This essay glances at 16 myths liberal/progressives have convinced each other are both realistic and widely accepted despite being both obvious nonsense and totally contradicted by liberal/progressives in their daily activities.
Myths, in this context, are false beliefs; stories liberal progressives have to repeat and accept as capital T True to justify both the establishment of boundaries between the us and not-us, and to further to justify action against the not-us.
Myth 1: Democrats are Liberals, Republicans fascists
The term "fascism" was spun out of the Latin "fasces" (referring to the rods of justice carried by the Roman judiciary) circa 1920 by Mussolini's followers to invoke the justice of their cause after he followed Hitler's lead to split the Italian communist party to pursue power through national and evolutionary (menshevik), rather than violent and international (bolshevik), means.
The term "fascist" has since come to denote people who want to use the power of the state to control the actions of others and are prepared to do so through any means necessary. Thus axis fascism was menshevik communist in origin but it's possible to be a fascist without being politically either left or right - the mullahs directing various Islamic jihads and governments are, for example, fascists, but the feudal form of government they enforce is neither inherently communist nor capitalist.
Contrary to liberal dictat fascism is not a right wing phenomenon: the Italian fascists, like their Russian and German counterparts, were progressive socialists; Alinksy's Rules for Radicals are fascist in nature but progressive in political intent; and, the fact that nearly everything banned in the United States or required by law of all Americans was banned or required by democrats (or bureaucrats empowered by democrats) testifies to the fascist nature of modern liberalism.
Susan Harris, writing on "Michelle Obama's Crazy, Embarrassing Potato Manifesto" for American Thinker summarizes the reality of the elitist self-stroking so often characteristic of those suffering the progressive urge to fascism:
The comments under Obama's NY Times potato piece were almost worse than the article. There is nothing more sickening than a bunch of rich people who think they are experts on what poor people should eat. Liberals think conservatives are the condescending "rich people," but it wasn't conservatives who were vehemently condemning the potato in defense of Obama. It was, as usual, the Birkenstock, hybrid car, solar panel, legalize pot, liberal crowd who can spend ten minutes lecturing anyone who will listen that McDonald's french fries and 7-Eleven Big Gulps are the gateway to hell. These are the same people that say they want wealth redistribution to "raise up the poor," while simultaneously lobbying to wipe out our food supply in an effort to abolish cow flatulence and those nasty smelling pig and chicken farms. And of course they are the same people who forcefully took the corn from the bread basket of America and put it in our gas tanks.
The worst part about Michelle Obama's piece was the fact that the first lady of the United States once again exposed herself as nothing more than a growling, snarling political animal; assailing the House of Representatives for trying to defy her personal decree to keep potatoes from poor women and children. I don't think it gets any more embarrassing or crazier than that.
Myth 2: Democrats are Liberals, Republicans Racists
Lincoln was a republican, George Wallace a democrat. Mr. Obama is the first American president to publicly and repeatedly take positions on matters before the courts (Henry Gates, Trayvon Martin, Donald Sterling) entirely on racial grounds.
The Jim Crow laws were passed and enforced by democrats, opposed by Republicans. The American Civil Rights Commission was set up in 1957 by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower against bitter democrat opposition. Today's version of the jim crow laws, above-market minimum wage laws, are pushed by democrats, opposed by republicans.
The last senator to speak against the cloture motion required for the 1964 Civil Rights Act to pass was Georgia Democrat Richard Russell - and he spoke right after Democratic senator Robert Byrd finished a historic 14 hour, 13 minute speech aimed at stopping the bill. Republican minority leader Everett Dirksen led the opposition to the democratic filibuster and helped the bill pass with a veto proof majority - led by republicans in both the house and the senate:
|Democrats||153 (63%)||46 (69%)|
|Republicans||136 (80%)||27 (82%)|
Today democrats massively support La Raza, a frankly racist organization (whose name was popularized by both Franco and Mussolini in their efforts to sell nationalist socialism to Spanish and Italian speakers respectively) taking pride in the virtual erasure of the black population in Mexico and eager to import the same socially sanctified bigotry into the United States.
Dr. William Briggs, writing for his blog on the Redskins name controversy captured the essence of right/left differences on races brilliantly:
Readers have been patiently waiting for the WMBriggs.com take on the Washington Redskins controversy, the gist of which is this: Lefties don't like the name because they feel only they are allowed to worship skin color -generally to say it doesn't matter at all and to insist it be tracked (and rewarded or punished) everywhere and always- while the Righties, who don't give a damn about skin color but love tradition, wish the Lefties would take a long walk off a short dock.
Myth 3: Sex and race are cultural constructs with no basis in physical reality
No discussion is actually needed on this one; it is so self-evidently absurd that not even an East German Olympic judge would accept it.
Myth 4: Democrats are Liberals, Republicans book burning totalitarians
Democrats believe strongly in freedom of speech - and often characterize republicans as book burning fanatics eager to suppress all opposition to their views.
In reality, however, the people who want to ban Huckleberry Finn, shut down Fox News, jail climate deniers, and remove access to contrary opinion from internet search engines, youtube, and twitter are all democrats.
Thus all 54 democrats in the senate voted on September 11th, 2014 to repeal the first amendment and give Congress the power to regulate speech - here's Powerline's John Hinderaker, a noted lawyer, on the subject:
The Democrats pretend that this was merely a vote to reverse the demonized Citizens United decision. That claim is ridiculous. This is what the Udall amendment (the revised version that the Senate voted on) actually says:
Section 1. To advance democratic self-government and political equality, and to protect the integrity of government and the electoral process, Congress and the States may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.
Section 2. Congress and the States shall have power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation, and may distinguish between natural persons and corporations or other artificial entities created by law, including by prohibiting such entities from spending money to influence elections.
Section 3. Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress or the States the power to abridge the freedom of the press.
Note that under the amendment, Congress could both "regulate" and "set reasonable limits on" raising and spending money on elections. The power to "regulate" is not qualified by any other term of the amendment except Section 3, which means that a Democratic Congress would have the power to regulate campaign spending by prohibiting all spending on behalf of Republican candidates, or in opposition to Democratic candidates. Ridiculous! you might say - that would obviously be unconstitutional. Not any more it wouldn't be; not if the Democrats get their way. The First Amendment would be repealed as it relates to politics.
Mr. Hinderaker goes on to quote the following from Democrats Push to Criminalize Dissent; by Kevin Williamson at National Review:
Democrats pushing the measure to repeal free speech pretend that it is a campaign-finance measure, but the only criteria it establishes for Congress to ban an advertisement - or a book, or a film, or a television show, or a magazine - is that money is expended in an attempt to influence a political outcome. Under those rules, the Ohio Inquisition's successful move to ban billboards critical of an embattled Democratic congressman would have been totally acceptable under the provisions of a gutted First Amendment.
The Ohio Inquisition, and the Minnesota Inquisition, and Harry Reid's war on the First Amendment are hardly isolated episodes.
The same Texas prosecutor behind the indictments of Governor Perry and Mr. Hall was also behind the indictments of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Representative Tom DeLay, both of which ultimately were laughed out of court. The point of these indictments is not to obtain convictions; the prosecutor did not even present a case against Senator Hutchison when the matter came to trial. And the point of the Ohio Inquisition was never to achieve a legal victory against the Susan B. Anthony List: The point was to bully the group, and the billboard company, into remaining silent and forgoing criticism of Democratic candidates. In that, the censors were successful: SBA List won in court, but those billboards never went up.
Likewise, the point of indicting Governor Perry and Mr. Hall is not to send either man to jail, but to harass them, to bully them, to bankrupt them if possible, and to keep them from functioning as effective critics of entrenched Democratic political interests.
The only thing stopping federal authorities from suffocating free speech - not only by independent groups such as the SBA List, but by individuals, trade groups, National Review, and the New York Times - is the First Amendment.
And Harry Reid wants to gut it. Figure out why that is and you'll know everything you need to know about the Democratic party, which with each passing day functions less and less like a political party and more like a crime syndicate.
Progressives everywhere try to criminalize criticism and end free speech - in Canada, for example, you can attack old white men for being old, or white, or male, with total impunity; but challenge a liberal shibboleth by, for example, trying to exposing Muslim ritual slaughter practices on youtube (where you will immediately be banned for life), and the nearest publicly funded human rights commission will reliably bankrupt you and your family through lawfare. In the American equivalent hate speech as defined by the left (i.e. ad hoc) has become effectively illegal and successful corporate executives and tenured academics now routinely lose jobs, pensions, and social position for expressing conservative viewpoints.
Myth 5: the NAZIs were a right wing, military, regime, opposed by Democrats
In reality the word "Nazi" is an acronym for "Nationalsozialist", itself a short form of "Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei" (National Socialist German Worker's Party). Hitler was a devout communist who, denied a leadership position in the CPD (German communist party) after its 1918 legalization and consequent formal founding by the Leninist clique that had been in charge since the 1890s Brussels conclaves, split off its menshevik members to form the NAZI party.
Oddly, there is some reason to believe that Hitler's virulent political anti-Semitism developed from the pose required for membership in the communist organization to real and deeply personal through this process because the more important clique members were all Jews who saw Hitler as an opinionated little man with neither a Von nor millions to his name, and made no secret of their contempt for people like him. Their elitism, in turn, made both anti-Semitism and German racialism hot button issues in Hitler's efforts to recruit CPD members for his NAZI party.
The infamous "night of the Long knives" (June 30 to July 3rd, 1934) during which the political left often claims Hitler purged the communists from his party had very nearly the opposite purpose - and consequence. The purges were aimed mainly at removing prominent NAZIs favoring Stalin over Hitler for leadership in the Comintern, and secondarily at temporarily placating senior members of the general staff who feared and resented Ernst Rohm's brownshirts.
Immediately after this, however, Hitler's "military regime" showed its total lack of military roots by starting an organized process of putting NAZIs with no military experience into positions of power within the Army, Air Force, and Navy - thus almost all members of the general staff in 1934, down to their adjutants and other junior aides, had been shot or imprisoned before the war started in 1939 as national socialist loyalists like Himmler, Goering, and Kietel took control of Germany's military.
The NAZIs are most infamous for their treatment of the Jewish people - most of whom, in 1932, supported Hitler's ascendancy despite his repeated anti-semitic rants and assurances that one cannot be a socialist without being deeply anti-semitic.
One of the great ironies of our age is that the 1960s "flower people" (and their modern incarnations, the professional protestor/occupier) generally thought themselves sincerely opposed to war, racism, and all the things the NAZIs were reviled for - but collectively worked to make colorfully decorated Kraft durch Freude (Strength through Joy) vagons similar to those first produced by indentured labor controlled by senior NAZI Robert Ley's German labor Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront), a key symbol for their movement.
(In similar ironic coincidences, Earth Day falls on Lenin's birthday, and the Kyoto Accords seem to have been named and timed to commemorate the Kyoto Seven - the philosopher-teachers who adapted Hegel, Nietzsche, and German menshevism to spawn Japanese national socialism).
Myth 6: Democrats are honest thinkers, Republicans lying hypocrites
On Thursday, September 11th, 2014 Justin Trudeau, the leftist occupier beloved by the CBC and other Canadian media outlets, gave a speech in London, Ontario in which he told an enthusiastic student audience that their generation would have to kick over apple carts and rethink basic ideas in the sciences, in politics, and in the humanities. It was rousing speech, full of eloquent commitment to the primacy of the individual in liberal political thinking - and either right before or right after the speech Trudeau signed an order denying two people the right to run for a liberal constituency nomination because they had expressed views some interpreted as differing marginally from the party line.
After Mr. Trump's election in 2016 people whose skin color is assumed to make them lifelong democrats but who actually support Trump have generally faced serious threats of violence within their own communities - and the more publicly visible they are, the worse this gets. A well known rapper (Kanya West), for example, who admitted harboring pro-Trump sentiment now needs an armored vehicle and travels with an armed escort .
Discipline on the left is harsh - for progressives, it's always the party line, or the highway.
The left believes itself sane, balanced, and committed to science, personal freedoms, universal equality, and the rights of the individual - but consider this sampling of events during the week of Trudeau's actions:
- Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said that a comprehensive amnesty bill would have helped America contain the Ebola epidemic in Africa.
- House democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said "It would be very important for the Democrats to retain control of the Senate. Civilization as we know it today would be in jeopardy if Republicans win the Senate." on national television.
- Vice President Biden drew some ire Tuesday by describing unscrupulous bankers as "Shylocks" - a pejorative term based on a Jewish character in Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice."
- Trudy Tuttle Ariaga, superintendent of the Ventura Unified School District, said "We value inclusivity and diversity on our campus, and all our events and activities are going to adhere to our mission" - in support of banning Chick-A-fil sandwiches from school grounds.
- Google announced that U.S. government demands for information about search and applications activity by Americans had increased by 250% since Mr. Obama's initial election to the White House.
Biden, incidently, was railing on about greedy bankers forcing mortgage and other debt on people to whom the debts would prove an impossible burden - a process initially forced on the bankers against their wishes, over GOP objections, and against professional advice during the Carter administration and then later reinforced and expanded by a Clinton executive order under legislation voted for by then Senator Joe Biden.
Myth 7: the only good civilian is a disarmed civilian
Gun control is a progressive shibboleth - and this cartoon, from Steven Hayward's Powerlineblog.com "this week in pictures" series pretty much describes the reality of history on this story.
The rest of the story is unusually simple: societies which implement gun control tend to have gun violence in direct proportion to the rigidity with which the gun control is administered - and the reverse is also true.
When a lunatic shot two people in a parking lot and then tried to shoot up a church in Colorado Springs, an armed civilian killed him before he could do further harm - but in Charleston guns were forbidden, and nine people died. More macroscopically, the MAD (mutually assured destruction) policy maintained by the United States during the cold war almost certainly prevented a widespread nuclear holocaust, while Obama's eagerness to accommodate Iran's nuclear ambitions while disarming democracy seems to have set the stage for nuclear weapons development and possible future use by both Iran and North Korea.
More generally, liberal belief in gun control denies the reality that the vast majority of mass shooters in western countries use legally registered weapons while mass killings in countries where gun control is strictly enforced tend to be both more common and more deadly than in the United States.
Basically, American gun control advocates generally fail to recognize or accept the obvious: mass shootings are the acts of insane people, but gun use in a criminal enterprise is often sensible from the criminal's perspective - so control processes based on background checks reduces access to weapons for ordinary people; doesn't significantly impede access for the insane; and provides political cover for weapons use by the criminal classes.
Thus Canada's treatment of law-abiding gun owners as criminals to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and criminal gun users as victims who usually draw only time served or concurrent sentences for weapons use, is rapidly changing Canadian society into one with well defined no-go areas for ordinary people. Thus a white, middle class, Canadian male with a job, a family, and no criminal record who uses a weapon (even a piece of lumber or a rock) to save himself and others from criminal threat risks complete ruin, including possible jail time and near certain bankruptcy, for doing so - while a career criminal, particularly an identifiable minority criminal, faces little or no additional legal risk in picking up and using almost any kind of weapon in almost any situation.
Myth 8: Oil is a finite, non renewable, resource.
One of the most basic laws of physics is that matter can be neither created nor destroyed in merely chemical reactions.
Burning a hydrocarbon compound like gasoline changes the form of its constituents, but does not reduce the earth's supply of them - all it does is exchange one set of chemical bonds for another at a lower energy level.
We know how to reconstitute hydrocarbons from their constituents -from air, sea water, and electrical energy in the case of gasoline. Hydrocarbons are, in other words, fully renewable.
At the moment gasoline is made mostly from crude oil - but no two crudes are exactly the same and end products like gasoline typically contain hundreds of complex hydrocarbons. "On average" burning standard gasolines can be modeled as oxidizing C8H18, but engines designed to burn synthetic gasolines (pure C8H18) can be about twice as efficient as those designed for conventional gasoline while producing essentially no pollutants. (Note: engine design changes implemented since this was written in 2014 have reduced this advantage to about 60% in 2021).
Whether we choose to change to the man made product is a matter of economics; not physics, chemistry, or resource limits - the key points are first that burning oil products affects their form, but not how much of their constituents we have access to; and second, that both successor motor fuels and alternatives such as the fuel cell/electric motors combination are already out of the laboratory and in the pilot plant development stage.
Myth 9: Green Energy is cleaner than dirty (hydrocarbon or nuclear) energy
An aside -with a caution.
The following three paragraphs are highly speculative. Correlation does not demonstrate causation - there is reason to be concerned, but we don't have the information needed to know one way or the other.
Micro particulates carried by wind downstream from wind farms are not understood and research on the health effects these have is largely underground. There seems to be a clear correlation between the incidence of asthma (real or merely diagnosed) and the distribution of wind farm abrasion products, but the actual cause is not known.
For example, people living downwind of the earliest large scale wind farms in both the United States and Canada (in the Altamont and Crowsnest passes respectively) have long reported vastly disproportionate numbers of respiratory complaints - resulting, since this began in the 1980s, in numerous unproven claims against the Livermore Labs in California and the natural gas production industry in Alberta.
More recently, counties in England with populations downstream of major new wind farms are reporting order of magnitude increases in asthma diagnoses. (Note, however, that in England, as in Canada, health care program funding makes diagnostic labelling more about money then health, so these numbers reflect respiratory complaints for which care was charged to special budgetary programs targeted to asthma sufferers, but do not necessarily represent asthma related cases.)
Every gallon of corn ethanol used in gasoline requires about about 1.16 gallons of hydrocarbon fuels to produce, distribute, and use (and cellulosic biofuels are worse) while LEEDS certified super-green office buildings in DC use an average of 18% more energy per square foot than do non certified buildings.
Every watt produced by a windmill in Alberta's Pincher Creek region needs a watt in standby power from a natural gas powered generator near Calgary - and that's true worldwide: constant energy demand cannot be satisfied through inconstant generation, so wind and solar installations are usually accompanied by equivalent gas powered standby generation. Worse, the 350 foot tower needed to support a 5MW unit uses so much steel and concrete that typical generation efficiencies in the 22% of rating range mean the system never produces as much energy as went into its components, construction, networking, and maintenance.
Similarly, every watt produced by wind or solar in leading edge green states like California has to be accompanied by standby generation somewhere else and as intermittent sources have become larger contributors to local totals, they've been accompanied by higher transmission and generation costs across the system right along with decreased dependability - and if the annualized costs of brownouts and other failures were charged to the people responsible the cost of green energy would increase by three to five times.
The basic rule of thumb in judging whether something like windmills or newspaper recycling actually makes environmental sense is to ask if it would make economic sense without government's thumb on the scale. Absent tax incentives and the regulator, commercial wind power in the United States runs around 35 cents per kilowatt hour - while the reactor/turbine combinations used by the Navy produce power at about 1.7 cents per kilowatt hour.
The reason this rule of thumb works is that the real cost of any volume product reflects the cumulative costs of all of its inputs, including energy use and producer reserves for facility replacement or shutdown, net of taxes and incentives.
As of late 2014 newsprint made from recycled paper ran about $590 a ton in Canada versus $520 for a ton of the same product made from softwood pulp. However, the production of newsprint from pulp is taxed every step of the way, so that $520 includes well over $240 paid to various levels of government as part of its production and sale. In contrast, the recycled product price is largely tax-out, and does not include the taxpayer paid collection cost for the raw material, the subsidy paid on transportation of recyclable newsprint, or any monies to cover the half billion dollar recycling plants governments in Quebec and Ontario have built.
The reason recycled newsprint costs more than new newsprint despite the differences in tax treatment is primarily that infrastructure costs are high and efficiency low - about a third of the material arriving at the recycling plant, by weight, ends up in specially conditioned landfills where its effects are expected to last for hundreds of years before gradually decaying into impotence. Thus the reason the actual (tax out) cost in both dollar and environmental terms of the recycled product is significantly more than double that of the new product is first that the raw material collection process is extremely fuel and manpower intensive; and, second, that the recycling processes themselves are environmentally dirty.
And, in one of those believe it or not moments only politics can kick up, many municipal landfills, deprived of the fast decaying cellulose content provided by unprocessed newsprint, are now buying and burying more sawdust to make up for it.
Myths 10: The Levers of Power
Ever wonder why Keynesian economics (including its derivitive: modern monetary theory) in its classical, post modern, or whole wheat versions are so easily sold politicians despite never yet having produced a policy success? Think about the power of Ugh and you'll know the answer: Keynesian economics is like trying to understand how Siri works by looking at the price elasticity of demand for barley -or, more succinctly, because it's utter hokum, but the explanations use enough equations to look sciency to innumerate arts and media graduates desperate for both power and personal validation.
(More technically: Keynesian economic ideas fail because these are founded on a simplification in which the economy is closed with respect to both time and borders, and static with respect to both product and market change. Actual policies reflecting this model are therefore implicit and explicit barriers to trade - and thus act in opposition to the power of ugh to predictably produce economic effects nearly opposite to those intended.)
Myth 11: Democrats represent the poor; Republicans the uncaring rich.
This has multiple parts:
- Those rich republicans
The Obama administration's public railing against the 1% disguised an important reality: nearly all of the campaign's legal money came from that 1%. In both 2008 and 2012 more than ninety of the 100 richest people in the United States were Obama donors and/or bundlers and, on average, these people doubled their assets during his eight years in office.
A pair of drudgereport headlines, and the first paragraph from a New York Post report by Richard Johnson on Oct 8th, 2014 tell the story:
Obama slams GOP as party of millionaires...
President Obama blasted Republicans as the party of "billionaires" on Tuesday while mingling with high-rollers at the $26 million estate of Rich Richman - yes, that' s his real name - in Greenwich, Conn.
Richman, who built his $10 billion company developing rental housing...
The much reviled Koch brothers do not normally make the top 50 on the opensecrets list of top 100 political donors in any election cycle, but two Democrat billionaires (Soros and Steyer) have consistently given the democrats more money over the last few cycles than the top 50 republicans donors combined gave conservative causes.
Here's most of a summary, by Wynton Hall for Brietbart, of an AP donor analysis for the 2014 elections:
Democrats bagged the bulk of big dollar donations in the 2014 midterm elections according to an analysis by the Associated Press.
Out of the $128 million spent by the top 10 individual donors to outside groups, Democrats hauled in $91 million or 71% of donations.
Among groups that funneled more than $100,000 to allies, the top of the list tilted overwhelmingly toward Democrats”a group favoring the GOP doesn't appear on the list until No. 14, reports the AP.
Democrats also enjoyed a 3-to-1 cash advantage when it came to the 183 groups stroking checks of $100,000 or more. The liberal National Education Association (NEA) topped the list of big money donors at $22 million. The top ten list contained zero Republican-leaning groups.
Democrat hedge fund billionaire and global warming activist Tom Steyer blew at least $74 million on the 2014 midterm elections, making him the cycle's largest individual donor.
The libertarian Koch Brothers came in tied for the 23rd spot of largest spenders, according to the Associated Press.
(Note that the term "the Koch brothers" is classic "fake news" because it covers five people and several institutions: break out individual contributions to allow comparisons to individual democrats, and the largest donor doesn't make the top 50.)
The Obama administration's consistent efforts to road block energy independence for the United States had several major winners - for example, Warren Buffet invested in rail tank cars just before the administration moved to block the Keystone pipeline and is still earning billions moving oil by rail - but average Americans were, by the end of the Obama era, paying about twice as much for gasoline and electricity as they did during the eight years preceding.
- The GOP is the party of big business, the democrats are the party of the people
The Jim Crow laws, passed and enforced by democrats, effectively reduced the cost of labor in both agriculture and industry by restricting both black mobility and black access to education while making it nearly impossible for middle class businesses to hire and promote from the black under class. The beneficiaries were the very rich, the socially well established, and the biggest companies - when Rosa Parks, for example, moved to the front of the bus she almost certainly did not know that General Motors had essentially forced bus company founder Roy Fitzgerald to accept the cost of segregated services in the south as part of the in-kind equity injection making her bus a GM Coach.
More recently most of the Fortune 500 lined up with the Obama administration in their eagerness to get further regulation passed and enforced - and for the same reasons: regulation reduces labor mobility, reduces customer choice, and increases the value of pre-existing market leadership. Thus companies from Google and Microsoft to General Electric favor the FCC's network neutrality rules because these protect and enhance the near monopolies these companies now have in place. Basically, the Obama regulatory extravaganza, from the EPA to healthcare and the internet, operated very much in the Jim Crow mold to protect the incomes of the very rich at the cost of lower class lives and middle class opportunities.
The Jim Crow laws are, of course, passe - the current strategy is to enforce above market minimum wage laws. Where the minimum wage is set at market rates these rules probably prevent some exploitation at the margin of employability, but when set above (particularly with known escalators and well above) market rates, they reduce employability and thus opportunities for both employees and smaller employers. The effects, for example, of above market minimum wage rules with known escalators on drive through coffee stops are to reduce employment opportunities for new entrants into the labor markets, reduce stability and growth opportunities for financially marginal employers, and increase sales and related opportunities for large players and their suppliers - particularly their raw material and automation suppliers.
Two headlines from the September 2nd, 2015 Drudge Report, eight years after the Pelosi budget and 7 years into Obama administration ideological malfeasance, demonstrate the effects of democrat commitment to the poor, and opposition to the rich:
- Democrats respect the poor
In launching his "war on poverty" Lyndon Johnson referred to the poor as "tax eaters" - and every major program launched as part of that "war" denigrates the poor by substituting one-size-fits-all rules and the judgment of bureaucrats for the judgment of recipients.
- Democrats look out for America's poor
Unions dedicate almost all of their political donations to democrats. For the 2012 cycle, for example, the SEIU, with 1.8 million members nationwide, spent more than $40,000,000 helping democrats get elected. The net effect of Obama administration support for union activities has been to move jobs overseas - because using government to enforce unionization for new plants means that the employer is better off putting the plant in Mexico or China instead of Ohio or Alabama.
Black unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, has gone up under every democratic house majority since Kennedy - and down in periods after the republicans controlled the house and had their budgets acted on by the executive. On average blacks are now less educated, less employable, and less well off relative to their neighbors than they were before Johnson's war on poverty began.
The democrats have long favored both increased illegal immigration and increased taxation - however, illegals tend to use community services while paying few taxes and, whatever their cultural and labor contributions to the country, their net impact has been to reduce opportunities for American citizens while increasing tax and other costs for those with legal jobs and incomes.
The result is that the claim "democrats favor the poor" seems to be supported only by their efforts to make more of them.
These headlines from 2014 tell the story:
46,496,145: Food Stamp Recipients Can Fill Yankee Stadium 925 Times
(CNSNews.com) -- In June 2014, there were 46,496,145 recipients of the food stamp program, which is enough to fill the Yankee Stadium 925 times, according to data from the Department of Agriculture (USDA)
That's a wrap! The first half of 2014 on Wall Street is officially in the books -- and performance was solid despite a lackluster finale on Monday.
By the numbers: Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 lost ground slightly on Monday after flirting with record highs previously.
But the S&P 500 has already logged 22 record highs this year alone, ending the first half up 6%. While that first-half rally trailed last year's performance, it still easily bested the Dow's narrow gain of just 1.5%.
Interestingly, that's the biggest halftime lead by the S&P 500 over the Dow since 2009 and the seventh-biggest since 1929, according to Bespoke Investment Group.
The Obama administration, like leftists everywhere since the early 1800s, railed against the 1%ers, the rich, the investment bankers, and the money market managers - but not only got most of its money from the very rich, but consistently implemented policies making the rich richer and the poor poorer.
- Democrats oppose manipulative, republican, bankers
Roughly nine out of every ten dollars donated by wall street banks and investment houses go to the democrats.
- Democrats fight monopolies to protect the common man
Right now, whispers from a half dozen Wall street opinion leaders, all democrats, all Obama/Clinton supporters and bundlers, can trigger trillion dollar market moves - and when they wish something, their money makes it so because, for them, short term losses presage future gains.
A small company with great products or services that might threaten one of the big monopolists like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Intel, or IBM (all run by Obama supporters) can be brought down simply by talking it down and then responding to value buyers by sharply shorting the share - and, if the target company isn't public, going after its customers and suppliers can get the message across too.
The result is that innovation has slowed dramatically. The tech industry, for example, drove the economy through the Clinton and both Bush presidencies but ground to a virtual halt after the 2007 Pelosi budget - with the most innovative companies now gone and the survivors in 2016, nearly all run by democrats, near monopolies producing nearly nothing that wasn't available in a less refined form in 2008.
Myth 12: Democrats fight for the middle classes
The Obama administration printed trillions in new federal debt while economic productivity fell. So where's the inflation? Money, mainly in the form of the imaginary (unrealized gains) components of home equity and long term savings, moved, during the Obama administration, from the middle and lower classes to the stock market and thus into the control of the very rich. GE and Warren Buffet, both big Obama supporters, did very well out of this, ordinary people didn't: more than half their former home equity became, during those eight years, somebody's else's imaginary money, on Wall street.
An aside: reversing this is the essence of Mr. Trump's Make America Great Again effort. Under de-regulation, tax change, and various real and/or promised trade deals people running smaller companies have been encouraged to invest in their own abilities and those of local workers. As a result money has been moving from wall street control to a kind of main street control - with huge hidden increases in personal asset valuations around the country, a stock market valuation shift from giant companies to mid range and smaller ones, and the potential, once the supreme court rules on the CFFB, for significant gains in privately held pension and other personal assets.
Normally when national productivity rises, so do the markets but that isn't what happened during the Obama years. Instead the market rose through the movement of money from the middle classes to the rich while productivity fell, manufacturing almost disappeared, and the economy declined.
The primary mechanisms through which this was done were the development of protected monopolies, the imposition of new regulation on innovators and producers, and an application of the difference between real and reported inflation rates. The first two are self-explanatory, the latter a result of the disjunction between real and reported rates of inflation.
Lots of things, including some deposit interest rates and many supply and labor contracts contain automatic cost escalators based on the federally reported rate of inflation; but if real rates exceed reported rates, rising prices drive the market up while eroding middle class assets like IRAs, home values, and pension and other entitlements.
Notice in this context, that as Chinese workers subsidize American government spending by doing the jobs Americans should be doing but at one fifth the cost, American consumer prices for those products go down. Weighting consumer price change measurement disproportionally for imported products and services while largely ignoring the ever increasing cost of healthcare, education, and government thus reduced the apparent rate of inflation even as Americans paid more and more for less and less.
Meanwhile the middle class opportunities needed to break society out of this were increasingly constrained by government - from Obamacare to the new foreign currency regulations, new costs, new rules, new agencies imposed by the left during that administration's regulatory extravaganza blocked upward mobility and economic change.
Myth 13: Democrat economic policy works for Americans
On September 5th of 2014 CNS News reported:
Record 92,269,000 Not in Labor Force; Participation Rate Matches 36-Year Low
(CNSNews.com) - A record 92,269,000 Americans 16 and older did not participate in the labor force in August, as the labor force participation rate matched a 36-year low of 62.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The labor force participation rate has been as low as 62.8 percent in six of the last twelve months, but prior to last October had not fallen that low since 1978.
BLS employment statistics are based on the civilian non institutional population, which consists of all people 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution such as a prison, mental hospital or nursing home.
In August, the civilian non institutional population was 248,229,000 according to BLS. Of that 248,229,000, 155,959,000-or 62.8 percent--participated in the labor force, meaning they either had or job or had actively sought one in the last four weeks.
On that same date at CNBC, Kate Gibson Reported that: Stocks rally into close; Record finish for S&P 500
U.S. stocks erased losses and rose on Friday, with benchmark indexes extending gains into a fifth week, as investors detoured around a surprisingly disappointing jobs report.
The number of jobs created "was way under what they anticipated, but the unemployment rate countered that," Stephen Carl, head equity trader at the Williams Capital Group, said of the Labor Department's report, which had non farm payrolls adding just 142,000 jobs even as the jobless rate declined to 6.1 percent. Economists had expected payroll growth of 225,000 last month.
"This number is already out, and nobody knows what to make of it, so let's trade on the stuff we understand," said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade in Chicago.
At the time one third of Americans physically and mentally able to hold jobs didn't have jobs, but Obama's government said only 6.1% were unemployed - and the top 1% was doing extremely well - here's another September 5th, 2014 report, this time from USA Today:
The wealth gap widened from 2010 to 2013, with inflation-adjusted income falling for all but the richest households, according to a Federal Reserve report released Thursday.
Median income, after figuring inflation, declined 5% during the period, from $49,000 to $46,700, the Fed's Survey of Consumer Finances shows. Only the top 10% of households saw an increase, with their median income rising 2% to $223,200.
The period covered by the survey includes the early part of the recovery following the 2007-2009 Great Recession. In the previous survey, which captured changes from 2007-2010, median income tumbled 8%.
In the more recent three-year period, median income fell 17% for people without a high school diploma, 2% for high school graduates and 11% for those with some college. Income for college graduates increased 1%.
Income declined for all age groups, except families headed by people age 35 to 44.
Households' estimates of their net worth, meanwhile, declined across nearly all income groups, even for those at the top. Median net worth, adjusting for inflation, fell 2% to $81,200. Households in the top 10% income bracket were hit with a 12% drop in net worth to $1.13 million.
Only upper-middle-income households realized an increase, $161,300 from $138,600.
The drop in overall net worth is largely related to a fall in the median home value, to $170,000 in 2013 from $182,000 in 2010. The Fed called the decline "a little surprising, given the widespread perception that house values have stabilized and partially recovered in most areas." Among other reasons for the disparity, the report suggests that the homeowners surveyed may have overestimated price declines after over valuing their properties during the housing boom. Also, home prices rose slightly from 2010 to 2013, but they didn't keep up with inflation in that period.
A smaller share of Americans, however, owned homes last year in the wake of the foreclosure crisis that began in the mid-2000's. Ownership declined to 65.2% from 67.3%.
What the report from the Fed, and all major media reports based on it, left out was that the data show that the gains in the top 10% were made by relatively few: by millionaires, billionaires, senior academics, and senior civil servants - almost everybody else, better than 96% of the working population, lost ground.
Eight years after the democrats got control of the budget process, six years after then candidates Obama, Reid, and Pelosi railed against billionaires and swore to aid the middle classes, those middle classes were losing wealth and hope in equal amounts - but long term democratic party supporter CNBC news could publish this without a hint of apology:
The world economy is going through a rough patch, yet the world's billionaire population is at an all-time high.
A new survey shows that 155 new billionaires were minted this year, pushing the total population to a record 2,325 “ a 7 percent increase from 2013.
Credit goes to the United States “ home to the most billionaires globally “ where 57 new billionaires were recorded this year, according to the Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2014 released on Wednesday.
Bottom line: democrats serve the rich and damn the poor. Tom Steyer and other Obama supporters did well, normal Americans did not. At the same time in mid 2014 that a former ACORN general counsel who worked unceasingly for the poor and, according to Senator Schumer, never asked for a dime, sold his New York Town House for nearly 21 million dollars and a $130 million palace for sale in Florida made headlines, a record number of Americans were out of work, black unemployment (and unemployability) was at record levels, and the president was once again promising to break American constitutional law and precedent by granting amnesty to millions of illegals - right after the November elections.
Myth 14: Socialist social policy levels the playing field for all
French socialist Thomas Piketty's argument that wealth is naturally concentrated among less than 1% of the population because family dynasties become self-perpetuating wealth concentrators by investing in land and machinery to the exclusion of the human worker is remarkably popular among democrats - the same democrats who desperately want to expedite the replacement of human truck and cab drivers with automatons, and the same democrats who insist on increases in the minimum wage knowing that these result in increased mechanization in entry level jobs.
Piketty is, however, wrong on all counts: first the standard advice among the rich is "own people, not things" and, second, the actual route to massive concentrations of wealth in the hands of the few has always been investment in rule making, not machine use or product manufacturing.
Worldwide, the richest families generally trace their lineage to some one in the right place with the right product or service at the right time - but continuing family prominence almost never comes from continued innovation in the pursuit of productivity or improvement, it almost invariably comes from freezing out change agents through deployment of government or other coercive agents.
Historically socialists regulate - and regulation favors the rich by raising barriers to entry. Not long ago, opposing the king could mean death, now it often means bankruptcy; but the economic effect is the same. Whether we're thinking of Nero or Krupp; Reynolds or Stuart, Crocker or Gates (both J.W. and Bill), the process has nearly always been the same: an earned initial advantage is parlayed into a privileged position maintained through the forceful exclusion of competitors.
Notice, in this context, that it is control of the regulatory process and the exclusion of competitors, not family continuation, innovation, or financial management that counts - otherwise the old saw about going from rags to riches and then back to rags in three generations would apply to the smallest and most tightly controlled families like the Rochchild's instead of the largest and most diverse like the Du Ponts.
In today's context, Obama's crony capitalism comes to mind as always benefiting his richest supporters to the detriment of ordinary Americans - from his opposition to Keystone and fracking, to government financial support for solar power and stronger internet regulation, everything the administration did worked to slow change; to freeze out start-ups; and to perpetuate practices enabling a very small number of the very rich to push their initial capital and connection advantages to new levels.
National Review's Jim Geraghty summarized the reality very nicely:
I was chatting with a couple of bright minds last night, veterans of the conservative-media world and political campaigns, who observed that the mood of the Republican party has rarely been more populist.
We concluded that the GOP has some good reason to feel populist! One of the biggest problems facing the country, one worsening in the past two decades or so, is an increasingly inter-connected network of political, economic, and cultural elites that is increasingly brazen in pursuit of its own self-interest. Progressive elites don't really care if they live up to their own rules on paying taxes, paying minimum wage, making sexist comments or mistreating women, forsaking gun ownership, carbon emissions, use of public schools, or watering their lawns during California's drought. They are quite comfortable with the concept of a functional aristocracy, with special rights and privileges that the general public doesn't get to enjoy.
TARP was a giant accelerator of this perception; while millions of Americans endured hard times, the federal government was willing to hand over billions upon billions in taxpayer money to save wealthy bankers from the consequences of their own bad decisions.
Meanwhile, the liberal-dominated world of higher education turned itself into the exorbitantly expensive entry gate to the middle class, setting aside quite a few slots for the offspring of current elites. After college, corporate America's recruiters sought candidates who were not only competent but also culturally similar to themselves in terms of leisure pursuits, experiences, and self-presentation styles. Concerns about shared culture were highly salient to employers and often outweighed concerns about absolute productivity.
Myth 15: Pot Good! Tobacco bad!
Smoking has two kinds of effects: lung and other cancers are associated with the long term mechanical effects of inhaling hot gases, while short term physical and behavioral changes are associated with absorption of the active ingredient.
Notice that the mechanical effects are associated with the smoke, not the active ingredient and are therefore about the same for tobacco and marijuana - but the chemical effects are quite different: nicotine leads to hyper activity, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol ) to lassitude.
The list of known side effects associated with marijuana is appalling - here's the summary from the NHTSA:
Fatigue, paranoia, possible psychosis, memory problems, depersonalization, mood alterations, urinary retention, constipation, decreased motor coordination, lethargy, slurred speech, and dizziness. Impaired health including lung damage, behavioral changes, and reproductive, cardiovascular and immunological effects have been associated with regular marijuana use. Regular and chronic marijuana smokers may have many of the same respiratory problems that tobacco smokers have (daily cough and phlegm, symptoms of chronic bronchitis), as the amount of tar inhaled and the level of carbon monoxide absorbed by marijuana smokers is 3 to 5 times greater than among tobacco smokers. Smoking marijuana while shooting up cocaine has the potential to cause severe increases in heart rate and blood pressure.
Tobacco is not considered a gateway drug to delibilitating addictions nor is it implicated in many traffic deaths and injuries, lower fertility, or increases in socio-pathic behaviors. For all of these, Marijuana is - however, the same people who want to outlaw tobacco want to legalize Marijuana:
Democratic Representative Mitch Greenlick of Portland [Oregon] proposed the bill on Thursday, according to local news station KPTV. The proposed bill would classify cigarettes and any other products containing nicotine as a Schedule III substance, making it illegal to possess without a doctor's note.
Under the proposed law, any person caught with cigarettes or tobacco products (or any Schedule III substance) in Oregon would be facing up to one year in prison or a fine of $6,250. Other Schedule III substances include ketamine and LSD.
(From The International Business Times for January 24, 2013:)
A bill that would ask Oregon voters if they want to legalize marijuana while leaving the regulations up to the Legislature passed its first committee last Thursday.
Senate Bill 1556 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 3-2 vote, with all Democrats supporting it and all Republicans opposing, reports Jeff Mapes at The Oregonian. The bill now goes to the Senate Rules Committee.
Initiative 21 would amend the Oregon Constitution, ending criminal penalties for cannabis and permitting adult recreational marijuana use, possession and cultivation. Initiative 22, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2014, creates a commission to regulate the cultivation, processing, and sale of marijuana, generating hundreds of millions of dollars for the Oregon General Fund, helping to pay for schools, roads, and social services.
(From the Salem News for February 18th, 2014)
The hypocrisy is amazing - but the real surprise comes from examining the numbers: marijuana is many times deadlier than tobacco.
Although various official CDC and other publications suggest that up to one fifth of all deaths in the the United States occur in the context of first or second hand exposure to smoking, the reality is that a death will be coded as tobacco related if the deceased is known to have smoked or lived in a home with a smoker other than a parent. The best estimates of actual direct deaths due to smoking suggest that no more than 6.2 deaths per thousand are genuinely attributable; that deaths due to cancers or other diseases directly linked to smoking (mostly cancers originating in the lungs, throat, or mouth) amount to only about half of these; and, that it can take forty or more years for tobacco related cancers to appear, metastasize, and kill.
In contrast, between 8 and 12 percent of habitual marijuana users aged from 18 to 24 die of drug related diseases within 14 years - including exposure, starvation, and preventable (or easily curable) diseases not prevented or not cured because of lifestyle choices.
An October 7th, 2014 report by science writer Ben Spencer in the Daily Mail lists these key conclusions from a 20 year study conducted by a "professor of addiction policy at King' s College London":
- One in six teenagers who regularly smoke the drug become dependent on it,
- Cannabis doubles the risk of developing psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia,
- Cannabis users do worse at school. Heavy use in adolescence appears to impair intellectual development
- One in ten adults who regularly smoke the drug become dependent on it and those who use it are more likely to go on to use harder drugs,
- Driving after smoking cannabis doubles the risk of a car crash, a risk which increases substantially if the driver has also had a drink,
- Smoking it while pregnant reduces the baby' s birth weight.
Myth 16: Yesterday's regulatory win justifies today's enforcement
When progressives win, they never revisit the battlefield.
In researching the example of medical packaging regulation I came across an odd fact: current justifications, offered only when forced, continue to be based on pre-1972 data.
In reality the world didn't stop evolving in 1972 - but the regulatory view of medical packaging generally did. The same thing is true of liberal views on marijuana: many of the leaders had personal experience in the 1960s and 70s, to them marijuana produces a mild buzz that's fairly harmless and the argument is therefore still largely about whether or not this is a gateway drug leading users to more serious forms of chemical abuse.
That question was answered in Vietnam during the late 1960s when American servicemen accustomed to American marijuana running around 1.5% THC (the active ingredient) encountered hashish and other products from places like Algiers with concentrations ranging from 8% for ordinary weed to 25% or more for some oils. At those levels marijuana is not a gateway drug: it is a deeply destructive narcotic every bit as devastating as heroin or cocaine - in Vietnam, for example, it bred paranoia, distrust, and disobedience, freed those with natural tendencies toward gratuitous violence and cruelty to express those urges in actions, and eventually resulted in thousands of stateside suicides among dischargees.
The refusal to revisit conclusions as new information emerges turns out to be a general problem: long discredited research or data that is simply no longer applicable continues to justify regulatory action throughout the system - today's EPA commitment to CO2 regulation or the congressionally mandated ethanol standards are just two current examples.