The Long Version

Retired broadcast journalist. Blogging helps scratch the itch. Recovering exRepublican – Sober and still Conservative.

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Slamming Capitalism: The New Youthful Fad

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I see it a lot these days.

Social media posts and memes deriding Capitalism and romanticizing Socialism.

I honestly don’t know where it comes from outside of historical ignorance. It’s puzzling.

A link to such a post appeared in my email the other day. I’ll link to it below if you care to read it. It will provide context to what I’m about to write next.

Authored by a gentleman named Umair Haque. But don’t let the name lead you to assume anything. He’s an American citizen, young, idealistic, and dead wrong when it comes to capitalism.

The title of his article?

Does America Have Capitalist Stockholm Syndrome? – Why Are the Fiercest Defenders of Capitalism Those Who’ll Never Be Capitalists?

Ah yes, evil capitalism and those stupid white men dying to defend it!

Unfortunately, I believe Mr. Haque completely missed the point of their defense. It has nothing to do with their personal capitalistic ventures as he noted with his friend’s father. It has everything to do with the ventures of others which have made their lives, and the lives of their families for generations now, better. Infinitely better.

Period.

Perhaps the best defense for capitalism I’ve ever read comes from Economist Deirdre McCloskey. McCloskey doesn’t like the word “capitalism.” She likes to call our economic system a “technological and institutional betterment at a frenetic pace, tested by unforced exchange among all the parties involved” but that’s too long. Instead, we can use another term she coined, “trade-tested progress.”

Below I post her argument in quotes. If you disagree, provide a better model with an equally compelling mix of evidence, but please don’t go into a tired and fruitless rant about Socialism or any similar construct that has failed miserably over and over throughout history.

“Perhaps you yourself still believe in nationalism or socialism or proliferating regulation. And perhaps you are in the grip of pessimism about growth or consumerism or the environment or inequality.

Please, for the good of the wretched of the earth, reconsider.

Many humans, in short, are now stunningly better off than their ancestors were in 1800. … Hear again that last, crucial, astonishing fact, discovered by economic historians over the past few decades. It is: in the two centuries after 1800 the trade-tested goods and services available to the average person in Sweden or Taiwan rose by a factor of 30 or 100. Not 100 percent, understand — a mere doubling — but in its highest estimate a factor of 100, nearly 10,000 percent, and at least a factor of 30, or 2,900 percent. The Great Enrichment of the past two centuries has dwarfed any of the previous and temporary enrichments. Explaining it is the central scientific task of economics and economic history, and it matters for any other sort of social science or recent history.

What explains it? The causes were not (to pick from the apparently inexhaustible list of materialist factors promoted by this or that economist or economic historian) coal, thrift, transport, high male wages, low female and child wages, surplus value, human capital, geography, railways, institutions, infrastructure, nationalism, the quickening of commerce, the late medieval run-up, Renaissance individualism, the First Divergence, the Black Death, American silver, the original accumulation of capital, piracy, empire, eugenic improvement, the mathematization of celestial mechanics, technical education, or a perfection of property rights. Such conditions had been routine in a dozen of the leading organized societies of Eurasia, from ancient Egypt and China down to Tokugawa Japan and the Ottoman Empire, and not unknown in Meso-America and the Andes. Routines cannot account for the strangest secular event in human history, which began with bourgeois dignity in Holland after 1600, gathered up its tools for betterment in England after 1700, and burst on northwestern Europe and then the world after 1800.

The modern world was made by a slow-motion revolution in ethical convictions about virtues and vices, in particular by a much higher level than in earlier times of toleration for trade-tested progress — letting people make mutually advantageous deals, and even admiring them for doing so, and especially admiring them when SteveJobs-like, they imagine betterments. The change, the Bourgeois Revaluation, was the coming of a business-respecting civilization, an acceptance of the Bourgeois Deal: “Let me make money in the first act, and by the third act I will make you all rich.”

Much of the elite, and then also much of the non-elite of northwestern Europe and its offshoots, came to accept or even admire the values of trade and betterment. Or at the least the polity did not attempt to block such values, as it had done energetically in earlier times. Especially it did not do so in the new United States. Then likewise, the elites and then the common people in more of the world followed, including now, startlingly, China and India. They undertook to respect — or at least not to utterly despise and overtax and stupidly regulate — the bourgeoisie.

Why, then, the Bourgeois Revaluation that after made for trade-tested betterment, the Great Enrichment? The answer is the surprising, black-swan luck of northwestern Europe’s reaction to the turmoil of the early modern — the coincidence in northwestern Europe of successful Reading, Reformation, Revolt, and Revolution: “the Four Rs,” if you please. The dice were rolled by Gutenberg, Luther, Willem van Oranje, and Oliver Cromwell. By a lucky chance for England their payoffs were deposited in that formerly inconsequential nation in a pile late in the seventeenth century. None of the Four Rs had deep English or European causes. All could have rolled the other way. They were bizarre and unpredictable. In 1400 or even in 1600 a canny observer would have bet on an industrial revolution and a great enrichment — if she could have imagined such freakish events — in technologically advanced China, or in the vigorous Ottoman Empire. Not in backward, quarrelsome Europe.

A result of Reading, Reformation, Revolt, and Revolution was a fifth R, a crucial Revaluation of the bourgeoisie, first in Holland and then in Britain. The Revaluation was part of an R-caused, egalitarian reappraisal of ordinary people. … The cause of the bourgeois betterments, that is, was an economic liberation and a sociological dignifying of, say, a barber and wig-maker of Bolton, son of a tailor, messing about with spinning machines, who died in 1792 as Sir Richard Arkwright, possessed of one of the largest bourgeois fortunes in England. The Industrial Revolution and especially the Great Enrichment came from liberating commoners from compelled service to a hereditary elite, such as the noble lord in the castle, or compelled obedience to a state functionary, such as the economic planner in the city hall. And it came from according honor to the formerly despised of Bolton — or of Ōsaka, or of Lake Wobegon — commoners exercising their liberty to relocate a factory or invent airbrakes.”

Don’t let the current version of capitalism where business and industry leaders have become common bed-partners with politicians and government bureaucrats creating a crony-infested mutation, sour you on the concept. Seek to understand it in its purest form and work to move it back to what made it the most productive and beneficial economic system the world has ever seen.

Freedom, liberty, trade, and betterment for all.

Hence the fruits of capitalism are sweet indeed.

 

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Written by DCL

September 5, 2018 at 4:54 pm

Posted in Good News, News, Politics

Tagged with ,

When the Press No Longer Pretends to be Honest

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I’m honestly getting tired of defending Donald Trump from the news media.

He’s not my favorite person. As a human being he’s…not very nice, to put it nicely. But he was elected under the laws of this country to be its president. I don’t support all of his policies and ideas, though I believe he’s done some good things to help spur the U.S. economy.

But doggone it, right is right and wrong is wrong! I am sick and tired of people working in the profession I loved and honored when I was part of it, abusing their privilege and tarnishing the 4th Estate with such shoddy and negligent reporting.

President Donald Trump’s remark referring to some illegal immigrants as “animals” Wednesday drew backlash. People went nuts. “See! He’s a racist!” they shrieked.

If all you heard was the president’s reply, which was a response to a direct question by a Sheriff in attendance, you may have felt the same anger and disgust. But there’s a problem here and it speaks to the dishonesty of many working in this country’s major news media.

If you didn’t hear the question asked by the reporter, you didn’t have any context by which to judge the answer, but judge is exactly what everyone did. Wrongly.

Here is the soundbite including the question which provides the context.

 

The question was specific. It was a direct question from a law enforcement officer about MS-13 gang members, many who have come into the country illegally. According to the Associated Press the gang has indulged in rape, beatings, beheadings, dismemberment, and extreme cruelty to human beings that get in their way or cross their paths. When you consider what these people do to other people, animals probably isn’t an adequate comparison.

But our Free Press, led by the New York Times, took the president’s answer and reported it completely devoid of the context within the question he was asked. They made it look like Trump was calling all immigrants animals… Even now 24 hours later, these press outlets have refused to inform their readers and viewers of the omission, providing no added context to their earlier, misleading, reports.

After a White House press briefing, some of the news outlets updated their stories adding the reference to MS-13 and the question that was originally asked.

Accidental? A mistake? An oversight?

You tell me.

When Spending Becomes a Sickness

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Pelosi McConnell and RyanIf your congressional representatives or senators voted for the omnibus (more like ominous) spending bill, you now have a great reason to vote them out when they are up for re-election. They are ALL, (R)s and (D)s alike, addicted to our tax dollars and spending more than they make. A habit that would send you and I into bankruptcy.

For those in love with the president. He signed it. He now is culpable. He is also clueless. He’s being played by both Dems and Republicans and our kids and grandkids and great grandkids are now stuck with the bill. This is unsustainable.

For fellow Utahns, Orrin Hatch was the only Utah representative in DC that voted for the bill. Of course he won’t have to answer for it because he’s not running for re-election.

The proponents all point to the BUZZ items in the bill that we’ve all heard reported by the lap-dog media, like money for school security and the wall (not actually funded by the way), and defense spending, but do you have any idea what’s on the other 2200+ pages? Neither do they, because they had less than 15 hours to read it before voting on it…

This has become the way things on done in DC. Massive stacks of legislation pages with far too many to read and a very short window before a vote must be cast. It’s criminal, but then they’re immune from such things…

Don’t expect it to change though. The voters will do pretty much what they always do in the November midterms keeping incumbents and sticking to what makes them “feel” good.

No this bloated hog isn’t going anywhere. Not until the house of cards comes crashing down and buries it.

Written by DCL

March 23, 2018 at 1:16 pm

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’ I.T. Guy

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Imran Awan was arrested at Dulles International Airport in Washington DC as he was attempting to board a flight headed to Pakistan. Awan is charged with bank fraud.

Normally a story like this wouldn’t get much attention outside the police blotter in the local newspaper, but this isn’t a normal story. It’s a story that’s about as clear as the Mississippi river but is filled with intrigue and the potential to drag numerous DC acolytes and congressional representatives on the Democratic side of the aisle into a sludge pit.

Here’s what is known and the timeline that lead to the arrest this past week.

Debbie Wasserman-SchultzIn 2004 Congressman Robert Wexler (D) from New York, hired a Pakistani I.T. technician named Imran Awan to handle the technology needs for his office. Little was or is known about Awan. He’s a naturalized citizen according to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was convinced by Wexler to hire Awan as her I.T. specialist, a job he held along with others until his recent arrest when Schultz fired him. But there have been no reports on when he came to the U.S., his background, or even if he’s actually an I.T. specialist. The ambiguity surrounding Awan is surprising, however major news media has all but ignored this story making facts slow to come out.

It is interesting to note that at the time Awan was being hired by Schultz, I.T. contractors were being paid an average of $40,000 to $60,000 a year. Awan was being paid about $120,000 more than double the average salary paid for I.T. work by other congressional representatives. Which brings up question number one; why the inflated salary?

Within a year after Schultz hires Awan he requests more help so they hire his brother Abid Awan. Abid is paid the same salary or about $120,000. The database and workload apparently grew to the point where Awan requested more help. So  they hired his wife and best friend.  Both at similar salaries over $100,000 per year. We know that Awan’s wife, Hina Alvi, had no I.T. experience and his best friend, Rao Abbas, was working at a local McDonalds before being snatched up for a high paying I.T. job by Wasserman-Schultz.  Nothing illegal here, just odd and filled with cronyism and nepotism, two things the Left typically cringe at and protest.  At one point Awan, his family, and friends were making a combined $4 million dollars per year! What kind of I.T. jobs were these folks doing to demand that kind of money? No one is asking that question. The youngest Awan brother, Jamal, got on the House payroll too. He’s only 20 years-old and makes $160,000, much more than others in a similar I.T. position.

Awan and his group begin to branch out. Yes, they continue to work the I.T. gig for Wasserman-Schultz and many other Democrat congressional representatives in Washington, but they also start to buy real estate (houses) in the Virgina area. Where do they go to get their home loans? The Capital Credit Union. The bank of congress.

In 2009 they start a car dealership called Cars International A, LLC, referred to as “CIA” in court documents. The A doesn’t stand for anything but you can’t get CIA without it. So they try their hand at used car sales. At this same time Imran’s brother Abid has his own car repossessed and he begins to experience financial trouble. This usually wouldn’t be of any real interest except for the fact that all congressional I.T. employees must also have security clearances to hold those jobs.  Generally, financial issues like a vehicle repossession or bankruptcy would be cause for a review of the individual’s security credentials. There are sound reasons for this.  Someone with a government security clearance could have access to sensitive materials and could be compromised by foreign agents. Secrets for sale anyone? That’s the concern and that’s why such a review would be a normal protocol in this case, however, in this case no review was made. No questions were asked.

The financial situation for CIA and Abid didn’t get better, in fact it got worse. In 2010 CIA filed for bankruptcy. Now the security clearance credentials would surely be brought into question and possibly revoked, right? No, not really. No one questioned Imran or Abid and their credentials remained intact. In 2012 Abid files for personal bankruptcy. Three’s a charm. His security clearance would most certainly be revoked after a repossession and two bankruptcies. But no. Nothing happened. At this time Abid hopped on a plane to Beruit.  In Beruit he meets with Dr. Ali al-Attar, an Iraqi politician who was instrumental in the Iraq war and has ties to Hezbollah. The good doctor then decides to “invest” in the Awan family and gives them a $100,000 “loan.” Still no questions are asked by any one at the congressional level or Debbie Wasserman-Schultz or any of the other congressional democrats paying Awan and his group.

Then it gets even more bizarre. Imran, acting as his wife on a telephone call with the Capital Credit Union, tries to get $283,000 wired to Pakistan for a “funeral.” When the credit union says no, they can’t wire the money for a funeral, Imran changes character and speaks as himself explaining his wife was mistaken and the money is needed for a property purchase. Incredibly, the credit union says OK.

At this point capital police are looking into this and other irregularities surrounding Awan and his group of I.T. techs. However, according to The Daily Caller, “Awan’s wife, Hina, left the country under similar circumstances March 5, after withdrawing the couple’s three kids from school without telling Virginia education officials, packing up all of her possessions, and hiding $12,000 in cash, according to an FBI affidavit. She allegedly had hundreds of thousands of dollars waiting in Pakistan for her — money the FBI says Awan had obtained partly through mortgage fraud and had wired overseas using a false explanation.” She is now being protected by the Pakistani government.

That’s all we know to this point. Does anyone in the mainstream media think that’s worth investigating? Does anyone in congress see a single red flag in any of this information? So far none of the major media have done any in-depth reporting on a story that is begging for a good investigative journalist to take it on.

Some simple questions that came to my simple mind:
Why were these people being paid so much money when the average I.T. Tech was only making $40 to $60K a year?
Was DWS and the DNC being blackmailed?
Why didn’t anyone at the Capital Credit Union raise any alarms during the sketchy bank loan situation?
Why hasn’t anyone questioned the desire of an Iraqi politician to invest $100K in a bankrupt car dealership?

The Awan family I.T. group had complete access to all of the DNC’s private information and all of their emails as well as the emails of dozens of congressional democrats. Yet no one is talking about this in the major media.

This isn’t a democrat or republican issue. This is a serious national security issue and it needs to be addressed now.

These are the facts. This is what we know happened since Imran’s arrest and it’s only because of his arrest that we know this much.

Will this turn out to be much ado about nothing or just the tip of the proverbial iceberg?

Time will tell.

For continued updates on this story follow Luke Rosiak at The Daily Caller

What a Difference a Day Makes

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Wouldn’t you know it. Dr. Ben Carson endures 24 hours of non-stop abuse from media, Hollywood, and about every Democrat with a verified Twitter account, when the other shoe drops. But this time it drops right on the noggins of all those finger-pointing, name-calling, elites.

Come to find out, in a 2015 speech, President Obama made comments eerily familiar to those of Dr. Carson.

And perhaps, like some of you, these new arrivals might have had some moments of doubt, wondering if they had made a mistake in leaving everything and everyone they ever knew behind…So life in America was not always easy. It wasn’t always easy for new immigrants. Certainly it wasn’t easy for those of African heritage who had not come here voluntarily, and yet in their own way were immigrants themselves.

There was discrimination and hardship and poverty. But, like you, they no doubt found inspiration in all those who had come before them. And they were able to muster faith that, here in America, they might build a better life and give their children something more.

The Washington Free Beacon published a side by side video showing both Dr. Carson’s remarks and President Obama’s.

Did any of these folks spring to attack in 2015 when the President compared slaves to immigrants?

 Twitter attacks on Dr. Ben CarsonCelebs attack Ben Carson on Twitter

Don’t expect apologies. Expect them to double down. Expect them to defend a statement made by a black politician with a (D) by his name while excoriating the same statement made by a black politician with an (R) by his name.

Is there really any other difference here?

I’m open to reasoned and civil difference of opinion here, but check your team colors at the door. Look at this example free of the blue or red lenses. Just two men who made a very similar observation. Either what was said was right or wrong. It can’t be right for one and wrong for another.  If we go there, if we actually start to condone that kind of thinking and follow it with action, we are all in big trouble.

Let the honest discussion begin.

Be Careful How You Use the Word – Immigrant

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“That’s what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity,’’ he said. “There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters, might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”

At first all I’d heard, read, and saw was the ridicule, the disgust, the mockery, and the judgements.  I figured it must be really bad. Dr. Ben Carson, a man I respect because I think he’s just a good decent human-being was being crucified all over the media and social media. This must be it, I thought. His foray into the cesspool of politics has finally come around to bite him and he’s done something really horrible.

Then I read the quote.

I immediately saw what everyone was hysterical about.  He used the word “immigrants” where he shouldn’t have used that word. Not in today’s social/political climate, anyway. But I didn’t immediately interpret it as a slight toward the slaves who were brought over here or Black History in America. Some will say, “that’s because you’re white.” OK, but I still know the history and I can still read and understand words put in phrases and this one didn’t strike me as more egregious than Obama’s gaffe when he said he’d visited all 57 states. The Right took that into Islamic conspiracy world but the major media was quick to dispel it and help calm the waters. Not so this time.

It’s noteworthy, I believe, to show that nowhere can I find a definition of the word immigrant or immigration or migrate that specifies volunteerism. In other words, according to the dictionary, that volume which defines our use of words, an immigrant is simply someone “who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.” It doesn’t specify whether they came by choice or not. But that can be termed splitting hairs. OK, fine.

A decade or more ago, maybe 20 years now, his comment wouldn’t have garnered much attention if any. The word – immigrant – didn’t hold the same political meaning or have the same emotion attached to it in the common lexicon like it does today.

In my observation, however, there seems to be a double standard when it comes to gaffes by public figures, especially politicians. Everyone makes dumbass comments now and then, but some seem to be immune from the kind of public scrutiny, mockery, or humiliation or the magnitude being extended in this case.

Does the Right mock the Left when they make similar gaffes in public? Yes, certainly, but the Right doesn’t have CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, The New York Times, or Saturday Night Live to ingrain it into our psyche for all time over a week-long news cycle.

So this past week, armed with Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, led by celebrities and politicians alike,Anger at Ben Carson comments on slavery and immigration and with the help of the mainstream media, an avalanche of criticism, denigration, and even outright hate, has rained down on Dr. Carson.  I don’t have a problem with fair-minded criticism, but the majority of what I’ve read and heard can’t be defined as such.  It’s just gleeful contempt for a man most of them dislike for mainly one reason, I believe…

He’s black and he’s not a Democrat.

So, point your finger if you must. Claim that Dr. Carson doesn’t know the history of his own people if that gives you a superior tingle. Call him the most horrible person on earth because he dared compare slaves to immigrants, but consider how silly, petty, and insignificant it really is. No one ends up better for it. No one.

I’m certain Dr. Carson knows his history well. The intent of his comment was to commend those who came before him and to suggest even they, in their horrible and dire circumstance must have hoped for a better future for their posterity. His poor choice of words to describe their circumstance, the context of his speech, and the turbulent political atmosphere in which he spoke them, led to this ridiculous firestorm of anger and righteous indignation. We’ve got to get better than this.

The Left has long held claim to a monopoly on compassion and tolerance. Where is the application of this claim? Hint: It can’t be selectively applied.

So we add another word to the “words to use cautiously in public if at all” list.

Or what if we discussed why the word choice was poor, allowed the offender a mea culpa, forgave and moved on?

 

Written by DCL

March 7, 2017 at 4:57 pm

To the Democrats, This is Why You Lost

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Why the Democrats Lost

Every anti-Trump rant I’ve heard or read coming from Democrats of late has been filled with assumptive statements so lacking in evidence they do little more than identify them as someone who doesn’t deal well with disappointment and must therefore find a boogie man to blame. They will inevitably lump half of the U.S. population into a small and narrow-minded cube of extremism and hate simply because that half doesn’t see the world through their political lens.

That said, four years from now they may end up looking like prophetic soothsayers or just pathetic partisans doing the Chicken Little routine.

Truth is, we don’t know.

I didn’t vote for Donald J. Trump. I officially left the GOP in 1998 and live at the political crossroads of classical liberalism and classical republicanism. Above all I consider myself a constitutionalist and during the 2016 election cycle neither candidate was showing any indication they planned to govern by that document.

Hillary flaunts the law, Donald uses it as a billy club.

The two major parties couldn’t have chosen worse candidates had they just set up a huge wall of random photos and thrown two darts. In fact it’s quite possible they would have chosen excellent candidates using that methodology, excluding the photos of anyone currently working in DC or the Federal Government of course.

Democrats, you lost because your candidate was only slightly more dishonest, slimy, and unlikable than “The Donald” and you had no message for the nearly 100 million people no longer actively seeking employment (yes, that’s the number of unemployed people in the U.S. not even counted in our official unemployment rate) or those folks living in “fly over country.” You know, those people you look down on and crack jokes about while speaking with a hick accent?

The people you should be protesting, boycotting, or throwing Molotov Cocktails at are your own party leadership for believing dynasties are more attractive to the American voter than true public servants. Does anyone still know what the definition of a public servant is?

The Republicans, on the other hand, have been envying Democrat dominance for 70 years, and trying to become more like them for so long they forgot this nation is populated by people who are politically, fiscally, and socially conservative, but still believe in helping their fellow Americans who are down on their luck, still believe we must be good stewards of this place we call earth, and still love liberty and an uncompromised free market (classical liberals).

If nothing else this election should be a reminder of that relevant fact and rather than throw yourself on the ground kicking and screaming you won’t be a part of it, try stepping outside your political bubble and getting to know those people you’ve labeled so ignorantly and vindictively.

And to those of you on the Political Right standing with smug vindication on your pedestal of payback, how about coming down for a minute to listen, because the Democrats are feeling what you felt over the last 8 years. You can relate. So try a little more relating and less dissociating.

It won’t be easy, but it will be enlightening, enriching, and healing.

It might even lead to a more “united” states again…