Saturday, January 30, 2016
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Monday, January 25, 2016
Saturday, January 23, 2016
But I listened in vain for any evidence or logic that would provide a reason to vote for Donald Trump for the office of President of the United States. There were lots of ringing assertions, just as in Trump's own speeches, but no convincing facts or demonstrable reasons.
After all these months, no coherent plans have emerged from the rhetoric of "The Donald"-- just sweeping boasts about all the things he says he will achieve. But boasts about the unknown future are hardly reassuring.
However puzzling the fervent support for Donald Trump may be today, given how little basis there is for it, such blind faith is not unique in history. Other dire or desperate times have produced other charismatic leaders to whom desperate people have turned, with hopes of deliverance.
Trump is certainly different from establishment Republicans, but it that enough?
Things were appalling in 1917 Russia, when people turned to Lenin to try to get them out of a disastrous war abroad and a bitter economic situation at home.
The fact that Lenin was quite different from the czar who had led the country into catastrophe might have seemed promising to some people. He was also different from the ineffective Kerensky government that failed in its brief months in office. But the totalitarian government that Lenin established proved to be even worse than its predecessors.
The idea that someone quite different from those who led a nation into disaster can be expected to produce an improvement is a non sequitur that has seduced many people in many places and times.
Germany's Weimar Republic was nobody's idea of an ideal government but Hitler's reign that followed was far worse in every way. Many Americans denounced the rule of the Shah of Iran, but he was never a worldwide sponsor of terrorism, like those who replaced him.
A pattern that would appear in many other places and times was one in which people's hopes became focused on someone new, charismatic and with ringing rhetoric-- but utterly untested for the job of governing a nation.
That is where we are today.
The Republican field of candidates has had a number of people with experience governing at the state level, so that they have a track record that we could scrutinize. But the media obsession with Trump has left little time for weighing the pros and cons of those governors.
Some of them have already had to withdraw before we learned whether their qualifications were good, bad or indifferent. This may be a misfortune for their political careers but it can turn out to be a disaster for the country, if it leaves the field open only to people whom we must judge solely on the basis of their rhetoric.
There are still some governors left in the running, but they are not among the candidates who have the highest support in the polls, where most have received the support of fewer than 10 percent of the voters polled.
Former governor Jeb Bush looked like the front runner at the outset, especially with his impressive amount of money in his campaign chest. But it is not nearly as easy to buy an election as some commentators seemed to think, so perhaps we can take some solace from the discrediting of that notion.
We might also take some solace from the support received by Dr. Ben Carson, despite the media-fed notion that conservatives are racists. Even after his brief time leading the candidates in the polls has passed, Dr. Carson remains the candidate with the highest favorability rating among Republican voters who were polled.
But there are few other things to feel positive about as the primaries approach. Common sense by the voters may be the best we can hope for. And that can save the day, after all. In fact, they may be all that can save the day.
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is www.tsowell.com. To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page atwww.creators.com.
Friday, January 22, 2016
Thursday, January 21, 2016
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Coulter: We're All Ruth Bader Ginsburg Now: If Ted Cruz is a 'natural born citizen,' eligible to be president, what was all the fuss about Obama being born in Kenya? No one disputed that Obama's mother was a U.S. Citizen. Cruz was born in Canada to an American citizen mother and an alien father. If he's eligible to be president, then so was Obama -- even if he'd been born in Kenya.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Monday, January 18, 2016
Thursday, January 14, 2016
One Duck of an Endorsement!: It is an endorsement most GOP hopefuls would welcome at anytime, but having Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame announce his endorsement of Ted Cruz less than three weeks before the Iowa caucuses can only help the Texas senator and his campaign to become the Republican nominee. “Ted Cruz is my man, I’m voting for him,” Robertson says in a video released by the Cruz campaign. The video shows Robertson and Cruz in full hunting regalia, including camo face paint, as they sit in a duck blind.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Michael Hiltzik, a columnist and Los Angeles Times reporter, wrote an article titled "Does a minimum wage raise hurt workers? Economists say: We don't know." Uncertain was his conclusion from a poll conducted by the Initiative on Global Markets, at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, of 42 nationally ranked economists on the question of whether raising the federal minimum wage to $15 over the next five years would reduce employment opportunities for low-wage workers.
The Senate Budget Committee's blog says, "Top Economists Are Backing Sen. Bernie Sanders on Establishing a $15 an Hour Minimum Wage." It lists the names of 210 economists who call for increasing the federal minimum wage. The petition starts off, "We, the undersigned professional economists, favor an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour as of 2020." The petition ends with this: "In short, raising the federal minimum to $15 an hour by 2020 will be an effective means of improving living standards for low-wage workers and their families and will help stabilize the economy. The costs to other groups in society will be modest and readily absorbed."
The people who are harmed by an increase in the minimum wage are low-skilled workers. Try this question to economists who argue against the unemployment effect of raising the minimum wage: Is it likely that an employer would find it in his interests to pay a worker $15 an hour when that worker has skills that enable him to produce only $5 worth of value an hour to the employer's output? Unlike my fellow economists who might argue to the contrary, I would say that most employers would view hiring such a worker as a losing economic proposition, but they might hire him at $5 an hour. Thus, one effect of the minimum wage law is that of discrimination against the employment of low-skilled workers.
In our society, the least skilled people are youths, who lack the skills, maturity and experience of adults. Black youths not only share these handicaps but have attended grossly inferior schools and live in unstable household environments. That means higher minimum wages will have the greatest unemployment effect on youths, particularly black youths.
A minimum wage not only discriminates against low-skilled workers but also is one of the most effective tools in the arsenal of racists. Our nation's first minimum wage came in the form of the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, which sets minimum wages on federally financed or assisted construction projects. During the legislative debates, racist intents were obvious. Rep. John Cochran, D-Mo., said he had "received numerous complaints in recent months about Southern contractors employing low-paid colored mechanics getting work and bringing the employees from the South." Rep. Miles Allgood, D-Ala., complained: "That contractor has cheap colored labor that he transports, and he puts them in cabins, and it is labor of that sort that is in competition with white labor throughout the country." Rep. William Upshaw, D-Ga., complained of the "superabundance or large aggregation of Negro labor."
During South Africa's apartheid era, the secretary of its avowedly racist Building Workers' Union, Gert Beetge, said, "There is no job reservation left in the building industry, and in the circumstances, I support the rate for the job (minimum wage) as the second-best way of protecting our white artisans." The South African Economic and Wage Commission of 1925 reported that "while definite exclusion of the Natives from the more remunerative fields of employment by law has not been urged upon us, the same result would follow a certain use of the powers of the Wage Board under the Wage Act of 1925, or of other wage-fixing legislation. The method would be to fix a minimum rate for an occupation or craft so high that no Native would be likely to be employed."
It is incompetence or dishonesty for my fellow economists to deny these two effects of minimum wages: discrimination against employment of low-skilled labor and the lowering of the cost of racial discrimination.
by Michelle Malkin
Ka-ching! Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot soared to $1.5 billion as get-rich-quick mania seized America this week. But you don’t need to wait for the drawing to know who’ll score the royal payoff.
The biggest winner of the multistate numbers game is — drumroll, please — Uncle Sam.
Powerball is a government-sponsored gambling racket in 44 states, plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The fedsautomatically skim 25 percent off the top of a lump-sum cash award. Additional state withholding taxes vary depending on residency status. Mega-winners are taxed at the highest federal income tax bracket(nearly 40 percent); those who live in states with personal income taxes could pay up to an additional 9 percent. Local municipal taxes can add another 3-5 percent to the tax burden.
Government lotteries of all kinds raked in a whopping $70 billon in revenue last year, according to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries. Cash-strapped states pitch the rackets as civic enterprises by purporting to earmark a portion of proceeds for public education, economic development and mass transit, senior citizens’ programs, professional sports stadiums and environmental protection.
As I’ve noted during previous, high-stakes lotto crazes, the state bureaucrats who run these schemes for numeracy-challenged consumers are free to ban outside competition — including private slot machines, phone betting, instant pull tabs and card rooms. The feds help out by limiting sweepstakes and Internet gambling, as well as exempting state lottery marketing materials from Federal Trade Commission regulations that guarantee truth in advertising.
That’s right. While cracking down on ads on everything from cereal to toothpaste to cars, Washington protects states that spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year falsely promising “a dollar and a dream,” “everyone is a winner” and “somebody’s gotta win — might as well be you.”
In New York last fall, the attorney general outlawed fantasy sports league as illegal games of chance that deceptively hooked in the gullible — while the state lottery promoted its motto, “Hey, You Never Know.”
I know double-standards sanctimony when I see it.
If public lottery pimps were private corporate entities, they’d be charged with predatory behavior. To entice their at-risk target audience of elderly citizens and low-wage workers, state officials saturate the airwaves around the first of each month. Why? As a candid advertising plan for the Ohio Super Lotto directed many years ago:
“Schedule heavier media weight during those times of the month where consumer disposable income peaks. … Government benefits, payroll and Social Security payments are released on the first Tuesday of each calendar month.”
Billboards in Chicago slums claim lottery purchases “could be your ticket out.” The Illinois lottery lures players to “joy someone with holiday scratch-offs.” In Maine, an analysis by Cornell University and the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting last fall found: “For every one percent increase in joblessness in a given zip code, lottery sales jump 10 percent, the original research shows. And people in Maine’s poorest regions spend as much as 200 times more person than those in wealthier areas.”
“By enticing people to spend their money on fantasies,” veteran gambling historian Robert Goodman points out, “governments are preying on people’s ability to dream and hope. Rather than providing real hope for economic improvement, public officials are promoting the illusion of economic improvement– becoming deeply involved in finding new ways of manipulating people’s desire for a more secure future. They are enticing people into taking part in what should properly be called the ‘pathology of hope.'”
The government gambling industry spins lotteries as good, innocent fun that benefits the children. Always “For The Children.” But countless studies show two things:
First, a significant portion of lottery sales are driven by financial desperation and delusion, not by entertainment. During the 2008 recession, 29 of 42 states with lotteries saw huge spikes in lottery sales — with sales records set in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, where purchases are greatest in the states’ poorest counties.
“When people view themselves as doing worse financially, then that motivates them to purchase lottery tickets,” Emily Haisley, a postdoctoral associate at the Yale School of Management who researched lottery behavior, told The New York Times. “People look to the lottery to get back to where they were financially.”
Second, multiple investigations of states that divert a portion of lottery revenues to public education have shown that on average, those states spend a smaller proportion of their budgets on education than states that do not have a lottery.
Remember: All government revenue is fungible. Lottery funds end up supplanting regular income, not supplementing it. As players lose interest, the states must cut the number of prizes, make longer odds, inflate the jackpots and market even more aggressively (and deceptively) to make more money.
Government-run lottery monopolies are a regressive tax and a stupidity tax.
Inject this truth in inner-city Powerball billboard advertising: The odds are never in your favor.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
ISIS Terror Manual Instructs Jihadists: Avoid Mosques, Shave Beard, Wear Christian Cross: An ISIS terror manual is circulating in Europe that instructs jihadists on how to blend in with the West to avoid being detected before carrying out terrorist attacks. Instructions include avoiding mosques, shaving beards, and wearing Christian crosses as to not appear Muslim.
WaPo Report: White Cops Killing Unarmed Blacks Less Than 4% of Fatal Police Shootings: In a year-long study, The Washington Post reports that incidents in which white police officers shoot unarmed black men — incidents that have sparked nationwide anger and controversy and which launched the Black Lives Matter movement — actually represent less than 4 percent of fatal police shootings.