Monday Brief

Brief

Dec. 5, 2011

The Foundation

“In reality there is perhaps no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will now and then peek out and show itself.” –Benjamin Franklin

Opinion in Brief

What makes Harry Potter and Walmart billion dollar brands? People who buy their products.

“Joanne Rowling was a welfare mother in Edinburgh, Scotland. All that has changed. As the writer of the ‘Harry Potter’ novels, having a net worth of $1 billion, she is the world’s wealthiest author. … How did Rowling become so wealthy and unequal to the rest of us? The entire blame for this social injustice lies at the feet of the world’s children and their enabling parents. … [T]he millions of ‘99-percenters’ who individually plunk down $8 or $9 to attend a ‘Harry Potter’ movie, $15 to buy a ‘Harry Potter’ novel or $30 to buy a ‘Harry Potter’ Blu-ray Disc are directly responsible for contributing to income inequality and wealth concentration that economist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman says ‘is incompatible with real democracy.’ … We just can’t blame the children for the unfairness of income inequality. Look at how Wal-Mart Stores generated wealth for the Walton family of Christy ($25 billion), Jim ($21 billion), Alice ($21 billion) and Robson ($21 billion). … The blame for this unjust concentration of wealth rests with those hundreds of millions of shoppers worldwide who voluntarily enter Wal-Mart premises and leave dollars, pounds and pesos. … In my opinion, my recently published book ‘Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?’ is far more important to society than any ‘Harry Potter’ novel. I’d like to know what it is about me that explains why millions upon millions have not purchased my book and made me a billionaire author. Maybe Krugman and the Wall Street occupiers have the answer.” –economist Walter E. Williams

Re: The Left

“Today’s Democratic Party has an ingrained cultural aversion to the Booker T. Washington school. Liberal elites see themselves as a multiracial talented tenth, planning the economy and guiding society. In power, they lavish support on fashionable but unproductive sectors of the economy, such as green-energy boondoggles, and they buy off big constituencies invested in ever larger government such as public-sector unions, the ‘helping professions’ and even too-big-too-fail businesses. Their arguments sound economic and empirical, but ultimately they’re cultural in nature. The upscale white professionals the Democrats are courting disproportionately share a cultural affinity for government and faith that statist interventions are for your own good. They also believe government needs to help people succeed – or escape – the rat race of the private sector. (Remember Michelle Obama’s advice to working-class women? ‘Don’t go into corporate America. … Become teachers. Work for the community.’) In his acceptance speech at the 2008 Democratic convention, Obama mocked the Booker T. Washington concept of self-reliance: ‘In Washington, they call this the ownership society, but what it really means is, you’re on your own.’” –columnist Jonah Goldberg

Government

“[G]rowing local governments are crushing street vendors. The city of Atlanta, for example, has turned all street vending over to a monopoly contractor. In feudalist fashion, all existing vendors were told they must work for the monopoly or not vend at all. … In Hialeah, Fla., if you operate a flower stand too close to a flower store or if you’re not constantly moving, you can be arrested. … Raul Martinez, the mayor when the law passed, defended the rule. ‘You don’t want to have everybody in the middle of the streets competing for space on the sidewalk without some sort of regulations. In the city of Hialeah, we’re not overregulating anybody.’ He says one purpose of the law is simple fairness: Street vendors don’t pay property taxes. Brick-and-mortar stores must. … Mayor Martinez argued that ‘you create an unfair advantage when you allow that vendor selling in the front of a flower shop to sell the same flowers that the flower shop sells, and to sell them at a much reduced price. That’s unfair competition.’ … If government destroys all the paths out of poverty, the welfare state will look like the only way to help the poor. Maybe, in addition to helping entrenched interests, that’s the bureaucrats' goal.” –columnist John Stossel

Insight

“Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money. It’s quite a characteristic of them. They then start to nationalize everything, and people just do not like more and more nationalization, and they’re now trying to control everything by other means. They’re progressively reducing the choice available to ordinary people.” –former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher

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Political Futures

“[Last weekend] on ‘Meet the Press’ Colin Powell blamed divisive, poisonous Washington politics on the media and the Tea Party. The essence of Powell’s argument was: ‘…[W]hat we have to do is sort of take some of the heat out of our political life in terms of the coverage of it, so these folks (Congress) can get to work quietly. … But the Tea Party point of view of no compromise whatsoever is not a point of view that will eventually produce a presidential candidate who will win.’ … It is not only reductionist, but fundamentally undemocratic to believe, as Powell argues, that if the people would just stop paying attention to what goes on in Washington (helped along by the media refusing to report the political news) politicians could get back to the business of compromising out their differences. … The heart of the matter, though, is that Americans are deeply divided between resisting or embracing a Europeanized, post-constitutional American economy, government and culture. This decision can no more be compromised on behind closed doors with no one watching than could the question of civil rights and creation of the welfare state in the 1950s-‘60s, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s labor-oriented statism in the 1930s, slavery in the 1850s-'60s or Andrew Jackson’s rights of the common man in the 1830s.” –columnist Tony Blankley

Faith & Family

“The secular virus has been spreading for years in public and private zones. Shopping malls, which would go broke without Christmas, try their best to attract Christmas shoppers without mentioning Christmas. Hence, we get generic 'happy holidays’ and color schemes with blue and silver snowflakes cold enough to freeze the socks off Grandfather Frost. He’s the former Soviet Union’s made-up patron saint who took over giving gifts to children after the commissars bumped off St. Nicholas. It’s rumored (just starting it now) that the Christmas-phobic ACLU tacks up portraits of Grandfather Frost in back offices to inspire them during that darned holiday season that Dare Not Tell Its Name. Driving the whole mess is the growing fear Not to Offend. The war on Christmas, part of the ongoing trend to eradicate anything Christian in the public square, is also driven by a profound misreading of the First Amendment, which says ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ To the ACLU and other pro-atheist groups, that means the government must be hostile to any public expressions of belief that offend atheists. That makes atheism the de facto official religion, something the Founders went out of their way to prevent.” –columnist Robert Knight

The Gipper

“For, more than just a day, Christmas is a state of mind. It is found throughout the year whenever faith overcomes doubt, hope conquers despair, and love triumphs over hate. It is present when men of any creed bring love and understanding to the hearts of their fellow man. The feeling is seen in the wondrous faces of children and in the hopeful eyes of the aged. It overflows the hearts of cheerful givers and the souls of the caring. And it is reflected in the brilliant colors, joyful sounds, and beauty of the winter season. Let us resolve to honor this spirit of Christmas and strive to keep it throughout the year.” –Ronald Reagan

Culture

“[Last] week, in Oakland, Calif., America saw yet another stellar example of the glories of diversity. At a taping of a rap music video in that fair city, eight people, including a one-year-old child, were shot. When a classical music video goes wrong, somebody busts a string. When a rap music video goes wrong, somebody busts a cap. Such observations, however, are now taboo. We’re not supposed to suggest that the rap culture is any different from the classical music culture or that one is better than another. … The same West that justifies the rap culture thinks that every Muslim terrorist bombing is an expression of economic angst or social alienation. Muslims recognize that terrorist bombings are expressions of a completely different worldview. In other words, Muslims aren’t stupid. They won’t be wooed by a West headed by a man rich in melanin any more than a West headed by a Caucasian dude who enjoys the artistic stylings of Bjork would. … And the left is stumped. Obama’s entire foreign policy was predicated on the notion that by existing, he would bridge all gaps and bury all hatchets. Instead, the Muslim world burns his picture even as he tells them he respects their radicalism. … The Muslim world understands that it has us by the ideological throat. … This is how the West dies: not by being defeated in all-out civilizational battle, but by walking into the hail of bullets, arms outstretched.” –columnist Ben Shapiro

Reader Comments

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“Regarding Mark Alexander’s essay Carter and Obama: An Unfair Comparison, Carter did not have common sense, he tried to move the nation in what he thought was the right direction, although his view was in error. Obama is attempting to destroy this great country deliberately not move in a good direction. I believe Carter loved this country, while Obama hates it.” –Frederick

“Carter meant well, but was an abysmal leader. Obama does not mean well. His aim is to crush and bankrupt the United States. The sooner he is removed the better for the salvation of our great country, and people.” –Sandra

“What do I think of the Democrats' electoral strategy? Obama will lose in a landslide! Throwing working-class folks under the bus is like killing the goose that’s laying the Golden Eggs! Totally stupid! What planet do these people live on again?” –Dan

“It sounds like the GM Volt’s poor crash test performance and a government buy-back option is a ‘Cash for Flunkers’ plan. Just one more bailout for the taxpayer to fund.” –Jeff

The Last Word

“In Islamic countries, it’s not uncommon for Muslims to be tried and executed for the crime of apostasy. An apostate is a Muslim who converts to another religion. In our own country, although the punishment isn’t as severe, it mirrors the way that liberals tar and feather black conservatives. If those on the Left had the authority of Iran’s mullahs, would anyone be terribly surprised if they condemned the likes of Thomas Sowell, Allen West, Walter Williams, Condoleezza Rice and Herman Cain, for crimes against the party? To recognize how true that is, you merely have to acknowledge that liberals are always quick to label a black conservative an oreo, but when someone such as Barack Obama, who is literally half-and-half, comes along, the media never refers to him as any kind of cookie. … With the election now less than a year away, the only aspect of Obama’s presidency that I’ve approved of was his use of drones against jihadists in the Middle East. They’ve served as a pleasant change from the drones he usually relies on to fight his battles; namely, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Charles Schumer, Henry Waxman, Jay Carney and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. The scary thing is that the military drones have been so effective, it might give Obama’s re-election team some nasty ideas. Therefore, my advice to the eventual Republican nominee would be to do most of his campaigning from the safety of a bomb shelter.” –columnist Burt Prelutsky

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team