by Stoller in that essay — negate that desired self-perception. These facts demonstrate that the leader progressives have empowered and will empower again has worked in direct opposition to those values and engaged in conduct that is nothing short of horrific. So there is an eagerness to avoid hearing about them, to pretend they don’t exist. And there’s a corresponding hostility toward those who point them out, who insist that they not be ignored....