Ever wonder why pols seem to be getting dumber? Have a look at this first of a series of three videos in PJMedia’s Trifecta series.
See Part 2 here – and watch for the upcoming Part 3.
Here’s the question: How do these nitwits get elected? One possible observation is that the majority of voters in their respective districts/states themselves lack the mental brainpower to think their way out of a wet paper bag. Another is the sad state of our electorate today, with nearly 50% dependent to one degree or another on government, because of which many pols who are pathetically, profoundly ignorant on a host of issues nevertheless can muster the brainpower to promise voters more and more of someone else’s stuff.
Anyone with enough brains to pound sand knows islands can’t capsize. Unfortunately a room-temperature IQ apparently isn’t a bar to elected office.
Speaking of NATO – this from the Wall Street Journal, NATO’s Military Decline. One could just as easily write an article on the West’s military decline – it would be just as apt.
Moving east (or East, if you prefer) How Japan Could Turn the Tables on China. Of late Japan has been making some noises of rearming, and who could blame them? Japan’s entire post-war military posture has been based on the presumption that America, bound by treaty obligations, would have their backs – and they aren’t so sure about that any more. And who could blame them?
Imagine what will happen when millions of people start using the tools that produced The Liberator to make, copy, swap, barter, buy, and sell all the quotidian stuff with which they furnish their lives. Rest in peace, Bed, Bath & Beyond. Thanks for all the stuff, Foxconn, but we get our gadgets from Pirate Bay and MEGA now.
Once the retail and manufacturing carnage starts to scale, the government carnage will soon follow. How can it not, when only old people pay sales tax, fewer citizens obtain their incomes from traditional easy-to-tax jobs, and large corporate taxpayers start folding like daily newspapers? Without big business, big government can’t function.
Naysayers to this scenario point out that the typical 3D printer is still expensive (a canard; technology always drops in relative price as it becomes mainstreamed) and that users still have to buy raw materials and software (somewhat accurate; raw materials will also become cheaper, but software is effectively uncontrollable.)
This tech, Reason accurately points out, has the potential to set manufacturing on its ear. However, world-changing new tech always does; the invention of the automobile and Henry Ford’s introduction of mass production in the automotive industry changed the world, and drove several competing industries into near-extinction almost overnight; buggy-whip makers, horse tack manufacturers, farriers and coachbuilders suddenly found themselves looking for other work. This will do the same; it will be awfully hard for TV pitchmen to convince you to buy the new Whang-O One-Hand Bottle Opener for just $9.95 (Order NOW and we’ll double the offer!) when the typical consumer will be able to download a pattern and print their own.
Be prepared, however, to expect some pushback from your local regulators. Over the past decade or so, as newer technologies and fewer opportunities for traditional employment have prompted more people to act in entrepreneurially innovative ways, government’s response has been the same: Consumers must be protected against strawberry balsamic jam made in home kitchens. Tourists must be protected against immaculately maintained carriage houses that can be rented on a daily basis for below-hotel rates. Travelers must be protected from cheap rides from the airport.
When government realizes that self-produced plastic shower curtain rings are far more potentially disruptive than self-produced plastic pistols, it’ll be more than libertarian entrepreneur-iconoclasts at risk.
3D printing gives consumers much, much more control over a wide range of consumer goods – how they will be produced, designed, bought and sold. The down side: Government at all levels in institutionally incapable of surrendering control. This is a technology that threatens to place a vast swath of consumer goods outside the taxable, regulated grasp of industry and in the direct control of consumers. Watch for the inevitable shouts of the need to control this – probably “for our own good.”
Reason recently put up another interesting article about the libertarian game-changer of the moment. Rand Paul: 2Libertarian 2Be Electable? (And yes, I loathe the moronic substitution of numbers for words.) Excerpt:
I have no doubt that right now serious libertarianism will be a hard national sell, even to a Republican Party that in theory should be able to embrace the small-government part. It also seems likely that any liberal/progressive affection for the anti-security state, pro-civil liberties Rand Paul will crash and burn against the wall of his opposition to abortion and government income transfer programs. Paul told me in my New York Times piece of the need for more social tolerance and minority outreach for the GOP, but I think no amount of that will overcome the abortion and income transfer stuff when it comes to winning over Democrat-leaning independents.
That said, a Santorum-like focus on being “socially conservative” is unlikely to be a national winner for the Party at any time moving forward into the 21st century, so there’s another good reason–besides reality itself–for some major Party to suck it up and offer something close to real libertarianism.
It would be profoundly interesting to see a Presidential candidate run on a social-issues platform of “mind your own damn business.” It is, at least in the considered opinion of this correspondent, a platform that will capture far more of the younger Millennial demographic than will a Rick Santorum-style evangelical platform.
The times, they are-a changin’, and the GOP hasn’t quite figured that out yet. It’s possible Rand Paul has. Fortunately for Mr. Paul and the GOP’s young Turks, the Democrats don’t seem to have figured that out yet either, as they continue to adhere to a Sixties-style statist, left-wing platform of ever-increasing spending and ever-increasing dependency.
Stein’s Law applies. Something that can’t continue, won’t.
Let’s take a look at Rand Paul at Berkeley. PJ Media’s Roger Simon has some interesting observations. Excerpt:
Whatever you think of Rand Paul, he’s actually doing something that politicians rarely do — talking at length to audiences who don’t usually agree with him. And winning over new friends in the process. His recent speech at UC Berkeley, where he apparently got a standing ovation for excoriating runaway government spying on Americans, is only the latest example.
Historically, the Republican Party has been just what the public thinks it is, largely a bunch of risk-averse white men who are totally clueless at public relations, even though they are on the right (correct) side of almost every issue. Meanwhile, the liberal Democrats haven’t had a decent rational argument about anything for years, if they ever did. They ream young people, blacks and virtually every other “interest group”that supports them with their policies and they still win most national elections. What a disgraceful group of losers that makes the Republicans. There are literally thousands of chips on the table and they’re leaving them all behind.
Rand Paul is smart enough to realize this and actually goes out and does things about it. Other Republicans should get out their little red book of quotations and Learn from Chairman Rand. The country is changing. Whole new groups are ripe for the picking, most obviously the young who are being so completely raked over by the Obama administration via Obamacare and the rest of the entitlements so many of them know they will never see. They were ready to applaud at Berkeley.
For the last thirty years or so, yr. obdt. had been advocating for the increasing libertarian wing of the Republican party. Rand Paul comes the closest we’ve had to a viable member of that wing to run for President (and yes, he’s certainly positioning himself for precisely that) in a long, long time – maybe ever.
But the Berkeley gig – that’s something new.
Rand Paul is doing something not many political candidates do nowadays. He’s venturing into hostile territory, and he’s winning supporters among them that should by rights be supporting the other side. That could backfire on him badly, or it could be the beginnings of a 1984-style landslide.
There is one concern about Paul the Younger, and that is his plans for the War Department Department of Defense. It’s not really a good time to be reducing the budget for our military; not with Vlad Putin kicking up his heels in eastern Europe, Iran building nukes, and the stunted little gargoyle from a line of stunted little gargoyles running North Korea launching missiles into the Sea of Japan.
Mr. Simon concludes:
I suspect, given how bad things have been the last 5-6 years, the country is ready to hear some radical proposals, like truly massive cuts to federal government programs and a flat tax, maybe even, as Rick Perry suggested in the last election cycle, the complete elimination of some government departments. He called for three. How about four?
I am NOT one, however, who thinks we should be cutting defense at all at this present time, given what’s going on across the globe from Caracas to Tehran. That’s where I might diverge from Citizen Rand. I get nervous when I read columns from his father about the Crimea. Maybe Old Ron never visited the Soviet Union. I did. It was a jail the size of a continent. It went away for awhile, but unfortunately Evil Empires have a way of coming back.
In any case, we shall see how Rand reacts to all this in the fullness of time. The way things are going, I suspect he won’t be able to avoid it.
Why are there no good choices? From Crimea to North Korea, from Syria to Egypt, and from Iraq to Afghanistan, America apparently has no good options. If possession is nine-tenths of the law, Russia owns Crimea and all we can do is sanction and disinvite—and wring our hands.
Iran is following North Korea’s nuclear path, but it seems that we can only entreat Iran to sign the same kind of agreement North Korea once signed, undoubtedly with the same result.
Our tough talk about a red line in Syria prompted Vladimir Putin‘s sleight of hand, leaving the chemicals and killings much as they were. We say Bashar Assad must go, but aligning with his al Qaeda-backed opposition is an unacceptable option.
And how can it be that Iraq and Afghanistan each refused to sign the status-of-forces agreement with us—with the very nation that shed the blood of thousands of our bravest for them?
Why, across the world, are America’s hands so tied?
Because we tied them ourselves, Mr. Romney.
We’re drawing down our Army to pre-WW2 levels.
We’re planning to draw the Navy down likewise – including reducing our carrier force, the only means we have left to project power.
No despot or dictator anywhere in the world takes the United States seriously any more – and there’s no reason they should, not as long as the incumbent sits in the White House.
Here’s what’s interesting about this article; could the inestimable Mr. Romney be positioning himself for 2016? It wouldn’t be the first time someone has staged a comeback from one election season to the next, and won the White House.
It might be an interesting election season after all.
National Democrats are in a near panic — if the media’s highly-attuned panic detectors are any indicator — with a “poisonous” president unable to use his popularity to sway voters, a “screaming siren” warning about mid-term turnout, and Republicans on the offensive on Obamacare. There are a long eight months until November, but Democrats seem unlikely to get much sleep over the interim.
There are (at least!) six reasons why.
The second reason should really be the first:
2. President Obama is near all-time lows on his approval ratings.
This Administration is poison for Democrats seeking re-election this year. Marked by incompetence, scandal and Chicago-style cronyism, the Obama Administration has done the impossible – made the country nostalgic for the relatively capable James Earl Carter.
But a mid-term election with a disgruntled electorate won’t make the difference in 2016. Dissatisfaction with the Obama White House will help the GOP this year, and may have some coattails into 2016. But gaining House seats – almost certain – and retaking the Senate – somewhat less likely but looking more possible by the day – will only render the President the lamest of lame ducks. To win the White House, hold Congress and earn a mandate in 2016 will take something else – a message. A positive message.
It’s not enough to tell the country what the Obama Administration and the Reid Senate has done wrong. They have to tell America what they intend to do right. A pro-liberty, limited government message would go a long way.
But then, the GOP has a pretty good history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
And not only Blue Monday, but St. Patrick’s Day as well, so (after work) feel free to hoist one or several in the time-honored Irish tradition.
But, Monday and Irish celebrations aside, the world isn’t looking to be all that happy a place this morning.
We have a missing Malaysian airliner that may have ended up in Pakistan – protestations from Washington to the contrary aside, this is a nation that has no love for the United States. Who knows what was on that airliner, or to what nefarious use it may be put?
There’s an old saw that goes “history may not always repeat, but it does often rhyme.” Putin’s grab for lebensraum for the Russian people sure does have a familiar ring to it.
And make no mistake the United States can’t do anything about it. We’ve drawn down too far militarily, and we have very little influence in that region. Also, Vladimir Putin has accurately assessed Barack Obama’s foreign policy chops as all hat, no cattle -he figures he can do as he pleases in eastern Europe, and he’s right.
The first time Dave Shealy saw a skunk ape, he says, he was ten years old. It was 1974, a few years after his father had come upon a set of footprints left by the creature—an Everglades version of Bigfoot named for its supposedly pungent odor. Dave was out deer hunting with his older brother, Jack, in the swamp behind his house, in what’s now Big Cypress National Preserve, when he encountered the ape incarnate.
“It was walking across the swamp, and my brother spotted it first. But I couldn’t see it over the grass—I wasn’t tall enough,” Shealy says. “My brother picked me up, and I saw it, about 100 yards away. We were just kids, but we’d heard about it, and knew for sure what we were looking at. It looked like a man, but completely covered with hair.”He and his brother stared at the creature, mouths agape, but almost at the same time, as he tells it, the skies opened and rain poured down. The ape hurried away, into the cypress hummocks scattered amongst the marsh. “Holy crap,” he remembers thinking. “I finally saw this damn thing, and it got away, just like that.”
Here’s the point: He didn’t see a skunk ape.
There aren’t any skunk apes.
There aren’t any Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) Yetis, or any other mysterious, hairy, bipedal apes.
Why so confident, you ask? Simply this: Biology. There can’t be just a few of these creatures running around – there has to be a population. A genetically viable, breeding population – thousands of animals. In the heavily settled Southeast, it’s staggeringly unlikely that a population of thousands of giant, hairy bipedal apes exists and yet not one has been killed by a car, or shot by a hunter, or died and left remains anywhere where a human could stumble across them.
A corpse, now that would be proof – inarguable proof. But we don’t have a corpse, we’ve never had a corpse, and unless the dumbfoundingly unlikely actually happens, we won’t have a corpse. And what’s more, in this era where every cell phone has a camera, nobody manages to get an unarguable photo. Let a cop start smacking around a gang punk and everyone and their brother is taking video, but a giant, bipedal hairy ape? Somehow we’re still stuck with grainy, crappy video that could be anything from a man in a gorilla suit to a rerun of I Love Lucy.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. In this case, there just isn’t any.