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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Saturday, December 31, 2011

FAUX HATE 2011

This the first year of Hate Crimes rounded up for the Faux Hate Crime series is an annual report.  Each year, a list of the faked hate crimes that came up during the year -- ones I was able to find, that is -- to show what is going on out there.
  • 2011, Seaholme High School in Birmingham Michigan. Racist notes were slipped into lockers and "the nigger must be lynched" is found spraypainted on the boys bathroom wall. Authorities find it was a black student who did it.
  • 2011, a black student claims cops harassed and beat him out of bigotry, and is found to be lying. Admitting it was all a hoax later, said he made up the story to highlight unequal treatment under law. He's later cleared in an ethics investigation, proving his point of unequal treatment.
  • 2011, St Cloud Minnesota, another black man claims racist police brutality and later admits he was lying.
  • 2011, U. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A student claims he was branded with hot metal because he was gay. Officials later find he made up the story.
  • 2011 a lesbian couple is busted for faking hate messages spraypainted on their garage door and hanging a noose on their door.
  • 2011, a white woman wakes to find a burning cross in her yard. A note is on her door saying "you better not leave that nigger" referring to her upcoming divorce. It was signed "KKK." Police, curious why the Klan would threaten a woman to not leave an interracial marriage discover it was a hoax done by the black man she was planning to divorce.
This is part of the Faux Hate Crime Series.

Friday, December 30, 2011

GENEROSITY

I put up a donate button for the first time on WATN around Christmas time, figuring if people were feeling generous they could consider dropping me a dime. As it turns out I got a lot more than I anticipated, and can easily pay for my address next year and even got a few Christmas presents with it. So thank you all very much, I'm humbled you would think of me and be so generous. I'll be taking the donate button down the beginning of next year, but I wanted to thank everyone who was so kind.

COWBOYS AND LEFTISTS

"What’s the difference between Gaddafi killing his people and Assad killing his?"

The big billboard with George Bush and the words "Miss me yet?" really hit a chord with many people. Its not so much they long for Bush to be president again, its that the present administration is so hapless, destructive, and humiliating for the country that we want it gone that bad.

But these guys miss Bush a lot:

We Miss Bush
In fact, the world misses Bush a lot. While the legacy media desperately tries to spin Arab Spring as the people rising up to overthrow dictators, what's happening is radical Muslims rising up to replace dictators with their own tyrants.

And people who long for liberty that they saw a glimmer of hope for under President Bush are caught in the middle. The Syrians pictured above are being obliterated for daring to stand up to a tyrant, as are Egyptians youths and Christians all around the Mediterranean Sea.

President Bush had a clever plan: Isolate Iran by setting up west-friendly democracies on either side. The invasion and destruction of the militaries of Afghanistan and Iraq was so fast, so stunning, and so effective that the entire tone of the region changed. Libya's dictator spontaneously and voluntarily gave up his WMDs. Saudi Arabia started to crack down on terrorists in its midst. The world was changing.

Then... the left got its traction.

They couldn't stand a Republican being successful and popular, they couldn't stand Democrats not being power, and they were outraged, infuriated by the fact that President Clinton's victory didn't obliterate conservatism and Republicans. They were so sure that the Clinton years had destroyed Reagan's legacy and ended the long nightmare of prosperity, tax cuts, patriotism, and American strength. They thought it was all going to be better, then Al Gore lost.


Sure they blew a gasket and pretended Gore had really secretly won, but they knew better. They were enraged because a Republican was back in power. And in 2002 when Republicans took over all of congress, they saw their efforts to change America into their leftist utopia were going to be dialed back. They went absolutely insane.

I remember well the incredibly lunatic screaming fits that the left threw, the half-decade tantrum of kicking and screaming and throwing things around. And bit by bit, the legacy media, the entertainment community, the leftists who were everywhere on the internet repeating the same lies over and over and over and over again, totally ignoring the truth and any attempt to refute them wore people down.

Over time, that momentum of democracy and victory in the middle east was worn down, the demoralized, terrified, and shocked terrorists and Islamic radicals began to regain their morale. And every day that went by, treacherous leftists in our midst spared no expense or effort to help build that morale back up. To be sure that wasn't their intentional goal, but the results were terrific: chaos in Iraq, reversals of American esteem, failure, death, destruction and best of all: Bush lost his popularity and Democrats were put back where they belonged - in power in congress.


So all that effort, all those years, all those lives, all that money, and all that hope was destroyed. The people who wanted freedom and hope in the middle east saw America start to shrink away from its job, start to lose its support at home. They saw finally the people who got them closer to freedom thrown out of power and someone who specifically and repeatedly opposed their liberty and continually criticized efforts to help them become president. Funding to help bring democracy to the region was slashed. Efforts on the ground were removed as offensive and imperialistic.

So now, the inevitable collapse of each of these regimes so carefully crafted by the now-hated Neocons of the Bush administration are falling into the hands of even worse people, even more radical Muslims. Everything they worked for is going the opposite direction specifically and directly because of the left in western civilization.

For them, no price was too much to pay for regaining power. No cost was too high, because they're so clever, and good, and enlightened that they can fix it all. Just bow a few more times, President Obama. Just make a few more speeches about how Islam should be let to do anything it wants. Just issue a few more statements condemning violence by people fighting against tyrants. That will make it all better.

You have a lot to answer to on the left. I'd hope that some day the truth and your consciences would finally come to haunt you, but I'm beginning to think a lot of you are impervious to the truth and have no conscience.

Because all these people are paying the price for your unbridled lust for power and idiot's dream of a social justice utopia. They're being tortured and maimed and dying because of your dream. And that always seems to happen, doesn't it? Every time the left has a revolution there's always a field of skulls buried nearby and careful education to get people to ignore it.

WORD AROUND THE NET

“May the stars shine all around you. May your courage never cease.”

World Giving
Troops are finally all home from Iraq, but there's no word of victory from the White House, and no plans for a parade. Why not? Because a parade signifies victory, and the Bush administration would get credit, humiliating the left in general and President Obama in specific after their years of opposition and insistence it was failure. And from the leftist mindset, celebrating victory hurts self esteem of others, so you just pretend it never happened.

Unfortunately, now that the US has no presence in Iraq, President Obama having directed the State Department to deliberately avoid having a base there, the place is starting to fall apart. There's been a huge series of bombings and chaos is starting to build up again now that there's nobody to keep the peace. Its almost as if as long as the Democrats keep doing what the Bush administration set up, it works, but when they change courses, it falls apart. People recall peace and stability there under Bush, but will the press bother reporting troubles there under Obama?

Donna Brazile wants to know why the Tea Party and Republicans are so upset at Democrats. I guess she didn't bother actually reading the signs or listening to what Tea Party rallies had to say, because we made it abundantly clear. What's funny is that she then launches into a hateful screed about how evil Republicans are, courtesy Weasel Zippers:
For that matter, what did seniors, women, students, folks that breathe air and drink water, and anyone who puts in an honest day’s work do to make Tea Party Republicans so angry and determined to attack us?
Now either she's so ignorant and clueless she is unable to work out that this is clearly someone who is so angry at Republicans she'll slander and lie about them, or she's just a crass, amoral political drone who spews anything for an advantage. Which is worse?

Forclosure is a process, not a result. You can foreclose on someone for not paying their mortgage, but it can take months if not years to actually get them out of the house so you can resell it (and hopefully only make minor repairs). Renters have known this for years, but Les Christie at CNN Money notes that banks are finding out how much fun the process can be.
Nationwide, the average time it takes to process a foreclosure -- from the first missed payment to the final foreclosure auction -- has climbed to 674 days from 253 days just four years ago, according to LPS Applied Analytics.

It takes much longer than that in Florida, where the process averages 1,027 days, nearly 3 years. In D.C., foreclosure averages 1,053 days and delinquent borrowers in New York often stay in their homes for an average of 906 days.
Its hard to blame home owners for being surly about being thrown out of their house, but... don't buy something you can't afford, right?

South Korea's Kongju National University has produced a new paper that establishes firmly the existence of something anyone with common sense (and the ACU guys worried about people demonstrating in Climaquiddick I emails): urban areas are warmer than rural. This "heat island effect" matters for three reasons. First, most temperature stations are actually in an urban area. Second, most of the planet by a factor of like a thousand is rural, not urban. Yes, New Yorkers, the bulk of the world - even your own state - is quite rural. And finally, climate alarmists adjust rural temperature stations to more closely match urban data. Which throws into question the entire warming curve we've been told about over and over.

You probably aren't reading European newspapers, particularly their financial sections, but they're panicking a bit this week. The Euro dropped significantly against the dollar just after Christmas and has continued downhill since then. Its almost as if they were all hanging on for dear life trying to make it past the holidays and have finally given up. Given how emasculated the great states of Europe have become, war isn't likely, but with how big the EU economy is, a collapse there will tip the US over the edge and I fear the whole world will see a depression on a scale that will make the Dark Ages seem familiar. Pray we make it through somehow without this happening, for the sake of the poorest and weakest among us.

Euro vs Dollar
News that will surprise no one who has been through a recent world disaster: the US leads the world in charitable giving. You'd expect the US to do well, since it is the richest nation on earth, but the way people talk about America, you would never expect it to be first, but as an American, I knew it was true. Every time there was a big disaster under President Bush, the usual suspects complained that other nations gave more money than the US, but what they really meant was other nations' governments gave more. The US people are who are generous. The better the economy and lower the taxes, the more US citizens give to charity, too.

Climaquiddick II emails keep being revealed. One has Michael "Piltdown" Mann passing on some code to an alarmist ally, cautioning them to "not let it fall in the wrong hands." Because nothing says good science like keeping your work hidden and secret.

Shocking news out of Jerusalem: there's a greater push to kidnap Israeli Soldiers after they gave a thousand prisoners away to get one free. Its almost as if rewarding behavior results in more of it, or something.

Attorney General Holder is quite put out by deaths caused by illegal guns. No, not Fast & Furious guns walked to drug gangs deliberately by the US Justice Department, he's still denying that. This is about pushback. The gun control effort of Gunwalker has boomeranged, so the left is trying to sell a narrative about dangerous guns again.

Another pattern in the Climaquiddick II emails is the experts keep privately admitting to each other that they are confused, uncertain, or have too little data to make conclusions which in public they insist are absolute, certain, finished, and completely reliable. For example, this from Phil Jones, former head of ACU:
Bottom line - their is no way the MWP (whenever it was) was as warm globally as the last 20 years. There is also no way a whole decade in the LIA period was more than 1 deg C on a global basis cooler than the 1961-90 mean. This is all gut feeling, no science...
He also states that the Hockey Stick graph is at the very least a "sloppy piece of work."

Part of this pushback effort is a recent New York Times piece by Michael Luo that tried to portray concealed carry licensee as dangerous gun wielding maniacs. While its unfortunately true that 200 CCL holders were convicted for felonies over a five year period in New York City, there are 240,000 people who are licensed to hold a gun in that city alone, or .08% of their numbers convicted. That's not exactly a trend, its not even statistically significant. Instapundit has even more problems with the article on his site.

Kevin D. Williamson at National Review Online has a disturbingly informative piece up about the Obama administration's crony ties with big finance and the deals made behind the scenes. He lists all the names of the financial corporate stooges working in the White House:
Obama’s first National Economic Council director, Lawrence Summers (of hedge-fund giant D. E. Shaw and venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz), who has had some nice paydays courtesy of Lehman Bros., JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup. Let’s hear it for Citigroup’s Michael Froman, deputy assistant to the president and deputy national-security adviser for international economic affairs, for Hartford Financial’s Neal Wolin, deputy Treasury secretary, for JPMorgan’s William Daley, Obama’s chief of staff, and for his predecessor, Rahm Emanuel of Wasserstein Perella. Let’s hear it for Fannie Mae’s Tom Donilon, national-security adviser. (No, seriously: One of the luminous interstellar geniuses who brought Fannie Mae to its current aphotic state of affairs, upside down to the tune of trillions of dollars, is running national security, and the former director of the White House Military Office, Louis Caldera, was on the board of IndyMac when it finally went toes up — sleep tight, America!) And, lest we forget, let’s have three big, sloppy cheers for economic-transition team leaders Robert Rubin (Goldman Sachs, Citigroup) and folksy tax enthusiast/ghoulish billionaire vulture Warren Buffett.
And that doesn't include Geithner, who cut special deals for major finance corporations both before and after becoming Treasury Secretary. He was working with these cronies to help them for both Bush and Obama. I don't think President Obama is deliberately in bed with these guys, other than for campaign finance. I think he's just too ignorant and easily gulled and they have been pulling quick ones on him for years. Not exactly presidential material.

Although he wasn't trying to, an alarmist climate scientist named Rahmsdorf proved that the natural variability of climate is greater than presumed "forcing" by CO2 concentrations, almost as if some vast external energy source, perhaps as big as the sun, is the primary driver of climate.

Solyndra is the focus of a recent Washington Post article about how deeply and totally politics went into the loan guarantees and grants given the failing company from Stimulus dollars. Again, I suspect this has more to do with a gullible and credulous Obama administration being gamed by slick corporate guys than any deliberate corruption - I think the president really thought this was a smart idea that would transform the economy.

ACORN raises its ugly head once more. This time its voter fraud convictions in New York State. This one is about absentee ballot fraud (mail in voting - the only kind allowed in Oregon).
One of the Democratic operatives who pleaded guilty, Anthony Defiglio, told New York state police in 2009 that absentee ballot fraud works. “This is an ongoing scheme and it occurs on both sides of the aisle. The people who are targeted live in low-income housing and there is a sense that they are a lot less likely to ask any questions.
I'm a bit skeptical about how much Republicans do this; it wouldn't surprise me if they did, they just hold virtually no political power in New York State against a vastly powerful Democratic Party machine.

Gore on his global climate alarmist snake oil sale trips keeps claiming that the big oil complex has a memo leaked out stating "reposition global warming as a theory rather than fact" as a strategy. Now, setting aside the truth that global warming is absolutely theory rather than fact, there's a problem with this supposed "smoking gun." Its nowhere to be found. Al Gore has listed two different sources of it, neither of which actually have the information he claims. Russel Cook tore through the internet and Nexis/Lexis database looking for it and it doesn't exist. Al Gore just made it up, because its convenient for him. By now he probably even believes its real.

President Obama's "stimulus" money was meant to kickstart the economy and we were told it would be primarily to rebuild infrastructure. The problem is that most of the money went for stuff other than infrastructure, such as billions for "green" energy startups that are dropping like flies. A large chunk of the rest went to leftist schemes which even if economically viable wouldn't show results for years, if not decades. Then there's stuff like this: $1.5 million went to a program to encourage inner city residents to get online. This would have zero economic benefit but its one of those lefty dream schemes that got piled on the "stimulus" package like spiderlings on the back of a Wolf Spider. The money went to pay already rich, successful movie and television types to make shows that feature inner city people on the internet. In other words, it was a subsidy for entertainment, that impoverished, struggling sector of the economy.

Back in 2008, the New York Times ran a story all about how the Pentagon was manipulating the press, controlling stories, lying to the press, and had cultivated “military analysts” in a “Trojan Horse” campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the the War on Terror. At the time I remember thinking "if that's true, they must really suck at it" because the coverage was relentlessly hostile and negative. David Barstow won a Pulitzer Prize for the article (he fulfilled the basic requirement of kicking the military or US in the pills). Well the Pentagon's Inspector General (you know, those guys that keep finding stuff out that upsets and annoys the departments they cover) looked it over and found absolutely no evidence to support this story. The NYT ran a little piece on how it turns out their story wasn't true, but the buried it on page A20. They have no plans to give back the Pulitzer.

Drones have been busy for about 20 years now, with the most active use of them starting under President Bush in the War on Terror. For almost a decade we read about how they were gathering intelligence, saw footage of them in action, and read about how they would take out Taliban leaders and terrorist hives. Yet only now does the Washington Post write a piece about how effective these weapons are, and they give credit to... President Obama. The name of the article is "Under Obama, an emerging global apparatus for drone killing." I'm not making this up. Obama has been using the drones, following on established procedure and method that the Bush administration set up. But he's doing so after years of them being used already, not creating some new apparatus.

Occupy is pretty much done with now, although I'm sure they'll try to start up again next year. Yet their big issue was how evil it was that only 1% controlled so much money, how dare they! They called themselves the 99%, which as Speaker Boehner pointed out is erroneous, they're part of the 100% Americans (presumably). Yet the backers, the financial machine behind the occupy movement is... the 1%. 25% of the backers of the Occupy movement are worth $4 billion dollars or more. It takes a lot of money to let people stay in tents for weeks at a time without working or doing anything productive. They have to be given food and supplies, lots of media attention, paper machet heads, and so on. All that costs money. This is yet another example of how everything the left accused the Tea Party movement of being, Occupy actually is. Racist, violent, radical, mostly male, mostly white, astroturf, run by the wealthy, you name it.

Girl scouts, primarily known for their cookies and cute uniforms, are one of the left's targets. The problem with the scouting organizations is that they're so traditional, so old fashioned, and have a creepy military vibe (if you're a leftist). So its no surprise they're continually targeted, and recently several chapters have just shut down because of a push to get "transgendered" boys into their ranks. If you're 8 years old, you're too young to be swapping sexes. You don't even know who you are, let alone if you're really a secret girl inside a boy's body.

Meanwhile, the long march through the institutions that the socialists in America have been working on has reached the Girl Scouts in other ways. In their official material, they include the hard left, Soros-run, deliberately biased organization Media Matters as a go-to source for news fact checking. Its never too early to start indoctrinating girls into the left's viewpoint.

AARP is pretty blatantly a Democratic Party machine, but like Media Matters, it still enjoys Tax Exempt status. Well, three Republican congressmen have requested that the IRS take a look at this status to see if they're violating it and deserve continued protection from taxation. The IRS is probably torn between gathering more taxes and being controlled by Democrats who'd rather the AARP was left alone.

More Democrats are abandoning ship. Every time a major shift in power is in the wind, congressmen start retiring or changing parties; Republicans did it in 2006 and 2008. Why? Well, they lose their ability to control the money flow if their part is out of power, and they can't cash in on sweet lobbyist and corporate no-work gigs if they aren't any use to the companies any longer. Best to get out while you can get a benefit out of it. And besides, it takes huge ego to run for high office, and if you know you can't win, that's a pretty big blow to the ego.

One of these congressmen retiring is Ben Nelson, Democrat from Nebraska. As I wrote last year, Nelson sold out his constituents for big money to his state, and the voters there were outraged. Ten years ago or so, you could get away with that; five years, even. These days, people hear about it and don't forget.

Austria, like a lot of European states, has pretty restrictive laws designed to protect Islam. They're ostensibly to protect religion, but many only came into being recently and only are used to stop people from criticizing Islam. The most recent case is Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff who gave a talk in which she noted that Muhammad was a pedophile for sleeping with a nine-year-old girl (Aisha, reported in the Hadith and an event unquestioned by Muslims although some try to push her age up a few years). The judge ruled that since Muhammad stayed married to her until he died, he wasn't really a pedophile, so the statement was a slanderous attack on a religion. The sentence was 60 days in jail or a €480 (about $600) fine. It would have been more, but the judge recognized that as a poor single housewife, she can't afford to pay much. Your speech is free, unless you speak about Islam in a manner that annoys Muslims. Which doesn't take much.

Occupy is "sexy" according to the Smithsonian Institute, which is gathering debris and materials from the events. Apparently the people working there think lice, dysentery, rape, and feces is sexy stuff.

Here's the fastest selling single in England in six years. Its the number one song, and its not by Lady Gaga or Lil' Wayne. Its by military wives, singing a song to their husbands on Christmas and sending their love out. Be ready to tear up:


What a wonderful gift for those men.

Less pleasant news is the bombing on Christmas that killed 40 Christians worshiping in churches. Nigeria has one of the older Christian communities on earth, but Muslims hate them and want them destroyed. What they don't seem to realize is that while Islam thrives in conquest, Christianity thrives in persecution.

GoDaddy has built quite a net empire by offering cheap web hosting and advertising with hot babes. However, they made a severe blunder recently by backing the Stop Online Piracy Act which is basically a combination between an increase in US government control over the internet and massive protection laws for big entertainment. 21,000 people left GoDaddy for other hosts in one day of protest, and more have followed since. Let that be a lesson to other businesses.

Mining is permitted in various parts of the country, but the restrictions on this critical industry are growing every year. Recently the 9th circuit court (yes, the most reliably leftist and overturned federal court in America) upheld a federal law banning building any new roads into designated forested areas. In Montana, a judge upheld a law that restricts mining to these conditions:
  • The drill sites must be cleared using hand tools,
  • The drilling equipment and fuel must be transported to the site by a team of pack mules,
  • The mules must be fed certified weed-free hay, and
  • Drill site and trail reclamation must be done using hand tools.
So you can mine, but you have to do it by hand, can't take a road, can only use mules, and they can only eat special government-approved food. How the west was lost.

This tweet by the Obama administration had a lot of people laughing. As Jim Hoft says at Gateway Pundit: "No wonder the economy sucks, the Obama administration can't add."


Also by Jim Hoft is this point. Its great that people are finally getting to vet the old newsletters that Ron Paul campaigned on and said represented his positions on topics. They're full of wierd conspiracy theories, racist comments, and gay bashing. But what about all those Trinity Church bulletins and sermons the press couldn't bother looking into about President Obama? There's still time, he's running for president again. Maybe this time you can vet the guy?

Finally, remember when President Obama campaigned on a promise to raise energy prices? Remember when he said that several times as a presidential candidate? Well he's not kept most of his promises, but he's keeping this one.
As CNBC reported earlier this week, the typical American family will spend the largest portion ever of its budget -- 8.4 percent -- on gasoline this year. Economists expect the average price of a gallon of gas to be $3.53, a 76-cent increase over 2010.
But that's not inflation inflation, we don't count energy and food prices for official inflation numbers. Regular people don't use either, apparently.

And that's the Word Around the Net for December 30, 2011. See you next year!

THE BEST OF WATN: The Rest

"Who?"

2011 ended up with three Instapundit links overall, the last one being my bit about how I should have voted for McCain despite him being a miserable jerk who does not deserve the presidency. Too often in life we have to choose between the bad and the awful, and while a McCain presidency would have been bad, it would have been at least somewhat less destructive than the last 3 years of Obama in office.

Quite a few people linked the Rethinking McCain piece, and not a few of the mocked or attacked me, which is fine; I rather expected it. None of those people seemed to realize that the few people like me who couldn't stand voting for him would never have added up to enough to push him over the win line.

It was just at the end of last year, but my King Star entry relating the work and findings of Rick Larson regarding the star of Bethlehem. Especially around Christmas, but all through the year that got a lot of notice, and I never did get paid for it at RightNetwork.

Quite a few pictures of the day got links over the year, such as this one:


The Depression Era Survival Kit series I ran was pretty popular as well, and I wish I had more ideas for it because I think its going to be very useful to people soon, unfortunately.

Overall its been an interesting year. It started out great with two paying writing jobs at different news organizations but I got my second book published and its selling a few copies every month, and I'm working on another. Thanks everyone for reading and visiting my little site, I hope you enjoy next year and I hope you keep linking Word Around the Net!

PICTURE OF THE DAY

Lucas effects

And it shows, George.

Quote of the Day

"Too many of us look upon Americans as dollar chasers. This is a cruel libel, even if it is reiterated thoughtlessly by the Americans themselves."
-Albert Einstein

Thursday, December 29, 2011

FALSE LIBERATION

"In order to be true peacemakers, we must educate ourselves in compassion, solidarity, working together, fraternity, in being active within the community and concerned to raise awareness about national and international issues and the importance of seeking adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth, the promotion of growth, cooperation for development and conflict resolution."
-Pope Benedict XVI

Recently Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo wrote a piece for the Washington Post which has caused a bit of a stir. The title of the bit is Christmas means the redistribution of wealth and its all about Liberation Theology. His argument is that Christianity is all about redistributing wealth so as to bring redemption to culture.

The core of this argument is this:
The idea that the world needs to be saved - and not just individuals -- is contained in the doctrine of original sin as found in the teachings of St. Paul the Apostle. How can he say that a child who has just been born is a sinner? It’s because the world’s history before Jesus made it logical for each individual to care only about him or herself. The evil person alone prospered in the Roman Empire. But Jesus changed that imbalance by substituting for selfishness Christian love of neighbor in Jesus’ name.
In other words, the problem with people isn't inside them - original sin isn't a state of humanity, its caused by mans inhumanity to man. Again, this is the assumption that people are basically decent and culture makes people mean to each other. And again the basic flaw is "where did those people get the idea to be mean to begin with, if we all started out decent to each other?"

Liberation Theology has its roots in the Vatican II conference held by the Roman Catholic Church, and was brought up by radical leftist priests and monks who had come up with a new blend of theology. What they did was take the principles of Maxism and try to apply them to the Bible. They started with the presumptions of Marx about the world rather than the Bible, then found places in the Bible that seemed to support this and created a different theological approach.

For them, redemption is about being good to each other, reducing poverty and misery, and making the world a more equal, peaceful place. They sought to bring redistribution, economic equality, and justice as defined by ownership and relative power. They taught a Christ who died to make people nice to each other, rather than to save us from our sins. During the 60s, 70s, and 80s, Liberation Theology was big in South America, and it ended up backing a lot of nasty revolutionary causes. This is part of why priests kept getting killed by government troops in places like El Salvador: because they'd joined up with the Marxist and Maoist rebels.

Politically speaking, Marxism sounds nice in theory, but upon closer examination becomes baldly foolish. The idea that everyone will, out of the goodness of their heart and desire to help their fellow man, do horrible, unpleasant, and tedious things while everyone gets the same no matter what they do is simply idiotic.

But the Liberation Theology guys had to do away with the concept of original sin or their entire system falls apart. If people are basically not good, then they won't work together for the common good in a Marxist utopia. They'll be as selfish, greedy, and narcissistic as we know humans are.

Liberation Theologians swear they are about peace and justice, but everywhere they go, they end up hooking up with rebels who kill and destroy to bring about the glorious revolution. And ultimately, that's one of Marx' most basic principles: the old system has to be destroyed, and with it anyone who won't go along with it.

In terms of Christian theology, their ideas are simply absurd. They are, like the theologian who runs to the newspaper to see how prophecy is working out, looking outside the word of God to find their answers, then applying them to the Bible. They start with presuppositions which are alien to scripture and try to jam them in at any cost to the integrity of the Bible.

The truth is, the very command against theft ("Thou shalt not steal") absolutely demands a concept of ownership and property. That means what you earn and own, others have no right or place in taking away, no matter what the cause. Christian charity and care for others is always internal, not external. The Bible continually tells Christians to help those in need, to love their neighbor, to assist any who require it, and to give to the poor.

This principle means that people own things and they are to do with them as their wisdom, gifts, and conscience lead them to with it, but not to give all to a common pool which everyone shares from. Although the Old Testament legal and government system for the Hebrews is no longer binding, the principles and approach God takes toward ownership and charity is clear to understand through study of them.

What it never does is say that this is done through redistribution of wealth by the government. The government's job according to scripture is to encourage good and punish evil. Period. Anything beyond that is not only violating the word of God, but it is actually destructive to us as humans because it takes away our charity and cheerful giving and replaces it with sloth; the government will take care of everything, we don't have to.

Further, the Bible clearly and inescapably teaches that we are saved from our sins to glorify God in Christ's doing and dying, not shown a nice example of how to behave sacrificially (as defined by taxes). Jesus died to save us from the wrath of God justly directed at our sin, not to be an example. There's absolutely no reason for Jesus to die at all if his entire purpose was to teach us how to be better people. And that approach to religion is identical to 1481245 other faiths, making Christianity just another ethical system rather than truth and salvation.

What sets Christianity apart from every other religion on earth is salvation by grace alone through faith alone, something this man rejects utterly not only because he's basically a Marxist, but because he's a Roman Catholic. That objective, external salvation to change us within despite our opposition to God is to bring us into a loving family of God to serve and glorify Him. In and through that we do good for and to each other, as a result, not a primary focus. Liberation Theology offers a weak, pointless Christ without salvation, with no future hope, in the name of economic equality, in a failed system that rejects basic human nature. And it always in the past has led to picking up that AK-47.

And for more than a decade, President Obama was steeped in a black-racist version of Liberation Theology taught by Father Pfleger and Reverend Wright, shaping his ethical and Biblical understanding.

THE AMAZING SCANDAL-LESS PRESIDENCY

“one of the least remarked upon aspects of the Obama presidency has been the lack of scandals.”
-Professor Brendan Nyhan

Gunwalker
The year is almost over, so there's probably not enough time for another scandal to emerge. So Michelle Malkin's scandal wrap up for 2011 is well timed, listing the problems that the Obama administration has faced so far.

Hilariously, some on the left claim there have been no scandals, and certainly if you get your news from NBC, Jon Stewart, or the New York Times you could be forgiven for thinking so. But the legacy media isn't where most people get their news any longer, and they've been left behind in reporting.

So here's her list, in summary:
  • Carol Browner's resignation after ordering GM and Chrysler auto execs to “put nothing in writing, ever” and putting out a misleading, false report on oil leak damage.
  • In February, President Obama was in fact held in contempt of court for ordering drilling halted in the coast without constitutional power to do so.
  • All through spring, waivers to organizations to avoid the cost of the Government Health Insurance Takeover Act - almost all of them to Obama friends and political allies such as the SEIU.
  • In October it was revealed that Obama’s health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius had shredded documents to protect Planned Parenthood in a high profile criminal case from when she was Governor of Kansas.
  • Then there was Solyndra, the first in over a half dozen "green" energy companies that were given dump trucks full of cash from the "stimulus" package and went bankrupt anyway.
  • Then there was the LightSquared scandal where a general was pressured to change his testimony before congress.
  • Clair McCaskill is a Democrat, but even she was so outraged by the no-bid smallpox antiviral pill contract with Siga Technologies — controlled by big Obama donor Ron Perelman.
  • There was also the MF Global collapse, led by Obama donor and former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine who lost hundreds of millions of dollars and scammed the business while throwing tens of thousands of dollars into the pockets of the reelect Obama team.
  • And of course, there was the Fast & Furious scandal, which is still unfolding despite the best efforts of the Obama administration and their willing allies in the legacy media. Hundreds are dead, and the death toll keeps rising. No indictments, no arrests.
But other than that, no scandals at all.

UNPOSSIBLE

"Today should be a time for the UN to show solidarity with the victims -- the millions of North Koreans brutalized by Kim's merciless policies of starvation and oppression -- and not with the perpetrators."

This image is being posted all over the internet, its the flags at the UN headquarters in New York City at half mast because of the funeral of Kim Jong Il. Its fun to giggle at the lunatic dictator but he's also a horrendous, brutal murderer and tyrant who has starved and brutalized his own people so much the average height of North Koreans has been dropping over the last few years.

Kim Jong Il was a terrible person and a ghastly dictator. This is like putting the flag at half mast for Pol Pot's funeral or for Idi Amin.

But the United Nations sort of has to do this, to show respect for a world leader. The problem is that the UN by its charter and definition cannot discriminate between a tyrant and a democratic leader. It has no method or ability to distinguish between liberty and oppression, between good and bad. That's why nations such as Syria are on the UN Human Rights council, because everyone has to get a shot at each committee, as everyone is treated as functionally equivalent.

Every nation gets a seat at every table no matter what a horrific monster their government might be. So Nicolai Ceauscescu is treated the same as JFK. So its customary for the UN to lower their flags to half mast for the death of any world leader no matter whom. When Stalin died... the flags were at half mast. If the UN had been around in WW2, They'd have put the flags at half mast for Hitler, probably. I don't know if they did it for Khadaffi but it wouldn't surprise me.

Until the UN is restructured or replaced with an organization that recognizes the difference between good and evil, liberty and oppression, and can determine that some governments are not fit to be at the table except in negotiations, then its worthless in its primary founding cause of preventing another Hitler from arising. But that's just never going to happen for three main reasons:
  1. Tyrants, thugs, and brutal dictators have a strong voice in the UN's decision making process.
  2. The people in charge of the UN are moral relativists, and do not believe in any overarching absolute ethical standard.
  3. This would give too much power to nations such as the US who are not brutal tyrannies, and that's something people who work at and lead the UN find a dreadful prospect.
So the UN is basically a gigantic money sink that tries to do good around the world and manages to do it hap hazardly, inefficiently, and unevenly while countries such as the US roll up the day of a disaster and start helping immediately.

PICTURE OF THE DAY


True vs faux anarchy.

BEST OF WATN: The Spoiled Generation

"Even the people at these events don't know what they're about "

While I was gone to the coast on vacation this year, I asked a few folks I know pitch in and post on WATN to keep it active, and they did a great job. One of the bits was by CavalierX and he posted on the participation award generation aspect of the Occupy movement which was at its height at the time. This really took off, and it was not only linked all over but still gets hits from people searching for the topic.

So thanks Cav, and you readers should be aware he has a blog of his own out there he doesn't update nearly as often as I'd like.
Listen to these Wall Street protesters, this "Occupy Wall Street" movement that (as the media gleefully tells us) is sweeping the country. Who the heck are these dirty, ignorant people living in deliberate squalor on our streets, and what do they want? The answer is that (excepting the decrepit old hippie contingent desperately trying to recapture the Summer of Love, the union thugs and professional protesters) these are our children, the generation that will run the country after us. We did this to them, or allowed it to be done. They are as we have made them, and what they want is to remain children forever.

This is what comes of a generation told by their parents and teachers that everyone is equally special, that we live in a world where there are no winners and losers. This is the result of teachers refusing to correct errors in red ink for fear of damaging the students' delicate psyches. This is what happens when our education system spends decades (and billions) preaching to children that capitalism is evil because some people do get left behind. When we teach children that everyone is a winner, they all grow up to be losers. Why work hard when everyone wins anyway?

Look at these people. With no thought given to sanitation, food distribution, medical issues or sleeping arrangements they swarm in parks and sit on sidewalks bemoaning the fact that the gravy train ends at 18, or 21. Or maybe 26. Or ever. They've always been cared for by others, and on the cusp of adulthood, they have no idea how to become adults. They demand that someone feed them, take them to the bathroom, entertain them and tuck them in at night. At the age of two, that's cute. At twenty-two, it's pathetic. And yet Democrats, including the President, encourage them -- encourage dependence on government and envy of the rich. A dependent population is a biddable population.

They want banks abolished and free education guaranteed because many of them will soon graduate (or have recently done so) with no idea how to get a job so they can pay the student loans they owe. Perhaps if we had forced them to take classes in Business Administration or Accounting instead of majoring in Angry Women's Studies and Medieval French Poetry, they would.

The protesters want borders abolished because they want others to come cut their lawns, cook their food, wash their dishes and make their beds. They don't even realise that illegals take menial jobs because they can't get any other kind, not because they have a racial predilection for landscaping and vacuuming.

They want a guaranteed "living wage," free housing and free health care, even for the unemployed. With no idea how to earn an honest buck, a government-mandated check is the only way they'll be able to survive in a real world they've never been trained to face. They can't understand that someone has to provide all those things, either directly or through paying taxes. A collectivist system, under which people are forced to work for the benefit of others, has had many labels: fascism, communism, totalitarianism, even slavery. These protesters have never been taught that charity only has moral value when it's voluntary.

Many years ago, it was sometimes said of those who majored in English that they should memorise the phrase "Would you like fries with that?" before graduation. For this generation, an English degree would be a step up -- as would a job at McDonald's. But they've been well trained to reject anything as lowly as a McJob, haven't they? They've been taught to hate capitalism itself, though it has provided them with everything they now demand as a "right." They've been spoiled in both common senses of the word -- pampered into uselessness and allowed to rot. We've let that happen to them. But at least those long-ago English majors would have understood the spectacular, stunning irony of hipsters posting pictures of themselves protesting "corporate greed" in designer clothing on Facebook using their iPhones.

We've seen violence spreading across Europe, as cash-strapped governments are forced to pass "austerity measures" to avoid bankruptcy. That's what happens when entire countries spend beyond their means after promising everything to their people, and borrow to pay the bills instead of cutting down on wasteful spending. Think it can't happen here? That's what these children fear the most: the loss of the "good life" they've come to believe they are owed by the world. When it happens -- and it will -- their fear of and inability to survive in the adult world will become toxic. When an entire generation of spoiled children loses their entitlements, they'll react as children often do when their toys are taken away: with anger.

We'd better focus on teaching the next generation after this properly, because too many of the kids about to enter the adult world will be dependent on their children for support after their parents have passed on.
*Its not so much that these people don't have a valid complaint, its that they're so unwise, so self-focused, and so pampered their whole lives they don't even know how to start looking for solutions beyond "give me stuff!"

Quote of the Day

"I told the doctor I broke my leg in two places. He told me to quit going to those places."
-Henny Youngman

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

ADVICE FROM THE FOOLISH

"Life is not fair. Get used to it."

I'm 46 years old, and like most people I look back on my life and think of a few things I'd have done differently. I don't have a lot of regrets, unlike many, because I tend to be more philosophical about the past: I can't change it. Still, there are things I wish I'd known.

Advice
So for those who are younger or looking for a bit of advice from someone not terribly old, but who has seen a few miles, here's a few thoughts.

  • A pretty face don't make a pretty heart. That's a line from "Doctor, Doctor" by Robert Palmer, and its good advice. Just remember: she may look cute but she might be a horrible person, and that's what's going to matter most. Even a short relationship will be long enough their looks won't make up for being mean, selfish, catty, and so on. Find out what her heart is like.
  • Its better by far to be alone than be with the wrong person.
  • Hit the head. This is some advice I got from a military guy, and while it seems frivolous, its good practical advice. Never miss a chance to go to the bathroom, as it were. Don't wait, if you gotta go, then go.
  • Don't use a credit card unless you absolutely have to. Just avoid going into debt in the first place, and only do so in an emergency.
  • Life moves fast. I know, this is impossible to really understand when you're young but keep this in mind: every year that goes by you will never get back. Consider the years of your life like health points in a game that never ever come back.

  • You're going to get fired from a job at least once. Nearly everyone on earth who has worked for someone else has had that happen. Sometimes its unfair, sometimes you have it coming. Its not the end of the world.
  • Work hard, show up early, and listen to your boss. They pay your bills, treat them with respect. If your boss isn't worth respect, then move to another job.
  • Girls: don't send nakey pictures to a boyfriend no matter how much you love them and believe he'll always be yours. Don't do it, because chances are he'll share them with all his friends even before you break up and you'll end up on the internet.
  • Almost no one even notices you, let alone cares. If you feel self conscious, that's you, not anyone else. Nobody cares about your self esteem except your teachers, and they're paid to. If someone is mean to you, they probably have something else on their mind, not you.
  • Some mistakes haunt you for the rest of your life.
  • Those older people who keep telling you stuff that sounds dumb, sometimes - even often - they know what they're talking about. Don't ignore them.
  • Your first instinct is often right. The better trained, raised, and more ethical you are, the more often they are right.
  • Inform yourself not just with data, but truth; who you are spiritually matters more than what you do and know.
  • Generally, when men have a problem and they tell you about it, they want to know a solution. When women have a problem and they tell you about it, they want an audience and sympathy. Remember this when dealing with the opposite sex.
  • Regular maintenance saves money and helps build discipline. This applies to yourself, your clothes, your car, and everything you own. Fix and maintain rather than trash and replace, and you'll save a lot of money.
  • You can eat crap and never sleep now and get away with it but the time when you won't be able to is fast approaching. Take care of yourself now and learn good habits early so you won't have to later when you're miserable.
  • "In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do. The second best is to do the wrong thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing."
  • -Theodore Roosevelt
  • Stay on a schedule, and make that a habit. Its healthier, teaches discipline, and results in a more efficient, effective life.
  • Be willing to break that schedule and be spontaneous when the situation calls for it.
  • Stop worrying about who you will be, what your future will be, or what you'll end up as. Do the best you can at whatever you are doing and you'll find out in time.
  • Learn to serve and obey and you will learn to lead. The more power you have, the greater servant you become to others under your power.
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Love your neighbor as yourself, and love God above all. By being outwardly focused, you will find you stop worrying about yourself and begin to act and do rather than worry and guess.
The truth is, most of these I'm still trying to learn. But they're things I wish I'd learned a long time ago. And perhaps by learning them I could have been a better man. We all have a lot of growing to do, no matter how old we are, and we all make stupid mistakes and fail. Failure is a hallmark of the most successful, in truth, yet success is utterly empty and vain without a purpose beyond this world, as The Preacher notes in Ecclesiastes.

So the most important advice is to get right with God, because life is short, but eternity is forever.

ABUSING INTERVIEWS

"The deep, dark secret of human resources is that traditional job interviews don't work very well."

I hate logic puzzles, "brain teasers," and trick questions. I consider them along the same lines as practical jokes; a cruel way to make someone else look bad. If you get them right, nobody is impressed, they just think you're showing off. You can be dumb as a pile of rocks but really good at these sort of quizzes, or smarter than Einstein and awful at them. They don't test anything but your ability to do quizzes.

I'm not very good at them. I'm not dumb, I just don't think along those lines, so they just frustrate me and annoy me. Which is why when I read this bit linked at Ace of Spades HQ, I just shook my head. Apparently, some HR folks are asking these kind of questions at interviews, according to William Poundstone at the Wall Street Journal:
Jim's first interviewer is late and sweaty: He's biked to work. He starts with some polite questions about Jim's work history. Jim eagerly explains his short career. The interviewer doesn't look at him. He's tapping away at his laptop, taking notes. "The next question I'm going to ask," he says, "is a little unusual."

You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown into a blender. Your mass is reduced so that your density is the same as usual. The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?
My answer would be "well I guess I die," along with a feeling of contempt for the business that hired this jackass. I'm not sure I really want to work there any more.

What's going on? Well, this is what happens when a certain sector of the industry comes into high demand. Poundstone explains:See, there's such a glut of potential workers that employers can be really picky, and they want the best, the one that fits their company the best and won't be a problem. Its really hard to fire people these days with unions and lawsuits and regulations. So they want to not have to.

And along comes Joe HR, with his handy kit of amazing questions and tricks to weed out the problem applicants, or so he says. He sounds so clever and cutting edge, he'll leverage the potential applicants, managing cross-organizational dependencies and maximizing the synergy based on the company's broad assets. Why, this is brilliant, give him full control over hiring! thinks the pointy-haired boss, uninterested in hiring and hoping he looks smart to his bosses.

So you get this crap, which has nothing whatsoever to do with how well they'll do the job, how smart they are, or how well they fit into the company. Asking someone what superpower they'd like to have or if they ever built a model airplane that flew doesn't weed out the liars and the slackers. It just makes the HR department look smart and impresses their bosses.

Oh by the way, what Google is looking for is "jump out of the jar." Yeah. Well if you're going to posit shrink rays, I guess you've thrown logic and physics out of the window entirely to begin with so why not turn yourself into water so you can't be harmed by the blades. Why not teleport to Eva Longoria's changing room. Apparently they aren't even bothering to look for reason or intelligence, just something unexpected.

Now I never had any problem with interviews, but I never ran into this kind of stupidity either. I suspect I wouldn't get hired, because they'd get short, annoyed answers from me like "no," when asked to estimate the mass of a 747. I am here for a job, not to make you feel smart.

I can't help but think of this interview process:



Does this find good job applicants? No, but it makes the interviewer feel powerful and important, and that's what truly matters. Apparently.

BEST OF WATN: Vultures at the Feast

"When you have the paparazzi hiding in the bushes outside your home, the only thing you can control is how you respond publicly."
Portia de Rossi

Early this year a picture of a little girl who was killed looting was around the net, showing how bleak things are in Haiti, particularly after the earthquake and hurricane damage. Haiti is much like most of New Orleans: its mostly rebuilt now but you'd hardly be able to tell because its such a shanty town to begin with.

Well the picture was kind of staged, and I had to write about that, because of the basic deception that too many photojournalists engage in. People really keyed into the piece and it got linked all over the place. I still get hits every so often on this bit.
Who is Fabienne Cherisma? She's a 15 year old girl who was shot in the head while trying to loot after the Haitian earthquake. The Haitian police shot her and a lot of other looters; she had a few pictures and folding chairs stolen from shops. The picture of her lying on the broken ground won photographer Paul Hansen an award.

Fabienne's BodyHowever, what this picture does not show is what the other side of the camera looked like. When that's revealed, the feel of the image changes from a lonely girl's abandoned and ruined form into a spectacle:

Vultures
Instead of photographers, suddenly these men look like vultures. And the image of the Haitian men watching these white photographers gather around snapping pictures of their fellow islander adds to the disquiet. Its too late to save Fabienne's life, and clearly she didn't show much good sense. I mean, if you're going to loot, take something you need not just whatever crap you could find, and don't loot in Haiti where you know the police will shoot to kill. The real story here, though, is the crowd of men taking pictures of a girl. One of them grins as he rests his camera. The others are focused on taking that prize-winning photo, without thinking of the humanity of their subject or any dignity for her body. She's just an object to capture. What's worse is that by this time, her family had arrived and were grieving over their lost daughter and sister.

I've seen other revealing pictures of this sort, showing more of what is really going on behind the scenes that isn't ordinarily revealed. Consider this image of a grieving palestinian woman:

Mourning palestinian Which really looks like this, when you pan back:

Grinning kid
Or this, more famous one, from Cindy Sheehan's Crawford roadside protest:

Sheehan Protest
And here's the full picture.
Sheehan Truth
A picture is worth a thousand words, but the story changes when you pull back a bit and see the whole picture. The initial image looks tragic, a woman mourning at the barrier between Israel and palestinian settlements. The full picture changes everything. Now it looks more like a staged media spectacle, and the grinning palestinian boy in the back seems to be giving away the secret; is this woman really grieving or is she putting on a show for western cameras? Cindy Sheehan's protest looks more impressive and numerous in the first picture, but the second reveals that the media outnumbers the protesters 10:1 making you wonder why they showed up in the first place. You can be certain that a woman upset at President Obama wouldn't get a single reporter at her little protest. The problem is that a picture can be a very powerful statement, shaping people's perceptions and ideas of a news story, and these images, while not deceptive, hide the actual truth behind a carefully crafted image. I have long despised reporters who fly to a scene of horrendous disaster, stand around in makeup with expensive haircuts and describe how awful things on with appropriately sympathetic tones, then leave. The starvation, disease, killing, disaster, or whatever it is they reported on goes on, unchanged by their presence. They came, they saw, they got their story; they left. Please help these people, because I sure as hell won't.

The reporter argues that the world has to know, that their job is to inform, and through that generate a larger, more successful attempt to help. And I do know that some reporters actually do pitch in and lend a hand sometimes. The reporter will also argue that they are just trying to get the story, that they aren't ghouls, but scribes documenting events. There's some truth to that, but tell it to Fabienne's family. They see what you see there, through a veil of tears. And until the internet came along, who told that story?
The recent pictures of Perry eating a corndog are a harbinger of how images are going to be used in the upcoming presidential election. They sold President Obama as a glowing messiah in 2008, they'll sell the GOP candidate as a demon in 2012.

Quote of the Day

"The West got wealthy by means which 'sustainable development' wants to deny to the world’s poor."
-Willis Eschenbach

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

THE LEGEND OF OBAMA

"Probably the smartest guy ever to become president."
-Michael Beschloss

Obama Cult
President Obama won election on a wave of anti-Republican sentiment and slogans. Most of the people polled and interviewed who voted for Barack Obama didn't know much about his positions or ideas, but loved what they thought he was, and what he was sold as. At least some thought he held the same positions as Senator McCain, and liked that, for example.

As a former CIA recruiter notes, president Obama was never properly vetted. The purpose of vetting is to screen out anything problematic and bring to the surface any important details of a candidate's background. Missing from Obama's background was most of what you'd really want to know in an applicant for a job, particularly the most powerful job on earth:
On the other hand, Barack Obama’s background remains nearly a blank slate. His school records, from kindergarten to law school, remain hidden. The story of his financial support is hidden — his private elementary and high school in Hawaii, his international travel, his graduate and undergraduate tuition and living expenses, and more. And these are just the beginning of the Barack Obama vetting failure.
So instead of a candidate which had certain policy positions and background we could vote for or against, we got a myth, a series of images and slogans designed to dazzle and baffle voters. And it worked.

But as Victor Davis Hanson writes, all the things said about Obama by his supporters were just myths. We were told over and over that Barack Obama is incredibly intelligent, yet:
In short, the myth of Obama’s brilliance was based on his teleprompted eloquence, the sort of fable that says we should listen to a clueless Sean Penn or Matt Damon on politics because they can sometimes act well. Read Plato’s Ion on the difference between gifted rhapsody and wisdom — and Socrates’ warning about easily conflating the two.
Or, as I said, he's a sophist, giving us tricky and carefully crafted speech in the place of eloquence and truth.

We were assured that Senator Obama was a "healer" who would bring the fighting politics to an end and create bipartisan consensus, but:
The truth? The Obamites — Jarrett, Axelrod, Emanuel, etc. — were hard-core partisan dividers, who had a history of demonizing enemies, suing to eliminate opponents, and leaking divorce records, in addition to the usual Chicago campaign protocols.

If one were to collate the Obama record on race (from Eric Holder’s “my people” and “cowards” to Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” and Van Jones’s racist rants), it is the most polarizing in a generation.
He's been more divisive than any president in my lifetime, not by holding positions some people hate but by deliberate rhetoric and action, supported by his workers and associates.

We were told that Obama was a reformer, who'd change the way things were done in Washington, a class warrior who'd fight against the cronies and entrenched power. Instead:
The more Obama badmouthed BP and Goldman Sachs, the more we knew he received record amounts of cash from both (were the bad “millionaires and billionaires” snickering that this was just part of the game?). He renounced liberal public financing of campaigns of over three decades duration, as only a liberal reformer might, and got away with it. Obama raised far more money than any candidate in history, and will go back to the same trough this time around. On a Monday the president will vilify Wall Street, on Tuesday host a $40,000-a-head dinner...
He's the biggest crony socialist in history.

And finally we were told that Senator Obama was magnanimous, above the fray, and generous. Instead, he takes credit for what he hasn't done (and vigorously opposed) in Iraq, continues the very policies he claimed were evil in President Bush, and blames every woe on his predecessor, ATM machines, and even the internet.
How did what was superfluous, unconstitutional, and possibly illegal in 2008 become vital in 2011?
The man has the same tendency to shift blame and pretend he's the good guy as President Clinton without the charm and skill at lying.

And so we have a president who's nothing he was presented as, lacking any substance during his campaign, and an utter failure while in office, who now wants everyone to give him the same job again. But this time around instead of clever slogans and halo imagery, people know what he's like and what he can and cannot do.

Yet all those Democrats will vote for him again, anyway, because better him than any Republican.

LIKE A BAD MOVIE

"Good movies always rise to the occasion. Bad ones, not so much."

Box Office
Hollywood is seeing disappointing numbers again. Would-be blockbusters like Mission Impossible 4 aren't doing as good as expected, and kid-friendly sequels like Alvin and the Chipmunks are suffering as well. Even Tintin isn't doing as well as they expected worldwide, pulling down just $250 million so far. That sounds like a lot, but it cost $124 million just to produce.

Movie attendance dropped 6% in 2010, according to Brooks Barnes at the New York Times, and this year is expected to drop even further:
With five days left in 2011, ticket sales in North America are running about $500 million behind last year — despite higher prices — prompting a round of soul searching by studios trying to determine what went wrong and how best to proceed.
And analysts point to the fact that Avatar inflated 2010 numbers by being released late in 2009. That's despite a huge number of 3D movies, thought to be the salvation of the movie theater (you can't watch 3D at home very easily, so it makes you go to the theater). And since 3D tickets cost 3-5 bucks more than normal ones, that helps inflate the numbers, but sales are still down almost 5% from last year.

Hollywood types are trying to figure out why they aren't making as much, and list a few possibilities, such as the general poor economy worldwide and their usual bugbear: movie piracy. And there are the usual complications, such as home entertainment centers, which make viewing movies in the comfort of your home little different than at a theater for most people. And video games probably are taking a bite out of movie going as well, they're getting so visually brilliant that they're almost like an interactive movie, at least the well-made ones.

What they don't seem to understand is boldly explained in the first paragraph of this Times piece, something even Barnes doesn't seem to notice: they raised ticket prices. Back in the great depression of the 20th century, ticket prices were pretty cheap. People could go see a movie for a nickle, when they were being paid 25 cents an hour. Today, its 15 bucks to see a movie, plus a second mortgage for popcorn and a drink. And the average worker doesn't pull down 60+ dollars an hour, even in America.

Movies used to be cheap entertainment, something fun and low cost for the family in tough times, to help you escape. Now, they cost a family a hundred bucks or more, and people just can't pop for that as often, even when the quality is good. And frankly, its not. Here are the top movies of 2011:
  1. Harry Potter/Deathly Hallows pt 2
  2. Transformers 3
  3. Twilight pt 4
  4. The Hangover 2
  5. Pirates of the Caribbean 4
  6. Fast Five
  7. Cars 2
  8. Thor
  9. Rise of the Apes
  10. Captain America
That's seven sequels, two comic book movies, and a prequel to Planet of the Apes. Two of the sequels were actually part of a book series so they aren't as bad as Fast and Furious part five, but look that over. That's the best people had to choose from, the most popular.

People just want something fun to watch, something to get away from troubles and bills for a while. Something that will entertain and bring a smile, which is why comic book movies tend to do so well (X-Men First Class and Green Lantern were also in the top 25). They are fresh, fun, and reliable entertainment.

So when you overcharge for a product that people don't have a lot of motivation to buy, you're not going to see a lot of popularity. Sure, piracy takes a bite and the economy hurts, but the truth is they're hurting themselves with their own practices. Anyone want to start a countdown for them to turn to the federal government for regulations to help their business? They already get huge tax breaks and subsidies.

BEST OF WATN: A Black Future

"The problem with all these additional government jobs is that government spending does not create the economic growth needed to sustain private sector job growth."
Bleak probably would have been a better word in the title, but I wanted to play on the racism charges that would inevitably come up with government job cuts. The truth is, cutting jobs in a high unemployment situation might seem crazy but it would actually help a lot as the burden of government would be reduced, letting the market breathe better. Its like taking medicine that tastes horrible but makes you feel better after a while. Most good solutions are tough at first and take time to resolve.

This one got linked all over the place, and it contains some pretty useful stats for understanding a lot of why we're in the situation we are now.
As with all economic down turns, the one sector that does well is the federal government. The Picture of the Day for today shows an explosion of regulatory agency jobs in just the last year, while overall federal government jobs have rapidly multiplied with nearly a 12% increase while all other job sectors have dropped by about 7%.

That shows a growth in the federal government but it also brings up a troubling fact, one that is impossible to avoid in the debt and budget battles. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) touches on this fact with a recent op ed in the Wall Street Journal:
We know that our goal is to reduce spending. But we also know that America faces not just a budget deficit but also a jobs deficit. Nobody on this committee would be happy if we reduced the budget deficit but even more Americans end up losing their jobs.
The fact is, all those studies being paid for like shrimp on a treadmill and all that redundancy, duplication, and misuse of funds involves people working for a salary at the federal government.

In other words, to fix the debt, we have to lose jobs. To trim the debt down and reduce government spending to a sane and survivable level lots of federal jobs are going to be lost. That's an inevitable consequence of the federal government bloat over the last few decades; lots of new jobs added, each costing money. When you cut the spending, jobs will be lost. And because a lot of that debt was created by adding new jobs, the direct and obvious solution is to snip those jobs away.

And it gets worse. Blacks are disproportionately represented in government jobs. In fact, hiring blacks in federal jobs is so out of norm with the general population that NASA has the smallest over representation by only hiring 49% more blacks than are in the general population. Blacks make up about 10% of the United States population, but make up about 20%* of the federal government jobs according to a 2010 study by the Office of Personnel Management.

So we're faced with a brutal dilemma: in order to lighten the pressure of the federal government on the economy and businesses so both can breathe and prosper, we're going to have to slash the government down in size which will result in many people losing jobs in a time of dire unemployment. And many of those lost jobs will be black jobs.

Now, which politician wants to stand up and actually do that? Which politician will vote and fight to slash jobs and fire lots of black people? And if that actually somehow takes place, what exactly do you think will happen in the press and in black America? How do you think that will be portrayed by a media which already is incredibly hostile to the idea of cutting anything in the federal government?

How do you think black activists and opportunists such as Al Sharpton will respond to something like that?

America will burn.

Making the case that these jobs have to be sacrificed - and further never should have been created in the first place because they are a drain on the public's funds is not possible without having a platform to speak. And the legacy media, not to mention the Democratic Party its self, will make sure there is no such platform by either burying or ignoring what is said, or distorting and spinning it to destroy anyone who dares point out what must be done.

Unless these jobs are cut and government trimmed back, our debt will destroy the economy of the richest nation on earth. And make no mistake, that means depression and devastation worldwide.

I cannot see any way, short of an act of God, for this nation to get out of this trench. We had a chance years ago and instead chose to vote more people in who'd spend more and more and I think its too late now.

*Excluding USPS workers; including them, the percentage of blacks is about 18%.

**UPDATE: President Obama has ordered federal agencies to push for more ethnic diversity in their midst. Apparently double the population's rate in blacks is not enough, for him.
***Commenter Phillip had this useful addition:
The ugly little fact is that many of those jobs started as low-level (around GS-04) positions in the metro DC area about the same time as the early 90s 'peace dividend'. The problem is that twenty years later the GS-04s have either been promoted and new positions created for them, or the positions were converted to higher level ones.
Digging those parasites out of the public body won't be easy, and I doubt we'll even really try.