Posts Tagged ‘Mark Steyn’

Greece Starts Reaping the Fruits of Its Choices

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

The problem with holding a gun to your own head is, sooner or later, someone is going to call your bluff.

EU leaders have given Greece until Sunday to “Reach a new bailout agreement with its creditors” or “face bankruptcy and expulsion from the euro currency system.”

The European Central Bank also hiked Greek ELA Haircuts. Translation: Hope you enjoy the scent of burning bridges, Greece, because now your banking system is even more screwed than before the referendum. (Note: Zero Hedge is down as of this posting. Maybe China got tired of him exposing their financial house of cards…)

And Greece’s leftist PM Alexis Tsipras is still playing his old tricks. “Screw all of you! You suck! Oh, and here’s a new proposal for a bailout that doesn’t meet any of your conditions! Please give us money! Pretty please! Screw all of you!”

“The Greek people spent part of the weekend in the streets celebrating their status as international deadbeat. They spent the rest of the weekend hoarding food, fuel, and medicine in preparation for the manmade disaster they have inflicted upon themselves.”

Also: “The Greeks may have burned their bridge to Europe, but the Germans are roasting marshmallows over the flames.”

Further:

The presence of Greece in the Eurozone is the result of a lie: The Greeks pretended to get their deficits and debt under control, and the Europeans pretended to believe them. That was the first act. In the second act, after the advent of the current crisis, the Greeks pretended to enact fiscal reforms, and the Europeans pretended to believe them. Political logic is, not coincidentally, lawyer logic — which is to say, it substitutes consensus for reality. If enough people (jurors, voters) are convinced that your position is the correct one, then you “win.” Maybe the election turns out your way, as with Tsipras and the referendum. Maybe political consensus prevents your opponents from enacting their favored policies, just as conservatives have for decades been frustrated in their efforts to enact entitlement reform by cheap and dishonest images of grandmothers being pushed over cliffs. Maybe O. J. Simpson walks.

Mark Steyn reiterates the fundamental problem:

Since Obama took office, it’s been fashionable to quote Mrs. Thatcher’s great line: “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” But we’re way beyond that. That’s a droll quip when you’re on mid-20th-century European fertility rates, but we’ve advanced to the next stage: We’ve run out of other people, period. Hyper-rationalist technocrats introduced at remarkable speed a range of transformative innovations — welfare, feminism, mass college education, abortion — whose cumulative effect a few decades on is that the developed world has developed to breaking point: Not enough people do not enough work for not enough of their lives. In the course of so doing, they have fewer children later. And the few they do have leave childhood ever later — Obamacare’s much heralded “right” for a 26-year old to remain on his parents’ health insurance being merely a belated attempt to catch up with the Europeans, and one sure to be bid up further.

A society of 25-year-old “children” whiling away the years till early middle age in desultory pseudo-education has no desire to fund its prolonged adolescence by any kind of physical labor, so huge numbers of unskilled Third World immigrants from the swollen favelas of Latin America or (in Europe) the shanty megalopolises of the Muslim world are imported to cook, clean, wash, build, do. On the Continent, the shifting rationale for mass immigration may not illuminate much about the immigrants but it certainly tells you something about the natives: Originally, European leaders said, we needed immigrants to work in the mills and factories. But the mills and factories closed. So the new rationale was that we needed young immigrants to keep the welfare state solvent. But in Germany the Turks retire even younger than the Krauts do, and in France 65 percent of imams are on the dole. So the surviving rationale is that a dependence on mass immigration is not a structural flaw but a sign of moral virtue. The evolving justification for post-war immigration policy — from manufacturing to welfare to moral narcissism — is itself a perfect shorthand for Western decay.

So welfare entitlement states create a sense of entitlement. Who knew?

“The European Union is dying before our eyes.” So there is an upside to the Greek crisis…

LinkSwarm for May 15, 2015

Friday, May 15th, 2015

I knew if I was just lazy enough, I could get the Friday LinkSwarm back to Friday!

  • “If Baltimore wants to get its economic act together, it has to get something else right first: policing.”
  • What the left says is the same thing the 9/11 hijackers told the passengers: “Stay quiet and you’ll be OK.”
  • ObamaCare exchanges are melting down across America.
  • Coalition airstrikes against ISIS are increasingly targeting frontline fighting positions.
  • ISIS list of states to be attacked strangely doesn’t include Texas. Gee, I wonder why…
  • Is Hillary the new Bob Dole? Without, of course, the war service or dry wit…
  • Real editorial, or masterful New York Times trolling? “Let Syrians Settle Detroit”.
  • Mark Halperin asks Ted Cruz to play “Babalu.”
  • This is America: You can go to the bookstore and buy yourself copies of everything from The Basketball Diaries to The Motorcycle Diaries to The Turner Diaries.”
  • On the other hand, the DEA can just take your money without a trial.
  • Verizon buying AOL. Remember when AOL was important enough to merge with Time Warner as an equal?
  • I chuckled:

  • It’s not enough to believe in climate change, you must also abjure cost-benefit analysis of how to tackle it.
  • George Stephanopoulos: It’s conflict of interest all the way down. What, did you expect Renfeld to actually serve any other master? (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “The vile dishonesty of the Democrat-Media Complex is exceeded only by the vile hypocrisy of the Democrat-Media Complex.”
  • Ben Carson gets to pandering early.
  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has said UT must turn over requested documents to its own regent Wallace Hall. So why haven’t they?
  • Bill to mandate E-verify for all Texas agencies moves forward.
  • Psychologist discusses porn and video game addition and a discussion of modern manhood’s discontents breaks out.
  • Seattle pizza shop closes due to minimum wage hike.
  • So former Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan is going to form a tranny wrestling league? The proposal seems as ill-conceived as his entire post-Melon Collie career…
  • More Charlie Hebdo Fallout

    Saturday, January 10th, 2015

    So the Charlie Hebdo killers are dead, but the manhunt for a female accomplice implicated in the deaths of four people during the siege of a Kosher food store in Paris continues. Here are various reactions and pieces on the Charlie Hebdo attack:

  • Good news! Despite the many deaths, Charlie Hebdo is putting together their next issue. “It must come out next Wednesday, with 1 million copies to be printed, about 20 times their usual circulation.”

    A journalist explains that a crowdfunding campaign, spontaneously created on the Internet by strangers, has already collected 98,000 euros in less than 24 hours. Charlie’s survivors are inundated with subscription requests that they can’t handle at the moment. Charlie Hebdo’s lawyer, Richard Malka, speaks. “There’s money arriving from everywhere. Assistance, space, personnel to deal with requests …” “We have received support from lots of media sources,” echoes Christophe Thévenet, another lawyer for the newspaper. “There are donations, already 250,000 euros from the Press and Pluralism Association, the million euros pledged by Fleur Pellerin [the French Minister of Culture and Communication]. … You are going to have finances like never before at Charlie!”

  • “One of the spontaneous social-media reactions to the Charlie Hebdo massacre today was the Twitter hashtag #JeSuisCharlie (“I am Charlie”). It’s an admirable sentiment, resonant with the classic post-9/11 Le Monde cover ‘Nous sommes tous Americains.’ It’s also totally inaccurate.”

    So no, we’re all not Charlie—few of us are that good, and none of us are that brave. If more of us were brave, and refused to yield to the bomber’s veto, and maybe reacted to these eternally recurring moments not by, say, deleting all your previously published Muhammad images, as the Associated Press is reportedly doing today, but rather by routinely posting newsworthy images in service both to readers and the commitment to a diverse and diffuse marketplace of speech, then just maybe Charlie Hebdo wouldn’t have stuck out so much like a sore thumb. It’s harder, and ultimately less rewarding to the fanatical mind, to hit a thousand small targets than one large one.

  • Mark Steyn elaborates on the theme in “#JeSuisCharlie – But You’re Not.”

    The French establishment is co-opting these brave men’s deaths for their own purposes, and for the most part the world’s media are helping them get away with it. I spent much of Thursday on TV and radio, and my irritation with the dismal #JeSuisCharlie campaign increased as the day wore on. The self-flattering evasiveness of all those cartoonists around the world offering lame variations of “the pen is mightier than the sword” was especially feeble.

    Steyn also offers this sad, telling point:

    I can’t claim to have known Georges Wolinski, the 80-year-old cartoonist among the dead on Wednesday, but I met him briefly, a few years ago. Via Laura Rosen Cohen, I learn of the strange, circular journey of his life and death. His father was a Polish Jew who fled to Tunisia to lead a life free of pogroms. Georges was born there in 1934. Two years later, his dad was murdered, and the family moved again, this time to France.

    And on Wednesday, like his father, the son was killed.

    Wolinski père fled Jew-hate in Europe to be murdered in the Muslim world.

    Wolinski fils fled Jew-hate in the Muslim world to be murdered in Europe, by Muslims.

  • Anyone who really wants to say “I Am Charlie” should participate in Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.
  • Richard Littlejohn expounds on how Social Justice Warriors and Victimhood Identity Politics help enable radical Islam:

    however. When it comes to appeasing militant Islam, my own trade is equally culpable.

    So is the entire apparatus of the State. We pussy-foot around anything which may cause offence to Muslims, partly out of good manners but primarily because we are worried about the potential backlash.

    The reason most of the media in the Western world steered clear of republishing the Danish cartoons of Mohammed wasn’t because they were not newsworthy but because of fears that men in balaclavas with machine-guns might march into the front office and start firing at random.

    Snip.

    Islam is just one of the New Establishment’s favoured client groups. Exciting ‘hate crime’ laws have been invented to grant them special privileges and punish their critics.

    So mad mullahs in Midlands madrassas can call for homosexuals to be stoned to death. But a Christian preacher who objects to gay marriage can expect to be arrested and given a criminal record.

    We have also created a ‘victim’ culture, which allows minority groups to justify any kind of bad behaviour on the grounds that they are being oppressed.

    You didn’t have to look far yesterday to find allegedly ‘respected’ voices prepared to blame the staff of Charlie Hebdo for bringing the wrath of the Islamists down on themselves. They shouldn’t have been so ‘provocative’.

  • “The journalists at Charlie Hebdo are now rightly being celebrated as martyrs on behalf of freedom of expression, but let’s face it: If they had tried to publish their satirical newspaper on any American university campus over the last two decades it wouldn’t have lasted 30 seconds. Student and faculty groups would have accused them of hate speech. The administration would have cut financing and shut them down.”
  • A couple of years old, but quite relevant:

    (Hat tip: The Jawa Report.)

  • Some tweets:

  • LinkSwarm for July 25, 2014

    Friday, July 25th, 2014

    Time for another random roundup of news and links:

  • Jimmy Carter looks like frickin’ Bismark next to the feckless dorm-room intellectual currently haunting the golf courses of the greater DC area.”
  • Even Thomas “What’s The Matter With Kansas” Frank calls Obama “ineffective and gutless.” (Warning: Salon Liberal Whining Ahead.)
  • Liberal law professor Lawrence Tribe thinks that ObamaCare is probably doomed due to the Halbig decision. “I cannot see how this Court could do anything other than decide the same way as the DC Circuit did. The statue is clear on its face.”
  • Even “ObamaCare Architect” MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber said the same thing back in 2012: “What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits.”
  • Mark Steyn on the Halbig ruling:

    As to Mr Earnest’s point on “what Congress intended”, who can say? No Congressman who voted for the bill read it. Presumably, some legislator’s staffer wrote that actual line about “established by the State”. If we could locate him among the vast entourages of the Emirs of Incumbistan, we could ask him what his “intention” was. Until then, calibrating the competing degrees of deference to a corrupt bureaucracy, a contemptuous executive, a politicized judiciary and a feckless hack legislature brings to mind Samuel Johnson’s line about arguing the precedence of a louse and a flea, with a tick and a cockroach thrown in.

  • Missing from my Gaza roundup: “Shalom, motherf****r.” “I will not apologize for surviving.” (Hat tip: Josh Perry.)
  • Bill Whittle makes the case for Israel:

  • Obama won’t help arm Ukraine because he had a key role in disarming them.
  • Democrats plans for November: All race card, all the time.
  • 50 years of Democratic rule and now Detroit is cutting off people’s water. “Just goes to show that nothing is so expensive as when it is ‘free.'”
  • “That’s not funny.”
  • Republicans should stand firm and let the Export/Import Bank corporate welfare boondoggle expire. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Che Guevara, racist:

  • Maureen Dowd is never so readable as when she’s slamming the Clintons.
  • “Canadian Candidate Drops Out After Masturbation Video Surfaces.”

  • Sarah Palin endorses Joe Carr against Lamar Alexander in Tennessee senate primary. I don’t think anyone who watched Alexander’s “Lamar!” flannel flameout in the 1996 Presidential race has ever really trusted him since…
  • A New York City cupcake truck seems a little unclear on who their clientele might be. (They’ve since deleted both this tweet and the one where they implored people not to “snitch” to cops when they see crimes committed…)
  • Evidently nobody is actually reading Thomas Piketty’s book.
  • In praise of Power Girl’s boob window.
  • What UKIP’s Big Election Win Means

    Saturday, May 24th, 2014

    The UK Independence Party (universally known as UKIP) won a big victory in UK Council and European Parliament elections.

    I’ve been struggling with how to frame the significance of UKIP’s victory without committing the sort of ghastly “distant observer” mistakes that Europeans do when analyzing American political results (such as the British liberal who confidently assured me that Texas was becoming a blue state).

    Fortunately, Peter Oborne in The Spectator has done the task far better than I could have, so I’m going to break with blogging tradition by quoting whopping great swathes of his analysis.

    When [UKIP head Nigel Farage] emerged as a force ten years ago, Britain was governed by a cross-party conspiracy. It was impossible to raise the issue of immigration without being labelled racist, or of leaving the EU without being insulted as a fanatic. Mainstream arguments to shrink the size of the state, or even to challenge its growth, were regarded as a sign of madness or inhumanity — hence Michael Howard’s decision to sack Howard Flight for advocating just that during the 2005 election campaign. The NHS and Britain’s collapsing education system were beyond criticism. Any failure to conform was policed by the media, and the BBC in particular.

    Meanwhile, the three main political parties had been captured by the modernisers, an elite group which defied political boundaries and was contemptuous of party rank and file. As I demonstrated in The Triumph of the Political Class (2007), politicians suddenly emerged as a separate interest group. The senior cadres of the New Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem parties had far more in common with each other than ordinary voters. General elections were taken out of the hands of (unpaid) party activists and placed in the hands of a new class of political expert. Ed Miliband’s expensive American strategist, David Axelrod, who flew into London on a fleeting visit to the shadow cabinet last week, is an example.

    In this new world, the vast majority of voters ceased to count. The new political class immediately wrote off all voters in safe seats — from unemployed ship-workers in Glasgow to retired lieutenant colonels in Tunbridge Wells. Their views could be disregarded because in electoral terms they were of no account. This callous attitude brought into existence a system of pocket boroughs in parts of Scotland, driving traditional Labour voters into the hands of the SNP and (as can now be seen clearly with hindsight) jeopardising the union. The only voters that political modernisers cared about were those in Britain’s approximately 100 marginal seats — and even the majority of those were considered of no significance. During the 2005 general election I went to see the co-chairman of the Conservatives, Maurice Saatchi, who boasted that barely 100,000 swing voters in the marginal seats mattered to him. Saatchi reassured me that the Conservative party had bought a large American computer that would (with the help of focus groups) single out these voters and tell them what they needed in order to make them vote Conservative.

    The majority of national journalists, for the most part well-paid Londoners, were part of this conspiracy against the British public. They were often personally connected with the new elite, with whom they shared a snobbery about the concerns of ordinary voters.

    Immigration is an interesting case study. For affluent political correspondents, it made domestic help cheaper, enabling them to pay for the nannies, au pairs, cleaning ladies, gardeners and tradesmen who make middle-class life comfortable.

    These journalists were often provided with private health schemes, and were therefore immune from the pressure on NHS hospitals from immigration. They tended to send their children to private schools. This meant they rarely faced the problems of poorer parents, whose children find themselves in schools where scores of different languages were spoken in the playground. Meanwhile the corporate bosses who funded all the main political parties (and owned the big media groups) tended to love immigration because it meant cheaper labour and higher profits.

    Great tracts of urban Britain have been utterly changed by immigration in the course of barely a generation. The people who originally lived in these areas were never consulted and felt that the communities they lived in had been wilfully destroyed. Nobody would speak up for them: not the Conservatives, not Labour, not the Lib Dems. They were literally left without a voice.

    To sum up, the most powerful and influential figures in British public life entered into a conspiracy to ignore and to denigrate millions of British voters. Many of these people were Labour supporters. Ten years ago, when Tony Blair was in his pomp, some of these voters were driven into the arms of the racist British National Party and its grotesque leader Nick Griffin. One of Britain’s unacknowledged debts to Nigel Farage is the failure of Griffin’s racist project. Disenfranchised Labour voters tend to drift to the SNP in Scotland and Ukip in England.

    Read the whole thing.

    Mark Steyn has some choices quotes on the meaning of UKIP’s victory as well (as he almost invariably does):

    A casual observer might easily assume the election was being fought between Farage’s UKIP and a Tory-Labour-Liberal-Media coalition.

    (snip)

    The British media spent 20 years laughing at UKIP. But they’re not laughing now — not when one in four electors takes them seriously enough to vote for them. So, having dismissed him as a joke, Fleet Street now warns that Farage uses his famous sense of humor as a sly cover for his dark totalitarian agenda — the same well-trod path to power used by other famous quipsters and gag-merchants such as Adolf Hitler, whose Nuremberg open-mike nights were legendary. “Nigel Farage is easy to laugh at . . . that means he’s dangerous,” declared the Independent. The Mirror warned of an “unfulfilled capacity for evil.” “Stop laughing,” ordered Jemma Wayne in the British edition of the Huffington Post. “Farage would lead us back to the dark ages.” The more the “mainstream” shriek about how mad, bad, and dangerous UKIP is, the more they sound like the ones who’ve come unhinged.

    UKIP is pronounced “You-kip,” kip being Brit slang for “sleep.” When they write the book on how we came to this state of affairs, they’ll call it While England Kipped. A complacent elite assured itself that UKIP would remain an irritating protest vote, but that’s all. It was born in 1993 to protest the Maastricht treaty, the point at which a continent-wide “common market” finally cast off the pretense of being an economic arrangement and announced itself as a “European Union,” a pseudo-state complete with “European citizenship.” The United Kingdom Independence party was just that: a liberation movement. Its founder, a man who knew something about incoherent Euro-polities, was the Habsburg history specialist Alan Sked, who now dismisses the party as a bunch of “fruitcakes.” As old-time Perotistas will understand, new movements are prone to internecine feuds. UKIP briefly fell under the spell of the oleaginous telly huckster Robert Kilroy-Silk, who subsequently quit to found a party called “Veritas,” which he has since also quit.

    But Farage was there at the founding, as UKIP’s first-ever parliamentary candidate. In 1994, a rising star of the Tory party, Stephen Milligan, was found dead on his kitchen table, with a satsuma and an Ecstasy tab in his mouth, and naked except for three lady’s stockings, two on his legs and one on his arm. In his entertaining book, one of the few political memoirs one can read without forcing oneself to finish, Farage has a melancholy reflection on Milligan’s bizarrely memorable end: “It was the sad destiny . . . of this former President of the Oxford Union to contribute more to public awareness — albeit of a very arcane nature — by the manner of his death than by his work in life.” That’s to say, the late Mr. Milligan more or less singlehandedly planted the practice of “auto-erotic asphyxiation” in the public consciousness — since when (as John O’Sullivan suggested here a while back) the Tory party seems to have embraced it as a political philosophy.

    At the time, Milligan’s death enabled a by-election in the constituency of Eastleigh. Farage stood for UKIP, got 952 votes (or 1.4 percent), and narrowly beat the perennial fringe candidate Screaming Lord Sutch of the Monster Raving Loony party, which, in a perceptive insight into the nature of government, was demanding more than one Monopolies Commission (the British equivalent of the Antitrust Division). While waiting for the count, Lord Sutch said, “Oi, Nige. Let’s go for a drink, shall we? The rest of this lot are a bunch of wankers.” In the BBC footage of the announcement of the results, Mr. Farage appears to be flushed and swaying slightly. Let Kilroy-Silk split to form a breakaway party called Veritas; Farage is happy to be in vino. He is a prodigious drinker and smoker. I can personally testify to the former after our Toronto appearance. As to the latter, not even Obama can get away with that in public. But Farage does.

    The wobbly boozer turned out to be the steady hand at the tiller UKIP needed. He was elected (via proportional representation) to the European Parliament, which for the aspiring Brit politician is Siberia with an expense account. Then, in 2010, Farage became a global Internet sensation by raining on the EU’s most ridiculous parade — the inaugural appearance by the first supposed “President of Europe,” not a popularly elected or even parliamentarily accountable figure but just another backroom deal by the commissars of Eutopia. The new “President” was revealed to be, after the usual Franco-German stitch-up, a fellow from Belgium called Herman van Rompuy. “Who are you?” demanded Farage from his seat in the European Parliament during President van Rompuy’s address thereto. “No one in Europe has ever heard of you.” Which was quite true. One day, Mr. van Rompuy was an obscure Belgian, the next he was an obscure Belgian with a business card reading “President of Europe.” But, as is his wont, Nigel warmed to his theme and told President van Rompuy that he had “the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk.” A few days later, having conferred in their inner sanctum, the Eurocrats ordered Farage to make a public apology. So he did — to low-grade bank clerks for having been so ill-mannered as to compare them to President van Rompuy. He was then fined 2,980 euros (about $4,000) for his impertinence, since when he has referred to the European president as Rumpy-Pumpy, a British synonym for a bloody good shag.

    (snip)

    As I understand it, at some point in the last decade a Labour prime minister exited 10 Downing Street by the back door and a Conservative prime minister came in through the front. And yet nothing changed. And the more frantically Tory loyalists talk up the rare sightings of genuine conservatism — Education Secretary Michael Gove’s proposed reforms! — the more they remind you of how few there are.

    And, even more than the policies, the men advancing them are increasingly interchangeable. I lived in London for a long time and still get to Britain every few months, but I can barely tell any of these guys apart. They look the same, dress the same, talk the same. The equivalent British shorthand for “the Beltway” is “the Westminster village,” which accurately conveys both its size and its parochialism but not perhaps the increasingly Stepfordesque quality of its inhabitants. The Labour, Liberal, and Tory leaders all came off the assembly line within 20 minutes of each other in the 1960s and, before they achieved their present ascendancy, worked only as consultants, special advisers, public-relations men. One of them did something at the European Commission, another was something to do with a think tank for social justice — the non-jobs that now serve as political apprenticeships. The men waiting to succeed them are also all the same. There are mild variations in background — this one went to Eton, that one is heir to an Irish baronetcy — but once they determine on a life in politics they all lapse into the same smarmy voice, and they all hold the same opinions, on everything from the joys of gay marriage and the vibrant contributions of Islam to the vital necessity of wind farms and the historical inevitability of the EU. And they sound even more alike on the stuff they stay silent on — ruinous welfare, transformative immigration, a once-great nation’s shrunken armed forces…

    (snip)

    On the Continent, on all the issues that matter, competitive politics decayed to a rotation of arrogant co-regents of a hermetically sealed elite, and with predictable consequences: If the political culture forbids respectable politicians from raising certain topics, then the electorate will turn to unrespectable ones. As noted, Farage is too funny to make a convincing fascist, but, with the great unwashed pounding on the fence of their gated community, the Westminster village have redoubled their efforts.

    (snip)

    On the Continent, on all the issues that matter, competitive politics decayed to a rotation of arrogant co-regents of a hermetically sealed elite, and with predictable consequences: If the political culture forbids respectable politicians from raising certain topics, then the electorate will turn to unrespectable ones. As noted, Farage is too funny to make a convincing fascist, but, with the great unwashed pounding on the fence of their gated community, the Westminster village have redoubled their efforts.

    (snip)

    Farage is a close student of the near-total collapse of the intellectually bankrupt Canadian Conservative party in the early Nineties, and its split into various factions. The western-based Reform party could not get elected nationwide, but they kept certain political ideas in play, which moved the governing Liberals to the right, and eventually enabled them to engineer a reverse takeover of the Tory party. UKIP, likewise, is keeping certain important, indeed existential questions in play, and it’s not inconceivable that Farage, who regards himself as a member of “the Tory family,” could yet engineer a reverse takeover of whatever post-Cameron husk remains half a decade down the road.

    Again, read the whole thing. (Which should be taken as a given for any Steyn piece. And since I’m swiping enormous chunks of his prose today, also consider buying some of his stuff.)

    One sign of how scared the political establishment is of UKIP is that the government is actually funding an advertising campaign against them.

    Here in the United States, both Republicans and Democrats should take a good, hard look at UKIP’s rise. Many of the “forbidden” topics UKIP is raising there (big government, control by a small cabal of elites, immigration) are animating the Tea Party (and even, to some extent, parts of Occupy).

    LinkSwarm for May 12, 2014

    Monday, May 12th, 2014
  • Health care costs up most since 1980. Thanks, ObamaCare!
  • And low wage workers are the ones hurt worst by the employer mandate.
  • Adventures in Liberal Racism:

    The late Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.V., a former leader of the KKK, twice was elected the majority leader in the U.S. Senate and served a 6-year stint as, ironically, minority leader in between. Add Harry Reid, Joe Biden, Bill Clinton and countless others to the list of elected Democrats who’ve said things just as racist as Sterling, yet faced no consequences.

    To liberals, people are their skin color first, and that should dictate their thoughts and behavior. To stray from that is somehow a betrayal. It’s the basest form of racism, even if the victim and the perpetrator share the same melanin.

    To progressives, you aren’t an individual, you’re your skin. Clarence Thomas isn’t a man, he’s a black man. He isn’t an American, he’s an African American. It’s the prefix, not the person, that matters. That, at its core, is racism.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • “There’s no getting around the fact that people who reject everything the West stands for are guaranteed to live in poverty with a boot on their neck.”
  • Democrats doing as bad as they were in 2010? Nope. Worse.
  • Even the Washington Post has Republican chances of retaking Senate up to 82%.
  • They also admit that Obama’s ratings are hitting new lows.
  • Mark Steyn slams #BringBackOurGirls: “The wretched pleading passivity of Mrs Obama’s hashtag is just a form of moral preening.”.
  • Democrats can’t find anyone to run as a Democratic against David Jolly in FL-13 race. And the “independent” they endorsed doesn’t live in the district…
  • In Illinois, little things like being a convicted felon won’t keep you from overseeing millions of “anti-violence” program dollars.
  • Alan Derschowitz gets it right: “I don’t think we want the thought police to be intruding on people’s private conversations.”
  • Is China’s military a paper dragon?
  • Missed this: Defeated Democratic congressman (and Stupak-bloc flip-flopper) James Oberstar dead.
  • What is hereditary in the United States is not wealth but poverty.”

    The Left’s focus on the status of wealthy and high-income Americans is precisely backward — backward if improving the lives and opportunities of those born into poverty is your goal. If your goal is to increase the income and power of the public sector for your own economic and political ends, then of course it makes more sense to focus on the rich: That’s where the money is, and the perverse reality of the Left is that it cannot fortify its own interests by improving the lives of the poor but can do so by pillaging the rich.”

  • GOP establishment leader Eric cantor booed in his own district.
  • Nothing says “liberal tolerance” quite like a UC Santa Barbara teacher threatening to send Ted Cruz supporters home in a body bag.
  • Russia passes a “bloggers law.”
  • 2013 Walter Duranty awards for media liars were given out. Seymour Hirsch received a lifetime achievement award…
  • Egyptian Muslim group declares that democracy must be eliminated because ”it does not allow to save Muslims and theorizes the equality of Jews, Copts and Muslims and must therefore be condemned”.
  • Three girls fined $3,500 for wearing bikinis. In Italy. [Edited to add: Jihad Watch has updated the story as a hoax.]
  • Democratic trial lawyer and Wendy Davis backer Linda Blue Baron is leaving Texas. Tort reform just keeps paying dividends…
  • Jeeze, you commit one or two little axe murders, and suddenly you’re not dating material.
  • The novel is dead yet again. Or: Will Self implores those uncouth striplings to vacate his sward.
  • Crazy spider gymnast.
  • LinkSwarm for October 11, 2013

    Friday, October 11th, 2013

    A LinkSwarm heavy on shutdown-related news:

  • For epitomizing what Democrats have done to Detroit, Kwame Kirkpatrick gets 28 years.
  • Hey Venezuela, how’s that Socialism working out for you? Inflation hits 49.4%. (Hat tip: Prairie Pundit.)
  • Victor Davis Hanson thinks Republicans are winning.
  • ObamaCare, or food?
  • Steyn on the shutdown. “The conventional wisdom of the U.S. media is that Republicans are being grossly irresponsible not just to wave through another couple trillion or so on Washington’s overdraft facility.”
  • Catholic priests prohibited from giving Mass.
  • The revolving door between the Democratic Party and the IRS.
  • How the GOP establishment tried to seize control of Freedomworks.
  • The Magic of Obama: White House gift shop goes bankrupt.
  • Department of Fish & Wildlife lift ban minutes before North Dakota files lawsuit.
  • Le Pen poised to win European Parliament elections? That’s Marine Le Pen, or Le Pen: The Next Generation.
  • Five years after the meltdown, families still hoarding cash.
  • Kent Hance to retire as Texas Tech Chancellor. Hance’s political career is in many ways emblematic of the evolution of Texas politics, starting out as a conservative Democrat, elected to the state Senate in 1974, defeating George W. Bush for a U.S. congressional seat in 1978, played key roll in backing the Kemp-Roth tax cuts in 1981, narrowly losing the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate to Lloyd Doggett (who would then get stomped by Phil Gramm in the general election) in 1984, followed Gramm by switching to the Republican Party in 1985, losing the GOP Gubernatorial nomination to an untried Bill Clements in 1986, getting appointed to the Railroad Commission in 1987, winning re-election to it in 1988, and losing to Clayton Williams in the 1990 Republican Gubernatorial primary. He had a long, long career as a bridesmaid…
  • Raising the debt limit means bankrupting your children.
  • “This 20 year old has discovered Sex Is Awesome!!! and just wants us all to know that. Yeah Sugar-Tits we sort of know. We’ve been enjoying it for years, but without quite as much Noob Squeeing about it.”
  • LinkSwarm for September 13, 2013

    Friday, September 13th, 2013

    My schedule is finally close to getting back to normal after Worldcon, so here’s the latest Friday LinkSwarm:

  • Greek unemployment hits 27.9%. Remember: For all the mentions of “austerity measures,” they’ve never balanced a budget.
  • Why we were in Benghazi. Short answer: Smuggling arms to Syrian rebels. Remember: No Americans died in Iran-Contra.
  • Syrian rebels do what they do best: kill women and children.
  • Obama’s Syrian policy is “is an unmitigated cl*st*rf*ck.” And that’s from his friends at The New Republic.
  • Charles Krauthammer calls it epic incompetence.
  • Today is the 20th anniversary of the Oslo Accords, which, as we all know, finally brought long-lasting peace and stability to the Middle East. “Decadal stasis points to the sterility of the Arab-Israeli diplomatic process.”
  • Mark Steyn on ObamaCare.
  • Mickey Kaus is worried that Republicans can still snatch amnesty defeat from the jaws of victory.
  • How often does Defensive gun use occur? “From about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year.”
  • PPP’s poll data showed Giron was in trouble, but they didn’t release the poll, ostensibly because they didn’t believe it. That may be the case, but their explanation is suspect, given they actually testified in court as part of the effort to get the recall effort thrown out. Also, they didn’t do Giron and the gun-grabber side any favors by suppressing the results (the Liberal Reality Bubble strikes again). Bonus: Pollster Twitter slap fight!
  • Is the House Republican leadership actually stupid enough to kill the sequester in a deal with Obama? Let’s hope not…
  • Jihadi rapper killed by fellow jihadis. And you thought Vanilla Ice’s reviews were brutal…
  • To a visitor from India, America looks like a classless society. “I’ve noticed that most Americans roughly have the same standard of living. Everybody has access to ample food, everybody shops at the same supermarkets, malls, stores, etc. I’ve seen plumbers, construction workers and janitors driving their own sedans, which was quite difficult for me to digest at first since I came from a country where construction workers and plumbers lived hand to mouth.” (Hat tip: Ace.)
  • How can Newspapers make money these days? How about by selling off their old photo morgues?
  • UK’s NHS: Now With Added Death.
  • Million Muslim March falls a mere 999,970 marchers short of their goal.
  • Rep. Peter King of Long island is running for President. Expect GOP voters to greet his campaign with the same enthusiasm with which they greeted Jon Huntsman’s.
  • Super-genius astronomer wants to name an asteroid “Trayvon”.
  • New Jersey police: hate crimes don’t happen to white people.
  • Police Chief meeting with Sheriff Joe Arpaio on his own time and money? That’s a suspension.
  • Austin: 13 murders in 8 months. “Otherwise known as a slow weekend in Chicago.”
  • Holly Hansen takes a look at Williamson County judicial races.
  • Mark Steyn on Egypt

    Monday, August 19th, 2013

    Mark Steyn is always good, but this piece on Egypt is so succinctly pithy that it’s hard to stop quoting from it.

    General Sisi has made a calculation that he has a small window of opportunity to inflict damage on the Muslim Brotherhood that will set them back decades and that it is in Egypt’s vital interest to do so. Grasping that, the Brothers are pushing back hard.

    And this:

    All these parties are pursuing their strategic interest. Does the United States have such a thing anymore? Not so’s you’d notice. As a result, the factions in Egypt are united only in their contempt for Washington. Obama is despised by Sisi and the generals for being fundamentally unserious; by the Brotherhood for stringing along with the coup; by the Copts for standing by as the Brothers take it out on them; and by the small number of genuine democrats in Egypt for his witless promotion of Morsi’s thugs as the dawning of democracy. Any “national-unity government” of the kind the usual deluded twits are urging on Egypt would be united only in its unanimous loathing of Obama, his secretaries of state, and his inept ambassador.

    One more:

    “[Under Obama] America is harmless as an enemy but treacherous as a friend.”

    Read the whole thing.

    Boston Bomber Roundup for April 24, 2013

    Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

    So much new Boston Bomber information has come to light that I thought I’d put a big old LinkSwarm on just that topic:

  • It’s the Jihad, stupid.
  • Mother of the Boston bombers: “If they are going to kill him. I don’t care. My oldest son is killed, so I don’t care. I don’t care is my youngest son is going to be killed today. I want the world to hear this. And, I don’t care if I am going to get killed too. And I will say Allahu Akbar!” Media: Just what is she trying to say? I don’t understand! It’s like she’s speaking in code!
  • Mark Steyn: “As is now traditional in these stories, we’re now being told that the Brothers Tsarnaev are merely the latest card-carrying members of Local 473 of the Amalgamated Union of Lone Wolves.”
  • Kurt Schlichter: “’Extraordinary’ is the natural condition of Americans.”
  • John Hindraker asks why does evil make liberals stupid?
  • The Boston bombers were living the life of welfare queens.
  • After it bombed in Boston, the bombing brothers were looking forward to taking their show to Broadway.
  • Here’s all about the mosque at the center of the bombing investigation. If it’s at the center, I guess that makes it the Ground Zero Mosque…
  • Speaking of which, the mastermind behind the original is buying up more New York City property in the area.
  • Victor Davis Hanson: What the Tsarnaev case teaches about immigration.
  • Naturally, clueless apologists set up a #FreeJahar tag on Twitter. As Aaron Gardner noted: “If twitter had been around in the time of Jesus there would have been a #FreeBarabbas tag.” And just imagine the reality show potential! “It’s down to two! No one will want to miss the stunning climax of Survivor: Golgatha!”
  • To me, Free Jahar sounds like a heartwarming, direct-to-DVD Disney film about a boy and his magic genie trying to free an Islamic whale.
  • Russia tried to warn us about the Tsarnaev brothers. Repeatedly. By the standards of perfect hindsight liberals applied to Bush43 after 9/11, doesn’t that make Obama a traitor?
  • A Venn diagram of terrorist watch lists.
  • So who was Misha, the radical Islamist who became Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s mentor?
  • Via Michael Totten comes Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s Amazon wish list. Hard to tell from that whether he wanted to become a terrorist, a singer or a Mafia wiseguy…
  • I’m seeing a report that the Boston Bomber Brothers are members of a Wahabist terrorist cell Problem: That report comes from DEBKA, a site that has a track record only slightly better than Infowars, so take it with a shaker full of salt.
  • Speaking of Infowars, guess what site Tamerlan Tsarnaev like to read?
  • The Onion: “I’m starting to think that maybe when Tamerlan first said ‘Let’s bomb the Boston Marathon,’ I should have said no.”
  • While you were paying attention to Boston, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police broke up a plot to bomb a passenger train.