Fun, easy, basic guitar song for anyone learning to play:

Posted by: mbmusings | October 14, 2008

Nationwide ACORN Voter Registration Fraud

Why isn’t the GOP going ballistic on the ongoing voter registration fraud being committed by ACORN?  This is systematic vote suppression effort that must be stopped in every election precinct.  The few news reports listed below are just the tip of the iceberg. 

Some recent news stories floating around about the numerous fraudulent voter registrations being turned in by ACORN and other activist ‘community organizations’.

(Hat tip to Instapundit, and others, mostly via Google)

Court casts doubt on Ohio voter rolls – (link)

the full Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a decision made last week by three of its members. The result: Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner must create computer programs to cross check all new voter registrations so that county boards of elections can doublecheck new registrants.
The Secretary of State will now have to verify new registrations by comparing information on them with data from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles or the Social Security Administration.
“As far as we can tell, the problem with the current system (of cross-checking) is not that it is insufficiently user-friendly, but that it is effectively useless,” wrote Judge Jeffrey Sutton, writing for the majority.

Question – how are they verifying voter rolls now?  Pencil and paper?  Nothing?!?

While duplicate registrations don’t translate into multiple, illegal votes because of other safeguards, [Secretary of State Jennifer] Brunner said county prosecutors or the Ohio attorney general will prosecute people involved in voter registration fraud, Brunner said at a morning press conference

How would you prosecute someone for voting illegally?  Even if someone casts a vote as Mickey Mouse, it is impossible to weed out after the vote is cast, the damage has been done.  The whole electoral system relies on accurate voter registration information.  Once the votes have been cast, it’s too late.

Meanwhile in Seattle:

Felony charges filed against 7 in state’s biggest case of voter-registration fraud – (link)

The announcement of criminal charges came after the King County Canvassing Board revoked 1,762 allegedly fraudulent voter registrations submitted by ACORN employees.

Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Stephen Hobbs told the board that six ACORN workers had admitted filling out registration forms with names they found in phone books last October. The canvassers filled out the forms while sitting around a table at the downtown Seattle Public Library, Hobbs said.

County prosecutors charged the six canvassers with one to eight counts each of filing false information on voter registration, and charged a supervisor with providing false information and making a false statement to a public official.

Two of the ACORN workers were also charged in Pierce County with submitting 55 phony registrations.

In Cleveland, a single voter is registered 72 times:



he was given cash and cigarettes by aggressive ACORN activists in exchange for registering an astonishing 72 times, in apparent violation of Ohio laws.

“Sometimes, they come up and bribe me with a cigarette, or they’ll give me a dollar to sign up,” said Freddie Johnson, 19, who filled out 72 separate voter-registration cards over an 18-month period at the behest of the left-leaning Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

the article includes this nugget, linking Barak Obama to this anti-American organization:

During the primary season, however, the Obama camp paid another group, Citizen Service Inc., $832,598 for various political services, according to Federal Elections Commission filings. That group and ACORN share the same board of directors.

Hmmm, something smells rotten.  Maybe they share the same board of directors because C.S.I. is a subsidiary of ACORN?

The Las Vegas office of ACORN, raided by the FBI –

ACORN Vegas Office Raided in Voter Fraud Investigation – (link)

The group was submitting the information through a voter sign-up drive known as Project Vote.

“Some of them used nonexistent names, some of them used false addresses and some of them were duplicates of previously filed applications,” Walsh said, describing the complaints, which largely came from the registrar in Clark County, Nev.

Secretary of State Ross Miller said the fraudulent registrations included  forms for the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys football team. 

I know, I know, it was just over-zealous temporary workers filling in all these fraudulent registrations, right?  Of course. 

Back in Bridgeport, Connecticut:

ACORN’s voter registrations questioned – (link)

One of the phony registrations was for a 7-year-old girl in the Marina Village housing complex, whose age was listed as 27 on the voter card.

Another registration came from a man who later said he couldn’t have completed the voter card purported to be his because he was in jail on the date of the document.


ACORN filed more than 8,000 voter cards in the city during its registration drive, but Borges said the piles of cards are riddled with duplicates and false information that was found by him and his staff.

Borges submitted evidence including the registration of a Stratford woman who said she was “pressured” into completing a card with a Bridgeport address. Another registration contained two voters registration forms with different signatures for the same person.

“We have three boxes of returned letters, with no such address, no such name,” Borges said. “It’s crazy.”

On his complaint, Borges said the flood of ACORN-generated voter cards “has put a strain on my office and jeopardizes our ability to enter legitimate registration cards.”

ACORN will police their own mistakes right?  Here it says they fired ONE employee for this fraud. ONE!  I sure am glad they got that guy.

When the issue first broke over the summer, ACORN officials said that at least one employee was fired for trumping up voter registrations.

Emeline Bravo Blackwood, chairwoman of the East End ACORN chapter in Bridgeport, said in a statement Tuesday night that she is “proud” of the local and statewide drives that have registered 20,000 new state voters.

“It is shameful that partisan, right-wing operatives — who are clearly afraid of our ability to bring low-income people to the polls on election day

Low income people like the entire Dallas Cowboys football team.  Right.  Really reaching out to disenfranchised voters there.

Even ACORN offices in flyover country are having trouble keeping their employees from committing fraud:

Missouri officials suspect fake voter registration – (link)

“I don’t even know the entire scope of it because registrations are coming in so heavy,” Davis said. “We have identified about 100 duplicates, and probably 280 addresses that don’t exist, people who have driver’s license numbers that won’t verify or Social Security numbers that won’t verify. Some have no address at all.”

My sense is that this is a deliberate tactic to overwhelm the voter registration boards around the country.  ACORN isn’t concerned with how much money this fraud ends up costing the taxpayers, they are only interested in breaking down the electoral system.  There is no doubt that thousands of their fraudulent registrations get onto the roles around the country.  Especially in Democratically controlled precincts. 

Even in Milwaukee:

ACORN In The News Again For Workers Registering Dead Voters And Others – (link)

Milwaukee Election Commission says that criminal investigations could be initiated against individuals who belong to a group called Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now aka ACORN, for trying to add dead, imprisoned or imaginary people to the voter rolls.
According to Sue Edman, the commission’s executive director, investigators are investigating 200-300 fraudulent voter registration cards that were supplied by members of ACORN.

In this case it was ACORN themselves that brought the problem to the attention of the commission. Even so, it is sparking up the debate about requiring photo ID at the voter booths for upcoming elections.

Without a voter id requirement, the only difficult part of the process is getting names on the voter roles!  Once the names are in the computer, and at the voting precinct, people can drive around voting all day under various names.  How would you catch them?  The jig is up, we need a national requirement for photo IDs at all polling places to cast a vote, and we need paper copies of all ballots.  It is imperative that the integrity of the system is maintained to ensure the accuracy of the result, otherwise we are living in a banana republic. 

Atlas Shrugs sums it up the best:


There is no way, no way, we can have a fair election with legitimate results. No way. The taxpayer is funding this stealth coup against our election system. ACORN is the most egregious but they are hardly singular. We must STOP, verify  every voter, confirm their legitimacy. This is CHAOS and it is happening, strangely enough, in every battleground state.

I agree.  This is a coordinated attempt to subvert the electoral process through the fraudulent manipulation of the voter rolls.  Spend a few minutes reading through some of these articles, especially the responses of the local bureaucrats managing the voter rolls.  They are overwhelmed and don’t even know how to sort out the fraud from the real voters in the system.  And even if they could, they can’t do it between now and Nov. 4th.

Posted by: mbmusings | October 14, 2008

Michael Ramirez Rules…

Michael Ramirez is on fire!  You can find daily editorial cartoons from M. Ramirez at

Here he nails the scandalous Acorn ‘voter’ drives:


He has some of the most insightful takes on the meltdown in the financial markets.  Again Ramirez nails it:


And who is picking up the tab:


And my favorite, as it ties in so well with a previous post – The Shakedown that Brought Down the House:


If you enjoy Ramirez’ work, please visit for more daily editorial cartoons. 

Posted by: mbmusings | September 30, 2008

‘Burning Down the House’ – the Financial Crisis Video

The greatest video to date explaining some of the corrupt the history behind the housing bubble, the CRA, Fannie and Freddie and their allies in Congress.

Watch the video and forward it on to friends and family who aren’t as web savvy. 

(This video was removed several times by Youtube, so it may not be there for long after this is posted.)

This story needs to be told, even though our media betters concern themselves with digging up what little dirt they can find on the Governor of Alaska, while our financial house is burning down.  In my experience, getting your news from the mainstream media actually makes you less informed, if that’s possible.

Posted by: mbmusings | September 21, 2008

The Shakedown that Brought Down the House

A great article about the aggressive tactics used by the Left in their goal of increasing funding of high-risk mortgages in poor neighborhoods.  The cornerstone of this shakedown is the Community Reinvestment Act, originally passed by the Carter Administration, given teeth by the Clinton Administration. 

Amazingly, this article was published in the winter of 2000.  After the nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the inevitable negative side effects of these feel-good Leftist policies have to be dealt with by the rest of us.  The Left will try to skate off, unblemished, because they had such good intentions.

The Left’s public relations arm, the mainstream media, is trying to paint the current financial crisis as the fault of greedy speculators and their wall street enablers.  The truth is there were an incredible number of loans made to people with terrible credit, loans that would never be made without the implicit support of the federal government, and the insurance policy of a taxpayer funded bailout.    

Read the whole article from the City Journal, as written by Howard Husock, here:

The Trillion-Dollar Bank Shakedown That Bodes Ill for Cities

(Found via Ilkka, at The Fourth Checkraise)

Some highlights from the article:

The Clinton administration has turned the Community Reinvestment Act, a once-obscure and lightly enforced banking regulation law, into one of the most powerful mandates shaping American cities—and, as Senate Banking Committee chairman Phil Gramm memorably put it, a vast extortion scheme against the nation’s banks. Under its provisions, U.S. banks have committed nearly $1 trillion for inner-city and low-income mortgages and real estate development projects, most of it funneled through a nationwide network of left-wing community groups, intent, in some cases, on teaching their low-income clients that the financial system is their enemy and, implicitly, that government, rather than their own striving, is the key to their well-being.

Always remember that banks do not lend their own money.  They loan the money on deposit in their banks.  Because of this huge risk, banks historically have been incredibly conservative when determining if a potential borrower was creditworthy.  With these new, and very risky, loans being demanded, the banks knew that the ultimate risk for these mortgages would be the taxpayers.  Without the deep pockets of Uncle Sam, the banking industry would never allow this incredible amount of money be devoted to such risky investments.

The Act, which Jimmy Carter signed in 1977, grew out of the complaint that urban banks were “redlining” inner-city neighborhoods, refusing to lend to their residents while using their deposits to finance suburban expansion.


Nor has the race discrimination argument for CRA held up. A September 1999 study by Freddie Mac, for instance, confirmed what previous Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation studies had found: that African-Americans have disproportionate levels of credit problems, which explains why they have a harder time qualifying for mortgage money. As Freddie Mac found, blacks with incomes of $65,000 to $75,000 a year have on average worse credit records than whites making under $25,000.

Leaving aside the racial angle that the FDIC studied, I bet that all races in inner-city environments have disproportionate levels of credit problems.  Nobody cares that poor whites can’t get loans.  The US Government only cares if you have a darker skin color.

…until recently, the CRA didn’t matter all that much. During the seventies and eighties, CRA enforcement was perfunctory. Regulators asked banks to demonstrate that they were trying to reach their entire “assessment area” by advertising in minority-oriented newspapers or by sending their executives to serve on the boards of local community groups. The Clinton administration changed this state of affairs dramatically. Ignoring the sweeping transformation of the banking industry since the CRA was passed, the Clinton Treasury Department’s 1995 regulations made getting a satisfactory CRA rating much harder. The new regulations de-emphasized subjective assessment measures in favor of strictly numerical ones. Bank examiners would use federal home-loan data, broken down by neighborhood, income group, and race, to rate banks on performance. There would be no more A’s for effort. Only results—specific loans, specific levels of service—would count. Where and to whom have home loans been made? Have banks invested in all neighborhoods within their assessment area? Do they operate branches in those neighborhoods?

The Clinton administration’s get-tough regulatory regime mattered so crucially because bank deregulation had set off a wave of mega-mergers, including the acquisition of the Bank of America by NationsBank, BankBoston by Fleet Financial, and Bankers Trust by Deutsche Bank. Regulatory approval of such mergers depended, in part, on positive CRA ratings. “To avoid the possibility of a denied or delayed application,” advises the NCRC in its deadpan tone, “lending institutions have an incentive to make formal agreements with community organizations.” By intervening—even just threatening to intervene—in the CRA review process, left-wing nonprofit groups have been able to gain control over eye-popping pools of bank capital, which they in turn parcel out to individual low-income mortgage seekers. A radical group called ACORN Housing has a $760 million commitment from the Bank of New York; the Boston-based Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America [NACA] has a $3-billion agreement with the Bank of America; a coalition of groups headed by New Jersey Citizen Action has a five-year, $13-billion agreement with First Union Corporation. Similar deals operate in almost every major U.S. city. Observes Tom Callahan, executive director of the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, which has $220 million in bank mortgage money to parcel out, “CRA is the backbone of everything we do.”

In addition to providing the nonprofits with mortgage money to disburse, CRA allows those organizations to collect a fee from the banks for their services in marketing the loans. The Senate Banking Committee has estimated that, as a result of CRA, $9.5 billion so far has gone to pay for services and salaries of the nonprofit groups involved.

That last little nugget of information is why Barney Frank and other Democrats in Congress are working so hard to cover-up this activity and bailout the organizations that have been stuck with the fraudulent loans.  Their shakedown scheme is funding a huge network of Left-wing activists. 

the CRA funnels billions of investment dollars through groups that understand protest and political advocacy but not marketing or finance. This amateur delivery system for investment capital already shows signs that it may be going about its business unwisely.

Good thing the taxpayers will be there to pick up the pieces, even after funding this criminal endeavor. 

During the Reagan years, the Right used to talk of cutting off the flow of federal funds to left-liberal groups, a goal called “defunding the Left”; through the CRA, the Clinton administration has found a highly effective way of doing exactly the opposite, funneling millions to NACA or to outfits like ACORN, which advocates a nationalized health-care system, “people before profits at the utilities,” and a tax code based “solely on the ability to pay.”

Democrats in congress fund taxpayer money to groups that actively participate in ‘community organizing’ efforts to get more Democrats elected.  Highly illegal, in my opinion.

[Referring to Bruce Marks] Many of his borrowers are single-parent heads of household. Such borrowers are, Marks believes, fundamentally oppressed and at permanent disadvantage, and therefore society must adjust its rules for them. Hence, NACA’s most crucial policy decision: it requires no down payments whatsoever from its borrowers. A down-payment requirement, based on concern as to whether a borrower can make payments, is—when applied to low-income minority buyers—”patronizing and almost racist,” Marks says

Society may be able to adjust its rules for them, but apparently the financial markets haven’t been able too.  Hopefully society will be able to pick-up the pieces from this rule change.  When you get your next 401k statement, thank Bruce Marks for changing the rules.

Bruce Marks says that he would consider a low foreclosure rate to be a problem. “If we had a foreclosure rate of 1 percent, that would just prove we were skimming,” he says. Accordingly, in mid-1999, 8.2 percent of the mortgages NACA had arranged with the Fleet Bank were delinquent, compared with the national average of 1.9 percent. “Considering our clientele,” Marks asserts, “nine out of ten would have to be considered a success.”

Part of the current problem in the financial markets, if not the problem, is the fact that these bad loans are bundled with normal loans.  But after they are bundled, there is no way to separate the good assets from the bad assets without taking apart the entire bundle.  This problem has eliminated liquidity in the market since mortgage backed securities that were once bought and sold by large investment firms have ceased to be tradeable.  Add a couple of those big ‘turds’ to your balance sheet when you need to raise some capital and you have a huge problem that could sink the entire firm.

The no-down-payment policy has sparked so sharp a division within the CRA industry that the National Community Reinvestment Coalition has expelled Bruce Marks and NACA from its ranks over it. The precipitating incident: when James Johnson, then CEO of Fannie Mae, made a speech to NCRC members on the importance of down payments to keep mortgage-backed securities easily salable, NACA troops, in keeping with the group’s style of personalizing disputes, distributed pictures of Johnson, captioned: “I make $6 million a year, and I can afford a down payment. Why can’t you?” Says Josh Silver, research director of NCRC: “There is no quicker way to undermine CRA than through bad loans.” NCRC represents hundreds of smallish community groups, many of which do insist on down payments—and many of which make loans in the same neighborhoods as NACA and understand the risk its philosophy poses. Still, whenever NACA opens a new branch office, it will be difficult for the nonprofits already operating in that area to avoid matching its come-one, come-all terms.

In the race to the bottom, the outfit with the fewest scruples wins.  When NACA began offering no down payment loans available to poor families, the other community organizations had to follow suit to be competitive.  It’s interesting to note that in the year 2000, a no down payment loan was a controversial financial instrument.  By 2008 it was considered ordinary; somehow everyone forgot the huge risks.

“The bulk of these loans,” notes a Federal Reserve economist, “have been made during a period in which we have not experienced an economic downturn.” The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America’s own success stories make you wonder how much CRA-related carnage will result when the economy cools.

Too bad the economy cooled…

There is lots more interesting stuff in the original article.  I hate quoting so much of it here, but the points made are so relevant to the current crisis it needs to be brought up again as evidence.  This crisis was easily foreseen if we were allowed to look at this crooked racket.  Now we are all going to end up much poorer as a result of these feel-good policies and the fraudulent use of public money.  

Posted by: mbmusings | September 16, 2008

Left vs. Right? Or Collective vs. Individual?

What does it mean to be on the ‘Left’ or the ‘Right’ in the modern political landscape?  The terms of the debate change depending on who’s talking, their audience, and their political agenda.  With all the over-heated rhetoric common in today’s political discussions, most people don’t have a clear definition of the two terms anymore. 

Since these terms have wide significance in modern usage, we need to settle on some common definitions.  Growing up, my liberal teachers intentionally misled me by defining the extreme Right as Fascist, and the extreme Left as Communism, with liberal democracy somewhere in the middle.  That dichotomy may have been relevant in the 1930’s and 40’s, but those poles don’t relate to the current political discussion.  The American Right isn’t calling for anything resembling Fascism, and the Left isn’t pedaling the merits of Communism.  

I think it is more accurate to identify our modern divide along the Collective versus Individual axis.  Both the Right and Left have collectivist ambitions.  The Left has its idealism regarding the common goodness of humanity and the perfectibility of society; many on the Right want to change society based religious forms of collectivism.  Caught between these two extremes are the Individuals who don’t see either pole as ideal.

Lawrence Auster provides a good summary of the differences between the Left and Right in his post:  ‘Clearing up once and for all the Idea that Nazism is Leftism’:

…both the right and the left believe in an idea of the collective, as distinct from the liberal notion of the individual.

We can clear up this confusion by considering the basic ideas of right, left, and center. (Let’s remember that the three types described below rarely appear in pure form but are intermixed with the others.)

On the right, traditional conservatives believe in “larger wholes”–the realities of nature, society, and God–of race, culture, and religion–that make us what we are. They believe in natural and spiritual hierarchies that are implied in these larger wholes. Inequality is built into existence. Of course there are various kinds of traditional conservatism, each of them placing particular emphasis on certain aspects of the natural, social, and transcendent orders, and less emphasis on others.

In the middle, traditional liberals (right-liberals) believe in individualism: all individuals have equal rights, the individual is free to create himself, he is not determined by the larger wholes into which he was born. We should just see people, all members of the human race, as individuals deserving of equal dignity.

On the left, socialists and Communists, like traditional conservatives, also believe in larger wholes, but the wholes they believe in seen in terms of equality: the whole of society–equal; the whole of the human race–equal. They believe that man has the ability to engineer this larger, equal whole into existence, wiping out the unequal, inherited orders of class, sex, nation, race, religion, morality, and thus creating a New Humanity. Only the largest whole–humankind–is good, because only at the level of all humanity can there be true equality and fraternity uniting all people.

So, both the traditionalist conservatives on one side and the leftists on the other believe in larger wholes and agree in rejecting the pure individualism of liberalism. But beyond that, the right and the left are radically at odds, since the left seeks to destroy the natural and traditional wholes that the right believes in.

That is about as clear and concise a definition as I have found anywhere.  Obviously there are hundreds of factions and variants of the these divisions, but they just confuse things. 

I don’t agree that the division between the Right and Left in America is exactly along these lines.  Maybe in Europe, or worldwide, but not in the USA.  I think that the Left in America should be identified as the Progressives, who are not so much Marxist as post-Christian idealists.  Marx and the Communist ideals surely fueled the imaginations of American progressives in the early twentieth century, but their power in American society since the thirties has been in decline. 

Take God out of the equation; remove the messenger – Christ – out of the teachings; reduce all miracles to mere superstitions, and you are left with progressive ideals.   Love your neighbor; alms to the poor; self-sacrifice; the perfectibility of man; non-violence as the strongest form of protest; absolution of sin through confession; etc, are all straight out of the New Testament.  Their ideals are almost entirely Christian dogma minus Christ. 

In America, if the Left is represented by the Progressives and the Right is represented by evangelical Christians, where is the real divide?  Between soft-Christianity and hard-Christianity?  Between the ideals based on the bible and ideals based on post-Christian humanism peppered with Eastern mysticism?  I don’t see these two sides as being that far apart except for in their rhetoric and their hate towards the other.  

Are we really in the middle of an ongoing religious civil war? 

The primary divide in modern politics is between Collectivists and Individuals.  Europe and most of the rest of the world has surrendered to Collectivism in one form or another.  A disorganized, ever-shrinking number of people who still value the Individual are represented in North America.  Unfortunately, the power of the Individual is almost nothing in a ‘democracy’.  Organized groups have the power and the means to keep it.  Hence the rise of collectives of all stripes and agendas running our government and manipulating the media.  Individuals are left to fend for themselves with only lip service from either either side. 

What can we learn from all this:  join up, or stop complaining!

Can the Internet provide Individuals the power to fight back?

Posted by: mbmusings | September 16, 2008

The Mind of Moldbug

There are so many good blogs out there.  Too bad there just isn’t enough time to visit them all.  One of my favorite new blogs is: Unqualified Reservations, the home of Mencius Moldbug.  You could read UR for days and only scratch the surface of the information contained, and then many more months reading the supporting information he links too.  Like Neo taking the red pill, you won’t see things the same way after you’ve experienced Moldbug.

Just a little taste, from his ‘Case Against Democracy – Ten Pills‘:

Have you ever considered the possibility that democracy is bunk?

Of course, I could be wrong. Who the heck am I? No one. And everyone who is someone agrees: democracy is wonderful.
So I’m not telling you that democracy is bunk. I’m just suggesting you might want to consider the possibility.

Another classic approach, though, is just to write up a list of heretical theses. Red pills, you might say. It worked for Luther – why shouldn’t it work for me?
I won’t (in this post) attempt to explain or justify these theses. They are for you, the reader, to analyze, to justify or refute.
For convenience, I’ve matched each red pill with a blue pill. The blue pill represents the orthodox democratic perspective. If I’m wrong and democracy is not bunk, the blue pills are reality and the red pills are poisonous lies. Swallow at your own risk.

  1. Peace, prosperity, and freedom
    • blue pill:
      Democracy is responsible for the present state of peace, prosperity, and freedom in the US, Europe and Japan.
    • red pill:
      The rule of law is responsible for the present state of peace, prosperity and freedom in the US, Europe and Japan.
  2. Democracy, freedom, and law
    • blue pill:
      Democracy is inseparable from freedom and law.
    • red pill:
      At best, democracy is sand in the gears of freedom and law. At worst it excludes them entirely, as in Iraq.
  3. Fascism and communism
    • blue pill:
      The disasters of fascism and communism demonstrate the importance of representative democracy.
    • red pill:
      Fascism and communism are best understood as forms of democracy. The difference between single-party and multiparty democracy is like the difference between a malignant tumor and a benign one.
  4. The nature of the state
    • blue pill:
      The state is established by citizens to serve their needs. Its actions are generally righteous.
    • red pill:
      The state is just another giant corporation. Its actions generally advance its own interests. Sometimes these interests coincide with ours, sometimes they don’t.
  5. The power structure of the West
    • blue pill:
      Power in the West is held by the people, who have to guard it closely against corrupt politicians and corporations.
    • red pill:
      Power in the West is held by the civil service, that is, the permanent employees of the state. In any struggle between the civil service and politicians or corporations, the civil service wins.
  6. The extent of the state
    • blue pill:
      The state consists of elected officials and their appointees.
    • red pill:
      The state consists of all those whose interests are aligned with the state. This includes NGOs, universities, and the press, all of whose employees are effectively civil servants, and side with the civil service in almost all conflicts.
  7. The danger of right-wing politics
    • blue pill:
      Right-wing politicians, and the ignorant masses who support them, are a danger to democracy. They must be stopped.
    • red pill:
      Right-wing politicians are a classic democratic phenomenon. Domestically, they have little power and are mostly harmless. Their international adventures are destructive, but they are inescapable consequences of democracy itself.
  8. Democracy and nonpartisan government
    • blue pill:
      True democracy is not merely the rule of politicians. For a democracy to succeed, a nonpartisan decisionmaking process is essential. Civil servants, especially judges, must be isolated from politics, or they will become corrupt.
    • red pill:
      Democracy is politics. Any other definition is Orwellian. The absence of politics is the absence of democracy, and apolitical civil-service government is indeed better than democracy. But this is a low standard to surpass.
  9. The history of Western government
    • blue pill:
      The present system of Western government is the result of adapting 19th-century classical liberalism to the complex modern world.
    • red pill:
      Western governments today are clones of the quasi-democratic FDR regime, whose best modern comparisons are leaders like Mubarak, Putin or Suharto. Its origin was the Progressive movement, which broke classical liberalism, then complained that it didn’t work.
  10. The future of Western government
    • blue pill:
      The Western world is moving toward a globalized, transnational free market in which politics is increasingly irrelevant, and technocratic experts and NGOs play larger roles in fighting corruption, protecting the environment, and delivering essential public services.
    • red pill:
      Civil-service government works well at first, but it degrades. Its limit as time approaches infinity is sclerotic Brezhnevism. Its justification for ruling is inseparable from democracy, which is mystical nonsense and is rapidly disappearing. It cannot survive without a captive media and educational system, which the Internet will route around. Also, its financial system is a mess and could collapse at any minute. The whole thing will be lucky if it lasts another ten years.

Read it all, as they say…

Posted by: mbmusings | September 9, 2008

In Defense of Faith

MK Freeberg tipped me to a good blog:

Dicentra posts a good defense of religion based on belief in the unknowable, or faith, that is often overlooked and/or dismissed derisively in any discussion with the non-religious.  Her post is attacking Intelligent Design as bad theology, which I tend to agree.

Some snippets:

Because many in the scientific community have not confined themselves to science: they have gone ahead and ventured into metaphysics and called it Science. They say that science has obviated the “need for a God,” by which they mean that the gap that God formerly occupied has been filled by human knowledge. So don’t go pushing your medieval superstitions on We The Enlightened. Separation of Church and State and all that.

The Christians are fighting against this assertion by trying to use science to show that the gap is not filled, which means there is still room for God’s existence.

But this is a misguided line of attack for the reasons explained above: it’s almost inevitable that the gaps will continue to be filled by human knowledge, and those who rely on the God of the Gaps will be left with nothing to believe in, eventually. Many former believers saw the Gap closing and decided that God was in fact not needed. You can make your own list of the results.

Look, you cannot deduce the existence of God by observing the natural world.

Knowledge of God is spiritual knowledge, which can be acquired only through spiritual channels, which means that you cannot really know that God exists except through revelation.
Observe this passage from Matthew 16:
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

It may have been possible to deduce that Christ was the Messiah, but any conclusion you arrive at by deduction can also be dismantled by deduction. Not a solid foundation for religious faith.

No, there is no other legitimate basis for faith except divine revelation; all else is unstable, perishable, and changeable. The Bible is a record of revelations that have been given to others, and it is a valuable instrument in helping you develop the desire to have your own revelatory knowledge of the truthfulness of the testimonies that are recorded therein.

I like this line of thinking.  Believers in the spiritual side of life need to avoid getting sucked into the trap where the skeptics get to argue the merits of faith based on ‘science’.  If the rules of argument only allow one to place observable fact against observable fact, obviously science will win out over belief.

But the world described by science is way too narrow.  Science studies and tries to understand the physical world through observable, identifiable, and repeatable phenomena.  All other branches of the ‘sciences’ are mere speculation.  To say we understand the world due to science is like trying to describe the inside of a room while looking through the keyhole.  Sure, the description of some of the room may be accurate, but your knowledge of the whole is extremely limited. 

So it is with science.  Using the tools of science, we have come a long way in our ability to understand and repeat some of what God has created on this planet, but we are light-years away from being able to understand it, except as the children of God.

Posted by: mbmusings | September 6, 2008

We’re all Victims Now

Perusing some of Judith Warner’s recent columns on the New York Times site, I ran across this article attacking the current state of affairs regarding the college admissions process.  Here’s a link to her article, Compassion Deficit Disorder.

A couple of sample paragraphs to give you the flavor:

the comments by Rick Davis, Senator John McCain’s campaign manager, that Barack Obama had “played the race card” by noting that Republicans appeared to be trying to suggest to voters that the Democratic candidate “doesn’t look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills.”


And finally, there was coffee with my niece, Margaret.

She painted a bleak picture. Her classmates, she said disgustedly, seem to view the college admissions trials as an all out game of war, waged by combatants who are perennially flipping cards of gender, race, class, status and ethnicity, ready to cheat if they don’t like the luck of the draw. Some students, she noted, managed miraculously to discover their non-white ancestry just days before they had to check off their race on admissions forms. These same students had spent their junior years bashing Hillary Clinton for “playing the gender card” (the oft-repeated phrase.) They bewailed the terrible unfairness of a college application system that, they believed, gave unfair advantage to racial minorities and students from economically disadvantaged homes. Now they were racing to use any card they might have in their own decks — be it legacy status, or sports prowess, or family money enough to pay for the most edifying-sounding summer activities — to advance their own cause.

and finally this nugget of sheer condescension:

They were truly their parents’ children, this much remarked-upon generation of non-rebels, kids who had internalized all their parents’ fears about their futures, and voiced those fears in the most unquestioning, un-self-aware ways. They were convinced of their own incipient victimhood: Because they were girls and everyone knew that college admissions were now weighted toward boys. Because they were boys and everyone knew that the whole system was biased toward girls. Because they were white and everyone knew that you can’t get in anywhere if you’re white. Or upper-middle-class.

That’s how the game is played.  Ms. Warner is so naive it makes me cringe.  Or she’s a willing dupe, we’ll never know.  She is clearly outlining the democratic equivalent of this scenario by Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged.  She was attacking the corrosive effects on mankind of Socialism.  From the Blog that Nobody Reads, MK Freeburg’s place, his favorite quote from the book:

Well, anyway, it was decided that nobody had the right to judge his own need or ability. We *voted* on it. Yes ma’am, we voted on it in a public meeting twice a year. How else could it be done? Do you care to think what would happen at such a meeting? It took us just one meeting to discover that we had become beggars – rotten, whining, sniveling beggars, all of us, because no man could claim his pay as his rightful earning, he had no rights and no earnings, his work didn’t belong to him, it belonged to ‘the family,’ and they owed him nothing in return, and the only claim he had on them was his ‘need’ – so he had to beg in public for relief from his needs, like any lousy moocher, listing all his troubles and miseries, down to his patched drawers and his wife’s head colds, hoping that ‘the family’ would throw him the alms. He had to claim miseries, because its miseries, not work, that had become the coin of the realm – so it turned into a contest among six thousand panhandlers, each claiming that *his* need was worse than his brother’s. How else could it be done? Do you care to guess what happened, what sort of men kept quiet, feeling shame, and what sort got away with the jackpot?

Now we live in the land of progressive Democracy, a political system where the spoils are divided up, not by fairness, or effort, or reason, but by the numbers of people who are drawn to your cause.   With Progressives running the show, the inevitable result is victim-group politics; not majority rule.  Actually, the largest minority in the country is the scapegoat for all the world’s problems (white males).  For the rest, including the majority – white women – victim group rules.

Just for fun, let’s replace the concept of ‘the beggar’ with ‘the victim’ in the above Ayn Rand quote.  Here’s my rewrite of the above quote for the current political equation:

Well, anyway, it was decided that nobody had the right to judge his own need or ability. We *voted* on it. Yes ma’am, we voted on it in a public meeting twice a year. How else could it be done? Do you care to think what would happen at such a meeting? It took us just one meeting to discover that we had become victims- rotten, whining, sniveling victims, all of us, because no man could claim to be treated as equals, he had no rights and no equality, his place in society didn’t belong to him, it belonged to ‘the progressives,’ and they owed him nothing in return, and the only claim he had on them was his ‘victimhood’- so he had to claim his victim status in public as a badge of honor, no matter how silly or imagined, like any lousy moocher, listing all his hardships and oppression, down to his patched drawers and his wife’s head colds, hoping that ‘the progressives’ would show him some favoritism. He had to claim oppression, because it was oppression, not achievement, that had become the coin of the realm – so it turned into a contest among three hundred million victims, each claiming that *his* oppression was worse than his brother’s. How else could it be done? Do you care to guess what happened, what sort of men kept quiet, feeling shame, and what sort got away with the jackpot?

As the Jacobite, uber-reactionary, Mencius Moldbug summarizes in his Formalist Manifesto:

… that democracy is – as most writers before the 19th century agreed – an ineffective and destructive system of government. The concept of democracy without politics makes no sense at all, and as we’ve seen, politics and war are a continuum. Democratic politics is best understood as a sort of symbolic violence, like deciding who wins the battle by how many troops they brought.

Imagine the progressives handing out the spoils of this democratic ‘war’, while excluding the largest minority group from any claims on victim status, and you have an apt picture of the current state of affairs in the modern US of A.

Posted by: mbmusings | September 6, 2008

Sexist Pig of the Day Award

Oinkin’ from the Boinkin’ takes down an attack on Sarah Palin by the hack Judith Warner, blogger for the New York Times.  The same Ms. Miller once “described by John Podhoretz as ‘America’s most embarrassing online columnist.'”  After reading her rambling hit piece, I have to agree.

Of note in Ms. Warner’s hit piece on Sarah Palin, was that she was not directly taking on the Republicans and their attraction to Sarah, that would be below her.  Her attacks were directed against other hit pieces on Ms. Palin from other liberal columnists at Slate or the Politico, or the hapless Joe Biden.  How brave (actually, how condescending). 

I love the fact that they want to attack her for “reading from a prepared script” when that’s what all of our inept politicians do.  Take the TelePrompTer away from his holiness, B.O., and you get a bumbling, stuttering, class warrior, of the second rank.  Pair him with the best media handlers, and you get the ‘Messiah.’  Just don’t peak behind the curtain or doubt his authenticity.

The elites are throwing Sarah Palin under the bus because she appeals to the ‘proles’ of America.  The red-state, fly-over country voter.  It may be OK to appeal to the red-state proles if she was one of the current set of compromised, corrupt Republicans in Washington.  These hapless oafs are kept in positions of nominal power to deflect populist sentiments of the proles away from any real reform of the corrupt system.  Bring in an outsider who hasn’t already been compromised?  Out come the long knives.

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