Saturday, August 19, 2017

Seattle bans criminal background checks for rentals, Male, Black, Latino and Young Homelessness to soar

A classic example of shallow, thoughtless good intentions gone awry. There is copious evidence that denying landlords and employers information on candidates increases their reliance on the information that they have available: namely the race, age and gender of the candidate. The result is that races and genders with higher criminal propensities suffer MORE discrimination, not less because there is no way for the decision maker to differentiate between 'safe' and 'unsafe' so the more 'unsafe' group gets punished indiscriminately.

Progressivism is a science free cult.

From Reason, here.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Isn't it Ironic?

That the Democratic party feels compelled to destroy thousands of statues and monuments honoring Democrats that were erected by Democrats in what were then Democrat controlled jurisdictions?

A party that feels compelled to do that isn't a powerful party, it's a desperate party.

Last Trump for the Democrats?

I think Richard Fernandez hits the causal nail on the head.

When The State has to resort to masked storm troopers that pretend that they're anarchists to shut down unpopular fringe speech you know that they're losing. Because a Party of the State that doesn't have the confidence to ignore criticism from a group hated by 95% of the nation is in serious trouble.

And a Party of the State that does not control The State....is nothing. The smell of death surrounds it. Hence all the hysterical flailing.

For the longest time I couldn't figure out why Democrats were so upset by a crude loudmouth like Trump. Now, after dozens of riots and hundreds of fabricated news stories I think I know:

For Democrats he may truly represent The Last Trump.



Thursday, August 17, 2017

And at the center of the web: A Clintonite



One question I had about the events at Charlottesville: Where were the police? In every other crazy hater march I've ever read about - right or left - the cops and Guard were in the middle doing their job" keeping the peace by keeping the various crazies from tearing each other up. But according to the ACLU, they were ordered to not do their job. And guess who was in charge: Former Clinton consigliere and uber loyalist Gov. Terry McAulliffe. Why am I not surprised?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The self refuting nature of Identity Politics

Good piece by Rod Dreher exploring the fundamental contradiction at the center of Social Justice Warrior ideology. Put simply:

First they (the 'woke' that is) hold that the different sexes, races and nationalities naturally have the same distribution of skills and preferences. And logically following from this assumption is the conclusion that deviation from proportional outcomes can therefore only be due to "hate" or structural bias.

At the same time the "Big Bad Woke" argue that the perspectives and experiences of different sexes and races are so unique and unavailable to other races and genders, that failure to include all of the various identities in an institution leads inevitably to Error and debilitating group think. So much so that a white author cannot possibly write about a black character.


But here's the rub: They both can't possibly be true.

And since they can't, the SJW are doomed to inevitable failure, discrediting and defeat. But as the Soviet Union (and Venezuela) showed: a fanatical ideology can do a lot of damage before reality burns through their will to believe. The 'woke' don't believe they are fighting for 'better' against 'worse'. They believe they are fighting for the True Good against Evil.

And True Believers who believe that are the most dangerous creatures on the face of the earth.



Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The Myth of Cosmopolitanism

This is a super piece by Ross Douthat in the NYT from last year. It articulates the experience that anyone from a truly diverse background experiences upon contact with the "Diverse, Sophisticated, Global Elite". Who are about as diverse as.....Sweden used to be before it's fearless and oh so diverse leaders started tearing the country apart with real diversity.  Beware: when an elitist speaks to you of diversity, they are really talking about conformity. As my Grandad might say: "They are so full of s**t that their ass drags the ground".

NOW that populist rebellions are taking Britain out of the European Union and the Republican Party out of contention for the presidency, perhaps we should speak no more of left and right, liberals and conservatives. From now on the great political battles will be fought between nationalists and internationalists, nativists and globalists. From now on the loyalties that matter will be narrowly tribal — Make America Great Again, this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England — or multicultural and cosmopolitan.

Well, maybe. But describing the division this way has one great flaw. It gives the elite side of the debate (the side that does most of the describing) too much credit for being truly cosmopolitan.

Genuine cosmopolitanism is a rare thing. It requires comfort with real difference, with forms of life that are truly exotic relative to one’s own. It takes its cue from a Roman playwright’s line that “nothing human is alien to me,” and goes outward ready to be transformed by what it finds.

The people who consider themselves “cosmopolitan” in today’s West, by contrast, are part of a meritocratic order that transforms difference into similarity, by plucking the best and brightest from everywhere and homogenizing them into the peculiar species that we call “global citizens.”


This species is racially diverse (within limits) and eager to assimilate the fun-seeming bits of foreign cultures — food, a touch of exotic spirituality. But no less than Brexit-voting Cornish villagers, our global citizens think and act as members of a tribe.


They have their own distinctive worldview (basically liberal Christianity without Christ), their own common educational experience, their own shared values and assumptions (social psychologists call these WEIRD — for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic), and of course their own outgroups(evangelicals, Little Englanders) to fear, pity and despise. And like any tribal cohort they seek comfort and familiarity: From London to Paris to New York, each Western “global city” (like each “global university”) is increasingly interchangeable, so that wherever the citizen of the world travels he already feels at home.

Indeed elite tribalism is actively encouraged by the technologies of globalization, the ease of travel and communication. Distance and separation force encounter and immersion, which is why the age of empire made cosmopolitans as well as chauvinists — sometimes out of the same people. (There is more genuine cosmopolitanism in Rudyard Kipling and T. E. Lawrence and Richard Francis Burton than in a hundred Davos sessions.)

It is still possible to disappear into someone else’s culture, to leave the global-citizen bubble behind. But in my experience the people who do are exceptional or eccentric or natural outsiders to begin with — like a young writer I knew who had traveled Africa and Asia more or less on foot for years, not for a book but just because, or the daughter of evangelical missionaries who grew up in South Asia and lived in Washington, D.C., as a way station before moving her own family to the Middle East. They are not the people who ascend to power, who become the insiders against whom populists revolt.

In my own case — to speak as an insider for a moment — my cosmopolitanism probably peaked when I was about 11 years old, when I was simultaneously attending tongues-speaking Pentecostalist worship services, playing Little League in a working-class neighborhood, eating alongside aging hippies in macrobiotic restaurants on weekends, all the while attending a liberal Episcopalian parochial school. (It’s a long story.)

Whereas once I began attending a global university, living in global cities, working and traveling and socializing with my fellow global citizens, my experience of genuine cultural difference became far more superficial.

Management 101: You can get a lot done when you know how to manage

Trump's delegation of authority to the decision makers in the field has led to much better results against ISIS and illegal immigration. Imagine that.

Lifetime legislators don't learn management skills, they learn manipulation skills.

Hattip Instapundit.com

Monday, July 31, 2017

A striking bloom


I spied a flower, a striking bloom
It shocked my soul and pierced my gloom.

But I can't keep it, nor make it mine.
Only love its grace, its beauty, its life.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Real Median Income Questions aka Texas: WTF?

The latest State Median Income numbers are out from the BLS, along with the state Cost of Living and Income Tax adjustments* that allow us to transform it into Real Median Income (RMI) and make an 'apples to apples' comparison between the various states to determine which states do the "best" for their average (aka: median) citizen. And it is critical that we take into account the variation in racial and ethnic mix of each state because different races and ethnicities possess differing levels of human capital that is the raw material that generates personal income. It's quite obvious from racial breakdowns that the more privileged races (European white, Asian) have an earning advantage over their less privileged (African American, Latino) neighbors. So if I tell you the racial composition of a state it should help predict its relative prosperity - aka: Real Median Income.

I've plotted the 50 states by their Income Tax Adjusted RMI versus the proportion of their populations that are European White and Asian (aka 'privileged'). I've also made the circle size reflect population and mischievously colored the 'bubbles' according to whether they voted 'Trump' (Orange) or 'Clinton' (Blue). If you put your pointer over the chart it should get big enough to read. Or if you're on a smartphone, open the chart in another window and expand. Incidentally, some of the 'red' states are obscured by all the other states. The raw data I used to plot the chart is at the bottom along with notes on where I got the data and my methodology*.

So what does this tell us?
  • First of all Hawaii is really poor, which I guess shouldn't surprise anyone, given its remote geography and politics that are hostile towards commerce.
  • There are geographical "clumps" for Trump Southern and Midwestern states but no geographical clumping for blue states - unless  you consider upper New England to be a (particularly poverty stricken) clump.
  • 14 of the 19 'blue' states have RMIs below the national average  (about $33, 415 - not exactly because this is a weighted mean of the state medians, not an overall US median. But this number is certainly within 1% of actual) while only 6 of the 31 'red' states do.  I tried a chart that broke out 'purple' swing states but it made the remaining 'blue' states look so much worse (three of the 5 above average "blue" states are in fact 'swing' or 'purple' states while only MI falls out of the top ten 'red' state ranks) and didn't affect the red state outcome much so I gave up on it.
  • If you look at the top performing "blue" states  you see a bunch of oddities: they're either purple 'swing' states that recently were red:VA and CO, a state living on past policy glory: IL, a state justly recognized for its combination of good government and homogeneity but that gave a majority of its votes to "red" Presidential candidates in 2016: MN and finally, WA: a 'blue' state with a 'red' fiscal policy: its lack of an income tax is the single key differentiator with next door 'poverty champ' Oregon who has no sales tax but far and away the highest income tax on the median earner of any state in the Union.
  • Indeed, lest you think this is all all 'blue' vs. 'red', WA and OR illustrate the immense chasm between state median incomes and therefore state economic policy. WA is a not very diverse (in the real sense) place that has the second highest RMI in the land, while OR, with the same geography and demographics is the poorest state in the continental US. Crossing a bridge gets you from richest to poorest. Wonder what the difference is? One might say "well WA has Microsoft and Amazon and Oregon doesn't" but that just begs the question: Oregon is a beautiful state with high earning demographics smack dab between the two greatest centers of wealth generation in the history of the world and it's scraping the bottom of the barrel. What gives?
  • There's a major difference in the concentrations of Blue and Red populations. The blue states with almost half of all blue state population have RMI's in the bottom quintile, while virtually no red staters are stuck in such a low income position.  


  • There is a correlation between the proportion of 'privileged' ethnicities in a state and RMI...for Clinton States, but not for Trump states. Unless you take away TX. Then the relationship returns - albeit it's a much weaker one (see above for my eyeballed lines). 

  • Then there are the "Big Four": First of all FL is a bit of an anomaly because its huge number of retirees distort the data downward somewhat but it still falls in the range of other big Red southern states. But if you compare the other three: CA and NY are among the poorest states in RMI terms in the nation while TX, with the least advantaged ethnic mix save New Mexico is among the very richest. 
  • So to put it succinctly:  What the Heck (I'm sorry but my mom might read this), Texas?  How in the hell does a polity founded by slavers, with a constitution written by libertarians and (we are told continually by the 'elite' media) run by yahoos, cretins and (until recently) Rick Perry (but I repeat myself) deliver a so much higher standard of living for regular people?
Texas is an enormous challenge to the racialist and statist narrative. Indeed, this entire chart is. Which is why it took a pro consumer website* economist to raise the issue. Academic economists are heavily on the left at least socially if not economically and analyses that present their valhallas in a bad light particularly when compared to the  "Trump Loving" world are "not done" or at least not published in the hallowed ivy halls of academe. Doesn't comport with the 'narrative'.

And it's not oil: over six years before this data was collected, the price of natural gas fell to (and has largely stayed at) the lowest levels in history and four years after that, oil prices fell from upwards of $120 to a little over $40 a barrel. In other words, the Texas data were gathered in the midst of one of the most catastrophic oil and gas depressions in history. While NY and CA's dominant industries were in the middle of major booms.

So once again:  all together now:  "What the (Heck), Texas?"

 Here's the raw data in a form that can be copied and pasted into a spreadsheet so that you can check my math:
State Real Median Income Federal BLS Cost of Living Index 2016 Federal BLS Nominal Median Income (Individual) 2016 Median Income Tax Paid 2016 2017 Estimated Pop. Census  Bureau
WY  $41,250  92.8 $38,280  $0   589,713 
WA  $39,802  106 $42,190  $0   7,384,721 
VA  $38,351  94.5 $38,180  $1,938   8,492,783 
TX  $37,311  92.6 $34,550  $0   28,449,186 
ND   $37,296  101.2 $38,170  $427   790,701 
IL  $37,223  96.5 $37,320  $1,400   12,815,607 
MI  $37,166  91.2 $35,400  $1,505   9,935,116 
OH   $37,080  92.5 $35,030  $731   11,646,273 
CO   $36,314  101.9 $38,800  $1,796   5,658,546 
IN  $36,164  88 $32,910  $1,086   6,663,280 
MN  $36,017  101.5 $38,870  $2,312   5,554,532 
KS  $35,682  90.9 $33,700  $1,265   2,929,909 
TN  $35,238  90.3 $31,820  $0   6,705,339 
NE   $35,075  92.3 $33,840  $1,465   1,922,610 
DE  $35,060  102.8 $37,750  $1,709   965,866 
UT  $34,946  92.4 $33,990  $1,700   3,098,761 
AK  $34,772  133.5 $46,420  $0   741,204 
IA  $34,739  92 $33,650  $1,690   3,152,735 
OK   $34,556  89.7 $32,430  $1,433   3,974,794 
MO   $34,538  91.5 $33,380  $1,778   6,123,362 
GA  $34,476  91.7 $33,430  $1,816   10,450,316 
AZ  $34,179  98.8 $34,680  $911   7,026,629 
KY  $34,054  90 $32,340  $1,692   4,450,042 
PA   $34,020  103 $36,150  $1,110   12,819,975 
WI  $33,853  98.1 $35,110  $1,901   5,795,147 
ID  $33,734  88.2 $31,860  $2,107   1,695,178 
AL  $33,273  90.2 $31,550  $1,538   4,884,115 
MS  $33,174  83.5 $29,000  $1,300   2,990,113 
MA  $33,171  130.4 $45,580  $2,325   6,873,018 
LA  $33,138  93.4 $31,980  $1,029   4,714,192 
MD  $32,968  121.1 $41,860  $1,936   6,068,511 
NC   $32,564  95.8 $33,100  $1,903   10,247,632 
NJ   $32,269  125.6 $41,320  $790   8,996,351 
CT  $31,744  131.8 $43,830  $1,992   3,583,134 
FL  $31,652  100.5 $31,810  $0   21,002,678 
NV   $31,643  106.5 $33,700  $0   2,995,973 
NH   $31,540  118.2 $37,280  $0   1,335,832 
NM   $31,016  100 $32,320  $1,304   2,084,193 
AR  $30,767  91.4 $29,420  $1,299   3,000,942 
RI  $30,483  123.3 $39,050  $1,464   1,059,080 
SC   $30,345  97.5 $31,280  $1,693   5,030,118 
SD  $30,029  102.5 $30,780  $0   868,799 
MT   $29,522  102.7 $31,970  $1,651   1,052,343 
NY   $28,948  135.6 $41,600  $2,346   19,889,657 
VT  $28,857  123.8 $37,040  $1,315   624,592 
CA  $28,651  134.3 $39,830  $1,352   39,849,872 
ME  $28,393  114.7 $34,710  $2,143   1,327,472 
WV  $28,066  103.7 $30,240  $1,136   1,834,882 
OR   $26,238  129.5 $37,080  $3,102   4,144,527 
HI  $21,511  168.6 $38,750  $2,483   1,454,295 
USA  $33,415   325,744,646 

*Bankrate - a website that advises consumers on the best mortgages and other financing made another crucial adjustment that had been skewing these comparisons in the past:  Taxes.  All property and excise taxes are already reflected in the cost of living calculations but the impact of income taxes was being left out. At the extreme it means that that a state like Oregon which has no general sales tax would have its income inaccurately inflated relative to Washington which has no income tax. The population data come from the Census Bureau, the COLA adjustments come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as do the Nominal Median Income estimates. The Tax Institute provided the Median Income Taxes paid.

We are in the middle of the 6th great explosion of species, not extinction

Author Chris Thomas calls it the 'sixth Genesis'. It turns out that man's effect on nature has been to radically increase local diversity and thereby create the conditions for rapid evolution and speciation.  Matt Ridley summarizes his main point:

At a local scale diversity has increased a lot: “The number of species living in virtually every country or island has already increased during the period of human influence, and numbers continue to increase.” The fauna and flora of Britain are much richer today than 10,000 years ago as a result of farming, towns, gardening, climate change and the deliberate introduction of exotic species. Thomas finds the same to be true in tropical forests in Cameroon, Costa Rica and Brazil: the net effect of some human disturbance can be more biodiversity.
You can resent some of the exotic species (I do) but you should pause to recognise that in terms of the functioning of ecosystems, there has been mostly improvement. In an extreme case, Ascension Island was a barren volcanic rock with a few ferns on its summit. It is now a semi-green island capturing more moisture from the wind, thanks to a deliberate effort, begun by Charles Darwin, to enrich its ecosystem.
Professor Thomas, an ecologist and evolutionary biologist from York University, has produced an immensely significant book. It is fluently written, carefully thought through, ruthlessly argued, neatly illustrated with case studies — and shockingly contrarian. He shows the upside for wildlife in the Anthropocene. He does not deny that human beings also cause problems for wildlife, far from it, but he does think we have almost entirely overlooked the gains for wildlife that our presence is also creating.
I have for some time been thinking that while human beings have caused many species extinctions, they must also be causing many speciations. I have not quite had the courage to say so, for fear of being accused by the green thought police of going too far. While watching sparrows on a recent trip to Hawaii, it occurred to me that, though they were little different from the ones I see in London, they must, through isolation, be on the way to becoming a new species of sparrow. Just as a flock of Asian rosefinches shipwrecked on one of the Hawaiian islands six million years ago have turned into scores of species of honeycreeper, half of which are now sadly extinct.
Evolution is driven by new and novel environmental pressures that species adapt to and that drive new species fitting into new environments. That's Humanity in a nutshell. Every ecosystem in the world is more diverse than before man came. In addition man's production of CO2 has generated far more biomass than existed before we came along. Man has had both good and bad affects on the environment and we should never stop trying to mitigate the bad ones but Humanity is part of the environment and Chris Thomas argues that net-net our impact has been to drive a sixth Great Genesis - an explosion of diversity, new species, new life.

It's turning out to be a "good gig".

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Intersectionality vs. Crossectionality

This just in: mainstream Muslim groups in moderate Muslim Malaysia and Indonesia are calling for a boycott of Starbucks because of its support for LGBTQ issues. I predict this is going to pick up steam as savvy muslim marketers and the politicians they support begin targeting more and more "progressive" Western brands in Muslim countries as well as the west.

And it makes "intersectionality" - which is the meticulous cataloging of victimhood status (does a black male Muslim transgender from Somalia have superior "V" - essence of victimology - than a paraplegic lesbian Asian from Hoboken?) tricky even before you start having 2 billion of the world's "victims" start shouting that half of the world's "victims" need to shut up and get back in their sacks and damn sure before said 2 billion of the "oppressed" start stringing up the 200 million or so LGBTQs. Not to mention all of the disabled that Muslim Shariah enforcement creates.

But 2 billion Muslim "victims" wildly outnumbers 200 hundred million LGBTQ "victims" and unlike LGBTQs boy do they reproduce. So sorry, LGBTQ community, the iron logic of demography combined with the lunacy of SJW "wokeness" eventually says back in the closet.

No, deeper. Way back in the closet. Behind the mothballs. See those bags? You lesbians get in them. Except for your hands and feet. We're serious. Do it. Now. Don't make me come in there with my scimitar....

We are soooo "woked".


Monday, July 10, 2017

The 'Deep and Dem" State is leaking like a sieve

Kimberly Stassel of the WSJ documents the recklessness of dozens of highly placed Federal officials who are now routinely committing felonies, betraying our allies and exposing our secrets to our enemies just to pursue their vindictive agenda.  As Ms. Stassel says about the leak crime wave:

The Trump leaks show the sweeping nature of this enterprise, coming as they have from “U.S. officials,” “former U.S. officials,” “senior U.S. officials,” “intelligence officials,” “national security officials,” “Justice Department officials,” “defense officials” and “law-enforcement officials.” One story cited more than two dozen anonymous sources. Alarmingly, the titles, and the nature of the information disclosed, indicate that many leaks are coming directly from the U.S. intelligence community.

What’s been disclosed? The contents of wiretapped information. The names of individuals the U.S. monitors, and where they are located. The communications channels used to monitor targets. Which agencies are monitoring. Intelligence intercepts. FBI interviews. Grand jury subpoenas. Secret surveillance-court details. Internal discussions. Military operations intelligence. The contents of the president’s calls with foreign leaders.

The analysis lays out the real and the assumed fallout. One clear example is the May stories hyperventilating that Mr. Trump shared classified intelligence with the Russians. Subsequent leaks suggested Israel provided the intelligence, about Islamic State. This revelation caused a diplomatic incident, and reportedly a change in the way Israel shares with the U.S. Even former Obama CIA Director John Brennan called the leak “appalling.”

How many foreign allies are pulling back? How many will work with a U.S. government that has disclosed military plans, weapons systems and cybersecurity tactics? What have our enemies learned? One March story divulged sensitive FBI data on U.S. border vulnerabilities, in hopes of undercutting Mr. Trump’s travel order.

I have long held that the Federal Government is too large, too expensive and too insulated from reality. To those negatives I now add rampant disloyalty and unprofessionalism.

We need to Break it Up, Break it All Up.

Hammock Dream

In a hammock side by side,
Head to toe, toe to head
Watching you watching me.
Speaking of hopes, dreams, you.

Touching your foot, ankle, calf.
Your soft, sheathed strength beneath my hand.
You ask a question. I smile: "no".
It doesn't matter where we go.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Is Silicon Valley supporting the $15 Minwage from compassion or self interest?

The most enthusiastic implementers of a 'far above market' (aka $15 minimum wage) have been the centers of high tech and finance, principally in California, Washington State and New York. And they've done so in the face of negative outcomes and near unanimous opposition from the Economics profession.

Why? Could it be that these governments are simply acting in their dominant industry's interests? Because ultra high minimum wages are clearly driving massive adoption of robotics and automation across low wage industries.

Have the Tech Oligarchs and their Wall Street Investors simply decided to target a chunk of lower income America's earnings as a new growth area? And are the $15 laws that they pass at home and promote across the country just strategies designed to accelerate their paydays?

Perhaps the logic is that the profits from automating away a chunk of the working poor will far exceed the excess taxes they will have to pay to provide those people with government support. Particularly when you remember that Tech companies and their Wall Street investors pay virtually no income taxes. And when you remember that Silicon Valley are big supporters of a Federally provided minimum income.

And since they don't necessarily subscribe to the traditional American morality that  recognizes the poor's need for work and purpose, do they just look upon them as 'poorly adapted' members of the species that must be cared for?

I don't know. Because absent a big payday for the power elite in these communities it doesn't seem to be rational to have public policy accelerate the idling of a solid chunk of the industrious poor. Or to accelerate the eradication of the first rungs on the career ladder for many Americans. It also runs in direct contradiction to the Oligarch's promotion of open borders if all they are going to do is automate away the jobs they are luring people here for.

Much of this will happen anyway but why speed up the chaos and the pain that targets the least of us? Why drive the price of their labor so high that businesses are forced to get rid of them in large numbers now?  It seems so self serving and narcissistic of the Oligarchs.  And where are the politicians in these communities who are supposed to be standing up for the 'little' guys and against powerful interests?

Is it (to paraphrase the Who): Meet the New Robber Barons, just like the Old Robber Barons?

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Let's go out dancing tonite

You're a woman that everyone should know in this place.
Know that your beauty goes way deeper than just your face.
Everyone looks at you and asks what you'll do.
But they don't know you the way I do.
No they don't know you the way I do.

Cause you don't know what you'll do and that's alright.
no you don't know what  you'll do and that's alright.
Everyone thinks they know you but they don't have a clue,
so baby let's go out dancing tonight.
Oh baby let's go out dancing tonight.

I'm the kind of man that don't make sense today,
The kind your head tells you stay away.
Everybody looks at me and knows that I'm not for you
But they don't know me the way you do.


Cause I don't know what I'll do and that's OK,
no I don't know what I'll do and that's OK.
Everybody thinks they know me but they don't have a clue,
so baby let's go out dancing tonight.

Everyone says that you can't change how you feel
that you have to play the cards in the deal.
Well they don't know you and they don't know me,
hell, we don't even know what we'll be.

It may be love but it may not be,
yes it may be love but it may not be.
Everyone thinks they know what we'll do but they have no clue,
so baby lets go out dancing tonight.

But if you don't want to play then get up and walk away.
We'll leave the cards face down and go our separate ways
Remembering what this felt like,
what it meant to be this way.

But I'll always miss you and that's OK,
yeah I'll always miss you and that's OK.
'cause no one knows how it felt to be with you this way.
And I'll always remember when we went out dancing that day.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

"People Will Die!" Fatuity

Remy, Reason's resident ham has a great mockery of the current Democrat 'people will die' meme regarding, well anything that anyone wants to do that will cost any Democrat party stalwart anything. It's so childish. Really funny.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

"We're making Serfs for Life"

John Cochrane, formerly of Chicago, has linked to an essay by Ed Glaeser called The War on Work and How to End it. John points out that all of the subsidies and benefits that are provided to the poor constitute a high barrier to returning to work. As Cochrane put it:

More deeply, our government is quickly creating a legal class system based on income. You are a "low income person," for life, apparently, much as you once were a serf, tied to place, occupation and status. No. In America "income" should be, as it is, a temporary part of your life, low at times of misfortune, high at times of good fortune, and always beckoning. We are not a class society, but we are fast creating one by legislation.

That's the problem with the State:  governments define people by their 'status' and the more fine gradations of 'status' that the government invents, the more castes that are created. It's the State as God, handing out its largesse based upon people's status as victim rather than holiness. But it has the same pernicious, enervating impact as any feudal or caste system.


Monday, June 26, 2017

How the Deep State destroys and corrupts

I recently read this piece by former AG Michael Mukasey on the legal limits of the increasingly kafka-esque Robert Mueller 'Russian Interference' probe. You know, the one that has no crime at the center, which has 15 aggressively leaking Democrat party lawyers and a full time publicist conducting what is in effect a counter-intelligence investigation of Russian espionage activities. Oh and a thinly veiled anti-Trump witch hunt to find someone, anyone who will deal dirt, any dirt, whether true or not on the President.  Which tells me that the Russian 'black op' to screw with the legitimacy of our elections has succeeded.

But I'm not here to talk about the stupidity of the Trumpies (although to get to this pass they are without a doubt sloppy and stupid) or even the self righteous power hunger of DC lawyers (although they make a Gorgon look abstemious). I'm here to talk about a paragraph in Mukasey's column that records a milestone for the Federal State's brutal corruption of an entire industry:

One of Mr. Mueller’s early hires among the dozen-plus lawyers already aboard has a troubling history with the word “corruptly.” Andrew Weissmann led the Enron prosecution team that pressed an aggressive interpretation of “corruptly,” which permitted a conviction even absent the kind of guilty knowledge the law normally associates with criminal charges. As a result, the accounting firm Arthur Andersen was convicted. By the time the conviction was reversed on appeal to the Supreme Court in 2005—in large part due to the erroneous application of “corruptly” in the statute at issue—Arthur Andersen had already ceased operation.

By the time 'justice' was done Arthur Andersen had collapsed into Bankruptcy  based upon conviction of what was in effect a 'crimeless' crime. Thousands of AA partners had their life savings wiped out and upwards of 100,000 men and women lost their jobs overnight. For not committing a crime but for providing services to a company that did.

This example of catastrophic and capricious federal brutality has had quite an effect on the remaining 4 major accounting firms. First, it allowed them to raise their rates and per profitability on their commodity compliance business. By my simple estimates per partner profits doubled in the decade after the AA travesty. Second, it turned nominally conservative institutions that operated somewhat independently of the Federal State into one of its arms -  watching their competitor and its owners be destroyed for not committing a crime put the fear of God into the rest of the firms, causing them to dump whole lines of business at firesale prices.

One interesting personal anecdote illustrates this: I was a PwC partner in St. Louis and after I left the firm I went to the first "Tea Party" Tax Day protest held in Downtown St. Louis on April 15. I parked in the Firm's parking garage and of the 30 or so St. Louis Partners that parked in the Partner lot, there was not a single car. On Tax Day. This was unprecedented. They apparently were so frightened of being associated with the enemies of the Federal State that they made sure none of them were even at work that day.

Which is a problem. We rely on non Federal institutions to be one of the checks on the Federal State but more and more institutions have been deeply corrupted  - either through massive dependence on Federal money (the states, cities, universities, large charities) or through fear that the Feds can destroy them with an absent minded flick of the switch (Banks, Accounting Firms, Federal Contractors, Telecommunications providers, Healthcare companies, broadcast media companies. 

And I believe this domination by a largely faceless but immensely powerful bureaucracy is killing the nation. Which is why I argue that we must:

Break it up, break it all up.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

"The Greatest Republican Policy Achievement in my Lifetime"?

Avik Roy's tweet after reading the new Senate Bill. I like and generally agree with Avik on healthcare issues so this is seriously getting my hopes up. Of course I had no hopes before so anything is a positive. Oh please, please, please may it be true.

Birthday Elegy

We spend fifty years chasing, grasping, clawing.
Then we spend thirty - if we're lucky - forty if we're not,
Releasing those things for which we fought so hard.
If wise, we know to lay them down gracefully.
If not, we fight and rage but lay them down all the same.
For it's God's world and it's God's way.

We're all just players in his play.

So how have you found my playing thus far?
Have I said my lines and toed my marks well?
Will you stay and watch my show to the very end?
Or will you lose interest, shuffling out for brighter fare?
I will play the play so long as I have breath.
And the last thing I will lay down dear friend,

Is you.

African America is re-segregating apace

When I was in college in the early 80s my southern fraternity had black members. In our national I think we and Stanford were the only two chapters. We were a largely upperclassman frat so we recruited the best, most impressive men on campus regardless of race. And living across from the 'Jock Dorm' we hosted many black football players, including former NFL coach Lovie Smith. Until the year the "Black Fraternity" came to campus. That year every black man we recruited (and everyone anyone else recruited) went to the 'black' fraternity. To my knowlege no black man has joined a non black fraternity at the University of Tulsa since - the other frats are white/asian/latino, you name it but not black.

Fast forward to today:  taking a leaf out of Brown's notebook, Harvard had a separate "Black Graduation" where the speakers talked about their alienation and loneliness at Harvard where not enough people 'looked' like them. Harvard. Imagine the creme de la creme feeling such alienation and victimization that they can't even celebrate as anodyne an event as graduation with asians, whites, latinos, arabs, south asians. With the great majority of civilization.

The attempt to turn African Americans into an isolated caste of high status perpetual victims - regardless of their status, intellectual and financial inheritances has succeeded. But getting your status from being a victim is a disaster - to keep status you need to find ways to get hurt. And you need to always be focused on how other people are 'disrespecting' you. It's alienating and takes talented kid's eyes off of achievement, making anti-achievement the goal.

It's insane and it's cruel. And it's Democrat party policy. What a nightmare.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Jonah vs. the Climate Whale

Here's a summary letter from the Webmaster/Proprietor of Watts up with That, far and away the most viewed website in the world on climate issues. It's one of the only places you see both sides published. Just peruse his letter. And compare that to the tens - no - hundreds of billions of dollars going to the other side. If the Warmist's claims were 'truth' and 'settled science' then how could so many fundamental questions get through to the public with only this one retired weatherman's time and small donation funding?

It gets back to a fundamental problem: if the state doesn't want you to know it, how do you know what you know? I'm now convinced that state funding of science is both unproductive and in fact immoral.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Why she fights

Sarah Hoyt eloquently explains why she fights for Western Civilization against the statist clerisy:

And if I must be persona non grata, so be it.  I’m human. Like all humans I want to be liked, to belong, to be accepted in the dominant culture of my time.  But when the dominant culture of my time is a poisonous and undermining lie, there are more important things than being liked.  There are more important things than personal success.
At another time, in another place, I’d have stayed quiet in my library, writing my fiction.
But this is not another time.  And we’re not given a choice.
I’m not a happy warrior.  I fight because I must.
Because everything I believe in depends on it.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Feudal Socialism

Joel Kotkin points out that the left coast Oligarchs are reinventing Feudalism complete with obscurantist religion - apparently there's a movement in San Francisco advocating meatless days...a sort of Gaia meets Lent. Income inequality seems to be the new sign of Gaia's Favor where the Elect return their Lord's bounty by forcing the "sinful" masses to live by His scripture which the Oligarchs' staffs wrote up: No single family houses, no cars but plenty of private Jets. And servants. Upstairs, downstairs, hot and cold running servants. 

In CA you are witnessing the death of the party of Jackson and Jefferson. They're turning into superb Tories though, but Tories from Fuedal times. Tories back then always valued their deer and grouse over their peasants.

Must practice tugging my forelock. Or lynching the Lord of the manor. One or the other .

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Make Bloomberg Spend it All!

Evidently the US is cutting payments to corrupt, anti-American institutions so Michael Bloomberg is offering to stand in. Doesn't make sense that a 'wise guy' like Mickey Bloomberg would waste his money on a bunch of people he has to know are incompetent if not crooks. There must be a wise guy angle.

Either way I say the slogan that Arch Moore had when running against Jay Rockefeller:  Make him spend it all!

Friday, June 02, 2017

See Illinois Circle the Drain

Illinois debt is now at near junk status. Chicago Schools can't roll their debt and Chicago doesn't have the credit to backstop them. The state is hemorrhaging taxpayers and population. The current 'reform' governor is totally stymied by the Chicago Machine that nurtured Barack Obama who I note isn't interested in moving 'back home'.

I'm afraid the shiny towers on the lake have lost their luster amidst the longest orgy of political corruption in America's history. But never fear Land of Lincoln, California, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are not far behind. What will happen to the Democrats when their biggest power centers are all embroiled in massive debt crises?

We will need a lot of popcorn for this one.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

What really happened at Cornell

This is an account of the first student assault on an elite university: Cornell 1969.

I think this conservative narrative while factually correct is fundamentally wrong. It blames the radical black students and the cowardly Administration and faculty. But I don't think that's what drove this explosion. Key points:

1. This followed Cornell's admission of academically underqualified black applicants. "Window Dressing"
2. This preceded the creation of black and other cultural studies programs that give elite schools' "window dressing" a place to hide.
3. Brought there under condescending but false pretenses the unqualified and unprepared students immediately began floundering in an institution that had decided to use them but hadn't thought through the consequences.
4. The underprepared black kids, realizing this and realizing that weren't going to get asked back next year much less graduate decided to take a page from their cousins on the street. 
5. The administration and facuty, shocked and not sufficiently cynical to not feel accountable for their selfish actions folded not because they were cowards but because they were in the wrong.
6. They and the rest if academe then went full cynical and made sure that henceforth window dressing kids had window dressing departments to get them their window dressing degrees.
7. The problem today is that the (politicized) window dressing parts of these universities keep expanding. The mean grade at Harvard us now an A-. The mode or most common grade is an A.

Is Harvard's answer to racial inequality simply to stop trying to truly educate anyone? After all the hard bit is clearly getting in, not getting out.

And how unequal is this? Because it simply transfers the competition earlier ,  placing massive burdens on 15, 16, 17 year olds when many kids don't mature that early emotionally or intellectually. But Rich kids and parents have even more massive advantages at this stage.

And the conveyor belts of privilege keep chugging on.



Sunday, May 14, 2017

Is Trump Like Caligula?

Is Trump Like Caligula?

No, I'm not saying he's insane or sleeping with his sister or about to kill a third of the billionaires or thinks he's a God. But there is one alarming aspect of Caligula's reign that Trump parallels:  Like "Little Bootikins" did to the Principate, Donald Trump is using the true and massive power of the executive that his predecessors had hidden behind republican/constitutional forms tradition and good manners be damned. Like Caligula Trump has dropped the facade of moderation and the fiction of the 'res publica' that predecessors had maintained.

Don't believe me? Here's a little Roman History.

Caesar Augustus and the Civil War finally destroyed the Roman Republic for good but Caesar feared an elite shorn of status and authority ( what the Romans called "Autorictus") and smoldering with resentment would be susceptible to conspiracy, coups and assassination. So Augustus hid his autocratic exercise of power behind traditional constitutional forms. He insisted he was only the Princeps - First Citizen, he refused to be deified in life as was the norm for great Kings and Emperors in antiquity. He even let the Senate thwart his plans from time to time just to sustain the fiction that the Republic still lived. Tiberius, his successor largely did the same although towards the end his paranoia got the best if him and he let the mask slip a bit.

But his successor, Caligula had no taste for Republican play acting. He knew he had the whip hand of power and was the single focal point for the Empire and he was going to jolly well play the part. It's interesting that observers at the time claimed he was a megalomaniac - power mad. But he had the same powers Augustus had, he was just more honest about the reality. So he announced that he was a God and he exercised the prerogatives of absolute power by taking what he wanted, killing whom he pleased, and indulging his whims. Not the strongest mind, Caligula let all of his power get the best of him, slipping into madness.  As a result he was eventually felled by an elite conspiracy that dressed up its murder with promises to restore the Republic. But the Republic was dead and another Emperor simply rose to take his place. And eventually all Emperors acted with the impunity and assumed the deity that was inherent in the power that they held.

Likewise the American Presidency and its associated Federal bureaucracy has radically expanded its power and reach, particularly over the last 16 years. But up until now Presidents have been careful to sheath this incredible and largely unconstitutional power in the velvet of constitutional forms. But Donald Trump has no desire to disguise the real state of affairs and doesn't have the personality to do so if he wanted to. The result is the so called 'ruling elite' is outraged at the effrontery of a President demonstrating to the the country just how the Presidency completely dominates the nation's governance. So like with "Little Bootikins" they are targeting Trump for removal. If they can dress it up in some thin veneer of legality, so be it. But mark my words, in back rooms they are sharpening knives and thinking the unthinkable.

But Americans aren't Romans and Donald Trump may be crude and reckless, but he's a survivor. This is going to get very ugly.  Perhaps it was unwise to vest so much power in one office at the center of the greatest empire the world has ever seen.

Monday, February 06, 2017

The real problem with the administrative state.

Steven Hayward hits the nail on the head:

The political character of the administrative state is more important than the economic inefficiency or arbitrariness of bureaucracy that is the usual target of conservative ire, because it represents a new answer to the classic political question: Who should rule? The premise of the Constitution is that the people should rule. The premise of the administrative state, explicitly expressed by Woodrow Wilson and other Progressive-era theorists, is that experts should rule, in a new administrative form largely sealed off from political influence, i.e., sealed off from the people. At some point, it amounts to government without the consent of the governed, a simple fact that surprisingly few conservative politicians perceive.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Look at me

Look at me. Can you see me?
The real me.
I trade my honor 
for nothing that means.

I say I'm free
but I enslave me.
See that bird she's free.
I want to be like her. 

See my soul through all the dust?
See how I treat myself?
How can you believe in me.
I'm not even free.

I want to to be free.
I want to be free from me.
For to save my life
I must give it up.

And be free.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Lovetruth

Is my love true? 
They're not the same, you know.
Love stands on truth's shoulders
And truth without love is dead.

So do I have something to say?
Something i want to say to you?
Because without truth my love doesn't reach.
And right now this is killing you.

Is your truth love?
One's not the other,  you know.
Without love truth is buried and dead.
And without truth love's a song in your head

So do you have something to say?
Something you want to say to me?
Because without love your truth is dead.
And right now it's killing me.

So if there's anything left of us.
Some small measure of truth,
a tiny trace of love.
Could we try again?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Dyin'

I've been dying and I've been alone.
And I'd rather die with You than be alone with me.

My heart can stop but once,  my soul can fly away.
But being without You is to die every day.

Lord I've been dying and I've been alone.
And I'd rather die in You than live for me.

I've clung to cliffs and fled gunfire,  choked till I turned blue.
But I've never hurt so much as when I was without You.

I've slammed bloody onto reefs, feared sharks would eat me through.
But I've never been so frightened  as when I didn't have you.

I've wavered with my handgun, pointing it straight at my face.
Because I've never been so hopeless as when without your grace.

So my Love whatever You do don't leave me here.
Because it's losing You  and being alone I fear.

Cause I've been dying and I've been alone.
And I'd rather die with You than be alone with me.

Lord I've been dying and I've been alone.
And I'd rather die in You than live for me.