Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Democrats don't support voter fraud; they just worry about disenfranchising the deceased

Democrats don't support voter fraud
notes Benny Huang wryly;
they just worry about disenfranchising the deceased.

Who says there’s no such thing as life after death? If voting rolls are any indicator, dead people these days are living very active lifestyles. According to an investigative report by CBS2, Los Angeles’s CBS affiliate, some dead people continue to vote years after meeting their maker.

The investigation revealed that 265 dead voters across five counties in southern California voted in recent elections, 215 of them in Los Angeles County. Some of the deceased cast ballots in multiple elections. Thirty-two of those deceased voters were found to have voted eight times since kicking the bucket. One woman who died in 1988 managed to vote in 2014.

I can think of only two explanations—either the Zombie Apocalypse is upon us or someone’s been cheatin’. I lean toward the latter.

Don’t let anyone tell you that voter fraud is a victimless crime. Every ballot illegitimately cast cancels out someone else’s vote. It’s no different than reaching into the ballot box and removing a ballot. It’s a suckerpunch to the democratic process and should be punished severely.

Oddly enough, some people seem to react to voter fraud and voter suppression very differently, as if they’re different phenomena meriting different responses. Voter suppression is considered such a heinous crime that no incident of it will be tolerated—unless perpetrated by billy-club wielding black racists, of course—while voter fraud is considered regrettable but ultimately immaterial. After all, what’s a few votes here and there? Is it really going to tip an election one way or the other? The answer, in some instances, is yes; though that’s not really the point. There’s a principle at stake here and the principle applies whether the margin of victory is a handful of votes or a million.

Any attempt to root out corruption in the electoral process is bound to meet stiff resistance from so-called “civil rights” groups that will invariably stir up racial fears. Voter ID laws, the reformers’ tool of choice for combatting voter fraud, have been painted as an attempt to resurrect Jim Crow. Minority voters lack suitable forms of identification, they say, and making them obtain an ID amounts to an unconstitutional poll tax. It’s a weak argument made even weaker by the fact that some states provide IDs for free.

Some notable “civil rights” organizations continue to oppose voter ID, grasping at increasingly ephemeral straws to justify their position. Nothing will satisfy them except anarchy at the polling stations—no controls, no verification, and no integrity in the final tally. That’s the way they like it.

Cleaning up voter rolls, however, is not the same as voter ID. What objection could there possibly be? You guess it—cleaning up voter rolls is raaaaacist! Or at least that’s the contention of the corrupt, disreputable NAACP. A recent attempt by Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, to weed out noncitizens and other people who have no legal right to vote has been challenged by the NAACP and members of the opposition party. Florida House Minority Leader Mark Pattford weighed in: “[Governor Scott] can probably find more reports of UFOs and space aliens in Florida than there are reports of fraudulent voting in the state.”
Pattford surely knows that Miami, which is about an hour south of his district in West Palm Beach, was rocked with one of the biggest voter fraud cases in American history less than twenty years ago. The city’s Democratic mayor, Xavier Suarez, was removed from office in 1998 when it was discovered that his campaign had won the previous year’s primary by tampering with absentee ballots. Among the 895 ballots examined, 197 were found to be suspicious. Some were cast by, you guessed it, dead people.

 … The argument against cleaning up voter rolls seems to be that any attempt to purge ineligible voters will, either by happenstance or design, purge eligible voters too—and minorities disproportionately. So just to be on the safe side, let’s not purge any.

Here we are back at the flawed premise that no one is harmed when voter fraud is tolerated. Let’s examine for a moment the dead voters discovered in the CBS2 investigation to see just how wrongheaded that notion is. According to their investigation, 32 dead voters voted in at least eight elections; that’s 256 illegally cast ballots. We also know that the other 233 dead voters voted at least once. By combining the two we know that 489 ballots were illegally cast and the same number of voters were disenfranchised. Again, that’s a minimum. But rather than doing something about it some people prefer not to see a problem and compare the whole affair to UFO sightings.

The states’ voting rolls are saturated with names that don’t belong there—noncitizens, the deceased, people who have moved away, and in some cases, fictitious people.

 … This is the stuff of banana republics.
Related: Voting rights, voting wrongs:
To take another (far worse) crime, how prevalent is murder? Not very, if you take the statistics in percentage (something like 0.0048 %). Well, no matter how rare murder is, you still need to criminalize it as much for justice — to bring perpetrators (however rare they may be) to justice — as for prevention — to prevent people from being tempted to use it.
The last I heard, one needs some sort of poll card to cast a ballot in Britain, as indeed one does in every other democracy on this planet. Due to the Democrats' hysterical race-baiting, we have been subjected to the (absurd) spectacle of being the only country where having this (common-sense) requirement can only be viewed as vile, outrageous prejudice. Well, if it is racist to require voter ID in America, then Britain and every other democracy on the planet (including, of course, in Africa) can only qualify as racist as well.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

School Bans "Whistles" from Playground for Being Too "Aggressive"

A [British] school has banned whistles to signal the end of playtime as staff are worried the “aggressive” noise will scare children
reports the Daily Telegraph's Elizabeth Roberts (cheers for the Instapundit link, mate).
Staff at St Monica's Catholic Primary School in Milton Keynes must instead raise a hand in the air to get the attention of pupils at the end of break time.

A teaching assistant at the school, Pamela Cunningham, attacked the ban in a letter to Country Life Magazine.

She said that she keeps her hand-carved whistle in her pocket 'just in case' children don't spot her hand in an emergency.

Professor Alan Smithers, of Buckingham University, branded the move as “crazy” telling the Sunday Times:
“We have become extraordinarily over-sensitive. Does this mean children are not going to be able to play football and hockey because the referees use whistles?”
St Monica’s is a voluntary aided school for boys and girls between the ages of three and eleven, with 467 children on roll.
The move comes after students at Christ the King, a Catholic primary school in Leeds, were banned from playing tag (also known as tig) in the playground.

The head teacher claimed children have become upset amid the rough and tumble of the traditional chasing game.

Meanwhile students celebrating graduation from the University of East Anglia are no longer allowed to throw their mortarboards in the air.

The university blamed health and safety concerns, saying a number of graduates have been hurt by falling hats in recent years.
As you can expect, the controversy is an object of concern to all but the people directly involved, i.e., the very children, not a single one of whom, apparently, has even dreamed of raising his or her voice in complaint. Bringing to mind the controversy in America over the Redskins sports team, which has everybody in a fizzy, everybody, that is, except the redskins — sorry, except the Indians — themselves.
The move was criticized by Emma Kenny, a leading child psychologist, who said she has yet to meet a child who was afraid of the whistles. She added: “I think we are at a time where health and safety is eradicating childhood.”

Monday, May 30, 2016

Teddy's Rough Riders Sing Garryowen As They Head Towards the Battlefield

There are only a handful of war movies and/or historical films that portray the men that fight battles realistically, and two of them — both "starring" Theodore Roosevelt (The Wind and the Lion and Rough Riders) — are by John Milius. "Rough Riders" is an unforgettable film on the events of the Spanish-American War and it is too bad that more movies cannot be like this or like films such as Zulu, Gettysburg, or The Longest Day.

In this brilliant outtake that shows the pathos of the departure to the front, the troops of Teddy Roosevelt's (Tom Berenger's) 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry fall in under the orders of Captain Bucky O'Neill (Sam Elliott) for the train ride east across the South to Florida (for embarkation to Cuba), discovering in the process that the wounds of the Civil War (or the War Between the States, to make everybody happy) have started to heal, all to the tune of Garryowen, stunningly sung by Elan Oberon (who happens to be Milius' wife).

If there are DVDs that all Americans (hell, that all people everywhere) should own, this is one of them — don't miss other outstanding portrayals, notably Marshall Teague as Black Jack Pershing and Gary Busey, utterly outstanding in the role of Fighting Joe Wheeler.

(Thanks to Hervé for all his work in creating this video)


Ken Loach objects to welfare state cuts, but the fact remains that if today’s welfare state is affordable at all, t'is thanks to the free enterprise system that he hates

Ken Loach’s new film I, Daniel Blake, which has … earned him his second Palme d’Or at Cannes, tells the story of a middle-aged man and a single mother struggling with Britain’s modern welfare system
writes Sam Bowman in the Daily Telegraph.
Like many of his other films it’s a story of people being mistreated by faceless bureaucrats in  an unfeeling, capitalistic state.

Now I confess I share some of his despair.  Trying to get the local council to do something as simple as collect rubbish on my street is a process that makes me reach for my revolver. To depend on such institutions for money to feed myself while jumping through a host of pointless hoops to prove that I really need it – as Loach’s characters do – would be soul-destroying.

Where Loach is wrong is to suppose that this is a failing of modern capitalism. Far from it: the worst bureaucracies are the ones run by the state that we cannot escape.

Remember the process of getting a new phone line? You applied to the Post Office and waited six months to get one. If you were out when the engineers came over you’d have to wait another couple of months. Today the process takes a day or two, because there are half a dozen or more firms competing with each other .

Or think about the hassle that the supposed pleasure of going on holiday once involved. Today, travel agents exist to offer cheap package holidays they’ve bought in bulk. Just 20 years ago, they existed because the airline and hotel industries were so bureaucratic that no ordinary person could deal with them directly. Nowadays the really crushing part of travelling is replacing a lost passport or applying for a visa – the two last big holdouts of government “service”. 
In these as in so many other consumer areas, bureaucrats have been scrubbed from our daily lives. Trade and competition – the sort of competition that involves seducing customers from rivals by offering something better – have driven a phenomenal betterment in the lives of everyone, including the protagonists of Ken Loach’s dramas. Both government and business can be bureaucratic, but only businesses have an incentive to improve.
It’s hard to capture all this in statistics. How could any bureaucrat measure the added value a person gets from seeing their newborn grandson through a live, free video call from the other side of the world, rather than waiting weeks to see a few photos? How can statistics capture the value of having the sum of human knowledge and every musical recording ever made in our pockets for the price of a few adverts?

Perhaps it’s unfair to compare consumer products with state bureaucracies. But the less we have to deal with private bureaucrats, the less we tolerate their government counterparts pushing us around.
 … There is one other important point. Loach seems to think that the welfare state has been hollowed out and cut to historically low levels. Actually, since the release of his first great triumph, Cathy Come Home in 1966, welfare payments have become larger and larger in absolute terms and as a percentage of GDP.
 … The kind of economic growth needed to pay for this would be unthinkable under any other economic system than capitalism. Loach objects to cuts, but the fact is that today’s welfare state is only affordable at all thanks to the free enterprise system that he hates.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Teens Rising up against their elders and seizing the reins of power? All in all, Mao's Cultural Revolution was hardly unlike contemporary America

I was pleasantly surprised to see the media pause for a moment last week to recall China’s Cultural Revolution on the 50th anniversary of its regrettable birth
writes Benny Huang.
Unlike a lot of the media’s silly anniversaries this one is actually worth remembering.

If you aren’t familiar with the Cultural Revolution just think of Stephen King’s “Children of the Corn” being played out in China rather than rural Nebraska. The movement began in 1966 and lasted about ten years. Children rose up against their elders and seized for themselves the reins of power, humiliating their parents and teachers and sometimes even murdering them. The kids, who were known as Red Guards, had been indoctrinated in the mass murderer Mao Zedong’s unique brand of Marxism-Leninism. They learned almost everything they knew from Mao’s “Little Red Book,” a collection of his sayings that became a fetish object among Chinese youth. Mao whipped them into fits of rage then unleashed them like attack dogs on his political opponents.

So, all in all, it was not unlike contemporary America.
Okay, so that may be a slight exaggeration—emphasis on the slight. The difference between China in 1966 and the United States in 2016 is one of degree, not of kind. We aren’t as far down that dark path today as the Chinese were in the 1960s but it’s a common path nonetheless. We’re not likely to turn back until opinion-shapers stop pooh-poohing the warning signs.

 … For those who refuse to see the parallels between Mao’s China and Obama’s America, allow me to examine some common threads.

Religious Persecution

It was not good to be a Christian during the Cultural Revolution—or for that matter a Buddhist, Taoist, or devotee of Confucius. Students defaced religious statues, for example, smashing the faces off of Buddha wherever his image could be found. I don’t find the Buddha-smashing to be all that different from today’s forced removal of anything remotely religious from the public square—and not just from governmental sphere as some on the anti-religious Left would have you believe.

But it wasn’t just statues that suffered [writes a former member of the Red Guards, Yu Xiangzhen, who was just 13 years old when the Cultural Revolution began]: “I regret most what we did to our homeroom teacher Zhang Jilan. I was one of the most active students — if not the most revolutionary — when the class held a struggle session against Ms. Zhang. I pulled accusations out of nowhere, saying she was a heartless and cold woman, which was entirely false. Others accused her of being a Christian because the character ‘Ji’ in her name could refer to Christianity.”

Her teacher was not in fact a Christian, but what if she had been? What then?

The United States today is saturated with anti-Christian bigotry. Religious freedom, which happens to be the first freedom listed in our Constitution, is now a “cloak for prejudice.” Rather than being revered as the cornerstone of our American ideals, latter-day Maoists mock it as the last refuge of scoundrels.

Consider for a moment the horror that liberal media outlets expressed when the Supreme Court upheld the right of Hobby Lobby, a privately-owned Christian company, not to provide abortion-inducing drugs to its employees. Leftists blamed it on having too many Catholics on the Supreme Court. The Huffington Post shrieked: “The Uncomfortable Question: Should We Have Six Catholic Justices on the Supreme Court?” As if it were the justices’ religion rather than the Religious Freedom Restoration Act—signed by Bill Clinton no less!—that had won the day. The Daily Kos didn’t even try to shroud its bigotry with its headline “Five Catholic Appointees Betray their Oath.” The writer’s vitriol was on full display:
“Now all [sic] the Catholic Supreme Court appointees to our Supreme Court—they no longer deserve the name ‘Justice’—have enacted Catholic dogma as the Supreme law of the land.”
No, not really.

An Obsession With Youth

It’s no surprise that Mao recruited an army of children to do his bidding. Besides being passionate, young people are also, to put it bluntly, kind of dumb. I don’t mean that to be cruel; I was a kid once too. Wisdom is nonetheless the result of experience and experience cannot be gained any other way than hanging around planet earth for a while.

Since at least the 1960s, we Americans have not revered our elders, something that I attribute to the rise of pop culture and a feeling that the World War II generation, with all its affection for God and country, led us into the ill-fated Vietnam War. Ironically, the Vietnam generation is now in its golden years and they’re finding out what it feels like to be tossed out like rancid leftovers. Paunchy, gray-haired baby-boomers are now considered a bunch of squares, clueless and outdated, which is basically how they viewed their own parents when they were young.

Our obsession with youth can be seen in the youth-oriented entertainment we consume and in the numerous adults who refuse to act their age. Getting old means getting ugly which means a quiet but humiliating exit from the public eye. The biggest criticism of the Tea Party movement has been that it’s too old and too white. Leaving aside for a moment the blatant racism of that statement, what exactly is wrong with being old? It occurs to me that such accusations are used only when persuasive arguments are lacking.

Old people may be wrong but they aren’t wrong because they’re old. That’s a lazy-minded fallacy.

Change for Change’s Sake

Mao Zedong was the “change” candidate before “change” was cool. It was his goal, never perfectly achieved, to strip China of its cultural underpinnings—namely, Confucianism.

He sought to fundamentally transform his nation into something previous generations of Chinese would not have recognized, much the same way that our dear leader pledged to “fundamentally transform” America. Some of us, like me for example, liked our country just fine the way it was.

Mao’s wrath focused on the “four olds”—old ideas, old culture, old customs, old habits. Young Chinese were of course more enthused about demolishing these “vices” than their parents or grandparents who had witnessed their value in action.

Oldness is neither inherently bad nor inherently good. We were right to ditch some old ideas such as slavery but others have served us well. There’s something downright creepy about prying up the foundation of one’s own home for no other reason than because it’s been around a long time. Do these people ever wonder if older ideas are simply the ones that have stood the test of time?

Everywhere I look in contemporary society I see truly awful ideas gaining ground on the basis of their novelty. (Wouldn’t it be great if men could use the women’s locker room?) The flip side of this trend is that some really good ideas are losing ground for no other reason than that they’re old. In days gone by we protected our women but today we send them into combat. Does that make us superior to our ancestors? I say no.

The old model of immigration was the melting pot—which served America well for the better part of two centuries. The new model is the patchwork quilt in which no one is obliged to adapt except the people already living here. The result of the new immigration ethos has been chaos and strife. The old conception of fundamental rights was negative—what government couldn’t do to you—and rights were understood to be endowed by God. The new conception is positive—what government must do on your behalf—and rights are granted by that same government.

Among Mao Zedong’s worst transgressions against humanity was his corruption of an entire generation of young Chinese. He taught them to hate on command, for which he should rightly be condemned. He cracked a lot of eggs but didn’t produce a single omelet. Are we any better? A little, I suppose, though I’m less convinced with each passing day.