The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


As we observe the unbridled Donald Trump making his now familiar outrageous claims, avoiding almost any substance when discussing matters of national import, and attacking his political enemies with nicknames that are entertaining but certainly not the norm, one can't avoid the notion the The Donald is slightly creepy.

But here's the thing—every "outrage" that is attributed to Donald Trump has been part and parcel of of the political careers of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Every "extremist" position attributed to the Donald is trumped by the true ideological extremism of Bernie Sanders. The only difference is that Obama, Clinton, and Sanders are Democrats (okay, Sanders is a socialist, but increasingly, that becomes a distinction without a difference), and because they are Dems, they live in a media bubble that refuses to note that their behavior is, well, also rather outrageous.

Victor Davis Hansen comments:
Why the #NeverTrump movement has so far failed is in part a matter of class as well, defined not so much in terms of cash, as of influence, education, and lifestyle. In 2008 it was gauche to bring up the vicious racist Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose trite cast-off slogan “audacity of hope” inspired the title of Barack Obama’s campaign primer. In 2012, it would have apparently been rude for Mitt Romney to have fired back at Candy Crowley, “How dare you hijack a presidential debate!” Yes, Trump may be creepy, but the reluctance to challenge our present naked emperors is just as creepy. Is the so-called establishment going to warn us that Trump would be capable of running up $10 trillion in debt, socializing our medical system, unleashing the IRS and EPA on perceived enemies, and weakening friends and empowering enemies abroad, as he offers the world historically challenged pop riffs on Islam, Hiroshima, and global geography? For each take-down of NeverTrump, can we at least have commensurate analysis of how and why a monstrosity like the Clinton cash operation was allowed to thrive without audit; or how it is that the secretary of state and her minions snubbed the law and behaved in a fashion that would have put any other federal employees in jail; or how it is that 155 years after the start of the Civil War over 300 cities, counties, and states have declared federal law null and void in their jurisdictions — and with complete impunity?
And when the intelligencia of both parties lambasts Trump's supporters as "low-IQ" members of the NASCAR crowd (you remember, the crowd that Barack Obama characterized as "clinging to their guns and their bibles"). it might be worth considering that the 'high-IQ' Ivy leaguers who have run this country for the last generation haven't done a very good job.

Again from VDH:
I wish that the high IQs of the establishment class had taken [Charles] Murray’s sage advice [to listen to Trump's words and positions] eight years ago and just listened to what Obama had said in denigration of the Pennsylvania working classes or the “typical white person” grandmother who raised him; or to his pseudo-macho references to guns and knives, and “get in their face”; or to the hokey promises to lower global temperatures and stop the seas from rising; and all the other Vero possumus tripe. Or that they had used their presumably formidable mental powers to review Obama’s public record as a state legislator and a U.S. senator — which presaged everything from Obamacare and the unconstitutional undermining of federal law to the apology tours and the near-destruction of 70 years of bipartisan foreign policy. What was the IQ of the presidential historian who declared Obama the smartest man ever to be elevated to the White House?

Murray has a point that Trump’s crudity and buffoonery should be taken seriously, but when he says establishmentarians have “high IQs,” what exactly does he mean? Did a high IQ prevent an infatuated David Brooks (whom he quotes approvingly) from fathoming presidential success as if he were a sartorial seancer, from the crease of Senator Obama pants leg? What was the IQ of the presidential historian who declared Obama the smartest man ever to be elevated to the White House? Or the Newsweek editor who envisioned an apotheosized Obama? Or the MSNBC host who motor-mouthed about the tingle in his leg at the sound of an Obama speech? Or, yes, the conservative policy analyst (and self-confessed “Starry-eyed Obama groupie”) who wrote approvingly (“flat-out plain brilliant”) of the Obama race speech in March 2008, in which Obama revealed to the world that his own grandmother — the sole steady working breadwinner of Obama’s extended family, whose labors sent him to prep school — was a supposedly “typical white person” in her prejudices, while he further contextualized the abject racism and anti-Semitism of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright — a speech renounced by Obama himself when Wright later felt empowered to double down on his racism. Or perhaps the conservative wit who once wrote that Obama has a “first-class temperament and a first-class intellect,” and that he is the rare politician who “writes his own books,” which were “first rate”?
It is fair to argue that more detailed examination of Barack Obama might have avoided the results of his disastrous presidency, and that alone is reason for a detailed examination of Donald trump. I agree.

But if we're going to put Trump under a microscope, we damn well better examine (in great detail) the dishonesty, corruption, and incompetence of the democratic front-runner—Hillary Clinton. If we're going to dissect the scam that was Trump university, we damn well better examine the criminal enterprise that is The Clinton Foundation, and if we're going to dissect the extremist views voiced by Trump, we damn well better get out the scalpel and explore the equally extremist views of Bernie Sanders.

But we all know that none of that will happen. And as VDH said, maybe that's the creepiest thing of all.

Sunday, May 29, 2016


As the Democrat party veers inexorably Left, a disturbing thing has happened. The Dems are becoming an anti-Israel party, ironically supported both monetarily and politically by a majority of American Jews.

The Dems take their lead from Barack Obama who has been consistently antagonistic to Israel throughout his presidency; from Hillary Clinton, whose State Department during her tenure was critical of Israel at every turn, and from Bernie Sanders, whose far-Left positions dovetail beautifully with the BDS movement and the combined anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rants emanating from the hard-Left.

Just recently Bernie Sanders appointed two virulently anti-Israel ideologues to the Democratic Platform Committee. Both Cornel West and James Zogby combine dishonest/delusional criticism of Israel with enthusiastic endorsement of the terror state that is run by Hamas in Gaza and quietly endorsed by almost all "palestinians." Clinton's reaction? Crickets.

The Wall Street Journal editors comment:
Pro-Israel Democrats might reply that Messrs. West and Zogby are only two of a 15-person panel, and Hillary Clinton has taken a more mainstream line. But there’s no gainsaying the increasingly anti-Israel tilt of progressive politics. A Pew poll from April found that while moderate Democrats still sympathized with Israel over the Palestinians by a 53% to 19% margin, self-identified liberal Democrats now tilt to the Palestinians, 40% to 33%.

Even Mrs. Clinton is only moderate on Israel when compared to the Democratic left. Her State Department was notorious for its denunciations of Israel, and some of her closest advisers are often quicker to denounce Israeli self-defense than Palestinian terror.

The shame of all this is that support for a robust liberal democracy like Israel should come naturally to the Democratic Party. Last we checked, it was better to be a woman, or homosexual, or environmentalist, or political dissident in Tel Aviv than in Gaza. As they write their party’s platform, Democrats might ask why Israel, the one Middle Eastern country that fully shares their values, should be the one they most seek to condemn.
But the Dems won't ask that question because the answer might allow reality to intrude on one aspect of the Left's fantasy ideology. Better to express solidarity with a "palestinian" culture that teaches children to hate before they teach them to read. Better to make excuses for terrorist murderers who reward those who kill civilians by naming streets after them. Better to embrace the despicable BDS cult and name one of it's prominent spokesman to the Democrat platform committee.

But I forget—the Left is morally pure, and its preening is simply an expression of that purity. Or is it?


The editors of The Observer discuss the Democrats' new anti-Israel stance when they write:
This shift in culture on the American left has already, under the Obama administration, manifested itself in policy. In early 2009, the president chose to re-join the UN Human Rights Council, a virulently anti-Israel body. The president famously wanted to put “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel, which led to flotillas trying to break the legal blockade of terrorist-controlled Gaza and a green light from the U.S. for European countries to begin their own boycott efforts. In the summer of 2014, during Israel’s war with Hamas, the administration closed Ben Gurion Airport to American air travel—an unnecessary move so outrageous that then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg personally flew to Tel Aviv to show it was safe. During the war with Hamas, the president also personally intervened to stop a shipment of Hellfire missiles to Israel. And then, of course, there’s the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran.

Through it all, President Obama has been generally careful (except for the time he was caught on mic complaining about Mr. Netanyahu to then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy) to frame his policies as being somehow pro-Israel. But the far left no longer pretends to be pro-Israel and unashamedly opposes American support for the Jewish state. They are ascendant in their party. At some point, the façade was going to crumble.

Last week, appointments to the platform committee of the Democratic National Convention were announced. The committee, made up of the 15 people who will craft the platform of the Democratic party, is a mix of the overtly anti-Israel and the Israel-tolerant. Only former-Rep. Howard Berman is a stalwart supporter of the U.S.-Israel relationship, but he’ll have to contend with an unprecedented anti-Israel cohort of Dr. Cornel West, Dr. James Zogby, Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep. Keith Ellison.

The only other foreign policy voice on the committee is Wendy Sherman. Prior to being relied on to save the Democratic Party from becoming an anti-Israel fever-swamp, she negotiated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran nuclear deal) and the Agreed Framework (the North Korea nuclear deal). With that background, one would be forgiven for fearing that the result of these negotiations will be a DNC platform resembling the Hamas charter. Not because she’ll want it to, but because turning bad ideas into worse realities is her specialty.
Gee ... turning "bad ideas into worse realities" seems to be the raison d'etre for almost all Dems during the last eight years.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sticks and Stones

Like a four-year old with a fully automatic weapon loaded with a magazine of evocative words, the Left pulls the trigger and empties the word magazine anytime is sees, hears, or encounters an idea that doesn't conform to its narrative. When someone criticizes one of the Left's sacred cows, the trigger is pulled instantly by progressive politicians, "activists," and their trained hamsters in the media. Out spews words—racist, bigot, misogynist, intolerant, fascist, Islamophobe, xenophobe ... the list of slurs is long and tiresome.

A few months ago, Bill Clinton rightly confronted Black Lives Matter "activists" and called them out for their abject hypocrisy with regard to black on black murders and violence. Instantaneously, some on the Left shouted the word "racist." Hillary's people cringed, afraid that their flawed candidate might be associated with Bill's remarks, even though they were among the most honest things he's said in the past six months.

When Ayaan Hersi Ali criticizes Islam for its homopohobic, misogynist, violent characteristics, she is branded as "Islamophobic."

When Donald Trump ( a very flawed candidate for president) rightly suggests (using words that are poorly chosen and overly combative) that open borders and lack of immigration control are a danger to this country, he is branded a "bigot" or a "racist" or more gently, "anti-immigrant." When he suggests, (admittedly, with less than sufficient nuance) that Muslim immigrants from countries that support terror should be banned until a proper vetting mechanism is put in place to determine who is an Islamist and who is not, he is branded a "racist" and "religiously intolerant." When he suggests (again, sadly, with too much generalization and not enough factual support) that there are violent criminals embedded in the population of 10 million illegal immigrants, he is branded "anti-Latino."

The automatic weapon is always at the ready and its magazine of words is reloaded as new "grievances" are defined. And as the years pass, the words that exit the weapon have an increasingly corrosive effect. We become afraid to criticize the sometimes insane positions held by some on the Left because the trigger is pulled immediately, piercing the critic as "uncaring," or an "oppressor," or as a catalyst for "micro-aggression."
An Islamic terror attack occurs somewhere in the West, and leaders look up and see the Left's automatic weapon pointed at them, waiting for the slightest phrase that might be cause for a trigger pull. So leaders turn away from the Islamist perpetrators and warn their peaceful citizens against "Islamophobia," and the Left sagely nods its approval.

At Universities, a "weapon free zone" absolutely doesn't apply to the automatic weapon of words. When a gay conservative recently tried to give a talk at an elite university, his talk was disrupted and ultimately stopped because his words disturbed the delicate sensibilities of leftist students.

Those of us in the center used to laugh all this off, suggesting that "sticks and stones ...," but the totalitarian left now uses words as a trigger to stifle speech they disagree with. That's very "1984." It's also very dangerous for a free society.

Friday, May 27, 2016


Bernie Sanders is many things, but at the core of his being there lies only one thing—Bernie is a forceful advocate of Big Intrusive Government (BIG). In Bernie's view (soon to be adopted as part of the Democrat Party's national platform), the government should tax even more, create even more "free stuff" programs (e.g., "free college") that transfer money from those who pay taxes to those who pay little or no taxes, vastly expand existing BIG entitlements like Social Security and Medicare (both programs are going broke, but that doesn't matter), increase regulation of nearly every aspect of the private sector, and centrally plan the economy by favoring some businesses while crushing the workers employed in others (think: coal).

Bernie is cheered by clueless college students and left-wing advocates who seem perfectly comfortable adopting a demonstrably failed political philosophy right out of the early 20th century. He, even more than Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, embodies failed ideas that come straight out of the past.

As Sanders preaches BIG to his adoring followers, we read news reports of the sequential failures of BIG agencies. Tens of thousands of travelers are seriously inconvenienced by the TSA bureaucracy that tells us that "more money" is needed to move people through their pathetic attempt at security theater (recall that studies indicate a 93 percent failure rate in identifying contraband items). Not a single government employee suggests that there might be a lower cost, more efficient way of doing airport security (can you say "profiling?"). Nah ... more money, that's the ticket, until it's not, then, more and more money, ad nauseum. The head of the Veteran's Administration suggests that Veterans should wait in line for medical care in much the same way as people wait in line at Disney World—and be happy about the "quality" care they will eventually get, if they live long enough to get it.

What seems to escape progressive advocates of BIG is that as governmental systems get bigger, they get much more complex, and as they become more complex, they become ponderous and inefficient. They also become MUCH more expensive as money is siphoned away from the people who are supposed to benefit and poured into an ever-growing bureaucracy that is rapacious and protective of its continuing existence. Therefore, the bureaucracy is perfectly willing to embrace criminal behavior and dishonesty (think: the IRS scandal) if those things help the bureaucracy to survive and prosper.

Of course, crony capitalists benefit by sucking at the tit of BIG, providing it with useless equipment (think: hundreds of millions of dollars for "naked" airport scanners that were later discarded) or questionable services (think: the government contractor who wasted $300 million building an Obamacare website that didn't work). Everyone benefits, except the beleaguered taxpayer. And Bernie Sanders has the gall to tell us that BIG will make things better?

Welcome to Bernie's America!

Daniel Henninger comments:
What’s notable about liberalism as represented by Hillary Clinton, much less the socialist Bernie Sanders, is that across nearly 85 years, they never looked back.

They seem never to have revisited the possibility that an argument made for bureaucratic planning in the depths of an economic recession might not be appropriate for the American economy when normal growth resumed. Instead, they stuck unto eternity with the idea that “scarce resources” will necessarily require “complexity.”
But the argument that scarcity mandates complexity is what led to the fiasco called ObamaCare. Even the non-complex funding mechanisms for earlier entitlements, such as Social Security, are grinding toward collapse. The Social Security Trust Fund’s depletion date is 2035.

Unnoticed by them is that their creations have grown into public agencies that have become too big to perform by any politically acceptable measure. (Or more likely the rents earned from being attached to this game mean results don’t matter much.)
"Too big to perform." That might be a good bumper sticker for Bernie's supporters. Then again, maybe not—it sounds eerily similar to "Too big to fail." But in Bernie's America, it's not really about performance, or efficiency, or common sense. It's all about "social justice."

Hmmm. It's kind of hard to see any justice in having to sleep on the floor of an airport because you missed your flight because a BIG agency can't do its job. It's even harder to see any "justice" in a veteran with a serious illness having to wait for weeks or months to see a doctor because a different BIG agency can't do its job.

I know, I know, under Bernie things would be different. BIG would be miraculously transformed and become efficient and inexpensive. Fraud and abuse would disappear. Yeah, that's the ticket! Utopia ... here we come.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Dishonesty Scale

In the political arena, dishonesty comes in many forms. To help understand it, I'll define a 1 to 5 scale:
  1. Political spin. A politician spins an event to make herself look good under less than desirable circumstances. It not a lie, really, just a very favorable interpretation of the existing facts. 
  2. Misdirection. A politician want to media or the public to disregard news and/or facts that reflect badly on her positions or actions. To to this, she or her spokespeople metaphorically shout, "Look, a squirrel!" Everyone turns their heads to see the "squirrel" and the original event is forgotten.
  3. Obfuscation. When a negative event affecting a politician can't be ignored, she obfuscates, introducing bogus information, claiming a conspiracy that's out to get her, saying anything that will confuse the public and allow an often complicit and lazy media (if the politician is a Democrat) to think, There's no there, there.
  4. Lies. A politician knowingly and frequently lies about a policy or event with the sole intention of protecting herself or her allies. When called on the lie, she doubles down, adding lies to protect the original lie.
  5. Blatant lies. After a serious event indicating public wrong doing, corruption, or political malpractice, the politician lies malevolently to the aggrieved, to the media, and to the general public. When called on the lie, she doubles down, adding lies to protect the original lie.
A particularly venal politician can and will use level 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 lies when defending herself during just one event, or she may jump right to level 5.

In an recent post, I argued that Hillary Clinton brings a trifecta of bad traits to her run for the presidency—dishonesty, corruption and incompetence. I explored her corrupt practices here. Today, let's spent a moment considering her dishonesty.

For many months, Clinton has applied dishonesty levels 1 to 5 as she defended her use of a private email server. The intent of the server, most knowledgeable people believe, was to protect her from FOIA requests—i.e., keeping her government correspondence secret. I believe that's true, but specifically, the private server allowed her, she thought, to solicit Clinton Foundation "donations" for State Department actions that benefited the donor. There are literally dozens of examples of this, donations of millions of dollars followed months or years later by favorable treatment of the donor by DoS.

Yesterday, a report by the State Department Inspector General (an Obama appointee) called out Clinton on some of her lies. The Wall Street Journal comments:
Hillary Clinton has said for more than a year that her use of a private email server as Secretary of State violated no federal rules and posed no security risk. Only the gullible believed that, and now everyone has proof of her deceptions in a scathing report from State Department Inspector General Steve Linick.

The report obtained by news outlets Wednesday is ostensibly an audit of the email practices of five secretaries of State. But the majority of the report, and the most withering criticism, focuses on Mrs. Clinton. The IG concludes that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee broke federal record-keeping rules, never received permission for her off-grid server, ignored security concerns raised by other officials, and employed a staff that flouted the rules with the same disdain she did.

“Secretary Clinton should have preserved any Federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary,” says the report. “At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.”

State still has never received emails from her private account for the first six weeks after she became Secretary, and the IG notes that it found (by other means) business-related emails that Mrs. Clinton did not include among the emails she has turned over.
The Clintons hope, as they always do, that the public will become confused by their Level 1, 2 and 3 dishonesty, exhausted by their Level 4 and 5 dishonesty, and ultimately, disinterested in the whole matter. That may, in fact, come to pass, but it in no way exonerates Clinton.

One can only wonder what lies Clinton will manufacture, what favors she will grant under the table, what facts she will obfuscate or bury if she were to becomes president.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Stop the Train

I have noted on numerous occasions that Richard Fernandez is one of most perceptive commentators on the political and world scene. In a recent post, he addresses a question that has become a cliche: Why has Donald Trump ascended so quickly to become the GOP nominee? Those on the hard left brand Trump as they always brand anyone who challenges their tired narrative—as a "racist," and a "bigot," and a misogynist." Some have become hysterical and branded Trump as the next "Hitler."

More thoughtful writers have written; ""Hillary Clinton can’t defeat what Trump represents" which is a rebellion against "neoliberal globalization" that is looking for a leader." (Anis Shivani in Salon) or from James Taranto in the WSJ:
"Trump is the purest expression of the politics of “NO!” that I personally can recall. He’s the candidate for people who think the conventional wisdom of the American establishment is hopelessly out of touch with the real world. He’s the little boy saying that the emperor, or in this case, the aspiring empress, has no clothes. What energizes the Trump phenomenon is the very power of rejection: people who think the train is about to head off a cliff want to pull the emergency cord that stops the train even if they don’t know what happens next."
There's truth in both of these statements, but it takes Fernandez to distill it to its most cogent form. He writes:
The election of 2016 makes no sense unless it is judged from outside the system, because the system itself is on trial. From that external vantage this negation is not nearly as pointless as its critics make out. While it's true that nothing Trump (or Hillary) has proposed will likely solve the major contemporary problems or repair the chaos Obama unleashed upon the world that is beside the point.

The reset with Russia which turned into a new Cold War; the pivot to Asia which morphed into a faceoff with China; the Arab Spring that became a tragedy of Biblical or should one say Quranic proportions are catastrophes that are largely irreversible. There is about as much chance undoing these blunders as unscrambling an egg or regaining an airplane once one has jumped from it. Nor is there much chance of "bringing back the jobs" fled to foreign shores in the short term. Protectionism is unlikely to do it because the cure for a hangover of excessive government spending, demographic collapse and too much debt can never be quick or cheap.

Thus to elect someone to fix things under those circumstances makes little sense. If the post-World War 2 era has been smothered in its dotage by an Obama administration which underestimated the difficulty of replacing it with something better, the more rational thing to do is redo the system rather than apply some patch. The "no" to which Taranto refers is simply a refusal to pour good effort after bad and is not nearly so negative as it seems. Perhaps the best metaphor for the 2016 election and the other upheavals that Shivani refers to is a that of billiard break or the reinstall of a virus afflicted operating system.

As both Shivani and Taranto note things have reached the point where people are willing to ask for the deck to be re-cut and a new hand dealt out. Crucially for the first time in 200 years the warmed over 19th century Marxist ideology of Sanders or Barack Obama's first term is no longer the default template for the future. People may not know what they want, but they know what they don't want. A genuine leap into the unknown is now within the realm of possibility.

This suggests the winner of the 2016 contest will likely be a transitional figure rather than a harbinger of a lasting tendency. The winner is more probably going to be overwhelmed by events in this period of flux. But that doesn't matter. Their task is to stop "the train even if they don’t know what happens next."
The train started long before Barack Obama took office. "The smartest guys in the room" have populated every presidency for many decades. They have no feel for real world problems and even less for the struggles faced by small businesses in the private sector. They suffer from the hubris inculcated at places like Yale, Harvard, or Princeton. They populate every important government department, almost all advisory positions for every administration, and most cabinet positions. The results of their work has been—in the main—abysmal. The Obama years have done nothing more than amplify all of this, adding a strong dose of dishonesty, more than a whiff of corruption, and an undercurrent of incompetence to the hubris that has always existed. Many people have had enough. They want to stop the train, even if they don't know what happens next.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Crazy People

It's amusing to listen to left-leaning talking heads cite polls that indicate that Bernie Sanders would roundly defeat Donald Trump in a general election run. Trump's many flaws have been highlighted by both GOP and Dem super-PACs to the tune of an estimated 50,000 negative TV ads. That's called battlefield prep, and it certainly has had an affect on voter attitudes about Trump. It's also true that Trump's own behavior and outrageous statements haven't helped his cause with many voters.

Right now, Sanders is the polling beneficiary, mostly because there have been very few negative ads that help define him for what he is. It's also true that his most outrageous statements have been softened by the trained hamsters in the media who don't explore them in any depth—"free" expensive stuff, much higher taxes, massive centralized government control of the economy don't seem to interest the "journalists" who cover Sanders. So Bernie polls high. Is that because Sanders is pure as the wind-driven snow? Nope. It's because the Clinton forces are afraid of alienating his supporters, the GOP has focused on the presumptive Dem nominee, Hillary Clinton, and many in the media choose to avoid probing anything that might hurt the Democrat cause.

But what if Bernie's true positions were examined in 30-second time segment? Would attitudes about him change?

The anti-Bernie negative ads write themselves. Let's start with a recent New York Times article that depicted the crash of health care in socialist Venezuela—no medicine, no working equipment, newborn babies dying every night, hospital chaos—all under a "universal" health care program instituted by socialist president Hugo Chavez and continued by socialist president Nicholas Maduro. The NYT forgets to mention Venezuela's economic chaos, food shortages, unemployment, the wholesale destruction of the private sector, and the resultant social unrest, but no matter.

Robert Tacinski comments:
Venezuela has some of the world’s largest supplies of oil, with more proven oil reserves than Saudi Arabia. But about 15 years ago, the late president Hugo Chavez set out to impose a socialist revolution, making a particular point about his great munificence in providing free health care for everyone. In pursuit of this revolution, Chavez crushed every industry outside the oil sector and brought the state-owned oil company under his control. The result has been a long spiral into poverty and oppression. Now we can see the results: socialism literally kills babies.

It began by imagining no possessions. Private property and private businesses and private profit were supposedly the source of everyone’s problems, so the Venezuelan government set out to get rid of them, with Chavez issuing a notorious set of 49 decrees in 2001 that gave him vast power over the economy. He used this power to seize private factories and expropriate foreign owners of Venezuelan firms—ensuring that no foreign investors would want to put a single dollar into the country for the foreseeable future.

A clueless 2009 article in a socialist magazine specifically hailed Chavez’s interventions in agriculture, quoting his assurance that “There is a food crisis in the world, but Venezuela is not going to fall into that crisis. You can be sure of that. Actually, we are going to help other nations who are facing this crisis.” The socialist reforms included redistribution of land, the nationalization of whole sections of the agriculture sector, the formation of socialist agricultural “cooperatives,” generous subsidies and price supports, and the creation of a vast chain of government-subsidized, government-run grocery stores.

When it all started to go wrong, the regime doubled down, blaming private retailers for “hoarding” and “speculation” and prosecuting them for waging an “economic war” against the people. Their solution was to impose price controls, which naturally made things worse, leading Venezuelans to protest by flooding the Internet with photos of empty store shelves.

The failure of this system was papered over by draining the country’s remaining oil profits, loading up on massive borrowing, and imposing a surreal system of currency controls. All of it reads like a vast experiment designed to find out what happens to an economy when you put it under the control of crazy people. But it’s actually what happens when you hand over the economy to people with a fervent belief that government decrees can change the laws of economics and coerce everyone into prosperity.
In a pull-quote form Tacinski's article he writes [about Venezuela]: "All of it [the NYT article] reads like a vast experiment designed to find out what happens to an economy when you put it under the control of crazy people."

Once the general public learns about the vast experiment ("revolution") that Bernie Sanders wants to conduct and recognizes that the same experiment has been conducted with disastrous results in Venezuela, the polls that Bernie's supporters cite just might change.

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Different Story

It is no crime to become wealthy. If you apply hard work, personal initiative, risk tolerance, and ethical behavior, you deserve whatever wealth you accrue. But its the "and" in the last sentence that's key.  Get rich and flaunt it, if that's your thing, but do it ethically. Don't hide behind loop holes that allow you to skate along the edges of the law; don't construct complex transactions to purposely hide questionable behavior, and don't play victim or allege conspiracies when you're caught doing unethical or illegal stuff. With this in mind, let's consider Hillary Clinton.

I contend that Hillary Clinton brings us a trifecta of bad traits—dishonesty, corruption, and incompetence. Today, we'll discuss corruption.

There is growing evidence that the Clinton Foundation (a.k.a The Clinton Global Initiative), an organization that Hillary Clinton is intimately associated with, is a quasi-criminal enterprise. Investors Business Daily reports:
Corruption: With each new revelation, the murky world of the Clinton family finances only seems to get murkier — and dirtier. And a new report suggests it’s no accident.

We wrote last week about how the Clinton Foundation gathered some $100 million from a variety of Gulf sheikhs and billionaires, not to mention taking in millions of “donations” from private businesses that later benefited from their supposed “charitable” largesse. Some of those who gave big bucks to the Clintons had interests that were, to put it mildly, not in keeping with U.S. interests.

That prompted a key question: Just what do these assorted nations, foreign officials, satraps, global fixers and top corporate execs expect in return for their money?

And now comes a more serious, far-reaching question: Is the entire Clinton Foundation so full of conflicts of interest and questionable dealings that it amounts to little more than a massive fraud intended solely to enrich its presidential namesake and his family?

Charles Ortel, a Wall Street financial analyst, who pored over the Clinton Foundation’s books, filings and records, thinks so. He concluded that “a substantial portion of Clinton Foundation activities is certainly not ‘charitable’ or ‘tax-exempt’ in the accepted legal senses, so I wonder why state, federal, and foreign regulators have allowed the Clinton Foundation to continue operating as it has done, illegally, for so long.”

Following a 15-month investigation, Ortel says that major questions “remain concerning the roles that Bill Clinton and others played in guise of charity right from the beginning in 1997, all the way to the present, and particularly before December 2009.”

He added, “Larger issues surround inconsistencies and errors in multiple state, federal, and foreign filings for Clinton Foundation entities, that remain uncorrected and defective even after most recent submissions at federal level on 16 November 2015.”

The Clinton Foundation last year was forced to refile its tax returns for the years from 2010 to 2013 to correct “errors in the report of donations from foreign governments,” the Foundation noted. As we reported before, the nonprofit watchdog Charity Navigator removed the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation from its list of charities because of its “atypical business model.”

This might all sound technical, but it isn’t.
The genius of the Clintons is that their financial activities are purposely convoluted and vague, making investigative reporting difficult. Because its extremely hard to find a "smoking gun," Democrats who support Hillary can claim that every accusation is partisan and that there is "no evidence" that anything untoward has occurred. Of course, those claims strain credulity, but it gives Dems a comfortable fall-back position to hide behind.

Dems who back Hillary suffer from willful blindness. They choose to dismiss the tsunami of negative facts, unethical anecdotes, and yes, criminal innuendo, that have surrounded Clinton for decades. She's smart (maybe cunning is a better word) and has been able to place herself just far enough away from the action to dodge indictment. That's pretty much what someone like a organized crime boss does. He pulls the strings, but stays far enough removed to avoid the cops.

Look ... a single allegation against someone like Hillary can easily be dismissed as partisan or incorrect. Two allegations might also be dismissed with a shrug. Five would raise an eyebrow from any thinking person, and dozens? Well, that's an entirely different story.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Pajama Boys

As many of us predicted at the time it was enacted, Obamacare is spiraling toward oblivion with skyrocketing costs, every increasing deductibles, far fewer participants than predicted, and an exodus of insurance companies from the rolls of those who provide insurance on an increasingly smaller number of exchanges. Obamacare was a hyperpartisan exercise in abject incompetence, from its disastrous website launch to its day-to-day operations in 2016.

But today's post isn't so much about Obamacare as it is about an Obamacare icon, also known as "pajama boy." Pajama boy appeared in a 2013 ad produced by a pro-Obama PAC that was supposed to convince young people to sign-up for the over-priced healthcare program.

Victor Davis Hansen comments:
In a case of life imitating art, Ethan Krupp, the Organizing for Action employee who posed for the ad [as pajama boy], offered a self-portrait of himself that confirmed the photo image. He is a self-described “liberal f***.” “A liberal f*** is not a Democrat, but rather someone who combines political data and theory, extreme leftist views, and sarcasm to win any argument while making the opponents feel terrible about themselves,” he explains. “I won every argument but one.” I suspect that when Krupp boasts about “making opponents feel terrible about themselves,” He is referring to people of his own kind rather than trying such verbal intimidation on the local mechanic or electrician ...

Krupp is emblematic of an entire class of young smart-asses found in Silicon Valley, on campuses across the nation, and in Hollywood, and now ensconced at the highest levels of American government and journalism. Do we remember Jonathan Gruber, the conceited MIT professor and architect of Obamacare, who bragged that he had hoodwinked a supposedly far dumber America in order to ram the Affordable Care Act down its collective throat ... After President Obama had assured the American people that they could keep their doctors and their health plans, while seeing their premium costs decrease, Gruber high-fived that voters were too stupid to figure out how they had been misled ...

Recently Ben Rhodes — “Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting,” and author of the president’s Cairo speech and the Benghazi talking points — confessed to the New York Times that he salted bogus talking points about the Iran deal among the field of novice wannabe Washington–New York foreign-policy “experts,” on the expectation that Pajama Boy journalists on the make (“The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing”) would lazily draw on these pseudo-experts to complete the circular con (“We created an echo chamber. . . . They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say”). Because the postmodernist Rhodes (who says he drives a “Beamer”) is cynical and contemptuous of the value of traditional first-hand experience and classical education, he feels he can construct almost any reality he wishes, such as a manufactured reformist Iranian wing reaching out to the U.S. to offer concessions on a nuclear deal:
“In the absence of rational discourse, we are going to discourse the [expletive] out of this,” he says. “We had test drives to know who was going to be able to carry our message effectively, and how to use outside groups like Ploughshares, the Iran Project, and whomever else. So we knew the tactics that worked. . . . We drove them crazy.”
The arrogance, condescension and outright stupidity of the cohort of pajama boys who think they are the smartest guys in the room is absolutely astonishing. But even more astonishing is the manner in which they reinforce the Team of 2s indictment that I have used quite often during Barack Obama's presidency.

Because Hillary Clinton has stated that she will continue in the footsteps of Barack Obama, it's a little frightening to consider the damage that the Grubers and Rhodes of her administration might do. But maybe Bernie (a man who truly does "construct almost any reality he wishes") will upset Hillary and win the presidency. That guarantees a Team of 1s, and that's not a good thing, not at all.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

What Could Go Wrong?

Ahhh ... the socialist model. Millennials support Bernie Sanders in record numbers because the grandfatherly Sanders does what socialists always do, make vague promises about free stuff (in the case of millennials, free college), rail on about "inequality" without an objective examination of its causes, champion bigger and bigger government, more and more debt, higher and higher taxes—all with the promise of a utopian result at the end of the left-wing rainbow. It's a lie, of course, but millennials can be forgiven for believing it. They're very young and if polls are a good indication, know little if anything about history. If they bothered to look, millennials would find that hundreds of millions of people have bought into the lie over the past century, only to have their lives ruined (or ended), their countries destroyed, and their hopes ground into dust. Oh ... socialist leaders have done just fine, thank you very much, but the people—that's a different matter.

As we watch, Venezuela—a once rich and vibrant country being destroyed by socialism—one has to wonder why the story of our South American neighbor isn't a 24-7 front page topic. Sure, even The New York Times was forced to run a story showing the carnage in Venezuela's hospitals, where drugs are now scare, equipment is failing, and doctors are working without pay. But the media would prefer to look the other way and discuss Donald Trump's girlfriends during the 1980s. In fact, I haven't heard a single trained hamster in the media ask either Bernie or Hillary to discuss the underlying causes of the Venezuelan situation. That topic is off-limits because it would reveal too much about both candidates.

And what about the large contingent of left-wing personalities (politicians, actors, commentators, and other "celebrities") who praised the socialist dictator, Hugo Chavez, when he took over Venezuela. They're strangely silent today. Their abject gullibility and/or stupidity in full view.

Bret Stevens comments on the lesson that millennials should learn about socialism:
The lesson seems all the more necessary when discredited ideologies are finding new champions in high places. When Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez died in 2013, an obscure U.K. parliamentarian tweeted, “Thanks Hugo Chavez for showing that the poor matter and wealth can be shared. He made massive contributions to Venezuela & a very wide world.”

The parliamentarian was Jeremy Corbyn, now leader of the Labour Party.

Let’s not stop with Mr. Corbyn. In its day, Chavismo found champions, apologists and useful idiots among influential political figures and supposed thought leaders. In Massachusetts there were Joseph P. Kennedy and Rep. Bill Delahunt, who arranged a propaganda coup for the strongman by agreeing to purchase discounted Venezuelan heating oil for U.S. consumers. The Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel extolled Chávez for defying the Bush administration and offering “an innovative four-point program to renew and reform the U.N.”

Up north, Naomi Klein, Canada’s second-most unpleasant export, treated Chávez as heroically leading the resistance to the forces of dreaded neoliberalism. Jimmy Carter mourned Chávez for “his bold assertion of autonomy and independence for Latin American governments and for his formidable communication skills and personal connection with supporters in his country and abroad to whom he gave hope and empowerment.”

There are lesser names to add to this roll call of dishonor— Michael Moore, Sean Penn—but you get the point: “Democratic socialism” had no shortage of prominent Western cheerleaders as it set Venezuela on its road to hyperinflation, hyper-criminality, water shortages, beer shortages, electricity blackouts, political repression and national collapse. Chávez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro, gained prestige and legitimacy from these paladins of the left. They are complicit in Venezuela’s agony.

And so to the U.S. election, specifically the resolutely undead presidential candidacy of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The Sanders campaign is no stranger to accusations that its brand of leftism is cut from the same cloth that produced Chavismo.

“Yesterday, one of Hillary Clinton’s most prominent Super PACs attacked our campaign pretty viciously,” Mr. Sanders complained in September, noting that they “tried to link me to a dead communist dictator.”

The senator protests too much. As mayor of Burlington, Vt., in the 1980s, he boasted of conducting his own foreign policy, including sister-city relations with Puerto Cabezas in Nicaragua and Yaroslavl in the Soviet Union. On a 1985 trip to Nicaragua, he lavished praise on Daniel Ortega’s communist regime—Chavismo’s older cousin.
Yep, what America needs is more of Sander's philosophy or a watered down version espoused by Hillary Clinton—more fantasy ideology, more debt to push the lies forward, more class warfare, more utopian lies. After all, what could go wrong?


Glen Reynolds adds an additional comment:
It is a common misconception that socialism is about helping poor people. Actually, what socialism does is create poor people, and keep them poor. And that’s not by accident.

Under capitalism, rich people become powerful. But under socialism, powerful people become rich. When you look at a socialist country like Venezuela, you find that the rulers are fabulously wealthy even as the ordinary citizenry deals with empty supermarket shelves and electricity rationing.

The daughter of Venezuela’s socialist ruler, Hugo Chavez, is the richest individual in Venezuela, worth billions of dollars, according to the Miami-based Diario Las América. In Cuba, Fidel Castro reportedly has lived — pretty much literally — like a king, even as his subjects dwelt in poverty. In the old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, as Hedrick Smith reported in his The Russians, the Communist Party big shots had lavish country houses and apartments in town stocked with hand-polished fresh fruit, even as the common people stood in line for hours at state-run stores in the hopes of getting staples.

There’s always a lot of talk about free health care, but it’s generally substandard for the masses and fancy for the elite. (The average Cuban or Venezuelan peasant — or Soviet-era Russian — doesn’t get the kind of health care that people at the top get.)
Millennials should remember the the "u" in utopia has nothing to do with "you."

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Metagame

I have on numerous occasions suggested that Hillary Rodham Clinton brings a trifecta of really bad traits to her run for the presidency. HRC is dishonest, corrupt, and incompetent. Over the coming months I'll provide a factual basis for all three indictments (Oops! with Hillary, you've got to be very careful when using that word), but today, we'll focus on HRC's "metagame"—the way in which she combats any charges, no matter how legitimate, of dishonesty, corruption or incompetence/irresponsibility.

Move # 1. Whenever she is confronted with hard evidence of wrong-doing, irresponsible decisions, blatant dishonesty or any other nefarious activity, the Clinton's response is to apply the obfuscation narrative. She attempts to deflect and obfuscate, making legalistic statements that mislead the listener. For example: "there were no documents marked classified on my private server" or "other Secretaries of State used private email." Both claims are knowingly misleading because both change the subject, leading the listener away from the truth, not toward it. Documents need not be marked classified to be classified, and no other Secretary of State has ever created his or her own private email server—it's the server that matters because the server provides one with the ability to hide or delete emails that might be incriminating (Oh wait, that's exactly what HRC did, isn't it?).

Move # 2. If her obfuscation is so outrageous that even a complicit the media can't ignore it, she moves on the Move # 2, the conspiracy narrative. HRC will claim that it's all partisan politics, there's no there, there. Attacks are initiated by an evil right wing conspiracy. This clever ploy is lapped up by the trained hamsters in the media, giving them an excuse to discount any factual evidence (after all, it's just a right wing conspiracy, right?). So when Clinton blatantly lies about the catalyst for the Benghazi murders, her claims that questions about her lies came only from the GOP somehow shield her from confronting her lies. After all, "what difference does it make" that four American's were murdered by Islamic terrorists and she lied about the cause, about the decisions that occurred while the attack was on going, and about the aftermath.

Move # 3. If Moves #1 and #2 fail, Clinton falls back on the identity politics narrative. No matter what, it's so, so important to have a woman as president and Hillary, is, afterall, a woman. Forget all of these accusations made by people who are, get ready, anti-woman, they're just "misogynists who want me to lose becuase I'm a woman."

Clinton's shrinking band of stepford-wife followers buy into her metagame, and along with her trained hamsters in the media who turn a blind eye, she often gets away with her claims. But here's the thing. In what will be the dirtiest campaign in American history, there is a GOP candidate, who, for all his faults, will not shrink from a fight. He will, I suspect, call out Hillary when she makes Move #1, #2, or #3, and that should be fun to watch.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Doing Its Part

Social media is the most important communication medium to arise in more than a century. Almost every person in industrialized nations and even many emerging nations uses Facebook and Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest (to name only a few) for gossip, updates from friends and relatives, and actual news. Although it's not the least bit surprising, it is concerning that Facebook has been editing out right-leaning news stories from their trending posts. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Do the folks at Facebook have it out for media outlets that don’t lean left politically? That is one question from allegations that the social media giant chills conservative speech online. The company’s response will show whether Facebook is as committed to transparency as its executives claim.

On Monday the website Gizmodo reported that Facebook employees jiggered the site’s “trending stories” feature that ostensibly aggregates the day’s most liked and shared stories. Anonymous former employees claim to have logged instances of Facebook staff excluding content from conservative outlets such as Red State or the pro-Donald Trump Breitbart News, or, say, an article about the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Gizmodo also accused Facebook of “injecting” stories that weren’t receiving attention into the trending column, including pumping a piece about Black Lives Matter after complaints about a lack of representation. Selected stories shoot to the top in shares and likes.

Facebook executive Tom Stocky denied the allegations late on Monday, saying the company takes bias reports “extremely seriously” and claiming the team looked into the Black Lives Matter incident and found no evidence that it happened. “There are rigorous guidelines in place for the review team to ensure consistency and neutrality,” the statement continued. “These guidelines do not permit the suppression of political perspectives.”
Gosh, I suppose that's just like the IRS guidelines that absolutely forbade the powerful government agency from targeting people on the right who opposed a particular political view point. IRS spokespeople stated unequivocally (a.k.a. lying)  that there was no intent to target conservatives—it was all an unfortunate mistake. Oh wait, a senior IRS official took the Fifth, rather than testify over a mistake? The Democrats trained hamsters in the media yawned. Nothing to see there, move on.

Facebook is, of course, a private enterprise. It is not bound by the same rules as the IRS. But Facebook is a de facto information utility, and if it chooses to bias its content, it should at least inform its readers that it is doing so. Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a proud progressive. That's okay, but one wonders whether his people on the ground were biased by his public political statements, just as IRS people may have been biased by Barack Obama's hard left positions on many subjects.

In the upcoming presidential election, media bias (whether conventional media or social media) will be in full bloom. Big intrusive government and an incoherent foreign policy—both espoused by the Democrats—will be protected at all cost. The narrative that conservatives are "racist, misogynistic and bigoted" will be maintained at all cost. It appears that Facebook is doing its part.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Least Worst

As I watch the primary season grind to a conclusion, I can only experience surprise tempered by disgust, leavened with trepidation. How can our country produce such poor candidates? Hillary Clinton provides us the the trifecta of traits—dishonesty, corruption and incompetence—that should disqualify her from running for president, much less being president. Bernie Sanders is a crypto-communist whose extreme views on the economy, private enterprise, government control, and "the rich" make him a better president for Venezuela that the United States. And then there's Donald Trump, a blowhard whose positions shift daily, who appears to be one question deep on most substantive issues, and who has adopted a "trust me" approach to governance that is suspect and concerning.

What a choice!

But a choice has to be made, and sadly, I'll adopt the general attitude of Bobby Jindal (a guy whose social policies I reject, but whose view of government's role in our lives I can live with). Jindal writes:
I was one of the earliest and loudest critics of Mr. Trump. I mocked his appearance, demeanor, ideology and ego in the strongest language I have ever used to publicly criticize anyone in politics. I worked harder than most, with little apparent effect, to stop his ascendancy. I have not experienced a sudden epiphany and am not here to detail an evolution in my perspective.

I believe this presidential election cycle favors Republicans, due more to President Obama’s shortcomings than to any of our virtues or cleverness. I also believe that Donald Trump will have the hardest time of any of the Republican candidates in winning. He has stubbornly stuck to the same outlandish behavior and tactics that have served him so well to date. Mr. Trump continues to have the last laugh at the expense of his critics and competitors, myself included.

I think electing Donald Trump would be the second-worst thing we could do this November, better only than electing Hillary Clinton to serve as the third term for the Obama administration’s radical policies. I am not pretending that Mr. Trump has suddenly become a conservative champion or even a reliable Republican: He is completely unpredictable. The problem is that Hillary is predictably liberal.
And therein is the problem. While Trump is an unknown, Clinton (and Sanders, if he were to pull off a major upset) are knowns. What we know about them is that government will continue to grow and become even more intrusive than it already is; our national debt will roar past $20 trillion and push this nation closer than ever to default; taxes will increase, crippling an economy that will stagger along as the private sector is bullied by big government bureaucrats; we will continue to project weakness overseas, increasing the likelihood of major wars, and dishonesty, corruption, and incompetence will all flourish. In essence, we'll have a continuation of the Obama era, an instant replay of the worst presidency in the past 100 years. Bummer.

Like Jindal, I have not experienced an epiphany. I really don't like Donald, but I like Hillary and Bernie even less.

Here's the thing—I do like my country. With all its faults, the United States provides enormous opportunity for those who are poor or lower middle class to rise and prosper. It used to encourage innovation, self-reliance, and personal responsibility. It discouraged dependency of big government, over regulation and extreme political correctness. That's changing. The United States is, despite the protestation of some progressives and almost all of the hard Left, a place where one is limited only by ability, enthusiasm, and drive. If you don't think so, ask yourself why immigrants, both legal and illegal, continue to flood across our borders.

In November, we'll have a choice between two negatives, and our job will be to elect the least worst. In my view, it's worth rolling the dice and going with a distasteful wildcard who just might do some good things—as opposed to an absolutely predictable candidate who will continue the sad and destructive legacy of Barack Obama.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Cafe Gratitude

None other than The Hollywood Reporter tells us about a popular restaurant in LA:
The owners of the most prominent vegan restaurant chain in Los Angeles were found to be raising and "harvesting" animals at their Northern California farm. Now Hollywood's vegan community is angry, and death threats have been made. "People have taken up the mob mentality," says Cafe Gratitude owner Matthew Engelhart ...

The news has come as a shock to many vegans, who have been regular customers of the restaurants and claim the Engelharts have built their brand on not just serving vegan food but clearly wrapping themselves in the righteousness of the vegan cause — which they argue has now been undermined. "The reason we're so upset is that veganism is a belief system," says Carrie Christianson, who started the Facebook boycott group. "You are patronizing a restaurant that you think has that philosophy, and it turns out it doesn't. Vegans should know that this restaurant has a farm that slaughters animals ..."

The Engelharts frame their return to "sustainable, regenerative" animal consumption as the mindful culmination of years spent laboring on their upstate farm. "We started to observe nature, and what we saw is that nature doesn't exist without animals," says Matthew. "Neither does natural farming. You know, you can't buy organic vegetables that aren't fertilized with animal residue. So that was our discovery. We aren't on a soapbox ..."
Glen Reynolds (of Instapundit) comments:
That’s the key line in this article: “The reason we’re so upset is that veganism is a belief system” — in other words, like radical environmentalism and radical feminism, veganism is one of many alternate religions that are subsets of the holistic New Age Left. (Nietzsche killed God, but man is hardwired to believe in a cause higher than himself. When traditional religion is rejected, the odds are pretty good that something cultish will be chosen to replace it.) The restaurant owners chose to cater to them, apparently without pondering the jihad they would face if and when they were discovered to be apostates by their core customers. Or as a wise social critic once described the nihilistic alternative lifestyles of California, “You can checkout anytime you like, but you can never leave.”

Some pseudo-religions adopted by the Left are harmless—Veganism is one of those. It's perfectly okay for an individual to eat the way he or she chooses. But other pseudo-religions adopted by the Left do far more damage, simply because those of us who are apostates (relative to any one of the Left's religions) would be forced to participate, if the Left attains all of the levers of power.

Socialism is, of course, the Left's dominant pseudo-religion. As I mentioned in my last post, it has done awful damage to countries, groups, and individuals over the past century, yet true believers refuse to see the damage and continue their fantasy journey toward a utopia that cannot be achieved.

That's the reason supporters of Bernie Sanders are so fervid and also the reason they are so upset that their guy won't become president. After all, "The reason [they’re] so upset is that [socialism] is a belief system," and raw "belief" means you can reject reality in favor of fantasy and feel good about yourself along the way.

Sunday, May 01, 2016


Over the past few years, I've posted now and then about Venezuela—an all too common example of how the socialist model applied to a previously thriving country ultimately leads to ruin. Following a playbook that could have been written by "democratic socialist" Bernie Sanders, Venezuela's leadership has:
  • demonized private enterprise
  • advocated the breakup and take over of major private institutions
  • increased debt (borrowing from China) to levels that are unsustainable
  • practiced an extreme form of class warfare
  • rewarded cronies and punished those companies that have not ingratiated themselves with the socialist government
  • promised "the poor" benefits that required dramatic tax increases on everyone else, and then failure to materialize
  • grew an already corrupt government until the resultant national debt and inflation ruined its economy.
The leaders of Venezuela achieved a socialist utopia that was dystopian. This week, electricity in Caracas is available 2 days a week, food in stores and markets is projected to run out in 15 days, corruption and black market enterprises are rampant ... but hey, the socialist model is the working person's salvation. Right?

But back to Bernie. His legion of naive supporters would argue that Venezuela is not an appropriate example for Bernie's philosophy. That things that have happened in Venezuela under socialist rule couldn't possibly happen in the United States. That Bernie's extreme prescription for America would somehow lead to a result different than the one now endured by our South American neighbor.

Tens of millions of Democrats feel the Bern. That tells us a lot more about the Democrat party that it does about the likelihood that Sanders leadership would somehow be the first example in human history of successful socialist doctrine applied over the long term. The Democrat's would argue that it takes faith and belief in hope and change ... oops, we've just has eight years of experience in that kind of fantasy thinking, but ... whatever.

Richard Fernandez comments:
The Venezuelan tragedy reminds us that because collapse happens "gradually then all of a sudden" a slow decline can mask the approach of the discontinuity. Suddenly, says Victor Davis Hanson, American public policy has forgotten all the lessons of World War 2. One fine day Saudi Arabia woke up broke. OPEC has unexpectedly become an association of beggars. And China turns out to be sitting on a financial bubble. By some poorly understood process the invisible line dividing the troublesome and unendurable, the recoverable and irrecoverable is crossed without anyone noticing. It appears to happen suddenly.
Bernie's popularity will have an profound affect on the eventual Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. She will careen Left in a desperate attempt to woo some of Bernies' supporters. Should she win in November, her administration would continue the sad leftist legacy of slow decline under the leadership of Barack Obama. At some point during the next eight years "...the invisible line dividing the troublesome and unendurable, the recoverable and irrecoverable [will be] crossed without anyone noticing." And it will all appear to have happened unexpectedly and even suddenly.