Wednesday, December 29, 2010
"A conservative encounters an elitist liberal. A pleasant conversation ensues. This is that conversation."
The flat delivery of xtranormal's animated characters makes it that much more fun. Enjoy!
Sunday, December 26, 2010
New York, I love you — but I can’t make the math work.
Like lots of media professionals (and fashion mavens, artists, musicians, et al.), I’ve penciled out the numbers for what it would mean to take a job in New York City. There’s barely enough room on the back of the envelope for subtracting the double-dose income tax hit from the city and state, and that’s before even adjusting for cost of living.
That’s one of the reasons I’m in Dallas. You know, Texas, the state that parlayed this year’s census data into four new House seats — pinching the two lost by the Empire State — because people actually want to live here.
Lots of Texas professionals love New York this way: fly in for $200 round trip, suck down the city’s beefy marrow of culture for a weekend and jet back to live cheap and pay no income tax. It’s all the pleasure and we keep our treasure.
This isn't really a surprise. Texas acts as a tax haven from socialist hellhole states like New York. State/city income tax is the reason why Rush Limbaugh left NY for Florida. But the problem comes at the end of that assessment by Torbenson. Torbenson's idea of "beefy marrow of culture" is the kind of narrow-mindedness that's very easily illustrated.
The state still has its issues. When you have no income tax, property and sales taxes have to make up the revenue gap, and they’re pretty steep. And try not to be poor down here because the Texas approach to a social safety net can be summed up as “Meh.” Texas spends less per capita on social services than virtually any state.
The income gap here makes Texas look more like Mexico in some ways than the rest of the country, though New York is no stranger to wealth excess contrasted with subsistence living. Texas has led the country in the percentage of people lacking health care, teenage pregnancy rates and drags the bottom on educational attainment. Political discourse here remains whether Democrats are socialists or simply traitors.
Here is where Torbenson illustrates that he doesn't understand Texas at all, and should go back to NYC where he belongs.
Sales tax is not steep. 6.25% is not steep. There is no sales tax on food. That makes it much, much easier to be poor. Plus, unlike his beloved NYC, we in Texas have grocery stores and supermarkets and local markets down here - you don't have to eat out just to eat, as in NYC. NYC's sales tax, by comparison, is 8.875%.
Property tax is higher in Texas than some places because... guess what? Wealthy folks own property. To be among the "landed classes" has for millenia been one of the striving forces of people, and an indication that one is well-to-do. And if you pay a little more to own the land, well, that's just how it is. You can afford a home. Suck it up.
No one who's making $20K a year is going to feel it anywhere near as much in their pocket, though it will be passed on slightly from the landlord. The landlord, meanwhile, benefits from low sales tax and no income tax... which is why an apartment in Texas rents for $500 instead of $5000.
As a counterpoint to Mr. Torbenson - if he can come up with a way to cut property taxes and still run the state, let him run for governor. Debra Medina ran on the idea of cutting property taxes. While she had faults that led to her failure in the governor's race, the idea of changing property taxes may have some merit. Of course, this would, by all definitions, be an explicit endorsement of the landed classes - and while it would benefit those who don't own land as well - it'd require a lot more than just a whining New Yorker complaining about his rates to change.
The next thing on Torbenson's litany of complaints about his new home state is the lack of social services. Being the daft New Yorker that he is, perhaps he needs a reminder of what "social services" means:
High per-capita spending means HANDOUTS. Handouts are best summed up by on of my favorite Democrats, Grover Cleveland.
"Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character. . . . "
This applies at the state/local level, too. Give handouts, and you end up with professional recipients waiting in line to be given their "due" for being poor. And where does that money come from? Someone's "stash"? No, Mr. Torbenson, it comes from citizens. It comes from the higher taxes that you and your ilk are trying to run from. Vice President Joe "Foot-in-mouth" Biden says it's patriotic to pay taxes. He says those taxes are put back in the pockets of middle-class Americans.
Mr Torbenson, why are you running from your obligations to give money to middle class New Yorkers?
The income gap doesn't make Texas look like Mexico. Mexico looks like Mexico, where the rich live in walled enclaves. Texans enjoy a basic human right that Mexicans do not. Self-defense.
Do not underestimate this. There may be great wealth disparity in Texas, but so what? The vaquero riding a ranch in west Texas or the bubba slopping hogs in east Texas all share the same protection under the law, and are all afforded the ability to defend themselves against predation. Their basic security is ensured by Texas law. Their ability to earn and improve their lot is limited only by their own potential. Their right of self defense isn't limited by connections to the mayor or governor, as in New York.
Mr. Torbenson, you fail to understand the most basic elements of human living. People in Texas can be secure in their homes and their property moreso than any New Yorker.
Texas shares a border with a third world nation that's rapidly descending into anarchy, and plays host to a few sanctuary cities that invite in third world aliens. Austin is a major offender in this category. That by itself increases the teenage pregnancy rate and the rate of people in the state without health care.
Political discourse in Texas does often consist of whether Democrats are socialists or traitors because we look at what they do. When you live on the border, you see the criminal aliens that sneak across (or are caught) and you see the effects of illegal aliens invading the country.
You also see this:
“I have only one loyalty,” he says, “and that’s to the immigrant community.”
Make no mistake - he's not talking about the legal immigrant community from India or Sweden or Laos or Japan or Bangladesh or Egypt. He's talking about illegal aliens, primarily from Mexico.
His "one loyalty" isn't to his constituency. It isn't to his oath of office. It's to these guys:
Remember this... just last week?
Democrat Congressman Luis Gutierrez IS a traitor. And a socialist. Yes, a socialist.
Mr. Torbenson doesn't understand the concept of a social safety net, either. A social safety net, to a socialist leftist who lives in NYC (even if you write for the NY Post, you're probably more socialist/leftist than you are constitutionalist), means the government's gun is put up against your head and taxes are taken to be redistributed.
A social safety net, to folks in Texas, means that when your neighbor, friend, family member or fellow church parishoner or coworker or whoever needs some help - you have more of your own wealth to offer it. Culturally, you don't go begging for the government to shove a pistol in someone else's face and take their money for your "safety net". Your neighbor, or your friend, or your fellow parishoner or your relative helps you out. You aren't conditioned by the nanny state government to beg for handouts, so your social net knows when you need help, you need it. Or if you cry wolf, they ignore you, and you get nowhere - and you stop crying wolf and get a job.
In a more extreme example - in Boston, people seeing a cop being beaten walk by and don't help. New Yorkers are famous for closing their shades and ignoring a woman being murdered. In Texas, you don't even have to be home for your neighbors to defend you and your property.
Where do you feel safer? A state with a firm self defense mindset, where your physical safety is a priority to state representatives, and your financial and social safety is ensured by loving relatives, friends, coworkers, and the generous spirit of the people you know? Or a state where your "safety net" is doled out by some faceless bureaucrat, sick and tired of the incessant begging at their office?
If you're an illegal alien and burglar, feel free to relocate to New York. They have TVs there, handouts for you, and they won't shoot you - and if they did, they'd go to jail and you'd get to sue them.
Mr. Torbenson, in the Rockies, there's a term. It's called "aspenification".
It's when a good town is overrun with aliens. Not the illegal alien kind. The kind of aliens that come from California. Usually they're running from something - high taxation due to idiotic social programs, crime caused by their social programs and gun control that disarmed all the non-criminals, that kind of thing. The town is taken over by rich people (typically from California) who are socially insulated by their position and their ability to just flit about from coast to coast. They don't understand what happens around them because they're wealthy enough to avoid any ramifications. So they simply move again, and ruin another small town.
In the Rockies, they typically come in and overtax the local government and drive out all the previous residents. Then they wonder why their city collapses on them in a rush of insane living expenses, taxes, and absurd laws and regulations. Basically, they bring their own big-city baggage with them and inflict it on the new town.
The newcomers don't want to assimilate into the small town. They resent the small town because it's prosperous. They want to change their new home into their old one - and they don't understand that the reasons the new town is BETTER than their old home is because of all the bullshit they inflict on it.
In Texas, there's a term for people who aren't from Texas. It's used elsewhere in the old South, though Texans strangely even use it to refer to folks from the old South. Yankees. It has to do with newcomers. Newcomers who come to stay are called Damn Yankees. Those who don't assimilate to Texas culture and understand that the things that Texas does are for a reason* earn the name - and it's no term of endearment. Also in the old South, they're referred to as Goddamn Yankees.**
Again I recall Thomas Sowell:
"For the anointed, traditions are likely to be seen as the dead hand of the past, relics of a less enlightened age, and not as the distilled experience of millions who faced similar human vicissitudes before."
*For example: I used to live in a state with huge tracts of Forest Service and BLM land. Quite often really nice for that state, but it doesn't work in Texas. And I wouldn't want it, nor push for it, in Texas. That's just not how it works in Texas.
**In the bible belt, that's no small curse, either, though it may be lost on the philistines who populate Gotham and use "f*** you!" as a greeting - the "New York hello".
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Whittle wraps up the series, and hopefully those who've watched it have gotten a little more insight - possibly into their own views and how to express them.
Folks used to statistics will note that his comparison of "science units" is not done per capita, as the other nations listed are smaller. Were it done per capita (rounding to nearest million in both cases) it would look like this:
UK:______.29 science units/person (18 million science units/61 million population)
Italy:_____.11 (7mil/60mil pop)
Considering the VAST size of the US population, that's pretty darned decent. Couple it with the fact that the UK benefits from many very well established science centers, and that Canada has no small benefit from being a partner to both the US and UK, it's not too much of a surprise that per capita, the UK and Canada are doing very well. And good for them - but by no means is their prosperity an indictment of the fact that the US is the shining beacon of science by volume, and a very strong third per capita. That the US, with a vast population to offset in per capita comparison, still eclipses other nations is perhaps a greater support of Whittle's point of American exceptionalism in science endeavors.
Now, there are other reasons for this as well that Whittle hit on in earlier videos. One is the rule of law. Individuals who discover or invent something are probably going to have their patents, inventions, or ideas respected. Discovery and invention are generally rewarded through prosperity, and only rarely thwarted by intellectual theives or seizure by the state.
Consider Mikhael. He invented a product that's used worldwide, was adopted by his own government, and is so famous and iconic as to be recognized immediately. You probably know his last name already, and undoubtedly the initials his invention is known by.
Did he earn anything from it the way an engineer in the US would have? He received a lot of medals, promotions, and state handouts, but nothing along the lines of what a US inventor would receive for such a prolific creation - with about 100 million units worldwide. If he were selling records, it'd be a decuple diamond album, topped only by another Michael. Except a record cost about thirty to fifty times less.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
There's a huge difference between legal and illegal immigration, and Whittle makes that pretty clear. For those concerned about the illegal immigration and criminal enterprises on the southern border, I suggest these internet news sites:
Both of these sites will keep you up to speed on what the bi-coastal leftist ruling class media doesn't bother to show. Be advised, both sites sometimes feature graphic material concerning the massacres, beheadings and murders that take place along the border and into Mexico.
For folks who live considerably north of the border, and whose interaction with illegal aliens is one of hiring a day laborer, or some other innocuous, seemingly innocent activity, consider that people whose backgrounds have never been looked into could be former child soldiers from the Salvadoran civil war. Your 40 year old gardener may have been the leader of a death squad for either the leftist guerillas or the Salvadoran government. The day laborer at your house may have left Mexico because he was running from the law in Mexico. The guy at the Chinese restaurant here illegally may have been sent across in a shipping container, and he's working until his sister's debt is paid off - while she works as a "masseuse"/prostitute and her papers are held by the smuggler.
ICE has been apprehending record numbers of criminal illegal aliens this year.
Criminal illegal aliens being given a pass within the US is more the rule than the exception. While anecdotal, the story of the feds releasing an illegal alien from Bolivia who killed a nun is standard operating procedure across much of the nation.
And that's not even getting into the illegal alien criminal gangs.
One more anecdote: a mutual friend of JBH and mine recently was doing a ridealong with a state trooper in a north midwestern state. They were riding in an unmarked police vehicle, and another vehicle approached them, wanting to race. The state trooper told our friend that he'd wait until the racing vehicle hit a high enough speed to take him to jail to pull him over. When the speeds reached over 100 mph, the trooper turned on his lights and pulled over the racer. The racer was an illegal alien, and was released. Not arrested and released - just released - as in "Have a nice day, sir."
The reason? That northern midwestern state is a sanctuary state. Orders from the state capital to the state police tell them to leave illegal aliens alone.
Think it's an exaggeration? Remember Massachussetts state representative Democrat Mike Moran - being hit by an illegal alien?
It's commonplace. Illegal aliens can commit crimes with impunity. And that's not even getting into the effects of a massive influx of cheap labor that depletes the job pool available to US citizens.
The republicans want cheap labor, and the democrats want cheap labor and to give handouts and make a perpetual voting bloc based on ethnic identity. Republicans are simply cheap stupid opportunists, and democrats are conniving, slithering, racist opportunists.
Tea Partiers want the rule of law, not rule by the whims of whatever political power is in charge.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
We see natural law revisited here. If it's yours, it's yours - and your property is your right - and your right to defend. No legitimate government can take away the right to property. Indeed, original phrase used by the founders was "life, liberty and pursuit of property". If it's yours, it's yours - be it your home, your house, your car, your labor, your wealth or your body.
Just today, I stumbled across this essay: Violence Is Golden. It's a very direct assessment of how society works, and how violence works. It's a more elaborate version of Robert Heinlein's explanation in Starship Troopers via Sgt Zim of the application of force.
It's something that, like Whittle says, most conservative/Tea Party/traditionalist types instinctively understand. It's not something that needs to be elaborated on to be understood - but it's worth it to examine beliefs anyway. For most folks, Oleg Volk's posters are simply direct, visual statements of common sense. Through examining these beliefs, it makes it easier to convey them to those who don't understand - those who fear firearms and place their blind trust unwisely in the monopoly of force that the state controls.
For the not-super-rich city dweller, the modest suburbanite, or the rural resident of whatever means, physical security is a real concern - even against tyrannical government.
For people who've been victimized on a massive scale - they know what gun control really means firsthand. It isn't a myth, it isn't a "can't happen here", and no amount of "we live in a good neighborhood" or "we have laws against that" means a damn thing. They know that violence exists - sometimes in the form of common thugs, but more often in the form of tyranny.
And that line of defense is just part of beauty of the Second Amendment. The Founders knew a way to prevent tyranny, oppression, and crime (which is just tyranny or oppression on the personal scale). And they knew that the more of it we exercise, the fewer rights we have trampled - the freer we are, and the safer we are. The greater that defense, the greater the deterrence against oppressors.
No freeman should ever be disbarred the use of arms.
For those unconvinced, I suggest exploring Oleg Volk's site: A Human Right. It's also a good site to explore your own opinions on the Second Amendment, as well as something to show to others who may not have the frame of reference to understand.
Also, since it's fun and informative and persuasive, check out Penn & Teller skewering Gun Control.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Natural law means the right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.
Political law means that the "authorities" decide you need to be have your limbs fettered and bound because you might swing your fists.
John Locke wrote much about Natural Law in his Second Treatise of Government, and he starts by addressing man kind in a condition of nature - wherein man is free, and left to his own devices. There is no government to determine what an individual can or cannot do - his actions are subject only to the limitations of the individual's imagination and capability. In a state of perfect freedom, an individual is subject only to the triumphs and tragedies and vicissitudes of life. Government exists as a compact between indivuduals to provide for mutual safety and improvment.
Often times, once government has established itself as a power, be it the tribal chief, the invading warlord, or the gerrymandered-district eternal senator; the government as an institution is simply a tool of power for a tyrant - not a tool for groups of individuals to provide for their common defense and well-being.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
Governments exist by the consent of the governed, and are rejected by those who are governed, but no longer wish to be. Contracts exist by consent of those involved, and are to be honored.
Government existing at the behest of the governors - the ruling class - is tyranny.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
It's worth it to follow this up with Francisco D'Anconia's money speech from Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. In part:
"If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose--because it contains all the others--the fact that they were the people who created the phrase 'to make money.' No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity--to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created. The words 'to make money' hold the essence of human morality."
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
SO, these folks have built themselves an iPhone called the patriotapp. Here's what they say about it:
"...the word's first iPhone application that empower citizens to assist government agencies in creating safer, cleaner, and more efficient communities.... This app was founded on the belief that citizens can provide the most sophisticated and broad network of eyes and ears necessary to prevent terrorism, crime, environmental negligence, or other malicious behavior."
This is downright scary, this application is capable of letting a person take photos and send those photos along with a write-up to various government agencies including FBI, EPA, GAO, and CDC. this sure smacks of the DHS's "If you see something, say something," campaign, which now is at your local Wal-Mart store.
The website states the applications several uses:
- Enable citizens to record and communicate the following:
- National Security
- Suspicious Activities
- Government Waste
- Environmental Crime or possible violations
- White Collar Crime
- Workplace Harassment
- Discrimination, or other violations
- Public Health Concerns
This basically is another way for the government to build information on the citizens they are supposed to be protecting. The potential for this application to be misused is exponential. People will be turning the neighbors in for blocking each other's drive ways, playing their music too loud, or collecting information for the government, such as how many guns a guy sees his neighbor with. This app gives people the incentive to actually spy on their neighbors.
On the other hand, however, this touted as a new 911 service that can help the authorities respond even faster with better information. But at what cost? How many potential resources could be wasted when a neighbor gets upset at another and decides to send that message to the FBI or DHS? Is this app going to solve problems or cause new ones.
Lets not forget we have folks calling 911 to complain about their fast food.
- Anticitizen One: PatriotApp Turns iOS Users Into Walking, Talking Eyes & Ears Of Various Government Agencies (crunchgear.com)
- Controversial PatriotApp lets citizens alert feds (msnbc.msn.com)
- iPhone Snitch Network Launched (musicians4freedom.com)
- PatriotApp creates a high-tech snitch network (panasianbiz.com)
A few minutes to gain valuable insight into the why. It may be a "why" that many of us already intuitively know, but to examine one's own beliefs is always worthwhile.
Thomas Sowell offers this quote about traditions from his book "The Vision of the Anointed":
"For the anointed, traditions are likely to be seen as the dead hand of the past, relics of a less enlightened age, and not as the distilled experience of millions who faced similar human vicissitudes before."
Sowell's statement, in conjunction with Whittle's explanations, is much of the reason why social and fiscal conservatism so often find themselves represented by the same individuals. The basis for much of the thinking - that individual experiences have given people decades, centuries, or millenia of good choices - remains the same, and to disregard either social conservatism (traditionalism) or fiscal conservatism without good cause, or because of elitist mandate, is foolish. It assumes that the financial or social engineer (whether to stricter or looser policies of society or finance) alone has a better idea - and the elitist engineer must therefore direct society.
The non-elitist who believes they have a better way puts forth his new ideas as an invention, which is adopted by society if it's good, and ignored or rejected by society if it is not.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. And if someone thinks they can do better - they can prove it themselves.