Tag: politics

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Lin’s revenge. That thought kept recurring when I first read Flashback, a novel by the inimitable Dan Simmons, published back in 2011. Who is this “Lin” of whom I speak? Lin Zexu: a scholar and law enforcement official in Qing Dynasty-era China, assigned to the city of Guangdong as an imperial commissioner in 1838 to […]

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GOP Presidential Primary Bracket

 

RNC officials are getting nervous about the presidential primary debates. It’s not that the party lacks good candidates, but that it has so many. To date six GOP hopefuls have announced, four have leaked that they will announce, and six have launched exploratory committees. Even more names are being tossed around in the news, prompting Republican officials to hint at limiting the number of debate participants:

A broad consensus is beginning to take hold among Republican party officials that the presidential primary debates shouldn’t include any more than a dozen candidates — despite the fact that there might be as many as 19 declared candidates by the time the primary debates start this August.

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The scenario: You’ve just been given a magic machine.  It has two buttons.  When you press the red button, you get to name the one foolish thing that Republicans could do between now and November 2016 that would be guaranteed to end the most important political alliance–and the magic machine will make sure they won’t do it.  (You get to name the most important alliance–SoCon and FiCon, Con and […]

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Here in Pennsylvania, we figured our state legislature had gerrymandered us out of having any interesting Congressional races until 2020.  In particular, you’d expect Rep. Bill Shuster of the ninth district to be safe.  He’s a Republican in the state’s most Republican district.  He’s chairman of the Transportation committee, following in the footsteps of his father, […]

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On Honor and Shame

 

In 1946, American anthropologist Ruth Benedict wrote a study of Japanese culture. Her landmark work, The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, introduced to the public the concept of “guilt cultures” and “shame cultures.” Her audience was familiar with (American) guilt society, in which personal conscience keeps people voluntarily on the straight and narrow. In contrast, she characterized (Japanese) shame society by the threat of ostracism for the appearance of wrongdoing. It’s a useful analytical distinction. Today, it’s common to see it applied to Muslim vs. Western societal norms.

Where do shame and guilt come from? Both types of societies invoke the idea of honor — but the term means different things in each case. For example, “honor killing” is an oxymoron in the West, but a perfectly coherent idea in tribal cultures. That’s because in shame societies, “honor” means honor of the family, tribe, or group. It is judged by other people. Guilt societies, on the other hand, understand “honor” to mean individual honor before God. It is the root of conscience: What you do in private, too, is witnessed and under scrutiny. In shame cultures, one works to preserve appearances; in guilt culture, one works to preserve the truth.

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Those of us who love Milt Rosenberg’s program did not have to suffer complete withdrawal pangs, thanks to his website and Ricochet. Still, the thought of Professor Rosenberg returning to a live show for two hours each weekday gladdens the heart. Robert Feder has the details on his Chicago Tribune media blog: Preview Open

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As a libertarian, I believe the proper role of government is to deliver the mail, defend the shores and get out of the way. But if the last decade has made anything obvious it’s that even that, apparently, is asking too much. And if government really is the last one in the room to get the joke, the […]

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You might wonder where this phrase comes from–the law of the jungle–which we take to mean, lawlessness spelled out in a fine turn of phrase. Kipling thought otherwise, in fact he makes quite a lot in a book for kids about something serious. Jungle is another name for forest. It is the world in which […]

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Five Proposals For Reforming The TSA

 

Your tax dollars at work.Fourteen years is more than enough time for the so-called services of any government agency to go from “controversial inception”  to an “untouchable entitlement.” No agency exemplifies this quite like the the Department of Homeland Security and its enforcement minions at the TSA.

Why is this so? Much of it is due to the managed expectations of Americans themselves. Far from being resentful, many Americans seem grateful at the FAA’s overturning of its long-overdue ban on such brazenly unpatriotic behavior as reading a Kindle after the plane has left its gate.

No longer is the government the last one in the room to get the joke – that attribute belongs to government’s primary constituency: progressives.

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  “Not because I believe in bigger government – I don’t.” – President Barack Obama, February 24, 2009, address to joint session of Congress Liberals understand that in order to get elected they must pretend to believe that government is the problem. Aren’t we due for a Republican nominee who does the same? Preview Open

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The Perverse Logic of Immigration Politics

 

254375359_f6b69dab13_zPresident Obama supports amnesty for foreigners who are in the United States illegally, as well as their prompt re-categorization as legal permanent residents with access to the full gamut of valuable benefits: Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Obamacare subsidies, in-state college tuition, earned income tax credit payouts, Daylight Saving Time (to bring them out of the shadows), etc. The President selectively refuses to enforce existing immigration laws, and sues the border states to stop them enforcing laws that he will not. He establishes a program of expedited resettlement for minors from the poorest and most dysfunctional states of Central America into U.S. communities. The President does all this administratively, thwarting Congressional oversight, and frustrating state and congressional attempts to ascertain where migrants are being held and resettled. He loudly advertises these policies to our southern neighbors, directly precipitating a massive humanitarian border crisis and ensuring its chronic repetition. Meanwhile, his nominee for Attorney General states in her confirmation hearing that she supports the right of illegal immigrants to freely compete with Americans in the labor market. This is not Alice in Wonderland – it’s the United States in 2015. Or, in the words of one David Mamet character, “the United States of Kiss My [Expletive].”

These executive actions amount to a de facto open borders immigration policy, specifically favoring the lowest of low-skill populations in the hemisphere. Yet this policy enjoys nearly unanimous support from the president’s party. It’s almost as though the Democrats see political advantage in deliberately ginning up an immigration catastrophe.

Why are Democrats unanimously bending over backwards in support of a policy that is unpopular, unlawful, and manifestly harmful to one of its core constituencies? Given that the party pretends to champion those most at risk from this policy, the degree of unanimity is surprising. But in fact the strategy makes sense for a number of reasons.