Spotlight on Chile

Ron Paul made a bag full of money in Chile selling drugs there. That may be an interesting reason to go, if you can still tolerate Ron Paul.

The Czar likes the country of Chile since he first thought about it ten minutes ago. The Czar personally pronounces it “chee-lay,” although you can also pronounce it like the ground beef and bean food if you think that’s not in any way totally insulting.

Chile is easily the nicest country in South America, just as your garbage is the least smelly on a hot day. Although it is not as nice as America, or perhaps Canada, you should rest assured that Chile is a country less likely to imprison you in a work camp on bogus charges than you think.

Chile is an interesting place. It is 10 times longer than it is wide, and its height varies from 3 to 7, with a 5 put in for the fourth part underneath. It certainly is a narrow country: on the Czar’s map of the country, it is as skinny as a quarter-inch wide in some parts. It must be tough to set up a bridge table, if people still do that sort of thing.

As a result of its length, every building in the country is technically on a side street of Highway 5. Chile is very easy to get to, and the Czar had little trouble locating it on a map of the world.

In Chile, most people speak Spanish, although English is mandatory from Kindergarten on up. As a result, Chilean Spanish is heavily influenced by English vocabulary, including such items as sandwichs (sandwiches), overols (overalls), overol sandwichs (overall sandwiches), and obama sa quenyan (Obama’s a Kenyan).

Andean women are the most beautiful in the world, and are adapted to living miles above ground. Actually, the Czar hopes this is the case because this picture came up when he Googled “andes woman” and all the other pictures had these glum-looking frog-faced women in bowler hats.

Chilean cuisine is very fascinating, but it is a little tough to fathom and basically all we got out of three minutes of research is that they don’t eat tacos. There were a lot of German immigrants in the mid-1940s (los nazios), so one assumes you can get every conceivable delicacy packed into a pork sausage. Germans are nuts about sausage; it’s the only place in the world the Czar knows of that has sausage salad, for heaven’s sake.

Andean music is very popular, especially with the Czar’s kids. The Цесаревич once got to dance with a very pretty Chilean girl to some fast-moving Andean flute music. The video for it is really funny, but it’s on an iPhone, so you can’t export more than 2 seconds of it before iTunes demands you load the new version and click through 80 terms and conditions of use before billing you for an app you’re pretty sure has nothing to do with Chile. The Царевич is the only 9-year-old he knows that can name Incan songs and has a couple CDs of Andean music we borrowed from the library with no intention of returning. Every second of it sounds incredibly like Simon and Garfunkel’s El Cóndor Pasa, to the point the Czar advises they get a lawyer and sue the Chileans.

The CIA World Factbook has a website on Chile you could click on if you want to be bored to tears by numbers and statistics that were last updated when Bill Clinton was president. Of America, that is.

The condor is a beautiful bird, as long as it flies way the hell up away from you.

Chile sits on a tectonic plate along the famous Ring of Fire, which means as far as we’re concerned there’s nothing but constant earthquakes and volcanoes blowing up all over the place. The puma is native to Chile, and is perfectly adapted to life there because it apparently eats lava. Also, there are condors, which are huge, magnificent birds with impressive wing spans, who wheel gracefully through the thermal risers like wonderful kites, before they swoop down to eat the rectum out of a two-hour-dead maggot-festering fox. There are also animals called pudú there, which you can read about on Wikipedia because the Czar spotted a photo of one on their Chile page, near the middle. And large things called guanacos, which may be some sort of prehistoric reptile. Or a deer. Or something.

Chile is famous for the Andes mountains and the harsh Atacama desert, meaning that a good portion of Chile’s surface area is committed to killing you. In fact, in between the brutally lethal weather conditions and the volcano earthquakes, there’s probably no good reason to ever go there.

Polarized Analysis

The Czar was puttering through our awesome Twitter feed (which you should join and follow anon, if thou hast not done so hence), and spotted this eye-catching question from, of all groups, the New York Times: “How Did Politics Get So Personal?”

Well, this is either brilliant satire or…no, it’s just the stultifying effects of living in an echo chamber, it seems. Within, author Thomas B. Edsall reflects on a study that shows how much parents would despise the notion of their kids marrying someone of a different political party. He has a nice graphic showing how the percentages have increase from 4% to 33% (among Democrats) and from 5% to 49% (among Republicans) over the last 50 years. Interestingly, there may be a clue as to why in the graphic, showing a donkey facing to the left and an elephant facing to the right.

The graph also shows that the biggest upswing happened (surprised?) since 2008.

Anything interesting happen in 2008?

Yes, that’s right: America elected its most polarizing president ever. Sure, the Left will say it’s all about race, but the poll doesn’t reflect anything in that direction: it merely shows that since the Progressive takeover of the presidency, people are being forced to choose. The Left declared a culture war, and if you’re not going to pick a side, one will be chosen for you.

But this a political piece in the New York Times, so of course the author is going to reassure its uptown liberal readers that there’s nothing wrong whatsoever with being an uptown liberal reader. In a bizarre non sequitur, Mr. Edsall jumps from a discussion of how married couples now tend to belong to the same political parties to a study that “liberals think more analytically than conservatives.” What a shocker: it’s okay, libs, because you’re still smarter than Republicans.

Because this is science, and after all, liberals—who feel and sense and just opine—are way more analytical than their conservative cousins who reason and rely on spreadsheets, bank statements, tax forms, and numbers. Got it.

This is, of course, another variation of the long-debunked “liberals are pragmatists, conservatives are ideologues” meme. It gets better, with Mr. Edsall copiously quoting this study’s authors, reflecting that liberals—who predominantly live in populated cities—are more individualistic and independent—whereas conservatives—who frequent suburbia and rural America—are more community minded. On what is this based? Who knows—Mr. Edsall has his pull quotes and he’s not inclined to second-guess the sources of a study that agrees with his views.

The Czar thinks the entire study—even the parts of it that say nice things about conservatives—is questionable on its face. The study isn’t available for free, so the Czar is not about to pursue it in order to review its full claims. Whether accurate or not, Mr. Edsall has picked the quotes he wants to prevail, so the Czar—who is reviewing Mr. Edsall’s piece and not a peer-reviewed paper—is reflecting purely on the quotes submitted and whether they explain increased polarization in national politics.

And they do not. Rather, one suspects, Mr. Edsall delighted to find a social psychology study that appeared, in its introduction, to claim that liberals are analytic thinkers and conservatives are more emotion-driven. Of course, there is a fair amount of research disputing this, so Mr. Edsall is certainly not going to get a full editorial essay out of one paper without having to do that additional research. That would be dispassionately rational. Instead he found, one further suspects, a valuable study that shows Americans are being forced into polarizing camps, and simply banged the two together as if they flowed logically.

And they do not. But let us propose a different second half to Mr. Edsall’s reporting of the polarization study.

Perhaps it is reasonable to wonder if the monstrously sized public relations campaign put out by the Obama campaign helped increase support among liberals for the Democratic party. Remember, if you were young and voted for Obama, you were one of the savvy, cool, techno-generation. If you were older and voted for Obama, you were proving to America that you, personally, were not a racist. If you opposed Obama on any of his many glaring faults, you were a racist, something ugly, and a dinosaur with no teeth. Taking a page from September 12, 2001, you were either with us or an enemy. Fox News was shut out as often as possible; investigative journalists had their emails stolen and scanned; Democratic registered voters were reminded that their addresses were on file and that they should continue to vote, otherwise we would know.

Isn’t that an awful lot to swallow? But swallow they did, and suddenly thousands (if not millions) of non-voters or non-affiliated voters were declaring themselves Democrats. And boy howdy, were they rewarded: praise-filled emails, reminders on popular television shows that Democrats were great and Republicans were stupid, and reassurance from the president that you weren’t some bitter clinger. An attorney general threatened he was out for his own people’s interests, and communities were organized, and the president even had his own logo now! And naturally a website where you could submit the names and statements of friends or relatives who were saying bad or hurtful things about him.

But it takes two poles. On the conservative side, people got angry. The Tea Party arose almost immediately after serious discussions about Obamacare, and radio shows began to take on the sound of Radio Free America. And conservatives, whom polls revealed greatly out-numbered liberals, discovered they weren’t alone. There were more than hundreds of you. More than thousands. In fact, there were millions and millions of you, and—right around 2009—conservative America discovered it could actually fight back.

Conservatives discovered, in short order, they didn’t have to take this anymore. The liberal cousin who mouths off during dinner about dumbass Republicans was shocked to hear other family members telling her to shut up. The town hall Democrat praising himself on stage was driven off with boos and demands to explain his hypocrisy. A congressman, inappropriately, found himself calling the President of the United States a liar, right in the middle of a lie he was telling. Each act emboldens the other.

The polarization started a long time ago on the Left. But as each of these defiant acts on the Right strengthened the rest, the Right caught up quickly. The Right has learned that the Left lost its monopoly on public righteousness. The Emperor has no clothes, and it’s a good thing to point that out to your friends and neighbors. All this increases polarization.

So the Czar repeats himself: you might not care about politics, or Obama, or socialism, or Tea Parties. But you are being assigned a side anyway; you will either be drafted by the Left or you will volunteer for the Right. And history knows—through simple analysis even a liberal uptown New York Times reader can do—which side fights harder.

Two Tragic Anniversaries

The crew of the Apollo One mission

The crew of the Apollo One mission

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Apollo One tragedy.  On January 27, 1967, three astronauts: Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee perished on the launchpad in the capsule during a launch rehearsal.  A fire broke out and swept through the capsule.  At the 10-minute mark a cry of “Fire!” was heard and the capsule was already engulfed.  The astronauts didn’t have a chance.  The pure oxygen environment plus flammable materials (straps, foam, etc.) and a spark from a frayed wire were a deadly mix.  They tried to unbolt the inward swinging hatch, but that normally takes 90 seconds.  They didn’t have that amount of time.  This event shut down the American space program for a year and a half as it was reviewed and addressed.

Here is a short news clip video from shortly after the accident.

Today is the anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.  Many in my generation can remember where they were when they heard this news.  Personally, I was walking through my high school’s cafeteria on my way to class.  Suddenly, people rushed the school store which had a TV playing the news and covering the event.  73 seconds into flight, the shuttle exploded, killing all seven crewmembers aboard.  Maybe what drew the most attention was that it was the first flight where a teacher, Christa McAuliffe, was on board.  Many things happened as a result of the accident such as: civilian crewmembers were halted for 22 years, the programs flight rate was re-evaluated, and satellite launches were moved to expendable rockets.  Here is one video of the event.

Not Enough Clay Mates

As most of you know, the Czar was born in the last third of the 13th Century, and had the fortune to meet many people who either were famous or soon became famous. Many of these people were fun and exciting, like Jane Austen, Fats Waller, and Zog I of Albania.

Some of them were less pleasant, and the Czar even took a strong dislike to many. For example, the Czar did not like Sun Tzu—who was China’s losingest general. He was so bad at military planning that he even wrote a book about everything he learned the hard way. “Too little, too late,” muttered King Helü as the axe whomped down on his neck. Of course, you are welcome to say this is fantasy, as Sun Tzu lived almost 1500 years before the Czar was born. This is your error, as the Czar was able to meet him well after his death.

But you know who else drove the Czar cray-cray? Henry Clay. The Czar met him a couple of times during the 1800s, and can not begin to explain what an insufferable pain in the neck Clay was. Here’s a picture of the two of us sharing a lunch outside the Capitol in May, 1836. The Czar was planning a royal feast with suckling pigs and fresh lamb brains; Clay brought a Nutella sandwich. Classy.
CzarClay

Anyhow, Clay was obsessed with becoming President. He wanted nothing more, and indeed, nothing else. He made terribly disparaging comments about being a Senator, which he hated nearly as much as a Representative.

He ran for president in 1824, 1832, and 1844…officially. Unofficially, he also ran in 1828 but couldn’t get enough nominating votes.

He tried in 1840, too, but the party decided William Henry Harrison was more exciting by that point. Heck, John Tyler—who was so unpopular that his own party threw him out, easily beat him in the convention votes.

So naturally, at the end of his political life, he decided to retire with dignity. Kidding! He tried one more time in 1848, losing the nomination to Zachary Taylor. Come to think of it, Clay repeatedly lost to some of our most meager presidents.

God called him home in 1852, rather than see him try one more time for the presidency.

If you are sorting all this out, you probably noticed that he didn’t run in 1836. Ironically, the Czar thinks that Clay actually could have beaten Martin Van Buren, and others agree with us. Thank goodness he decided to sit that one out.

Why? Okay, forget about Clay’s Nutella sandwiches and his hypocrisy about slavery (he was a slave owner) and his endless plotting and scheming (for example, he backed John Quincy Adams in 1828 in exchange for being made Secretary of State—in hopes that this would fast-track him in the next election when he double-crossed Adams*).

The thing that annoyed the Czar the most about Clay was his insane obsession to be president, at any cost. Clay was consumed with the desire to be commander in chief, and while a little ambition is a good thing, Clay thought about nothing else.

And anyone who wants to be president that badly usually winds ups being a bad president. Keep that in mind when you hear that Mitt Romney is scratching his chin over a third run. That’s only half the number of Clay’s attempts, but it’s enough. If you lose an election, dust yourself off and get back to it: your second run will be that much better since you know now how bad it gets. But if America says no to you twice, fair enough. You tried, and that’s a great thing.

But when you go for a third try, well, you’re kind of saying the problem is with America and not with you.

No, Governor…because no. Listen to history, not your ego.

The Czar gets Mitt Romney. He got hosed his first time around because he thought running would be a simple thing, like running for governor. He was blasted out of the campaign. Fair enough: lessons learned. He tried again, but made enough fundamental mistakes to do the impossible—he got a sure-fire loser like Obama re-elected.

So Mitt Romney said he was done, and God bless him for realizing it. A guy like Romney can be awfully effective behind the scenes, and he was adamant he wasn’t running.

But then this poll comes out that says if the 2012 election were held right now, Romney would win by a landslide. Really? Well, howdy hey: may be we should re-think this 2016 thing.

This is his mistake: in 2016, Romney wouldn’t be running against Barack Obama. Of course, you know this, but obviously Mitt Romney doesn’t. All he heard was “you’re a shoe-in in 2016.” And this is a disastrous condensation of pride worthy of a fall.

Clay never got the message that America didn’t want him near the presidency; Mitt needs to hear that same message, too.

*More trivia you wouldn’t know but the Czar would because he met the guy? John Quincy Adams pronounced his middle name “Quin-zee.” No, he wasn’t affected. No, he didn’t have a lisp. That’s how his mom pronounced it, so that’s how he said it.

OMG lolz #Winning

I am steadily growing more worried about the future of the Generation Y (Millennials) and Generation Z (Boomlets) – specifically that their future might really look like the world presented in the movie “Her”*

Have you watched a member of these generations recently?  First, let me define these generations so we’re on common ground and then we’ll go through a few cases.

Generation Y a/k/a “Millennials” are born between 1981 and 2000.  They grew up in a world with computers and don’t readily understand those who are not digitally literate.  Their access to information 24/7 and therefore expect and demand immediate and fast processing and delivery of information.  Most management studies show that they prefer a relaxed work environment with lots of hand holding, guidance, and accolades.  They are, as ‘Puter would say, Precious Q. Snowflake.

Generation Z are those born in 2001 and later.  Four million of them have their own cellphones and have never known a world without mobile phones.  Due to computer- and web-based learning, they are leaving traditional toys behind at an earlier age.  By the age of 5, they are more focused and interested in electronic devices than toys.

Smartphones

As far as these groups are concerned, we should really drop the “phone” designation.  Watch them and you’ll see.  They rarely use it in a phone capacity – they’ll text, Facetime, iMessage, Instagram, tweet, etc.  In fact, the only time they really use it to make a call (or receive one) is when it involves their parents (Generation X or late Boomers).

Connectivity

Have you seen these kids when there is no Wifi or cellular coverage?  It’s like watching a drug addict in rehab.  They don’t know what to do.  Not only do they have an expectation of connectivity they have a expectation of the quality of that connection.

Media

Many of the parents of this group have large screen TVs – the average size of TVs in American homes in 2012 was about 37″.  Many have multiple TVs.  61% of kids 8-17 have a TV in their bedrooms.  Even with all of this, members of these generations will still sit and watch streaming shows on a laptop (maybe a 15″ screen) or an iPhone (4-5″ screen).  It is baffling.

Social Interactions

Kids these days at a school dance?  Or talked to one of them who claims to be dating another?  With few exceptions, most of their interactions are via digital media not in person.  They are awkward with any personal interaction particularly between the opposite sexes.  Plans for any event are so tenuous they hinge on the interpretation of text messages and frequently change and fall through.  I would wager that there is an increase in kids going to their junior/senior proms without a date.

Together this doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the future.  And I’m not sure what a parent can do to address this.

 

* – Yuk.  I think I just threw up in my mouth….or at least that’s what the hyper-titanium viper sensors indicate.  And no, I’m not a fan of “Her”.

‘Puter Does #SOTU, Hilarity Ensues

‘Puter watched part of President Obama’s State of the Union address last night. Upon seeing Mr. Obama wink knowingly at the assembled Congress, ‘Puter turned off the television. Obama has no respect for the dignity of the office he occupies.

Not having watched Obama’s “too cool for school” delivery, ‘Puter spent the morning sifting through the “as prepared” text of Obama’s address to provide you his thoughts. Obama’s State of the Union Address can be found here.

The president’s speech was an insouciant mélange of progressive fantasies, liberal tropes and policy asks with no hope of enactment. And that’s the best ‘Puter can say about it. President Obama’s speech covered three main areas: the economy/jobs, foreign policy and political unity. ‘Puter will briefly touch on each, and then conclude with some thoughts of his own.

I. Economy

Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?*

Mr. Obama’s economic policies are break-the-bank bad, and would surely punish rather than help the middle class. How can any rational human with any business experience believe radically increasing the minimum wage and forcing businesses to provide seven days of paid sick leave a won’t negatively impact employment? If it costs more to hire employees, fewer employees will be hired and prices will rise.

‘Puter also marveled at the laundry list of new programs Mr. Obama requested: a $3,000 per child, per year child care tax credit; the aforementioned seven days of paid sick leave per year; the recycled and untrue “pay women the same as men” position; a higher minimum wage; free community college; a massive and undefined infrastructure plan; the undefined and scary sounding “Precision Medicine Initiative; free internet for everyone; and last but not least, MOAR GREENE JERBS!!1!

And how is America going to pay for Obama’s Never-Ending, Magically Always Full Gravy Train? With higher taxes on “the rich,” of course. Obama stands in the well of a new Congress, recently elected to stand against and undo the Democrats’ many debacles, and Obama’s got the audacity to propose more taxes. Here Obama stands. He can do no other.

‘Puter’s pretty sure that insulting the newly elected Congress by taunting them with programs and taxes Obama knows darned well Congress will never enact isn’t a way to make friends and influence people. ‘Puter’s also pretty sure Obama doesn’t give a damn

II. Foreign Policy

Will we approach the world fearful and reactive, dragged into costly conflicts that strain our military and set back our standing? Or will we lead wisely, using all elements of our power to defeat new threats and protect our planet?*

Here’s the fundamental unseriousness of Democrats and Obama on foreign policy distilled down to two groovy sentences: “The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.”

Oh. OK.

We’re too dumb to realize it, but the Islamist terrorists running around the Middle East beheading our fellow Americans and destabilizing the entire region aren’t America’s most pressing foreign policy problem. Nor is a revanchist Russia, led by a sociopath bent on restoring the never-were glory days of the Empire, a serious problem, never mind Putin’s little adventure in Ukraine.

It’s global warming that poses an existential threat to America. It’s global warming that demands our military’s full attention. It’s global warming, all day, erry day to these no-talent ass clowns.

It’s seldom a leader commits his country to national suicide, but, hey, Obama’s going to Obama. May God have mercy on our souls.

III. National Unity

Will we allow ourselves to be sorted into factions and turned against one another — or will we recapture the sense of common purpose that has always propelled America forward?*

In the last portion of his BESTIST SPEECH EVAH!!1!eleventy!!!, Obama returns to familiar territory, alleging he is above reproach and it’s those dirty, nasty Republicans who continue to prevent America from becoming the best America it can be.

Barf. This indigestible and spew-worthy rhetoric may excite low information voters and the Democrat base (‘Puter repeats himself), but it’s laughable coming from a man who crammed ObamaCare down the throats of an unwilling nation using parliamentary trickery, thuggish tactics and outright lies without a single Republican vote. Let’s take a gander, shall we?

Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns. Imagine if we did something different.

Understand — a better politics isn’t one where Democrats abandon their agenda or Republicans simply embrace mine.

A better politics is one where we appeal to each other’s basic decency instead of our basest fears.

A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues, and values, and principles, and facts, rather than “gotcha” moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives.

It’s interesting Obama accuses Congress of his own crimes. Obama’s the one who for six years has done nothing different, preferring strong arm tactics to compromise, insisting it’s his way or the highway, pandering to voters’ basest fears to secure election twice and reveling in “gotcha” moments. It’s his stock in trade.

In conclusion, ‘Puter finds Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

* ‘Puter finds these three quotes especially telling. These occur early in Obama’s speech and set up the framework for his discussion. Notably, each of these quotes presents a false choice, another favorite Obama speech device. Our president’s an empty suit, long on rhetorical devices and short on accomplishments.

Michael Moore, Snipers, and America

häyhä

Simo Häyhä (1905–2002), Finnish national hero, and the most prolific sniper in history

Jim Geraghty makes two good, not-mutually-exclusive suppositions about what’s motivating the likes of Michael Moore and Seth Rogan to deride the phenomenally successful and apparently very well-made Chris Kyle bio pic, American Sniper (Clint Eastwood, dir., 2014). I’d like to add two comments—having nothing to do with the film’s qualities, since I haven’t seen it, but one specifically having to do with snipers and the other the culture.

Jude Law as Vasily Grigorievich Zaitsev (1915–1991), in Enemy at the Gates a (great) movie which notably failed to perturb the Left

Jude Law as Vasily Grigoryevich Zaytsev (1915–1991), in Enemy at the Gates a (great) movie which notably failed to perturb the Left

First, while stipulating that Michael Moore is a loathsome, ranine, hypocritical, anti-American clown, I am willing to believe that his claim to have been taught that snipers are “cowards” is in fact true. Much though we celebrate them these days (for which Stephen Hunter should take a lot of credit), it is historically the case that even and sometimes especially within the military, snipers are regarded with suspicion and distaste. Up until recently, most militaries did not maintain permanent sniper training programs, but every time there was a shooting war, they’d find marksmen who could do independent reconnaissance and take out high-value targets, often behind enemy lines, to be so invaluable that they would have to re-establish sniper schools, often from scratch. Their independence made them unattractive to a lot of control-freak officers.

SSGT Adelbert Waldron, U.S. Army (1933–1995), most prolific American sniper in Vietnam

SSGT Adelbert Waldron, U.S. Army (1933–1995), most prolific American sniper in Vietnam

Moreover, within the ranks, snipers were often shunned and treated as bad hoodoo. One reason was the association of sniping with their own potential sudden death out of a blue sky. The other was a little more psychologically complex. Combat is so stressful and so awful, it is necessary to find reasons to justify doing the horrific work of killing other human beings (the most common of which is the preservation of the lives of comrades). It is far easier to justify killing in hot blood in the moment of battle as “having to do it,” “kill or be killed.” The fact that snipers place an individual in their crosshairs, often having observed them for days, and very deliberately pull the trigger is therefore quite disturbing. Unflattering nicknames like “Murder, Incorporated” were hung on sniper teams by their own side. (And of course, enemies’ perceptions are even worse. Particularly successful snipers often have individual bounties placed on their heads, and snipers who are captured can expect to be tortured to death in the most brutal fashion the enemy can imagine to avenge their own previous powerlessness.) Consequently, it’s entirely possible that if Moore did grow up around some former grunts (and he could easily just be lying, of course, given how often and easily he does so), he absorbed a bias against what can seem to be an uncanny, threatening profession.

mawhinney

SGT Chuck Mawhinney, USMC (b. 1949), second-most prolific American sniper in Vietnam

Secondly, as to David French’s “cultural moment” theory mentioned in the Geraghty article, he’s right in that the justness of the American cause and the brutality of our enemies is extraordinarily inconvenient and anxiety-inducing for those Americans who preferred us to lose and who reflexively conceive of us the bad guys. But there’s another phenomenon which those of us old enough to remember the Carter and Reagan years remember. Most Americans don’t want America to suck. We don’t want to lose. We don’t want to be the villain. And our popular culture, sucking on the vulgar Marxism of the academy and the leftism (as distinct from liberalism) of the modern Democratic Party, instinctively makes American power suspect and American institutions corrupt, venal, or wicked. When most everyday Americans, including (or maybe particularly) the apolitical, come across a movie which says, “Hey, we don’t suck. We’re not the bad guy. In fact, this one guy was a boss. And died helping others,” of course we run to it like thirsty people in a desert to an oasis. In the ’70s, everyone up to the president was telling Americans that America sucked. And, beaten down, most people ground their teeth and endured the malaise. But as soon as someone stood up and said, “Hey, we don’t suck. And all this obvious suck around here? It doesn’t have to be that way!” millions rallied to the cause, and our politics, the economy, and the culture all became immensely more optimistic and dynamic.

It’s a fact the likes of Michael Moore will resist until the end of time: people who are not consumed with hatred and discontent have particular and specific loves for their family, their country, their faiths. And given the chance to justifiably celebrate what’s good in them, we will. One hopes that we’ll find someone else in the political sphere able to articulate this and rally Americans again. Because we don’t suck. Because we’re not the bad guys. And because it doesn’t have to be this way.

hathcock

GY SGT Carlos Hathcock, USMC (1942–1999), the most famous (and most feared) American sniper in Vietnam

It’s Easy to Understand Advanced Economics

This is one of those awesome stock photos that savvy economics colums use to look serious. We are using it here in the hopes you think this essay is the result of real research.

Money is a curious thing, and even though the Czar is, modestly, what one might consider “galactically financially independent,” he still worries about cutting corners like the rest of you. For example, many domestic caviars are now just as good as the imported ones, especially when you order it by the tod.

Some money terms are used a lot by the media, and it might benefit some of you lesser mortals to understand what they mean.

Inflation—an increase in monetary supply which has the effect of weakening the dollar, causing an increase in prices without a decrease in buying power. For example, ten years ago, a yard of beer might cost you $6. Because there is more money available now than there was 10 years ago, it might cost you $9 for that same yard of beer. The cost of beer hasn’t gone up: just that the dollar value has weakened.

It’s like this. Let’s say you live on an island with ten other people, and you agree to use the junonia (Google it) as your unit of currency. There happen to be 100 of these on the island. That means the total value of everything on the island is 100 junonia shells. A small item might be worth a thousandth of a junonia; a large item, like a house, might be worth five junonia shells. Make sense?

But let’s say that idiot friend of yours, Jaroslav, finds a cache of 50 more junonia shells. What’s your house worth now? Becuase the monetary suppy has inflated to 150 shells, your expensive house is now worth about 7.5 shells. Costs go up, even though nothing else changed. So while you might think, if you were an islander named Paul Krugman, that you just made a pile of money, everything else has gone up another 50% as well. You’ve made nothing.

Inflation increases the cost without increasing the value. If Jaroslav finds another 50 shells, now your home is priced at double what it was…and you haven’t increased its actual value because a gallon of coconut milk now costs twice what it did.

Deflation—But if we decrease the available money supply, that would be a good thing, right? After all, wouldn’t that have the effect of lowering costs without lowering the intrinsic value of those items?

Over time, some line graphs go up, while others go down. It’s important to understand that all trends may change over time.

Deflation though can be a bad thing right away. If costs go down, so do incomes. An employer doesn’t need to pay Jaroslav as much money, since each time the value of the dollar goes up it’s kind of like a raise for him. Okay, no problem: Jaroslav can live on less money, right?

But what happens if Jaroslav took out a loan for $100,000 a month ago? Now, it’s harder for him to come up with the cash to pay that loan off. As a result, he will be encouraged to default on repaying that money. The bank that loaned him the money will suffer a loss of income right away. The bank has less money coming in.

If the bank offers savings accounts, what happens? The money you have in your account increases in purchasing power, meaning the bank has to pay proportionately more money in interest. So the money the bank pays out to its savings account increases, while the money coming in decreases.

The banks start folding up. And when that happens, the amount of money businesses have to invest and spend goes down. Result? Lots of layoffs. Businesses close from lack of demand. Japan’s economy in the 1990s was hurt by just this problem.

Disinflation—A decrease in the rate of inflation. This is different from deflation, although disinflation often precedes deflation. Disinflation, though, can be good if it means that inflation is slowing down and purchasing power is returning. It can be bad, of course, if it signals a shrinking in the economy.

Pie charts reveal that things often come in different portions, although if you cut a pie like this at even a lousy diner, you’d lose your job.

Reflation—increasing the rate of inflation, which is often used as a way of boosting the economy. Keynes recommends government stimulus as a good example of reflation. Hayek liked reducing taxes as a way of increasing spending.

Subflation—when the cost of the dollar goes under the cost of goods. For example, you buy the DVD for The Crow because it was so much cheaper than the Blu-ray, but then you realize the movie isn’t that good in either format and feel bad about it.
Conflation—if the amount of the money supply increases with the value of the goods. For example, a gallon of milk is worth $3, but then zooms to $6, but the value drops in half so that it remains $3. You wouldn’t even notice. In fact, although this happens all the time, you never notice it at all so it isn’t even worth thinking about.

Exflation—the dollar value drops just after you assess its value. For example, you know how you bought a full tank of gas at $2.25 a gallon, only to see it drop the next day to $2.03 a gallon? You feel exflated.

Rotasubteriflation—when the value of the dollar is thrown under bus.

Interflation—when the value of the dollar stays the same, but the value of the quarter and nickel increase, even though the value of the dime and penny decrease.

Preflation—the value of the dollar goes up just before anything else does. Even though the Czar made this term up, even he can’t think of an example.

Postflation—the opposite of preflation. You figure if you can have preflation, it follows there must be postflation. Your guess is as good as ours.

It’s not uncommon to associate ecnomics with math, requiring calculators, charts, spreadsheets, and pens. Be ready for this, and be certain to stock up on pie charts.

Monoflation—the value of only one dollar goes up out of a bunch.

Heteroflation—nothing, but it sounds really smart. Imagine you, at your next cocktail party, saying something like, “The real concern in the money markets is heteroflation, and its anodyne effect on long-term debt.” Jeez, doesn’t that sound awesome?

Unflation—when you come up with a list of gags, and realize the list has gone on way too long and you better end it right here.

A More Imperfect Union

The Czar seems to have missed this story.

IRS Commissioner Koskinen is complaining that the IRS may not have the staff necessary to process paper tax returns, and that some tax filers may have to wait for extended periods of time to receive their refund (if any).

Uh, isn’t the IRS’s first priority to process tax information? Maybe Koskinen should look at whether his agency’s priorities are assigned to performing their primary task…

…which isn’t restricting the rights of non-liberal PACs or groups, or processing Obamacare paperwork, or conducting microscopic examinations of church finances while bypassing the finances of fake “reverends” such as Sharpton, etc.

No, I haven’t forgotten that Jarrett is telling department and agency heads what to do, when and whether to enforce the law, which regulations are important and which should be ignored, and finding newer and better ways to “organize” the American public. It’s obvious that she’s got her hands on the controls.

Operative BJ

Well, how about this: Operative BJ, sadly, is not making this up.

And why doesn’t IRS Commissioner Koskinen have the necessary staff? Because recent “budget cuts” (read that as GOP Congressional cuts) are causing him all this upset and pain.

And of what do these budget cuts consist? A hiring freeze and elimination of overtime at the IRS.

Now, why would the House of Representatives institute such a freeze? In order to—guess what!—stall the implementation of Obamacare enforcement by the IRS.

So the IRS can’t do its legally mandated job correctly because Republicans voted to delay the IRS in hiring people it presently doesn’t have to do a job unrelated to its legally mandated job.

Know what this sounds like? Union bullshit. “We’re stopping work because you refuse to hire people who haven’t joined our union yet who would work on a project that hasn’t started yet.” And sure enough, here’s Colleen Kelley, head of the National Treasury Employees Union, who independently echoed the commissioner by saying: “Correspondence will continue to pile up and taxpayers will wait longer and longer for a response.” You can guess what agency her union members work at.

So here we have a choice: you can ask yourself if this is all anti-Republican shenanigans caused by petty Democrat pity partiers, or ask yourself if this is typical union racketeering. Not so long ago, the question would be easy to answer. These days, it’s very probably both.

Both FDR and JFK were vehemently opposed to government unions. For the same reason.

This is the reason.

America’s (Self) Destruction Continues Unabated

America is the best country in the world. Just ask an American. We’ll tell you. But America’s currently doing its darndest to squander more than two centuries of exceptionalism.

It’s not America’s nearly embarrassing wealth that makes America great. Nor is it our overwhelming military power.

America’s greatness has, since its inception, lain in its classically liberal traditions and values. From America’s concept of limited, democratically elected government to its enshrinement of individual freedoms, America created the required conditions precedent for its massive success.

Yet today, America’s rapidly tearing down the foundations of its success, and conservatives are every bit as much to blame as liberals. We’ve ignored the Constitution and denied reality for too long.

America’s once-limited government has turned into a writhing, chthonic, multi-tentacled beast of destruction, metastasizing with predictably awful consequences into private lives and private businesses. One need only look as far as ObamaCare or Dodd-Frank for proof. Limited government is dead and gone because no one stood up for it.

Extensive government redistribution programs have made Americans into beggars, and angry ones at that, voting again and again for the politician promising to steal more from their neighbors to give to them. Large numbers of Americans, many over multiple generations, prefer to live off the backs of their neighbors rather than on the sweat of their brow. Our work ethic is damaged, perhaps beyond repair, because Americans succumbed to the false promise of a free lunch.

Colleges and universities have stood the cherished concept of freedom of speech on its head, punishing those who dare speak against the accepted wisdom of modern liberalism’s orthodoxy. Our once great colleges have destroyed themselves, hewing to insipid intellectual fads rather than Truth. And yes, professor, there is a capital-T Truth.

Law enforcement agencies have abandoned the quaint notions of serving and protecting the public, resorting to civil forfeiture and excessive militarization. Due process is an outmoded concept only dead White male oppressors and crazy civil libertarians believe.

Our president refuses to acknowledge reality, claiming the heinous attack on Charlie Hebdo by two Muslim men claiming to have avenged Big Mo the Prophet are not “Islamic extremism.” Educated in America’s “elite” schools and universities, who can blame him? These schools adopted radical moral and cultural relativism as their lodestar, and Obama is the natural result.

And two days ago, scores of Washingtonians cowered on a smoke-filled Metro subway train, meekly obeying orders to stay put, for over 40 minutes until firefighters deigned to mosey in to rescue them. One woman obeyed these counterintuitive orders to her death, such is the power governmental authority holds over the average American’s psyche.

America’s disregard of its foundational principles and its embrace of radical moral and cultural relativism have created the world we have today: meek citizens unwilling to take care of themselves choosing subjugation by weak-willed leaders promising illusory safety unable to tell truth from fiction.

America continues on this course at its mortal peril.