Libertarian Hawk


Has Chris Christie Ever Told You About His Executive Experience?

February 10, 2016 By: Libertarian Hawk Category: Elections: 2016

Chris Christie 4To further the argument that Marco Rubio is a mindless robot who repeats the same talking points, Rubio-haters have been mocking him for being repetitive, mocking him for being repetitive, mocking him for being repetitive…

Governor Chris Christie precipitated the attack that led to the robot meme at last weekend’s New Hampshire debate against Rubio by accusing Rubio of not being experienced enough to be president. After establishing that point, Christie mentioned that he was qualified because he was a governor. Then he mentioned that he was qualified because he was a governor, mentioned that he was qualified because he was a governor, mentioned that he was qualified because he was a governor…

(Reminds me of how Rick Perry-bashers responded to his failure to remember the three agencies he wanted to close by failing to remember that they had told their “three things” joke one billion times and that it wasn’t funny anymore.)

Rubio’s much-criticized response was far less repetitive than Christie’s brag, which we’ve heard a million times. And in fact Rubio was precisely answering Christie’s charge, despite Christie’s being too stubborn to comprehend him.

Witness the following condensed, annotated transcript of the exchange:

DAVID MUIR: Governor Christie warn[ed] voters here in New Hampshire against voting for another first-term senator as America did with Barack Obama in 2008. Arguing that you are, quote, “not ready to be president of the United States.”

RUBIO: [L]et’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country…

In other words, it’s not the case that first-term senators categorically don’t have enough experience to govern. Obama got a lot of destructive things done. As another talented first-term senator, I, too, am capable of governing, except that when I lead, I’ll accomplish things that are good for the country.

MUIR: Governor Christie, you said fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me when it comes to electing a first-term senator. You heard Senator Rubio make the case that he does have the experience. Your response?

CHRISTIE: Every morning, when I wake up, I think about what kind of problem do I need to solve… [W]hat we need to have in this country is not to make the same mistake we made eight years ago… [Rubio] simply does not have the experience to be president of the United States… Do not make the same mistake again…

Rubio’s response to Christie, who refused to acknowledge the point Rubio had made, and instead blathered about his gubernatorial experience:

RUBIO: I think the experience is not just what you did, but how it worked out. Under Chris Christie’s governorship of New Jersey, they’ve been downgraded nine times in their credit rating. This country already has a debt problem, we don’t need to add to it…

But I would add this. Let’s dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He is trying to change this country. He wants America to become more like the rest of the world… [W]hen I’m elected president, this will become once again, the single greatest nation in the history of the world, not the disaster Barack Obama has imposed upon us.

Here Rubio introduces the converse of Christie’s charge that only governors are qualified to be president—by arguing that some governors aren’t qualified to be president. He then reiterates the point Christie failed to understand twice: Both Obama and I are capable of accomplishing things, except Obama accomplished things that were destructive—just as you accomplished things that were destructive for New Jersey. When I’m president, I’ll be capable of accomplishing things, despite being a first-term senator, but I’ll accomplish things that are beneficial for the country.

Refusing to get the point a third time, Christie sneered:

CHRISTIE: When you’re president of the United States, when you’re a governor of a state, the memorized 30-second speech where you talk about how great America is at the end of it doesn’t solve one problem… None of [what I’ve had to do] happens on the floor of the United States Senate… [I]t does not prepare you for president of the United States.

To paraphrase: I’m still insisting that senators can’t accomplish things as president, as evidenced by Obama’s failure.

RUBIO: Here’s the bottom line. This notion that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing is just not true. He knows exactly what he’s doing… I think this is an important point. We have to understand what we’re going through here…

All this damage that he’s done to America is deliberate. This is a president that’s trying to redefine this country. That’s why this election is truly a referendum on our identity as a nation, as a people.

Paraphrasing Rubio: You can’t repeat yourself and say governors are, as a class, uniquely qualified to be president and senators are not. Obama is a prime example of a first-term senator who got things—destructive things—done, and as a first-term senator I will accomplish positive things. Are you ever going to get my point?

Why was Christie so insistent in attacking a fellow candidate when he had no chance of winning the nomination himself? Based on his sixth-place showing in the state he was positioning himself to do well in via his attack, I’m guessing it’s because he knew he was about to quit and wanted to burnish his legacy by attacking a candidate about whom Americans are actually enthusiastic.

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The Tyranny of Liberalism

October 14, 2015 By: Libertarian Hawk Category: Gun Control

tyranny 01bThe left loves snickering at conservatives’ contention that the Second Amendment was written to allow citizens to protect themselves against government tyranny. But when a gun rights supporter raises an example of such a case, they become hysterically offended and call him an ignorant crackpot.

In the wake of the recent mass shooting at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon, presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson noted to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that people in gun-free zones are sitting ducks for criminals. Responding to a question about a quote in his recent book, Carson opined that the Jews in Nazi Germany might have been able to defend themselves better against Hitler’s thugs if the dictator hadn’t systematically disarmed them. Carson stated, “I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed.”

The left went crazy and called Carson delusional, ideological, and cold-hearted. Carson refused to retract his statement—dismissing, for example, a complaint from Anti-Defamation League National Director Jonathan Greenblatt as “total foolishness.”

In Carson’s defense, Greenblatt’s response to his statement was, objectively, total foolishness. Greenblatt stated, “The small number of personal firearms available to Germany’s Jews in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state.”

Um, I believe that was precisely Dr. Carson’s point. Carson proposed that if the Jews had been armed properly, they might have been able to take steps to thwart Hitler’s advances. What Germany’s Jews needed wasn’t just a reversal of Hitler’s recent gun control measures, it was a vastly freer gun ownership culture entrenched long before Hitler took office. Had German Jews lived in a country with a centuries-long tradition of respecting gun rights, vigorous exercise of such rights, and a Constitution explicitly granting them the right to bear arms to overthrow tyrants, they might have behaved differently when Hitler’s brownshirts came to confiscate their guns.

In the absence of stronger proof of this point, how can the left nonetheless ascertain that Jews in Nazi Germany wouldn’t have been at least better off with guns? Were Jews safer under Hitler’s strict gun control measures because of their diminished likelihood of dying from an accidental firearm discharge?

And how do liberals explain the rationale for the Fuhrer’s efforts to strip Jews of their ability to defend themselves? Was it just a coincidence that he specifically banned Jews and other groups he wanted to usurp from owning guns?

At the height of World War II, Hitler stated, “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing… [T]he supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty.” What exactly is unclear about Hitler’s statement of intent?

Consider a sampling of 20th-century tyrants who deprived their subjects of arms to weaken their power to resist, then went on to commit genocide:

  • The Ottoman Turkish government abolished private gun ownership in 1911, then murdered over a million Armenians from 1915 to 1917.
  • Stalin abolished private firearm ownership in 1929, then set in motion the slaughter of 20 million anti-Communists between 1929 and 1953.
  • Nazi Germany enacted increasingly strict gun control laws from 1933 to 1938, then killed 13 million Jews, gypsies, and anti-Nazis between 1938 and 1945.
  • The Communist Chinese government instituted gun control in 1935, then killed 20 million anti-Communists over the next few decades.
  • The Ugandan government banned firearms in 1970, then slaughtered 300,000 Christians and political rivals between 1971 and 1979.

Our Founding Fathers didn’t have these 20th-century examples to draw from when drafting the Second Amendment, but they had hundreds of other historical examples to consider. Though mass production of firearms wasn’t widespread in this country until the mid-19th century, historical examples abounded of tyrants subjugating their people by keeping them unable to defend themselves via other methods (e.g., the pharaohs, the Caesars, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan). Even King George began confiscating weapons from American settlers prior to the Revolutionary War to quell attempted uprisings.

So the next time some liberal howls when you claim the Second Amendment was written to defend against government tyranny, cite any of the examples above and ask, “If you had been living under that government, would you have preferred to be armed or unarmed?”

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Democrat-Praising Grammar Checkers Make Foolish Logic Errors

October 07, 2015 By: Libertarian Hawk Category: Elections: 2016

trump-supporters-grammarRecently The Washington Post published a gloating article reporting that Republican presidential supporters make twice as many grammatical mistakes as Democratic supporters and use fewer unique words in social media postings supporting their candidates.

The author, Justin Wm. Moyer, cited an analysis by grammar-checking website Grammarly, which analyzed Republican candidates’ supporters’ grammar in social media after the first GOP debate in August and recently analyzed the Democratic candidates’ supporters as well. Grammarly reports that Republican supporters posting on their candidates’ official Facebook pages from April to August 2015 made an average of 8.7 grammatical mistakes per 1,000 words, whereas Democrats posting from May to August 2015 made only 4.2.

When Grammarly lined up the five Democratic candidates and fourteen Republican candidates (excluding Rick Perry and Scott Walker) from fewest to most errors, they found that every Republican candidate’s supporters performed worse than every Democratic candidate’s supporters except for Carly Fiorina, who was first among Republicans and tied with last-place Democrat Hillary.

Grammarly also reported that Republican supporters used 245 unique words per 1,000 words, compared to Democrats’ 300, and that Republicans used an average of only 32.4 words per comment, compared to Democrats’ 41.8.

This is all very interesting, except that there’s just one little problem: The study has a huge, gaping, blindingly obvious methodological flaw that renders all of its conclusions moot.

Take a look at the Democratic candidates. Note that Lincoln Chafee supporters have the best grammatical record (only 3.1 mistakes per 1,000 words) out of all 19 candidates. Why, Chafee must be a genius—so smart that he’s currently polling at 0.2% in the Democratic race! (That’s a clue to the huge methodological flaw in the study.)

Or take Jim Webb, whose fans have the second-best command of the English language at only 3.4 mistakes per 1,000 words—and who has just 0.8% support in the polls.

Next at only 3.7 mistakes is Bernie Sanders, who has been rising in the polls lately but wasn’t nearly as popular in May through August. During that period, Sanders was polling at only 17.2%—less than a third of Hillary’s support.

Meanwhile, frontrunner Hillary Clinton is the clear frontrunner in supporters’ poor grammar, with 6.3 mistakes per 1,000 words.

There’s a similar inverse relationship between supporters’ use of proper grammar and support in the polls on the GOP side. Carly Fiorina’s supporters were tops in proper grammar use—but during the period Grammarly examined, she had a piddly 2.2% of the vote, a fraction of the third-place share she’s got now. Supporters of Ben Carson, another improbable candidate who’s more than doubled his support in the polls since spring, were next-best at 6.6 mistakes.

Fans of Lindsey Graham and George Pataki, two candidates who had no chance during the period Grammarly examined and still don’t, were next-most-grammatical at 7.2 mistakes each.

Moving down the list, remember when Rand Paul was in second place according to some polls late last spring? Grammarly cited his supporters as among the worst grammar offenders, with 8.4 mistakes per 1,000 words.

But the candidate with the highest level of support, hands-down, since late spring has been Donald Trump—whose supporters just happen to have the highest number of mistakes, hands-down, at 12.6 per 1,000 words.

The correlation between candidates’ share of the vote during the period in question and their supporters’ mean number of mistakes is statistically significant for both Republicans r(13) = .42, p < .05 and Democrats, r(4) = .87, p < .01. (I requested the raw data behind Grammarly’s report so I could dig into the numbers further, but a representative merely forwarded my request to the Marketing Department.)

So why is there such a strong correlation between candidates’ popularity and the number of grammatical mistakes their supporters make? Answer: You have to be a particular type of person to support a fringe candidate with very little general support. Namely, you have to be very interested in politics, read a lot of news to know who the person is, and care enough about the candidate’s particular stances that you’re willing to devote time to supporting him via social media.

In contrast, while there are thoughtful commentators who support the more popular candidates, there are also many… “lowbrow” types whom these high-profile figures inspire on a more visceral level. So while there may be perceptive comments on Trump or Marco Rubio’s sites, there are also a lot of illiterate screeds.

And why is the number of mistakes higher and unique words lower for Republicans than Democrats?

Same reason: Republicans are more excited about voting in the 2016 election than are Democrats. Republicans have 14 candidates, plus 2 who recently dropped out, to rally around. Ask any Republican political junkie whom he favors in 2016, and you’re likely to get a 30-second-long answer offering various forms of praise and qualifications for three or four or five of the candidates. This level of fervor probably translates into a wider, on-average less-educated, swath of the electorate than on the Democratic side. (Would that Grammarly had conducted their analysis in 2008, when voters like Obama Girl and cell phone lady were on the loose.)

But here’s the most pressing question: How can a site that spends so much time correcting other people’s mistakes make such bone-headed errors of math and logic?

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The GOP in 2015: Unified Only In Its Diversity

September 30, 2015 By: Libertarian Hawk Category: Elections: 2016

graphocSelf-described “moderate-conservative” Geoffrey Kabaservice recently warned that Republicans in Congress are entirely too radical: he compared the circumstances surrounding the 114th Congress to those of the Barry Goldwater era, when the GOP presidential candidate and his supporters intransigently refused to give in to Democrats’ demands.

Similarly, former President Clinton advisor Paul Begala recently lamented the radicalization of the Republican Party in Congress, and longed for the good old days when moderate legislators like Senator Bob Dole were around.

How radical is the current GOP-controlled Congress? Let’s see: the House failed to use its power of the purse to defund Obamacare, the Senate failed to exercise its treaty powers to stop President Obama’s deal with Iran, and Congress failed to defund Planned Parenthood over fear of a government shutdown. That tells you how much Republican Congressmen are voting in lockstep on the major issues of the day.

As Nate Silver shows, the ideological gap among Republican members is historically high; the only unity they share is opposition to their Democratic opponents.

Consider the structure of the two parties in Congress. Of the three major Republican caucuses, the libertarian House Liberty Caucus has 36 members, the center-right Republican Main Street Caucus has 69 members, and the conservative Republican Study Committee has 170 members.

In contrast, of the three major Democratic caucuses, the far-left Congressional Progressive Caucus has 69 members, the center-left New Democrat Coalition has 51, and the conservative Blue Dog Coalition has… 14.

Or consider: The Heritage Foundation publishes an annual scorecard in which it rates individual Congressmen’s scores on the Foundation’s “freedom index.” In the most recent edition, they rated the 235 Democrats’ mean freedom index as 13.5% (out of 100%), and the 302 Republicans’ mean as 67%.

More important for the question of ideological diversity is the standard deviations of the two scores—the extent to which party members vary around those means. The standard deviation for Democrats was 5.5%—meaning that 95% of the party’s members were between 8% and 19% on the index. In contrast, the standard deviation for Republicans was more than three times as large—19%—meaning that 95% of the party’s members were between 49% and 86%.

The parties’ ranges reveal a similar pattern: Democratic Congressmen’s scores ranged from 0% (e.g., Patty Murray, Eleanor Norton, Mark Begich) to 43% (Collin Peterson). And Democrats’ highest scorer was 14% points above the next-highest scorer, which means that all but one Democrat was between 0% and 29% on the index. In contrast, Republicans’ scores ranged from 0% (Mike Grimm and Alan Nunnelee) to 100% (Ken Buck, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee).

Similarly, The Lugar Center publishes a Bipartisan Index for the House and Senate that scores Congressmen on the degree of bipartisanship in their legislative records. Contrary to what you hear from the media, Republicans score slightly higher on bipartisanship than Democrats, and have more members in the very upper range of the index. If you normalize the Index’s z-scores, Republicans average 38% to Democrats’ 36%, and Democrats’ highest-scoring member tops out at 81% while Republicans’ highest scorer is at 100%.

Obtuse political commentators’ charge that Republicans are unified in their radical conservatism is belied by these same commentators’ constant eruptions over the Republican Congress’s factions and divides, recently ousted Speaker, and lack of unity. These pundits also contradict the notion that Republicans are cohesive when they bemoan the fragmentation and chaos of the 2016 GOP presidential field, with its 15 sets of positions and campaign approaches, squabbles among candidates, and circus-like atmosphere.

In fact it’s the Democratic Party that’s proceeding in ideological lockstep, with its far-left gaggle of Congressmen devoid of moderates and Southerners and its malnourished presidential field consisting of two stale senior-citizen economic liberals.

Three years ago I defended the Romney-Ryan ticket on a community center stage in Chelsea, Manhattan in front of a group of undecided voters. My opponents on the panel belonged to the following wide swath of political parties: a Democrat, a Green Party member, a Socialist Party member, a Working Families Party member, and a Republican-bashing Libertarian who obsessed over drug legalization.

That’s liberals’ idea of intellectual diversity—five parties with various degrees of leftist views vs. one token Republican called in so the forum would look balanced.

Republicans may be lacking on the unity front in Congress and in their presidential field a year before the election. I’m not thrilled that we have so many squishy moderates who are afraid to take the fight to Democrats and are squandering the Republicans’ 2010 and 2014 Congressional blowouts. But any commentator who argues that the Republicans are the party of radical extremism and Democrats are the diverse, big-tent party of reasonable centrism needs his head checked.

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Gays Have More to Fear from Pantsuits than Loudmouths

September 23, 2015 By: Libertarian Hawk Category: Gay Rights

execution-of-gays-in-iranPresidential candidate Donald Trump recently got a lot of flak for failing to step in and contradict a questioner at one of his rallies (who may or may not have been a liberal plant) who declared that President Obama is a Muslim.

The media and Democratic candidates including Hillary Clinton jumped all over Trump, calling him Islamophobic.

Fellow candidate Dr. Ben Carson similarly got in trouble for declaring that a Muslim should not be President of the United States, then backtracking and claiming that he meant only that a Muslim who does not reject shariah law shouldn’t be President.

Meanwhile, in a far-off corner of the electorate that might as well be in another solar system, some foolish gay male liberals have been salivating over the prospect of a Hillary presidency. According to Daily Beast writer James Kirchik, organized contingents of gay Democrats have been declaring their solidarity with Clinton, melodramatically justifying their support based on their identification with her (phony) victim status and forgiving her ethical and legal lapses as proof that she’s a “bad ass bitch.”

I personally think it wouldn’t have killed Trump to quickly dismiss his questioner’s assertion as false, the way 2008 presidential candidate John McCain did in a similar situation; and Carson should be more careful to distinguish between a presidential candidate’s religion and ideology. But gays and other liberals who dismiss Republicans as bigoted against Muslims ought to consider what’s in store for gays around the world if we elect another president like Hillary with a record of weakness on Islamic terrorism.

The website Religion of Peace has documented Islam-inspired acts of violence around the world on a daily basis since the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and D.C. Their list includes more than 27,000 such attacks against apostates, the vast majority of which resulted in deaths and/or injuries to innocents. The list reports a combined total of more than 175,000 killed and 250,000 injured.

A small but growing percentage of such assaults are being committed against gay men and teenagers. The executions of gays that Religion of Peace reports on were variously carried out by Shariah court enforcers, Shariah activists, Shiite death squads, Islamic State soldiers, Islamic fundamentalists, Islamic clerics, Muslim mobs, and garden-variety Muslim moralists.

Methods of execution have included lynching, shooting, stoning, stabbing, beating to death, and tossing off of rooftops. (Many of those who were thrown off of roofs and survived were subsequently beaten or stoned to death by mobs.)

The attacks against gay men have been ramping up in recent years: between 2001 and 2013 there were only 10 such recorded attacks, whereas there have been 11 so far just in 2015. Most have occurred in the Middle East, but anti-gay Islamic attacks since 9/11 have also taken place in the Philippines, Somalia, Ghana, and the UK.

Although none of them were aimed at gays, there have been at least 50 Islamic attacks against civilians within U.S. borders since 9/11. What relevance does this have for U.S. gays who are giddy to pull the lever for a president who will kowtow to Islamic sensibilities out of fear of being called racist?

A nationwide poll this summer of over 600 Muslims revealed that, when asked, “Should Muslims in the U.S. have their own courts or tribunals in America to apply shariah law or should they be subject to American laws and courts?” over half responded “Be free to choose either” or “Shariah courts only.” That’s right—the same legal system used to justify the execution of dozens of gays in recent years should, according to more than 50% of polled U.S. Muslims, allow any Muslim American who is so inclined to beat or stab or shoot a gay American to death without consequences.

Supporting this notion, 29% of U.S. Muslim respondents agreed that “[V]iolence against those that insult the prophet Muhammad, the Qur’an, or Islamic faith is sometimes acceptable.” Twenty-five percent believed “Violence against Americans here in the United States can be justified as part of the global jihad.” Nineteen percent concurred that “[T]he use of violence in the United States is justified in order to make shariah the law of the land in this country.”

Although Muslims make up just a small percentage of Americans (for now), given the size of the U.S., that’s still an awful lot of Muslim Americans who might approve or even be willing to participate in hate crimes against gays.

So gay voters who reflexively cheer for Hillary might want to consider whether our next president should be a failed Secretary of State whose ineptness has helped anti-gay Muslim terrorist networks regroup and advance across the Middle East, or someone who forcefully defends the Constitution over Shariah-based legal interpretations without concern for political correctness.

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Liberals’ Definition of Racism: Not Being Racist

September 16, 2015 By: Libertarian Hawk Category: Racism

racismAgainst the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement, The Atlantic contributor Adia Harvey Wingfield recently published an article titled “If You Don’t See Race, How Can You See Racial Inequality?”

Similarly, Daily Beast contributor Sally Kohn wrote a piece titled “Carly Fiorina: Anti-Feminist Feminist,” in which she argued that presidential candidate Fiorina isn’t a feminist because she overcame tough odds without dwelling on sexism, but because she’s finally started complaining about sexist remarks.

Wingfield’s article is largely a response to Conor Friedersdorf’s sensible Atlantic piece “Why the Left’s Attack on Color-Blindness Goes Too Far,” in which he argues that colorblindness, while an imperfect strategy, is the best solution for overcoming racial discrimination. Kohn’s article is mostly a reaction to Fiorina’s recent campaign ad which repurposed Donald Trump’s comments about her to showcase strong female leaders.

Both Wingfield and Kohn encourage us to dwell on what sets us apart demographically, draw attention to the fact that others sometimes prejudge us on these differences, and lament the structural racism and sexism that are perpetual barriers to underrepresented groups’ achievement.

But focusing on superficial differences to spotlight how other people’s prejudices might hold us back isn’t the most efficient solution to eradicating prejudice. As trite as it sounds, the ideal method is simply to get people to be colorblind and gender-blind.

Sometimes the easiest answer is the best one after all.

Consider the question in Wingfield’s title: “If you don’t see race, how can you see racial inequality?”

Well, what does it matter, if you and those you associate with and respect don’t engage in discrimination? If others practice racial inequality—people whose behavior and company you reject—then the solution to that problem is for society to pressure those people to ignore race, not to encourage people who have moved beyond race to dwell on it. The solution to abolishing racism isn’t for people who already ignore race to obsess over it or for institutions to discriminate in the other direction.

Yet Wingfield would prefer those who have moved beyond race to revert to a primitive mode of genetic bean counting. She writes, “In most social interactions, whites get to be seen as individuals. Racial minorities become aware from a young age that people will often judge them as members of their group.” So what’s the solution—encourage those who treat minorities as individuals to focus on race or nudge people who dwell on race to cut it out?

Wingfield’s argument is circular. She says we need to focus on race because people focus on race. Well, why don’t we get them to stop? Why do colorblind people have to bring themselves down to the lowest common denominator?

In her 1,500-word essay, Wingfield provides not one example of a case in which it would be better for society to incentivize colorblind people to focus on race than to coerce racist people to stop it.

As Friedersdorf sensibly writes, “Adherents of colorblindness are more easily convinced to add specific nuances to their views, or to do more to live up to race neutrality, than persuaded to embrace an entirely new paradigm of race in America.”

Kohn offers a similarly frustrating solution to sexism when she insists that one can’t be a feminist without the ideology’s supposedly core feature of carping about being discriminated against. Simply being a woman and being strong and ignoring irrational societal prejudices—that doesn’t cut it.

She writes, “Donald Trump wouldn’t have said ‘Look at that face!’ about a male candidate… And by pointing it out, and rallying voters around it, Fiorina is effectively saying, ‘Look, I’m getting treated differently as a candidate because I’m a woman and that’s not right.’ This, ladies and gentlemen, is feminism.”

Yet Kohn ignores Fiorina’s excellent response to Megyn Kelly the same week when asked about the remark: “I think those comments speak for themselves… Honestly, Megyn, I’m not going to spend a single cycle wondering what Donald Trump means. But maybe, just maybe, I’m getting under his skin a little bit, because I am climbing in the polls.”

In those remarks, Fiorina triumphantly ignored Trump’s implied sexism and beat him at his own game by dismissing his pettiness as a sign of frailty. Why isn’t this alternative approach to feminism as valid a version as one that involves passive-aggressively obsessing that some sourpuss with a comb-over called you ugly?

For some reason, the liberal axioms of perpetual, omnipresent racism and sexism get a pass from common-sense solutions that might actually eradicate them. Instead, the two evils are allowed to exist as eternal, free-floating abstractions that get carelessly conjured up by colorblind and gender-blind people who are simply going about their business, treating people as individuals.

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Only State Illegal Immigrants in Danger of Tipping Is Hysteria

September 09, 2015 By: Libertarian Hawk Category: Immigration

anti_immigrant_AL_040711Immigration opponents have been arguing that the U.S. needs to curb immigration because (1) most immigrants are Mexican or Central American; (2) members of these groups vote heavily Democratic; and (3) allowing them in will tip elections to Democrats and prevent Republicans from winning office on the state and national level.

But most immigrants to this country who are eligible to vote aren’t from Mexico or Central America; those who are eligible vote at lower rates than native-born Americans and immigrants from other regions; and such immigrants settle in places where their votes won’t tip the balance of any state in presidential elections. So why all the angst?

Although Mexican and Central American immigrants tend to vote Democratic, the percentage of all legal immigrants to the U.S. who are Mexican or Central American has dwindled from 34% a year throughout the 1990s to just 18% in 2012—an even larger percentage drop than we’ve seen in European immigration. Legal Mexican immigration in particular has plummeted from 28% to 14%.

In contrast, legal immigration from the Caribbean is up since the 1990s, with most of that increase coming from overwhelmingly Republican-leaning Cuban immigrants, whose representation among all legal immigrants has more than doubled since the 1990s. Legal immigration from Asia has risen by more than 50%.

But what about all those legal immigrants just gunning to get into the voting both so they can pull the lever for Bernie Sanders?

Establishing U.S. citizenship and becoming eligible to vote requires all of the following steps: obtaining an immigrant visa, immigrating legally to the U.S., maintaining permanent residency for five years, becoming a legal permanent resident, obtaining a green card, hiring an attorney and applying for citizenship, paying the appropriate fees, learning English, passing a citizenship exam, and waiting months to take the citizenship oath. From start to finish, the process for a dedicated applicant with no outstanding issues who doesn’t screw up any steps is about ten years. The ordeal can take longer for would-be citizens who live in areas with high concentrations of immigrants, which is to say most applicants. And just obtaining an immigrant visa in the first place can consume decades if you come from a country—such as Mexico or the Philippines—with demand that exceeds your nation’s per-country immigration quota and have to put your name on the waiting list.

Some legal immigrants don’t start the process right away and take much longer to become citizens. Many never even apply. And legal immigrants who become citizens vote at lower rates than native-born Americans.

As for illegal immigrants, anti-immigration agitators argue that some future Congress could grant them amnesty, thus flooding the Democrats with new voters.

Fine—suppose that an amnesty bill were passed, and that some fraction of Mexican and Central American illegal immigrants went through the arduous process of attempting to become U.S. citizens. In ten years, certain key states where illegal immigrants concentrate would thus have some quantity of new voters. How would these extra votes help Democrats?

According to estimates derived from Department of Homeland Security numbers, about three-quarters of illegal immigrants in the U.S. in 2012 came from Mexico or Central America—far higher than the percentage of legal immigrants who came from those regions. According to the same source, about 25% of illegal immigrants in the U.S. in 2012 lived in California, 16% in Texas, 6% in Florida, 5% each in New York and Illinois, 4% in New Jersey, 3% each in Georgia, Arizona, and North Carolina, and 2% in Washington.

Does anyone envision California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, or Washington on the cusp of turning Republican, but for the addition of some new Mexican and Central American voters in ten years? Does anyone see Texas, Georgia, or Arizona turning blue?

As for the addition of a few thousand reliable Democratic voters to right-leaning North Carolina, it’s not likely to tip the state one way or the other—especially given the ongoing migration to conservative southern states that has seen northerners flocking there to enjoy the more favorable economic policies. And as for Florida, the two biggest Latino groups in the state are Cubans—who vote Republican—and Puerto Ricans—who are American citizens and can vote wherever they live.

Don’t forget the frequency with which Republicans win governorships in deep-blue states such as California, New York, Illinois, and New Jersey. After an extended bout of mismanagement, even left-leaning voters periodically realize they need an adult in charge. The reverse cannot be said for Democrats winning governorships in red states.

And all of these pragmatic arguments presume that Republicans should be setting their immigration policy based on electoral advantage rather than what’s right. They also presume that Republicans don’t feel confident enough in their message to be able to win over hard-working immigrants to their conservative philosophy.

So exactly which state are Democrats poised to flip? Only the state of sensible pro-immigration Americans to paranoid hysteria.

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Kim Davis Latest in a Long Line of Democratic Rabble-Rousers

September 02, 2015 By: Libertarian Hawk Category: Gay Rights

150903-kim-davis-mug-535p_2a10fb4a29fd25fb6bf13a4680f1087c.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000What do Kim Davis and the late Westboro Baptist Church founder and vile anti-gay rabble-rouser Fred Phelps have in common? Both ran for office as Democrats. The difference between the two? Davis was actually elected.

The mainstream media reporting on Rowan County, Kentucky Court Clerk Davis’s refusal to issue marriage licenses to gay couples have gone out of their way to bury the fact that Davis is an elected Democrat.

Opinion sites have been similarly obtuse in failing to consider this fact in their psychologizing about Davis. Talking Points Memo published an article titled “Why the Kentucky Clerk’s Last Stand Won’t Make Her a Right-Wing Hero,” in which they answered the titular question by arguing that conservatives are increasingly rejecting anti-gay bias and accepting gay marriage as the law of the land.

That may be true, but here’s a better reason Kim Davis won’t become a right-wing hero: She’s not a right-winger. She’s a Democrat.

Similarly, Liz Goodwin of Yahoo Politics asked, “Why aren’t there more Kim Davises?” The question harkens back to many commentators’ predictions, after the Supreme Court’s June decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, that there would be waves of clerks across the country refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses due to their conscientious objections.

The problem with this prediction is that, although a majority of gay marriage opponents are in fact Republican, Republicans generally support enforcing the law rather than breaking it and sowing chaos. Kim Davis, however, is an elected Democrat, in case you hadn’t heard. Ignoring the law because she doesn’t like it comes naturally to her, even if the source of her disdain for it is religious fervor, something normally associated with the right.

Similarly, Fred Phelps’s church posse happily violated the law—not to mention basic norms of civilization—on numerous occasions, believing their cause to be so righteous that it overruled society’s codes and standards.

Or consider: Most abortion opponents are Republicans. Yet given pro-lifers’ belief that abortion is the equivalent of murdering a fully-formed human being, you’d think that if Republicans had little respect for the law, there’d be a lot more of them taking more extreme actions for their cause than holding up signs and supporting pro-life candidates.

So naturally the most prominent example of anti-abortion sentiment being channeled into law-breaking—including intimidating women at abortion clinics, blockading the entrances, and whipping up violent rhetoric—is Randall Terry, head of Operation Rescue and proud Democratic Congressional candidate.

Regardless of Davis’s party affiliation, it’s mystifying why we’re supposed to be so sympathetic toward this spiteful agitator. Davis—who has been divorced three times, cheated on at least one husband, and had babies out of wedlock—says that because of her faith she just can’t stomach having her name on same-sex couples’ marriage certificates.

The adulterous Davis will happily affix her name to the licenses of heterosexual couples in which one member is a felon, or cheats on his fiancée, or is a sixty-five-year-old lecher marrying a twenty-year-old virgin. But associating her name in a professional capacity with a committed, monogamous same-sex couple who have been together for years—now that’s where she draws the line.

Further decreasing her appeal, Davis wasn’t content merely to decline to issue the licenses herself. When her staff started issuing the certificates while she was in jail, Davis declared that the licenses her staff had granted were null and void. This decision gives the lie to her claim that she merely didn’t want to issue the licenses herself. In fact, she didn’t want anyone to issue them, or at least any of the little people she thought she could boss around.

But the main reason fair-minded people don’t care about the fate of Democrat Davis is that they realize she doesn’t have the right to collect an $80,000 government salary while refusing to do her job. (The public is all too familiar with legions of Democratic voters who hold worthless government jobs pushing paper around and tormenting everyday citizens for exorbitant salaries to cut Davis any slack.)

The most sympathetic argument in Davis’s favor is that imprisoning her is taking things too far and that she should be fired, removed, or recalled.

I fully agree. But it nonetheless warms my heart to see an example being made of at least one prominent Democrat for disrespecting the law while demanding an extravagant salary for not doing her job.

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Being Force-Fed NPR Worse Than Solitary Confinement

August 26, 2015 By: Libertarian Hawk Category: Crime/Ethics

interrogation2The nation’s liberal do-gooders are ramping up a nascent push to eliminate from U.S. prisons the barbaric practice of solitary confinement—known in more benign settings as “sitting in the corner.”

NPR recently aired a three-part exposé on the horrifying effects solitary confinement wreaks on its innocent victims and a heartening report on several states’ rush to ban the practice.

(Quick: Would you rather spend a year in jail by yourself or locked in a cell with a twerpy NPR reporter?)

Before we toss out yet another wildly effective criminal justice technique, could we at least pause to review the history of the procedure?

Solitary confinement is a prison control practice that was in fact overused in the past as a panacea for correcting bad behavior, the most prominent U.S. example being Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, whose inmates were confined in their own cells as the embodiment of a misguided Quaker notion that only quiet contemplation of one’s crimes for years or decades—including sensory deprivation—could rehabilitate high-level offenders. Even after ESP stopped the practice in the early 20th century, their example had spawned several hundred copycat prisons worldwide.

After solitary confinement’s reputation fell into disrepute, the practice came into vogue again in the 1980s and 90s, at the height of the drug war. Though some argue that the war on drugs was unconstitutional and/or futile, many imprisoned dealers and gang members were instigating riots and mayhem, and solitary confinement was often the only effective means with which guards could curb miscreants’ misdeeds.

Finally, solitary confinement is in fact sometimes used by malicious guards to punish inmates they dislike, though this likely happens mostly on HBO prison dramas.

But solitary confinement also clearly serves a purpose, as anyone who’s ever been in a first-grade class can tell you.

NPR cites a panoply of experts who all agree about the negative effects of solitary confinement on inmates who are so confined. Fine—but what about the hundreds of violent incidents that those who are confined don’t commit as a result of being confined? What about the blissful, terror-free calm during which guards and other inmates needn’t fear being shivved in their sleep? What about the dog that didn’t bark?

As one commenter to the NPR story noted, “How else would one punish a criminal WHO IS ALREADY IN PRISON? I’m sure that solitary confinement is emotionally traumatizing… just like being in prison is emotionally traumatizing. Until the liberals come up with a better solution, the use of solitary confinement should continue.”

And about that emotional traumatization.

Modern solitary confinement facilities are brightly-lit and clean, with ample amenities, and inmates are usually allowed books, radios, and TVs. They’re given writing utensils and paper and allowed to pen letters to intimates on the outside. Not counting their regular contact with guards and pesky NPR reporters, they’re only isolated from other inmates 23 hours a day, and are let out for an hour in the prison yard with other prisoners for recreation. Their only directive is basically not to scream and carry on and give the guards migraines while they’re alone.

Inmates in solitary confinement can usually earn their way out of isolation with good behavior, just as inmates often earn their way out of imprisonment via good behavior.

But completely blowing things out of proportion, the website Democracy Now! recently featured an interview with former Iranian political prisoner Sarah Shourd, who was in solitary confinement for over a year and released in 2010, and now campaigns against the practice in the U.S.

Shourd laments, “I mean, scientific studies are really still not—there haven’t been enough of them, but there have been studies that show, after just two or three days, your brain starts to shift towards delirium and stupor.” (My brain starts to shift towards delirium and stupor after just two or three minutes of listening to NPR, but that’s another story.)

So Shourd compares the psychological damage done from being in a prison maintained by the world’s greatest state sponsor of terror with being locked in the box for a few weeks because you assaulted a guard. Not really seeing the similarities.

Even NPR admits that keeping nonviolent inmates in solitary confinement for more than several months is not the norm for U.S. correctional facilities.

Perhaps I’d have more sympathy for those consigned to solitary confinement if they considered the physical and mental confinement they inflict on their victims. Stabbing a guard may result in the poor fellow’s spending two weeks alone in a hospital bed trying to recover from a punctured lung and quietly contemplating his mortality. Raping a fellow inmate may result in that person spending decades feeling alone and isolated as a victim who has no one with whom he can confide his dark secret.

Murdering an innocent civilian, the crime many who are put in solitary have committed at one point, condemns the victim to the ultimate solitary confinement of lying in a coffin for eternity.

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King Didn’t Die So Blacks Could Vote for Obama

August 19, 2015 By: Libertarian Hawk Category: Racism

king-obamaWe must continue to register and vote in large numbers… [O]ne of the most significant steps that the Negro can take at this hour is that short walk to the voting booth.

— Martin Luther King, Jr., November 27, 1962

[O]ur most urgent request to the president of the United States and every member of Congress is to give us the right to vote… Give us the ballot… and we will place at the head of the southern states governors who have felt not only the tang of the human, but the glow of the divine.

— Martin Luther King, Jr., May 17, 1957

I hate to burst the bubble of self-congratulating Democrats who endlessly rehash King’s legacy a half-century after it was politically risky to support him, but which party do they think King was urging blacks to vote for?

The first quote above comes from a recent NPR story documenting North Carolina State professor Jason Miller’s recent unearthing of an audiotape and transcript of an early version of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in a public library in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

NPR hosts David Greene and Renee Montagne had Miller play bits of the tape, and probed the reaction of an African-American man named Herbert Tillman who was a student at Booker T. Washington High School the day King gave his speech in the school’s gymnasium.

In the speech King touched on voting rights, which blacks wouldn’t win on the federal level until 1965; he urged African Americans to register and vote in large numbers anywhere they could in order to further secure their rights.

Greene and Montagne’s piece didn’t delve into the details of King’s speech other than to note its similarity to the more famous speech he gave in 1963. They didn’t make his whole speech available, and King’s 1963 speech focused more on the economic conditions of blacks. But an earlier speech King gave (second quote above) in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington in 1957 went into much more detail about what blacks needed to vote against and for.

In that speech, King celebrated the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision forbidding the active segregation of public schools, but spoke with regret about extant opposition by “states [that] have risen up in open defiance.” He noted, “The legislative halls of the South ring loud with such words as ‘interposition’ and ‘nullification.’ Methods of defiance range from crippling economic reprisals to the tragic reign of violence and terror.”

“Interposition” refers to a 1957 resolution passed by the Democratic-led Florida legislature declaring that the state would “interpose” itself between the federal government and the citizens of Florida to prevent the former from interfering with the education-related decisions of the latter.

“Nullification” references the attempts Southern Democratic legislatures made to reject federal laws they considered unconstitutional, namely Brown v. Board of Education.

In his 1957 speech, King also bemoaned the obstacles to blacks voting and defended their right to do so: “[A]ll types of conniving methods are still being used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters… So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I do not possess myself. I cannot make up my mind — it is made up for me.”

Today Democrats like President Obama shamelessly characterize current, mostly-Republican-led efforts to institute voter ID laws—often promoted in response to non-citizen voter fraud—as similar to their own party’s attempts to keep blacks from voting in the 1960s.

King continued: “Give us the ballot and we will no longer have to worry the federal government about our basic rights. Give us the ballot and we will no longer plead to the federal government for passage of an anti-lynching law… Give us the ballot and we will… send to the sacred halls of Congress men who will not sign a Southern Manifesto…”

Here King was advocating states’ rights in a way that racist Southern Democrats could never have fathomed or appreciated. Rather than trying to use a dubious interpretation of the Constitution to get away with something evil, he was magnanimously promising that there would be no need for intrusive federal dictates controlling people’s conduct (lynching!) if blacks’ right to vote were recognized, after which Southern states would be able to garner enough political will to prevent lynching and anti-black mob violence on their own.

Modern-day liberals can’t wrap their heads around the fact that, just because Democrats today go overboard in feigning their role as the civil rights champions of blacks, their condescending meddlesomeness in the lives of African Americans for the past half-century does not compensate for their vilification of blacks while Republicans were fighting for civil rights.

The liberal site once dishonestly wrote, “[N]early every southern congressman signed the ‘Southern Manifesto,’ which asserted that states were free to ignore federal laws and directives. Now, 48 years later, the unconstitutional idea that states can invalidate federal laws which they don’t like is making a comeback in conservative circles.” But 97 of the 99 signatories of the Southern Manifesto were Democrats; only 2 were Republicans. (And no, the two parties didn’t “switch sides” on racial issues after the 1960s.) And the former were invoking states’ rights, not to prevent the government from, say, taking over our healthcare system, but to segregate blacks.

Democrats went from shunning blacks as lepers to patronizing them like children. Republicans have never treated African Americans as anything other than adults.

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