Archive for the ‘social issues’ Category

I wonder if that Confederate flag will become a symbol of freedom.

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

Confederate_Rebel_Flag.svg

The hysteria is in high gear over the Confederate battle flag. The controversy began with the the shooting of nine people in the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC by a schizophrenic young man. South Carolina is, of course, the first state to secede from the union after Lincoln’s election in 1860. Since the Civil War, South Carolina has been ruled by the Democratic Party until the past few years when Republicans have elected the governor and legislature. In 1962, in an act of defiance, Governor Fritz Hollings (D) presided over the placing to the Confederate flag on the capital building. The flag was subsequently moved to a Confederate memorial on the capital grounds by a Republican governor.

Meanwhile, Fox News’s Special Report noted this fact during one of the show’s “All-Star Panel” segments with host Bret Baier alluding to it as well as how a Republican was in office when the flag was taken down from the dome and moved to the Capitol’s grounds as a compromise in 1998.

The shooter appears to me to be a paranoid schizophrenic who lived in appalling conditions with a weird father who seemed to care little about his welfare.

The hysteria about the Confederate flag seems to be a planned assault on southern states and on conservative politics. The fact that the South was ruled by Democrats until very recently is also an issue for these people who resent the recent appeal of the Republican Party. The cry of “Racism” seems a bit exaggerated when there is a trend recognized even by the leftist New York Times of black families moving back to the southern states.

The percentage of the nation’s black population living in the South has hit its highest point in half a century, according to census data released Thursday, as younger and more educated black residents move out of declining cities in the Northeast and Midwest in search of better opportunities.

The share of black population growth that has occurred in the South over the past decade — the highest since 1910, before the Great Migration of blacks to the North — has upended some long-held assumptions.

Both Michigan and Illinois, whose cities have rich black cultural traditions, showed an overall loss of blacks for the first time, said William Frey, the chief demographer at the Brookings Institution.

(more…)

Obamacare Lives !

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

UPDATE: The decision is analyzed at Powerline today with quotes for the decision.

The Affordable Care Act contains more than a few examples of inartful drafting. (To cite just one, the Act creates three separate Section 1563s. See 124 Stat. 270, 911, 912.) Several features of the Act’s passage contributed to that unfortunate reality. Congress wrote key parts of the Act behind closed doors, rather than through “the traditional legislative process.” Cannan, A Legislative History of the Affordable Care Act: How Legislative Procedure Shapes Legislative History, 105 L. Lib. J. 131, 163 (2013). And Congress passed much of the Act using a complicated budgetary procedure known as “reconciliation,” which limited opportunities for debate and amendment, and bypassed the Senate’s normal 60-vote filibuster requirement. Id., at 159–167.

Therefore, Roberts rewrote it. Nice !

Today, the Supreme Court upheld the Obamacare state exchange subsidies.

The Supreme Court has justified the contempt held for the American people by Jonathan Gruber. He was widely quoted as saying that the “stupidity of the American people “ was a feature of the Obamacare debate. This does not bother the left one whit.

Like my counterparts, I have relied heavily on Gruber’s expertise over the years and have come to know him very well. He’s served as an explainer of basic economic concepts, he’s delivered data at my request, and he’s even published articles here at the New Republic. My feelings about Gruber, in other words, are not that of a distant observer. They are, for better or worse, the views of somebody who holds him and his work in high esteem.

The New Republic is fine with him and his concepts.

It’s possible that Gruber offered informal advice along the way, particularly when it came to positions he held strongly—like his well-known and sometimes controversial preference for a strong individual mandate. Paul Starr, the Princeton sociologist and highly regarded policy expert, once called the mandate Gruber’s “baby.” He didn’t mean it charitably.

(more…)

Is the Republican Party Worthwhile ?

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

hillary

Today, an interesting column was published suggesting that, if the Republicans don’t beat Hillary, they should just disband the party.

I think this makes some sense. We have an attractive group of candidates and some valid issues, including the economy and foreign policy. She is a terrible candidate.

Add this to the mounting scandals, polls showing a lack of trust for her, the historical difficulty of political parties winning three presidential elections in a row, and the deep bench of fresh-faced Republican options, and the GOP should be in prime position to win the next election.

But the next election will test whether demographic headwinds are too much for Republicans to overcome.

Maybe the country is just not serious about issues anymore.

She brought up Republican skepticism on climate change and opposition to abortion, saying “they shame and blame women rather than respect our right to make our own reproductive health decisions.”

She blasted Republicans for supporting policies that would increase deportation of immigrants and for “turn[ing] their backs on gay people who love each other.” She lashed out at Republican support for voter ID laws. “I’ll fight back against Republican efforts to disempower and disenfranchise young people, poor people, people with disabilities and people of color,” she said. And she argued that, “Fundamentally, [Republicans] reject what it takes to build an inclusive economy. It takes an inclusive society.”

Some of us read history and can recall that the Whig Party dissolved over the issue of slavery. The history of the Whig Party was of a party devoted to economic progress. It was also a party of opposition. Lincoln, when a Whig, opposed the Mexican War at some cost to himself.

The work of the Whigs was, as (James G.) Blaine admitted, negative and restraining rather than constructive. Still, “if their work cannot be traced in the National statute books as prominently as that of their opponents, they will be credited by the discriminating reader of our political annals as the English of to-day credit Charles James Fox and his Whig associates—for the many evils they prevented.” If that is true, then we have not had very much in the way of “impartial” histories of American politics since Blaine’s day.

Also true. Particularly Coolidge and Harding were slandered by the Progressives of the New Deal and its apologists.

Part of the success of Schlesinger’s casting of antebellum America as Jacksonian lay in Schlesinger’s identification of Andrew Jackson and Jackson’s Democratic party with Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal. To this day, one comes away from The Age of Jackson with the clear sense that Jackson and the Jacksonians embodied democracy and championed the interests of the “common man,” while the Whigs were the voice of selfish elite interests, and looked like nothing so much as forecasts of Herbert Hoover and Robert Taft.

The Republicans have had hardly better treatment by the news media of today than the Whigs by the Progressives.

[T]he question arose whether the Whig complaint against Jacksonian Democracy might have had more substance to it than it had seemed.

That question rose first in one of the genuinely pathbreaking works of American political history, Daniel Walker Howe’s The Political Culture of the American Whigs (1979).

The Whigs sound more like Republicans today than those of the 19th century.

Howe reintroduced the Whigs, not as Eastern elitists bent upon wickedly obstructing the righteous class-leveling justice of Jackson/Roosevelt, but as the “sober, industrious, thrifty people,” as the party of the American bourgeoisie, attracting the economic loyalty of small businesses and small commercial producers, and enlisting the political loyalty of those who aspired to transformation. Transformation was the key concept. It made the Whigs optimistic and serious all at once, since it embraced both the religious moralists and moral philosophers of the established denominations and colleges who preached personal and moral transformation as well as the upwardly mobile professionals who found in the dynamic world of international commerce the opportunity to escape from rural isolation and agrarian drudgery.

Sound familiar ? The Whigs were the party of railroads and canals that linked commerce across the country. Their fall from power, and from grace, occurred as the culture broke apart in the colossal struggle with slavery.

it was the Whigs who advocated an expansive federal government—but it was a government that would seek to promote a general liberal, middle-class national welfare, promoting norms of Protestant morality and underwriting the expansion of industrial capitalism by means of government-funded transportation projects (to connect people and markets), high protective tariffs for American manufacturing, and a national banking system to regulate and standardize the American economy.

The question today is whether the Republican Party can cope with the rapid debasement of the culture with gay marriage and bizarre aberrations like transexual exhibitionism.

The Democrats seem to be succeeding with their new emphasis on the strange and the bizarre.

Jackson’s Democrats came off as frightened, snarling, and small-mindedly anticapitalist in mentality. Jacksonianism glorified agriculture and defined wealth as landholding, and its interest in the “common man” was limited to building defenses around an agrarian stasis—simple subsistence farming, trade in kind, and no taxes, banks, or corporations—that would never be threatened by the demons of competition or the fluctuations of markets. Linked to this preoccupation with stasis and personal independence was the Jacksonians’ resistance to public declarations of morality.

Andrew Jackson fought a duel with a man who criticized his wife, Rachel, who had some controversy regarding her previous marriage.

During the presidential election campaign of 1828, supporters of John Quincy Adams, Jackson’s opponent, accused his wife of being a bigamist, among other things.

Here is Holt’s story of the Whigs, in as compressed a fashion as possible: Rather than being a branch out of the root of Federalism, the Whigs evolved like the Jacksonians from the original Jeffersonian Republicans who triumphed in the “Revolution of 1800.” They were originally an opposition faction to Andrew Jackson in the 1820s, but they detached themselves as a separate organization in 1834 under the leadership of Jackson’s nemesis, Henry Clay of Kentucky, and took the name Whig to underscore their opposition to Jackson’s high-handed near-dictatorship in the presidency. They cast themselves first as republican antimilitarists.

The modern Republican Party has adopted national security as a core issue but it was not always so. Democrats dominated military subjects from 1912 until Lyndon Johnson when the party revolted over the Vietnam War. Republicans fought the Civil War over slavery, the basic reason of the party, but the rest of the century was one of peace and only Theodore Roosevelt, a figure of the early Progressive Movement, was interested in war. His career really took wing with the Spanish-American War, which was not a “war of necessity” shall we say.

The 1837 economic panic also set in place the two principal mechanisms for Whig electoral success, which were (a) to concentrate public attention on the failings of Democratic politics and (b) to scoop up the largest percentage of new voters in every presidential cycle. It is a significant point in Holt’s description of antebellum parties that American voters, once recruited to a party, rarely switched allegiances over time. What was critical in each presidential cycle, then, was to energize the existing Whig voter base by throwing their policy distinctives into sharp contrast to the Democrats’ and by organizing new voters.

Can the Republicans, or a succeeding party, interest new voters ? The welfare state did not exist prior to the New Deal and this has warped American politics in new and unprecedented ways.

[W]henever it made the mistake of relying on charming personalities to head tickets or making generous accommodations with the Democrats on major issues [it lost ground]. But keeping such focus steady was an ideological problem for Whigs. They prided themselves on being a coalition of independent thinkers, unlike (in their imagination) the disciplined faithful of the Democrats, and they did not hesitate to turn on each other with divisive and disheartening abandon. Linked to that, the Whigs valorized the image of themselves as statesmen rather than (like their opposite numbers) party hacks who loved politics only for the power political office conferred.

The similarity is striking. There are differences, of course,. The issues of the 1850s were not the same as they are now but there is a theme to be kept in mind.

What finished the Whigs was their failures, not over national policy questions, but in the state and congressional elections in 1854 and 1855, where the new parties could get the most ready purchase on the electorate. No longer did Whig voters, galvanized by Democratic awfulness, take their votes to Whig candidates to express their disgust; they could go to the Know-Nothings, to the Free-Soilers, the Republicans, and so on.

Third parties are no solution to the problem of the Republicans. I think the Tea Party must capture the party mechanisms and oust the representatives of The Ruling Class. If that does not occur peacefully, it may occur with violence.

The Gay Marriage Follies.

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015

gay marriage

Today, we learn that Ireland has voted to legalize gay marriage. A Catholic Church spokesman said something very intelligent.

If the measure is passed, Catholic churches will continue to decide for themselves whether to solemnise a marriage.
The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Eamon Martin, has said the church may look at whether it continues to perform the civil side of solemnisation if the change comes in.

I think this is where all this is going. The alternative is to see the Church attacked for the tax exemption, which may happen anyway. Many mainline Protestant churches are seeing membership collapse as the clergy swings far left and gets into the gay lifestyle.

There is also a very good essay at Ace of Spades today.

First, a jeweler in Canada makes rings for a lesbian wedding, then, after the lesbians find out he doesn’t approve for religious reasons, he is attacked.

Nicole White and Pam Renouf were looking for engagement rings a few months ago and eventually landed at Today’s Jewellers in Mount Pearl where the couple said they were given excellent service and great price for their rings.

“They were great to work with. They seemed to have no issues. They knew the two of us were a same-sex couple,” Ms. White told Canada’s CBC news. “I referred some of my friends to them, just because I did get good customer service and they had good prices.”

BUT…

A friend of the couple went in to the store to purchase a ring for his girlfriend and saw a poster that read “The sanctity of marriage is under attack. Let’s keep marriage between a man and a woman,” CBC reported May 16.

The friend took a photo of the poster and sent it to Ms. White, who said she had no idea about the poster until that point.

“It was really upsetting. Really sad, because we already had money down on [the rings], and they’re displaying how much they are against gays, and how they think marriage should be between a man and a woman,” Ms. White said, CBC reported.

Horrors !

They demanded their money back. After much pressure, they got it and the Jeweler paid for his beliefs. So much for “equality.”

Ace goes on…

(more…)

Another Loser Riot.

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

losers

We have been treated to lots of images from Baltimore and Ferguson the past year. Now it is time for the angry left in Britain to riot. I thought it was an American phenomenon with a healthy French contribution but here we are.

A group calling itself The People’s Assembly planned to meet up in Whitehall at 1pm to protest against Thursday’s election result which seen David Cameron returned to office with a clear Commons majority.
The mob chanted ‘get the Tories out’ as large sections of the city were shut down as a result of the demonstration.
Some of the protesters brandished highly offensive home-made banners proclaiming F*** The Cuts’, while others described the Conservative Party as Tory Scum.
Protesters threw bottles, cans and smoke bombs at the police. Scuffles broke out when the demonstrators, blaring hooters, banging pots and chanting obscenities, confronted lines of police outside the gate protecting the Prime Minister’s official residence.

I am enjoying the hysterical reaction to the election by the angry left. They lost ! Get over it.

I do wonder where the money comes from that pays these professional protestors.

The protesters included members of the Socialist Worker Party. Others brandished flags proclaiming membership of hard-left anarchist organisations.
A large police presence met protesters outside Conservative campaign headquarters in Westminster, where David Cameron had issued a rousing speech to party activists little over 24 hours earlier, following the Tories’ success at the ballot box.
And in Cardiff, anti-Conservative protesters made their feelings known at a 200-strong rally at the Aneurin Bevan statue on Queen Street.

I suspect there is an element of the old communist left involved here, as well as in the US protests. Somebody pays these people and I would like to know who.

riot

Take a look at these protesters. Lots of cameras including iPhones. Hoodies and balaclava masks. We’ve seen these in the Baltimore and Seattle riots. Most of these rioters are white but so were many in Baltimore and Ferguson who hid their faces behind masks.

Former pop singer and opera star Charlotte Church was among those taking part.
In London, police said an estimated crowd of 100 people gathered outside Tory HQ before moving on to Downing Street.
On social media, protesters complained they were being ‘kettled’ by the Metropolitan Police.
Amid the crowd there were some sinister looking men in balaclavas covering up their identity as they jostled with police.
The Metropolitan Police said that 17 people were arrested during the ‘unplanned anti-austerity protest’.

That’s not enough arrests. And those arrested should not be promptly released. They should be fined the costs of damage and police overtime.

Growing up in Chicago in the 40s.

Monday, May 4th, 2015

I grew up in a Chicago neighborhood called South Shore. At that time, 1943 to 1956, it was one of the nicest parts of the city. Now, now, it is a cesspool of crime.

When my father moved us to the house at 7344 Paxton Avenue, I was 6 years old. The area was quiet and peaceful. Not far away was South Shore Country Club, a beautiful club that offered golf, skeet shooting and a horseback riding to members.

ssold1

It was a elegant place and I visited a few times but we were not eligible for membership because my father was in the business of owning and repairing juke boxes. That was not a respectable enough occupation. Prosperity was not the criterion. Los Angeles County Club has barred people from the entertainment business for the same reasons.

Our home had been built in 1912 and still had gas lighting fittings in the bathroom and living room, as electrical lighting was still a bit suspect.

Paxton

This is the house many years after we were gone. It has had the front porch enclosed in brick. Otherwise, it looks much the same. The owner saw me taking a photo and came out to ask me who I was. He insisted on showing me through the house which has had some interior remodeling. He asked if I could send him photos of what it looked like when we lived there but most of my old pictures are home movies.

(more…)

Pessimism is coming into style

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Richard Fernandez, at Belmont Club is my go to guy for news and analysis. Today, he is getting as pessimistic as I am.

[R]emembering how the migrant boat from Libya sank on the way to Italy. The passengers crammed into the ship rushed blindly to one side to catch a glimpse of a freighter, thereby capsizing it. The perfectly describes the Left, who , facing catastrophe on every front is doing the only thing it knows how: doubling down on Leftist canon. Everyone is now stampeding left, because that will save the boat.

He provides a series of examples but the best one comes from Huffungton Post which functions as a sort of Bible for the left.

Why the Planet Is Happy That Bernie Sanders Is Running for President

It’s amusing in an Anthropology sort of way, but it is depressing to see what is important to the left.

The Baltimore mayor was unconcerned about property destruction because she was convinced that “someone” would rebuild it. The same “someone” who will pay for the deficit and ransoms to al-Qaeda, as well as the bribes to Iran. The identical “someone” that will cough up the reparations to the inmates of Guantanamo. The “someone” who will man the ships to fight the Iranian boghammers, should it come to that.

“Someone” is the source of other people’s money.

Whose ?

Lenin called imperialism the final stage of capitalism, but he always assumed that Communism would be the highest phase of socialism. That’s where he was wrong. What Lenin didn’t realize was that prayerful piety is the ultimate stage of Leftism. It’s when you are in a line praying there is still toilet paper, or bread or a job left for you at the end; it is when you are on your knees before al-Qaeda begging them to reduce the ransom from $2 to $1.85 million because that’s all your house, car, jewelry and life savings are worth. It is when your arms are raised in rapturous hope at the coming of Obama, Warren, Sanders — or Hillary. That’s the last vision of heaven you will see as you rush to one side of the boat.

The stock market is in 1929 territory with interest rates at zero or less.

At least one Spanish bank, Bankinter SA, the country’s seventh-largest lender by market value, has been paying some customers interest on mortgages by deducting that amount from the principal the borrower owes.

The problem is just one of many challenges caused by interest rates falling below zero, known as a negative interest rate. All over Europe, banks are being compelled to rebuild computer programs, update legal documents and redo spreadsheets to account for negative rates.

Interest rates have been falling sharply, in some cases into negative territory, since the European Central Bank last year introduced measures meant to spur the economy in the eurozone, including cutting its own deposit rate.

That should help the economy.

Meanwhile, the political left is obsessed with gay rights and women’s risk of rape on college campuses.

Pessimism may not be pessimistic enough.

H8ters

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Crysta-OConnor-Memories-Pizza

The new war on religious people (of whom I am not one) takes on a new urgency as Huffington Post detects a new threat to the republic.

Pence and his state have faced significant national backlash since he signed RFRA last week. The governors of Connecticut and Washington have imposed bans on state-funded travel to Indiana, and several events scheduled to be held in the state have been canceled. Organizers of Gen Con, which has been called the largest gaming convention in the country, are considering moving the gathering from Indiana as well.

Nearby cities like Chicago are capitalizing on the controversy, with Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) trying to lure Indiana-based businesses into his city.

UPDATE: 1:52 p.m. — White House press secretary Josh Earnest responded to Pence’s comments Tuesday, saying the Indiana law has backfired because it goes against most people’s values.

No, it is against the left’s values. The institutional left. The hysteria extends beyond the usual left and may involve a few weak willed Republicans like those who pressured Arizona governor Jan Brewer to veto a similar bill a year or so ago. Fortunately, Arizona has a new and presumably more firm governor.

Narrowly speaking, that is, the left’s hatred of RFRA is about preserving the authority of the cake police—government agencies determined to coerce bakeries, photo studios, florists and other small businesses to participate in same-sex weddings even if the owners have eccentric conscientious objections.

Whether Indiana’s RFRA would protect such objectors is an open question: The law only sets forth the standard by which state judges would adjudicate their claims. Further, as the Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights group, notes, the Hoosier State has no state laws prohibiting private entities from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. (It does have same-sex marriage, pursuant to a federal court ruling.) There are also no such antidiscrimination laws at the federal level. Thus under current law, only certain cities and counties in Indiana even have a cake police.

The “cake police” are, of course a term of art from James Taranto to describe the opportunistic left who enforce the gay rights agenda on unsuspecting Christians.

“As Michael Paulson noted in a recent story in The Times, judges have been hearing complaints about a florist or baker or photographer refusing to serve customers having same-sex weddings. They’ve been siding so far with the gay couples.” That is, the judges have been rejecting small-business men’s conscientious objections and compelling them to do business with gay-wedding planners. Bruni approves.

Without harboring animus toward gays or sharing the eccentric baker’s social and religious views, one may reasonably ask: If a baker is uncomfortable baking a cake for you, why call the cake police? Why not just find another baker who’s happy to have your business?

This, of course, is far too simple.

(more…)

A Very good explanation of Hillary Clinton.

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

Kevin Williamson is one of my favorite writers and I have read his book and thoroughly enjoyed it. Today he has an excellent column on Hillary Clinton that seems to me very insightful.

[T]he Democrats place an extraordinary value on cleverness: They are the party of the student council, and Bill Clinton has spent 50-odd years proving to the world that he is the cleverest boy at Hot Springs High School, and his admirers loved him not in spite of his gross opportunism and dishonesty but because of those very things. Finally, the Democrats rejoiced, a man who can show those Republicans for the unsophisticated, unclever fools that they are! Mrs. Clinton is at the moment looking somewhat short of clever.

I have thought all along that Bill was the clever boy in school who was almost an accidental president. George Bush was convinced to raise taxes at the beginning of a recession, I have always believed, as part of a deal to get Democrats to vote for the Gulf War. There has been considerable speculation about Al Gore’s vote for the Gulf War.

Later that night, Sen. Gore called Greene and asked if Sen. Dole had scheduled him for a prime-time speaking slot. When Greene said nothing had been finalized yet, Gore erupted, “Damn it, Howard! If I don’t get 20 minutes tomorrow I’m going to vote the other way!”

Gore wanted more time on TV. What about Dan Rostenkowski ? The Democrats supported Bush in the Gulf War vote by a minority of 32% of their members

(more…)

Amnesty and Our Future.

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

I came across an excellent long post at Bookworm this morning. I have been very aware of the growing presence of illegal aliens in California for the past 40 years. Not far from my home you can see some of it as Hispanic men gather at street corners looking for day labor.

j and l

Two such corners are at Jeronimo and Los Alisos in Mission Viejo. Another is a half mile away at a U-Haul yard where people rent trucks and trailers. Every morning you will see 50 to 60 men standing on the corner and running over to any car that seems to be slowing down or stopping.

Anyway, here are a few reflections on what is happening.

The communists’ big moment came in 1995 when no one was looking. That was the year that the Democratic Socialists of America, a communist group, put one of their own — John Sweeney — in as head of the AFL-CIO. Overnight, the AFL-CIO, an organization that was once ferociously anti-communist and that opposed amnesty because it would hurt working Americans, turned into a pro-communist, pro-amnesty group.

More than that, through the AFL-CIO, communists suddenly owned Congress. After all, unions (headed by the SEIU, which outspends the next two donor organizations which are also Leftist) are the largest contributors to Democrat politicians.

Ok, Ok I know that communists are an old story. Still, what we see in this country is Socialism gaining adherents among the young and poorly educated and among the rich who consider themselves immune to its ill effects.

(more…)