Tuesday, August 28, 2018

A Maverick? Not Hardly.

Senator John McCain passed away recently, succumbing to the brain tumor he had been fighting for some time.

The brain cancer that killed McCain is similar to the one that ended the life of my brother when his only child was a year old. Senator McCain was also a veteran and former POW with an inspiring story retold in books and movies, not to mention being referenced countless times. That is a very important part of his legacy but he was released as POW around 45 years ago when I was a baby, so my impression of McCain has more to do with what happened afterward.

To be blunt, I am no fan of John McCain. I maintain that my vote for McCain in 2008 remains the one vote I cast that I am embarrassed to admit. It was also the last vote I will ever cast just because someone has an "R" instead of a "D" after their name. While I appreciate the service of each and every man and woman that has served in the U.S. military, in no way does ones status as a veteran or even a POW provide amnesty for their actions afterward. That didn't stop the inevitable angry backlash on social media when I or anybody else criticized McCain, as I often did, a backlash that usually was in all caps and went something like this "JOHN MCCAIN WAS A WAR HERO AND YOU SHUT YOUR FILTHY MOUTH!". For many people, ironically mainly Republicans, McCain was absolutely off limits for any criticism, no matter what the topic. But you can't spend more than three decades in the House and Senate without leaving behind a legacy that is independent of your military service.

McCain's main legacy in the Senate is as a warmonger. He has compiled a pretty lengthy list of wars he either supported or pushed for. Pat Buchanan calls him the interventionist leader in Congress. He didn't mean it as a compliment. At seemingly every turn McCain was pushing for the U.S. to intervene militarily around the world, faithfully parroted by his little buddy Lindsey Graham. There never seemed to be a potential war that McCain didn't support. One would think someone so intimately familiar with the horror of war would be less eager to send young American men and women to kill and maim, and be killed and maimed in return.

He was also a part of the Keating Five scandal. Not to mention the rather sordid story of his cheating on his wife, the wife who raised his children while he was a prisoner of war, culminating in divorcing his wife of 14 years and marrying a woman he had been carrying on an affair with, 25 year old Cindy Hensley (McCain was 17 years older, 43 at the time of their marriage). He ran for President twice and was the Republican nominee in 2008 where he proceeded to run an awful campaign that ended with his trouncing at the hands of Barack Obama, an utterly unaccomplished candidate that should have been an easy win for the GOP in 2008. It is not a stretch to say that McCain was one of my least favorite Republican politicians.

Since his death, McCain has been breathlessly eulogized in the media. The same media that scorched McCain publicly when he was running against Obama is now praising him effusively not because they liked his politics or thought he was a great guy. They are lauding him for two big reasons.

First, McCain is benefiting from the media's collective Trump Derangement Syndrome. McCain and Trump pretty clearly loathed each other and McCain was quick to do whatever he could to undermine Trump. In this political climate, anyone that dislikes Trump and is in turn disliked by Trump is a hero to the media.

The second  reason is that in spite of his undeserved reputation as a "maverick" McCain was always a defender of the state. He was part of the Washington establishment and thus for the media was one of their own. Tom Woods puts it well in his essay What the McCain Eulogies Tell Us About the Media and the Regime. Woods writes:

McCain loved the regime and the empire. At no time did he adopt a position that the New York Times or the Washington Post would consider a fundamental attack on the state.

And that is why they love him. He played by their rules.

McCain was a man of the state, in every fiber of his being. That is why they cheer him.

What made McCain a "maverick" was that he sometimes bucked his own party to join Democrats which of course benefited the establishment and the state. So yeah the media was mean to him when he mincingly ran against Obama but once that was over he was back to being one of their favorite Republicans. 

McCain also seemed to be a vindictive, petty man. There is credible evidence that McCain was involved in using the IRS to target conservative groups. He was involved in the transmission of the "Steele dossier". More recently he won praise from liberals and the media for refusing to vote for a "skinny repeal" of Obamacare, thus leaving it intact, in what can only be seen as a petty decision done to embarrass President Trump. Senator McCain and President Trump obviously didn't like one another. In 2015 Trump mocked McCain's POW time and his subsequent designation as a war hero by saying “He’s not a ‘war hero,'” Trump responded. “He’s a ‘war hero’ because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, okay? I hate to tell you.”. Well that was a tasteless thing to say, especially from someone who avoided serving in Vietnam, but it was a slight that colored McCain's political career in the Trump administration. He never let it go and was willing to screw over the GOP and the country in his anger over a slight against his military service. McCain was also a huge advocate of massive immigration, including a form of amnesty for illegals, so he and Trump obviously were in conflict on that was well. This rivalry didn't end with his death.

In his farewell letter, Senator McCain took the time to take an obvious shot at President Trump from beyond the grave, emphasis mine: "We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been." What kind of petty, vindictive man incorporates a political jab at someone he thinks, with reason, had slighted him in life with his posthumous letter? You are near death but your anger against Trump leads you to poke at him one last time? This is the same John McCain who ran a campaign ad in 2010 to "build the danged fence". I guess a border "fence" is good, a "wall" is bad.

McCain also took another thinly veiled jab at Trump with this statement: "We are citizens of the world’s greatest republic, a nation of ideals, not blood and soil." The shot at "blood and soil" nationalism is likewise predictable coming from someone who was part of the "Gang Of Eight", a group of Senators that pushed amnesty for illegals as well as provisions for more immigration, a cause that McCain never seemed to tire of along with his fellow Gang of Eight Senators like Chuck Schumer.

But perhaps just as grating to me was his obsequiousness in his farewell letter towards Barack Obama:

Ten years ago, I had the privilege to concede defeat in the election for president. I want to end my farewell to you with the heartfelt faith in Americans that I felt so powerfully that evening. I feel it powerfully still.

Maybe if McCain hadn't been so starry-eyed about Obama he would have stood a better chance of defeating him, and this could have saved us the spectacle of Senator McCain backstabbing Sarah Palin and blaming her in part for his loss. Just earlier this year McCain bemoaned not choosing Joe Lieberman as his running mate:

While he continues to defend Ms. Palin’s performance, Mr. McCain uses the documentary and the book to unburden himself about not selecting Mr. Lieberman, a Democrat-turned-independent, as his running mate.

He recalls that his advisers warned him that picking a vice-presidential candidate who caucused with Democrats and supported abortion rights would divide Republicans and doom his chances.

“It was sound advice that I could reason for myself,” he writes. “But my gut told me to ignore it and I wish I had.”

I am no Sarah Palin fan but she was the only interesting thing going on in McCain's campaign. I recall well watching her convention speech live. It was electrifying. It energized the party in a way McCain had utterly failed to do. As many others have pointed out, it was the convention speech of Palin that finally put McCain ahead of Obama in September of 2008, a lead that quickly evaporated because was such an awful candidate. McCain was like so many other Republicans. They don't fear a socialist state or the downfall of America. What they fear the most is being called a racist.

So while my sympathies are with the McCain family and I recognize his military service, I maintain that as a public figure John McCain was a disaster and as a human being he was far from being a maverick, and was instead just a particularly vindictive tool of the state. I will not miss him being in the U.S. Senate, thwarting conservative proposals and endlessly rattling his saber on behalf of the Deep State and the military-industrial complex.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Social Media Censorship

I post some inflammatory stuff sometimes on social media but as of yet have never been in Facebook jail or suspended on Twitter. But this morning something I posted very early, before 6 AM, got flagged as spam. I clicked the "this isn't spam" button and it immediately was restored.

What was so spammy that I posted? This...

A legitimate news story from the BBC. Not from Breitbart or some "right wing" news source, this is from the BBC. So what words in my post caused it to be flagged? Mecca? Diversity? Or just that it was a story about apparent Islamic terrorism? It happened almost immediately and was released automatically. So it seems as if the algorithms of Facebook are becoming more and more strict. I guess if we don't see stories about acts of Muslim terrorism, they didn't really happen. I also discovered that a page I follow that usually posts on Facebook 6-8 times every day doesn't have anything on their wall for the last four days which seems awfully suspicious.

Just a reminder that if you rely on social media for your news, you need to be cautious because you only see what they want you to see unless you specifically hunt for it. The 2016 election showed the Left what happens when they lose control of the media narrative, and you can be sure that they have no intention of letting that happen again in 2018. Expect to see this censorship ramping up over the next few months leading up to the interim elections.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Lethal Self-Loathing

For more than a month, people in Iowa have been searching for a young University of Iowa student, Mollie Tibbetts. She disappeared while jogging on July 18th and her picture started to spring up all over the news. Like every case where a young woman disappears, you looked at her pictures and were filled with dread because these cases almost never turn out well.

Neither did this one. The body of Mollie Tibbetts was found yesterday in a cornfield. The police were apparently led to her body by an illegal alien from Mexico, Cristhian Bathena Rivera. According to police, Rivera was somehow stalking or harassing Mollie while she was jogging. Allegedly she was frightened enough or at least irritated enough to threaten to call the police and that threat prompted Rivera to kill her, put her in the trunk of his car, drive out to a field, dump her and cover her with corn stalks. A corn field surrounds my house and right now there could be a dozen bodies within a stone throw of where I am sitting and I wouldn't know it until harvest. A cornfield is an obvious hiding place for someone in a panic in a state that is stereotypically covered with corn. I can only hope that what we are being told is all there is to the story and that she died mercifully quickly.

I want to be sensitive to the rawness of this case but this is the time to talk about it, now while it is fresh instead of waiting until Mollie is forgotten. The main webpage and news section of the University of Iowa makes no mention that one of their students was founded brutally murdered yesterday. I am afraid that the circumstances of her death while mean that she will rapidly disappear from most news sources. Fox has her story and the fact that her killer was an illegal alien at the top of the page. CNN.com has a small story at the top nestled in-between stories about Trump. MSNBC's webpage doesn't even mention her and last night a contributor to one of their inane talk shows was seemingly disgusted that the news was focused on some "girl in Iowa". In a week she will be forgotten except by those who knew and loved her, and for them the loss will never go away.

The obvious point here is that this never should have happened. She should have gone jogging that night and come home like always. Mr. Rivera should have been in Mexico, not Iowa. He worked at a local farm and they quickly claimed that he passed E-Verify, meaning that he was probably using the information of someone else. I hope they find that person and prosecute them if they were aware he was using their information. Of course not all or even most illegal aliens are murdering young women out jogging but all of them are breaking the law, as are those who employ them. Sure we have lots of our own home grown criminals, the men shooting each other by the hundreds every weekend in Chicago and other cities are mostly U.S. citizens. But we don't need more criminals in our country and say what you will about illegal aliens, they have all already shown a willingness to break the law. We have enough trouble without importing 15 million or more additional criminals. Somewhere between 25-35% of the Federal prison population are illegal aliens. If we had a border wall, stricter immigration enforcement, etc, it wouldn't have ensured that Mollie Tibbetts came home on July 18th after her run, but it might have. This is just supposition based on the affidavit which I read this morning it would appear that Mr. Rivera was scared of having the police show up and being deported so in a panic he killed Mollie.

That isn't actually what prompted me to write about her. Lots of other outlets are writing about the murder of a beautiful young woman by an illegal alien and what that says about our system. What I found fascinating was something Mollie tweeted last December.

You can't see it in her tweet but the full tweet shows that whites, male and female, voted pretty overwhelmingly in the Alabama special election for the Senate where Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore after an all out smear campaign against Moore. Predictably 20 year old college student Mollie wasn't happy that whites voted for the Republican Moore, in a deep red state like Alabama. Other people posted this tweet and it got me thinking about what it means.

Did Mollie really hate "white people"? I doubt it. Her dad who searched high and low for her desperately for weeks is white. Her boyfriend of several years is white. She probably would have graduated from the University of Iowa where she chose to attend school, which is around 82% white, a university full of students like her that were also from Iowa (88% white). She lives in Brooklyn, Iowa which is 95% white. She went to Brooklyn-Guernsey-Malcom school which looks to be overwhelmingly white and based on her pictures on social media her friends were mostly white. Her Instagram page is entirely her with other white people, with the exception of one guy in a group photo who looks to be mixed race three years ago. She obviously doesn't "hate white people". So why did she say that she did? We can't ask her, apparently thanks to an illegal alien. What would prompt a young Midwestern white woman, living in a world surrounded by other white people, a pretty young woman from Iowa of all places, with a heart-melting smile who was the poster girl for being white, to take a break from posting fluff about boys and her weight and pictures of her friends to make that comment?

Her comment appears to be the result of years of indoctrination and misinformation. The education system, especially in college, and the entertainment world, have created a bogeyman of white people. Not the white people that you actually know but "other" white people. The people you have never met but that are out there somewhere. The white people who are racists and probably Klan members, even though there are essentially no Klansman left in America and those that do exist are as likely to be Federal informants as they are true racists. The white people who are supposedly discriminating against blacks and Hispanics, and probably women and sexual minorities. The white people that only get ahead because of "white privilege". Those same white people that voted for Trump (Mollie's home state of Iowa went very solidly for Trump and her home county did as well).

What is always instructive about whites who post apparently self-loathing complaints about white people is that they tend to be like Mollie, surrounded by other white people. Clearly they don't hate those white people. No, what they hate is a caricature of "other white people". There is historical precedent for this. In the days of the Third Reich, a rag of a newspaper called Der Stürmer was published and it contained lurid stories of Jews drinking the blood of Christian children in rituals or Jews sexually assaulting white women. Many Germans had friends and neighbors that were Jewish that they liked just fine, but "those other Jews" were the problem. Der Stürmer often ran cartoons of Jews that portrayed them as demons, like this cover.

Jews were often portrayed with exaggerated noses and pointed ears, little changes to make them look evil. The point is that the Jewish enemy that Germans came to loathe was an invention of the media, not a reflection of actual Jews.

The same is the case with the self-loathing of white people. The white people they hate don't really exist in significant numbers, but are instead an invention of the media and entertainment world. Look at the coverage of the recent "Unite the Right" rally in D.C. where a couple dozen schmucks made speeches and hundreds of lunatics and just as many media outlets showed up to exaggerate the threat they posed. But you would think that the "Alt-Right" is everywhere, poised to take over the government (or already has for those nutjobs that think Trump and pretty much all Republicans are "white supremacists"). The New York Times hires for their editorial board an Asian woman who has wildly benefited from institutions created by white people in spite of (or perhaps because of?) her juvenile tweets about how awful white people are. You don't have to expend much effort to find news story after news story from major outlets bemoaning whiteness, like the NYT complaining that New Hampshire is too white. It has even spawned a meme, "Darn white people and their (spins the wheel, picks a card).... <insert something mundane here>".

The Cultural Marxists of the radical Left have tried for the better part of a century to convince the white population of America to move faster down the road to socialism but as the influence of labor unions has collapsed and as white voting patterns trend stronger each year toward the Republican party, the Left has declared white people a lost cause and the goal now is wholesale population replacement, getting rid of whites via low birth rates thanks to "careers", abortion and birth control and replacing them with non-whites voters who are more open to socialism. An important part of this strategy is to keep as many white people un-self-aware as possible and racial self-loathing is a huge part of that. A critical point of Douglas Murray's book The Strange Death of Europe is that Europe as a whole is more or less welcoming mass migration because they no longer see in their own culture anything worth preserving. It is a mass ritualistic cultural suicide in slow motion. The same thing is happening in America as monuments are torn down, history is rewritten and even our language is being perverted for political reasons.

Mollie Tibbetts was a 20 year kid in college at a state school in the middle of Iowa. Her worldview was clearly deeply influenced by the college culture, entertainment world and social media. Like many young people her age she seemed a bit naive and even innocent in a way. She seems to have absorbed a lot of the progressive pabulum that inundated her world. That is not surprising, nor is it surprising that a young woman who was the epitome of a Midwestern white girl would tweet that she hates white people, even when that clearly was not the case. It is said that a young person that isn't a liberal has no heart and an older person that isn't a conservative has no brain. Sadly thanks to the actions of a murderer who was in this country illegally, Mollie Tibbetts will never get the chance to mature and grow up to form her own opinions.

Monday, August 13, 2018

How Banks Make Money

From 2005 to 2008 I worked as a bank manager for two banks, one was a giant international bank and the other was a Midwestern super-regional bank. I didn't really like the industry at all, although I did like aspects of banking, especially helping customers. But that was completely overshadowed by the endless pressure to sell, sell, sell. We had annual goals broken down to weekly goals which became daily goals. Open more checking accounts, close more loans, set people up with credit cards. You could have a super busy day, helping lots of customers with problems and building great relationships but if you didn't open any new checking accounts you could expect a phone call. The ethical lines got pretty blurry at times which was a major factor in me leaving retail banking. A few years ago, Wells Fargo got into a bunch of trouble for fraudulently opening millions of checking accounts and credit cards without customer authorization. When I heard of this, my initial reaction was "Yep" and a little surprise that a) it took that long to come out and b) that more banks haven't been busted. That's all I say about that. Wells has since modified their incentive program to eliminate the high pressure product goals. My point is that banking is highly competitive and bankers are always on the prowl for new accounts, new loans and new investments.

Well over the last few days I have gotten into a twitter scuffle (several actually) based on a post from Kyle Howard. Mr. Howard styles himself a preacher and Bible teacher, but also "Biblical Counselor (including race based trauma)". So when he made a claim that Asians are not very good "allies" for blacks in their struggle and that Asians have been "granted" social and economic "privilege" and I push back, the responses were predictable....

Me pushing the "tweet" button and girding my loins for battle
The thread devolved into a discussion of alleged discrimination against black mortgage applicants. Yeah, I know. Here is the thread in a couple of parts, I added the one where a lady said that my experience in lending is negated by being white. Although these are public tweets and you can easily find the names, I still marked out the names and avatars to protect the ignorant innocent.

I get it. Most people don't really understand how banks make money. It is not that complicated but they just have never been exposed to it. Banks make money in a lot of ways, like investments which are very lucrative and fees on accounts, loans and credit cards plus small amounts on debit card transactions, etc. But the real bread and butter of most banks is lending in a fractional-reserve system. This is basically how it works. People deposit money in bank accounts like checking and savings. These funds make up the deposit balance of a bank. The bank pays depositors a small amount of interest on savings and some checking accounts. On the other side, banks lend borrowers money to buy homes and cars. They charge the borrowers interest on the money lent. The difference between the interest paid on deposits and the interest charged, called the net interest spread or just spread, is where banks make their money. This is why interest rates paid on CDs and savings are so low and have been for years, because banks are charging relatively low rates on loans. I am not sure what the current rates are but when I left banking and up until recently, the interest rate on a savings accounts was functionally zero.

Most people think of a bank as a place to deposit money and to write checks from but that is really incidental to the bank, and messing with checks and cash is a hassle that banks would prefer to not deal with. Ideally a bank would get nothing but direct deposits and pay out only electronically. Banks act as an intermediary between depositors and borrowers. Thousands of people deposit money at a bank which creates a pool of money for a borrower to tap into for big purchases like a mortgage. If you didn't have banks and wanted to borrow $100,000 to buy a house, you would have to convince enough individuals to loan you their excess cash to raise the $100,000. Banks do that for you. There are lots of issues with this system. For example, most people would be surprised to find out how little actual cash there is in a bank. If a significant number of depositors showed up at a local branch and wanted all of their money, the branch would run out of cash in a hurry. In fact we would get in trouble from the higher ups if we had too much money on hand, so it was always a balancing act to make sure you have enough for daily demand, to keep the ATM full, etc. but not too much so branches constantly send money out and get different denominations in.

How do banks make money? Banks make money by making good, solid loans with a reasonable certainty of being repaid. Lending is all about balancing risk. Banks want to make loans but they want those loans to be repaid so they get their principal back plus interest. What they do not want is to foreclose on a house or repossess a car. That is hugely expensive and they usually take a bath on the property. During the financial crisis, a lot of banks essentially stopped foreclosing on delinquent mortgages because they already had too many homes that they have to try to resell, again often for a loss, and in the meantime they have to maintain the property so it doesn't lose even more value. Banks are lenders, not property managers.

Back to risk. How does a bank gauge risk? This is important because the more risky a loan is, the higher interest rate the bank will charge because they are less certain of being repaid. Someone with great credit and low outstanding debt relative to their income (debt to income ratio) will get a lower interest rate on a loan because they are less risky. Someone with poor credit and a lot of existing debt will be assessed a much higher rate to offset the bank's risk. How does a bank make this determination for a pool of tens of millions of potential borrowers? In the old days when banking was more local, it was based on relationships. Suzy has been a long time customer of the bank, has a solid job history and has paid back loans before so she is a good risk. Tom is always overdrawn in his checking account, had a car repossessed by the local bank and is often changing jobs so he is a poor risk. This is sort of how some of our local banks around here operate because of our large Amish community. They make better borrowers because the older members of the community will often act as a de facto guarantor of loans for younger Amish. But today that is not realistic because people move around a lot and banks have too many customers to get to know them. Plus basing credit decisions on relationships also creates a lot of subjectivity. So banks use credit scores as their main initial qualifier.

Credit scores are not perfect but they do provide a neutral means to track credit history. If you borrow money and you pay as agreed (which is what your signature on a credit slip means), your credit goes up (influenced as well by lots of other factors like total available credit, credit inquiries, etc.). If you borrow money (credit card, car loan, mortgage, etc.) and you don't pay as agreed, your credit goes down. Again, not a perfect system but it does provide the most objective measurement of credit history which is, like it or not, the best gauge a lender has of the likelihood you will pay back a loan.

The other side of risk that is less obvious is the risk of being too conservative. Sitting on money you are paying interest on means you are losing profit every day it sits in your virtual vault. It is not just the mitigating of risk of loan default, it is also the risk of not lending enough to make your profit. A bank paying interest to depositors and not getting interest paid on loans goes out of business. So banks want to make good loans. They have to make good loans and they need to keep making loans because people pay off existing loans early or refinance somewhere else or the loan just gets to the end of the term and is paid off naturally. A bank manager with a huge portfolio of solid, profitable loans making money that is not building their loan portfolio with an active pipeline of new loans is going to get phone calls and will lose their job pretty quickly.

Like I said, banking is a highly competitive, very stressful and cutthroat industry. Everyone I knew was too busy trying to make their goals each week to waste a good loan opportunity just to screw over a black person. If a customer that happened to be black, Hispanic, Muslim whatever, came into my branch and asked to apply for a loan, you can bet I took their application eagerly. First of all, by law I was required to. Second, I needed to get as many loans into the pipeline as I could. A lot of people of every race came in to apply for loans and a lot of them I was pretty sure were not going to be approved but I took every application and treated everyone fairly because it was the right thing to do. Of course I also learned early on in banking that looks can be deceiving, often the old guy in bib overalls with the "aw shucks" demeanor had a ton of money and the people with the fancy car and expensive clothing lived paycheck to paycheck.

So one the ones side you have enormous pressure to only make good loans and on the other hand you have just as much pressure to make lots of loans. Most of the pressure on the first is taken away from lenders. The people you see in branches or mortgage offices are just taking the app and collecting the documentation. They don't make the decisions. An underwriter sitting in some prison office complex somewhere makes the decisions, mostly via automation.

As I said to someone I respect on Facebook; what possible reason would an underwriter sitting in some cubicle farm with a never ending queue of loan apps have to pick out otherwise solid applications because of the last name? That just stretches the bounds of credulity. If you have decent credit, a reasonable debt to income ratio, a steady job history and the value of the collateral doesn't exceed the amount of the loan, all things being equal you will be approved. If you don't, you either won't be approved or you might be approved for a loan with a much higher interest rate and it has been my experience that people who were shaky loan candidates that managed to get approved anyway were very quickly over their heads. Like insurance companies that rely on being right about life expectancy to make money on life insurance, so too do banks rely on being right about loans to make their profits.

So where does this idea of banks discriminating against blacks come from? Certainly in the past this was a huge issue. That was the reason for the Community Reinvestment Act passed in 1977. This bill is not without it's critics. As Ron Paul wrote: "Laws passed by Congress such as the Community Reinvestment Act required banks to make loans to previously underserved segments of their communities, thus forcing banks to lend to people who normally would be rejected as bad credit risks.".

The notion that there is still widespread, systemic discrimination comes from stories like this in the Detroit News: Detroit-area blacks twice as likely to be denied home loans. That certainly sounds ominous, right? Detroit is the "blackest" major city in the country, as recently as 2010 it was over 82% black while the white population plummets and the Hispanic population percentage increases rapidly. Detroit also has a very low median family income and around a third of the population lives in poverty. The article linked above clearly tries to show that this is do to discrimination but buried in the story are some important facts.

Lenders and their trade organizations do not dispute the fact that they turn away people of color at rates far greater than whites. They maintain that the disparity can be explained by two factors that the industry has fought to keep hidden: the prospective borrowers’ credit history and overall debt-to-income ratio. They singled out the three-digit credit score — which banks use to determine whether a borrower is likely to repay a loan — as especially important in lending decisions.

“While quite informative regarding the state of the lending market,” the records analyzed by Reveal do “not include sufficient data to make a determination regarding fair lending,” the Mortgage Bankers Association’s chief economist, Mike Fratantoni, said in a statement.

The American Bankers Association said the lack of federal enforcement proves discrimination is not rampant, and individual lenders told Reveal that they had hired outside auditing firms, which found they treated loan applicants fairly regardless of race.

“We are committed to fair lending and continually review our compliance programs to ensure that all loan applicants are receiving fair treatment,” Boston-based Santander Bank said.

Michigan lenders echoed their national counterparts, saying the mortgage process isn’t discriminatory but instead is driven by data: credit, collateral and income.

“Lending today is so automated,” said Jim Wickham, president of the Michigan Mortgage Lenders Association. “It’s difficult for me as a lender to look at this … data and see discrimination.”

Exactly so. The process is automated, it is heavily regulated and the same story shows that even under the Obama administration only 9 banks nationwide had action taken against them during his 8 years in office, and banks not only use internal auditors but also outside auditing firms to make sure they are in compliance. No bank wants to get dinged under the CRA because that sort of bad publicity will be followed by demagogues like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson looking for a handout. It is just too big a risk.

Banks freely admit they turn away blacks at a much higher rate and the reason is two-fold: credit scores and debt-to-income ratios. The credit score is the big one. The first thing the loan application system does is pull your score and right away that is going to either immediately disqualify you or advance you in the process. Likewise debt-to-income, or DTI. Even if you have decent credit and income, if your outstanding debt that you need to service eats up too much of your income, you won't get approved. This is not a racial issue, this is simply a risk factor. Again, and this cannot be overemphasized, the loan underwriting process is all about managing risk. Will you be likely, based on your income, outstanding debt and your credit history, to pay back money if it is lent to you? Keeping a good credit score is simple: Pay what you owe when you owe it. Show you are responsible with the credit you already have and you are far more likely to get more credit in the future.

A great resource on this is an article by Coleman Hughes writing for Quillette: Black American Culture and the Racial Wealth Gap. He writes:

To make matters worse, spending patterns are just one part of a larger set of financial skills on which blacks lag behind. Researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis followed over 40,000 families from 1989 to 2013, tracking their wealth accumulation and financial decisions. They developed a financial health scale, ranging from 0 to 5, that measured the degree to which families made “routine financial health choices that contribute to wealth accumulation”—e.g., saving any amount of money, paying credit card bills on time, having a low debt-to-income ratio, etc. At 3.12, Asian families scored the highest, followed by whites at 3.11, Hispanics at 2.71, and blacks at 2.63.

What does that mean? It means that in general, ranked by race, when it comes to overall financial management, blacks score far worse on measures like paying credit cards on time, having a low DTI ratio (quite likely related to the prior paragraph in the linked story that looks at luxury good spending by blacks). If you don't pay your credit cards on time, it really hurts your credit scores especially if you make a habit of it. If you have too much debt relative to your income, same thing. Mess those two factors up and you aren't getting a mortgage. That isn't a sign of systemic racism, everything that can be done is done to take human bias out of the process for a number of reasons.

So what should be done or can be done about blacks being denied for mortgages as such high rates? It is almost entirely a matter of changing a culture. Black civic groups, churches, families, need to emphasize the importance of maintaining good credit by paying debts on time and keeping outstanding debt to a reasonable level. Obviously many black families already do this because they have mortgages and are responsible with credit but the denial rate is still very disproportionate. Instilling a culture of responsible credit will also go a long way toward closing the "wealth gap". Owning a home has long been the key step in gaining wealth and passing that on to future generations. You can't help your kids or grandkids to buy their own place if you haven't accumulated wealth of your own. It won't happen overnight but it has to start somewhere.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: The World's First Living Meme

In 1985 I was a teen and that year the movie Weird Science came out (also the Breakfast Club). The "plot" if you can call it that, is that two lonely geeks use their computer to create a girl by feeding various magazine articles and stuff into it. It was a funny, mindless, mildly raunchy in a mid 80s kind of way, movie with cameos from Robert Downey Jr and Vernon Wells, the crazed biker with a mohawk in The Road Warrior, and is part of the cult legacy of 80s film. What got me thinking about that movie was this new video from the Republican Party that declares "Democratic" Socialist Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez the future of the Democrat party:

I have made this point before that she is really the ultimate Democrat for our time. She is female, she is a minority, she is young and compared to most Democrat women she is fairly attractive and telegenic (as long as she isn't talking).

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might possibly be the world's first living meme. It is like the guys from Weird Science fed a bunch of memes into a computer and out popped a living person that decided to run for Congress as a natural next step from a bar-tending gig. The meme became flesh and dwelt among us. I can't tell if she is really just not very smart or she just can't speak extemporaneously but you can see when she is off script at all that she momentarily panics and is searching for a talking point. I don't think she really understands the issues at all, she just has a preset response to questions. It is pretty low hanging fruit to make fun of her but on the other hand she is about to enter Congress, making laws impacting hundreds of millions of people, and her ideas that are just dumb and misguided now will quickly become dangerous.

As the lines between politicians and celebrity continue to blur, expect to see more people like this in power, people who are pretty much just walking, talking memes. We aren't far away from seeing a real life President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Satire Becomes Reality

For some time now, it has been getting harder and harder to distinguish between satire and reality. Satirical sites like The Babylon Bee must have a hard time come up with material that hasn't already become reality. Our entire culture, and especially our political scene, has become banal, silly and vacuous. The leadership of both parties reflects this.

In 1975 Monty Python and the Holy Grail was released. It remains one of the funniest, most quotable movies ever. This scene was supposed to poke fun as overly serious political wonks. In 2018 this is actually the state of politics, particularly on the Left. The absurdness of reality has overtaken satire and comedy.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Cultural Revolution, Take Two!

The social media world is abuzz this week after the coordinated take-down of Alex Jones from Facebook, Youtube (Google), Spotify, even LinkedIn of all places. Jones' channel on Youtube had something like 2.5 million subscribers so that isn't a minor thing. Now, how many of them were "real" subscribers and how many people watched with any regularity, I don't know. I was a subscriber on Youtube and rarely watched his channel except when they were talking about the Bilderberg Group. I liked Paul Joseph Watson of Infowars a lot more.

This won't end with Alex Jones and it didn't start there. The Left has been picking off low hanging fruit for a while, softening people up for more serious deplatforming later. The alt-right has been a frequent target, especially after the media spun last year's Charlottesville fiasco into something very different from what really happened. Shortly after that happened the Daily Stormer was deplatformed on their main webpage, again and again. They seem to have found a stable home for now. Then there was a mass deplatforming on Twitter of people like Jared Taylor of American Renaissance along with many, many others although oddly alt-right poster-child Richard Spencer was not booted from Twitter. Others had their funding sources cut off by Patreon and Paypal. Even little stuff makes a big difference. The alternate social media platform Gab cannot get their app into the main app stores, making it very difficult for users to utilize the service. Even someone as harmless as goofy Youtuber PewDiePie regularly has his material "copy striked" and demonetized. Already voices are clamoring for the tech giants to keep going. This is from a sitting U.S. Senator:

The tip of the iceberg. Read that again and think about the implications. Our democracy depends on social media giants colluding together to censor and suppress speech that the Left doesn't like. What sort of "democracy" does Senator Murphy envision when he calls for the suppression of free speech and the squashing of dissenting views? Youtube deleting Alex Jones isn't a First Amendment issue but a U.S. Senator calling for more censoring of political speech comes awfully close.

There is more. New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, in an interview with a foreign newspaper, seems to think that we would be more "unified" if dissenting political speech was suppressed.


New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is slamming conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Fox News, saying that “we would be a more unified country" without their influence. 

“If you could remove News Corp from the last 25 years of American history, we would be in an entirely different place," de Blasio told The Guardian last week before he spoke at an event in New Orleans, adding that he believes Murdoch is responsible for President Trump's election in 2016. 

I am sure it would be. There have been plenty of experiments with restricting political speech and only allowing a single viewpoint. The Soviet Union for example. Sure they had Pravda to provide the "news" but it was only the news the Communist party allowed. I guess Hizzoner the Mayor thinks that the only path to "unity" is forced uniformity backed up with secret police and gulags for dissenters. His irony knows no bounds...

He also voiced strong disapproval for Trump's rhetoric regarding the media, saying "there is no comparison between a progressive critique of the media — and overwhelmingly corporate media, by the way — and a president who does not believe in free speech and is trying to undermine the norms of democracy."

Ah, see when "progressives" critique the "corporate media", which is almost exclusively far-left, that is noble and proper but when Trump does it, he doesn't believe in "free speech". So says the guy that wants to get rid of any conservative voices, no matter how mainstream and feeble.

Heck, why stop there? Instead of restricting what news and opinion voters use to make their voting decisions, why not just restrict the ballot to only have Democrats? That would make things so much simpler and unified. They had elections like that in the Soviet Union and they were incredibly unified, and if you weren't....well you just disappeared. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey posted a lengthy thread explaining why Twitter did not ban Alex Jones. The thread was fairly reasonable from Jack, the response was over the top, frothing at the mouth anger from "liberals" demanding he censor Alex Jones and anyone else to the right of Nancy Pelosi. Unhinged former governor, Presidential candidate  and renowned incoherent screamer Howard Dean took to Twitter to fulfill Godwin's Law and denounce Jack Dorsey for not censoring everyone Dean dislikes. Cuz Nazis and stuff.

Again, this is just the beginning. I can think off dozens of Youtube channels and Twitter accounts that are to the right of mainstream "conservatism" that are undoubtedly on the wishlist of voices to be suppressed next. Already some libertarian voices on Twitter have been suspended and the list is only going to grow. The social media giants know that people will get outraged for a few days and then slip back into their soporific state and each time they ban someone a little less radical, the response gets a little more lackluster. Then Breitbart and Daily Caller get banned, and maybe even more centrist outfits like Fox News and National Review. They will just keep wearing us down and lulling us back to sleep and they will never, ever stop.

This is not happening in a vacuum. All it takes is a little legwork and an open mind to start drawing the lines of connection between different events. Groups like the ADL and SPLC have been tasked by these big tech firms to police content and they both have moved far, far beyond their alleged original mandates to become professional pseudo-"hate speech" detectors. In other words the same small groups of wildly radical leftist partisans are making the decisions on who gets to post to Youtube or Twitter or Facebook.

I read something the other day that made an interesting connection between what is going on now and a major cultural upheavel from the past. The analogy is not perfect on course, they never are, but on the other hand there is that old saying about those who fail to learn the lessons of history being doomed to repeat them. In the 1960s and 70s, Mao Zedong decided that "capitalism" was creeping back into Communist China and threatening to undo the work of the Communist project in China. So he launched what came to be known as the Cultural Revolution. Mao mobilized students and young people to root out counter-revolutionary thought in China, a group known as the Red Guard.

One of their primary targets were the so-called "Four Olds". These four were: Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas.

A movement led by students and young people, long on fervency and radicalism and short on reason and critical thinking destroying the "old culture". Getting rid of "old customs" and "old ideas". Ridding themselves of "old habits". Any of this sound familiar? What is the removal of Confederate monuments that have been around for a century and never bothered anyone or the recasting of the Founding Fathers with a multi-racial cast in the musical 'Hamilton' but getting rid of the old culture? Old ideas like monogamy, traditional marriage and the cultural rejection of cross-dressing and homosexuality are being thrown out and labeled "hate speech". Screeching pink haired fruitcakes demand an end to the "patriarchy" and the destruction of "whiteness". Even the renaming of streets and schools has precedent in the Cultural Revolution. Outright anti-white racists get hired for the editorial board for the self-proclaimed "paper of record". The names and the locations have changed but the methods and the goals have not.

The far left cultural war didn't end when the communist Soviet Union fell, it just morphed into something new. Now we have the cultural Marxists, the social justice warriors and "democratic socialists". Instead of a class war, we have a war between competing identity groups. It is not the proletariat being oppressed by the bourgeoisie, it is the "disenfranchised" and various oppressed victim groups being oppressed by white people. Race, gender and sexual identity are the new class and the "white cis-male" that doesn't want to have sex with a cross-dressing dude is the new class enemy.

What the cultural revolutionaries realized pretty quickly was that it was not enough to simply suppress teaching and speech that was counter-revolutionary. You had to crush any dissent utterly and ruthlessly, otherwise concepts like freedom and liberty kept popping up in spite of the educational and media indoctrination. So that left you with terror to keep people in line. Untold millions of people were murdered during the Cultural Revolution, part of the tens of millions who died as a direct result of Communist rule, both in China and other communist states. Millions more were uprooted, imprisoned and tortured, all in the name of "unity" of the sort that the mayor of New York City seems to envision and dream of.

This is not a mere political struggle we are engaged in. That has been one of the blind spots of the political Right for decades. We think we are engaged in a struggle over ideas and policies. We think that if we make a better argument for tax cuts, we will win. But we are not in a struggle of policies. We are in a multi-front cultural war. The Right pats itself on the back when it gets tax cuts passed, while the Left is cementing their hold on the media, the government bureaucracy and the educational establishment. The Right crows about ambushing a patrol while the Left is occupying our capitol. Like the British troops at the Battle of New Orleans, many of us are fighting a meaningless battle while our "leaders" have already surrendered.

The insane rage against Trump has little to do with Trump himself or his politices. The rage is over what he represents. Trump is a counter-revolutionary, a reactionary force that threatens the cultural revolution. If Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio had been the GOP nominee and defeated Hillary, the Left would have been upset because after all she was pre-ordained as the Chosen One to be the first woman President but it wouldn’t have been anything like this. A President Bush 3.0 or Rubio would have been like a President McCain or Romney, just a caretaker making soothing sounds while the nation was culturally gutted. People like Rubio are tame "conservatives" that don't really conserve anything. They are perennial punching bags that show up on Sunday shows or write their little columns and dutifully squeak with indignation after they surrender the latest fight. Of course they don't squeak too loudly lest they stop getting invited to the right sort of cocktail parties.

This also explains the rage against Trump from "conservative" NeverTrumpers. People like Bill Kristol are obsessed with Trump. Little Ben Shapiro who fancies himself the next great conservative intellectual seems to think that he has a sacred obligation to reply to every tweet from Trump. Trump threatens their social standing in D.C. and Washington, upsetting the comfy existence they love.

I am a firm believer that we are headed toward a major break-up of the United States. We simply can't keep living together. Many people think we are going to have a new Civil War, dress up in blue or gray and start shooting at each other in set-piece battles. I don't think that is the case. Something akin to the Chinese Cultural Revolution seems far more likely and I also think we are already deep into this conflict but most of us on "our side" don't realize the full extent of the struggle. A bunch of people better wake up and soon or tax cuts and tariffs will be the least of our worries.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Bigotry Of Low Expectations, Example Number 8,767,312

It is often the little stuff in a news story that catches my eye. I read earlier in the day that it was another summer Saturday night in Chicago as the shootings kept coming. The number went up throughout Sunday as the chaos of the prior evening is sorted through but as of now "at least 41" people were shot and 4 have died. 25 people were shot in a 2 1/2 hour spree including an 11 year old boy who was inexplicably hanging around in a group of people at 2:35 AM. Even on a Saturday night, why is an 11 year old wandering around the streets? He, like many other teens and a bunch of girls and women, were apparently caught in the cross-fire and many of these teens were out apparently unsupervised after midnight in a city and in neighborhoods where gunfire is a common occurrence.

As you can imagine, the local hospitals were overwhelmed. Many shooting victims were taken to Stroger Hospital, a name I recognize from regularly reading the reports from Chicago's violence epidemic. At one point there were apparently over 200 people waiting to check on loved ones and relatives. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, people could be overheard on their cell phones plotting revenge on the shooters, who are known but no one goes to the police, while their friend or relative is still in the hospital being treated for their injuries. Tensions flared among those waiting: "A fight nearly broke out about 9:15 a.m. between two groups.".

But that is just a pretty typical weekend in Chicago. What got me riled up were statements from local Congressman Danny Davis. Davis is an elderly black Congressman who is associated with the "Democratic Socialists of America" and is unapologetically pals with noted racist and anti-Semite "Reverend" Louis Farrakhan. Davis is quoted in the Sun-Times as follows:

About a half hour later, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis showed up at the parking lot to offer comfort to people, many of whom are constituents.

“We continue to try to develop enough resources to prevent these kind of incidents from happening,” Davis told reporters, expressing frustration with a lack of government funding for programs that could prevent street violence.

“I’ll be willing to bet that many of the people who are here right now to express concern are also unemployed, don’t have jobs, are frustrated in terms of daily living,” he said.

This is the same tired old line we hear over and over. It is what the marchers who have shut down highways in Chicago keep saying. We need more money, more programs, more government intervention. Jobs programs and basketball leagues are not going to stop this. This is an issue with a culture that glorifies violence, that sees shooting into a crowd as a reasonable response to a slight, that sees the only way to deal with murder is to murder someone else in retaliation. It is a culture where kids are taught to fear and hate cops to the point that they will not aid an investigation into a murder, and then turn around and complain that the police don't solve enough murder cases. There are plenty of impoverished areas in this country but you don't see murder and shootings like this in Appalachia. Men don't shoot into a crowd where 11 year old children and women are present because they are out of work, especially when unemployment is at record lows. They shoot into those crowds because something is culturally broken, something that can't be fixed by after-school programs. You can't substitute a stable family with government and charity.

Ironically yesterday was the first ever "Barack Obama Day", an official state holiday in Illinois to celebrate the birth of President Obama. It is ironic because under Obama's watch violent crime soared to unprecedented levels in his own hometown. Last night, following this state holiday celebrating the birth of America's first black President, dozens of black men and women and children in his own home town ended up in the hospital, four of them so far in the morgue.

This epidemic of murder and retaliation can't be solved by the government nor can it be solved by diverting the blame. The solution has to come from within the black community. As long as the culture refuses to change, the cycle of violence will continue.

Irony Alert! Sarah Jeong Edition

Like virtually everyone else with a keyboard I wrote about the hypocritical hiring by the New York Times of racist Sarah Jeong a few days ago. Her juvenile anti-white racist tweets are still there for the world to see and the NYT is apparently not backing down. So conservative social media star Candace Owens, who is black, changed some of the instances of "white" with "black" and "Jewish" and retweeted the exact same thing that Sarah Jeong tweeted. But she didn't get a job offer from the New York Times. She got a twelve hour suspension from Twitter.

That is a pretty good question....

Paying attention yet?

Open Border Libertarianism Is Self-Defeating

For a period of time during the Obama administration, I followed a path many Americans on the Right have trod. I found myself less and less in tune with the traditional Republican party for a lot of reasons. Some of the big ones were the endless compromise on bigger government, thinking that slightly slowing the pace of growth was somehow a principled stand; the interventionst foreign policy was a big one with war after war being egged on by the neocon think tanks in the beltway but being fought by the children of the deplorables out in the heartland; and the simple fact that rank and file Republican voters in the South, Midwest and Mountain West were being played for suckers by the GOP, getting promises of action on the issues that mattered to us only to find that the party really only cared about the wealthy donor class.

So for someone who wanted smaller government and a less interventionist foreign policy, the Libertarian party seemed like the right way to go. I dutifully voted for Gary Johnson in 2012. I even voted for him again in 2016 although with much less enthusiasm, especially since his running mate Bill Weld didn't seem to be much of a libertarian and Gary seemed to be hitting the bong too much. The Libertarian slate got a huge number of votes in 2016, almost 4.5 million votes which was over 3% of the votes cast. That seems like a lot but during the election some polls had Johnson with double digits so the actual vote total was far less than the potential support. Gary Johnson seemed completely unprepared to capitalize on the surge in interest. He was apparently planning on just being a gadfly and never took the election seriously and it showed.

Since the election, the Libertarian Party has seemed to go off the rails. To read their tweets and the material published by beltway libertarians you would think that the most important issues in our nation were legalizing pot and supporting "gay marriage". I get the "libertarian case" for both of those, although I disagree, but really those seem like pretty minor issues to worry about. The LP even dutifully did the rainbow thing for gay pride month:

The LP Facebook banner during "Pride Month"

More and more it seems that the beltway/left-libertarian strategy is to try to appeal to disaffected Democrat voters by emphasizing socially liberal positions. I doubt this is attracting all that many pro-gay marriage/pro-pot legalization Democrats who have what they want already in the Democrat party. It is also quite off-putting to a lot of right-libertarians who are worried about things like the national debt and fiat currency instead of whether we can legally smoke pot while the country melts down around us.

One of the major recent transformations of libertarianism is an advocacy for open-borders. This has been around a while in some libertarian circles but it really is getting a lot of play recently. A lot of this is driven by groups like Cato and the Koch brothers. It is equal parts libertarian empty theorizing ("in a perfect world....") and crass exploitation from those who wants cheap labor.

Up until recently libertarians didn't use the term "open borders" because they know it is political poison. The official Libertarian Party platform dances around it with statements like this: "A truly free market requires the free movement of people, not just products and ideas". The "free movement of people" is a euphemism for open borders. At Reason Magazine, which is ironically becoming more and more unreasonable, blogger Ilya Somin penned a piece titled: The Hereditary Aristocracy of Citizenship which argues that having citizenship is some sort of elitist aristocracy, instead of a basic civic distinction between people of one nation versus another. Her "solution" to this "hereditary aristocracy" is another back-door way of saying open borders:

But there is much we can do to reduce the harm it causes. Broadly speaking, that can be accomplished either by broadening access to citizenship, or by reducing the extent of the privileges associated with citizen status. If citizenship no longer determined where you are allowed to live and work, to the extent it does today, its hereditary nature would be far less oppressive.

Subtle. We are not saying the words "open borders", we are just saying that citizenship no longer has any meaning when it comes to where you live and work. So just because you are a citizen of El Salvador, if you want to come to the United States to live and get a job, your citizenship doesn't matter. Like magic, a back-door to open borders.

Then on July 31st, the open borders cat was let out of the libertarian bag. Along comes Jeffrey Miron with an essay in USA Today: Forget the wall already, it's time for the U.S. to have open borders. There it is. Miron isn't some dimwit or garden variety liberal, he is "director of economic studies at the Cato Institute and the director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Economics at Harvard University.". What an embarrassing essay from someone on staff at Harvard and Cato. I don't have time to properly fisk the entire article here but allow me to share a couple of especially risible quotes:

Immigrants will not flood into America, although the rate of immigration might increase.

"Might" increase. Right. We have at least 12-15 million illegals in this country right now plus millions more from Mexico and Central America legally, and that is with immigration laws and border enforcement plus ICE. Take away any border controls and that number somehow won't skyrocket? I am conservatively guessing that truly opening the borders would result in short order absorbing 20 million additional people just from Mexico, Central America and northern South America. Things are getting worse, not better, south of us (The WSJ just ran a piece on the chaos in Brazil). That doesn't even count "migrants" from Africa and Asia. Included among the nations we would expect a flood of immigrants to come from are the top three nations in the world in terms of murder rates (El Salvador, Honduras, Venezuela). As I am fond of saying, we already have plenty of our own violent criminals, we don't need to import anymore.

Expenditure on the welfare state will contract because even if immigrants vote for welfare spending, existing residents will vote for less generous benefits when they believe these accrue to recent immigrants.

So a guy from Harvard thinks that dumping millions of poor, low skill immigrants will result in less spending on the welfare state. Oh I see how that works! Actually no. Social welfare spending, already under enormous strain, would be flooded with new applicants. People already migrate from Africa and Central America to Europe and the U.S. precisely because of social welfare benefits, why would that decrease by making it easier to get here? The exact opposite would happen, not to mention the crushing burden on schools dealing with children from homes where English isn't spoken, even more inmates in our already overcrowded jails. In a recent piece for the Federalist, Open Borders Are Not Libertarian So Long As America Is A Welfare State, Bruce Majors argues the old Milton Friedman line that we can have open border or we can have a welfare state but we can't have both.

Libertarians object that in denying a Honduran family the freedom to cross the U.S.-Mexican border we limit their freedom. But in allowing them in, they force American citizens to work to pay for schooling and other social services for their families. What morality—and what electoral strategy—prioritizes the right of a Honduran (who has already escaped violence in having reached Mexico) to cross the border, over the right of an American not to be subjected to forced labor to feed, house, and clothe her family? This is a question libertarian open borders advocates in any political party cannot answer.

That is a serious issue. No one can seriously look at the state of South/Central American immigrants in the U.S. and argue that having more of them will magically cause a reduction in welfare spending. That is like arguing that having the government provide unlimited "free" Mountain Dew and skittles to all school children starting at kindergarten will result in less childhood obesity. 

Plus, increased immigration will lower wage differentials across countries, reducing the incentive to immigrate.

What does that mean, "lower wage differentials across countries"? That is just a fancy way of saying that mass migration via open borders will depress wages in the U.S., so the standard of living and wage levels in America will be less advantageous versus other nations. I am sure that is not how he would define that, but that is what the reality is. Flooding the U.S. with low skill, low wage workers is going to depress wages in America. Why would I pay a decent wage for an American carpenter when I can hire a Guatemalan to do it for half price? That is great for keeping wages low, which benefits billionaires like the Cato-affiliated Koch brothers but for average working class American already battered by crappy trade deals (also championed by "libertarians")? It could be a death sentence. But hey on the bright side, we won't have to feel guilty about having a higher standard of living than El Salvador and Somalia anymore! That isn't libertarianism, that is socialism: universal shared common misery.

There is more but in general it is just a lot of pie-in-the-sky theories, lack of understanding of human nature, bait and switch (lumping all immigrants together when he knows full well that most immigrants that would flood here are not physicists from Sweden or engineers from Korea, but laborers from Mexico) with a heaping dose of dishonesty.

Quite a difference from that to Llewellyn Rockwell who rightly argues that Open Borders Are an Assault on Private Property or Hans-Hermann Hoppe. Indeed there are a valiant few libertarians like Rockwell and Hoppe that are trying to, in Hoppe's words "rescue libertarianism from left-libertarian flakes and fakes".

Not only do I agree with Rockwell and Hoppe on open borders as a philosophical matter, it is also even more so a pragmatic issue. I assert that if you truly want a libertarian society, you must have meaningful borders.

If open borders becomes a reality, we will never have a libertarian society.

For a lot of libertarians, human beings are mostly anonymous economic units. Therefore an immigrant is an immigrant is an immigrant. It doesn't matter where they come from or what their motivation for coming here is. A married couple from India that comes here to start a retail business is no different from a single guy from Mexico that is only here for higher wages that he can send back home.

Libertarians also seem to subscribe to the "magic dirt" theory that says once someone steps foot onto American soil, they will suddenly jettison all of their cultural baggage from back home and become small government and liberty loving Americans, indistinguishable from any other American.

The reality is far different. Hispanics vote pretty overwhelmingly for Democrats, something around 65-70%. That is not as bad as the monolithic black vote that often approaches 90% Democrat but it still is pretty overwhelming and I don't see any reason that would change. Oddly enough even Asian voting patterns mimic Hispanic voting. In 2016 Asians voted 65% for Hillary. That should strike you as weird. Asians are known for valuing family, being hard-working, ambitious, many of them are small business owners and entrepreneurs. They are shafted by liberal policies like affirmative action which favors less qualified black college applicants to the detriment of Asians. Even though Democrat policies are antithetical to them cultural and harmful to them personally, Asians still vote Democrat. Perhaps that will start to shift. Perhaps not.

A line parroted by many "conservatives" is that Hispanic voters are natural conservatives, they just need to realize it. The rationale behind that statement is that Hispanic voters tend to be fairly religious and place a high value on family. There are a number of major flaws with that theory. For example, for a long time working class Catholic voters were a solidly Democrat constituency. Many working class, especially union, Catholics in places like my home town of Toledo still vote reliably for Democrats because Democrats are "the party of the working guy". More and more of them are realizing that is not true but the major social welfare programs like Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid and food stamps came about under Democrat administrations elected in large part by working class Catholic voters. So being family oriented and religious is no guarantee of being "conservative".

Another problem is that the media has effectively painted Republicans as being anti-Hispanic. Like it or not, we are deeply embedded in an era when tribe trumps ideology for virtually all non-white voters. Black voters vote for Democrats because they have been indoctrinated to believe that is where their tribal interests lay. Even self-identified black protestants voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton and they voted almost unanimously for Barack Obama in 2012, even though Obama was an open supporter of abortion which disproportionately kills black babies and homosexual marriage. I think many black protestants opposed those things, perhaps even quite strongly, but their racial allegiance to the Democrats overrode their own personal beliefs. This is becoming very apparent even among once-"conservative" black evangelicals. I have written quite a bit about people like Anthony Bradley and Thabiti Anyabwile who are abdoning Biblical orthodoxy in favor of racial tribalism dressed up as "woke theology". Lee Kuan Yew, the "founding father" of Singapore made a rather controversial statement:

"In multiracial societies, you don’t vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion.”

That is the case for non-whites in America, at least racially, and it will be true for Muslims as they grow in numbers. A recent study showed that Muslims were a staggering 75% more likely to support a candidate if they were a fellow Muslim.

In other words, Hispanics will vote along with other Hispanics just as black will vote along with other blacks and Muslims with other Muslims and Jews with other Jews and that means that they are going to keep voting Democrat for the foreseeable future no matter how many socially liberal policies the Libertarian Party adopts. For now the only identity group that doesn't vote in lockstep is the majority white group but that is slowly changing, as we saw with the last election.

The biggest issue is that immigrants from Central and South America drastically disproportionately use government social welfare programs. If you look at immigrants by country of origin, you can see that immigrants are a massive net negative when it comes to social services when you include the disparity in the property taxes they pay versus the cost of education their children, many of whom speak English poorly or not at all (see any number of articles here from NumbersUSA or the previously linked article by Bruce Major).

Why would they suddenly decide to forgo the free stuff in favor of eliminating the income tax? I just don't see how libertarian ideals are an electoral winner for immigrants. People who are of European ancestry with a family lineage that has been here for centuries will have their eyes glaze over when you start talking about fiat currency, why would we suppose a new immigrant from Honduras will be at all interested?

*** Thought-Crime Incoming ***

Let's face it. Libertarianism is a European white and Jewish thing.

Think about well known libertarians. There are people like ranging on the "right" of libertarianism like Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, Tom Woods all the way to people like Gary Johnson and David Boaz. Old famous libertarians are people like Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman. Look at the staff experts of the Cato Institute. There are no black faces smiling back at you. There are a few pretty light complexioned Hispanics but the page is mostly white or Jewish. The same with the staff at Reason magazine. Sure you can point to Walter Williams but he is a pretty significant exception.

Black and Hispanic politicians and pundits don't talk about liberty, they talk about equality and justice. They are overwhelmingly pro-regulation, pro-gun control, pro-speech regulation, pro-income redistribution. They bang on about Medicare for everyone which is a way to get universal "health care" without calling it that. They push for the mythical "living wage" of $15, which will turn into a mandatory "living wage" of $20 and so on. They think that everyone should get a "free" college education (to which I reply, if you think college is expensive now, just wait until it is free).

In short, open borders is a sure fire recipe to make sure that libertarian ideas never progress beyond memes and hearty discussions over a couple of craft beers. Perhaps you can dismiss this as crass pragmatism but it is simply the truth. Current immigrants are disinterested in libertarian ideas. There is no reason to believe that future immigrants will be any different. If you are a libertarian and your goal is to live in a libertarian society, then pushing for open borders is perhaps the worst thing you can do. Just because you can make a flowery argument based on a perfect world scenario doesn't translate to that policy having the intended effect in the real world.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Why The Sarah Jeong Hire By The New York Times Matters

Just a few days ago I wrote about the New York Times declaring the white population of New Hampshire to be too numerous and the measures that could be taken to "fix" New Hampshire's "whiteness problem": Being Too White Is A Problem That Must Be Solved: The New York Times And The Quest To Diversify New Hampshire. Apparently that was just the beginning because the NYT then turned around and hired someone named Sarah Jeong to their editorial board. You can be excused for not knowing who she was prior to this week, she used to write for Vox which is far-left propaganda. But now she works at what once was considered a prestigious organization. Then some people started looking at her old (2014 being considered "old" in this era) tweets and they used some....colorful language which expressed her disdain for white people. Here is a sampling of what she said in her tweets (all are still active at this time). **Language warning**

Very classy. Not only are these tweets racist and reflective of someone who hates white people as a group simply for being white, they are incredibly lame. They are not edgy or clever, they are just kind of dumb, the sort of stuff I would expect from a high school student, not someone who is invited to join the New York Times editorial board.

Of course she immediately claims victimhood and explains it wasn't her fault because she was just counter-trolling white people who were mean to her online. She even wrote a book about people being mean to her online. I have no doubt people have been rude to her online. She is a frequent tweeter and that draws trolls. I have been called all sorts of names on social media, just this week a random British guy who took umbrage at a comment I made on Facebook messaged me and called me a "pedo faggot". I didn't cry about, I just blocked him and moved on with my life. But not Ms. Jeong, she immediately and hilariously adopted the damsel in distress model and just as hillarious are the far left men online, most who would claim to be "male feminists", immediately white knighting her on social media. It is all so terribly predictable.

One doesn't counter-troll racists by engaging in reverse racism. Calling white people "grovelling goblins", tweeting the hashtag "#CancelWhitepeople", which has a pretty ominous undertone, calling whites without qualifier "dumbass fucking white people" and comparing them expressing an opinion online to “dogs pissing on fire hydrants.” comes from a deeply hateful mind. She is clearly a racist and that is her prerogative in a free society. But when she is hired as a member of the editorial board of a newspaper that piously and pompously declares it contains "All the News That's Fit to Print", it raises the obvious question of hypocrisy.

If Fox News hired Richard Spencer as a commenter, do you think the media talking heads and Twitter blue checkmarks would defend the hiring? Of course not. The media would go into overdrive saying "See, see! Fox News is full of racists!". It is just an enormous double-standard and just reinforces that a) The New York Times is leftist propaganda dressed up as news and b) there is a serious issue with anti-white racial animus at the NYT. The excuse that "I was only being racist because other people were being racist to me" wouldn't fly coming from any white person. Imagine someone like David Duke using that as an excuse. For the New York Times, Ms. Jeong's crass and infantile anti-white racism is a feature, not a bug.

But it is not just the overt anti-white racism that is troubling. It is also the sheer ingratitude on display. Ms. Jeong is a native of South Korea. South Korea was protected from their brethren to the North and the Chinese by the blood of Americans to the tune of nearly 34,000 deaths. Certainly the South Korean people suffered mightily as well but it wasn't our country we were defending from suffering the same fate as the North Korean people have suffered for over 60 years. Meanwhile more than a half century after the end of the Korean War, the U.S. still stations 28,000 troops in South Korea to serve as a deterrent to North Korean aggression, along with tens of thousands of additional forces in Japan. The bill for the U.S. to maintain these forces runs into the billions, even after a significant cost of the deployed forces is offset by South Korea and Japan. If Ms. Jeong were to try to be so "edgy" under the North Korean regime, she would have died a long time ago of execution or starvation in a camp, unless she became a good little Communist shill and perhaps informer which doesn't seem out of the question. In other words, she has the ability to tweet her juvenile ramblings thanks to a nation that is majority white sending an overwhelmingly white army to protect her grandparents from Communist invaders.

Then she elects to move to the United States, a majority white nation founded by white heterosexual religious men, and became a citizen here. While she was here she went to college at UC Berkeley and Harvard Law. Berkeley was founded by white men and is named after a white guy, George Berkeley. Harvard was of course also founded by white men and is named after a white man who was also a Christian minister, John Harvard. Harvard used to train Christian ministers and the original motto of Harvard was Christo et Ecclesiae which means "For Christ and Church".

Now she has been hired by the New York Times. New York City, home of the Times, of course was founded by white men in 17th century. But obviously her new employer, the New York Times, was founded by a half-black/half-Asian transgender vegan Muslim woman. Just kidding! The New York Times was founded by two white guys, Henry Jarvis Raymond and George Jones (not the country singer).

So here is someone who intentionally leaves a nation that is one of the most ethnically homogeneous in the world, 99% Korean, for a nation that is majority white founded by white men, goes to schools founded by white men and gets a great job at a newspaper founded by white men and then crabs about white men. She does her crabbing on Twitter, a social media platform created by four white guys, a social media platform that runs on the internet, itself mostly an invention of white men. I can see why someone who has benefited enormously from the inventiveness, hard work, blood, sweat and intellect of white men would be so sore at them. 😒

Once again we see an unintended benefit of the Trump Presidency: the media revealing itself for who and what it is. They no longer even try to hide their leftists political agenda and their racialist animus toward whites, at least white people who are not properly tame and obsequious whites. Sure she is just another generic liberal on the New York Times editorial board spewing propaganda for the leftist readership of the NYT but the fact that her overt racism was known to the NYT and they still hired her is a shot across the bow. The real question remains: when will we start to pay attention?