Obama’s Banana Republic

Charles Krauthammer identifies the lawlessness of the Obama Administration:

“The point is whether a president, charged with faithfully executing the laws that Congress enacts, may create, ignore, suspend and/or amend the law at will. Presidents are arguably permitted to refuse to enforce laws they consider unconstitutional (the basis for so many of George W. Bush’s so-called signing statements). But presidents are forbidden from doing so for reasons of mere policy — the reason for every Obama violation listed above.

Such gross executive usurpation disdains the Constitution. It mocks the separation of powers. And most consequentially, it introduces a fatal instability into law itself. If the law is not what is plainly written, but is whatever the president and his agents decide, what’s left of the law?

The problem is not just uncertain enforcement but the undermining of the very creation of new law. What’s the point of the whole legislative process — of crafting various provisions through give-and-take negotiation — if you cannot rely on the fixity of the final product, on the assurance that the provisions bargained for by both sides will be carried out?

Consider immigration reform, now in gestation. The essence of any deal would be legalization in return for strict border enforcement. If some such legislative compromise is struck, what confidence can anyone have in it — if the president can unilaterally alter whatever (enforcement) provisions he never liked in the first place?

Yet this president is not only untroubled by what he’s doing, but open and rather proud. As he tells cheering crowds on his never-ending campaign-style tours: I am going to do X — and I’m not going to wait for Congress.

That’s caudillo talk. That’s banana republic stuff. In this country, the president is required to win the consent of Congress first.

At stake is not some constitutional curlicue. At stake is whether the laws are the law. And whether presidents get to write their own.”

What is racism?

Best-selling philosopher Ayn Rand on racism:

Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.

Racism claims that the content of a man’s mind (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content) is inherited; that a man’s convictions, values and character are determined before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control. This is the caveman’s version of the doctrine of innate ideas—or of inherited knowledge—which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science. Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of animals, but not between animals and men.

Like every form of determinism, racism invalidates the specific attribute which distinguishes man from all other living species: his rational faculty. Racism negates two aspects of man’s life: reason and choice, or mind and morality, replacing them with chemical predestination. [“Racism,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 126]

Ayn Rand on Racism

Forbes has the entirety of Ayn Rand’s essay “Racism.” Definitely worth a read.

Racism by Ayn Rand

Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.

Racism claims that the content of a man’s mind (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content) is inherited; that a man’s convictions, values and character are determined before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control. This is the caveman’s version of the doctrine of innate ideas—or of inherited knowledge—which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science. Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of animals, but not between animals and men.

Like every form of determinism, racism invalidates the specific attribute which distinguishes man from all other living species: his rational faculty. Racism negates two aspects of man’s life: reason and choice, or mind and morality, replacing them with chemical predestination.

The respectable family that supports worthless relatives or covers up their crimes in order to “protect the family name” (as if the moral stature of one man could be damaged by the actions of another)—the bum who boasts that his great-grandfather was an empire-builder, or the small-town spinster who boasts that her maternal great-uncle was a state senator and her third cousin gave a concert at Carnegie Hall (as if the achievements of one man could rub off on the mediocrity of another)—the parents who search genealogical trees in order to evaluate their prospective sons-in-law—the celebrity who starts his autobiography with a detailed account of his family history—all these are samples of racism, the atavistic manifestations of a doctrine whose full expression is the tribal warfare of prehistorical savages, the wholesale slaughter of Nazi Germany, the atrocities of today’s so-called “newly emerging nations.”

The theory that holds “good blood” or “bad blood” as a moral-intellectual criterion, can lead to nothing but torrents of blood in practice. Brute force is the only avenue of action open to men who regard themselves as mindless aggregates of chemicals.

Read the rest.

New York premiere of the new stage adaptation of Ayn Rand’s novel ANTHEM

Austin Shakes to Bring Stage Adaptation of Ayn Rand’s ANTHEM to Jerome Robbins Theater, Begin. 9/25

Austin Shakespeare will present the New York premiere of the new stage adaptation of Ayn Rand‘s novel ANTHEM. The production directed by Artistic Director, Ann Ciccolella, originated in Austin at the Long Center for the Performing Arts in 2011, where Austin Shakespeare is a resident company. Previews are to begin September 25 at the Baryshnikov Arts Center’s Jerome Robbins Theater in New York City – opening October 4 and running for a ten week run through December 1, 2013

More Guns, Less Crime?

From Richmond Times-Dispatch: Central Virginia:

Gun-related violent crime in Virginia has dropped steadily over the past six years as the sale of firearms has soared to a new record, according to an analysis of state crime data with state records of gun sales. The total number of firearms purchased in Virginia increased 73 percent from 2006 to 2011. When state population increases are factored in, gun purchases per 100,000 Virginians rose 63 percent. But the total number of gun-related violent crimes fell 24 percent over that period, and when adjusted for population, gun-related offenses dropped more than 27 percent, from 79 crimes per 100,000 in 2006 to 57 crimes in 2011.

The numbers appear to contradict a long-running popular narrative that more guns cause more violent crime, said Virginia Commonwealth University professor Thomas R. Baker, who compared Virginia crime data for those years with gun-dealer sales estimates obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

[…] “My opponents are constantly saying, ‘If you got more guns on the street, there’s going to be more crime.’ It all depends on who has the handgun,” Van Cleave said. “As long as it’s going into the hands of people like you or me, there’s not going to be a problem. Criminals are going to continue to get their guns no matter what.”[…]

“From my personal point of view, I would say the data is pretty overwhelming,” said Baker, who is new to VCU and studied under Florida State University professors Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, whose nationally recognized research on guns and homicides in the District of Columbia was cited in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2008 that overturned the district’s handgun ban. “But we’re pretty cautious in the social sciences in talking about causality. We only talk in probabilities.”

The multiple years of data for gun purchases and gun-related crime help strengthen the premise that more gun sales are not leading to an increase in crime. Using what Baker calls the “lag model,” the data show that an increase in gun purchases for one year usually is followed by a decrease in crime the next year.

[…] Gun-control lobbyist Goddard, whose son was wounded during the Virginia Tech massacre five years ago, doesn’t dispute the numbers but questioned their significance.”It’s quite possible that you can sell a whole lot more guns and crime is still going down,” Goddard said. “But is the crime going down because more people are buying guns, or is the crime going down because the crime is going down?”  [Gun-related violent crimes drop as sales soar in Va. –]

So is he saying that guns don’t cause crime, but criminals do?

Matt Damon Makes The Case For Private Schools

From Matt Damon: where did it all go right for the leftwing activist, devoted dad and intelligent action star? | Film | The Guardian

A father of four (three daughters, aged seven, five and three, and a stepdaughter, 15), this summer he is moving his family from New York to Los Angeles, and the challenge of giving them a childhood that remotely resembles the one he enjoyed is about to get even harder.

Choosing a school has already presented a major moral dilemma. “Sending our kids in my family to private school was a big, big, big deal. And it was a giant family discussion. But it was a circular conversation, really, because ultimately we don’t have a choice. I mean, I pay for a private education and I’m trying to get the one that most matches the public education that I had, but that kind of progressive education no longer exists in the public system. It’s unfair.” Damon has campaigned against teachers’ pay being pegged to children’s test results: “So we agitate about those things, and try to change them, and try to change the policy, but you know, it’s a tough one.”

Comments John Nolte:

Actor Matt Damon is a strong supporter of America’s public schools. Just two years ago, the star spoke passionately about the importance of public schools at a Washington DC “Save our Schools” rally. In fact, the actor is so impressed with public school teachers that he has demanded they receive a pay raise. That passion and conviction, however, does not apply to Damon’s own children, who will not be enrolled into the Los Angeles public school system.

[…]

This would probably mark the first time anyone has ever complained that America’s public schools, especially in Los Angeles, aren’t left-wing enough.  [Matt Damon Refuses to Enroll Kids in Los Angeles Public Schools]

The Real War on Black Men…By Other Black Men

Writes Glenn Garvin at MiamiHerald.com

There is no war on black men, at least not by white men. Last year, the Scripps-Howard News Service studied half a million homicide reports and found that killings of black victims by white attackers have actually dropped over the past 30 years, from 4,745 during the 1980s to 4,380 during the first decade of the 2000s. There were nearly twice as many white victims killed by black assailants: 8,503 in the 1980s, and 8,530 in the 2000s. [Zimmerman Trial: Trayvon Martin was not Emmett Till]

According to findings from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National CrimeVictimization Survey (NCVS) and the Federal Bureau ofInvestigation’s (FBI) Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR), Supplementary Homicide Reports:

Blacks were victims of an estimated 805,000 nonfatalviolent crimes and of about 8,000 homicides in 2005. While blacks accounted for 13% of the U.S. population in 2005, they were victims in 15% of all nonfatal violent crimes and nearly half of all homicides. […]

In 2005 nearly half of all homicide victims were black Blacks accounted for 49% of all homicide victims in 2005, according to the FBI’s UCR.Black males accounted for about 52% (or 6,800) of the nearly 13,000 male homicide victims in 2005. Black females made up 35% (or 1,200) of the nearly 3,500 female homicide victims.[…] In 2005 most homicides involving one victim and one offender were intraracial. About 93% of black homicide victims and 85% of white victims in single victim and single offender homicides were murdered by someone of their race. [Black Victims of Violent Crime]

You got that? In the United States, 93% of the black people who were murdered in 2005 were murdered by other people in their beloved “Black community.”

Perhaps this is what prompted Jesse Jackson to say:

“There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery. Then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved…. After all we have been through. Just to think we can’t walk down our own streets, how humiliating.” [Remarks at a meeting of Operation PUSH in Chicago (27 November 1993). Quoted in “Crime: New Frontier – Jesse Jackson Calls It Top Civil-Rights Issue” by Mary A. Johnson, 29 November 1993, Chicago Sun-Times (ellipsis in original).]

So much for “racial profiling.” From an editorial in the Baltimore Sun:

Jesse Jackson has been taking an unusual amount of heat from his fellow African-Americans recently because he has identified black-on-black crime as a major problem in poor communities. The reaction reminds us of the incredulity that greeted the little boy’s observations concerning the emperor’s new clothes. Isn’t it obvious that blacks are the primary victims of crime in poor neighborhoods, and that the brunt of the suffering inflicted by black criminals is borne by other blacks?

In a society with a less troubled racial history than ours, these would be self-evident statements. Because criminality has so often been used in the past to paint all blacks in a negative light, however, frank discussion of the problem has always been an extremely touchy subject. Mr. Jackson has been accused of fueling racist stereotypes.

Yet one of Mr. Jackson’s roles is that of iconoclast. And [Jackson] has performed valuable service by jettisoning the taboo against black leaders talking about black-on-black crime. He knows that the “root causes” of much crime are to be found in poverty, broken families, hopelessness. And his audiences, who are overwhelmingly black, know he is not talking about them when he speaks of the “bad black brothers” who deal drugs, rob and kill. They just want help getting criminals off their streets.

Critics have lambasted Mr. Jackson’s claim that black-on-black violence is the nation’s “number one civil rights problem.” They point out that black criminals don’t target their victims because of their color but because they are vulnerable and close at hand. So how can such crimes possibly be considered a “civil rights” matter? Yet when services — including police protection — in poor black neighborhoods are stretched to the breaking point, when good schools, businesses and jobs are virtually non-existent, when all the elements that make a community viable are lacking, surely that is a human rights issue.

Apparently it is OK to rob, rape and murder someone — just so long as you don’t do it because of their skin color? This is context-dropping “compartmentalization” on steroids. This the result of so-called “civil rights” advocates who deny individual rights.

Ironically, many of Mr. Jackson’s detractors are the same people who subscribe to various theories of a massive white conspiracy to keep blacks down. Perhaps they fear his ideas may deprive them of a convenient scapegoat. Mr. Jackson, however, speaks to the concerns of all decent people, black and white, when he suggests the same moral force that sustained the civil rights movement of the 1960s must now be applied to task of ridding poor communities of lawlessness and terror. If that seems like a revolutionary message in the 1990s, it is only because it has the ring of truth. [Jesse Jackson On Black Crime | Jesse Jackson on crime – Baltimore Sun]

The above was written in 1993. My how have things changed today under the Presidential “leadership” of the great divider.

In Our Hearts We Felt Zimmerman Was Guilty

From Juror says Zimmerman ‘got away with murder’ (USA Today):

The lone minority member of the jury that acquitted George Zimmerman says Zimmerman “got away with murder” in the killing of teenager Trayvon Martin. In an interview with ABC News that aired Thursday evening, the woman identified as Juror B-29 said she feels she owes an apology to Trayvon’s parents over the verdict that touched off protest demonstrations around the country. The juror said the six-member, all-female jury followed Florida law and found the evidence did not warrant a murder conviction. “You can’t put the man in jail even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty,” said the juror.

But, isn’t that precisely what the pro-Trayvon mob demands?

[…] Maddy said she favored convicting Zimmerman of second-degree murder when the jury began its deliberations. “I was the juror that was going to give them the hung jury. I fought to the end,” she said. After nine hours of discussion about the evidence, Maddy said, she concluded there wasn’t enough proof to convict of murder or the lesser charge of manslaughter under Florida state law. She said she “felt confused” because “if a person kills someone, then you get charged for it.”  “But as the law was read to me, if you have no proof that he killed him intentionally, you can’t say he’s guilty,” she added.

Then how does one’s “heart”, i.e., emotions, know that Zimmerman is guilty? Apparently not from any evidence. Aside from the gun shot wound and scuff mark on Trayvon’s fist from bashing Zimmerman’s head into concrete, the 5′ 11″ foot corpse of high school footballer Martin had no other signs of damage; not so with the 5″ 8′ multi-racial, registered Democrat, Zimmerman (his maternal grand-pa is Black) who had lacerations, black eyes, a broken nose and bloody face. The fact is that it was Trayvon — given the actual physical evidence — that initiated physical violence against Zimmerman. Trayvon’s death was tragic. But Zimmerman — and the “system” — is not the one to blame.

She said she has wrestled with whether she made the right decision. “I felt like I let a lot of people down, and I’m thinking to myself, ‘Did I go the right way? Did I go the wrong way?'” she said. She said she owes an apology to the victim’s parents because she feels “I let them down.”

This is the same bigoted mob mentality of the white-skinned racists of the Jim Crow era who would lynch innocent Blacks. The only difference today is that their hoods are not made of white sheets.

Damn the facts — if enough people feel Zimmerman is guilty, then he must be guilty.

 

 

 

 

 

Vicky Harrison: Casualty of the Welfare State

From Job seeker Vicky Harrison commits suicide after she was rejected for 200 jobs | Mail Online:

A bright 21-year-old killed herself after more than 200 unsuccessful job applications.Vicky Harrison had dreamed of a career as a teacher or a television producer, but gave up hope for the future, her family said yesterday. A day after her latest rejection, and on the eve of her fortnightly trip to sign on, she wrote heartbreaking notes to her parents and boyfriend saying ‘I don’t want to be me any more’ and took a huge drug overdose.

[…] Mr Harrison added: ‘I think she was upset that she had no money and she felt she was losing touch with her friends because she couldn’t go
out. She never wanted any charity and that is why she was so desperate for work.

‘What upsets us so much is that there are obviously so many other people in a similar position.’

[…] Critics say Labour policies are creating a ‘lost generation’ of school leavers unable to find employment.

Comments Carl Svanberg:

This tragic story really breaks my heart. Unfortunately, the case of Vicky Harrison is far from unique.

Unemployment tends to make people anxious and depressed. I would, therefore, argue that Vicky Harrison is, in this respect, yet another casualty of the welfare state.

Why? Because the welfare state is the *primary* cause of unemployment. In part, because of all the high taxes required to finance the welfare state. In part, because of minimum wage laws, pushing out the least productive, and laws granting the unions the power to enforce *de facto* minimum wages, pushing out the more productive.

Since these, and other welfare state policies, create unemployment, they also drive desperate, anxious and depressed people into suicide.

If we want a more humane society, a society where people are free to pursue their own lives and happiness, where the government doesn’t stop people from offering and taking jobs, then the welfare state has got to go.

 

The Walmart Approach To Heart Surgery in India Cuts Costs by 98%

India’s Walmart of Heart Surgery Cuts the Cost by 98% – Businessweek

Devi Shetty keeps photographs of Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi on his desk, and he’s obsessed with making cardiac surgery affordable for millions of Indians. But these two facts are not connected. Shetty’s a heart surgeon-turned-businessman who founded a chain of 21 medical centers around India. Every bit the capitalist, he has trimmed costs by buying cheaper scrubs and spurning air-conditioning and other efficiencies. That’s helped cut the price of artery-clearing coronary bypass surgery to 95,000 rupees ($1,555)—half of what it was 20 years ago. He wants to get it down to $800 within a decade. The same procedure costs $106,385 at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic, according to data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

“It shows that costs can be substantially contained,” says Srinath Reddy, president of the Geneva-based World Heart Federation. “It’s possible to deliver very high-quality cardiac care at a relatively low cost.”

Medical experts like Reddy are watching closely to see if Shetty’s severe cost-cutting can serve as a model for making life-saving heart operations more profitable and more accessible to patients in India and other emerging nations. “The current price of everything that you see in health care is predominantly opportunistic pricing and the outcome of inefficiency,” says Shetty, who opened his flagship hospital, Narayana Hrudayalaya Health City, in Bangalore in 2001.

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