BEN WEINGARTEN

Reader. Writer. Thinker. Commentator. Truth Seeker.

Month: August 2015 (Page 2 of 5)

The Progressive Mantra: Never Let a Shooting Go to Waste

Progressive politicians politicize tragedies within 24 hours because the only principle they live by is that of winning and therefore power.

Here’s exhibit #3,689,474 from the particularly shameless Sen. Dick Durbin:

Of course Instapundit was ahead of the curve on this one:

Naturally, not mentioned by Durbin or the president is the fact that the perpetrator of this horrendous double homicide was a black man who wanted to start a race war.

The “national conversation” the Left is having is about guns, because narratives.

Of course one of the poisonous fruits of the Obama presidency is that we are subjected to national lectures on, and hyper-politicization regarding each individual tragedy that can be spun to push a policy objective of the progressive Democratic Party.

 

Featured Image Source: Clash Daily.

Samantha Power’s Shameless But Unsurprising Iran Deal Shilling

Did you know that if America does not release $150 billion to the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, and provide protection for its nuclear infrastructure — among other gifts — that it will hamper America’s ability to “confront global threats?”

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power says it is so, and if the former proponent of boots on the ground in Israel says it, it must be true:

Such tweets follow Samantha Power’s defense of the Iran Deal in Politico, which boils down to the following curious assertion: If America does not do this deal, we will hamstring ourselves when it comes to future matters of foreign policy.

Power says we would be isolating ourselves from the P5+1 nations with whom we negotiated the deal. She writes that the “partners believe that this is a sound deal,” conveniently omitting the fact that two of said partners, the Russians and Chinese, benefit by the strengthening of an Iran that has been at war with the West since 1979. She also neglects to mention that the French were steadfastly opposed to this deal, pounding the table that the terms were too weak during negotiations.

Moroever, Power writes that “We would go from a situation in which Iran is isolated to one in which the United States is isolated,” in the inconceivable scenario in which Congress is able to override a presidential veto.

To this I say:

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ESPN Silenced Curt Schilling, So What Would It Say to This Arab Writer Who Compared Hamas to the Nazis?

According to the invaluable MEMRI, an Arab writer named Majed Hadib recently published an article in a PLO-affiliated publication in which he compared Hamas to Hitler and the Nazis.

In particular, he argues that the terrorist group’s tactics are going to lead those under its control to destruction akin to that of the Germans during WWII:

[Hamas’] measures resemble those taken by Hitler when he sought the permission of the Germans to lead Germany and its people towards years of glory. [However,] Hitler led Germany to collapse and division, after murdering, arresting and oppressing the German people. The laws he passed were meant to protect his regime on the one hand, and on the other hand to rally the people behind him and lead Germany towards the ‘glorious skies,’ as he called it. If Hamas continues to march on his path and try to rally the people around it without any comprehensive and unified national strategy, and under the pretext of letting the resistance win – it will lead our people to doom and to the end of its lengthy historic struggle, which is soaked in the blood of martyrs…

The author continues:

Hamas must understand now, before it is too late, that its adherence to the principle of attempting to eliminate the other, the steps it is taking to silence others, its increasing oppression of Palestinian national forces and of the people of Gaza, the legislation of the so-called ‘Mutual Responsibility [Tax] Laws’[2] and the taxation that preceded them, the restriction of general liberties… and the hobbling of all media that oppose its activity – all this will not cause the Palestinian people to rally behind it. This, because the Palestinian people is not a herd, but rather a people with a national cause [which has shown] creativity throughout its lengthy struggle. The attempts to eliminate the national forces of the Palestinian people or suppress them will not enable Hamas to lead [the Palestinians] to victory and to the establishment of a Palestinian state. Rather, [Hamas will lead them] where Hitler led the German people – namely to defeat and years-long destruction.

He concludes:

… Will Hamas learn a lesson and cease seeing the other components of the people as something that must be uprooted in order to strengthen [itself], under the pretext of ‘resistance’ and of leading the people towards victory? Or will it insist on following in Hitler’s footprints by levying taxes, legislating harsh laws, and taking increased security measures – [which] will lead the people to the brink of disaster and cause it to deteriorate for many years, even decades, has happened to Nazi Germany?

Now I grant that the rationale behind the comparison of Nazi Germany to Hamas-controlled Arab is not the one I would have made.

Hamas seeks the annihilation of the Jewish state of Israel, and I think that pretty much says it all. Not to mention the fact that we could loosely trace Hamas’ ideology to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, one of Hitler’s close allies.

But given the comparison of Hamas to the Nazis, one wonders what ESPN would say.

In the case of current ESPN anchor and former pitching great Curt Schilling, he might have had a more compelling case than this Palestinian author, and his comment was far less pointed.

The image Schilling tweeted, deleted and paid for — with ESPN canceling his telecast assignment for the Little League World Series — made the comparison of Islamic supremacists to Nazis.

(Image Source: Twitter)

(Image Source: Twitter)

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The Ignored Influence of the Iran Lobby on Obama’s Useful Idiots

The incomparable Daniel Greenfield has the story:

Both of Obama’s secretaries of state were involved in Iran Lobby cash controversies, as was his vice president and his former secretary of defense. Obama was also the beneficiary of sizable donations from the Iran Lobby. Akbar Ghahary, the former co-founder of IAPAC, had donated and raised some $50,000 for Obama.

It’s an unprecedented track record that has received very little notice. While the so-called “Israel Lobby” is constantly scrutinized, the fact that key foreign policy positions under Obama are controlled by political figures with troubling ties to an enemy of this country has gone mostly unreported by the mainstream media.

This culture of silence allowed the Iran Lobby to get away with taking out a full-page ad in the New York Times before the Netanyahu speech asking, “Will Congress side with our President or a Foreign Leader?”

Iran’s stooges had taken a break from lobbying for ballistic missiles to play American patriots.

Obama and his allies, Iranian and domestic, have accused opponents of his dirty Iran deal of making “common cause” with that same terror regime and of treason. The ugly truth is that he and his political accomplices were the traitors all along.

Democrats in favor of a deal that will let a terrorist regime go nuclear have taken money from lobbies for that regime. They have broken their oath by taking bribes from a regime whose leaders chant, “Death to America”. Their pretense of examining the deal is nothing more than a hollow charade.

This deal has come down from Iran Lobby influenced politicians like Kerry and is being waved through by members of Congress who have taken money from the Iran Lobby. That is treason plain and simple.

Despite what we are told about its “moderate” leaders, Iran considers itself to be in a state of war with us. Iran and its agents have repeatedly carried out attacks against American soldiers, abducted and tortured to death American officials and have even engaged in attacks on American naval vessels.

Aiding an enemy state in developing nuclear weapons is the worst form of treason imaginable. Helping put weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists is the gravest of crimes.

The Democrats who have approved this deal are turning their party into a party of atom bomb spies.

Those politicians who have taken money from the Iran Lobby and are signing off on a deal that will let Iran go nuclear have engaged in the worst form of treason and committed the gravest of crimes. They must know that they will be held accountable. That when Iran detonates its first bomb, their names will be on it.

But will the Democrats who lavished the world’s largest state sponsor of jihad with billions of dollars, provided cover for its nuclear activities and spat in the eyes of America’s servicemen and women maimed and murdered by Iran and its proxies, along with the craven Republicans who willfully engaged in failure theater, actually pay a price for their treason?

 

Featured Image Source: PBS.

21 Thoughts About The Fed, China, Markets and #BlackMonday 2015

First, if we really are entering a global bear market worldwide, this must be said up front:

The Fatal Conceit aside, here are my 2 Bitcoins worth of thoughts in the wake of today’s market convulsions:

1) People ought to stop thinking The Federal Reserve can drop manna from the heavens.

The Fed is not G-d. It is a group of very mortal central planners who control the cost of money. Unfortunately now, they control so much more, in an attempt to manipulate the prices of financial assets and prop up whole industries.

We should pray for a world in which people’s lives do not hinge on transcripts of Fed minutes.

2) The Fed has zero incentive to raise rates and extricate itself from financial markets.

It will always find an excuse (turbulence in the markets, tepid growth, political uncertainty) to follow the path of least resistance (in this case keeping the Fed Funds rate at 0% ad infinitum). What political reason could it possibly have to allow interest rates and prices to normalize?

Peter Schiff agrees:

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Words Don’t Kill People, But Donald Trump’s Might Incite Hate Crimes

In the annals of logical fallacies, this headline from The Atlantic might take the cake for most egregious in the early goings of this political season:

Atlantic Trump Hate CrimeBecause two thugs with lengthy criminal backgrounds beat up a homeless Hispanic man, one of whom allegedly told cops “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported,” Trump therefore inspired a hate crime?

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99 Things Worth Reading Every Day If You Possibly Could

One question I get asked frequently by friends and colleagues is, “What do you read?”

Without fail, this leaves me fumbling for my phone as I pull up my RSS feeds on Feedly — perhaps a good reflection of the fact that we care more about content these days than brands, plus are incapable of memorizing anything thanks to the moral hazard of smartphones.

Instead of fumbling, I have decided to compile some of my favorite sources into one post that from this point forward I can easily share.

Here are the sources:

Newsletters

1) Ben Domenech’s The Transom
2) Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt
3) Matt Levine’s Money Stuff
4) Omri Ceren’s Email Distribution

Websites

1) Abnormal Returns
2) Ace of Spades HQ
3) Algemeiner
4) Althouse
5) American Thinker
6) Andy McCarthy
7) Ann Coulter
8) Breitbart
9) Business Insider
10) Cafe Hayek
11) Caroline Glick
12) Commentary Magazine
13) Conservative Review
14) ConservativeHQ
15) Daniel Greenfield (FrontpageSultan Knish)
16) Debkafile
17) Diana West
18) Drudge
19) Eli Lake
20) FiveThirtyEight
21) Free Banking
22) Free Republic
23) FT Alphaville
24) Gates of Vienna
25) Gatestone Institute
26) Gateway Pundit
27) Gavin McInnes
28) George F. Will
29) Ginni Thomas
30) Hot Air
31) Instapundit
32) Jeffrey Lord
33) Jihad Watch
34) Johnson’s Russia List
35) Josh Rogin
36) Judicial Watch
37) Kurt Schlichter
38) Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion
39) Lucianne.com
40) Melanie Phillips
41) MEMRI
42) Michelle Malkin
43) Monica Crowley
44) Mosaic Magazine
45) National Review Online
46) New York Sun
47) New York Times Editorial Page
48) New York Times Upshot
49) Noisyroom
50) Pajamas Media
51) Patrick Poole
52) Patterico’s Pontifications
53) POLITICO Magazine
54) Powerline
55) RealClear Books
56) RealClear Markets
57) RealClearPolitics
58) Reason Magazine
59) RedState
60) Richard Epstein
61) Roger Kimball
62) Seeking Alpha
63) Small Wars Journal
64) Spengler
65) Steve Coughlin
66) SteynOnline
67) Tablet Magazine
68) The Altucher Confidential
69) The Big Picture
70) The Daily Caller
71) The Daily Reckoning
72) The Daily Signal
73) The Federalist
74) The Freeman
75) The Hill
76) The Long War Journal
77) The Pragmatic Capitalist
78) The Reformed Broker
79) The Times of Israel
80) The Volokh Conspiracy
81) The Washington Times
82) The Weekly Standard
83) The XX Committee
84) TheBlaze
85) Thomas Sowell
86) Townhall
87) TrevorLoudon
88) Truth Revolt
89) Twitchy
90) Wall Street Journal Editorial Page
91) Walter E. Williams
92) Washington Examiner
93) Washington Free Beacon
94) Watchdog.Org
95) Zero Hedge

The Federal Bureaucracy is So Broken that HUD Helps the One Percent Get Subsidized Housing

Forgive me for using the Occupy rhetoric in the title, but this is rich:

In a recently issued report the agency’s [HUD’s] assigned watchdog reveals that more than 25,000 “overincome” people, including the Nebraska millionaire mentioned above, live in public housing. Nearly half of the overincome public housing tenants around the country earn $10,000 to $70,000 a year more than the limit to qualify for the benefit, the IG found. About 1,200 have exceeded the income max for around a decade and thousands of others for more than a year.

Examples in the report include a family of four in New York City with an annual income of nearly half a million dollars and hundreds of thousands more in rental income from real estate holdings that pays $1,574 a month to live in a government-subsidized apartment. In Los Angeles a family of five that’s lived in public housing for decades made over $200,000 last year and paid only $1,091 a month for a four-bedroom apartment. This is outrageous and violates a HUD rule that states public housing was established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families. [Emphasis Judicial Watch’s]

What do the SJWs of HUD plan on doing about this?

… HUD has no intention of taking action to stop the fraud: “We did not find that HUD and public housing authorities had taken or planned to take sufficient steps to reduce at least the egregious examples of over income families in public housing,” the IG report states. “Therefore, it is reasonable to expect the number of overincome families participating in the program to increase over time.”

Additionally:

… a high-ranking agency official, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Public Housing Milan Ozdinec defends HUD’s policy allowing taxpayers to get fleeced. “There are positive social benefits from having families with varying income levels residing in the same property,” Ozdinec said in a written response to the probe. “Forcing families to leave public housing could impact their ability to maintain employment if they are not able to find suitable housing in the neighborhood. Further, for families with children, it may be more difficult to find affordable child care, and it may impact school-age children’s learning if they are forced to change schools during a school year.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

 

Featured Image Source: Wikipedia.

John Tamny on George Gilder on Information Theory and the Gold Standard

John Tamny is one of the most Hazlitt-ian writers of the modern era — a true treasure when it comes to elucidating free market principles, and in particular making the case for sound money simple. As a brief aside, I had the chance to speak with the RealClear Markets editor and Forbes Political Economy editor about his “Popular Economicshere, a conversation I relished.

So it should could as no surprise that Tamny’s review of prolific writer, futurist and Reagan’s most quoted living economist George Gilder’s new monograph, The 21st Century Case for Gold: A New Information Theory of Money, would contain a wealth of insight.

(Image Source: American Principles Project)

Gilder’s revolutionary application of information theory to economics was presented comprehensively in a 2013 title that deserves more attention than it has received to date, Knowledge and Power. Here’s a handy listicle I published that provides a substantive overview of Gilder’s work.

At its most simple, Gilder argues that information is the key to all economic growth. If it has a clean medium in which to be disseminated — namely an environment in which private property rights are protected, taxes are low and money is sound — we will flourish.

Here is how Gilder puts it:

Entropy is a measure of surprise, disorder, randomness, noise, disequilibrium, and complexity. It is a measure of freedom of choice. Its economic fruits are creativity and profit. Its opposites are predictability, order, low complexity, determinism, equilibrium, and tyranny. Predictability and order are not spontaneous and cannot be left to an invisible hand. It takes a low-entropy carrier (no surprises) to bear high-entropy information (full of surprisal). In capitalism, the predictable carriers are the rule of law, the maintenance of order, the defense of property rights, the reliability and restraint of regulation, the transparency of accounts, the stability of money, the discipline and futurity of family life, and a level of taxation commensurate with a modest and predictable role of government. These low-entropy carriers do not emerge spontaneously. They are the effects of political leadership and sacrifice, prudence and forbearance, wisdom and courage. Sometimes they must be defended by military force. They originated historically in a religious faith in the transcendent order of the universe. They embody a hierarchic principle. It is these low-entropy carriers that enable the high-entropy creations of successful capitalism.

And a bit more:

Economic growth springs not chiefly from incentives—carrots and sticks, rewards and punishments for workers and entrepreneurs. The incentive theory of capitalism allows its critics to depict it as an inhumane scheme of clever manipulation of human needs and hungers scarcely superior to the more benign forms of slavery. Wealth actually springs from the expansion of information and learning, profits and creativity that enhance the human qualities of its beneficiaries as it enriches them. Workers’ learning increasingly compensates for their labor, which imparts knowledge as it extracts work. Joining knowledge and power, capitalism focuses on the entropy of human minds and the benefits of freedom. Thus it is the most humane of all economic systems. [Emphasis mine]

In his RealClearMarkets review of Gilder’s new book on money, Tamny makes four critical points in particular:

1) On the “seen and the unseen” of currency speculation attributable to centrally planned money

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The Mushiness of the Mushy Middle, Quantified

From Politico’s article on how Google can use its search algorithm to control what people see during elections, and thereby manipulate their outcomes:

Republicans, take note: A manipulation on Hillary Clinton’s behalf would be particularly easy for Google to carry out, because of all the demographic groups we have looked at so far, no group has been more vulnerable to SEME—in other words, so blindly trusting of search rankings—than moderate Republicans. In a national experiment we conducted in the United States, we were able to shift a whopping 80 percent of moderate Republicans in any direction we chose just by varying search rankings.

Of course as J. Christian Adams points out in a must-read piece on the Left’s Catalist voter database, Democrats did not seek (or require) moderate support in order to win the presidency in 2012.

 

Featured Image Source: PJMedia/J. Christian Adams.

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