A Further Perspective

A Further Perspective

Opinions Versus Facts

By 12.2.14

Everyone seems to have an opinion about the tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri. But, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan used to say, “You’re entitled to your own opinion but you’re not entitled to your own facts.”

Soon after the shooting death of Michael Brown, this 285-pound young man was depicted as a “gentle giant.” But, after a video was leaked, showing him bullying the owner of a store from which he had stolen some merchandise, Attorney General Eric Holder expressed displeasure that the video was leaked. In other words, to Holder the truth was offensive, but the lie it exposed was not.

Many people who claimed to have been eyewitnesses to the fatal shooting gave opposite accounts of what happened. Some even gave accounts that contradicted what they themselves had said earlier.

Fortunately, the grand jury did not have to rely on such statements, though some in the media seemed to. What the grand jury had, that the rest of us did not have until the grand jury’s decision was announced, was a set of physical facts that told a story that was independent of what anybody said.

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A Further Perspective

St. Louis on My Mind

By 12.1.14

As I watched the news coverage of the sad events in Ferguson, MO, a north side suburb of my hometown, St. Louis, countervailing emotions take hold.

St. Louis missed the violence and riots of the late 1960s and early 1970s for reasons we really do not understand. It has always been a binary community, blacks on the north side, whites on the south side. The old French and German culture is vestigial while the Italian influence is discernible mostly in the fantastic number of excellent restaurants in town. This self-sorting of the races continued out from the very restricted boundaries of the City to the suburbs, a black track heading to the north and northwest and a white track to the west, south, and southwest. This, no doubt, was one of the causes, along with affluence, of the rapid expansion of St. Charles County, just across the Missouri River, now a Republican stronghold. Many of the former and current white residents of the north side suburbs, like Ferguson, were Irish-Catholic and Democratic. An oft-quoted joke: a Democrat crossing the river became a Republican voter almost overnight.

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Beware of Our Betters

By 11.25.14

Jonathan Gruber’s several videotaped remarks about the gross deceptions that got Obamacare passed in Congress should tell us a lot about the Obama administration. And the way that the mainstream media hesitated for days to even mention what Professor Gruber said, while they obsessed over unsubstantiated charges against Bill Cosby, should tell us a lot about the media.

Whatever did or did not happen between Bill Cosby and various women is not likely to affect the lives of 300 million Americans. But Obamacare does.

For both the politicians and the media, this was not just an isolated incident. Gruber’s videotaped discussions of the complicated deceptions built into Obamacare with his help, designed to take advantage of what he called the “stupidity” of the public, are all too typical of the role played by the political left.

Neither the politicians nor the intelligentsia — including the media — want that role exposed for what it is.

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What Is a Conservative?

By 11.24.14

In 1976 George H. Nash published his definitive history, The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945. In it he recounted the somewhat fractious workings of a philosophic and political coalition made up of libertarians and fellow-traveling economists, traditionalists, and pro-military anti-Communists. Neoconservatives soon aligned themselves to this aggregation, focusing on the excesses of the welfare state and the Communist threat worldwide.

These seemingly incompatible elements united around Ronald Reagan to capture the presidency in 1980. This, in turn, led to supply-side tax cuts, prosperity and massive rearmament that forced the Soviet Empire into bankruptcy.

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California’s Object Lessons for Democrats

By 11.19.14

If Democrats wanted to know some of the reasons they got skunked in the recent elections they could learn a lot by looking at what’s going on in California. The state of California is a distillation of fundamental flaws that are “hollowing out” the Democratic Party.

The politicians, activists, and contributors holding sway in the Democratic Party are far out of step with average voters. A majority of voters either don’t want or don’t care about the favorite issues of the party elites — climate change, Obamacare, fracking, plastic bags, diversity, sugary soft drinks, GMOs, “corporate personhood,” amnesty, late-term abortions and the Washington Redskin’s nickname. Democrats for some reason put a lot of energy into proposals that very few people care about and will have no measurable impact.

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Stephen Harper Steps in for Obama

By 11.18.14

The events of the last year go a long way to explaining the nature of power. We’re used to thinking of power relations in material terms: America owns all the guns in the room, and therefore it’s the most powerful country in the world. But Obama has proven that military superiority isn’t the same thing as power, real power. What’s the use of having all the guns if you’ll not pull them out of your holster, or if you’ll do so only in stupid and unpredictable ways?

What’s missing from a purely material understanding of power is the spiritual element, the readiness to stand up to misbehaving thugs, the resolution to see fights through to the end, the right reason that avoids idiotic wars. Against the morally weak, the thugs know the difference between the two kinds of power. So did Winston Churchill. “We lose many battles,” he said. “But there’s one battle we always win—the last one.”

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Ten Years Later, The Question Remains: How On Earth Do You ‘Lose’ $6.6 Billion?

By 11.17.14

My friend’s succinct reaction to the amazing headline was, “How do you lose $6.6 billion?” How indeed!

Despite a full decade of audits and investigations, Pentagon officials still cannot say what happened to $6.6 billion in cash that was intended for the Development Fund for Iraq. 

Apparently, it just “disappeared.” Was it just misplaced in an accounting error, or was it “stolen”? Who knows? Apparently, the Pentagon has no idea. Ah, the perils of the fog of war that covers up all sorts of foul play.

It’s little wonder the money disappeared. After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Bush administration flooded the country with cash for reconstruction and other projects. It was a cash delivery that made the post-World War II Marshall Plan pale by comparison.

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Something Will Have to Give: Unsustainable Trends in Male/Female Ratios

By 11.14.14

Everyone knows that the Chinese practice of sex selection abortions over the last 30 years has produced a huge surplus of young men in comparison to the number of young women. This imbalance is simply not sustainable over time and inevitably something will happen to correct it. Whatever that something is, one can imagine the circumstances playing into the hands of those Chinese leaders who want to re-establish China’s hegemony in Southeast Asia which it lost as a result of the First and Second Sino-Japanese wars. In particular, there are those who would be happy for an opportunity to even the score with Japan for the brutality of Japan’s invasion of China during the second Sino-Japanese war. It matters not one whit that we are talking about events stretching back well over 100 years. That long span of time is inconsequential to the Chinese mind as every Chinese student is educated to think in terms of the glorious 4000-year history of their country.

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$6.2 Billion for Ebolacare

By 11.12.14

When the Senate Appropriations Committee meets today, the Obama administration will mount a full-court press to foist its whopping $6.2 billion “emergency” Ebolacare spending plan on taxpayers. That’s $6.2 billion with a “b” — six times what the UN said it needs to end the Ebola crisis in West Africa. The White House is labeling it “emergency” funding. Not so fast. Read the fine print. Most of the money will be going to Africa, but not just to treat Ebola patients or for Ebola research. It’s a typical Obama administration spread-the-wealth scheme kicked up a notch to redistribute American resources to poor countries.

On August 28, the World Health Organization presented a plan to stop Ebola with a $1 billion price tag. The Obama proposal costs more because it would pay for a permanent healthcare infrastructure in African countries — constructing hospitals and laboratories and training healthcare workers and public health officials. That’s a massive transfer of wealth — literally twice the GDP of Liberia.

It is also a radical shift in foreign aid priorities that demands scrutiny. $6.2 billion is twice what we give Israel.

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What Happened Last Week?

By 11.11.14

Just what happened last week on election day? And what is going to happen in the years ahead?

The most important thing that happened last week was that the country dodged a bullet. Had the Democrats retained control of the Senate, President Obama could have spent his last two years in office loading the federal judiciary with judges who share his contempt for the Constitution of the United States.

Such judges — perhaps including Supreme Court justices — would have been confirmed by Senate Democrats, and could spend the rest of their lifetime appointments ruling in favor of expansions of federal government power that would make the freedom of “we the people” only a distant memory and a painful mockery.

We dodged that bullet. But what about the rest of Barack Obama’s term?

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