A pair of graduate students from the U of M came to the office to learn about Minnesota’s system of land title records. Seems they’re hoping to institute a new system in Kenya where land records are not reliable, making investment risky which discourages entrepreneurship and that leaves people in poverty, dependent on government hand-outs. The students propose a computerized system (which will reveal changes and who made them) based on GPS coordinates (that can be re-established in the field by any hand-held GPS receiver).
The students are cargo cultists. They propose a technological solution to a cultural problem. I’m skeptical.
Kenya left the British Empire in 1963 and for the last half-century: “the use of land as an object of patronage to engender support and consolidate power has been exacerbated by corruption, forced eviction, government backtracking, and lack of redress for those who have lost land through violence.”
Suppose the computer gives me absolute iron-clad proof that the land records clerk altered the records to give my land to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s friend. Suppose when I show up in court, the President’s friend arrives with a thick envelope of “last-minute evidence” for the judge, then glances meaningfully at his Reece Squad escorts and says “So, judge, how are the wife and kids? Be a shame if anything happened to them.” What are my chances of getting my land back?
Technology can’t solve that problem. It takes a culture of incorruptibility, of self-less devotion to the Rule of Law, and that culture takes hundreds of years to grow. Kenya threw that away when it kicked out the British. Americans are letting our own Kenyan throw it away today.
Barack Obama’s worst facet? He’s bringing the worst facets of Third World/Chicago governance to a national stage.
I’m going to say that before the IRS shuts me down.
If there’s one thing I cordially detest about social media today, it’s the photo-memeification of all political debate. On Facebook and Twitter, thousands of people can pass along a graphic, often wrong, frequently giggly/snarky photo in lieu of understanding an issue or being able to state a coherent case.
But sometimes they’re right:
I’ve been harping on the workforce participation numbers since 2011 – and they’ve just gotten worse.
And the fact is, if we’re ever going to reduce that debt figure (which doesn’t, by the way, count all the other unfunded entitlements that are floating about in the ether in numbers that look like they should be expressing Zimbabwean currency), it’s going to take actual productivity – which you’re not going to get when a huge percentage of your most-nominally-productive population are sitting idle, having given up hope that the economy will find a place for them.
(“But Mitch”, someone will no doubt say, “the workforce number reflects the number of baby-boomers that are retiring!”. Sure, some of it. But the percentage of Americans over 65 who are at work has actually risen – alone among the age groups – since the recession started. And people drop off the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ figures after 70, so any retiring boomers will be out of the statistical picture momentarily, here…).
“I’ve had to make statements like this too many times. Communities have had to endure tragedies like this too many times,” he continued. “Once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. … We as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.”
The US is not uniquely violent – indeed, the left’s constant claim that we’re the most violent country in the world is wishful thinking. While the rate is a fraction of what it was 20 years ago, it is higher than European countries – whose populations tend to be small, homogenous and very orderly. Among large, populous, heterogenous industrial states, Russia and Argentina and Brazil, among others, all have much higher murder rates.
President Obama’s decision to ban local police from using IED-resistant vehicles comes just two weeks after he learned ISIS has 71 warriors in-country, ready to target five American cities for terrorist attacks.
Another amazing coincidence, no doubt.
I suspect it is – but it made me think.
Remember when the left assumed Ronald Reagan was a doddering idiot? There was even a great SNL bit on the subject, back when SNL still did great bits.
Now, we conservatives merely assume that Obama is a blundering idiot, a community organizer in a President costume, over his head like Klamydia Khardashian at an Oxford Union debate.
But what if the whole “Dumb Reagan” scenario has completely flipped?
Ronald Reagan’s economic plan saw GDP surge at a 3.5% clip – 4.9% after the recession. That’s a 32% bump.
During the Obama years, thanks to his big government policies, the US economy has stalled. Today the quarterly GDP was announced. The GDP for the first quarter of 2015 braked more sharply than expected at only a .2% pace. The US economy has grown an anemic 9.6% during the Obama years (excluding today’s dismal number).
Who woulda thunk it?
Everyone who didnt’ skip Econ 101 to go to a Noam Chomsky speech, that’s who.
May 1st is Law Day. It was the idea of Charles Rhyne, President of the American Bar Association in 1958. He thought Americans should have a day to reflect on the Rule of Law in the foundation of the country and recognize its importance for society. He chose May 1st specifically because it was the day Communists celebrated their totalitarian rise to power.
The notion that we are a nation of laws, that no public official is above the law, that Congress makes the laws and the President upholds and faithfully executes them . . . are obsolete remnants of racist patriarchal oppression. The Obama Administration honors Law Day only in the breach.
The Obama Administration’s Middle East policy is a puzzle, probably because there is no plan, only reaction to crises. Which is a good thing, according to some.
“But amid the confusion, some experts said that there cannot be an overarching American policy in the Middle East at the moment. The best the White House can do, they said, is tailor policies according to individual crises as they flare up. “I would be more concerned if we had some sort of overly rigid policy,” said Barbara Bodine, another former American ambassador to Yemen who is now the director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University. “It is messy. It is contradictory. That’s foreign policy.”
Can you imagine being the next guy:
“Hello, Mr. Prime Minister? Hi, I’m the new President of the United States. I’m calling to invite your country to be allies with mine. What’s that you say — lied to and back-stabbed last time? Well, things will be different under my leadership. How long? The next two years for sure. After that, of course, I’ll have to start campaigning for re-election so certain compromises might have to be made, but . . . hello? Hello?”
We’re going to be paying for this presidency for generations.
David “Iowahawk” Burge writes a rare, “not funny” tweet:
And he’s spent more time and effort fighting domestic dissent in the US – via the IRS’ gundecking conservative groups’ free speech via tax and campaign law and attacking dissenters, via “net neutrality”, and via his eternal campaign’s patrolling masses of droogs (in and out of the media), than he spent bringing free speech to the people of Iran, Venezuela, Cuba or anyplace else.
“Few are as well equipped to bring us this message as Netanyahu. He currently serves as Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations. Netanyahu not only distinguished himself as a commander in many operations for his country’s military but served for several years as the executive director of the Jonathan In stitute, a Jerusalem research foundation on terrorism. He has been touched in the most personal way by modern terrorism. His brother, Lt. Jonathan Netanyahu, died leading the historic Entebbe rescue mission and is the namesake of the institute.”
We saw this under Clinton, too, with the “cop killer” bullet craze and fear of Thompson Center pistols. Then, as now, it was all cover for a ban they wanted all along.
I saw this ammo at Cabellas a while back and thought “I should stock up, for when case they ban it.” But of course, I didn’t own a .223 so I didn’t buy any. Crap, another million dollar investment opportunity, wasted.
On the other hand, if you are, or know, a lawyer, litigating the inevitable test cases will no doubt put some peoples kids through Ivy League schools…
The liberal noise machine that largely spent eight years calling George W. Bush “Bushitler” is worked up into a lather because a St. Paul Pioneer press reporter referred to the practice of constantly taking “selfies”(using a snap of Sselfieaddict Pres. Obama as his example) as making one look like a “assclown.”
Sports reporter Kevin Cusick, who wrote the blurb, later walked it back, apologizing for the use of the term, and changing it to “self absorbed celebrity.
He was right both times. I’m not fond of the term “assclown” – or its dumber cousin, “asshat”, both of which sprang out of a trend in the early days of blogging to jam terms together more or less at random to try to insult people. There are many more artful terms that can and should be used.
But while the occasional selfie is a harmless indulgence, Cusick was right the first time; the President is starting to act a little bit like Miley Cyrus.
Back during the 2008 presidential campaign, John McCain was right about one thing, anyway; despite all of governments foul-ups the fundamentals of the American economy are basically strong.
We have ideas, and entrepreneurial energy, I don’t labor force that (2008 and 2012 elections not withstanding) we’re pretty smart and capable, and one of the worlds larger, wealthier consumer markets. Those, among other things, give the American economy’s a degree of resilience that is going to be hard to extinguish, even after 14 years of flagrant overspending and six years of crypto-socialism.
That’s the economy. Not the governments massive piling up of debt. That’s a whole ‘nother thing.