Patterico's Pontifications


On Political Symmetry

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:25 pm

[guest post by JVW]

A word to all of our friends who think that the recent shooting tragedy in Oregon needs to be immediately addressed by federal legislation.

So you are angry that yet again senseless deaths have taken place. You look back on the past several years and wonder how many more mass killings it will take before we wake up to the disgusting slaughter that is going on. You’re worried because in your lifetime you have seen us grow callous and immune to the effects of all this death and destruction, and you know that this sort of thing simply doesn’t go on to nearly this extent in other civilized nations. You are frustrated that local jurisdictions who have attempted to apply common-sense restrictions have been thwarted by courts, including the hyper-partisan and unaccountable Supreme Court. You think that the very clear-cut language in the Constitution has been willfully distorted and stretched to encompass so-called “freedoms” that our Founding Fathers would rightly have rejected.

You know that there is a very wealthy and powerful lobby whose endorsements and fund-raising help sway elections and ensure that candidates with moderate and accommodating views on the subject are defeated. You are sure that they have paid academics and lobbyists to help them come up with phony justifications for why the laws can’t and shouldn’t be changed. And you lament that your friends who are otherwise so grounded and well-meaning seem to be completely out-of-touch with the realities of horrors of this situation based upon their reactionary Facebook posts and their close-mindedness to seeing your side of the argument.

Did it ever occur to you, my gun control friends, that you are going through exactly the same thing that pro-lifers have been going through the past month?


The “Modern Man” vs. A Real Modern Man

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:01 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This week there was a silly bit of absurdity in the Men’s Style Section of the New York Times. Tagged as Self-Help, the piece describes the “Modern Man” in all of his feminized glory:

Being a modern man today is no different than it was a century ago. It’s all about adhering to principle. Sure, fashion, technology and architecture change over time, as do standards of etiquette, not to mention ways of carrying oneself in the public sphere. But the modern man will take the bits from the past that strike him as relevant and blend them with the stuff of today.

Here are a few of the 27 examples of the unattractive and unappealing “modern man”:

When the modern man buys shoes for his spouse, he doesn’t have to ask her sister for the size. And he knows which brands run big or small.

*The modern man uses the proper names for things. For example, he’ll say “helicopter,” not “chopper” like some gauche simpleton.

The modern man has hardwood flooring. His children can detect his mood from the stamp of his Kenneth Cole oxfords.

On occasion, the modern man is the little spoon. Some nights, when he is feeling down or vulnerable, he needs an emotional and physical shield.

Does the modern man have a melon baller? What do you think? How else would the cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew he serves be so uniformly shaped?

**The modern man has no use for a gun. He doesn’t own one, and he never will.

The modern man cries. He cries often.

Oh dear God. Does anyone doubt that the modern man’s melon balls are kept in his wife’s purse, only to be let out when she deems it necessary?

Now, while I realize this is in the fluff section of the NYT and should not to be taken seriously-under any circumstance-it nonetheless speaks to the efforts made by women to remake men into their own idealized image of manliness: softer, less formidable, less aggressive, less of a risk taker, more pliable, more emotional (hence, all that endless crying…) and certainly, a strong sense of guilt and shame for their basic hard-wiring. As we can see by the list, women are winning, especially when considering how closely the modern man resembles a woman… with a penis.

Anyway, it’s pretty hard not to contrast the NYT divorced-from-reality version of the “modern man” with this real-life modern man:

An Army veteran who bravely blocked the door as the Oregon gunman barged into a community college classroom Thursday, then took at least five bullets while pleading that it was his young son’s birthday, is recovering – and being hailed as a hero, according to his family.

Chris Mintz, 30, a North Carolina native who had moved to the Roseburg, Ore., area and is studying at Umpqua Community College to become a fitness trainer, hurled himself against the door in an effort to stop the gunman, identified as Christopher Harper Mercer, from entering. When Mercer, who killed at least nine people and injured at least seven before being killed by police, shot his way inside, hitting Mintz at least three time, the former soldier called out that it was his son Tyrek’s sixth birthday, according to Mintz’s aunt. His plea was rewarded with two more shots, Wanda Mintz told The Daily Beast.

None of the five shots that hit Mintz struck any vital organs, and he is expected to recover. “His vital signs are OK. He’s going to have to learn to walk again,” cousin Ariana Earnhardt told Q13Fox, “but he walked away with his life and that’s more than so many other people did.”

This modern man appears to have remained defiant in the face of our current cultural norms for males. I’m talking about that which is more deeply embedded in men, or at least used to be: the belief in duty to protect fellow-citizens, and the drive to run toward danger rather than run from it. As David French emphatically states: Men have a duty to defend the weak and the vulnerable. Mintz did his duty under the worst possible circumstances. We should all salute him — and pray that we could show similar courage if the worst happens in our own lives. Just recently, we witnessed the heroic acts of other men like Mintz. At one time in our culture, this reaction was a given. However, along with the re-definition of modern men, this once-given inclination also seems to be going by the wayside and in its place, a less risky, more self-serving approved of behavior.

And while it’s quite possible that the courageous Mintz owns a melon-baller and may use it with artistic flair and precision, I’m sure we can all agree that his melon balls have not been confiscated by a woman, nor would they fit in her purse anyway.

On the upside, thanks to the New York Times’ highly informative look at what constitutes the modern man, I was able to learn that I am the proud parent of a “gauche simpleton” who clearly fails the NYT modern man litmus test: Last night, my son who is a Marine, stopped by after having been away at sea for several weeks in preparation for a long deployment. I cringed as he referred to helicopters as “birds” and described the difficulty of squeezing his 6’4″ gear-laden frame into his seat while holding his machine gun between his legs.

Oh, God. *Using an improper term and having a **gun!!!

It’s true, parenting is not for the fainthearted.

I shared the NYT list with him so that he could courageously strive to become a modern man. He grinned, then apologized for being such a disappointment to me. I just hope I can move past it.



Another Foreign Leader Swims Against the Current

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:33 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Dana had a great post yesterday about Benjamin Netanyahu’s magnificent speech at the United Nations. I wanted to draw everyone’s attention to another tour de force from an overseas leader who is not content to happily follow along conventional wisdom from the political/academic/journalistic elite. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán delivered a speech to the Hungarian Parliament in which he lacerated the arrogance of the demands of the EU (led in this case by Germany) for its member-states to accept emigres from throughout the Middle East all the way to South Asia. This speech is 17 minutes long (and it is subtitled in English; click on the Subtitles/CC icon if you don’t see them) but it is a masterpiece of rational thought, careful argument, and assertion of national sovereignty.

If you can’t find time for the full 17 minutes, I want to share with you some highlights:

4:45: “We take the view that it is the most natural thing in the world to want to protect one’s own family. . . . Hungary has been a valued member of the larger European family for a thousand years. It is its historic and moral duty to protect Europe, as Hungary also thereby protects itself.”

5:20: “Thanks to the mass media and the Internet, it is now clear to everyone that Europe is rich, but weak. This is the most dangerous combination possible.”

7:29: “A Europe which requires its half billion citizens to respect its laws is unable to persuade migrants to undergo a simple registration process.”

12:00: “The Hungarian people have decided: the country must be protected.”

14:40: “All 28 member-states should take a share in the protection of the southern borders of Europe. . . . We should not set up refugee campus — or whatever they may be called — within the European Union, but outside of it.”

I want to mention too that throughout his entire speech, Orbán was interrupted exactly once with applause, when he thanked the Hungarian police and military for their efforts 45 seconds into his speech. Contrast that with the awful Presidential addresses to Congress which are scripted so that “spontaneous” applause lines appear approximately every 30 seconds. It’s almost as if these Hungarian legislators are interested in solving problems, not grandstanding for their favored interest groups.

Hat tip to Powerline.


New Podcast Refutes Paul Krugman Every Week

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:48 am

Last night marked the debut of the long-awaited Contra Krugman podcast. The podcast is hosted by Tom Woods and Robert P. Murphy. Tom Woods is a well-known libertarian and best-selling author with a daily podcast I listen to regularly. Murphy is the author of Choice, a summary of Mises’s Human Action which I have been summarizing in a series of posts you can read here. (12 down, just 5 to go. I will finish!)

The idea of the podcast is that they take on Paul Krugman, every single week, and refute his columns and blog posts in an entertaining way. I have already begun listening and have already learned things. More importantly, I have really enjoyed it.

There are three episodes up so far, all of which you can listen to at the Web site for the podcast, Go there, listen, and subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher.

Murphy has been reading Krugman for a long time. He describes reading Krugman as being like playing with a canker sore — it’s annoying, but you can’t stop. And he has been trying to debate Krugman forever. To whet your appetite, I am going to link a video that Murphy did years ago, when he was trying to get Krugman to agree to debate him. Murphy is a very funny guy (he says on podcast #1 that he has been told he is “pretty funny for an economist”) and this video shows the lengths to which Murphy was going to prepare for that debate, which never happened. I laughed out loud at this one.

How many economists do you know who would be willing to put out a video like this?

Obama: This Mass Shooting Is “Something We Should Politicize”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:35 am

President Obama politicized the Oregon mass shooting yesterday. He made it difficult for his hackish supporters to deny he was doing so, telling assembled reporters that gun violence is “something we should politicize.”

Obama did not explain how any particular law would have prevented the shooting yesterday, since basic facts were not known when he spoke — such as whether the gun had been obtained legally, or whether it had been a so-called “assault weapon.” No matter. His was a simplistic argument for a simple-minded audience: it was a shooting, so we need more gun laws. The details of whether any new laws would have actually mattered were irrelevant details, as they always are.

Notably, the fact that the shooting happened in a “gun-free zone” — as these mass shootings almost always do — was not mentioned.

The closest Obama came to making an argument about the efficacy of gun control was to refer to the case of Britain. But as economist Thomas Sowell has noted, gun control laws have never made America safer — even when New York had them and London didn’t:

The few counter-examples offered by gun control zealots do not stand up under scrutiny. Perhaps their strongest talking point is that Britain has stronger gun control laws than the United States and lower murder rates.

But, if you look back through history, you will find that Britain has had a lower murder rate than the United States for more than two centuries – and, for most of that time, the British had no more stringent gun control laws than the United States. Indeed, neither country had stringent gun control for most of that time.

In the middle of the 20th century, you could buy a shotgun in London with no questions asked. New York, which at that time had had the stringent Sullivan Law restricting gun ownership since 1911, still had several times the gun murder rate of London, as well as several times the London murder rate with other weapons.

Neither guns nor gun control was not the reason for the difference in murder rates. People were the difference.

Sometimes it helps to look at trend lines. Truths emerge that you might otherwise have missed.

Meanwhile, early reports said the shooter was singling out Christians:

“[He started] asking people one by one what their religion was. ‘Are you a Christian?’ he would ask them, and if you’re a Christian, stand up. And they would stand up and he said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you are going to see God in just about one second.’ And then he shot and killed them,” Stacy Boylen, whose daughter was wounded at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., told CNN.

Does that sound like a guy who was going to be stopped by a law? Or only by a bullet?


Netanyahu’s Thunderous Silence Speaks Volumes

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:29 pm

[guest post by Dana]

In a powerful address before the U.N. General Assembly today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forcefully rebuked the international body’s silence in the face of the nuclear deal with Iran and the resulting increased security threat to Israel. At one point during his impassioned speech, Netanyahu eloquently drove home his point with 45 seconds of an uncomfortable, deafening silence as he shamed the UN assembly:

Seventy years after the murder of six million Jews, Iran’s rulers promise to destroy my country. Murder my people. And the response from this body, the response from nearly every one of the governments represented here has been absolutely nothing!

Utter silence!

The speech is well worth watching in its entirety. It is standard Netanyahu – authoritative, powerful, and spot-on. Which makes it all the more unfortunate that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, who were in New York for the U.N.meetings, had to miss it because, as coincidence would have it, they were called into a video conference meeting by President Obama. Aside from the nuclear deal itself, when one considers this snub, and that other Big Snub , one might begin to suspect that President Obama is envious of Netanyahu. After all, how else to explain such petty and spiteful behavior?


UCC Shooting 

Filed under: General — JD @ 5:05 pm

[guest post by JD]

There was a shooting at community college gun free zone in Oregon today. The suspect was shot by the police.  It is not know at this time what the reasons were. However, our douchebag President blamed gun owners everywhere, the American public, and Congress for allowing this to happen. In a rare moment of honesty, he admitted to politicizing this shooting before the bodies were room temperature. He praised the Australian gun confiscation laws as a model for us to follow. 

I might just go buy that lever-action Henry .44 that I’ve had my eye on tomorrow. 

On a side note, I just returned from a 2000+ mile Harley trip, by myself. I visited 8 States, ate some awesome local food, stayed in some awful motels, and overall, had an extraordinary time. No mechanicals, great weather, interesting people, spectacular scenery – IN, IL, MO, KS, OK, AR, TN, and KY. 



Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers: Trump and Unemployment

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:48 am

Politi(cized)Fact has a piece that rates a Donald Trump claim about unemployment as “Pants on Fire.” Here’s Trump’s claim:

During the Sept. 28, 2015, media event, Trump described an unemployment rate in the range of 5 percent as “such a phony number.”

“The number isn’t reflective,” he said. “I’ve seen numbers of 24 percent — I actually saw a number of 42 percent unemployment. Forty-two percent.” He continued, “5.3 percent unemployment — that is the biggest joke there is in this country. … The unemployment rate is probably 20 percent, but I will tell you, you have some great economists that will tell you it’s a 30, 32. And the highest I’ve heard so far is 42 percent.”

Note: Trump did not say unemployment was 42%. He said he has seen a number that high.

Of course, 5.3% unemployment is a joke of a number. So has Donald Trump seen a number as high as 42%? Why, it turns out he has! An analysis by David Stockman puts the real unemployment rate at near that number, as Politi(cized)Fact explains:

We asked the Trump campaign for a source of the 42 percent figure, but they didn’t respond. The Fact Checker, however, traced it back to a column by David Stockman, who served as President Ronald Reagan’s budget director.

Stockman calculated that there are currently 210 million Americans between the ages of 16 and 68 — what he calls a “plausible measure of the potential workforce.” If you assume that each of those people is able to hold down a full-time job, he wrote, they would offer a total of 420 billion potential working hours. However, during 2014, Stockman noted, only 240 billion working hours were actually recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If you run the numbers, “the real unemployment rate was 42.9 percent,” Stockman wrote.

Stockman admits that this analysis cannot account for groups such as “non-working wives, students, the disabled, early retirees and coupon clippers.” The number, then, is admittedly not perfect. Politi(cized)Fact’s conclusion: Because Trump did see a 42% (really more like 43%) number, but we don’t like it because it’s not perfect . . . PANTS ON FIRE, BABY!!!!!1!!1!

Politi(cized)Fact claims: “The highest alternative unemployment-rate measure we could come up with that had any credibility was 14.8 percent.” And how do they get there? I’ll tell you.

We started with the 94 million Americans age 16 and up who are not either (1) employed, (2) unemployed, (3) in the military or (4) institutionalized. We then subtracted the number of people who have good reasons not to be working or looking for work.

Let’s look at who they subtract out:

  • Ages 16 to 19. Because being 19 years old is a good reason not to work.
  • Those receiving disability checks. This ignores that NPR did an expose about the explosion of disability claims in recent years (my post about it was here). Has there been an actual increase in disability? No, just in disability claims — because now, if you have back pain, or sleep apnea, or diabetes, or claim depression, you can collect disability — which means millions have moved off the welfare rolls and into this more lucrative form of sponging from the government. Doesn’t mean they necessarily have a good reason not to work.
  • Stay-at-home moms or dads. This might be legit or it might not, but certainly there are people who are unemployed and would prefer to be employed, but have children. Are they all “stay-at-home” moms or dads? This is not explained.

I could go on, but you get the idea: Politi(cized)Fact’s numbers are . . . not perfect.

By their standards, that makes their 14.8% number a lie.

So: Trump claims he saw a 42% number. He did. A number that high has been published by a well-known economist. His number is not perfect, but neither is Politi(cized)Fact’s substitute.

Trump’s claim was true and was nevertheless awarded a “Pants on Fire.”

Patterico’s new “Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers” series hereby rates Politi(cized)Fact’s claim: “You Mother[expletive deleted]s Are Totally Dishonest.”


Putin “Orders” U.S. Fighter Planes Out of Syria, Bombs non-ISIS Opposition

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:31 pm

[guest post by JVW]

As we know, our lead-from-behind President has happily left the mess in Syria (a mess that he partly inherited but largely exacerbated with his own fecklessness) to our new and staunch ally Russia. Now we hear from Fox News that Russia is demanding that U.S. planes stop flying in Syrian airspace.

According to the Jerusalem Post, U.S. officials are said to be ignoring the request, but given the general weakness exhibited by the Obama-Kerry axis, and given their desperation to wash their hands of the whole mess, would it surprise any of us to discover that within a week or so we are no longer conducting flying missions over Syria?

And then just a few hours ago Russia began bombing Syrian opposition parties in the northern part of the state, an area where there are not known to be any ISIS-affiliated parties. In other words, Russia has just made very clear that their top priority is to protect Bashar al-Assad against all parties who would oppose his despotic rule, not just those of the Islamic State. As if delighting in the humiliation of the world’s only remaining superpower (for now), Vladimir Putin has ordered this bombing a mere two days after Barack Obama said this at the United Nations:

Let’s remember how this started. Assad reacted to peaceful protests by escalating repression and killing that, in turn, created the environment for the current strife. And so Assad and his allies cannot simply pacify the broad majority of a population who have been brutalized by chemical weapons and indiscriminate bombing. Yes, realism dictates that compromise will be required to end the fighting and ultimately stamp out ISIL. But realism also requires a managed transition away from Assad and to a new leader, and an inclusive government that recognizes there must be an end to this chaos so that the Syrian people can begin to rebuild.

You can practically hear the chuckling at the Kremlin. Barack Obama will leave office in January 2017 and Bashar al-Assad will still be riding high in Damascus.


Liberal Writer Jonathan Capehart: I Defend Planned Parenthood But Draw The Line At Watching Those Icky Videos

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:06 am

[guest post by Dana]

Jonathan Capehart, political writer at the Washington Post and regular guest on MSNBC, admitted that although he can’t stomach watching the Planned Parenthood videos, he nonetheless supports Planned Parenthood:

Capehart said he couldn’t watch them because “there are some things where I just have to draw the line.”

“I would say, I haven’t seen the videos,” Capehart said on Morning Joe. “The discussion of the videos is disturbing enough.”

“Is that why you haven’t watched them?” fill-in host Nicolle Wallace asked. “You just feel like you have enough information?”

“There are some things where I just have to draw the line, things that I can deal with as a human being,” Capehart said. “I cannot get to the point, though, where I say that Planned Parenthood should be completely defunded. They do so many other things, providing health care to women.”

Capehart added a woman tweeted at him that she was still alive thanks to Planned Parenthood. The BlazeTV’s Amy Holmes told Capehart he should watch the videos, “as we’re discussing this issue,” to decide for himself if he could abide the conduct being discussed.

“We are on the same page on that issue,” he said. “What I’m saying is I then can’t go the next step, like a lot of the Planned Parenthood opponents, and say that Planned Parenthood should be completely defunded.”

If it’s just tissue and blood, what’s the big deal about watching the videos? Wouldn’t a “professional” journalist want to be as fully informed as possible before taking a public stand on an issue?

As I noted last night on Patterico’s post, Gregg Cunningham, founder of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, makes the point when discussing David Daleiden of CMP and the release of the Planned Parenthood videos: “What he has managed to accomplish is to shift the terms of the debate away from choice to a visualization of what is being chosen.”

If you’re going to choose to defend something, it’s good to know precisely what it is that you are defending. Especially in matters of life and death. Courage and honesty, Capehart, courage and honesty.


UPDATE BY PATTERICO: It is always such a delight when I wake up wanting to convey an idea, turn on my computer, and see it already expressed (and powerfully so) by Dana. I add this update only to express my agreement that the “visualization of what is being chosen” is what is central about this discussion. There is debate online about whether the video I described last night of a 17-week-old baby (estimated age) put in a metal bowl to expire was an abortion or not. It doesn’t matter to the larger debate. People can now see what a 17-week-old baby looks like — not just in images or ultrasounds, but after delivery, as it moves around. It looks like a baby. It may not be viable, but it is not “tissue.” It’s a baby. That reality scares a lot of people who don’t want the public to know the truth.

The only other thing I would like to do this morning is link Mollie Hemingway’s guide to the Planned Parenthood videos. In it, she makes a great point: “Planned Parenthood, contra the video, claims to only recoup fixed costs in sale of human organs. They’ve never explained why negotiations would be taking place if that were true.” That is a devastating point that the leftist defenders of Planned Parenthood like Michael Hiltzik do not even try to answer.

UPDATE x2: Thanks to Simon J. for the link to Mollie Hemingway.

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