-- editor and columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and contributor to Reason magazine.
Also: Recipient of the 1987 Nobel Prize for Medicine, reigning UFC lightweight champion, and two-time winner of the Pillsbury Bake-Off.
Among his many other awards, Hinkle has received the 1942 Academy Award (the Oscar) for costume design in "How Green Was My Valley"; the Wooten-Murray Fellowship in Gas Dynamics from the University of Edinburgh; designation as "Sexiest Man Alive" from People Magazine (in 2004 and 2009, and he has a good shot at it again next year since he started working out again); the Robert H. Gibbs Jr. Memorial Award for Excellence in Systematic Ichthyology from the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists; and a variety of military service decorations, including a Silver Star for nighttime air combat missions over the Solomon Islands in WWII and a Congressional Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry at Montbrehain, France, in 1918.
Kvelling turns to shvitzing as the veep goes off script:
“Think behind of all that, I bet you 85 percent of those changes, whether it’s in Hollywood or social media are a consequence of Jewish leaders in the industry. The influence is immense, the influence is immense. And, I might add, it is all to the good.”
At least he didn’t praise Jews for being really good with money…
Government, an aggressive and complex multicellular organism, can be found in nearly every region and climate of the planet, including those such as North America where the natural habitat is often inhospitable. In order to thrive in such climates, government has evolved a variety of sophisticated survival strategies. These have enabled it to co-exist with, and often out-compete, other species.
A full examination of these strategies falls beyond the scope of this paper, but a brief summary should suffice to acquaint the lay reader with the more salient ones.
Learned Predator Recognition. Government in the United States has several highly sophisticated means, from satellite surveillance to warrantless wiretapping, to scrutinize its environment for potential threats, both external and internal. The Nixon administration maintained an enemies list. The administration of President Barack Obama developed an “attack watch” website, and its Department of Homeland Security identified veterans returning from Iraq as potential terrorists. And, like the FBI under President Bush, the Justice Department under Obama trolled through the phone logs of national reporters, seeking out potential weaknesses.
Hypertrophy. Size alone confers distinct advantages in the competition for resources and the battle for survival. It is not surprising, therefore, that government grows at a remarkable rate. Consider public education: In 2009, the cost of a K-12 education, per student, exceeded $151,000 – almost three times the amount, after adjusting for inflation, spent per student in 1970. The story is the same for social-welfare spending, which has increased 375 percent in constant dollars since 1965. Even the most fearsome apex predators often are daunted by the prospect of confronting such powerful creatures.
Metastasis.Many government operations are able to permeate the bureaucratic lining and spread to other agencies. The federal government alone operates 33 distinct housing-assistance programs across four different agencies, and 49 job-training programs across eight different agencies. This strategy helps ensure that even if one strain of programs dies off, many others will remain.
Alleopathy.In the competition for finite resources, government has developed various means of inhibiting other organisms. Public school systems have become adept at fending off school-choice proposals, for instance. The Internal Revenue Service also has been used as a weapon. The earliest known occurrence of this in the wild was recorded during the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. President Nixon highly favored this tactic as well. More recently, the Obama administration has targeted tea-party groups and other organizations that “criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution,” according to published accounts.
Crypsis.The simplest way to evade attack is to avoid being detected. Government therefore has several means of remaining unnoticed – principal among them taxpayer withholding. Through withholding, the government is able to feed its voracious appetite without, in many cases, the host organism’s knowledge or awareness.
Thanatosis. Many creatures, including the possum and the hog-nosed snake, feign death to avoid predation. This behavior has been observed in government as well. Programs thought to have been killed off only to spring back to life at a later date include the WWII-era mohair subsidy and the even older federal helium program, originally created to ensure a supply of helium for WWI-era dirigibles. In 2013, The Washington Post reported that the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to continue its operations.
Symbiosis. In many cases government programs have developed mutually beneficial relationships with other organisms that help them to ward off attack. Military systems are particularly adept at this survival technique. The F-22 Raptor program involves more than 1,000 contracting companies in 46 states. Military systems have even developed defenses against attacks from other government colonies. In 2010 the U.S. Army conducted a review of MEADS, the Medium Extended Air Defense System, which found it ill-suited to current defense needs. “Current Army position is: Terminate MEADS,” the Army wrote. Yet according to a 2013 issue of Government Executive, MEADS “is continuing to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in government funding.”
Invasiveness. Constantly seeking out new territory and food sources, government is among the most aggressive of all invasive species. Anti-poverty programs, once designed to ease the plight of the poor, now routinely seek out applicants with incomes of two to four times the federal poverty level. The Affordable Care Act, passed by Congress in 2010, conferred on government the unprecedented power to force Americans to purchase a commercial good independent of any consumer behavior. The U.S. Department of Agriculture proclaims as its goal to “increase participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.” To that end it has adopted a variety of strategies, including a partnership with the Mexican government through which Mexican consulates spread the word that resident aliens can apply for U.S. food stamps without having to answer questions about their immigration status. And in 2013, The Washington Post reported on the experience of federal employee Dillie Nerios in Florida: “It is Nerios’s job to enroll at least 150 seniors for food stamps each month, a quota she usually exceeds.”
CONCLUSION: While a certain amount of government is necessary for the health of any ecosystem, too much can prove devastating. It is important, therefore, to actively monitor and limit government lest it threaten Nature’s delicate balance. However, government’s aggressiveness and highly developed survival mechanisms will make this an arduous task for the foreseeable future.
More than 100 million Americans—one-third of the population—live in poverty or a category called “near poverty.” Yet the stories of the poor and the near poor, the hardships they endure, are rarely told by a media that is owned by a handful of corporations—Viacom, General Electric, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., Clear Channel and Disney. The suffering of the underclass, like the crimes of the power elite, has been rendered invisible.
This would be a great point, if there were even a shred of truth to it. But there isn’t:
“What ever happened to poor people?” asks Katha Pollitt in The Nation. Everybody talks about the middle class these days, she writes, and nobody talks about the poor.
She’s not alone. A few weeks ago radio host Tavis Smiley teamed up with Princeton prof Cornel West for a 16-city “Poverty Tour” whose aim was to “insert the word poverty into the American public sphere (where it rarely appears).” This is a common refrain on the left. If it’s not NPR’s Lynn Neary opining that Hurricane Katrina taught America we had been “ignoring poverty,” it’s The New York Times reminding everyone about America’s “forgotten poor.”
Pollitt wrote her piece shortly after the latest Census Bureau report showed a jump in poverty. Maybe you saw that story. It certainly was hard to miss. It got front-page treatment from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and plenty of other papers, and the equivalent from TV.
Hmmmm. Maybe only the East Coast liberal elite pays any attention to such data. Then again, maybe not. “Census Shows High Poverty Levels in Peoria,” reported the Peoria Journal Star. “More Residents Sinking Into Poverty,” noted the Seattle Times. “SD Children Impacted by Poverty,” reported KDLT News in South Dakota. Those were just some of the more than 2,000 news stories on the Census report.
And yet the myth that America pays no attention to poverty lives on.
On the Daily Beast, you can read about “Women: The Invisible Poor.” “Poverty Rising in America: Where’s the Outrage?” asks Public Radio International, which reports that “the poor have become invisible” and approvingly quotes David Shipler, author of The Working Poor: Invisible in America.
Well, okay. If you want to get all technical about it, maybe the poor are not totally invisible. But they are faceless, right?
Wrong. We know what the poor look like, thanks to “Faces of Poverty” (CNN Money), “The Faces of Poverty” (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel), “Poverty in America: Faces Behind the Figures” (CBS News), “The New Face of Poverty” (USA Today), “New Faces of Poverty in Florida,” (WFTV Orlando), “Faces of Poverty Changing” (Los Angeles Times) and many other efforts to put—you guessed it—a human face on the cold statistics.
And when Americans aren’t reading about poverty statistics or the faces behind the statistics, they often are reading about awareness-raising “Homeless for a Day” projects like those that have taken place in Newark, Orlando, Richmond, Lubbock, Norfolk, Miamisburg, and too many other cities to name.
Americans also can pore over the latest academic study of poverty from Harvard’s Joblessness and Urban Poverty Research Program. And the Stanford Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality. And the Joint Center for Poverty Research at Northwestern and The University of Chicago. And The University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research. And the West Coast Poverty Research Center at the University of Washington. And… .
And yet, we are told, nobody thinks about the poor.
Not long ago The Huffington Post reported that roughly 170,000 U.S. families are living in homeless shelters. Who set up those shelters? Elves? No, countless caring individuals and charitable groups did. There probably isn’t a decent-sized church in America that doesn’t have a program to help the poor. Countless more Americans contribute to secular anti-poverty nonprofits, from well-known ones such as Habitat for Humanity and the Children’s Defense Fund to more obscure ones such as Hopelink and the Food Not Bombs movement.
And still we are told that “nobody cares about the poor.”
The other day Cornel West showed up at the Occupy Wall Street protest with a sign reading, “If only the war on poverty was a real war, then we would actually be putting money into it.” Funny. But the premise is flat-out wrong. In 2009 alone Washington spent $591 billion on means-tested anti-poverty programs. (Others, such as Medicare and Social Security, are not means-tested.) By comparison, 2009 federal appropriations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were $130 billion. Since the War on Poverty began, Americans have shelled out more than $13 trillion to fight it.
They also give a lot of money on top of that. Moreover, as Arthur Brooks found in Who Really Cares, conservatives donate a higher percentage of their income to charity than liberals do. They also donate more time and give blood at higher rates. (Brooks set out to prove otherwise, and couldn’t.)
And yet despite this—despite 122 federal anti-poverty programs and hundreds of nonprofits and thousands of soup kitchens and millions—billions—of voluntary contributions—despite all this, Americans are constantly being lectured about what a cold-hearted, mean-spirited, greedy, selfish bunch they are: “There are still poor people in America, or haven’t you noticed?!” Americans have, and they do a lot about it.
Maybe more liberals should notice that. Perhaps, if they are ever struck by a fit of generosity, they might even say thank you.
First they came for Fox News, and they did not speak out—because they were not Fox News. Then they came for government whistleblowers, and they did not speak out—because they were not government whistleblowers. Then they came for the maker of a YouTube video, and—okay, we know how this story ends. But how did we get here?
Turns out it’s a fairly swift sojourn from a president pushing to “delegitimize” a news organization to threatening criminal prosecution for journalistic activity by a Fox News reporter, James Rosen, to spying on Associated Press reporters. In between, the Obama administration found time to relentlessly persecute government whistleblowers and publicly harass and condemn a private American citizen for expressing his constitutionally protected speech in the form of an anti-Islam YouTube video.
Where were the media when all this began happening? With a few exceptions, they were acting as quiet enablers… .
I can confirm that an intrusion of my computers has been under some investigation on my end for some months but I’m not prepared to make an allegation against a specific entity today as I’ve been patient and methodical about this matter. I need to check with my attorney and CBS to get their recommendations on info we make public.
How did the highly controversial** E.W. Jackson prevail in a field of seven for the Virginia Republican Party’s nomination for lieutenant governor? Here’s his barn-burning speech at the GOP convention.
The First Amendment doesn’t say “Congress shall make no law so long as you apply to the IRS and register under section 501(c)4 of the Internal Revenue Code, but if your ‘major purpose’ under the Federal Election Commission’s regulation is politics, you have to register with the FEC and disclose your donors, and if you are a lobbyist, you have to register and disclose your clients.”
The First Amendment doesn’t say that if a person wants to exercise the rights of speech, assembly, or petition, the person should have to wait months for IRS approval and spend all kinds of money on lawyers and accountants who have expertise in navigating these shoals. It doesn’t say there’s a higher bar for Tea Party groups, or that those groups have to wait longer or supply more information.
What the First Amendment does say is pretty plain: “Congress shall make no law…”
The rest of the document is pretty clear, too. The powers of the Congress and of the President are enumerated. Nowhere among those enumerated powers is the power to demand that individuals disclose their donors, their plans to run for elective office, or their social media posts as a condition of exercising their rights to speech, assembly or petition. And the Ninth Amendment makes clear that “the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
In other words, if people read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, they might realize that the entire elaborate regulatory apparatus that politicians and bureaucrats have erected to limit these rights of speech, assembly, and petition rests on constitutional ice that is thin-to-nonexistent.