Bernie’s Progressive Plan

Published in the Galena Gazette (Galena, Il) March 29,  2016

Bernie’s Plan stands out from all the other candidate plans. His world is one of “free stuff”, not just for the millennial generation, but for all Americans. Free college tuition and free healthcare are what has ignited the Bernie ecstasy. Of course, the beneficiaries are concerned about how Bernie will pay for all this “free stuff” that will cost the economy at least $75B. Their answer is easy: the top 1%. This means about 1.3 million out of the 136 million taxpayers (2012, Tax Foundation). Those nasty Wall Street speculators, as Bernie calls the 1%, who probably made their money at the expense of the poor can well afford to pay “a little more”. It is only right that most earners of the bottom 50% (68 million) continue to pay zero, and the top 68 million continue to pay 97.2% of all federal taxes. Adding 75B to the $451B (45% of federal income taxes) that they paid in 2012, would increase their tax burden from 22.8% to 26.7% average tax rate, 8 points above the next highest effective rate.

But the Liberal mind is fixated on the flawed concept of a “zero-sum’ world in which some people must give up something so that others may get something. Instead of making the five million millionaires poorer, they should be planning to make another ten or twenty million millionaires. Making the rich poorer, does not in the end make the poor richer, but does reduce the size of the total pie for all of us. Should  the intelligent farmer be forced to share his excellent crop with the lesser farmer? Should parents give up some of the air they breathe so that the newborn may have the oxygen it needs? Should the inheritor of a fortune be forced to share it with somebody less fortunate? Should the A-student be forced to average his/her good grades with those of the lesser student? Growth, like profits, has become a dirty word for this generation, yet they preach “personal growth”. They love the 1.5 million “non-profit” companies. But those companies also have to maximize profits to do their good work; they just don’t pay taxes (but use plenty of services). Bernie’s army  preaches diversity in everything except thought. Progressive Liberalism is their standard and it is “settled science”, everything else is to be ridiculed. They love policies that “sound good”, that “invest in the future”. They want to be judged by their good intentions, but never be responsible for their failures (War On Poverty…).Conservatism practices tolerance of diverse views, seeks dialogue and debate. Progressivism avoids all three. Bernie’s “soldiers” go to college to receive an education, but arrogantly educate the educators. They condemn America  as unfair and racist, yet America  remains the destination of choice for millions of immigrants escaping the socialist environment that Bernie seeks to impose on America. Just ask Venezuela, Argentina, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, etc…

Capitalism: There Is Only The Vilification

First published April 15, 2012

Fans of  Saul Alinsky, the theoretician of the Chicago School of left-wing ideology, are familiar with this radical slogan: There Is Only The Fight.  Hillary Clinton used it to write a loving tribute to Alinsky’s RULES FOR RADICALS in her 1969 Wellesley College degree thesis, and Obama enthusiastically taught these disturbing concepts to his band of community organizers. And there you have the inspiration for the continuing demonization by the Left of its ideological opposition. For various reasons, many politicians, college instructors and even corporate CEOs have been misrepresenting if not villifying the basic  tenets of the ideal of free-market capitalism, the only one of the theories  on political economies that has ever produced wealth for its true adherents. What better way to discredit a theory than to enact anti-free-market policies (bailouts, green loans, circumventing bankruptcy laws for favored companies…) then blame their failures on capitalism? Free-market capitalism requires three fundamentals:  freedom to own property, free and fair competition, and the rule of law. Unfortunately, the Federal Government since at least FDR has been diminishing  those very principles: eminent domain threatens property rights, competition is thwarted by government mandates, by redistributive interference and favoritism,  and laws selectively applied and misapplied.

The general villification of the powerful notion of  competition is reflected in the recent “dueling” articles in this newspaper  about competition in our two hospitals . FINLEY HOSPITAL management wants to compete better with MERCY HOSPITAL through its own  catheterization lab, but MERCY’s anti-competitive posture may keep this local monopoly going with the expert help of presumed socially-responsible bureaucrats sitting in Des Moines, nobly wishing not to “waste money on duplicative services”. Economics is obviously the most neglected and misunderstood subject in this ‘capitalist’ nation.  Occasionally the light shines through and even students could figure out, for example,  that to justify the purchase of President Obama’s ideologically-favored car, i.e. GM’s all-electric VOLT, the price of gasoline would have to be $12… and President Obama will make sure the price of gasoline “will necessarily skyrocket” to eventually mandate the purchase of that kind of vehicle. No wonder the favorability gap between capitalism and socialism among college undergrads is closing (PEW RESEARCH). Even Republican candidates for president are having difficulty articulating the absolute benefits of free markets. Wishing to sound “popular”, they participate in the corruption of the free market notion, and  are basically endorsing “crony capitalism”,  the lifeblood of socialist and communist states. The growth of the IRS code from 1.4 million words  in 1965 to today’s 9.1 million words (Tax Foundation) should be ample proof of rampant cronyism (a.k.a. corporate welfare) and wealth re-distribution (a.k.a main street welfare), greatly accelerating under Obama. He keeps mentioning fairness, but the slobberingly admiring popular press never asks for a definition. Perhaps fairness depends on your ideology: the top 10% of wage earners already paying 70% of all federal income taxes is implied to be unfair. But the bottom 47% paying zero tax or receiving welfare checks is perfectly fair.  Did we vote for  representation without taxation? If you like John Maynard Keynes, the friend of “progressive” US presidents from both parties,  you owe it to your sanity to read the Austrian School (Ludwig von Mises, F. Hayek’s Road to Serfdom…) as well.  Lacking persuasive argumentation, the forces of the Command Economy  can only resort to the vilification of the very foundation of these United States, as if the enemy were free-market capitalism which after all built the most prosperous nation in the history of mankind for the greatest number of its citizens.

Published in the Telegraph Herald (April 15) and the Galena Gazette in April 2012

 

 

 

Millennial Angels for Mexico

Far from being an “act of love”, as Jeb Bush tried to convince us, massive migration from Mexico and Central America is an act of desperation, if not a major human tragedy. Clearly, the root cause of this migration is the fact that these nations are essentially failed states. They are failed states because of failed government policies, theirs and ours. So, building the world’s tallest wall on the southern border is no solution to this need to migrate, legally and illegally. Worse than wasted money and effort. Making Mexico pay for the wall is not tough love, but a frivolous penalty for Mexico’s use of the US economy as a crutch. Most Mexicans know what the problem is, and express it in the common lament: Poor Mexicans, so far from God, yet so close to the gringo. Pope Francis has already started God’s tough love approach by admonishing the Mexican elite to think about all of its people, not just its own personal enrichment.  Corruption is both a moral and an economic matter. The Pope can save their souls, but Millennial Angels armed with smart US foreign policy can save their economic, judicial and social well being.

Most Mexicans clearly know what they have to do. They have done it twice before. In 1810 they fought against the corrupt and oppressive Spanish rulers. In 1910 they fought against the corrupt and oppressive Mexican rulers. In 2010 they find it easier to simply avoid the issue all together and, like Romulus and Remus in early Rome, become sucklings at the teats of the conveniently accessible gringo cow, condemned to permanent dependence on the America’s foreign poverty program. The fundamental problems of corruption, violence and counter-productive central (non)-planning must be attacked. But when, if not now? Over one hundred thousand Mexicans have lost their lives over the past 20 years of ineffective policing of the narco traffic. There is no end in sight, unless the Mexican nation  becomes motivated to act. US law enforcement can help. But, why would they act if the gringo keeps subsidizing their wild-west economy in so many ways? Our assistance always seems to come down to US manufacturers investing in Mexico, not to help improve Mexican lives, but to exploit their cheap labor. Or is it? It is not really so much about cheap labor, but about lax rules, regulations and “flexible” officials, that make fully-automated factories cheaper to operate there than here (same in Brazil). The cheap labor flees to the US because NAFTA decimated parts of Mexican agriculture, and their government has no plans for those uneducated and poor farmers except “go al norte companero, the rich naive gringo will take care of you”.  

What if the US taxpayers stopped subsidizing this madness by stopping any and all discretionary “foreign aid” (Merida/Alliance for Prosperity Plan of $750M), renegotiating the unbalanced NAFTA agreement (25 years of $50B annual US trade deficit), taxing remittances of $22B per year, investigating and prosecuting suspiciously corrupt officials with ties to the US. How did Mexico get 16 billionaires? Carlos Slim is number one among 114 in all of Latin America, and top 3 in the world thanks to a sweetheart cell-phone monopoly in Mexico. Oh where is our non-profit-motivated millennial generation that is prepared to forsake some profits for righteous causes? This generation could lead the effort to re-allocate our assistance but under strict guidelines, enforceability and accountability. The millennials could  in effect lead a rescue-mission similar to the 1970s mission to Chile by famed economist Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics. Their intervention made it possible for Chile to be Latin America’s best managed free-market economy with average annual growth of 5%, despite the current socialist administration. (Mexico grew barely 1% per year since NAFTA). Chile has 12 billionaires and the same per capita GDP as Mexico despite an economy that is only 1/5th of Mexico’s. The millennial angels will figure a way to get US corporations to cooperate “for the greater good” of Mexico and America. Millennial Angels for “Peace, Prosperity and People”  working within government and corporations would virtually guarantee fair implementation of a government-business alliance to improve the lives of Mexicans and Central Americans at the economic, justice and social levels, alongside the spiritual one driven by Pope Francis.Bringing Hope, Change and Freedom to Mexico and Central America could be the Peace Corps of our age. Improving, if not booming economies south of the border would provide hope and inspiration to other impoverished and mismanaged economies. Most of the 25% of Mexican nationals living within US borders would happily return to a secure and prospering homeland, and with a will to raise Mexico out of its cesspool of corruption and violence, body and soul. Andale, “patria o muerte”.

 

809 words

The Art Of War Against ISIS

War is more art than science and technology. Presidential candidates are playing “war games” and competing for the trophy that would spell the end of the Islamic terrorist machine known as ISIS. It is clear that all murderous regimes like ISIS only understand force, and love to attack those who want to “make diplomatic love, not brutal war”. While carpet bombing seems like the force to dislodge them from their conquered lands, it will not be the move that will break their backs. Maybe the candidates have not learned the lessons of history, nor the wisdom of Sun Tzu, the Chinese master who taught his tactics to Chinese emperors 2500 years ago. Books have been written on Sun Tzu tactics applied to sports and business. His principles are taught in most American military schools. Certainly, the North Vietnamese applied Sun Tzu with great success against a much more powerful US military. Some of the successful tactics involved deception, clever use of spies, surprise (TET offensive), opportunity attacks on soft spots, infiltration of enemy ranks, mobility and agility of smaller insurgent forces hiding in plain sight (underground system of tunnels or in mosques), etc.. The tactic that made the final difference, however, was the feeding of the unwavering support for the war back home (Jane Fonda et al). Once news reporters (Walter Cronkite etc) started to question the wisdom of our actions, American youth became motivated to agitate against this and all wars, even in a violent manner (Bill Ayers bombing the Pentagon for example), bringing a superpower to its negotiating knees.

Should we apply similar tactics? General Sherman’s answer in the Civil War was “total war”, attacking not only military targets, but the supply chain that provided the goods from factories and farms, leaving of course collateral damage in his wake. The population of the South paid a price for supporting its Confederacy. Germans paid a similar price during WWII when we bombed their factories and cities (Cologne, Bremerhaven) to submit to our will. We nuclear-bombed Japan to kill the fanatic support of imperial Japan. We practiced deceit on D-Day. The Allies used spies and double agents to break the enemy’s secrets. Alas, our intelligence gathering capabilities have been compromised severely not only by the revelations by Mr. Snowdon, by probable hacking of unsecured official’s computers, and the infamous bilateral budget “sequester”, but mostly by ideologically motivated shifting of priorities, making further attacks on our homeland ever more likely

ISIS knows Sun Tzu. ISIS knows the West’s soft spots. And ISIS softens its own military installations by using civilians as shields. Having determined our soft side, ISIS uses that knowledge to paralyze the West. Let us note that the West has often sacrificed its own for the sake of a larger goal, not least of which are the Americans sacrificed in Benghazi and those recently abandoned in Iran, not to forget the Texians at the Alamo.. Yet the West is paralyzed by the likelihood of “collateral damage” in our defense against a brutal enemy. Our military and intelligence professionals know the art of war, and know how to win before the Russians and Chinese co-opt ISIS and turn it into a new cold war…

 

American Multicultural Muddle

Roque “Rocky” de la Fuente is the third Hispanic man in this race for President. Shunned by his own party which excluded him from a discussion forum, he was denied a chance to be counted even as a minor presidential candidate on the Democrat ticket. This real-estate mogul, born in San Diego, CA, was so offended by Trump’s “anti-Mexican” stance that he decided, as his TV commercial illustrates, to dive into this political “pool” (fully clothed) in order to defend the honor of all Spanish-speaking people. He was interviewed by Jorge Ramos, the self-anointed on-air leader of all (illegal) Hispanics and Univision’s nightly news-anchor. In Jorge’s interview and opinion show AL PUNTO (To The Point) of Sunday February 7, 2016, he admonished all Latinos to vote for him because he will “unify all Hispanics” in North America. In fact, he intends to establish a “United States of the Americas from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego”. His statement agrees with a 2013 Hispanic Marketing Study (Latino Boom II) which sounded equally super-Latino-American: the forty-two million Hispanic-Americans will influence if not determine the future of America, and American businesses need to cater to that distinct market. Furthermore, Hispanics are already a “country within a country”. Like Rocky, this study claims that most Hispanics are 100% Latino while also 100% American. The flaw inherent in this attitude is the obvious conflict when voting in important elections: will these super-Americans vote for the American vision or the Latino vision? Many, like Jorge Ramos, are dual-loyalty citizens, voting in US and Mexican elections without any sense of conflict.This is all the more disturbing as there have been other forecasts about a “balkanized” America: In 1998, a Russian Professor predicted an American break-up along national-cultural lines where Europe, Mexico, Canada, Russia and China would virtually embed themselves and influence these regions by 2010.  More recently another author traced the history of the “eleven rival regional cultures of North America” (American Nations, 2011). This work updates the “Nine Nations of North America” authored in 1981 by Joel Garreau. What these studies have in common, is the certainty with which they predict an American disintegration caused by either regional or national cultural differences. But predictions are difficult, especially if they are about the future. While no one seems to have predicted a hyphenated America, there is clear evidence  of an Anglo-America and a Hispanic-America, aided and abetted by our political elites who are guilt-ridden about (white) America’s enviable success story. Declared a “perfect failure” by three European heads-of-state, multiculturalism has created division along cultural lines, and stoked intense competition for special-interest group attention and benefits, over there as over here. It considers all cultures equal, and teaches little about our own culture. The result has been, as Harvard Professor Robert Putnam laid out so clearly, “we have integrated our neighborhoods, but we all go bowling alone” (2000), i.e. without assimilation we socialize within our own cultural groups,thereby deepening the cultural divide.

US Exceptionalism: Left-Right Debate

Today, February 3, 2016 I again had the pleasure of watching Dinesh D’Souza debate Bill Ayers on the question of American exceptionalism. Dinesh is my kind of immigrant. He understands American history, its foundational principles, has written books on the subject, including books critical of Barack Obama, and several documentaries about Obama and America. Imagine a world without America. He graduated from Dartmouth in 1983 and was president of New York City College. Bill Ayers is a Chicago native, is an admitted communist sympathizer, a friend of Obama, with a violent background back to the anti Vietnam war protests. He never went to jail for bombing the Pentagon, injuring people while bombing police stations and other “military”-oriented government entities. He was rewarded for his violence by becoming a public employee as an Instructor at the University of Chicago until his recent retirement. Several subjects came up in their responses to questions from the moderator and the audience:

BA (Bill Ayers): all public and private schools need to have similar resources so that poor kids can have a valuable education. Why cannot the Chicago School Superintendent, Arnie Duncan, find a public school within Chicago for his kids? Common Core is bad education because it teaches to standardized tests with simplistic metrics that do not provide an incentive to students. America has been the bully, often violently changing governments. Teachers Union is the “expert” in dealing with public education.

D’S (Dinesh D’Souza): history is badly taught in public schools, all cultures are equal when they are not; colleges are no longer the bastion of “academic freedom” and “free speech” where all points of view are permitted. Ayn Rand understood capitalism’s powerful principles; the world is better off because one nation does not limit one’s earning power by promoting “enlightened self-interest as a virtue”. Liberal college professors have been teaching a negative view of America’s part in shaping the world, which would be much poorer, less advanced without American drive. America has never conquered or colonized another nation, not even stolen their riches, but only liberated them to find their way. Teachers Union put a choke hold on education; bad teachers must be fired.

BA: Wealth gap between rich and poor in the US is the biggest in the world. Military power has prevented others from challenging America’s inordinate power economic power. America has the highest incarceration rates in the world, mostly minorities. The richest country in the world can afford to provide free health-care and free schooling for everyone. Divert military funds to education.

D’D: Would another nation with America’s power be so kind and generous? Wealth and income inequality is a small price to pay for major advanced in science and living standards. Health care and education costs are spiking simply because the beneficiaries of those services do not have to pay for them.

BA: founders were slave owners and institutionalized slavery

D’D: Founders could not have formed the Union of 13 colonies unless they “permitted” slavery which was reality at the time. The Constitution did later correct that error.

BA and D’D: Diversity of thought is no longer standard in the elite colleges. Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom are threatened. Dissent is one sided and politically correct. Students who condemn the Confederate flag for its racist element (my tought) often wear t-shirts of real tyrants such as Mao Tse Tung and Che Guevara

BA: US system is corrupt as it allows free movement of capital through Free Trade Agreements, but limits labor movement. Wars provoked by America create refugees and immigrants.

D’D: being a nation state, we are limited by its definition which includes sovereignty and national security. This means that America has a right to determine who and how many are allowed into the US. There are 2 billion poor people in the world, how many shall we allow to come? even so, large numbers will change the cultural and political values of the nation, as history shows clearly. Immigrants could in fact outvote native-born and install a new system of government, resulting in chaos. They must assimilate to us, not us to them!

D’D: America is the model of the LADDER: where each according to his/her ability can progress at will…. the Left wants the model of the ROPE where they expect to be lifted out of poverty by the nanny state…

http://www.dineshdsouza.com

 

 

 

About that foot-ball….

Speaking of American football. Immigrants and foreign visitors who are for the first time introduced to the game as spectator or otherwise, often ask these obvious questions: why is it called football when the foot is very rarely used to kick the ball? Secondly: why is the ball not round?  Thirdly, why in the land of second chances do they allow 4 chances to advance the ball 10 yards? Fourth, why do Americans call European football “soccer”? A quick Google search provides answers to three of these questions. It is called “foot” ball not because of kicking the ball with one’s feet, but because the game is played on foot, as opposed to being played on horseback. Another explanation tells us that the ball is exactly one foot long (from a French Google search). The ball is not round, according to some online explanations, because in the early days the ball was inflated by the lung capacity of the players who never wanted to exhaust themselves in this way, making the ball soft and more easily handled by their paws. As for the question about “downs”, I have never been able to get an answer from any source….. The game started with 3 downs and is still played that way in Canada. Do the gladiators of the football arena need that much latitude to move the ball 10 yards? Anybody know?….. Ok, finally, why do we call the (sissy) European game “soccer”? The word apparently is a corruption of the original designation “Association” football. Those Brits shortened the word to something resembling “assoc” and adding the suffix “er’ to give the player a title (assoccer) resulting in the final corrupted word “soccer”. Then I could always ask the additional question: why are the goal posts reaching into the heavens? The sky is the limit? No wonder American football does not have a “goal keeper”.

Immigration Theater of the Absurd

“If you see something, say something”. Which national security issue does this federal government recommendation not apply to?
Illegal immigration pundits on both sides of this stage play say the silliest things, and few realize the hypocrisy, irony and silliness of many of their pronouncements. How many remember or even care that the 1986 Reagan amnesty was to be the final, never-again amnesty for about 1.5 million illegal aliens? It turned out to be exactly double the number, and still the border was never secured. Since then the US has allowed an estimated 11.2 million new illegal aliens, of which 52% come from Mexico. Even among the 28 million “legal” immigrants, Mexicans represent at least 25% of the total, followed by China at 5%. Is this ‘diversity’ in immigration?

According to Pew Hispanic Research, the US has more immigrants (legal and illegal) from Mexico than any other major country has immigrants from all sources. Does this look like diversity? As usual it is government policy that creates these absurd situations. In 1965 Senator Ted Kennedy
led an effort to brand the 1920’s immigration rules, based on country quotas, as discriminatory because they favored Europeans. The 1965 law made “family reunification” a priority, not skills that America might need. This leads to a question that pundits on the Left cannot or will not answer, and pundits on the Right will not answer for fear of being labeled “racist”.

Here is the question: if the pre-1965 country quota system was discriminatory because it favored Europeans, then why is the new/current system not discriminatory as it clearly favors Mexicans and Central Americans? Again, does this look like diversity?

How about this irony? According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) about one million abortions are performed annually, 53 million since Roe V. Wade became law in 1973. This million magically offsets the approximate one million immigrants coming to America annually. And what is the main reason for demanding so many immigrants?

Answer: “Americans do not produce enough babies”.

And what about the thousands of Mexican and Central American children being sent by their mothers through inhospitable territory and foreign lands, for weeks in the care of questionable characters associated with violence, drugs and smuggling? Those mothers are admired and
encouraged for their “humanitarian” motives, but the American mother who inadvertently leaves her child in a hot vehicle for a few minutes is arrested and threatened with jail.

Then there is the matter of remittances: Foreign workers in the US annually send about $42.8 billion to their respective homelands, including $22 billion to Mexico. This amount rivals that country’s income from its crown jewel, the PEMEX oil company (World Bank). These funds are wages not earned by Americans and not spent in the US economy. In the process millions of Americans are deprived of these jobs and resigned to living on unemployment checks.

The most stunning hypocrisy perhaps is the fact that an illegal alien by the name of José Antonio Vargas is currently lecturing Americans on TV about “White Privilege” and unfair treatment of illegal aliens like him! Can you imagine Bernie Madoff lecturing us about excessive punishment for financial crimes?

Finally, consider the matter of assimilation (or lack thereof) as evidenced by the fast-growing Spanish-language media, creating a separate but equal existence for Hispanics! Add to this the blatant disrespect for the rule of law and for America’s foundational principles, and America’s
cultural cohesion will someday yield to cultural conflict. Many felons among them are escaping punishment in one of 100 “sanctuary” cities, all run by Liberals. The consequences of liberal multi-culturalism policies have back-fired. These short-sighted policies have only served to encourage immigrants to live according to their culture, and not adopt the
American culture. No wonder the melting-pot is no more. The pot is melting before our eyes.
7/30/2015