The “dignity” of no job

Jobs

Anti-jobs crusaders believe that no job is better than a job that requires long hours, or that doesn’t provide the right set of benefits, or that is too messy or too menial or otherwise unsuitable for people like themselves. From the point of view of privileged, comfortable elites, it’s clear: If you take such a job, you’re being exploited by some greedy businessman. Why take a job like that when you could live off welfare, food stamps, and a myriad of other programs for low-income people? Continue reading →

Environmental Disaster: The Renewable Fuel Standard

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Environmental Disaster: The Renewable Fuel Standard
Washington politicians mandate fake “gasoline” made from plants.  What could possibly go wrong? [PDF here]

By Marlo Lewis

Summary: The bipartisan disaster called the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has all the usual characteristics of bureaucratic central planning: It features unrealistic (actually, impossible) goals, hidden taxes and regulatory burdens, and costly “unintended” consequences, and it’s carried out by anonymous, unelected, unaccountable government officials. Meanwhile, RFS reduces the mileage of motor vehicles, funnels money from consumers to well-connected “crony capitalists,” raises the price of food for the world’s poor, destroys rain forest and wetlands, and expands a dead zone the size of Connecticut in the Gulf of Mexico. It was supposed to make us more energy independent. It was supposed to protect the environment, yet it is responsible for converting millions of acres of wetlands and wildlife habitat to corn plantations. Even the “greens” have turned against it. And, like many a horror-movie villain, it’s immortal. … Or is it?

The Renewable Fuel Standard program was created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, at a time when Republicans controlled Congress and the White House, and expanded by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, with Democrats in control on Capitol Hill. Both parties are responsible for the policy disaster that is the RFS.

The RFS requires that certain volumes of biofuel—corn ethanol, biodiesel (from vegetable oil and animal fat), and so-called advanced biofuel such as cellulosic ethanol (from wood, grass, and inedible parts of plants)—must be blended into motor fuels sold in the United States. A throwback to Soviet-style central planning, Continue reading →

The POW unhingement

john mc

In 1980, I was a political reporter in Alabama, covering the U.S. Senate race. The candidates were Jim Folsom Jr., son of a former governor, and Jeremiah Denton, who had spent seven years, seven months as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam.

Alabama hadn’t sent a Republican to the U.S. Senate since George Spencer, husband of famous Latina actress “May” Nunez. After Spencer left office in 1879, no Republican had ever won a statewide office in Alabama (not counting a Senate seat in 1962 that a Republican won but the Democrats managed to steal).

As the election neared, Democrats became frantic that Denton might break the Democrats’ century-old monopoly on the state’s major offices. So the state Democratic Party chairman, George Lewis Bailes, went after Denton’s war record. Denton, Bailes said, was “dumb” to get himself shot down.

Right up ’til the election, the campaign was dominated with talk about what Bailes had said.

Denton won with 50.15 percent of the vote. Bailes resigned as Democratic chairman.

There’s something about POW heroes that unhinges some people. Continue reading →

The waters of the Sahara, and how Google handles the truth

sahara

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

Google is considering ways to rank websites by “trustworthiness” rather than by (relatively) objective standards such as frequency of keywords, upload speed, the average length of visits to a site, and the number of other sites linking to that site (along with the number of sites that link to those sites, and so on).

It’s important. Highly ranked sites appear first in Google results and, obviously, get a lot more visitors. Getting downlisted by Google could kill a website. At the very least it would cripple Continue reading →

Scott Walker vs. the Unions, Part 2: Unintended consequences: Wisconsin goes Right to Work, and Walker seeks a promotion

Scott Walker vs. the Unions
Part 2: Unintended consequences: Wisconsin goes Right to Work, and Walker seeks a promotion [PDF here]

[For Part 1, click HERE.]

By Steven J. Allen

Scott Walker

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the 2014 election neared, and the unions had their third chance to stop Walker, the Governor appeared to be in danger of losing. In mid-October, the RealClearPolitics average of polls had Walker ahead by only 47.7 to 47.3. Given that challengers usually receive the lion’s share of undecided voters, any incumbent polling under 50 percent with a challenger close behind is in serious trouble.

Walker’s opponent was formidable: Mary Burke, who had served as the state’s Secretary of Commerce under former Gov. Jim Doyle, Walker’s predecessor. Burke won the Democratic primary 83-17 over state Rep. Brett Hulsey. Hulsey was considered a gadfly. A liberal, he had reportedly tried to make a deal to join the GOP caucus in the Assembly, then, supposedly to satirize Republicans’ racism, dressed as a Confederate major to greet Republicans attending their state convention.

Burke was rich, the daughter of the founder of Trek Bicycle Corporation, and her wealth was spotlighted during the campaign. Democrats cheered her ability to “self-finance” her campaign. That’s an important quality in a candidate today, given that campaign finance laws make it difficult for people of modest means to raise money for a major campaign. Burke eventually spent a reported $5 million of her own money in the governor’s race.

Republicans questioned Burke’s ability to understand the problems of working-class people and small-business-class people, particularly in light of her attacks on the Tea Party movement. It turned out that, to win her only elective office, Continue reading →

Lost causes

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

I was a child in Alabama at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. One day in 1961, a bus carrying Freedom Riders (people attempting to break the system of segregation in bus travel) was attacked and burned in an incident that started four blocks from my home; I discovered recently that the attack was planned in a meeting hall across the street from my home. The bus burning was so significant that its 50th anniversary was noted with programs on HBO and PBS and a show hosted by Oprah Winfrey.

I remember the day in 1963 on which four little girls were killed Continue reading →

Scott Walker vs. The Unions: Part 1: Wisconsin reforms lead to protests, recalls, and battering rams in the night

Labor Watch June 2015

Scott Walker vs. The Unions

Part 1: Wisconsin reforms lead to protests, recalls, and battering rams in the night [PDF here]

Gov. Scott Walker

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary: In politics, it’s said, you’re known by the enemies you make. Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) is best known nationally for his battles with unions—from his reforms that brought 100,000 protesters to the state capitol, to the efforts by the unions to throw him out of office, to the passage of a Right to Work law. Now Walker is expected to run for president. This is part 1 of his story.

The invitation-only ceremony was held March 9 at Badger Meter, a manufacturing company near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As he prepared to sign landmark Right to Work legislation, Governor Scott Walker (R) sat with rolled-up sleeves at a table with a “Freedom to Work” sign emblazoned across the front. In front of a group that included Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Walker said the legislation he was about to sign would send “a powerful message across the country and around the world.”

Only months earlier, Walker had seemed cool on Right to Work, calling it a “distraction.” Now, with the stroke of Walker’s pen, Wisconsin became the nation’s 25th Right to Work state—the 25th state to give workers the freedom not to join a union or pay union dues.

During the event, Rich Meeusen, chief executive and chairman of Badger Meter, said that even before this legislation was signed into law, it had had an effect: It had swayed Badger Meter management to expand in Wisconsin instead of Mexico, immediately creating 12 jobs, leading to 30 to 50 new jobs later on. (Mike Brown of the left-wing group One Wisconsin Now described Meeusen’s remarks as those of “a millionaire campaign contributor who threatened to send the jobs of hardworking skilled Wisconsin workers to another country unless the system was tilted further in his favor.”)

The signing of Right to Work was the latest blow delivered by Walker to labor unions in his state. It was Walker’s latest victory in a battle with unions that has run throughout his governorship, that made him, in the words of the publication Politico, “Public Enemy No. 1 for organized labor nationwide.” In this protracted struggle, unions have attempted to paint the governor as a rabid union-hating right-winger, and in the process they have helped catapult Walker to the top tier of candidates, declared and undeclared, for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

The road to the governorship
Scott Kevin Walker was born Continue reading →

What heroes are made of

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

When the writer Lillian Hellman was buried, America’s elite turned out for her funeral.

Katherine Graham, chairman of the board of the Washington Post, was there, as was MIT president-emeritus Jerome Wiesner, who had been President Kennedy’s science advisor. Also present were Mike Wallace of “60 Minutes,” New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis, journalist Carl Bernstein, movie directors Warren Beatty and Mike Nichols, playwright/cartoonist Jules Feiffer, and novelists William Styron and Norman Mailer. And the executors of the $4 million Hellman estate–Kingman Brewster, the former president of Yale and former ambassador to Britain, and novelist John Hersey.

It was a star-studded sendoff that summer day 31 years ago. “Lillian Hellman was remembered as a courageous woman who stuck to her principles,” reported United Press International. Said MIT’s Wiesner*, “I have been able to see young people’s faces light up when they hear her name. To them, she is one of the heroine of our time.”

The Reuters news service eulogized Hellman as “a heroine to United States liberals.” The New Republic called her “a model for independent women everywhere,” while the Washington Post said she was “a woman of wit and charm, a gracious hostess and a great fisherman.” An Omni magazine survey released shortly after her death named her as one of the 13 best role models for young girls, right after leftist feminist Gloria Steinem.

And she was a Communist.

One of the highest-paid writers in Hollywood during the late ’30s and the ’40s, her income reached $150,000 a year ($2.6 million Continue reading →

You’re what you say you are, except when you aren’t

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

 

“I was born a poor black child.”

 

The ideology of so-called Progressives  is full of contradictions.

It’s almost comical to watch them tie themselves in knots over the case of Rachel Dolezal. The Spokane, Washington NAACP leader (who resigned from her position yesterday) appears to be a pathological liar—claiming falsely to have been raised in a teepee and to have hunted her own food, to have been mistreated by her parents for being too dark-skinned, to have been the victim of a series of hate crimes that appear to have been faked. But none of that mattered until she got caught pretending to be “black.”

Actually, we are told by her estranged parents, she is “Caucasian,” although they add that she is one-quarter American Indian through two of her eight great-grandparents. The category “Caucasian,” by the way, was popularized by a scientist named Johann Friedrich Blumenbach who divided the human race into Caucasians (white), Mongolians (yellow), Malayans (brown), Ethiopians (black), and Americans (American Indians, red). His categories were absurd, of course—there is no scientific basis for the division of humans into so-called “races”—but Blumenbach’s work became the basis for the “scientific consensus” that blacks were inferior. I do not need to point out the harm that has been done by this piece of pseudoscience.

Today, many of our nation’s leaders are obsessed with putting people into imaginary categories (now defined by so-called Progressives  and their enablers as “white,” “black,” “Asian,” and “Hispanic” or “Latino”). Rather than build a society in which a person is judged by his or her talent, experience, hard work, and values, the Progressives seek to divide us all into “identities” based upon which we are to distribute jobs and government contracts, college Continue reading →

Redefining bigotry / Don’t mention badminton!

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

People with Asian ancestry have to be careful when they fill out their college applications. As noted by the Boston Globe, they are advised by experts to downplay their Asianness: no badminton, because too many Asian-American students play racquet sports; no Asian Club; no essay “about your family coming from Vietnam with $2 in a rickety boat and swimming away from sharks,” as one admissions consultant put it. Don’t mention your interest in medicine or biology.

Colleges discriminate in all sorts of ways, of course. Kids get into an elite school because, like President Obama and the Bushes and the Kennedys, they’re “legacies,” i.e., a parent or both parents went to that school. “Development admits” get in because daddy gave lots of money to the school. Kids from top prep schools—“feeder schools”—get in because they’re presumed to be inherently superior, I suppose. You can also get an advantage if your folks can afford to send you to some poor country to do charity work, or if you’re an activist for a fashionable left-wing cause such as promoting ignorance about Global Warming. (Meanwhile, if you mention in your application that you’re a leader in the 4-H program or Future Farmers of America or ROTC, it reduces your chance of gaining admission to some elite schools by two-thirds.)

Asian-Americans are among the biggest victims. It’s reported that 20 or 21 percent of Harvard students are of Asian descent. That’s less than half as many as would be admitted without racial discrimination. A 2009 Princeton study of seven top colleges indicated that an applicant with an Asian background needed 140 more SAT points than “whites,” 270 points more than Hispanics, and 450 points more than African-Americans to get the same chance of admission.

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One of the most effective techniques in political deception is redefinition—changing the meaning of terms and concepts. Redefinition allows you to achieve policy goals without the necessity of going through the democratic process or abiding by the Constitution that is supposed to limit the power of politicians, bureaucrats, and judges.

Want to funnel money to alcoholics and drug addicts? Redefine addiction Continue reading →