Thursday, June 29, 2017

Star Parker Is A Star and One Of My Hero's. President Tweety Bird. O'Rourke A Must Read.

“Fake news.” In the past year you’ve probably heard those two words more times than you can count. But what exactly is fake news? And is CNN involved, as President Trump famously charged? In this video, novelist Andrew Klavan, host of The Andrew Klavan Show, defines fake news, and explains how outlets like NBC, ABC, CBS, and The New York Times (the list goes on) became fake news machines. Click here to watch the video.

As for myself, I believe fake news is something real reporters do because they have a sick  and un-realistic agenda. 

Meanwhile, we have a Tweety Bird for President while Russia challenges us, N Korea challenges us and Iran challenges us.  Seems Trump should be concentrating on how he will respond to these real threats and stop making himself look like an undisciplined fool.

I do not know where the genesis of this pathology of needing to respond to every attack came from but I assume his father was fairly critical of him.  But then I am no psychiatrist.
This was written by Star Parker. Star lifted herself by her boot straps and is a role model for all those who would rather wallow in self-pity and dependency. (See 1 below.)
Peter O'Rourke is one of the most insightful, while being humorous, writers I know of and I am posting his most recent article published in the July 3rd issue of "The Weekly Standard."

This is a must read. (See 2 below.)
1) How We Can Start Taking Back Our Country
By Star Parker

Americans are justifiably frustrated regarding what is going on in Washington, D.C. 

But let's not forget that we elect these folks. We may have a mess, but we can at least be proud that it's our mess.

There is one unique problem. Unlike business, where change can be made quickly, government programs are so hard to change that it is almost a one-way street. It's not so easy to pass new programs, but once they're passed, we're stuck with them, generally, forever.

Sure, technically they can be changed. But when is the last time we saw a major government program scrapped or fundamentally altered? All our major spending programs, all our entitlements, have been with us for at least half a century.

The problem is not just runaway federal spending and debt. It is that so much of that spending is ineffective and inefficient.

Consider spending on anti-poverty programs.

According to the House of Representatives Budget Committee, we spent $799 billion in 2012 on 92 different anti-poverty programs -- one-fifth of the federal budget.

The issue is not just the spending, but its efficacy.

The legacy of all this goes back to President Johnson's declaration in his 1964 State of the Union address of "an unconditional war on poverty."

Johnson said then that the goal of this federal initiative was not just to help those that are in poverty but to "cure it and above all, prevent it."

In that speech, Johnson itemized 13 areas that he wanted address. That legacy has ballooned into these 92 programs we have today.It's not so easy to measure exactly how much has been spent total since 1965, but estimates are as high as $22 trillion. And how does this measure up to Johnson's goal of curing and preventing poverty?

Clearly, it has barely been dented. Yet what is the chance of a major overhaul of all this? I think it is fair to say miniscule.

Let's contrast this with the private sector.

In 1997, Steve Jobs had returned to the company he founded, Apple Inc., as its CEO.

The company was hemorrhaging and estimates were that it was 90 days from bankruptcy.

Jobs assessed the situation, eliminated 70 percent of the company product line, whittling it down to just four products, and eliminated 3,000 jobs.

By the end of that year, Apple lost a billion dollars. By the next year, it turned a $300 million profit and Jobs proceeded to build the most valuable company in the world.

If our 92 different anti-poverty programs, costing $799 billion per year, made up one business with a CEO, there is no doubt there would be a major overhaul.

It seems we are institutionally locked into failure and possibly bankruptcy.

Is there anything we can do?

I have one proposal. Let private citizens at least compete with the government monopoly they themselves have created.

I propose allowing dollar-for-dollar charity tax credits. The nation has magnificent private charities dealing with the problems of the poor. Charities such as Feeding America, Salvation Army, Food for the Poor, Catholic Charities USA, World Vision and many more.

With more resources, they could do much more and innovate.

Let's let private citizens take the initiative for change that clearly won't happen in the public sector.

Dollar-for-dollar tax credits, where individuals would simply subtract their charitable contributions from their federal tax liability, would suck the oxygen out of a wasteful federal government and direct dollars in a productive and useful way to achieve the objectives that these federal programs supposedly exist to address.

Dollar-for-dollar tax credits could be exactly the platform Americans need to take back their country and solve its problems.

I'll be exploring this idea and five other initiatives in an upcoming book on how to fix America's inner cities.

Make Progress Exciting Again

The Big Bang theory of capitalism

French Guiana Ariane­space is the French company that fires off huge rocket ships blasting great big things so far up into the sky that they don’t come down again. Or, to put it in bland corporate language, Ariane­space is the world’s leading commercial satellite launch provider.
And the corporation provided me with an excellent satellite launch. I was invited by my friend Aaron Lewis, Ariane­space’s director of media and government relations and former staffer for congressman Dana Rohrabacher, longtime chair of the House space and aeronautics subcommittee.

Aaron and I—and about 70 engineers, scientists, and executives involved with the rocket and its payload—flew to the Centre Spatial Guyanais, the European spaceport in French Guiana.
At 10 p.m. we went to an elevated viewing platform five kilometers from the launchpad, deep in a cinematically perfect jungle complete with strange bird calls and thick hanging vines. Of course this is French jungle. “Me Tarzan. Toi joli femme de serveuse avec le plat de hors d’oeuvres de foie gras et caviar.”
In the distance, brightly spotlit and towering over the triple canopy rainforest was the massive Ariane 5 launch vehicle. The Ariane 5 is a “full stack,” as rocketeers say. It has a main stage, upper stage, and payload capsule standing nearly 180 feet high, as tall as a 20-story building. This is flanked by a pair of 102-foot solid fuel boosters. The whole thing weighs 1,720,000 pounds (in case you were thinking of getting an Ariane 5 for use around the house).
The countdown began, naturellement in French, dix . . . neuf . . . huit . . . sept . . . six . . . cinq . . . quatre . . .
An earth-bound cumulus cloud enveloped the launchpad. Huge hoses were spraying the rocket engines to dampen the convulsive vibration of lift-off and protect the payload contents from the “spacequake” of almost three million pounds of rocket thrust.
And then . . .
I’ll bet I was the only person on the viewing platform thinking about Adam Smith.
Here, with the Ariane 5, was progress incarnate. Progress is impossible without the three elemental human activities identified by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations: pursuit of self-interest, division of labor, and trade. Therefore progress cannot be made except through the exercise of market freedoms.
The market freedoms may be exercised imperfectly, like my own exercise program. But the triathlon of capitalism must be run, swum, and cycled in some way, shape, or form. Otherwise progress comes to a halt. Venezuela. Cuba. North Korea. Q.E.D.
Ariane­space pursues self-interest. It may have gotten its startup funding with French government and European Space Agency money, but it’s no NASA. Ariane­space was always intended to make money, and it does. More than half of the commercial satellites in orbit today were put there by Ariane­space’s rockets.
Those rockets—the light-payload Vega, the medium-payload Soyuz (a hot-rod version of the Russian launch vehicle), and the heavy-payload Ariane 5—are division of labor perfectly exemplified. An individual could not build a rocket like these, no matter what his wealth or how much time he was allotted.
He’d have to be three Pythagoreans of a mathematician and a hundred kinds of engineer, a physicist-on-wheels faster than those of Stephen Hawking, the sort of computer whiz who’d make Bill Gates call tech support, an electrician, a metallurgist, a welder, a bomb disposal squad (that being what a rocket at blast-off is really doing), and own a very long ladder and be able to count down from ten to one (in French).
As for trade, the launch was a business deal putting two privately owned communications satellites in orbit, one from the American company ViaSat and one from its European competitor Eutelsat. The deal was made by Ariane­space in cooperation with its principal rocket-building contractor Airbus and Airbus’s rival Boeing, which manufactured Viasat’s satellite. The invisible hand of the marketplace doesn’t get much more unseen than what I was looking at.
Progress is made in an amazing fashion. But the Smith­ian principles behind progress seem to be, currently, unfashionable.
Pursuit of self-interest is tweeted away in the White House.
Division of labor remains an undifferentiated muddle in Congress. There are 500-some “key” presidential appointments that need Senate confirmation. As of June 21, 43 appointees had been confirmed.
And opposition to freedom of trade is hot in the Oval Office and the House of Representatives and bothered in the Senate.
Democrats are no better. They’re pursuing self-interest by running off the lemming cliff of leftism, failing to divvy up labor while they all do the same thing—shriek at Trump—and showing furious opposition to market liberties. Charles Murray was chased off the campus of Middlebury College when he attempted to engage in some free trade in ideas.
Progress itself is out of vogue. The food Luddites urge us to eat the locally sourced, organic, pesticide-lacking, GMO-free diet of our ancestors, who had average lifespans of well over 30 years.
Modern transport is rejected in favor of the primitive bicycle. Mature adults wearing Lycra cycling shorts are as barbaric in appearance as naked early Britons painted with woad.
Medical advances are renounced as the public consults the witch doctors of health care insurance instead of the M.D.s of health care treatment.
A regression to naïve child-like thinking marks the concern with “animal rights.” Animals will have rights when animals have responsibilities. I’ll quit shooting birds when birds feel obliged to clean the hood of my car that they’ve soiled. And not “exploiting” animals means letting animals exploit us, as snacks perhaps—the kind the saber-toothed tigers of yore enjoyed.
Due to reactionary hysteria about the invention that did the most to advance civilization—the gun—I’d be severely restricted in my ability to defend myself against a saber-toothed tiger trying to eat me. As it is, in some state and local jurisdictions, gun use is already so limited by law that I’d have to hunt deer by reasoning with them or using kung fu.
And “alternative” sources of energy mean a reversion to the kind of wind power that allowed Ferdinand Magellan to sail around the world in a mere three years. While solar power rebuffs every progressive human accomplishment since Homo erectus discovered how to make fire 600,000 years ago.
The very word “progressive” has been stolen by the savage pagan horde of speech thieves who previously made away with “liberal,” “climate,” “privilege,” “gender,” “inclusion,” “safe space,” and the “trigger warning” I was going to give the saber-toothed tiger.
I blame this lack of progress—or this lack of interest in making any progress—on progress having become boring.
Of course progress wasn’t boring for me at the moment, with the Ariane 5 about to lift off. But I was in an exceptional situation.
Looking around at the unexceptional situations of modern daily life, progress appears to be tedious indeed.
With what excitement and anticipation did people once say, “There’s a machine for that.”
With what apathy and indifference do people now say, “There’s an app for that.”
Imagine a person from even 15 years ago being told that what the future holds is humanity looking at its phone all day.
Here are our contemporary great leaps forward:
The Internet so filled with cinders and slag that searching for information there is as much fun as sifting through the ashes of the Great Library of Alexandria.
GPS giving us directions in the manner of a New Hampshire Yankee farmer leaning on a fence rail and chewing a blade of hay. “Go on down to where old Maude Frick used to live and then turn right at the place where the barn burned down in 1958.”
Uber. If Taxi Driver gets remade it won’t star Robert De Niro and Jodie Foster, it will star Elizabeth Warren in a driverless car.
Driverless cars. What’s next, eaterless meals?
We have the means to binge-watch TV, which, speaking of eaterless meals, is as delightful as our having the means to binge-eat kale.
While wearing earbuds. They’re a sort of reverse hearing aid that block out anything worth listening to. The millennial generation’s motto is “Huh?”
You can hear millennials proclaim their slogan in the proliferation of artisanal coffee shops (although what I really need is a bar) that have replaced brick-and-mortar retail establishments because of Amazon.
Amazon has transformed shopping from a pleasurable excursion and happy social interaction into something more like going into the outhouse with a Sears catalogue to browse and use as Charmin.
Amazon also takes all the sharp, eye-for-a-bargain intelligence out of shopping. But that’s okay because we don’t need real intelligence. We have artificial intelligence—everywhere.
My toaster has a brain. What a way to kick off a gloomy Monday morning—being outsmarted by a toaster.
Then I go to work in an office cubicle rather than an office. Instead of hanging out at the water cooler gossiping, flirting with co-workers, and making sports bets, I’m overwhelmed by big data flooding my personal communication devices.
And I go home, exhausted, to a smart house. It was bad enough when the house contained nothing more than kids who were getting smart with me; now they’ve got the thermostat, the burglar alarm, and the toaster on their side.
Here’s a statistic: In a recent survey the Pew Research Center found that 43 percent of American millennials have a positive opinion of socialism. Only 14 percent of Americans over 65 harbor such a view. But if the progress we’ve seen lately is what passes for progress, who can blame the kids?
I can remember when progress was exciting. My whole family would drive out to the airport just to see jet planes take off and land. I’d get up at 6 a.m. on weekends to watch the test pattern on our new TV, followed by the farm report and Mass for Shut-Ins. Skyscrapers had observation decks on their top floors, not Russian billionaires. The introduction of next year’s new car models was practically a national holiday. H-bombs made for glorious mushroom clouds and fun fallout shelters in which to play “post office” with the neighborhood girls. Sputnik produced an excitement so strong that it led to bizarre behavior. Fourth-grade boys applied themselves to multiplication tables and long division—so besotted were we with the wonders of science. And men landed on the moon. I was a hippie in 1969 and had spent most of the past two years in outer space. But I was riveted by the Apollo 11 news coverage nonetheless.
Even prosaic aspects of progress were exciting. The glass door on the electric dryer put on a good show for a boy used to struggling to keep wet bedsheets out of the dog doo and grass clippings as he hung them on the backyard clothesline. It was all good, including the pain progress brings. A polio shot was a small price to pay for getting an infantile paralysis-panicked mom to finally let me go to the municipal swimming pool and sip from a public drinking fountain.
If we want to avoid a future full of socialists, progressives, Birkenstock-wearing women in pink pussyhats, black-clad men in Guy Fawkes masks, gender-neutral shouters of Resistance!, vegans, PETA members, Middlebury College alums, and other pests who will be starving and begging in what used to be a marketplace but has become an “Occupied” camp . . .
If we want to avoid all that, we must make progress exciting again. We need a “Big Bang theory” of capitalism.
And that was what I was getting, not in theory but in fact, from Ariane 5. Trois . . . deux . . . un . . .
And there was light, “The light of the world,” or as close as mortals can do to radiate it. Vast luminosity reflected from the low cloud cover over French Guiana and night was made day.
I could have read print so small that it would have made for a Moby-Dick pocket edition.
The Ariane seemed still for a moment, like a mother phoenix brooding over her nest of fire. Then the 2,935,000 pounds of thrust took hold. The jungle was perfectly silent for 4.1 seconds, the time it took the sound waves to reach us.
When they did it was like nothing I’ve ever listened to before. The uproar was not so much loud as deep, a swelling, a surging, a rolling more felt than heard. Sound waves are waves. It was a pounding surf of a noise.
The Ariane streaked toward orbit atop an arch of brazen fire supporting the firmament.
But, as Melville said in Moby-Dick, “There is no steady un-retracing progress in this life.” And we wouldn’t call the time we live in the Age of Irony if it lacked the ironic. The progress produced by the communication satellites atop the Ariane 5 is broadband WiFi connections for luxury cruise ships. 

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