Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Narrative: Vietnam edition.

Talking about the Tet offensive.

Though initially the attacks caught the U.S. and South Vietnamese forces off guard, they pushed back hard and inflicted massive casualties, all but crippling the North Vietnamese military. The failure of the North Vietnamese was so great that far from being a demonstration of their imminent victory, American generals such as William Westmoreland believed that, after Tet, the North Vietnamese army was so damaged that it was finally on the verge of defeat.

But that wasn't the narrative that would survive in the press. Earlier we referred to these versions of history as "wishful thinking," but it's not that anyone short of the Viet Cong were rooting for the Americans to fail. It's just that those who believed the war was a dead end finally had their proof, whether or not the facts on the ground supported it. This was the story everyone opposed to the war had been waiting to tell.

Sound familiar?

Oh Cracked you trend to the subversive. They also slam Live Aid because, "it's entirely possible that the horrible things done with the cash killed as many or more people than the food saved. In the real world, good intentions don't always stand a chance against a bunch of shitheads with AK-47s."

Cautioning against the naive good intentions and falling for a slick convenient narrative? Heavens.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Good Blogmeet.

Roberta X has the skinny.

I'll need to update my blogroll. Too

Right now doing some wood finishing and rebluing.

At the Fun show was an old school barker demonstrating his latest miracle products.

And I will say the stuff has brought back the luster in my 1911.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Classics

SMBC has a comic that should tickle your funnybone or at least cause it to precipitate out of solution.

Better than when they did it with baseball.  That was so old fashioned. (Technically the language is clean, technically).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Need's got nothing to do with it: AR45 Pistol

Over the summer I've been working on an 45 acp AR style pistol build.

Silly yes, but I wanted to try it.

Should have had another weapon to give scale

GG Magazines are long but give 30 rounds

Nine inch barrel. Uses grease gun magazines. EOTech 512 sight; Amazon had a sale and was the best price. Guts are just a Spike's parts kit.

The receiver was CNC Gunsmithing
The upper was made by Ron Williams of RMW Xtreme

I had very good experience with both on the built. Ron can do a several calibers to your specification. Ron's uppers use a normal buffer assembly and with a pistol caliber there is basically no recoil.

So far it's been reliable (only 300 rounds through it though), and very accurate (only to 25 yards). The pad over the buffer tube makes a very good cheek weld and holding the magazine has it be quite stable.

Lessons learned:

AR Pistols are absurd, but can still be fun if you use a pistol caliber and have a big spring to take in the recoil. It makes a very compact and surprisingly easy to handle weapon. Very fun to use at the range.

Being a custom build (my serial number is in the low 3 digits) this is not recommended unless you really want an AR45 pistol. And there are probably cheaper alternatives.

Also when installing the Pivot Pin Assembly spring for the installation tool. Otherwise you may have the retaining pin permanently bound in the receiver and will have to make your own retention device using an R-clip and castellated nut. *coughs*

Live action Portal


A bit off with no GlaDOS, but top notch Chell.


Statue of MLK on the National Mall : Good.
Having it built by a sculpture best known for making giant statues of Mao : *Head desk*

Ron Radosh has the story.

So am I not surprised, after a quick internet search, to find out that sculptor Le Xinin, is —–yes, you guessed it—- most well known for his sculptures of Mao Zedong.

So, our greatest civil rights leader, a man dedicated to non-violence, Ghandian principles applied to oppression within a democratic society, is honored by a sculptor whose background is that of fashioning tributes to one of the late century’s most horrible tyrants and mass murderers.


There's a reason Muggeridge's Law exists.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sometimes Bumper Stickers Are Informative.

Take this one found here:

Text follows:
Socialized Police Socialized Army
Socialized Firefighting Socialized Healthcare
When it's a matter of life and death, trust voters not shareholders.

The bumber sticker is interesting because it encapsualtes so many, many Progressive ideas.

1) All state actions are Socialistic: So governments ranging from the Khmer Rouge to feudal 14th century England are at their core socialist. If a wookie-suiter libertarian said that it would be inflammatory and nutty (like saying all "government is force"), for a progressive... well it's bumper sticker worthy.

2) Similarly, socialist is a wonderful word when used by progressives, but a hatful slur on the level of terrorist when used by those against "progress". And don't you dare call Obamacare socialist healthcare or a prelude to socialist healthcare or even "Obamacare", that is unless you're for socialist healthcare.

3) Also Socialist Healthcare is on par with the State having a monopoly on force. So, how many divisions does the NHS have? Consider that. Operations, drugs, and medical treatments done to your body require the same level of "voter control" as an act of War. Thus merely going to a doctor of your own choosing and entering into a private exchange of goods and services is equivalent to getting a gang of people and becoming a brigand or, with a boat, a pirate.

4) Not only is Socialized Medicine better than the alternatives but not having it is as frightening and horrible as having privatized police, corporate armies, and firemen that start fires to get more business.

5) There is no such thing as self defense. All maters of life and death are left to the state. Therefore you as a citizen are unfit to defend yourself or purchase means to enhance your own protection (private security or even personal arms).

6) Tangentially related to the previous two: Police and Military are equivalent state actors (as are firemen and doctors). Consider the growth of SWAT teams and their expanded use in the various Wars On Nouns.

7) Also the Anti-War and "Police are pigs" left finds nothing wrong with said groups when they are socialist in nature.

8) Note a critical absence. There no mention of "socialist" education. Education is run by the state as well. One supposes that education is not a matter of life and death, but it is no doubt critical to society. And is far more socialistic than health care (so far) or Fire Fighters.

9) This repeats the first point but... firefighters are socialist? There is no federal department of fire fighting, and there are many volunteer fire-fighters. Again if fire fighters are socialist then any governmental program no matter how small is socialist. However people like firemen, they're not controversial like police, military, healthcare, or even education.

10) Private enterprise is inherently immoral, and an organization being held responsible to those that voluntarily invested money into it is a reprehensible act.

11) Organizations with compulsory power (governments), are better and more moral than those without (companies). Therefore it is moral to use the state to compel people to do the right thing.

12) The "people" are virtuous only when their actions fit within approved criteria such as supporting socialism and not in other activities such as holding stock, organizing into corporations, engaging in commerce and presumably voting to reduce the size and scope of the organs of state.

13) And finally: the State has power over life and death. And this is a good thing. And because the state is so good at matters of "life and death", its power should be expanded into other areas.

Quite alot from a single, if wordy, bumpersticker.

Nautrally, Mr. A was considering this bumper sticker, to put on his car as he drove to his unfairly low taxed high-paying job. One supposes it would ameliorate his privileged guilt, without ruining his "economic advantage" and be a tasteful way to shock and awe his coworkers. Who says champagne socialism is played out?

This Robert A. Heinlein quote seems quite appropriate:

Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.

And here's another that is somewhat related.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Why in my day robotic-party flacks knew how to answer softball questions.

So the new memme being pushed is "Texas is stupid, LOL."

And Education Secretary Arne Duncan, former head of Chicago Public Schools, dutifully goes out to bash Texas. However, he didn't do some very, very basic legwork.

Like knowing how well Chicago preforms relative to Texas. Smooth.

So it’s clear that not only does Duncan not know that Texas performs at the national average (whether or not one finds the national average acceptable), Duncan is apparently unaware that the school system he led is significantly worse than the national average.  Let’s not forget that while Perry, as governor, has responsibility for the performance of the state government that has some responsibilities for school systems, Duncan was running the actual school system in Chicago. Despite this, and despite picking this fight himself, Duncan is entirely ignorant of the results of his own work and its comparison to Texas.

Also at the link is a comparison of per student funding. Turns out it's about the same.

Well of course, not enough money's been thrown at education.

Those mean old republicans and other greedy skinflints have slashed education so much that the US is...


Second. The US is second. The only nation on the planet that spends more per ca pita is Norway.

There's the multiplier effect for you. It's a good thing government has taken care of that critical sector and streamlined it into an efficient and effective means of indoctrination education.

Clearly the solution is more spending.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bad Luck

So the President blames the weak economy on a bunch of bad luck...

Which brings the obvious, so very obvious, Heinlein quotation.

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

Yeah... it's like the President stepped right into it. It's not like he or the spendthrift, incompetent, and pettily tyrannical governing class has any responsibility here. Nope, it's all just bad luck.

Related thoughts from Ace here.

Well seeing the President spouthistorical ignorance
and self absorption isn't a real surprise.

Speaking of "luck" here's some "good luck" that is safe to ignore.

Though with commen sense like this, why does Obama need luck?

Sounds like a great boss.

Michael Frank uses some math on Buffet's complaints that he's not paying enough in taxes.

No matter how one cuts it, Buffett’s total federal tax burden of 17.4 percent is below the norm for the “super-rich.” Among the wealthiest 0.1 percent of taxpayers, for example, the average tax rate in 2008 was 22.7 percent. Even among the top 400 taxpayers, Buffett still fared well. The average rate among this elite group still came in at 18.1 percent. Clearly, Mr. Buffett’s tax accountants earned their fees.

Buffett also argues that his tax burden is considerably below those of his employees. He writes that his 17.4 percent tax burden was “actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.”

If this is accurate, Buffett ought to loan out his tax team to his employees. The same IRS tax data indicates that our tax code is an enormously progressive one, in the sense that, on average, high-income taxpayers fork over a much higher percentage of their income to the IRS than do the less well-heeled. Let’s say Buffett’s employees are in the top 10 percent of all taxpayers. If so, they appear to be vastly overtaxed. In 2008 that bloc’s average tax rate stood at 18.7 percent. (If you’re wondering, the average tax rate for all taxpayers in 2008, according to the IRS, was only 12.2 percent.)

One expects one's boss to make more than you, and yes one can expect a self-interested money-grubbing pragmatic boss to use every accounting trick to minimize fiscal loss.

But to have said boss then bleat about how little he pays? And how he pays a lower rate than you? Of course topping it all of are his demands that rates go even higher. Not just for him, but for everyone in his bracket.

That's liberalism in nutshell. How generous can you be at getting the State to take money from others by force to pay for things you like?

Mr. A would agree.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

That's some snark right here.

Richard Fernandez on the UK from the riots, to their attempts to ban "finger guns" to a conspiracy theory popular among British "youths".

Bizarre is the word. After all, what law enforcement agency would distribute guns solely for the purpose of using it as a pretext for cracking down on gun-crime? Next thing you know people will be accusing the BATF of shipping guns to Mexico to prove that the Second Amendment is fueling crime there.

Plus the obligatory Zardoz reference.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

On hurdles. And May Issue.

New York State is May Issue, which means that standards range from county to county, going from horrendous to "you better be rich or famous".

As a former resident one of the things I relish is not having to deal with that state's nonsense, but it does warrant looking into. Especially, as I have friends in the state who are looking into getting their permits.

Let's take Erie County, location of Buffalo NY, the second largest city in the state. Unlike neighboring counties in that one it takes up to a year to get your permit as opposed to a few months. However, like the rest of NY it has a couple wrinkles that I'll talk about now: the character references and the use it or lose it provision.

In New York you need two people of "moral character" to vouch for you and live in the same county as you. Also once you get your licence you must purchase a handgun within a month or you will lose it and have to restart the entire process.

For the former that just means you have to have two friends who are okay with you having such a weapon. Not so hard right? Well speaking from experience it is.

New York's harsh gun laws make it more of a challenge than you think, especially given that they have to be long term NY residents who live in the same county as you. Which is tricky if you happen to live near the border or your gun range is int he next county over. Adding to that New York has alot of paranoia, and police are looking for a reason to deny your request and will press the people you've listed.

This means the people you pick have to know their part of the process. What's worse, they could look at such an involved and expensive procedure and wonder why you're going through all that trouble. Still finding such friends is not insurmountable, nor is having to make a firearms purchase after you get the licence.

What these requirements are are hurdles to discourage anyone from even thinking about buying a handgun.

Because in New York you cannot legally own a handgun without an NYS Carry Permit.

This means that only the most dedicated people will go through the hassle in time and money to jump through all these hoops. And because of that, they will find that they have few friends who have ever shot a handgun, let alone ones that have an interest in purchasing one.

And thus it becomes that much harder to get new shooters.

Which is just how New York wants it. They've destroyed the casual enthusiast, collector, and plinker. In fact, one of my friends is making sure he'll have his permit for inheritance reasons. Otherwise if the unthinkable were to happen to an elderly loved one, he would not be able to take up historical family artifacts.

At least it's better than NJ, where you need a permit process for each handgun, and if memory serves you have to submit your employer as a reference. Though in NJ you can own without a CCW permit, which is something, given those are almost as difficult to get as Hawaiian permits.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What to buy... what to buy

When the rioting comes, what do people buy? Something to defend themselves it turns out, and in the UK that's batons and baseball and cricket bats. Which are nice, but require you to get within a couple feet which is problematic, especially if you're outnumbered. But that never happens when you have to face a mob.

If only there were a way to defend yourself without needing to get within bad breath distance, and have some measure of "followup" that would mitigate being outnumbered. Alas.

And if such a device did exist, the public at large would never really need them. Right?

San Fran Feminists: Cake is for Eating and Having.

Zombie looks at the confusing inconsitencies and Trojan Horse nature of the "Slut Walks"

Coming out of Canada some feminists have taken the radical stance that rape is wrong. Yeah... way to pick something that's controversial.

But that leads me to The Second Thing You Need to Know: This tilting at imaginary windmills is intentional. The goal is to protest an evil that is universally hated. That way, if anybody dares to disagree with you or even raise a minor quibble, you can shoot back, “What? Are you FOR rape? Do you think we SHOULD blame victims? You’re part of the problem!” As a result of this stance, your cause becomes above reproach, immune from criticism.

THEN… (did you really think the strategy stopped there? Tsk tsk tsk) once you’ve assumed this mantle of moral perfection, you can start heaping all sorts of ancillary ultimatums and issues onto your list of demands, and no one is allowed to resist or complain, lest you once again neutralize them with “Blaming the victim again, are we? Pig!

So while the base goal should be universal and complimentary the whole "Slut Walk" gets... muddled when you look at the details and the greater points:

I’m a slut / Don’t call me a slut!
Look at me / Don’t you dare look at me!
Looksism is unfair and patriarchal / See how gorgeous we are?
Let’s stop rape / Cops are the enemy
Casual consensual sex is fun / Men are evil
Sexual exploitation of women is bad / Let’s glorify prostitution

If you think that's a confused soup of feel-good Leftist Sugar Politics. Well, yeah. the libertine streak of the California Dems is strong, as long as you fit the overall political mold.

And that's not even counting how "the socialists and the communists glommed on to the protest venue, since they take every opportunity to parasitically leech off every single political event. The Marxists displayed their wares right behind the speakers’ microphone. And the SlutWalk organizers gave them permission to do this. A perfect fit."

Marxist booths always make me chuckle. Gotta earn that green to fight for the Red.

And talk about mistageting:

I mentioned above that we’ll get back to the topic of the Middle East. Now, read the sign above. Replace “Christian Fascists” with “Arab culture” and we’re starting to get somewhere. You know what would really be brave? Holding a SlutWalk in, say, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. You know what’s a waste of time? Holding a SlutWalk in San Francisco. Because nobody blames victims here, but in other parts of the world, they actually do. It goes even far beyond that: Much of repressive Islamic culture revolves around and is based on suppressing and punishing women’s sexuality. They don’t just “blame the victim” in the Middle East; they kill the victim.

But it's easy and fun to blame the Christians. Note the protests where international solidarity is absent.

Meanwhile Zombie is revealing in this passage.

ALL decent men, regardless of political persuasion, despise rape. And I would argue that we “conservatives” (as you characterize people like me) actually hate rape more than the feminists do.

SlutWalk organizers want to “publicly shame” rapists. Really? That’s all?

I want to execute rapists.

SlutWalk organizers want victims to jab rapists in the eye. Is that so?

I want victims to shoot rapists in the eye.

Am I making myself clear?

How naive do you have to be to think public shaming is a meaningful punishment against a person that has raped another human being. Spending some time in the pillory is a fair way to deter some crimes, but it really doesn't work against the big ones like murder or rape.

And yeah, people do try to classify Zombie as a conservative, simply by not following the full Leftist line. Well they'll do the same for Glen Reynolds, Roger L Simon, or Roberta X.

You would think that Firearms would be an uber-feminist thing. Firearms are devices that can put a woman on equal footing with a man in spite of differences in physical strength, and size. It doesn't matter how much bigger or stronger the rapists is if the woman is armed.

Monday, August 8, 2011

London Burning.

Mass rioting, fires, destruction, and it's spreading.

More info here.

Where a reader George Milonas comments:

The problem with comparing London and Korean shopkeepers is two fold. First, all the property owners and law abiding citizens have been disarmed. So unless a man is going to stab all these felons to death, there really is no self defense. And it’s hard to defend against flying molotov cocktails. And Second, the British Government has made it perfectly clear that they’re willing to incarcerate anyone who defends himself. They have proven this time and again by prosecuting the law abiding citizens who are afraid for their lives.

It's part of the dangerously naive idea that by banning tools that you can make people good, that all violence is equally bad. Naturally the people that pay for these kinds of experiments are the law abiding. The rioters get to burn and loot.

Pretty shameful, but as the links notes, some similar things are happening over on this side of the Pond too.

Another link here.

In short: watch it out there, because as always you are the only one responsible of your own safety.

Now that's a Job Perk

Boeing to have its own workers fly their spaceship.

King Canute didn't actually think he could stop the tide...

The President? Not so much.

Canute was making a point about the limits of kingly powers and expressing humility. When he moved court to the beach and made his proclamation, he didn't actually expect the tide to obey him.

Meanwhile... someone else did promise that the Sea Levels would fall caused tried to order the markets to not recede.

Dow Finishes Down 634 Points. Obama’s speech certainly did nothing to slow the drop, though I suppose the White House will argue that it would have been 734 without the speech, meaning that Obama saved or created 100 Dow points . . . .

Speaking of those who issue royal proclamations...
From an essay in the Sunday New York Times: "The public was desperate for a leader who would speak with confidence, and they were ready to follow wherever the president led." No, that isn't an historian explaining the rise of Mussolini. It's the Emory psychologist Drew Westen, writing wistfully about the leader he wishes Obama would be.

Yes, because what this country needs is a President and a government with less checks on his and its power.

Via Glen Reynolds who also mentions
Hey, they blamed the Tea Party for Jared Loughner, too. They always blame the Tea Party, because they don’t like the Tea Party, and they want Americans to dislike it, too, so they can continue with business as usual until the last possible moment. And if Greece had had a Tea Party, all the apparatchiks would have called it crazy and destructive too, because it would have threatened their short-term interests, which, as has become clear, is all apparatchiks think about . . .

Dreaming for a Ceaser-like man on a white horse is certainly short-sighted.

And what does it all mean?

Well interesting times are a' comin'. Very interesting.

Especially when you consider a meme that's forming is: Debate hurts Democracy.

Even though Debate has been sorely lacking and is desperately needed.

More on that thinking here and here.

Though this is all fully expected given the President's past statements.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

It's like blaming a drunk hitting a tree on the person who tried to take the keys away.

But was then pushed aside by all the other drunk's friends.

You see if only the drunk wasn't all stressed about trying to get his keys then he'd have driven home fine.

I'm on the downgrade subject again by how surreal the Dems blame game is. Then again these folks'll try to blame Obama-care's failings on the Tea Party too.

What caused the United States to lose its AAA rating for the first time in 94 years, a rating that withstood two world wars, the Great Depression and (most of) the Great Recession, and a costly military buildup that bankrupted and demolished our Cold War foe, the Soviet Union, without a direct shot fired? Was it the dastardly Tea Party, with its demands for fiscal sanity and a solution to an oncoming tsunami of entitlement liabilities?

Answer at the link. Plus a scary chart on when Entitlements will consume every dollar taken in by taxes.

And Matt Welch gets a bit too hopeful over at Reason.

Blame S&P all you want, but this won't be the last downgrade; the math really is that bad. As Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is fond of saying, Democrats are going to have to give on entitlements, and Republicans are going to have to give on military spending, as a starting point. There really isn't any other way.

I eagerly look forward to this being blamed on libertarians, but even more than that I truly look forward to the day when the political class in this doddering country recognizes that you can't just wave away a spending spiral by pretending that it doesn't exist.

Yesterday I said that the libertarians will get the blame for this, nice to see I'm not alone.
But really, the political class will scapegoat math to try and keep growin' the gravy train.

Speaking of someone else's prediction on the next talking point.

Added: Huh, and even McCain isn't blaming the Hobbits.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

It's always Cassandra that gets the blame

So it turns out you can't have trillion dollar annual deficits with no plan to keep them stable, (let alone reducing them) without engendering your investment risk rating.

Who knew?

And naturally the question is who to blame? The generations of politicians that steadily expanded the welfare state, bureaucratic payrolls and benefits? The crop of BushII era Republicans that tried to prove they could spend more than the Democrats? How about the Democrats who proved the Republicans were pikers when it came to spending?

Nope, not them. No the blame is the one political movement centered on reducing the size and expense of government no matter the cost.

Yes, it's not that Washington has no plan for current entitlement spending, let alone the huge upswing coming due to shifting demographics and retirement. It's not that the "recovery" has consistently had 9+% unemployment and First quarter GDP below half a percent. And it can't be that the Dems want yet another stimulus.

No the real problem is those pesky Tea Partiers complaining about spending and delaying the oft-repeated rise of the debt ceiling.

Again, Cassandra gets the blame. Here's the White House trying to play the "I told you so" game. Odd... a few months back Geithner said there was no risk of downgrade.

Blaming the Tea Party for the downgrade is like blaming the Libertarian wookie-suiters for the expansion in government. Then again maybe it is Ron Paul's fault the federal government doubled in size in the last ten years. He is being blamed for high gold prices.

Oh and it looks like Obama is so weak and the Tea Party is so strong that if we do double-dip it'll be a "Tea Party Recession". Amazing how the movement went from a handful of angry rubes, to Koch brothers plants, to a shadow movement that can thwart the President and both houses of congress. Though at the link is more Liberal griping about how Dear Reader isn't being a loud enough class warrior.

But maybe the blame will fall onto the President.
Defenders of Obama will attempt to pin the blame on his predecessor, President Bush, and on intransigent Tea Party radicals in the current Congress. But that would leave out the part in between. For his first two years in office, Obama’s party controlled both chambers of Congress – for part of that period, he had a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. During that time period, he and his fellow Democrats could have passed his supposedly ideal, long-term, deficit-reduction package -- one that represented a “balanced approach” between spending cuts and tax increases. It also could have delayed the deficit reduction for several years, so it wouldn’t have affected the current weak economy or the “investments” he considers crucial. Forget about actually accomplishing serious deficit reduction -- he didn’t even attempt it.

But what did he attempt? Well, his health care reform plan, but don't call it Obama-care because that's uncivil you baby-eating Teatard terrorist.

And Frank J, Flemming realizes that maybe the future should bear our debt burden.

Let’s look at this logically. There are three groups who could possibly pay our debt: People of the present, people of the past, and people of the future. Basically, the extremists are arguing that people of the present should pay for the debt, but that’s obviously insane. For one thing, the national debt is currently over 14 trillion dollars, and we don’t have that kind of money. If we were to even think of paying it down, we’d have to cut spending, when right now we need to be spending even more. That first trillion of stimulus money didn’t turn the economy around, so we clearly need to spend another trillion. And probably another trillion after that. Because that will create jobs by… well, I’m not sure how jobs are created. Ask Paul Krugman; he’ll explain it to you.

And the best part is that the future people can send their debt even further into the future.

But maybe it's not all bad...

Nor has S&P stumbled upon extraordinary information of which the world was unaware. The problem is not S&P. The problem is U.S. government spending and borrowing so profligate that American debt now tops annual GDP. The deeper problem, driving all this, is that American politics has become a realm in which the response to every difficulty of the human condition is for government to amass more power and dole out more money. The presumption of the U.S. government by now is that Americans cannot be trusted to arrange for their own medical care, pay for their own tuition, save for their old age, or “create or save” their own jobs. Big Brother will do that for them, even if the resulting rise of the dole and erosion of the private sector means 9.1% unemployment, almost 50 million Americans using food stamps, a stalled economy, soaring public debt, and now, a long-term credit rating lower than that of Australia, Hong Kong or France.
All the debate and Tea-Partying to date has made some difference. But it has not yet prevailed to change the profligate and power-hungry dynamic in Washington.There have been plenty of wake-up calls these past few years, but too often they have been smothered by Washington’s vast political fog. Among ordinary Americans, who has time to keep track of the trillions spent, the endless expanding government programs, or the to-and-fro over deficits variously projected over the next decade?

The virtue of the S&P downgrade is that it serves as a simple bottom line. For a long, long time, the U.S. government earned itself a triple-A credit rating. It’s gone. Downgraded. Maybe, just maybe, that’s exactly the sound bite Americans need to hear, to concentrate voters’ minds on how to get that AAA rating back.

And Roger Kimball has some snark and gets a real told-you-so on it.

When I first posted this cartoon, back in March of 2009, the U.S. economy was still in a state of shock from the great implosion of 2008 (March 5, 2009, the Dow closed at 6594) but there was lots of soothing talk emanating from Washington. “Just give me $800 billion, right now, today,” said the President, “and we will ‘invest’ in America and ‘stimulate’ the economy.” Give him a chance, NPR-The New York Times-MSNBC said. “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” etc., etc.

Well, we know how that worked out. Washington spent billions upon billions of your dollars “investing” in “green jobs,” the American auto industry, etc., and what do we have to show for it? Last month, Government Motors sold 125 of their new novelty auto, the Chevy Volt. No, that is not a typo: one hundred and twenty five. In other words, basically none.

Let’s face it: Barack Obama’s policies have been an economic disaster. Ideology met reality and reality won.

And to continue the link pit, Bill Whittle has some related thoughts.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Act now and you'll get your own personal censor!

Talking on a piece by Walter Russell Meade on the Progressive Crisis. Ace talks about Costs versus wish lists.

You can ask your average person: Do you wish people would exercise more? Take more of an interest in their health? Stop eating too much? Stop smoking? Stop drinking so much? Stop gambling away their kids' college funds?

Of course the answer is "yes" to all of these (for most respondents).

But again that's just the sales pitch, not the actual offer.

Give them the actual offer and most will say No. Because the actual offer is:

Do you wish to empower a cadre of busybody bureaucrats, who frankly are largely mediocrities at best, but believe themselves to be chosen for greatness, to boss you around your whole life, in order to make sure some other people aren't eating french fries and having a cigarette?

The real answer is "NO!," because the real answer is, "Look, sure I want other people to live better lives, but frankly, I don't care very much about that and I'm sure not paying for my own personal censor to scold me for making "bad" choices."

See, that's the cost. And if you ignore the cost, you're not talking about business, or sales, or politics, or anything.

You're just talking about fantasy wish-lists with no connection to any physical reality.

For many the role of government is not common defense, civil law enforcement, or any of the other fundamental roles. No government is a tool to make people better:

From the Prohibition and eugenics movements of the early twentieth century to various improvement and uplift projects in our own day, well educated people have seen it as their simple duty to use the powers of government to make the people do what is right: to express the correct racial ideas, to eschew bad child rearing technique like corporal punishment, to eat nutritionally appropriate foods, to quit smoking, to use the right light bulbs and so on and so on.

Progressives want and need to believe that the voters are tuning them out because they aren’t progressive enough. But it’s impossible to grasp the crisis of the progressive enterprise unless one grasps the degree to which voters resent the condescension and arrogance of know-it-all progressive intellectuals and administrators.

Consider the recent freakout by the Media and the left over the Debt Ceiling.

Why all the accusations of Jihad (funny how now that's a dirty word), despotism, terrorism?

And a reminder all this freakout is over the mere fact that there was a "conversation" about Spending and Taxation. There won't be any real cuts in spending; the debt limit was raised high enough that it should last past the 2012 election; there might be new taxes. All that and the Left treats it as a huge capitulation and sign of a rampaging Tea Party.

High expectations much?

The only thing the Tea Party got that it wanted was no imediate taxation spike and the status quo on spending engourgment. Uh... yay?

If merely questioning the idea of endless debt and a vast permanent welfare state gives this much anger, what will happen when the wheels really start to come off?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Clip, Magazine, Ammo what's the difference?

There's some excuse of the media's and the gun grabber's confusion of clips and magazines. Both hold ammunition cartridges but to confuse the holders and the cartridges themselves?

Well Bob Owens finds a rocket scientist who has a hard time telling a cartridge from a clip.

Remember, these are the same folks who think you're too dumb to have a weapon, but they won't take a second to proofread and check what the terms they use actually mean.

Edit: Ah here's what I was thinking of the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect.