Thursday, April 23, 2009

Janet Napolitano

From the National Post:

Don Martin: Napolitano makes Bush administration look well informed

The border for dummies

Chris Selley: Meet the new Homeland Security boss

The wacky world of Janet Napolitano

She said this:

"One of the things that we need to be sensitive to is the very real feelings among southern border states and in Mexico that if things are being done on the Mexican border, they should also be done on the Canadian border."

"In other words, we shouldn't go light on one and heavy on the other ... I don't mention this to suggest that everyone in this room will agree with that, I mention it to suggest it's something I have to deal with, and so I ask for your sympathy."

The National Post said this:

The Mexican border is so porous the U.S. is building a barrier from Texas to the Pacific to try and stem the flood of illegal immigrants. It's so dangerous President Barack Obama is sending hundreds more federal agents, hoping they can slow the violence spilling over into the U.S. In Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, 1,800 people were killed in 2008. There were 366 abductions in Phoenix, largely linked to Mexican human smugglers and narcotics gangs. Recent U.S. intelligence assessments warn Mexico risks becoming a violence-ridden "failed state" similar to Pakistan.

A British reporter, on a recent visit to Tijuana, bordering San Diego, wrote:

"The average is 120 murders a month and people talk of little else. On March 6 there were 12 murders, with eight the day before, and nine the day before that.

"Beheadings have become commonplace. Kidnappingis out of control, the victims held in cages all over the city. Mutilated bodies, often showing evidence of torture, are dumped in the streets with jeering, bragging notes pinned to them. There have been public gun battles involving .50-calibre machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

Gee that sure sounds like Canada eh? I mean, I was down in Windsor the other day, and, like, I saw a guy who drove right through a yellow light.

The Gazette (Montreal):

U.S. security boss is guilty of borderline stupidity

Sure looks like we have ticked off the Canadians. Janet Napolitano is an idiot.

Other editorials from south of the border:

Our biggest national crisis

A recently-leaked memo from the Department of Homeland Security, led by Sec. Janet Napolitano, was quietly distributed to police departments nationwide, warning local law enforcement officers to be especially vigilant of certain groups of people who may constitute terrorist threats.

Described as right-wing extremists in the report, individuals to be watched carefully include military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, tax protestors, people who are unhappy with the destruction and deportation of our national manufacturing base, opponents of illegal immigration, folks who object to the impending unprecedented government deficit spending of trillions of taxpayer dollars on purported economic stimulus programs, those who object to the idea of losing our national sovereignty to a one-world government, and people who may object to the election of an African-American president. (Yes, they just had to get the race card in there to knock us off balance, didn’t they?)

Don’t believe me? Read the report online for yourself. It’s Orwellian.

Reagan: Are you a dangerous, right-wing extremist?

Do you reject “federal authority in favor of state or local authority,” or “government authority entirely”? Are you “dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration”?

If so, you are a dangerous, right-wing extremist according to Obama’s Department of Homeland Security, which bans the use of the word “terrorist” unless it’s applied to us right-wing extremists who, for example, are so extreme as to view the grisly murder of the unborn in their mothers’ wombs as cold-blooded murder.

Are you a veteran returning from Iraq or Afghanistan after risking life and limb to protect your fellow Americans? If so, you are a ticking time bomb likely to the recruited by those dangerous right-wing extremists.

After all, the vaunted Extremism and Radicalization Branch of the Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division, Department of Homeland Security, warns that you “possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to right-wing extremists,” and these Obama-ite loons are concerned that right-wing extremists “will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities.”

Have we really come to this? Has Adolf Hitler’s propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels been reborn and recruited by the Obama administration to scare the heck out of the American people with absurdities such as this whacked-out document?

Obviously recognizing that public knowledge of the nonsense alleged in this document is very undesirable, the weirdoes who prepared it did not want you to see it.

They warn: “No portion of the LES information should be released to the media, the general public, or over non-secure Internet servers.”

Too bad. The Washington Times got their hands on a copy and revealed it to the entire world.

Once it became public and many Americans reacted in disbelief, the Obama White House disavowed it despite the fact that a document as explosive as this could never have been distributed without the president’s explicit approval in the first place.

I wonder how Janet Napolitano got her job. She is head of homeland security, but she doesn't like to use the word terrorism on the world stage. She likes to say "man caused disasters". She did this because the word terrorism envoked the dreaded "politics of fear". Please. F'in gag me. I think terrorists are in the business of the politics of fear. That is what they do.

She seems to have no problem with labeling our own military as terrorists though, politics of fear be damned! She is clueless. She is the head of Homeland Security. She is the one in charge or enforcing our borders and defending this nation from terrorist attacks. She equates Canada with Mexico and asks for your sympathy. Why would your sympathy matter in matters of national security? She isn't square on the fact the illegal immigration is in fact illegal. And the head of our security had no clue how 9/11 happened.

I really wonder how someone like this got the job. When I hear the PC stuff about appeasing Mexicans and thinking about their feelings, showing some sympathy...

And then you realize this woman in charge of our borders doen't know imigration law and is woefully ignorant of how 9/11 happened. How can you run Homeland Security if you have no clue how 9/11 happened. Please shoot me now.

In her world we should be worried about the Canadians that stand and fight along with us, along with the US Military which has always been suspect in liberal circles. Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Where does your vote really count?

From The Freeman:

Where Does Your Vote Really Count?
By Walter E. Williams • April 2009

Americans cast millions upon millions of votes—that is, they make decisions—in the non-political arena where individual votes do count and where there is a much higher probability of being satisfied with the outcome. Moreover, what they get in return for their vote does not come at the expense of another. That arena is the marketplace.

In our wallets we have what amounts to ballot slips; we can think of them as dollar votes. When we take, say, nine of them and “vote” for two pounds of steak, we are fairly certain about the outcome. We get the two pounds of steak. If we don’t get the outcome we voted for—we get, say, steak of poor quality—there is swift retribution. We can simply fire the seller by taking our business elsewhere. We act unilaterally and don’t have to bother with costly organizing. Very often simply the threat of taking our business elsewhere is enough to get some kind of remedy.

An individual’s threat to vote for a politician’s opponent as an expression of dissatisfaction with the politician’s actions, on the other hand, is not likely to carry as much weight.

There is another contrast between the market arena and the political arena that can be appreciated by asking what draws the greatest public complaints: Is it market-provided goods and services, such as computers, televisions, clothing, and food? Or is it government-provided services, such as public schools, postal services, and motor vehicle departments? In the case of market-provided goods and services, the prospect of profit gives providers an incentive to please customers. The government sector, however, is not-for-profit, so it suffers no losses when it fails to please “customers.”

Imagine any company having a customer service department like the BMV. When we look around us all of the products that we love are furnished by the private market.

He also had this to say on schools:

Better for Poor People, Too

You might say, “That’s okay, Williams, if you have enough dollar votes. But what about poor people?” Poor people are far better served in the market arena than the political arena. Check this out. If you visit a poor neighborhood, you will see some nice clothing, some nice cars, some nice food, and maybe even some nice homes—no nice schools. Why not at least some nice schools? The explanation is simple. Clothing, cars, food, and houses are allocated through the market mechanism. Schools are allocated through the political mechanism. By the way, if you are a member of a minority, it is in your interest to minimize those decisions over your life made in the political arena, where the majority rules.

I remember Thomas Sowell talking about how buses were not segregated until politics crept into the fray. Bus owners didn't want to tick off bus consumers or trigger boycots of their product. The only reason buses were segregated wasn't the private market, segregation happened when the government stepped in and made it law.

There is another unappreciated feature of the market arena. It reduces the potential for human conflict. Different Americans have different and intense preferences for cars, food, clothing, and entertainment. When is the last time you heard about Chrysler lovers fighting with Lexus lovers? It seldom if ever happens. Why? Those who love Chryslers get what they want, and those who love Lexuses get what they want, and each can live in peace with one another.

It is a different story in government-provided education. Some parents wish for their children to recite a morning prayer in schools. Other parents are repulsed by the idea. The fact that education is produced by government means there is either going to be prayer in school or no prayer in school. Parents must enter into conflict with one another. Why? If, for example, the parent who wishes for prayers in school loses the political battle, that parent will not have his wishes met. Of course he can send his child to a non-government school that has morning prayers, but through the tax code he is forced to continue paying for school services for which he has no use.

It is only natural that parents will battle over the content and the values that are taught in our schools. How could it be any other way when the government has a monopoly in the education market, with over 90% of the students attending government schools?

That made me think about a different passage from Milton Friedman's FREE TO CHOOSE:

"Public schools teach religion, too-- not a formal, theistic religion, but a set of values and beliefs that constitute a religion in all but name. The present arrangements abridge the religious freedom of parents who do not accept the religion taught by the public schools yet are forced to pay to have their children indoctrinated with it, and to pay still more to have their children escape indoctrination." - Milton Friedman, Free To Choose, pg 164.

I am a firm believer in the quote above. You can't get religion out of schools, it is only a matter of who's religion and worldview you are teaching. As long as government has a monopoly on schools we will be fighting the same culture wars forever.

Imagine how tolerant we all could be if the government just left people to their own devices. I may not want the public school religion and set of values taught to my children. You may not want my values taught to yours. In a political arena we would fight this out, with one or both of us losing and going away bitter about what is being taught to our children. In the private arena we would wish each other the best and go forward with our own choices.

The time has come to free the people.


added link on public education: The Parent Trap Sphere: Related Content

Friday, April 10, 2009

Obama, Democrats stifle DC voucher study

Democrats are historically against School Choice

Obama's education department sat on a voucher study that showed substantial progress while Congress voted to kill the program

Obama, Democrats stifle DC voucher study

Obama stayed silent as Congress scheduled this initiative's demise after the 2009-2010 academic year. Both a Democratic Congress and DC authorities must reauthorize the program -- not likely.

Now it emerges that Obama's Department of Education (DOE) possessed peer-reviewed, Congressionally mandated, research proving this program's success. Though it demonstrates "what works for the kids," DOE hid this study until Congress squelched these children's dreams.

This analysis compared voucher users' test scores to those of students who requested vouchers but lost the award lottery. Among DOE's results:

-- While they were no better at math, voucher recipients read 3.7 months ahead of non-voucher students.

-- Student subgroups - including high achievers, those from functional schools, and applicants between Kindergarten and grade 8 - showed "1/3 to 2 years of additional learning growth."

-- While 63 percent of non-voucher parents gave their kids' schools As or Bs, 74 percent of voucher parents so rated their children's campuses.

This good news remained concealed, from the study's conclusion last fall, through March's Congressional debate, until April 3, when DOE finally released this report. That was a Friday afternoon...

Worse yet, DOE researchers reportedly were forbidden to publicize or discuss their findings.

They sat on the positive results because for political reasons they wanted the program to end. If those reults came out it would be harder to kill it. And why are they so politically motivated against these poor children?

With young black kids themselves begging for vouchers, why would reputedly pro-poor, pro-black Democrats kill this popular and effective school-choice program?

Follow the money: Teachers' unions' paid $55,794,440 in political donations between 1990 and 2008, 96 percent of it to Democrats. Senator John Ensign's (R - Nevada) March 10 amendment to rescue DC's vouchers failed 39-58. Among 57 Democrats voting, 54 (or 95 percent) opposed DC vouchers.

As the late Albert Shanker, former American Federation of Teachers president, once said: "When school children start paying union dues, that's when I'll start representing the interests of school children."

When poor, black school kids start making political donations, Democratic politicians will start fighting for them.

Follow the money indeed...

Jay P Greene's Blog has a lot more.
Sphere: Related Content

Friday, April 3, 2009

Hitler Wasn't That Bad After All!

Breaking News: Marge Schott vindicated!

"Everything you read, when he came in [to power] he was good...They built tremendous highways and got all the factories going...Everybody knows he was good at the beginning but he just went too far."-- Marge Schott on Hitler, ESPN 1996

Major league baseball forced her to sell her franchise at a considerable discount for those comments. Had she only lived long enough to be alive today to read the New York Times...

Stimulus Thinking, and Nuance
Published: March 31, 2009

In the summer of 1933, just as they will do on Thursday, heads of government and their finance ministers met in London to talk about a global economic crisis. They accomplished little and went home to battle the crisis in their own ways.

More than any other country, Germany — Nazi Germany — then set out on a serious stimulus program. The government built up the military, expanded the autobahn, put up stadiums for the 1936 Berlin Olympics and built monuments to the Nazi Party across Munich and Berlin.

The economic benefits of this vast works program never flowed to most workers, because fascism doesn’t look kindly on collective bargaining. But Germany did escape the Great Depression faster than other countries. Corporate profits boomed, and unemployment sank (and not because of slave labor, which didn’t become widespread until later). Harold James, an economic historian, says that the young liberal economists studying under John Maynard Keynes in the 1930s began to debate whether Hitler had solved unemployment.

I believe that David Leonhardt and the New York Times have just vindicated Marge Schott. Schott was an old woman not too far from death, her best days behind her. I guess you could say the same about the New York Times.

I didn't like the way National Socialism worked in Germany. I am not dying to try an American variety. Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Obama's Losing Bet on Detroit

From Reason Magazine:

Obama's Losing Bet on Detroit
Nationalization won't save General Motors
Steve Chapman | April 2, 2009

In its final weeks, the Bush administration lent the automaker $13.4 billion, along with $4 billion for Chrysler. On Monday, President Obama gave GM 60 days to come up with a better plan before deciding whether to sink more cash into it. But he placed a large bet on its survival by promising to guarantee all GM and Chrysler vehicle warranties.

He also held out a shimmering vision of the Big Rock Candy Mountain, expressing faith that his policies can lead to "a 21st-century auto industry that is creating new jobs, unleashing new prosperity, and manufacturing the fuel-efficient cars and trucks that will carry us towards an energy-independent future."

Truth is, that industry already exists. The Big Three just don't happen to be a part of it. The United States has robust, job-creating, fuel-efficient automakers, in the form of companies like Toyota, Honda, and Subaru.

But they don't count in the eyes of this president, presumably because their employees don't belong to the United Auto Workers union. So he apparently couldn't care less how much they resemble what he fantasizes GM and Chrysler will soon become.

I sometimes wonder about the constitution and fairness. How can Government pick a winner? How is that legal? If GM goes down the people that will benefit are it's competators. If GM is subsidized the people that stand to lose are it's competators. If you have a job at a GM competator the government is a threat to your job no matter how stable your company is.

My favorite law is the law of unintended consequences.

What if GM goes bankrupt? What happens to Ford? By all accounts Ford is in a much better position that GM. Perhaps they use GM going down as the impetus to renegotiate with the unions and gain concessions that they never could have imagined back in the day. Perhaps Ford then snaps up the most profitable parts of GM from the bankruptcy proceedings. What you could have is a new Ford Motor Company. I have no crystal ball, but it is one possible future.

GM still have over 20% market share that Ford would like to divy up. A lot of people still take pride in buying "American" cars and Ford could look to grab a substantial windfall if GM were to go out of business on that front.

If the government steps in they won't be able to save GM. They also may doom Ford in the process. You never know with the law of unintended consequences.

And this is to say nothing to address the fairness of this plan to Toyota, Honda, or other companies that make cars here in the United States. Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Where is the new JFK we expected? - London's Guardian

From Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian:

Where is the new JFK we expected?

beleaguered as he is by rising opposition from both left and right at home, even the first muttered grumbles that the 44th president might turn out to be neither a new FDR nor a JFK, but a JEC - Jimmy Carter. To cap it all, the Europeans are refusing to bow down before him.

Instead, he and Brown stand together, supposedly the representatives of Anglo-American turbocapitalism, struggling to push the statist French and Germans - and this is the bit that was in nobody's script - leftward.

Looks like the bloom is off the rose both in the colonies and across the pond.

And to assure you it is still The Guardian comes this:

The explanation lies not so much in the fact that Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy lead parties of the right, while Obama and Brown speak for the centre-left.

Obama is center-left? For the love of God. I don't even think he fits that definition in Europe. Sphere: Related Content

Jay Leno

From Mark Perry at Carpe Diem:

The Fatal Conceit

According to the government, GM's Rick Wagoner was forced to resign because of poor performance. That’s embarrassing. You run an organization that loses billions of dollars and then get fired by a guy who heads up an organization that loses trillions of dollars.

~Jay Leno


Makes me think of this:

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" - Ronald Wilson Reagan Sphere: Related Content