The Big Think

October 30, 2014

For Those Who Still Care What They Think…

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 8:56 am

INCISIVE ANALYSIS FROM THE KEEN MINDS AT THE NEW YORK TIMES: If You Vote Republican Next Week, You’re A Bumpkin.

Well, okay then. “Now that you’ve been insulted by the vaunted NYT, all you shambling dimwits in that terrifying wasteland between LA and NYC, I trust you’ll think twice about your vote. . . . You wouldn’t want to draw the contempt of the Paper of Record, would you? You wouldn’t want them to think you’re not one of them, right? Be sophisticated. Be smug. Vote Democrat.”

As usual, Insty nails it.

Of course, the Paper of Record has to resort to last-ditch name calling since it seems like millennials are reconsidering their votes in droves. As the man says, “Even a flatworm is smart enough to turn away from pain. And since Obama was elected in 2008 — and, really, since Dems took over Congress in 2006 — there has been a lot of pain for millennials.”

Voters eventually realize that platitudes like “hope” and “I’m not the other guy” aren’t enough to lead a complex and powerful hyperpower. When your performance record starts to build up (and the liberal record is overpoweringly obvious and inescapable), denying serial ineptitude and amateurishness just becomes transparently silly.

October 22, 2014

There Is No Voter Fraud

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 12:52 pm

How to recycle votes: “Meredith Hicks, the director of Work for Progress, a liberal group funded by Democratic Super PACS.: ‘That is not even like lying or something, if someone throws out a ballot, like if you want to fill it out you should do it.’”

…The video of O’Keefe’s encounters with other operatives is equally disturbing. He has a conversation with Greenpeace employee Christina Topping, and suggests he might have access to unused ballots from people who have recently moved out of college fraternity houses. “I mean it is putting the votes to good use,” she responds. “So really, truly, like yeah, that is awesome.”

This takes place in highly contested Colorado House and Senate races. And the people quoted are some of the ones involved in the get-out-the-vote campaigns (and at one point, even an election registration person). Voter fraud is real. Videos like this one put the silver stake in the heart of the argument that it’s not.

Look, if the “other side” wins a fair election then okay. That’s how the system was designed to work, whether we like it or not. But having the system corrupted like this by some of the very people with their hands closest to the election machinery? Do I even have to say how bad that is? Can anyone defend that?

So why do people oppose laws that would stop this sort of corruption?

October 15, 2014

Don’t Be a Square. That’s Such OLD NEWS.

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 8:58 am

NY Times Just Blasted Out of Existence Biggest Myth About George W. Bush & Iraq War: “

While various news sources had reported the finding before, all assertions that Hussein had chemical weapons in some capacity (weapons-grade or not – they had been hidden from U.N. inspectors) were largely scoffed at as nothing more than supercilious bunk. Well, behold…

Chemical weapons were found during the Iraq War but the public never knew about it. Until now: http://t.co/tTDLmHqjps http://t.co/HkigTxIgGb

— New York Times Video (@nytvideo) October 15, 2014″

To anyone who made this talking point a lynchpin for your objection to the Iraq war (as well as a reason to hold your opposition in contempt), your apologies would be kindly appreciated.

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October 14, 2014

Instapundit

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 10:23 am

Instapundit:

“OBAMACARE: SO GREAT THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT IT UNTIL IT’S TOO LATE. Obamacare website won’t reveal insurance costs for 2015 until after election; States with key Senate races face double-digit premium hikes.”

The premium increase date was originally set for Oct 1st, a month before the election, but has recently been moved to November 15th- almost 2 weeks after election day.

Remember: they kept saying “this will be so good everyone will love it and people will thank us and keep electing us because of it”?

And yet the people who supported this will continue to make excuses and rewrite history to keep their cognitive dissonance at bay. It would be sad for them if it weren’t so tragic for us.

October 13, 2014

The Centers for Disease Control Loses Its Grip

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 12:39 pm

The Centers for Disease Control Loses Its Grip:

“I have lived long enough, now, to have seen it again and again. Something goes badly wrong involving a corporation, a university, a religious denomination, or a branch of government, and the executive in charge or a designated minion goes before the press to engage in what is euphemistically called ‘damage control.’ The spokesman does not level with the public. He or she tries to be reassuring and — more often than not — by lying, succeeds in undermining confidence in the institution he or she represents.

This is what is now going on with the Centers for Disease Control. In recent years, this well-respected outfit has branched out, opining in a politically correct manner on one issue after another outside its proper remit. Now it is faced with a matter absolutely central to its responsibilities — actual disease control — and it flips and flops and flounders because the ultimate boss, the President of the United States, cannot bring himself to put limits on contacts between Americans and the citizens of the countries in Africa where there is an Ebola epidemic.

There is only one way to prevent the spread of an epidemic, and that is quarantine. No medical professional with any sense would suggest that we should admit individuals from Liberia to the United States at this time, and no medical professional worth his or her salt would say that we can test for the disease when the prospective visitor arrives at Immigration and Passport Control. Like most diseases, Ebola has an incubation period. Early on, there are no symptoms: none at all. There is no reliable way to tell whether those arriving at our ports of entry have contracted the disease or not. If we do not want it coming here, for a time, we have to keep everyone out who has been in that neck of the woods.

And what are we told by the authorities? That cutting off contact would contribute to the spread of the epidemic. ‘Just how?’ we are entitled to ask. But no explanation is given because, of course, there is none. We were also told that the disease would not come here. And, when it did come here, we were told that it could easily be contained. And, when it was not contained and a medical professional wearing all the proper gear came down with the disease, we were told that he did not follow the protocol.”

Thrashed by the Cycle

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 11:12 am

Time Waits For No One:

“If there were only some way of quarantining memes it would be very much appreciated right now. Carrie Dann of NBC News laments ‘If you’re even a casual news consumer, you know that the spread of Ebola, the U.S. airstrikes against ISIS and major security breaches within the Secret Service have dominated media coverage over the last week as Americans mull the safety of their families, U.S. soldiers, and the president himself.’…

…It wasn’t supposed to be this way: the news has hijacked the news cycle.

To appreciate how much this hurts it’s important to remember that the media’s greatest power is its ability to set the public agenda. Ever since 1968 it has jealously guarded the power to both determine what the public talks about (the agenda) and how it is discussed (framing)…

…As MSNBC noted, the public instead of talking about the real issues, is talking about Ebola, ISIS, al-Qaeda, Ukraine, etc. It’s a fine kettle of fish when media consultants find the news revolting. An uprising of the facts is making the management of the news cycle impossible.”

Boo frickin’ hoo. If they spent more time reporting the news instead of framing and massaging it, journalists would be less worried about being at the mercy of the cycle and what that means to the stability of their positions.

October 8, 2014

Liberals Storm California’s Bedrooms | RealClearPolitics

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 12:51 pm

Liberals Storm California’s Bedrooms:

“…for years I’ve been railing and ranting about the ridiculous myth that liberalism is socially libertarian; that liberals are ‘live and let live’ types simply defending themselves against judgmental conservatives, the real aggressors in the culture war. 

That thinking runs counter to most everything liberals justifiably take pride in as liberals. You can’t be ‘agents for change,’ ‘forces for progress,’ or whatever the current phrase is, and simultaneously deny that you’re the aggressors in the culture war. For instance, just in the last decade, liberals have redefined a millennia-old understanding of marriage while talking as if it were conservatives who wanted to ‘impose’ their values on the nation.”

Exactly right. I’d post this to FB but I weary of the hordes of indignant progressives (and just people who want to be connected to the popular kids) who angrily insist they’re not a part of their own religious crusade while simultaneously telling me I need to shut up or be ostracized socially.

Irony, thy name is “liberal tolerance”.

October 6, 2014

Horse—–> Water

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 12:39 am

A Teachable Moment:

“Are the young struck by the dashed hopes of Obamacare? Give them a copy of Friedrich Hayek’s The Fatal Conceit. They can’t believe the Secret Service farce? Introduce them to James Q. Wilson on bureaucracy. They’re befuddled by the exploitation of an unfortunate incident in Ferguson? Have them read Edward C. Banfield’s The Unheavenly City (especially the chapter he titled ‘Rioting Mainly for Fun and Profit’). Liberalism’s domestic policies aren’t working quite the way they were supposed to? Acquaint them with Irving Kristol: ‘I have observed over the years that the unanticipated consequences of social action are always more important, and usually less agreeable, than the intended consequences.’”

Does it sometimes seem no one is saying what is obviously true? Read Orwell: “We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”

October 5, 2014

What Makes Jon Stewart More Insufferable Than Bill Maher

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 12:28 pm

What Makes Jon Stewart More Insufferable Than Bill Maher:

“But in my defense, I have a unique grievance against Stewart. I’m a Millennial, the age cohort that was raised with the Daily Show in their living rooms, and the most annoying thing about my generation is its infatuation with Stewart. At least once a week a news story about some outrage appears in my Facebook feed with a comment like: ‘I just NEED Jon Stewart to address this tonight,’ as though his one-liners are booster shots or security blankets. It’s not enough to shake your head and disagree anymore. Offenders must face the thumbs up from the emperor and the roar of the colosseum.”

While occasionally funny, Stewart has long since disproven his self-applied label of unbiased commentator and court jester of the status quo. Especially ironic given that he can’t stand his own tactics being applied to him.

It used to be that appreciation of Stewart illustrated an educated and cosmopolitan worldview. Now it merely betrays lazy and shallow thinking. Part of the herd. Moo.

October 3, 2014

Not Yet, but Soon?

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 5:04 pm

The Case for Panic:

“Over the last few years the divergence between what the government promises and what it delivers, between what it says is happening or will happen and what actually is happening and does happen, between what it determines to be important and what the public wishes to be important—this gap has become abysmal, unavoidable, inescapable. We hear of ‘lone-wolf’ terrorism, of ‘workplace violence,’ that if you like your plan you can keep your plan. We are told that Benghazi was a spontaneous demonstration, that al Qaeda is on the run, that the border is secure as it has ever been, that Assad must go, that I didn’t draw a red line, the world drew a red line, that the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups involved not a smidgen of corruption, that the Islamic State is not Islamic. We see the government spend billions on websites that do not function, and the VA consign patients to death by waiting list and then cover it up. We are assured that Putin won’t invade; that the Islamic State is the jayvee team of terrorism; that Bowe Bergdahl served with honor and distinction; that there is a ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia.

…It is precisely the intersection of Ebola and globalization that worries me. The only response to a virus this deadly is to quarantine it. Stop flights, suspend visas, and beef up customs and security. It can be done. If the FAA can cancel flights to Israel, why can’t it cancel flights to and from the West African countries whence the outbreak originated?

Simple: because doing so would violate the sacred principles by which our bourgeois liberal elite operate. To deny an individual entry to the United States over fears of contamination would offend our elite’s sense of humanitarian cosmopolitanism. For them, ‘singling out’ nations or cultures from which threats to the public health or safety of the United States originate is illegitimate. It ‘stigmatizes’ those nations or cultures, it ‘shames’ them, it makes them feel unequal. It’s judgmental. It suggests that America prefers her already existing citizens to others.

Such pieties endanger us. They are the reason we were slow to contain the influx of Central American refugees, the reason we do not follow-up on illegal immigrants who fail to show up for hearings, the reason we remain unable to strip jihadists of U.S. citizenship, the reason that a year after two Chechen refugees bombed the Boston Marathon, America is preparing to expand resettlement of Syrian refugees. The imperatives of the caste, the desire to make actual whatever is rattling around Tom Friedman’s brain at a given moment, take precedence over reality.

The system can withstand only so many shocks. For the last two years it has suffered nothing but blows, traumas, national and international concussions. The response by our government has been denial and delusion. But that has further alienated the public, and it won’t be long before things get really weird. Maybe it is time for the political class to panic, too.”

August 31, 2014

Your Government At Work

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 5:07 am

Audit: Five-year review of Recovery Act finds $5 billion misspent

“More than five years after the stimulus was signed into law, a new audit reveals the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) spent nearly $5 billion in questionable costs and funded programs that were ‘inherently not shovel ready.’

‘As a result of these reviews, we also reported monetary exceptions of over $5.1 billion, including $4.9 billion related to questionable or unsupported costs,’ the audit said.

‘Most programs that received Recovery Act funds were expected to quickly pump money into the economy by immediately executing infrastructure and labor intensive projects,’ the OIG said. ‘These were known as ‘shovel ready’ projects.’

‘However, our reviews discovered USDA encountered challenges because several of its programs were inherently not ‘shovel ready,’’ they said.

Of the nearly $5 billion in unsupported costs, the USDA has recovered only $11 million. The OIG still has seven open investigations for fraud and abuse of Recovery Act funds.”

Just remember this the next time someone says “there’s no time to waste”. But apparently there’s plenty of money to waste.

August 27, 2014

Tax the Burger

Filed under: Education,Politics — jasony @ 9:36 am

Let me explain. Or actually, in the case of Burger King’s planned acquisition of Tim Hortons, let my colleague Matt Levine explain, because he is smarter and funnier and a better writer than I am, and has already nicely summed things up:

The purpose of an inversion has never been, and never could be, and never will be, “ooh, Canada has a 15 percent tax rate, and the U.S. has a 35 percent tax rate, so we can save 20 points of taxes on all our income by moving.” Instead the main purpose is always: “If we’re incorporated in the U.S., we’ll pay 35 percent taxes on our income in the U.S. and Canada and Mexico and Ireland and Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, but if we’re incorporated in Canada, we’ll pay 35 percent on our income in the U.S. but 15 percent in Canada and 30 percent in Mexico and 12.5 percent in Ireland and zero percent in Bermuda and zero percent in the Cayman Islands.”

What is he talking about? The U.S., unlike most developed-world governments, insists on taxing the global income of its citizens and corporations that have U.S. headquarters. And because the U.S. has some of the highest tax rates in the world, especially on corporate income, this amounts to demanding that everyone who got their start here owes us taxes, forever, on anything they earn abroad.

This is a great deal for the U.S. government, which gets to collect income tax even though it’s not providing the companies sewers or roads or courts or no-knock raids on their abodes. On the other hand, it’s not a very good deal for said citizens and corporations, especially because our government has made increasingly obnoxious demands on foreign institutions to help them collect that tax. Both private citizens and corporations who have a lot of income abroad are deciding that they’d rather renounce their ties to the U.S. than deal with the expense and hassle of letting it tap into income that they have earned using some other country’s roads and sewers and police protection.

If there are two car dealerships next door to each other and one offers a car for 20% less than the other (all-in), which one are you going to patronize? Sure, the coffee, environment, and paint job might be better at the more expensive dealership, and that might be worth paying more for, but at some point– 10%, 35%, 50% (and there is a point)– the benefits of going to the higher-cost dealer are outweighed by the economic comparison.

People who are arguing against Burger King leaving the U.S. and reincorporating in Canada are essentially saying that they must continue patronizing the more expensive store, and they are using guilt-trip tactics to argue their point. It’s what we have come to expect from a less economically literate worldview. I’m glad that we’re finally seeing such effective pushback. I hope it’s not too late.

Do I want Burger King to leave the U.S., taking a lot of tax revenue from us? No way. But I sympathize with their plight (being a small business owner, boy do I sympathize). It’s absolutely worth it to be a part of the U.S. economic system and, yes, I think they do “owe” something on some level to that system. But when that system constantly demands more and more while other countries are offering them better rates? It’s a no-brained decision to eventually leave for other shores.

Dear taxing authorities: if you get greedy, eventually you’ll get nothing. There’s a lesson here– there’s a trend going on here. You need to learn it before you have no business tax revenue left.

Tax sanely. Spend wisely and responsibly. Be good stewards of the economic trees. And the Burger Kings, and all of his friends, may come back.

August 14, 2014

Propagandists with Bylines

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 7:52 am

Hamas Threatened Reporters in Gaza: ”

I asked him how come we never see on television channels reporting from Gaza any Hamas people, no gunmen, no rocket launcher, no policemen. We only see civilians on these reports, mostly women and children. He answered me frankly: ‘It’s very simple, we did see Hamas people there launching rockets, they were close to our hotel, but if ever we dare pointing our camera on them they would simply shoot at us and kill us.’’

I understand why these reporters didn’t write about this while they were in Gaza. They could have been kidnapped or killed. Perhaps their editors back home kept quiet for the same reason, to protect their employees and freelancers.

There is a solution to this conundrum, however. Don’t send reporters to places where they are intimidated into lying by omission or commission.

The Gaza war was a huge story, of course, and it had to be covered, but it could just as easily have been covered from the Israeli side of the line. Covering both sides of the story is of course preferable whenever possible, but providing balanced coverage from Israel alongside censored coverage from Gaza is a form of journalistic malpractice. Stop it. “

(Via .)

July 16, 2014

Good to Know The TSA is On The Job

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 7:21 am

TSA:

“Justin Gray was flying home to D.C. from Orlando International Airport when according wftv.com, a TSA agent asked to see Gray’s passport because his D.C. driver’s license wasn’t a valid form of identification.  Gray works as a reporter in Cox Media Group’s Washington bureau.

‘.@TSA Agent in Orlando never heard of ‘District of Columbia.’  Demanded passport because he didn’t believe my drivers license was from US!?’ Gray tweeted on July 12.

The station reports that Gray’s license was up-to-date, but the agent didn’t seem to know what the District of Columbia was.”

But don’t worry, they’re there for our safety.

July 9, 2014

Quoth

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 10:33 pm

Via Instapundit: “‘The journalists who populated America’s newspapers in the pre-Watergate 20th century by and large weren’t Columbia Journalism School graduates, but for the most part, blue collar types who could pound their Underwoods and had a keen sense for wanting to know who was screwing who over what and a desire to share it with the world. . . . No matter how many degrees they have on their cubicle walls, today’s MSM journalists are, if anything, much more ignorant about the state of their city and America — and certainly about the average Joe who reads their paper, whom they openly despise — than the hardscrabble predecessors who earned their papers’ reputations.’”

July 7, 2014

Teatopia

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 1:23 pm

What would happen if the Tea Party ran the country?:

“The goal of Tea Party federalism is not for states to serve as ‘laboratories of democracy,’ in which programs that work in Houston are eventually adopted across the country by dint of federal pressure. State governments wouldn’t serve as a kind of minor-league farm system for the big leagues in Washington, D.C.

Rather, the goal would be for different states to offer different visions of the good life. Citizens would vote with their feet in favor of the social-democratic societies that would emerge in Vermont and the Bay Area or the laissez-faire societies that would emerge in large stretches of the Mountain West.

The Tea Party movement sees this approach as the best way to honor and reflect what you might call America’s normative diversity — a diversity that has less to do with ethnicity and race and more to do with the virtues that we as communities want to cultivate in our children, and that we want to see reflected in our collective institutions.”

A level-headed examination of what Tea Party America would look like. The author goes through some of the negatives as well (it’s not just cheerleading).

Overall, it’s as clear and non-freakout of an article about this subject that I’ve read, and certainly refrains from the “they’re all raaaacists! stupidity that has come to be the main objection of detractors. I’ve always wondered about this one in particular since I know several minority-Americans who are firmly behind these precepts. Maybe the cry of racism has been knee-jerk reactionism? Nahh…

Remember the old saying:

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you. Then you win.”

July 6, 2014

Be Careful What You Wish For

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 10:59 pm

A Company Liberals Could Love – NYTimes.com:

“Insist that for legal purposes there’s no such thing as a religiously motivated business, and you will get fewer religiously motivated business owners — and more chain stores that happily cover Plan B but pay significantly lower wages. Pressure religious hospitals to perform abortions or sex-reassignment surgery (or some eugenic breakthrough, down the road), and you’ll eventually get fewer religious hospitals — and probably less charity care and a more zealous focus on the bottom line. Tell religious charities they have legal rights only insofar as they serve their co-religionists, and you’ll see the scope of their endeavors contract.”

July 3, 2014

Seen on FaceBook

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 7:33 pm

“You are only born with the rights the government gives you.”

Sigh.

July 2, 2014

Selling Obamacare

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 4:21 pm

Selling Obamacare – Reason.com:

“…Even more disturbing is that the ambitious Obamacare marketing campaign went well beyond the typical awareness initiatives sponsored by government, making forays into the much more opaque world of popular culture. In 2012, California’s Obamacare exchange spent at least $900,000 hiring the marketing firm Ogilvy to do P.R. as part of an effort that would enlist ‘Hollywood, an industry whose major players have been supportive of President Obama and his agenda,’ according to The New York Times. The effort was said to be working on a reality TV show about families without health insurance, as well as weaving Obamacare story lines into prime time shows and Spanish language TV. ‘I’d like to see 10 of the major TV shows, or telenovelas, have people talking about ‘that health insurance thing,” Peter V. Lee, the executive director of California’s exchange, told the Times.

Two years later, the White House was still working on getting Hollywood to promote ‘that health insurance thing.’ In March, White House aide Valerie Jarrett told Popsugar.com, ‘I’m meeting with writers of various TV shows and movies to try to get [Obamacare] into the scripts.’…

…Aside from her ethically dubious plans to politicize popular entertainment, Jarrett provided an unintentionally revealing window on the administration’s propaganda efforts. ‘What we want to do here is, like, nag,’ she said. ‘We’re really good at nagging. I’m a mom so I know. I’m a really good nag. And I can come at the same issue like 20 different ways until my daughter goes, ‘OK, I’m cool, I’ll just do it.'”

Because what America means is having a government that spends our own money to nag us to do unpopular things.

Why Embarrass Journalists?

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 11:25 am

Because it’s easy:

“I would not go through life ignorant of key facts, especially important facts.  So many of the people writing under bylines are willing to do just the opposite today.  It cannot end well when a free people are choosing leaders based upon the reporting of a class of people both biased and blind as well as wholly unaware of both or if aware, unwilling to work at getting smart enough to do their jobs well.”

Fix the media and you fix the country.

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