A kaleidoscopic shift of the political pattern of Europe 2

New political parties have been rising in many European countries to oppose established policies of both leftist and conservative governments, particularly policies towards the European Union and immigration.

Most of the new parties are on the Right, but recently some have been formed – or have quite suddenly grown from being inconsequential groupings into forces to be reckoned with  – on the Left.

The newly aggressive parties of the Left are mainly in the South, in countries at the receiving end of EU subsidies, angry that the subsidies are not substantial enough.

The new parties of the Right are mainly in the North, in countries at the paying end of the system, angry that they have to subsidize the failing economies of the South.

That sections of the Left should see how badly Europe needs a strategy for survival, should find fault with the EU, and object to unending immigration of dependents into their already hard-pressed welfare states, is a startling development. It means that new political patterns of alignment and opposition are emerging.

In the following article, which we quote from Gatestone, Peter Martino writes about the new parties’ concern with the adverse economic effects of EU membership. He only touches on immigration as a factor in the intensifying discontent which prompts the formation of new political organizations, movements and agendas, but it is in fact quite as hot an issue.

Last week, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) won a landmark victory in the Rochester & Strood by-election. With this win, UKIP secured its second Member of Parliament. The UKIP candidate, Mark Reckless, won 42.1% of the votes, thrashing the Conservatives (34.8%), Labour (16.8%) and the Liberal Democrats (0.9%). It was the first time ever that UKIP stood in Rochester & Strood. The party won votes from all the major parties. The Conservatives lost 14.4% of the votes, Labour 11.7% and the Liberal Democrats a whopping 15.5%.

UKIP is expected to do very well in the British general elections next May. Last month, a poll predicted the party could win up to 25% of the vote in these elections. In the 2010 general elections, the party had only 3.1%.

UKIP stands for the preservation of the Britain’s national identity. It opposes the European Union (EU) and wants Britain to remain a sovereign nation rather than become a state of a federal Europe. The party is also critical of mass immigration, in particular from Eastern Europe. Though Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader, carefully avoids the issue of Islam, the party has also become the refuge of voters who worry about Islamization. Above all, however, the party embodies the dissatisfaction of the electorate with the traditional political establishment.

As such, UKIP is part of a broad trend that can currently be perceived all over Western Europe.

In Spain, a poll this week said that Podemos, a brand new party that was established only nine months ago, is currently the largest party in the country with 28.3% of the vote. The governing conservative Partido Popular of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy would finish second with 26.3% and the Socialist Party would get only 20.1%. Three years ago, in the November 2011 general elections, the Partido Popular won 44.6% of the votes.

Unlike UKIP, Podemos is a party that clearly belongs to the left of the political spectrum. Podemos (the Spanish for We can) was founded by “anti-capitalist” academics and trade unionists who want to “oppose the dominating EU politics from the left”. Unlike UKIP, Podemos does not want to abolish the EU. On the contrary, since Spain is receiving billions of euros in EU subsidies, a majority of the Spaniards clearly want their country to remain an EU member state.

However, the party opposes the austerity policies that the EU is imposing on Spain as a prerequisite for the continuation of the flow of EU subsidies. Both the Spanish Socialist Party and Prime Minister Rajoy’s Partido Popular are perceived by voters as implementing the same set of EU-prescribed policies.

In this regard, Podemos does resemble UKIP, which also accuses the British political establishment of simply implementing EU mandated policies. In Britain’s case, the dissatisfaction with the EU stems mostly from British taxpayers having to pay billions to the EU, which are then transferred to countries in the south of Europe [such as Spain -ed], where governments use them to fund welfare programs. In this sense, the rise of leftist tax-and-spend parties (or rather tax-other-countries-and-spend parties), such as Podemos, reinforces the rise of parties such as UKIP in the north of Europe.

Indeed, all along the Mediterranean, parties opposing the EU-mandated austerity policies are growing spectacularly.

One of the keynote speakers at Podemos’ recent first-ever party congress was Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Greece’s neo-communist party Syriza. In last May’s European elections, Syriza became Greece’s biggest party with 26.5% of the votes, ahead of the governing Nea Demokratia party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. Syriza draws on the same kind of sentiments as Podemos and is popular for exactly the same reasons.

The same is true of Italy’s Five Star Movement, led by the comedian Beppe Grillo, which, with 21.2% of the vote, became the country’s second largest party in last May’s European elections.

And the same is even true for the Front National of Marine Le Pen in France. Ms Le Pen claims that without the euro, the EU’s common currency, there would be “no need for austerity”. Drawing on anti-EU sentiments, the Front National became the largest French party in last May’s European elections with 24.8% of the vote.

The popularity of these parties is still rising. A recent poll in France revealed that Marine Le Pen might win the next French presidential elections, not just in the first round, but also in the decisive second round. It is the first time ever that the FN leads in a presidential poll against France’s two major parties, the Socialist PS and the Center-Right UMP.

In the countries to the north, however, the popularity of the parties opposing the EU subsidization of the southern countries is rising equally spectacularly.

In the Netherlands, the anti-establishment Party for Freedom (PVV) of Geert Wilders is currently the biggest party in the polls. Wilders has consistently opposed the bailing out of countries such as Greece and Spain with Dutch taxpayers’ money.

In neighboring Germany, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), a party established last year to oppose eurozone bailouts, is shaking up politics with its astonishing wins in recent state elections.

In Sweden, the Sweden Democrats (SD), opposing both immigration and the EU, won 13% of the vote in last September’s general elections, but their popularity keeps rising. Last week, an SD spokesman said the party is currently expected to win up to 18% of the vote.

All across Europe, the electorate is deeply dissatisfied and disillusioned with both the Conservative and the Social-Democrat parties of the political establishment. Voters no longer see much difference between the traditional political protagonists, who are perceived as imposing an EU agenda that, for various reasons, is seen as bad for the country.

In Europe judging by the polls, political landslides are on the way.

How lavishly the rich left buys its political protection 4

An olympus of politically clueless billionaires, notably the unscrupulous George Soros, fund archipelagos of organizations that work for the undoing of America. But when an intelligent billionaire prefers to fund Republican and conservative organizations and support the campaigns of pro-American candidates, the Left shrieks “Foul!”

The Left is Hypocrisy Central, so it’s good to find an article like this from PowerLine, by Steven Hayward:

As I eagerly await the daily announcement from the media and the organized Left about the latest purported outrage of the Koch brothers spending money on politics, it is worth taking in the data compiled by the lefty Center for Responsive Politics about the top donors to political campaigns. The data on campaign spending from 1989-2014 show that all of the lefty talk about “corporate money” in politics is a smoke screen: the largest donors are labor unions and left-leaning grassroots groups. In fact, the number one donor is Act Blue, which hasn’t been around all that long.

The screen cap below shows the top 15 political donors. Eleven of the 15 tilt Democratic while none tilt Republican, and nine of them are labor unions, with the second largest political donor being the giant public employee union, AFSCME. Koch Industries comes in way down at 59th place on the list.

Pretty clear that all of the noise about the Koch Brothers and corporate money in politics generally has one objective in mind: force out any money that might even marginally detract from the drive for liberal power. Act blue indeed.

*

We have had a “pingback” from this site, which displays the whole chart. Koch industries are at the bottom of the list – having donated the least.

The chart also shows that the Democrats have received far more money in donations from corporations, industry and business than the Republicans have.

The little country that could 1

There is a formula for a nation’s success and happiness: have children and a free market economy.

Other nations may hate you and envy you; attack you with words, sanctions, terrorism, and rockets; but still you will thrive, prosper, innovate, and grow.

Caroline Glick writes:

A lot has changed since the 1990s. Twenty years after Yitzhak Rabin shook Yasser Arafat’s hand on the White House lawn and so officially ushered in Israel’s Age of Terror, most Israelis don’t really care what the Europeans or the Arabs think of us.

The Europeans prattle on about Israeli racism, and threaten to put yellow stars or some other nasty mark on Israeli goods. They ban Israeli books from their libraries in Scotland. They boycott Israeli universities, professors and students in England. In Italy they hold rallies for convicted mass murderer Marwan Barghouti at their national Senate. And in France they butcher Jewish children.

And then the likes of Catherine Ashton [EU  Representative for Foreign Affairs] expect us to care what they think about us.

Well, we don’t.

… The Europeans and the Americans and their Israeli followers miss the fact that the easiest way to build a secure and peaceful world is not by wooing terrorists. The best way to achieve these goals is by accepting the world as it is. This is what the Israeli people has done. True, we needed to have our fantasies blown away in suicide bombings before we reconciled ourselves to this simple truth. But life has been better, happier and more secure since we did.

The “international community’s” inability to accept that sober-minded contentment is better than pipe dream fantasies has caused leftist writers in Israel, Europe and the US alike to express mystification at a recent survey carried out by the OECD, which ranks Israelis among the happiest people in the world. The ranking made no sense to commentators.

Israelis work harder than other members of the OECD. We complain more than other members of the OECD. We don’t have “peace.” And yet, we are among the happiest people in the OECD.

What gives? For decades before we embarked on the phony peace process, Israel was a model socialist state. We had paralyzing tax rates and failed government industries that crowded private entrepreneurship out of the market. Monopolies ran every sector and provided shoddy goods and horrible services at astronomical prices. The Histadrut labor union owned most of the economy along with the government and in every sector, Histadrut commissars ensured that anyone with an ounce of initiative was subject to unending abuse. …

Just about the time we began extricating ourselves from our socialist straitjacket, we were also recognizing that the peace thing wasn’t everything it was cracked up to be. And at that point we began to understand that happiness and success aren’t about what other people give you – money, treaties, a phone line after a five-year wait. Happiness and success are about what you accomplish.

We think that statement bears repeating: Happiness and success are about what you accomplish.

At that point, sometime between 1996 and 2000, Israelis began creating large families and embracing the free market.

Today, with an average of three children per family, Israelis are the fecund outliers of the industrial world. … There is a direct correlation between children and human happiness. This is why fruitful Israelis have the lowest suicide rate in the industrial world.

When you have children, you have a future. And when you have a future, you work hard to secure it, and have a generally optimistic outlook. …

Israelis are also happy because we see that we can build the future we want for our families and our country even without another glitzy signing ceremony at the White House every six months. Our country is getting stronger and more livable every day. And we know it.

Those on the international stage that share our view that life is about more than pieces of paper signed with Arab anti-Semites recognize what is happening. For them Israel is not “that shi**y little country.” It’s “The Little Engine that Could.”

Take the Chinese. Last July China signed a deal with Israel to build an inland port in Eilat and a 180- km. freight railway to connect Eilat to Israel’s Mediterranean ports in Ashdod and Haifa. The purpose of the project is to build an alternative to the Suez Canal, in Israel. The Chinese look at the region, and they see that Egypt is a failed state that can’t even afford its wheat imports. The future of shipping along the Suez Canal is in doubt with riots in Port Said and Suez occurring on a regular basis.

On the other hand, Israel is a stable, prosperous, successful democracy that keeps moving from strength to strength. When the freight line is completed, as far as the global economy is concerned, Israel will become the most strategically important country in the region.

Then there is our newfound energy wealth. Israel became energy independent on March 30, when the Tamar offshore gas field began pumping natural gas to Israel. In two to three years, when the Leviathan gas field comes online, Israel will become one of the most important producers of natural gas in the world.

Moreover, in 2017, Israel will likely begin extracting commercial quantities of oil from its massive oil shale deposits …

Geologists assess that the field alone contains some 250 billion barrels of oil, giving Israel oil parity with Saudi Arabia. Chinese, Russian and Australian firms are lining up to sign contracts with Israeli energy companies. International analysts assess that Israel’s emergence as an energy power will have a stabilizing impact on the global economy and international security. Israel can end Asia’s oil and gas hunger. It can reduce European dependence on Russia. It will remove OPEC’s ability to dictate world oil prices through supply manipulation.

Israel’s discovery of its energy riches couldn’t have come at a more propitious time. Had Israel discovered its oil and gas 65 or even 20 years ago, we wouldn’t have had the economic maturity to manage our resources responsibly. But now, with our free market, our hi-tech sector and our entrepreneurial culture, we can develop and manage our resources wisely and successfully.

At 65, Israel is becoming a mature, responsible, prosperous and powerful player in the international arena. The only thing we need to ensure that we enjoy the fruits of our labors is security. And the one thing we can do to squander it all is place our hopes in “peace.”

And so we won’t, ever again.

Margaret Thatcher 2

Margaret Thatcher died today.

Prime Minister David Cameron says, correctly, that she not only led Britain, she saved Britain.

Simon Richards, Director of The Freedom Association, writes to Jillian Becker, Council member of the TFA and editor -in-chief of The Atheist Conservative (as to all the other TFA Council members):

Dear Jillian,

Margaret Thatcher: Freedom Fighter

So, the news that I and millions of other admirers of the greatest British Prime Minister since Churchill had long dreaded has finally come to pass. Let there be no mistake about it, Margaret Thatcher was one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known.

Faced with a Britain in a parlous state, where defeatism and demoralisation held sway, Margaret Thatcher grabbed the nation by the scruff of its neck and gave it back its self-belief. Decades of socialism and growing state control had undermined not only this country’s economy, but its belief that it had a future. Margaret Thatcher, championing the values that had made Britain great, transformed this country and gave it back its self belief. 

After years of surrender to the over-mighty trades union barons, she stood up to them, on behalf of the silent majority, and defeated even [militant trade union leader] ‘King’ Arthur Scargill himself.

When that murdering, drunken tyrant Galtieri invaded the Falkland Islands, she fought to regain what was rightfully ours, restoring pride in Britain and her magnificent soldiers, sailors and airmen.

Margaret Thatcher championed ‘freedom under the law’, realising that a successful society must be based on respect for the individual and for the family. An early collection of her speeches, “Let Our Children Grow Tall”, said it all about her determination to restore independence of mind and self-respect, and grow tall is what a whole generation did. Many, though they benefited from her revival of the British economy and her extension of ownership to countless millions, will never see fit to thank the great Prime Minister who made their own successes possible. That is for them and their conscience.

Maggie, as so many knew her, was, for me, the very definition of courage – the embodiment of Britannia. I shall never forget seeing her, a small, surprisingly frail figure, outside 10 Downing Street on 4 May 1979 – Prime Minister for the first time. That frail figure stood up to the IRA, the PLO, the Soviet Empire, the EU and anybody else who threatened the freedom and democracy she cherished. She made me – and millions of others proud, once again, to be British.

On behalf of The Freedom Association, which upholds that ‘Freedom under the law’ which she championed, I give thanks for the magnificent life of a true fighter for freedom. She will always remain an inspiration to those of us who value individual freedom and the independence of the United Kingdom.

Just so. We at The Atheist Conservative do not “give thanks” for her life, but we are grateful to her for all she did, not just for Britain – which was much – but for the world. Above all, she and President Ronald Reagan won the war against the evil empire of the Soviet Union. 

The New York Times in its report of Lady Thatcher’s death, refers to …

…the principles known as Thatcherism — the belief that economic freedom and individual liberty are interdependent, that personal responsibility and hard work are the only ways to national prosperity, and that the free-market democracies must stand firm against aggression. 

And this is also from the NYT – which one must remember is hostile to “Thatcherism” but gets this right:

At home, Lady Thatcher’s political successes were decisive. She broke the power of the labor unions and forced the Labour Party to abandon its commitment to nationalized industry, redefine the role of the welfare state and accept the importance of the free market. In October 1980, 17 months into her first term, Prime Minister Thatcher faced disaster. More businesses were failing and more people were out of work than at any time since the Great Depression. Racial and class tensions smoldered so ominously that even close advisers worried that her push to stanch inflation, sell off nationalized industry and deregulate the economy was … courting chaos.

No such disaster, but the contrary happened:

Her policies revitalized British business, spurred industrial growth and swelled the middle class.

And this is from the Telegraph:

Lady Thatcher was the only British prime minister to leave behind a set of ideas about the role of the state which other leaders and nations strove to copy and apply … monetarism, privatisation, deregulation, small government, lower taxes and free trade …

Alas, the victories she won were not to last. The war goes on. We have to fight the same battles all over again, with the same set of ideas, on the the same principles.

 

Post Script: Jillian Becker in her book “L: A Novel History” considers what might have happened to Britain if Margaret Thatcher had not succeeded in quelling the race riots, defeating trade union militancy, and returning Britain to a free market economy.

A dialogue of capitalism and socialism 1

An American industrialist argues with a French government minister.

The story comes from the left-biased Washington Post, told by Edward Cody:

It is a battle of archetypes: Morry “the Grizz” Taylor, the millionaire American capitalist who owns the tire manufacturer Titan International, has taken on Arnaud Montebourg, a handsome French Socialist and political comer whose evocative government title is minister of productive recovery.

In an unusual public exchange, the two have been trading insults about the work habits of the French, who, according to folklore [and not the facts? – ed], attach more importance to coffee breaks and long, winy lunches than to efficient production. It is an old and entertaining subject but one that has assumed new urgency in the fifth year of an economic crisis affecting France and its European neighbors.

In a letter to Montebourg, Taylor started the battle by saying bluntly that French workers at a tire plant he had visited are overpaid, lazy and coddled by a Socialist government enforcing such legally mandated rights as a 35-hour workweek, five weeks vacation and early retirement. But the biggest problem, Taylor said, is what the workers do, or not, while on the job.

“The French employees get high salaries but only work three hours,” he wrote in the letter, which was made available to the French media this week. “They have an hour for their breaks and their lunches, chat for three hours and work for three hours. I said this in front of French union representatives. They said that’s the way it is in France.”

To which the “political comer” replied with a load of BS and added an irrelevant historical reference in a childish bid to puff up his national pride:

Montebourg shot back that Taylor’s accusations were “as extremist as they are insulting” and revealed “a perfect ignorance of what our country is.” He added: “Do you at least know what La Fayette did for the United States of America?” …

At this point the author of the report, Edward Cody, sees fit to pour what he thinks is justified derision upon Mr Taylor:

Taylor, a 68-year-old arch conservative, ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 on a platform summed up in the title of his book “Kill All the Lawyers and Other Ways to Fix the Government.” (Montebourg is a lawyer by profession.) Although he got only about 1 percent of the vote in GOP primaries, Taylor has gone on his merry way buying up dying corporations for profit.

Having got only 1 percent of the vote in the GOP primaries, he should have refrained from carrying on with his business, or refrained from making it profitable? Is Mr Cody unaware that this sentence is a non sequitur as well as a give-away of his absurd leftist mind-set? He seems to believe that you are justified in whatever you do only to the extent that you are voted for. To parody Descartes: “I’m voted for, therefore I can pursue my career.”

Montebourg, 50, who garnered 17 percent of the vote in the Socialist Party’s presidential primaries last year, has positioned himself in President Francois Hollande’s government as an industrial nationalist. … He has advocated protectionist measures to ward off competition from cheap-labor countries such as China and vowed to protect France’s wheezing factories from predatory foreign capitalists by nationalization if necessary.

Good for him. It’s a reliable recipe for making the parlous condition of the French economy even worse.

In any case, the work habits of the French have long been a hot topic here, the subject of jokes but also of such serious discussion that even the Socialist government has tried to reform the labor laws.

So Taylor was not “perfectly ignorant” about them after all.

The conversation has intensified in recent months, as France’s economic growth has flat-lined and factories continue to close, producing a 10 percent unemployment rate. For many economists, a big culprit is the high cost of productionan hour of work is $46 in France, compared with about $30 in the United States.

Despite the discouraging statistics, Taylor’s company tried for several years to buy part of the failing Goodyear tire factory in the northern city of Amiens, intending to abandon general production to specialize in heavy-duty agriculture tires. But the negotiations fizzled because, Taylor charged, French unions made unreasonable demands that were backed by the government.

When Goodyear announced Jan. 31 that it planned to close the plant, putting 1,250 French employees out of work, Montebourg wrote to Taylor suggesting that negotiations might resume on the plan for a partial acquisition. But the American would have none of it.

“Do you think we are that stupid?” he wrote back. “Titan is the one with the money and the know-how to produce tires. What does the crazy union have? It has the French government.”

Bravo, Mr Taylor!

Montebourg retorted that 20,000 foreign companies operate in France, including 4,200 American subsidiaries that employ nearly half a million people and find they can do business just fine. “Far from your statements, which are as ridiculous as they are nasty, all these businesses know and appreciate the quality and the productivity of the French workforce, the commitment, the know-how, the talent and the competence of French workers,” he said.

Unwilling to leave it there, Taylor granted an interview Friday to the French news service Agence France-Presse and fired off another missive to Montebourg by e-mail.

“The extremist,” he told the minister, “is your government and its lack of knowledge on how to build a business.” Relentless, he added: “Since you bring it up, why is unemployment so high in France and especially among young people? It is because of your government’s policies, sir.”

Quite so.

California choice: salad bowl not melting pot 2

It is a thing passing strange that many – a big majority –  of the successful Silicon Valley billionaires, who achieved what they did precisely because their inventiveness and enterprise were nurtured by capitalism and freedom, vote for socialism with its restrictions and regulations, its discouragement of individual effort, its confiscation of wealth by punitive taxation, its infertility for innovation. The same could be said of the elites of the east coast, and wherever else the children of Liberty have grown to despise her.

How explain the cognitive dissonance?

Victor Davis Hanson explores the contradictions that are writ so large in California. He writes at PJ Media:

We keep trying to understand the enigma of California, mostly why it still breathes for a while longer, given the efforts to destroy the sources of its success. Let’s try to navigate through its sociology and politics to grasp why something that should not survive is surviving quite well — at least in some places.

The old blue/red war for California is over. Conservatives lost. Liberals won — by a combination of flooding the state with government-supplied stuff, and welcoming millions in while showing the exit to others. The only mystery is … how high will taxes go, how many will leave, how happy will the majority be at their departure?

California has changed not due to race but due to culture, most prominently because the recent generation of immigrants from Latin America did not — as in the past, for the most part — come legally in manageable numbers and integrate under the host’s assimilationist paradigm.

Which is to say, the melting-pot, that worked so well for a few hundred years.

Instead, in the last three decades huge arrivals of illegal aliens from Mexico and Latin America saw Democrats as the party of multiculturalism, separatism, entitlements, open borders, non-enforcement of immigration laws, and eventually plentiful state employment.

Given the numbers, the multicultural paradigm of the salad bowl that focused on “diversity” rather than unity, and the massive new government assistance, how could the old American tonic of assimilation, intermarriage, and integration keep up with the new influxes? It could not. …

There were, of course, other parallel demographic developments. Hundreds of thousands of the working and upper-middle class, mostly from the interior of the state, have fled — maybe four million in all over the last thirty years, taking with them $1 trillion in capital and income-producing education and expertise. Apparently, they tired of high taxes, poor schools, crime, and the culture of serial blame-gaming and victimhood. In this reverse Dust Bowl migration, a barren no-tax Nevada or humid Texas was a bargain.

Their California is long gone … and a Stockton, Fresno, or Visalia misses their presence, because they had skills, education, and were net pluses to the California economy.

Add in a hip, youth, and gay influx to the Bay Area, Silicon Valley, and coastal Los Angeles that saw California as a sort of upscale, metrosexual lifestyle … and California now has an enormous number of single-person households, childless couples, and one-child families. Without the lifetime obligation to raise $1 million in capital to pay for bringing up and educating two kids from birth to 21 …  the non-traditional classes have plenty of disposable income for entertainment, housing, and high taxes. …

Finally, there is our huge affluent public work force. It is the new aristocracy; landing a job with the state is like hitting the lottery. Californians have discovered that, in today’s low/non-interest economy, a $70,000 salary with defined benefit public pension for life is far better than having the income from a lifetime savings of $3 million. …

And with money came political clout. To freeze the pension contribution of a highway patrolman is a mortal sin; but no one worries much about the private security’s guard minimum wage and zero retirement, whose nightly duties are often just as dangerous. The former is sacrosanct; the latter a mere loser.

The result of 30 years of illegal immigration, the reigning culture of the coastal childless households, the exodus of the overtaxed, and the rule of public employees is not just Democratic, but hyper-liberal supermajorities in the legislature. In the most naturally wealthy state in the union with a rich endowment from prior generations, California is serially broke — the master now of its own fate. It has the highest menu of income, sales, and gas taxes in the nation, and about the worst infrastructure, business climate, and public education. Is the latter fact despite or because of the former?

How, then, does California continue? Read on, but in a nutshell, natural and inherited wealth are so great on the coast that a destructive state government must work overtime to ruin what others wrought. …

Somehow, in just thirty years we created obstacles to public learning that produce results approaching the two-century horrific legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. About half the resources of the California State University system are devoted to remedial schooling for underperforming high school students (well over half who enter take remediation courses; half don’t graduate even in six years; and well over half have sizable financial aid). … The majority of the once-vaunted upper-tier University of California campuses now resemble second-tier CSU of old. Yet I think a Fresno State graduate of 1965 was far better educated than a UC Irvine or UC Santa Cruz student of today.

The state’s wealthiest and best-prepared students are perhaps only well-taught at its elite schools — the two UC campuses at Berkeley and UCLA, Stanford, Caltech, USC, Pepperdine, or Santa Clara — while the poorer but still serious students increasingly enroll in the new private online and tech schools that sprout up around failed CSU campuses. …

The coastal elites unite politically with the interior poor …  Along the coast, elites have harvested well California’s natural and acquired wealth. I’ll again just toss out a few brands; you can imagine the lucre and jobs that are generated from Santa Rosa to San Diego: Apple, Chevron, Disney, DreamWorks, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Hollywood, Napa Valley, Oracle, PG&E, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Wells Fargo, the ports of Los Angeles, San Diego, and Oakland.

So let us not speak of California decline, but of California’s decline and another California boom — one of 6% unemployment and another of 16%, one of $100,000 per capita income and another of $15,000, one of cottages sold on the first day on the market in Newport and another of vacant McMansions molding away in Stockton.

Success continues on the coast and is managed by very wealthy and mostly liberal residents of the sprawl that surrounds Los Angeles and San Francisco. For the five million or so who are enriched in enterprise zones like these — and there are thousands more spin-off and smaller such companies — life is pretty good if you keep your household small, inherited a house, or make enough money to buy something at about $500 to $1,000 dollars a square foot. In Selma, new 1800 sq. foot homes sell for $140,000; in Palo Alto, dollhouses go for $1.5 million. …

Coastal folk seem to view high taxes like Mafia protection money, but in the sense of psychological satisfaction and freedom from guilt. For now, sales, gas, and income taxes are not so high as to matter to those who voted for them, at least in view of the social and political advantages of coastal living: the beautiful weather, the Pacific panorama, the hip culture …

To the extent that “they” (i.e. you, reader) exist, the distant others are nebulous, rarely thought-about souls. Perhaps they really do enjoy polluting the planet as they generate the electricity, pipe in the natural gas and oil, refine the fuels, grow the food, and cut and haul the lumber that gives a Palo Alto or Santa Barbara the stuff to go on …

One of the questions I always hear from strangers: “Why doesn’t everyone leave?” The answer is simple: for the coastal overdogs there is nowhere else where the money is as good and the weather and scenery are as enjoyable. [But] yes, the middle-class small farmers, hardware-store owners, company retirees, and electricians are leaving in droves.

The Latino population, I would imagine, would be in revolt over the elitist nature of California politics. Of course, thousands of second-generation Latinos have become public employees, from teachers to DMV clerks, and understandably so vote a straight Democrat-public union ticket. But millions are not working for the state, and they suffer dramatically from the ruling Bay Area left-wing political agenda of regulations, green quackery, and legal gymnastics. It is not just that the foreign national illegally entered the U.S. from Oaxaca, but entered the most complex, over-regulated, over-taxed, and over-lawyered state in the nation — hence the disconnects.

Take energy. California may have reserves of 35 billion barrels of oil in its newly discovered shale formations, and even more natural gas — the best way to provide clean electricity and, perhaps soon, transportation energy for the state. Tens of thousands of young Latino immigrants — given that agriculture is increasingly mechanizing, construction is flat, and the state is broke — could be making high wages from Salinas to Paso Robles, and along the I-5 corridor, if fracking and horizontal drilling took off. Even more jobs could accrue in subsidiary construction and trucking. And for a cynic, billions of dollars in state energy taxes from gas and oil revenue would ensure that the state’s generous handouts would be funded for a generation. Did someone forget that the California boom of the 1930s and 1940s was fueled by cheap, in-state oil?

More importantly, our power companies have the highest energy bills in the nation, given all sorts of green and redistributionist mandates. The costs fall most heavily on the cold winter/hot summer interior residents, who are the poorest in the state. Those who insist that the utilities invest in costly alternate energy and other green fantasies live mostly in 65-70 degree coastal weather year-round and enjoy low power bills.

Yet the liberal coastal political lock-hold on the state continues.

No one in San Joaquin or Tranquility cares about a baitfish in the delta, but they do vote nonetheless for the elites who divert water from farms, put the poor farm worker out of work, and feel good about saving the smelt in the process. …

How then does the California coalition work, and in some sense work so well?

The coastal elite offers an agenda for more welfare funding, scholarships, class warfare, public unions, diversity, affirmative action, open borders, and amnesty, and in response the interior voter signs off on everything from gay marriage, solar and wind subsidies, gun restrictions, mass transit schemes, and the entire progressive tax-and-spend agenda. Most of this coalition never much sees one another.

The young Mountain View programmer keeps clear of Woodlake. He even has only a vague idea of what life is like for those who live in nearby Redwood City and make his arugula salad at the hip pasta bar in Palo Alto. In turn, the Redwood City dishwasher has an equally murky sense that the wealthy kid who works at Google does not wish to deport his uncle — and so the two become unspoken political partners of sorts. One of the state’s wealthiest cities, a gated Atherton, is juxtaposed to one of its most Latinate communities, Redwood City. But they might as well be Mercury and Pluto. Or should we applaud that the owner of the manor and his grass cutter vote identically — and against the interests of the guy who sold and serviced the Honda lawn mower? …

The liberal aristocracy is as class-bound as the old Republican blue-stockings, but saved from populist ostracism by what I have called the “hip” exemption — liberalism’s new veneer that allows one to be both consumer and critic of the Westernized good life, to praise the people and to stay as far away from them as possible. 

California is a tired idea.

Is America a tired idea? Are Americans becoming tired of the idea on which America was founded  – liberty itself?  Do they really want a different America, a country more like socialist Europe? Or are they just blind to where their votes are taking them?

Dewey-eyed America must repent of its Zinn 1

“A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn is not so much a history, more a compendium of complaint. And (therefore) of every Leftist issue you could think of.

(We have written about Zinn before. See our post Zinn writes histories, December 11, 2009.)

The “People” in Zinn’s mind are a totally different species from the “fifty-five privileged white males whose class interest required a strong central government” and so wrote the Constitution and founded the Union. Those same fifty-five privileged white males of a species different from the People have continued to pursue their selfish material interests ever since at the expense of downtrodden masses. These masses, this vast victimized majority (he quotes Shelley at them: “Ye are many; they are few!”), consists of subordinated races, females, persons of minority sexual preferences (he doesn’t call them that), and people who would like to be rich but do not manage to become so (he doesn’t call them that).

Zinn milks pity from his readers (or tries to). He would have you feel bad if you are white, if you are male, if you are “privileged” (ie not poor), and if you are American; but implies over some 700 pages that you can redeem yourself from your badness if you will beat your breast frequently, cry ‘Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!” every day of your life,  and join with the complainers in bringing down those fifty-five imperial villains by becoming a violent radical socialist revolutionary or, more comfortably – well, he doesn’t say so in the book because it was published before the Occupy Wall Street movement emerged, but he would have said, by joining it.

Thomas Sowell writes at Townhall:

Schools were once thought of as places where a society’s knowledge and experience were passed on to the younger generation. But, about a hundred years ago, Professor John Dewey of Columbia University came up with a very different conception of education — one that has spread through American schools of education, and even influenced education in countries overseas.

John Dewey saw the role of the teacher, not as a transmitter of a society’s culture to the young, but as an agent of change — someone strategically placed, with an opportunity to condition students to want a different kind of society.

Or to put it another way: indoctrinate students to believe that a much better society – even a perfect one – could be planned and is only not being planned because “corporate interests” (a euphemism for the fifty-five immortals who founded the USA) will not allow it.

A century later, we are seeing schools across America indoctrinating students to believe in all sorts of politically correct notions. The history that is taught in too many of our schools is a history that emphasizes everything that has gone bad, or can be made to look bad, in America — and that gives little, if any, attention to the great achievements of this country.

If you think that is an exaggeration, get a copy of “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn and read it. As someone who used to read translations of official Communist newspapers in the days of the Soviet Union, I know that those papers’ attempts to degrade the United States did not sink quite as low as Howard Zinn’s book.

That book has sold millions of copies, poisoning the minds of millions of students in schools and colleges against their own country. But this book is one of many things that enable teachers to think of themselves as “agents of change,” without having the slightest accountability for whether that change turns out to be for the better or for the worse — or, indeed, utterly catastrophic.

This misuse of schools to undermine one’s own society is not something confined to the United States or even to our own time. It is common in Western countries for educators, the media and the intelligentsia in general, to single out Western civilization for special condemnation for sins that have been common to the human race, in all parts of the world, for thousands of years.

Meanwhile, all sorts of fictitious virtues are attributed to non-Western societies, and their worst crimes are often passed over in silence, or at least shrugged off by saying some such thing as “Who are we to judge?”

Even in the face of mortal dangers, political correctness forbids us to use words like “terrorist” when the approved euphemism is “militant.” Milder terms such as “illegal alien” likewise cannot pass the political correctness test, so it must be replaced by another euphemism, “undocumented worker.”

Some think that we must tiptoe around in our own country, lest some foreigners living here or visiting here be offended by the sight of an American flag or a Christmas tree in some institutions. …

American schools today are … undermining American society as one unworthy of defending, either domestically or internationally.

Which reminds us of what happened to Rome when it took on Christianity, the first Mea Culpa creed in history.

News from the new fresh socialist state of America 1

Americans must start getting used to the fundamentally transformed country they now inhabit.

Here is a scene from the world’s newest freshest Socialist Republic. It has not yet changed its name from the United States of America, USA,  to the Union of Trade-Unions Socialist Republics, UTUSR, but that is what it is becoming. (There is a dispute, hotting up as we write, over whether to call it the UTUSR or the UTUISR – the Union of Trade-Unions Islamic Socialist Republics.)

Anne Sorock of Legal Insurrection reports:

Teachers filled the ranks at the 2012 Midwest Marxism Conference, which was held Saturday at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey, who spoke at one of the breakout sessions, was just one of the hundreds of attendees, many of them teachers, there to strategize about the next phases of the partnership between Chicago Socialists and the Chicago Teachers Union.

Of course, all recording was strictly verboten unless you had been preapproved by the Chicago Socialists.

The event kicked off with Becca Barnes’s keynote speech. Barnes, a Chicago teacher, spoke about the new era of Marxism in America stemming from the Chicago Socialists’ recent successes in running the show during the Chicago Teachers Strike. Said Barnes, who referred to everyday American capitalists as “capitalist vampires”, “the struggle here in the United States has entered a new phase. Nowhere have we pointed the way forward more clearly than here in Chicago with the teachers union strike.” From her talk and other succeeding events throughout the day, it was clear that the Teachers Union and Marxists were one and the same.

I attended three break-out sessions in addition to the opening plenary. Each began with the speaker congratulating Barack Obama on his win. Rather than allowing discussion, the Chicago Socialists had a policy that disallowed actual person-to-person interaction; rather, the moderator required that you “raise your hand in a fist” in order to be placed in line to discuss. If you didn’t raise your hand in a fist, you were placed after those who did conform and raise their hand in a fist. As a queue formed, the result was that no comment addressed the previous issue raised.

Thankfully, after hours of enduring non-discussion and hate speech against Americans (and being amongst those celebrating a philosophy of mass murderers), I was “outed” as not a communist, told I was “not in solidarity” and surrounded by members of the Chicago Socialists who told me to leave the Northwestern School of Journalism premises. Also “spotted” as not in solidarity was Rebel Pundit, who had a more interesting exit than I:

Just what did the Chicago Socialists feel they had to hide, that attendees such as myself, observing, might expose? …

Perhaps that parents might feel uncomfortable that these ideas were being presented to their children on-campus …

It is not an overstatement to say, based on the words of the teachers who filled the rooms at the Marxism Conference, that the Teachers agenda and the Marxist agenda is one and the same.

Welcome to the New Education of your children.

Striking miners shot in South Africa 2

Yesterday, August 17, the South African police opened fire on striking miners, killing 34 and wounding 78 according to press reports.

The incident recalls another South African miners’ strike which began way back in December 1921, when the gold-mining companies reacted to a drop in the world price of gold by lowering the wages of white miners, and, in defiance of the color bar, proposed to employ black miners in the more skilled jobs that the whites held to be their prerogative.

Under the leadership the Communist Party the strike escalated into a violent revolt.

The slogan of the Communist Party was: “Workers of the world unite and fight for a white South Africa”.

In March 1922 the prime minister, Jan Smuts, called out the army and air force to crush the uprising. With the use of heavy artillery, tanks, and bombing from the air he succeeded. More than 200 men were killed.

The political outcome was that trade unions for whites only were recognized, and the color bar was reinforced.

Blacks were kept in poverty. There was no way they could rise by their own effort. The system of apartheid, which was to be entrenched in law some twenty years later, was launched by the demand of the Communist Party.  

The present strike, put down with guns, began with a dispute over wages.

The miners were armed with spears and machetes. The police say some had guns, but that remains to be ascertained.

Will the world that claims to abhor apartheid (as it should), also condemn a massacre of black miners under the predominantly black and leftist government of post-apartheid South Africa?

Why do we hardened skeptics doubt it?

The axis of evil: a list of members 4

Zombie lists the “Occupy Wall Street” protest supporters, sponsors and sympathizers:

Communist Party USA. Sources: Communist Party USA, OWS speech, The Daily Caller

American Nazi Party. Sources: Media Matters, American Nazi Party, White Honor, Sunshine State News

Ayatollah Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran. Sources: The Guardian, Tehran Times, CBS News

Barack Obama. Sources: ABC News, CBS News, ForexTV, NBC New York

The government of North Korea. Sources: Korean Central News Agency (North Korean state-controlled news outlet), The Marxist-Leninist, Wall Street Journal, Times of India

Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam. Sources: video statement (starting at 8:28), Black in America, Weasel Zippers, Philadelphia Weekly

Revolutionary Communist Party. Sources: Revolutionary Communist Party, Revolution newspaper, in-person appearance

David Duke. Sources: Talking Points Memo, video statement, davidduke.com

Joe Biden. Sources: Talking Points Memo, video statement, Mother Jones

Hugo Chavez. Sources: Mother Jones, Reuters, Examiner.com

Revolutionary Guards of Iran. Sources: Associated Press, FARS News Agency, UPI

Black Panthers (original). Sources: in-person appearance, Occupy Oakland, Oakland Tribune

Socialist Party USA. Sources: Socialist Party USA, IndyMedia, The Daily Caller

US Border Guard. Sources: White Reference, www.usborderguard.com, Gateway Pundit, Just Another Day blog

Industrial Workers of the World. Sources: IWW web site, iww.org, in-person appearances

CAIR [the terrorism-supporting Council on American-Islamic Relations].  Sources: in-person appearance, Washington Post, CAIR, CAIR New York

Nancy Pelosi. Sources: Talking Points Memo, video statement, ABC News, The Weekly Standard

Communist Party of China. Sources: People’s Daily (Communist Party organ), Reuters, chinataiwan.org, The Telegraph

Hezbollah. Sources: almoqawama.org, almoqawama.org (2), almoqawama.org (3), wikipedia

9/11Truth.org. Sources: 911truth.org (1), 911truth.org (2), 911truth.org (3)

International Bolshevik Tendency. Sources: bolshevik.org, Wire Magazine

Anonymous. Sources: Adbusters, The Guardian, video statement

White Revolution. Source: whiterevolution.com

International Socialist Organization. Sources: Socialist Worker, socialistworker.org, in-person appearance

PressTV (Iranian government outlet). Sources: PressTV, wikipedia

Marxist Student Union. Sources: Marxist Student Union, Big Government, marxiststudentunion.blogspot.com

Freedom Road Socialist Organization. Sources: FightBack News, fightbacknews.org

ANSWER [Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, an anti-war umbrella protest group]. Sources: ANSWER press release, ANSWER web site, Xinhua

Party for Socialism and Liberation. Sources: Liberation News (1), pslweb.org, The Daily Free Press, Liberation News (2)

The list is far from complete. It doesn’t include George Soros or his front organizations, for instance.

But Zombie is not finished –

UPDATE: Thanks to the hundreds of readers who have made suggestions for additional entries on this list. I now have a large pile of potential new OWS supporters to investigate, and will work on updating this list over the upcoming weeks. When I’ve made it more thorough, I will re-launch an updated list that will be much more “official” in its comprehensiveness, sometime later this month.

We’ll be watching for it.

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