Archive for the ‘#commonsense’ Tag

Liberals in a Tizzy   Leave a comment

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September 7, 2017

Many blacks and their white liberal allies demand the removal of statues of Confederate generals and the Confederate battle flag, and they are working up steam to destroy the images of Gens. Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee and President Jefferson Davis from Stone Mountain in Georgia. (For the unfamiliar, Stone Mountain is the Mount Rushmore of the Southeast US – Lela). Allow me to speculate as to the whys of this statue removal craze, which we might call statucide.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/09/walter-e-williams/liberals-in-a-tizzy/

To understand it, we need a review of the promises black and white liberals have been making for decades. In 1940, the black poverty rate was 87 percent. By 1960, it had fallen to 47 percent. During that interval, blacks were politically impotent. There were no anti-poverty programs or affirmative action programs. Nonetheless, this poverty reduction exceeded that in any other 20-year interval. But the black leadership argued that more was necessary. They said that broad advancement could not be made unless blacks gained political power.

Fifty years ago, there were fewer than 1,000 black elected officials nationwide. According to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, by 2011 there were roughly 10,500 black elected officials, not to mention a black president. But what were the fruits of greater political power? The greatest black poverty, poorest education, highest crime rates and greatest family instability are in cities such as Detroit, St. Louis, Oakland, Memphis, Birmingham, Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Buffalo. The most common characteristic of these predominantly black cities is that for decades, all of them have been run by Democratic and presumably liberal politicians. Plus, in most cases, blacks have been mayors, chiefs of police, school superintendents and principals and have dominated city councils.

American Contempt for …Walter E. WilliamsBest Price: $9.99Buy New $8.60(as of 11:00 EDT – Details)

During the 1960s, black and white liberals called for more money to be spent on anti-poverty programs. Since the Lyndon Johnson administration’s War on Poverty programs, U.S. taxpayers have forked over $22 trillion for anti-poverty programs. Adjusted for inflation, that’s three times the cost of all U.S. military wars since the American Revolution. Despite that spending, the socio-economic condition for many blacks has worsened. In 1940, 86 percent of black children were born inside marriage, and the black illegitimacy rate was about 15 percent. Today, only 35 percent of black children are born inside marriage, and the illegitimacy rate hovers around 75 percent.

The visions of black civil rights leaders and their white liberal allies didn’t quite pan out. Greater political power and massive anti-poverty spending produced little. The failure of political power and the failure of massive welfare spending to produce nirvana led to the expectation that if only there were a black president, everything would become better for blacks. I cannot think of a single black socio-economic statistic that improved during the two terms of the Barack Obama administration. Some have become tragically worse, such as the black homicide victimization rate. For example, on average in Chicago, one person is shot every two hours, 15 minutes, and a person is murdered every 12 1/2 hours.

So more political power hasn’t worked. Massive poverty spending hasn’t worked. Electing a black president hasn’t worked. What should black leaders and their white liberal allies now turn their attention to in order to improve the socio-economic condition for blacks? It appears to be nearly unanimous that attention should be turned to the removal of Confederate statues. It’s not only Confederate statue removal but Confederate names of schools and streets. Even the Council on American-Islamic Relations agrees. It just passed a resolution calling for the removal of all Confederate memorials, flags, street names and symbols from public spaces and property.

By the way, does the statue of Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman qualify for removal? He once explained his reluctance to enlist former slaves, writing, “I am honest in my belief that it is not fair to our men to count negroes as equals … (but) is not a negro as good as a white man to stop a bullet?” It’s difficult to determine where this purging of the nation’s history should end.

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Taking A Knee … or Not   Leave a comment

I stopped saluting the flag about four years ago when someone I respect pointed out that it really does look like idolatry. I thought about it a while and agreed with her, so ….

I still stand, in deference to my fellow Americans and respect for veterans like my brother. I hold my hands respectfully in front of me, but I don’t speak the oath and I don’t cover my heart. I am respectful to those who respect the flag, but I’ve drawn a line on idolatry and that includes the flag. I never really cold sing the National Anthem, as I’m sure Robert Goulette and a host of other famous singers who muffed the Star-Spangled Banner can agree. I do still sing the Alaska flag song because it’s a cool song written for people who aren’t opera stars and nobody is asking me to swear allegiance to it.

When Colin Kaepernick took a knee rather than salute the flag last year, I was irritated by it not out of any respect for the flag or disagreement with free expression, but because he was protesting “white privilege” in America while earning more per year as a professional athlete than I will earn in a lifetime. I was born in poverty and that was with a father who was so white he made Casper look tanned. We may have “wealth privilege” in this country, but poverty hits all colors of skin. And, clearly, wealth is also visited upon quite a number of people of color. Is there some sort of black privilege going on with the NFL? Ever look at the starting lineup of any team? Yeah … I’m just saying.

And, Kaepernick himself has ZERO room to complain. He was raised in an upper middle-class family and went to a good college. Clearly, being half-black didn’t hurt his prospects in life. Maybe he’s pissed off at his white adoptive parents or his white biological mom because he doesn’t feel it’s acceptable to be pissed off at the black father who abandoned his bio mom when she got pregnant, but news flash, other white people didn’t do that. And, ultimately, Kaepernick  was rewarded for being a big strong, part-black athletic male with $39 million dollars over a three-year career of declining performance. While I’m sure he’d like to blame his not being called out of free agency on racism, I suspect it has more to do with stunts like his girfriend’s tweet comparing Ray Lewis, owner of the Baltimore Ravens, to a slave owner while Kaepernick was in negotiations with the team. Slaveowners don’t give you millions of dollars to run an oddly-shaped ball up and down a field and, any sane person, when compared to Simon Legree, will chose to gift some other, less contentious athlete with those millions.

Trust me, if someone had given me $39 million when I was 25 years old, I’d not have to worry about money for the rest of my life because I know a thing or two about living in poverty. I could live a nice, comfortable, middle-class existence on $39 million dollars and probably leave more than that to my heirs.

So, Kaepernick has ZERO room to complain about “white privilege”. His kneeling is about wanting attention and nothing more, from a young man who may see racism behind every bush because he’s been taught to look for it, but who has never experienced a hard day of living in his life. Notice that he didn’t do his kneeling under the presidency of Barack Obama. It’s not about racism. It’s about politics.

Now, if he’d been protesting the killing of civilians of all colors by police, then he might have had my support … I who have been quietly not participating in flag worship for nearly a half-decade now.  But as long as he’s only upset when cops kill black people, I think he’s showing his racist knickers and I’m not going to stand … or kneel … with him.

That said, President Donald Trump needs to learn to control his comments about other people’s right to free expression. Kaepernick has a right to protest. So do other NFL players. They have the same right as Trump supporters do to put their opinions out into the public square … to be challenged or supported as the case may be. That’s how freedom of speech – a cornerstone of liberty — works. I am free, even as one who declines to worship the flag, to criticize Colin Kaepernick for his motivations. He’s welcome to an opinion, but others are welcome to point out the fallacies on which his opinions rest.

 

Posted September 25, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in culture, Uncategorized

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Our Lord & Savior, the President   Leave a comment

Image result for image of blimey cowSo young to be so wise!

Thought for the Day   Leave a comment

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, text

Think About It #charlottesville   Leave a comment

Rescue workers assist people who were injured when a car drove through a group people at the rally.

I don’t support white supremacy (no, actually, I should say I don’t support RACIAL supremacy), but I support freedom of speech REGARDLESS of who is speaking. I don’t like it … I don’t want to hear it, but I defend your right to say it.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/12/virginia-unite-the-right-rally-protest-violence

So, in reading this, I keep thinking —

What would have happened if the anti-white supremacist protesters had been standing peacefully on the sidewalk with signs that simply said “We don’t agree with white supremacy”? Would there have been violence?

You have a right to disagree with someone else’s speech, but if your counter-protest is based on physical aggression, you’ve crossed a line that civil society should not cross. Unfortunately, this society has decided that it’s okay for some people to state their opinions loudly and aggressively, burn cars and beat up people, while others are supposed to run a gauntlet of counter protesters and put up with bottles and other objects of aggression being thrown at them.

http://www.theroot.com/why-haven-t-the-charlotte-va-police-responded-to-whi-1797778989

You can disagree with the message, but you don’t have any right to physically attack the messengers and when you take the authority unto yourself, you are the cause of the violence that follows.

Government Investigates Itself Again After Tragic Death of Justine Damond | Eric Schuler   Leave a comment

On July 15, a police officer in Minneapolis shot and killed Justine Damond, a 40-year-old Australian-born woman who had actually called the police in the first place.

Source: Government Investigates Itself Again After Tragic Death of Justine Damond | Eric Schuler

 

Image result for image justine damondReportedly, Damond called police because she thought a sexual assault was occurring in an alley near her residence. When the police car arrived, she approached the vehicle and was shot and killed by the officer in the passenger seat. Damond was unarmed at the time. As far as we know, neither police officer had their body cameras switched on and the dash cam was not recording. The officer who killed Damond was subsequently identified as Mohammed Noor, 31. Both Officer Noor and his partner have been placed on administrative leave.

Some of the characteristics in this case differ from other high-profile police shootings. But in the main, it fits a familiar profile. A police officer shot and killed a person under suspicious circumstances, and the victim’s loved ones are searching for answers.

And as with other police shootings, the officer involved in this case will be investigated by his colleagues in law enforcement. In particular, the investigation will be managed by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

To be fair, the BCA is not Officer Noor’s own police department, so the conflict of interest could have been worse. But it’s also not really an independent entity. The BCA falls under the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, which is the same department in government that oversees police in the state. Additionally, according to its own website, the BCA routinely assists law enforcement on other investigations. Indeed, that’s why it was established in the first place:

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) provides investigative and specialized law enforcement services to prevent and solve crimes in partnership with law enforcement, public safety and criminal justice agencies.

So the BCA investigators collaborate with police officers in their day-to-day work, draw their paychecks from the same place, and are ultimately accountable to the same officials in government. In spite of this, they are also charged with performing an independent and credible investigation of a police officer who killed someone.

If this does not sound immediately scandalous, it’s only because we’re accustomed to it. This is what accountability usually looks like in police shootings and in government generally. One nominally independent arm of the government investigates another for wrongdoing, usually finding nothing and prosecuting less. Speeches are given, press releases are issued, and hands are wrung–yet “never again” will likely happen again.

In government, this cycle of events feels normal. But what if we observed the same approach outside of government?

Suppose Wells Fargo came out tomorrow and announced that they had conducted an extensive internal investigation into their aggressive sales practices and found that, in fact, the company didn’t open any fraudulent accounts after all. Would you believe them?

What if Marlboro released the results of a new internal study and shared the good news that smoking cigarettes doesn’t actually cause lung cancer? Would you believe them?

I’m guessing probably not.

The conflicts of interest are obvious. Both firms stand to benefit if their conclusions are widely accepted by the public. So even if one of them assured us that the investigations were carried out by an “independent” department within their organization, we would still be skeptical–and rightly so.

But when it comes to government, many are willing to apply a less critical lens. Claims of independence are accepted when they should be questioned. Perfect professionalism is assumed, even when recent history offers little basis for confidence. Does this make sense?

Government employees are still people, just as surely as Wells Fargo employees are. And as people, they are fallible. They have biases, interests, and flaws like everyone else. Individuals do not become uniquely virtuous or incorruptible when they work for the government.

If this is true, then we should judge all of these institutions, whether public or private, by the same standard.

We would not trust Wells Fargo to investigate allegations of fraud committed by Wells Fargo. Neither should we trust the government to investigate itself when it comes to matters of life and death.

Everything You Need to Know about Government, in One Story | Daniel J. Mitchell   Leave a comment

Every so often, I run across a chart, cartoon, or story that captures the essence of an issue. And when that happens, I make it part of my “everything you need to know” series.

 

 

Source: Everything You Need to Know about Government, in One Story | Daniel J. Mitchell

I don’t actually think those columns tell us everything we need to know, of course, but they do show something very important. At least I hope.

And now, from our (normally) semi-rational northern neighbor, I have a new example.

This story from Toronto truly is a powerful example of the difference between government action and private action.

A Toronto man who spent $550 building a set of stairs in his community park says he has no regrets, despite the city’s insistence that he should have waited for a $65,000 city project to handle the problem. 
Retired mechanic Adi Astl says he took it upon himself to build the stairs after several neighbours fell down the steep path to a community garden in Tom Riley Park, in Etobicoke, Ont. Astl says his neighbours chipped in on the project, which only ended up costing $550 – a far cry from the $65,000-$150,000 price tag the city had estimated for the job. …Astl says he hired a homeless person to help him and built the eight steps in a matter of hours. …Astl says members of his gardening group have been thanking him for taking care of the project, especially after one of them broke her wrist falling down the slope last year.

There are actually two profound lessons to learn from this story.

Since I’m a fiscal wonk, the part that grabbed my attention was the $550 cost of private action compared to $65,000 for government. Or maybe $150,000. Heck, probably more considering government cost overruns.

Though we’re not actually talking about government action. God only knows how long it would have taken the bureaucracy to complete this task. So this is a story of inexpensive private action vs. costly government inaction.

But there’s another part of this story that also caught my eye. The bureaucracy is responding with spite.

The city is now threatening to tear down the stairs because they were not built to regulation standards…City bylaw officers have taped off the stairs while officials make a decision on what to do with it. …Mayor John Tory…says that still doesn’t justify allowing private citizens to bypass city bylaws to build public structures themselves. …“We just can’t have people decide to go out to Home Depot and build a staircase in a park because that’s what they would like to have.”

But there is a silver lining. With infinite mercy, the government isn’t going to throw Mr. Astl in jail or make him pay a fine. At least not yet.

Astl has not been charged with any sort of violation.

Gee, how nice and thoughtful.

One woman has drawn the appropriate conclusion from this episode.

Area resident Dana Beamon told CTV Toronto she’s happy to have the stairs there, whether or not they are up to city standards. “We have far too much bureaucracy,” she said. “We don’t have enough self-initiative in our city, so I’m impressed.”

Which is the lesson I think everybody should take away. Private initiative works much faster and much cheaper than government.

P.S. Let’s also call this an example of super-federalism, or super-decentralization. Imagine how expensive it would have been for the national government in Ottawa to build the stairs? Or how long it would have taken? Probably millions of dollars and a couple of years.

Now imagine how costly and time-consuming it would have been if the Ontario provincial government was in charge? Perhaps not as bad, but still very expensive and time-consuming.

And we already know the cost (and inaction) of the city government. Reminds me of the $1 million bus stop in Arlington, VA.

But when actual users of the park take responsibility (both in terms of action and money), the stairs were built quickly and efficiently.

In other words, let’s have decentralization. But the most radical federalism is when private action replaces government.

 Reprinted from International Liberty

Editors Note: Since this article was originally published, the local government tore down Astl’s $500 stairs, citing “safety standards,” and plans to replace it with a $10,000 set.

Sherry Parnell

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