Ed Driscoll writes: It’s no coincidence that the left seems rather Orwellian at times; after all, Ingsoc in1984 was Orwell’s 1949 warning regarding what English Socialism could metastasize into a generation down the line. Why not American socialism?
One of the left’s current (and frequently Orwellian) buzzwords is “sustainability.” Lately, based on recent headlines, the left seems to reaching peak Orwell. Is such a condition sustainable? There seem to be an enormous amount of euphemisms, doublethink and moral evasions in the headlines these days. Here’s a just a taste:
In order to play the losing hand the left have chosen to deal to themselves and the rest of the country via Obamacare, some Ministry of Truth-style euphemisms regarding work and employment have recently become necessary. As Michael Goodwin noted yesterday at the New York Post, “America now has a government that views work as a trap and celebrates those who escape it:”
That is the upshot of last week’s remarkable exchange over ObamaCare. It began when the head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that the interplay of taxes and subsidies in the law “creates a disincentive for people to work.” The report predicted the mix would lead to fewer hours worked, costing the equivalent of nearly 2.5 million jobs.
Michael Totten writes: Che Guevara has the most effective public relations department on earth. The Argentine guerrilla and modern Cuba’s co-founding father has been fashioned into a hipster icon, a counter-cultural hero, an anti-establishment rebel, and a champion of the poor. As James Callaghan once put it, “A lie can be halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on.”
The truth about Che now has its boots on. He helped free Cubans from the repressive Batista regime, only to enslave them in a totalitarian police state worst than the last. He was Fidel Castro’s chief executioner, a mass-murderer who in theory could have commanded any number of Latin American death squads, from Peru’s Shining Path on the political left to Guatemala’s White Hand on the right.
“Just as Jacobin Paris had Louis Antoine de Saint-Just,” wrote French historian Pascal Fontaine, “revolutionary Havana had Che Guevara, a Latin American version of Nechaev, the nineteenth century nihilist terrorist who inspired Dostoevsky’s The Devils.
Speaking of guns…
When the opponents of “assault weapon” bans argue that it is preposterous for the state to ban firearms based on the way they look, they really mean it. It is. The rifle in the photograph above is no more or less powerful than the one that has been banned; it just looks different. And, because the SAFE Act was, typically, interested only in cosmetic questions, a simple change to its aesthetic rendered the rifle legal once more. As Clash Daily’s Jonathan S. explains:
Prototypes for the newly designed AR-15 are hitting gun shops across New York, as gun shops and machinists have designed a rifle that complies with the anti-gun law. At least one gun shop has received a letter from state police saying that the new AR-15 style rifles should be legal in the state as long as they don’t have some of the features that the law prohibits.
[VIDEO] Cuban Immigrant Manuel Martinez’s Challenge to Oregon Lawmakers: ‘Marxism is not Coming, Marxism is Here’Posted: February 10, 2014
This isn’t the first time Manuel Martinez, a man who fled Communist Cuba has voiced his concern to Oregon lawmakers about gun control. And he always seems to make the news because his words are so powerful. He knows that once the government disarms the people it’s over and he plainly warns Oregon lawmakers that Marxism isn’t coming to America, it’s already here…
Poisonous Government Snow
Georgia isn’t good at snow. Two inches fell in Atlanta last month and, amidst car crashes and television parodies, snow skepticism was born. Georgians bravely took to YouTube, determined to demonstrate that neither matches nor lighters nor blowtorches (a disproportionate number of Georgians seem to own blowtorches) could melt that strange, white stuff that the government insisted was just frozen water. On film, the snow blackens, twists like plastic, and stubbornly refuses to melt.
Although entire Web pages are dedicated to debunking the chemical snow theory, the simplest way to deal with snow skeptics is to put the stuff in a microwave or on the stove. Spoiler: It melts. The blackened snow was caused by soot from the lighter, because butane burns inefficiently, and as snow turns into slush under a blowtorch, it only appears not to melt. Bad Astronomy blogger Phil Plait explains how the snow is, in fact, slowly melting.
The entire episode, however, brings up a good question: Who was the first Georgian to decide to burn the snow, just to see what would happen?
Adam and Eve? Superintelligent Beings From Outer Space
Now that even Bill Nye has weighed in on the debate about creationism and evolution, some of us would welcome any sort of common ground between science and religion. The ancient alien theory may offer a solution: Adam and Eve were extraterrestrials who traveled to Earth aboard a space ark piloted by—you guessed it—Noah.
[Check out Zogby’s book: First Globals Understanding, Managing, & Unleashing the Potential of Our Millennial Generation at Amazon]
“I am a numbers guy and the numbers are mixed. Troubling for Obama is that so few Americans feel the U.S. is headed in the right direction (29 percent average) and that the stock market is falling. This could be the inevitable correction and the obvious impact of the Fed‘s tapering.
Fermín Lares reports: For the Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, the murder of a former beauty queen wasn’t so much a tragedy as an opportunity. Although Venezuelans have become accustomed to violent crime – at an annual average of 79 per 100,000, the country has the world’s highest homicide rate after Honduras – the horrific murders in Carabobo, involving as they did a much-loved celebrity and her family, convulsed the entire nation in shock. Enter Maduro, who loudly declared that he would use an “iron fist” against Venezuelan criminals.
Sure enough, within days of the killings, seven men said to belong to a gang known as “Los sanguinarios del Cambur” (“The bloodthirsty ones of Cambur”) were in custody. But if Maduro was expecting plaudits from a country whose citizens are even more fiercely divided than during the rule of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, he must have been sorely disappointed. The swift response of the authorities in the Monica Spear case was a stark contrast to the thousands of other murders – there were a total of 24,763 murders in 2013 alone, according to the independent Venezuelan Observatory of Violence (OVV) – that are seldom investigated or resolved.
To the casual observer, it is not immediately clear how the various strands that compose Venezuela’s current economic and political crisis relate to this fundamental breakdown of law and order. What therefore needs to be understood is that, after 15 years of Chavista misrule, the Venezuelan state is not an enemy of the criminal networks that have conquered the country, but their ally.
Vegas, Baby — “Eggs are expensive, sperm are cheap.” That’s a plain-English approximation of Bateman’s principle, which holds that in a species with two sexes, the members of the sex that invests less biologically in reproduction will end up competing, sometimes ferociously, over the members of the sex that invests more. Because healthy men can in theory reproduce almost without limit while women are constrained by the number of pregnancies that they can take to term in a lifetime, women have a very strong incentive to be more selective about their sexual partners, while men don’t: snipers vs. shotguns, basically. In a 2004 paper under the forthright title “Sexual Economics: Sex as Female Resource for Social Exchange in Heterosexual Interactions,” two scholars from the University of British Columbia and Florida State took that insight and examined mating behavior through the lens of market competition. And if you doubt for one second that the pitiless laws of supply and demand provide an excellent explanation of human sexual behavior, then by all means make a reservation at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino for the annual awards ceremony hosted by Adult Video News, a.k.a. the “Porn Oscars,” the most mercilessly Darwinian sexual marketplace you will find this side of Recife.
For City Journal, Heather Mac Donald writes: President Obama has become “acutely” conscious of the “limits of his power,”reports the New York Times, obviously sharing the president’s sense of pathos. Modern-day expectations for government have become so unmoored from common sense that a federal bureaucracy of nearly 3 million employees, erupting daily in mandates and directives, can be portrayed with a straight face as inadequate to the presidency.
[Heather Mac Donald‘s book, The Burden of Bad Ideas: How Modern Intellectuals Misshape Our Society, is available at Amazon]
Leave aside Obamacare and the unilateral Dream Act. In the last few weeks alone, the White House has alerted the nation’s schools that disciplining black students at higher rates than whites will put them at risk of a federal lawsuit and has created a new federal task force to “protect [college] students from sexual assault.” Both initiatives are based on fictions—that black students are no more fractious in the classroom than whites and Asians (despite a homicide rate among black-male teens ten times that of other ethnic groups of the same age combined), and that female college students are experiencing a rape epidemic of unprecedented proportions. Delusional or not, these directives will increase litigation, bloat already gigantic public and private bureaucracies even more, wrench schools and colleges further from their educational mission, and harden the patently counterfactual ideology of victimization.
Typical of all such churnings of the advocacy-government complex, the school-discipline and sexual-assault initiatives are drearily familiar, representing longstanding bureaucratic obsessions. But Obama’s announcement of his overstuffed sexual-assault task force for once did contain something new and noteworthy: a brief invocation of the chivalric ideal. Before examining that break from tradition, it’s worth reviewing the boilerplate that preceded it.
Clark Neily on “Terms of Engagement”
“The judge will actually collaborate with the government in coming up with hypothetical justifications for a law in order to bend over backwards and uphold whatever the government is doing,” says Clark Neily, attorney at the Institute for Justice and author of the new book, Terms of Engagement: How Our Courts Should Enforce the Constitution’s Promise of Limited Government. “You don’t get a neutral arbiter.”
Neily sat down with Reason TV‘s Zach Weissmueller to discuss what Neily describes as an ongoing pattern of “judicial abdication” in America.
Neily’s book: Terms of Engagement: How Our Courts Should Enforce the Constitution’s Promise of Limited Government is available from Amazon
The judiciary, he says, was meant to stand as a bulwark against the tyranny of the majority, a defender of individual rights. Instead, it has become a mere enabler of legislators and government agencies.
China Central Television Investigation Sparks Sex Trade Crackdown: 6,525 Police Officers Bust Up Flourishing Prostitution ServicesPosted: February 10, 2014
Just hours after a national broadcast program accused police of doing nothing about the rampant sex trade in Dongguan, 67 suspects had been detained and 12 entertainment venues shut down in the city in southern Guangdong Province.
The highly visible trade in sex, according to CCTV, included beauty contests where prostitutes wearing revealing dresses and number tags paraded along a catwalk in front of prospective clients. Sometimes presenters promoted girls like products on shopping channels
Zhongtang Town public security bureau chief He Cheng has been suspended.
A total of 6,525 police officers took part in a crackdown that began at 3pm yesterday and was due to continue until early this morning.
Mary Chastain reports: Director Woody Allen said his only biological son may very well be the son of Frank Sinatra. If it is true Allen claims ex-love Mia Farrow lied under oath just to receive child support.
I pause here for a quick word on the Ronan situation. Is he my son or, as Mia suggests, Frank Sinatra’s? Granted, he looks a lot like Frank with the blue eyes and facial features, but if so what does this say? That all during the custody hearing Mia lied under oath and falsely represented Ronan as our son? Even if he is not Frank’s, the possibility she raises that he could be, indicates she was secretly intimate with him during our years. Not to mention all the money I paid for child support. Was I supporting Frank’s son? Again, I want to call attention to the integrity and honesty of a person who conducts her life like that.
He addressed the issue in The New York Times op-ed he published to dispel claims by his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow that he sexually abused her when she was seven-years-old. He uses the Ronan situation as evidence he did not abuse Dylan because Farrow cannot be trusted. He mentioned the Yale New Haven Hospital case, which said Farrow coached Dylan and brainwashed her into believing Allen molested her.
‘Neoliberalism’ – A Term Both Ubiquitous and Ill-Defined – is an Evolving Body of Market-Driven Ideas. Or a Conspiracy by Elites to Torment the Poor…Posted: February 10, 2014
Spontaneous Order: Looking Back at Neoliberalism
Tim Barker writes: “The owl of Minerva,” Hegel famously wrote, “flies only at dusk”: historical events can be theoretically comprehended only in retrospect. Is this the case with neoliberalism? A term ubiquitous in the academy but scarcely used outside it, the concept is difficult to define with precision. A common shorthand identifies it as the economic and philosophical ideology behind the Reagan-Thatcher revolution; it is also often agreed that this ideology contributed somehow to the financial crisis of 2008. Now, with the recession technically over but recovery still ambiguous, two recent books attempt to describe neoliberalism’s historical origins and explore its current political implications.
by Johanna Bockman
Stanford University Press, 2011, 352 pp.
Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics
by Daniel Stedman Jones
Princeton University Press, 2012, 432 pp.
In Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics, Daniel Stedman Jones charts the rise of neoliberalism, which he defines as the “coherent, if loose, body of ideas” that underwrite our contemporary “market-driven society.” He begins with the intellectual biographies of three exiled Central European thinkers—Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and Karl Popper—who challenged the industrial West’s consensus around social welfare programs, full employment, labor unions, and state intervention. This first, émigré generation (joined by kindred Americans and West Germans) were “neoliberal” in their opposition to central planning, but also “neoliberal” because they sought a reformed liberalism for the middle of the twentieth century, not a simple return to the laissez-faire of the nineteenth. Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, for example, countenanced significant departures from laissez-faire, including universal health care.
Thomas Jefferson Rolls in his Grave as Liberty-Crushing 21st Century Socialist Presidential Pretenders Invade His House…Posted: February 10, 2014
Sacré Bleu! Obama and François Hollande to Celebrate ‘Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness’ in Monticello
Daniel Halper writes:
President Obama and French President François Hollande will visit Monticello tomorrow afternoon, according to the official White House schedule. It’s in the spirit of “the shared values we hold dear: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” says the White House.
“Later in the afternoon, as part of the State Visit of President François Hollande to the United States, President Obama and President Hollande will travel to Charlottesville, Virginia. There will be in-town travel pool coverage of the departure from the West Slope of the Washington Monument, and the arrival at Charlottesville Albemarle Airport is open to pre-credentialed media,” reads Obama’s schedule.
Katie McHugh reports: Membership in a New York affiliate of the National Rifle Association nearly doubled in a year after Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo passed harsh gun control measures in the wake of last year’s Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
New York now boasts 41,000 NRA members, up from the 22,000 members in January 2013, making it the largest NRA affiliate chapter in the country — surpassing even Texas.