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California – The Triumph of Progressive Politics

At one time, California was the most prosperous state in the county. But after just a couple of decades of progressive politics and illegal immigration, almost 1 out of every 4 Californians lives in poverty.

A report by the Census Bureau released Thursday shows that over 48 million Americans, around 16%, now live below the poverty line, but the number’s even worse for California, which when cost of living is factored in has a stunning 23.4% in poverty.

But on the plus side, gay marriage is legal, gay history is taught in public schools, and there are transgendered bathrooms for everyone!

The Left’s Abuse of Political Power Was Inevitable

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Ever since Barack Hussein Obama became president, there has been a notable acceleration in the use of State power to punish, harass, and wreak vengeance on those the left perceives as their enemies. Just a few examples:

Inevitably, when the left-wing comes to power, the first order of business is to punish their perceived enemies. That has been the case in every country in which any brand of Marxism has come into power. There was a naive assumption that the political system of the United States, with its body of laws and system of checks and balances, was immune to these types of abuses. Clearly, the last six years have shown that it is not.

Modern leftism is less a set of political beliefs than a militant pathology. If your political philosophy is based on the idea that those who disagree with you are evil, and/or greedy, and/or racist, and/or homophobic, and/or sexist, then, of course, they need to be punished, and of course, the reason your side was elected was to punish them. Obama himself admitted as much when he stated that the purpose of elections was “to punish our enemies and … reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.” And his administration and his party have done exactly that.

And the worst part is that if, somehow, the left’s greedy fingers are ever pried from the levers of state power, the Republicans will do nothing to reverse what has been done, will do nothing to undo what the Obama left has done. They may not abuse power so flagrantly as the left does, but they like having the power all the same.

The only way to keep the State from abusing power is to not let the State have that power in the first place.

Loch Ness Socialism

Posted by V the K at 12:25 pm - September 26, 2014.
Filed under: Socialism in America

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Democrat Blames Detroit’s Bankruptcy on Suburban White People

Posted by V the K at 7:28 pm - September 21, 2014.
Filed under: Socialism in America

Robert Reich was the Secretary of Labor under President B.J. Clinton, a candidate for Governor of Massachusetts, an executive at Goldman Sachs (which is pretty much a Democrat bribery mill), and currently draws a salary of almost a quarter mil for teaching a single class at UC-Berkeley.  He has also figured out why Detroit went bankrupt, and it has nothing to do with fifty years of corrupt Democrat politicians enacting precisely the progressive policies Reich advocates.

Detroit is really a model for how wealthier and whiter Americans escape the costs of public goods they would otherwise share with poorer and darker Americans.

Are Detroit, its public employees, poor residents and bondholders the only ones who should sacrifice when Detroit proper can’t pay its bills? Or does the relevant sphere of responsibility include Detroit’s affluent suburbs — to which many of the city’s wealthier resident fled as the city declined, along with the banks that serve them?

In other words, people who manage their communities efficiently and promote sound economic policies should subsidize the incompetence, corruption, and anti-business policies of people who don’t.

Obama Voters Demand That Other People Pay For Their Water

Posted by V the K at 7:42 am - July 22, 2014.
Filed under: Socialism in America

98% of the voters in Detroit voted for Obama, in some precincts, more than 100% of them voted for Obama. And now 80,000 of them have stopped paying their water bills, and are demanding that water be provided to them for free. Progressive Left Liz Warren supporters agree; Government should raise taxes on productive, responsible people to provide free water to unproductive, irresponsible people. And the NAACP has weighed in, saying, “These companies are basically Caucasian companies, the folks who are being cut off are almost one hundred percent African American.” So, basically, white people are obligated to provide free water to black people because racism.

There was a time in America when a situation like this would be met by churches, charities, and communities banding together to raise money to help people pay their bills. But that’s not how it works in Obama’s America. No, in Obama’s America, if you are too irresponsible to pay your bills, you join together with a bunch of other irresponsible selfish people and assert that you have a “right” to things you’re not willing to pay for and demand that the Government force other people to pay for them.

But, really, what else can you expect when the dominant philosophy of the Democrat Party is “Anything you want is a right and the Government should force people to provide it for you; birth control, cell phones, wifi access, student “loans,”EBT cards,  transgender surgery…” So, why not water.

(more…)

Watching Detroit Succumb to Entropy

Posted by V the K at 1:58 pm - May 30, 2014.
Filed under: Socialism in America

Follow-Up to Jeff’s Post, the website GooBing Detroit provides a fascinating document of the decay of America’s most liberal city (five decades of left-Democrat rule). By comparing streetviews from 2009 to 2013, you can see the city decay before your eyes.

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This is actually the most encouraging thing I have seen in some time. If the host is dying the parasites will have to leave in search of a more robust host. (I understand New York and California have VERY generous welfare systems.) As Detroit declines and the parasites leave, there is a chance for Michigan to become less progressive-socialist and more friendly to free markets and self-reliance.

Faster, please.

 

 

Detroit may spend $800 million to tear down homes

This goes to the essence of mainstream economic theory: Spend money to build houses, spend money to tear them down, spend money to build them, spend money to tear them down…and let it all be counted in the GDP numbers as “growth” and “jobs”:

One of the question haunting Detroit, as it works to extricate itself from bankruptcy, is how to address the reality of the city’s shrinking population…Today, a much-anticipated report from the city’s Blight Removal Task Force says that more than one in five structures is in some state of disrepair—and that about half of these should be torn down immediately…

It can take as little as three hours to demolish a house, but the process can be more consuming if properties contain asbestos or lead, thereby requiring extra care. Tearing down homes by the tens of thousands, which hasn’t been done before, could cost about $800 million, the report says. While the city has already obtained some blight-reduction funding from federal and state sources, it still needs at least a further $400 million. (That doesn’t include the additional $1 billion or so Detroit will need to address commercial and industrial eyesores.)

It’s astounding that, in a nation where homes are unaffordable for many people and the home ownership rate is declining, Detroit is still so unlivable and badly-run a place that they have vast numbers of homes to tear down.

North Korea Agrees with Obama, Democrats: America Is a Racist Hellhole

Interesting to see Democrat talking points on illegal immigration, Voter ID, gun control, and Trayvon Martin trumpeted by North Korean propagandists.

Under the citizenship act, racialism is getting more severe in the U.S. The gaps between the minorities and the whites are very wide in the exercise of such rights to work and elect. The U.S. true colors as a kingdom of racial discrimination was fully revealed by last year’s case that the Florida Court gave a verdict of not guilty to a white policeman who shot to death an innocent black boy.

Meanwhile, bills on easing arms control were adopted in various states of the country, boosting murderous crimes. As a result, the U.S. has witnessed an increasing number of gun-related crimes in all parts of the country and even its military bases this year. In this regard, the United Nations on April 10 put the U.S. on the top of the world list of homicide rates.

Throw in four or five mentions of the Koch Brothers and it could be a Democrat stump speech or a New York Times editorial.

Seattle to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 an hour

Posted by V the K at 8:15 am - May 2, 2014.
Filed under: Economy,Socialism in America

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced a plan Thursday that would give the city the highest minimum wage in the United States, $15 an hour.

Now would be a great time to buy stock in companies that make automated Touch Screen ordering machines and in commercial real estate in the Seattle suburbs.

And now that Ed Murray has raised the bar, some other  Democrat Mayor or Governor with an even more tenuous grasp on economics is going to have to increase his minimum wage to $17 so he can be the Darling of DailyKos. One wonders where this minimum wage bidding war the left is waging will end.

 

Operation Choke Point

Posted by V the K at 12:06 pm - May 1, 2014.
Filed under: Socialism in America

The Obama Administration has been abusing its power and targeting businesses that perform perfectly legal economic activity that the administration disfavors.

The enforcement program has a name – “Operation Chokepoint” – and as more details of the program become public, more concerns are raised.  The “chokepoint” in this operation is the nation’s payments infrastructure, the means by which merchants process nearly $5 trillion in consumer purchases in the U.S. each year.  Federal law enforcers are targeting merchant categories like payday lenders, ammunition and tobacco sales, and telemarketers – but not merely by pursuing those merchants directly.  Rather, Operation Chokepoint is flooding payments companies that provide processing service to those industries with subpoenas, civil investigative demands, and other burdensome and costly legal demands.

The theory behind this enforcement program has superficial logic: increase the legal and compliance costs of serving certain disfavored merchant categories, and payments companies will simply stop providing service to such merchants.

The really sad part is that this matters so little to so many. “This President is perfectly within his rights to use the power of Government any way he chooses,” his defenders will say. “So what, he evolved on gay marriage, so let him put some businesses under,” they’ll say.  Also, “You’re a racist for questioning anything this President does.”

Freedom, it was good while it lasted.

Demilitarizing the Federal Bureaucracy

Why is the US Postal Service stockpiling ammunition? Also, why is the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration stockpiling ammunition? And why is the Social Security Administration stockpiling ammunition?

Why does the EPA have SWAT Teams? And why does the Department of Education have SWAT Teams? And why do the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service all have SWAT Teams?

None of these bureaucracies are law enforcement agencies. It makes no sense for them to have armed, much less paramilitary, units.

A Republican (of course) Congressman from Utah is contemplating a bill to defund the paramilitary operations of regulatory bureaucracies. He will no doubt be attacked as a radical, extremist, Whackobird… because that’s what happens to anyone who proposes common sense reform measures these days.

Massachusetts Democrat Senator Proposes Government Monitoring of Citizens’ Speech

Posted by V the K at 7:01 pm - April 30, 2014.
Filed under: Socialism in America

Senator Ed Markey … a terrible Democrat Senator from a State notorious for electing terrible Democrat senators (I think residents of Massachusetts just really hate the other 56 states)… proposes that the Government should actively monitor all media for “Hate Speech.”

Democratic Sen. Ed Markey is pushing a bill to have a federal agency monitor anything that it suspects may encourage hate crimes. He wants the agency to work in connection with the Department of Justice and U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, then file a report to Congress on what’s hateful and could lead to hate crimes.

They don’t know yet exactly how to define “Hate Speech,” but if the examples from college campuses provide guidance, “Hate speech” is any opinion that offends any social leftist.

The travails of Government Motors

This is a long-term story; time for a review.

In 2009, General Motors made itself the fourth-largest Chapter 11 re-org in U.S. history. The U.S. Treasury was heavily involved with bailout money. President Obama made speeches and saw to it that the terms were harsh for people who had supported GM by loaning or investing their money, and not-so-harsh for labor unions and GM retirees (who can vote).

The new GM repaid government loans ahead of schedule – after shuffling around some bailout monies. But it all still cost the taxpayer at least $10 billion in the end (Treasury direct losses on GM stock as they re-privatized the company).

I would argue that the intangible costs go beyond $10 billion. GM bailout advocates like to emphasize the many jobs “saved”. But if the government had stayed out (doing nothing), the jobs would exist – at more efficient companies. GM’s productive assets would have been re-organized in bankruptcy anyway; probably taken over by startup companies or other competitors who are more efficient.

So, cars would still be manufactured in America – on better terms for the consumer. It’s a general principle that doing it the government-backed way is cronyism and always rewards incompetence on some level (at the expense of consumers, investors & taxpayers). There is no reason to consider GM an exception.

Which brings us to GM’s scandal with faulty ignition switches, which have caused at least 13 deaths.

The problem goes back for years. GM, which became a famously bureaucratic company under decades of Big Government backing, has been slow to react:

GM first learned of a problem with its ignition switches on Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions and other models in 2001, documents have shown, but took no steps to recall any cars until this past February.

Lawmakers are investigating why GM and regulators missed or ignored numerous red flags that faulty ignition switches could unexpectedly turn off engines during operation and leave airbags, power steering and power brakes inoperable.

The unflappable [GM CEO] Barra…announced that GM had retained Kenneth Feinberg, who recently oversaw the BP oil spill fund, as a consultant…

The drama inside the packed hearing room – named the “John D. Dingell” room after the Michigan Democrat with a long history of advocating for GM – was heightened by photos of victims, which were displayed against one of the walls.

Your crony capitalism/ Venture Socialism at work, folks.

By the way:

  • Did those famous Government Regulators help the problem? No, although they have plenty of excuses. (Prediction: the Left will surely claim that the solution is…more regulators.)
  • Did CEO Barra just tell Congress the truth, when she claimed to have only learned about the ignition switch problem recently (Jan 31)? No again.
  • Did GM commit fraud, when it didn’t reveal the problem *during its bankruptcy* proceedings? Was escaping liability one of the motives for doing the 2009 bankruptcy? Perhaps, yes.

Which is why the new, refreshed, taxpayer-revived GM now faces multiple criminal probes.

Obama, pretending he hasn’t been President all this time

With splendid “Who, me?” innocence, President Obama declared on April 16:

The good news is our economy is growing again, our businesses are creating jobs…

Here’s the challenge, and a lot of folks here know it. A lot of people don’t feel that progress in their own lives yet. So, the stock market’s doing great. Corporate profits are soaring. Folks at the very, very top are doing better than ever. But too many Americans, if they’re lucky enough to have a job, are working harder and harder just to get by, much less to get ahead.

For too many middle class Americans, it feels as if the same trends that have been going on for decades are continuing. They’re working hard, but wages flatline, incomes flatline, cost of everything else going up.

(For video – and hat tip to Peter Schiff – click here.)

As I mention often (in GP categories such as Economy or Occupy Wall Street), President Obama’s own policies are the cause of the rising inequality, stagnation and poor employment, inflation and rising costs that he decries.

The way he denounces the economy, you’d never know he’s been President for five and a half years.

Is government dependency like slavery?

Clearly, a life of dependency on the government is not literal slavery – but is the metaphor / comparison valid? I’ll state my view (which is basically “no”), and people can disagree (or whatever) in the comments.

The essence of slavery is lack of self-ownership. You’re someone else’s property in a direct way, where they tell you what to do, seize all the products of your labor, and violate your body (or worse) at their option.

Excepting criminals (people deprived of rights under due process and for heinous acts), I think that if the government can either conscript your labor, or seize more than half of the product (the wealth/income) of your labor – and jail you or worse, if you don’t comply to the government’s satisfaction – then metaphors/comparisons of slavery begin to apply. Because the conditions for slavery have been met in part, even if the government gives you “freeman” status and a lot of lifestyle choices.

One of the lifestyle choices that you face, as a non-slave, is the extent to which you live off of government-provided benefits – in other words, the extent & duration of your being a government dependent. I don’t think that government dependents can be compared to slaves. Because, while the dependent may indeed be lulled into a lifestyle which is passive, limited and degraded, they still keep the right/option to change and become less dependent.

Thus, comparisons to slavery may be valid when speaking of government mandates on people, oppressive levels of taxation, and denials of rights (e.g., right of free speech). That is why we speak of Communist nations as “slave nations” and so forth.

But it’s not valid to compare voluntary government dependency to being a slave. If anything, the person who lives a lifetime of voluntary dependency on the government is closer to being a slave-master; someone who (partly, or metaphorically) uses other people as slaves.

And that would be another reason that I find fault with Cliven Bundy’s recent remarks. (While defending, of course, his right to make them – and the pro-liberty movement in general.)

To suggest that government dependents are like slaves is to suggest that their dependency isn’t voluntary. In other words, it’s to suggest that government dependents somehow didn’t choose their situation. And if you really believe that, then you deny their natural human power of choice; you believe implicitly that they are sub-human, or the moral equivalent of children. And I don’t believe that.

The people who are partly like slaves are not the government dependents, but rather, the productive working people whom the government forces to pay for its dependents.

Does Anyone Have a Problem with This?

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Yup.

Cliven Bundy and Imperial Washington

While illegal immigrants are over-running and the Obama Administration is going out of its way to avoid any enforcement of immigration laws; they managed to muster hundreds of heavily armed (with real guns, not the beanbag guns border patrol agents are mandated to use), armored vehicles, and helicopters to punish one rancher in Nevada for grazing his cows. (In the process, tasering his son, killing his cows and breaking up his stuff.)

It’s pretty simple really, Democrats don’t agree with immigration laws, so they don’t enforce them. On the other hand, they do believe in environmental laws, and their mentality toward those laws is exemplified by EPA Adminsitrator Al Armendariz; who compared the EPA’s enforcement tactics to those of the Roman Empire: “Kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean: they’d go into little Turkish towns somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they’d run into, and they’d crucify them. That town was really easy to manage for the next few years.” Basically, the idea was to crucify Cliven Bundy as an example to terrorize the remaining ranchers to bend to the will of the State.

It’s alarming, or at least it should be, that Federal bureaucrats see themselves as Roman occupiers, and the citizenry as subjects who need to be terrorized in order to maintain control.

Thought for the day

We live in a world where the central bank (Fed) *rigs interest rates low, in order to rig debt levels and asset prices high* as they can possibly go.

I know it’s abstract and I comment on it ad nauseum, but I’m not sure it can be over-stressed. It has lots of bad effects.

  • You think homes are unaffordable, compared to (say) 20-40 years ago? Guess why home prices aren’t a good deal lower. (There are many reasons – but try guessing the biggest.)
  • Feel hopeless about your ever retiring? Take a guess why retirement income is hard to come by.
  • Feel like you struggle to make ends meet every month, while wealthy people (having lots of financial assets) keep doing better and better? One more guess why.
  • Feel like new, good jobs are impossible to come by? The Obama administration (including Obamacare) is a big drag, there. But the Fed doesn’t exactly help.
  • Feel like the stock market is a crazy bubble again? Feel like we learned nothing from the 2008 crisis, and our economy is still much too ‘financialized’ and debt-ridden? Again, many causes – but one guess as to the top cause…

Interest rates are the most important price in the economy. They should be set by the People in free markets. I see no reason to have a Politburo which plans them – and plans them badly, in ways that injure society.

Yet another ‘limousine socialist’

Left-wing NYC Mayor de Blasio has released his tax return. Guess what?

  • “$165,047 in total income” (probably includes his “$52,000 in rental income”)
  • “Mr. de Blasio’s effective tax rate was 8.3%.”
  • “reported $5,597 in gifts to charity, roughly 3%”

So de Blasio got a 6-figure income and gave basically 11% back to the society in which he lives.

I seem to remember lefties screeching with drama and contempt in 2012 when Mitt Romney paid an effective tax rate of 14.1%, plus another whopping 29.7% to charity, for a total give-back to society of 44% of his income, or four times the rate of de Blasio.

Leviathan Unleashed

Helicopters, armored vehicles, thousands of heavily armed Federal Agents in body armor, snipers, all dispatched (allegedly) in the service of punishing a rancher for grazing his cows. (I guess the Government needs to shake down ranchers to make up for the $6,000,000,000.00 Hillary Clinton “misplaced” while she was running the State Department.)

Update: Apparently the BLM has backed down for the time being. Interesting that when the Government “loses,” no one dies. Compare to Waco and Ruby Ridge, where the Government “won.”

Wild Horses-Tension Growing

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Do you think if one of Harry Reid’s cronies could make money off of it, we could get this kind of coverage at the Southern Border?

Tell me, lefty progressives, is this the America you envisioned when you voted for Barack Obama?