In the 1990s, a serious malady appeared on the American public square in which citizens were driven over the edge by their antipathy for incumbent presidents. It came to be known as the “presidential-derangement syndrome” and over the course of the Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama administrations its victims grew in number. But while it was a given that whoever won last November’s election would have one named after them, we really had no idea what we were in for once Donald Trump moved into the White House. As we’ve seen this past week, presidential paranoia has not only gone mainstream in terms of the public, it’s now found a home in the mainstream media.
Though it was limited at first to the fever swamps of American politics where some on the right first imagined that black helicopters were about to swoop in and steal their freedom or that the Clintons were operating a drug cartel, the derangement virus adapted to the changing political environment in the years that followed. Those deranged by Bush were less marginal than the Clinton victims but shared the belief that the 43rd president was somehow a front for a vast conspiracy and not only blamed him for “lying” the country into war but viewed the entire national-security response to 9/11 as a put-up job intended to mask the theft of liberty.
As awful as the Bush version was, the Obama-derangement syndrome was in many ways even worse as the 44th president’s citizenship was questioned along with his religious faith and anything else about him that anyone could think of. Though Obama’s liberal policies and power grabs were bad enough from a conservative point of view, some on the right preferred to instead spend their energy pondering the authenticity of his birth certificate (see Trump, Donald) or whether or not he was an Islamist mole. We can blame the Internet and the rise of social media for the more pervasive nature of Obama conspiracy theories but even that dispiriting spectacle may turn out to be insignificant when compared to the psychological torment Trump has inspired among not merely the far Left but also mainstream liberals.
Jonathan S. Tobin, “The Paranoid Style of Anti-Trump Politics”, National Review, 2017-02-12.
March 2, 2017
August 19, 2015
Jonah Goldberg from last week’s “news”letter:
Bill and Hillary Clinton are like that Third World driver who takes a hairpin curve at high speed and survives. Everything worked out, so why change your behavior?
Now, Bill is a famous case. In many respects he’s lived a Caligulan lifestyle. No, he’s never tried to make his horse a senator, nor did he order the army to declare war on Neptune, but for him the highest law is whatever he can get away with.
Bill’s entire life has been about cutting corners, shaving the truth — often down to the bone — and conflating his priapism with his sense of entitlement. This has worked out for him because he has superhuman powers of duplicity and cozenage. There are legends in Little Rock of how a young Billy Clinton was on a school field trip to a laboratory when, through an unlikely series of events, a radioactive hustler bit him on the hand, giving him unearthly powers of flim-flammery and deception. The earnest lad was suddenly transformed.
I have no doubt Bill believes that he uses his powers for good, but with the pimpish midichlorians coursing through his veins, he can’t help himself. Over time, as he continually escapes the snares reality and morality typically set for mortal men, he has come to have a sense of entitlement and immunity about it all. Like the hazardous driver who’s never had a crash or the lucky investor who’s never lost money, he just thinks: This is the way reality works. Even when a black swan hits him in the grill, he talks his way out of it.
The tragedy for Hillary Clinton is that she is all too human. As Bill’s mortal sidekick, she’s had a good ride. But whereas Bill has an almost Jedi-like ability to lie convincingly — “these aren’t the interns you’re looking for” — Hillary has no superpowers to fall back on. She just has to grind it out. Like Syndrome in The Incredibles or the entire cast of Kick-Ass, she has to compensate for a lack of raw superpowers through guile and technology — and minions, lots and lots of minions. They do her dirty work for her. They burrow into the bureaucracy and cover for her. They get appointed to commissions and erect firewalls against accountability. They tell her what she wants to hear and explain how all bad news is someone else’s fault. They scrub the paper trail. They even shove classified evidence in their pants, if that is what is required. As Renfield to her huband’s Dracula, Otis to his Lex Luthor, Gogo Yubari to his O-Ren Ishii , Alistair Smythe to his Kingpin, Tom Hagen to his Don Corleone, Bizarro World Radar O’Reilly to his evil Colonel Potter, she has amassed considerable resources and abilities of her own. There’s now an entire Clinton-Industrial Complex that fuels and funds the vast interconnected network of minions. They are like agents of Hydra, embedded in the media, in government, and in academia. Places like Media Matters are like huge industrial farms for breeding Clintonian hacks where the larvae are grown in vats.
… usually these books are simply campaign documents or, in the case of Wendy Davis’s Forgetting to Be Afraid: A Memoir, résumés for candidates who have suffered a crushing defeat or expect to suffer a crushing defeat, offering a rationale for keeping themselves in the game.
I have heard more than one thoughtful political observer lament the fact that Bill Clinton is constitutionally incapable of writing an honest book — given the man’s intelligence, his charm, and his genuinely dramatic life’s story, he might very well have written a real work of literature. But politics suffers from the same tendency toward dishonesty that U. S. Grant attributed to war: Political careers “produce many stories of fiction, some of which are told until they are believed to be true.” How many Americans still to this day believe that John Ashcroft draped a statue of Justice because he was scandalized by her bare, aluminum breast, or that he fears that calico cats are emissaries of Satan?
But, as Neil deGrasse Tyson demonstrates, in politics the truth rarely gets in the way of a good story. If ever I run for office — angels and ministers of grace defend us! — I will title my memoir Awesome American Courage: My Courageously Awesome American Story of Awesomely American Courage. Never mind that I’ve never done anything particularly awesome or courageous; Wendy Davis never really had much to forget to be afraid of, either, except, possibly, the voters.
Kevin D. Williamson, “A Plague of Memoirs: A courageously awesome American story of awesomely American courage”, National Review, 2014-10-06.
July 29, 2015
In Slate, David Daley talks to Camille Paglia about the similarities between the former President and the former entertainer:
Right from the start, when the Bill Cosby scandal surfaced, I knew it was not going to bode well for Hillary’s campaign, because young women today have a much lower threshold for tolerance of these matters. The horrible truth is that the feminist establishment in the U.S., led by Gloria Steinem, did in fact apply a double standard to Bill Clinton’s behavior because he was a Democrat. The Democratic president and administration supported abortion rights, and therefore it didn’t matter what his personal behavior was.
But we’re living in a different time right now, and young women have absolutely no memory of Bill Clinton. It’s like ancient history for them; there’s no reservoir of accumulated good will. And the actual facts of the matter are that Bill Clinton was a serial abuser of working-class women – he had exploited that power differential even in Arkansas. And then in the case of Monica Lewinsky – I mean, the failure on the part of Gloria Steinem and company to protect her was an absolute disgrace in feminist history! What bigger power differential could there be than between the president of the United States and this poor innocent girl? Not only an intern but clearly a girl who had a kind of pleading, open look to her – somebody who was looking for a father figure.
I was enraged! My publicly stated opinion at the time was that I don’t care what public figures do in their private life. It’s a very sophisticated style among the French, and generally in Europe, where the heads of state tend to have mistresses on the side. So what? That doesn’t bother me at all! But the point is, they are sophisticated affairs that the European politicians have, while the Clinton episode was a disgrace.
So have the times and standards changed enough that Clinton would be seen as Cosby, if he was president today?
Oh, yes! There’s absolutely no doubt, especially in this age of instant social media. In most of these cases, like the Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby stories, there’s been a complete neglect of psychology. We’re in a period right now where nobody asks any questions about psychology. No one has any feeling for human motivation. No one talks about sexuality in terms of emotional needs and symbolism and the legacy of childhood. Sexuality has been politicized – “Don’t ask any questions!” “No discussion!” “Gay is exactly equivalent to straight!” And thus in this period of psychological blindness or inertness, our art has become dull. There’s nothing interesting being written – in fiction or plays or movies. Everything is boring because of our failure to ask psychological questions.
So I say there is a big parallel between Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton–aside from their initials! Young feminists need to understand that this abusive behavior by powerful men signifies their sense that female power is much bigger than they are! These two people, Clinton and Cosby, are emotionally infantile – they’re engaged in a war with female power. It has something to do with their early sense of being smothered by female power – and this pathetic, abusive and criminal behavior is the result of their sense of inadequacy.
Now, in order to understand that, people would have to read my first book, Sexual Personae – which of course is far too complex for the ordinary feminist or academic mind! It’s too complex because it requires a sense of the ambivalence of human life. Everything is not black and white, for heaven’s sake! We are formed by all kinds of strange or vague memories from childhood. That kind of understanding is needed to see that Cosby was involved in a symbiotic, push-pull thing with his wife, where he went out and did these awful things to assert his own independence. But for that, he required the women to be inert. He needed them to be dead! Cosby is actually a necrophiliac – a style that was popular in the late Victorian period in the nineteenth-century.
April 8, 2015
- Gun control. Liberals are completely wrong about this. A fair number of them know better, too, but they sponsor lies about it as a form of class warfare against conservative-leaning gun owners.
- Nuclear power. They’re wrong about this, too, and the cost in both dollars and human deaths by pollution and other fossil-fuel side-effects has been enormous.
- Affirmative action. These programs couldn’t be a more diabolical or effective plan for plan for entrenching racial prejudice if the Aryan Nations had designed them.
- Abortion: The liberals’ looney-toon feminist need to believe that a fetus one second before birth is a parasitic lump of tissue with no rights, but a fetus one second afterwards is a full human, has done half the job of making a reasoned debate on abortion nigh-impossible.
- Communism. I haven’t forgiven the Left for sucking up to the monstrous evil that was the Soviet Union. And I never will.
- Socialism. Liberals have never met a tax, a government intervention, or a forcible redistribution of wealth they didn’t like. Their economic program is Communism without the guts to admit it.
- Junk science. No medical study is too bogus and no environmental scare too fraudalent for liberals. If it rationalizes bashing capitalism or slathering on another layer of regulatory bureaucracy, they’ll take it.
- Defining deviancy down. Liberals are in such a desperate rush to embrace the `victimized by society’ and speak the language of compassion that they’ve forgotten how to condemn harmful, self-destructive and other-destructive behavior.
- William Jefferson Clinton. Sociopathic liar, perjurer, sexual predator. There was nothing but a sucking narcissistic vacuum where his principles should have been. Liberals worship him.
- Liberals, by and large, are fools.
Eric S. Raymond, “Top Ten Reasons I’m Neither a Liberal Nor a Conservative”, Armed and Dangerous, 2004-09-19.
October 26, 2013
In The Goldberg File email, Jonah Goldberg memorably characterizes the modern media:
When I go to Alaska to visit the Fair Jessica’s people, I’ll often hear some version of a joke about grizzly bears. The gist is, if a bear is chasing you, you don’t need to be faster than the bear, you need to be faster than the guy you’re hiking with. A similar dynamic applies in scandals of this nature: You don’t have to be blameless, you just need to be harder to blame than the other guy.
That’s because the media tends to stalk its prey like the unthinking zombie horde it so often is. Twenty miscreants, malefactors, and scalawags could be in on some scheme to defraud or bilk the public fisc, and the zombie horde will start chasing all of them, but the zombies will stop to feed on the first poor soul who can’t keep up.
Now Bill Clinton always understood this. Whenever it was necessary, he’d reassure his co-conspirators and enablers that he had their back, right up until the minute he found it necessary to handcuff them to the rear fender of a broken down Ford Pinto. Sometimes he varied his techniques, of course. Here’s a reenactment of how Bill Clinton treated Webb Hubbell. But you could always count on Bill to climb to safety over the backs of those who trusted him most.
Barack Obama, who holds a patent on a device that hurls aides and friends under a bus from great distances, also understands this. That is why Kathleen Sebelius these days looks a lot like a Soviet general on his way to brief Stalin on the early “progress” in the battle of Stalingrad.
Anyway, yesterday’s hearings were just the early try-outs. There are 55 contractors and countless nameless bureaucrats who can be thrown into the Great Pit of Carkoon (“You’re just determined to keep mixing metaphors aren’t you?” — The Couch) and given the full scope of this fustercluck, they could all be made to walk the plank before this is over.
January 19, 2013
Is the real reason Lance Armstrong’s televised confessions failed to “redeem” him in the public eye just a lack of charm?
But by the standards we have come to expect in these things it was relatively candid, blessedly free of self-pity. He’d told a lot of lies. Now he was telling the truth. Yet if he was expecting this confession to stanch the flow of vitriol, it appeared to have the opposite effect.
Because if there is one thing we expect of professional cyclists, it is that they will compete fairly and stay clear of drugs. And if there is one thing we expect, no demand of our public figures, it is that they will tell the truth.
Oh really. Listening to all this high dudgeon, I was carried back to last September’s Democratic convention, and the rapturous reception given to Bill Clinton, the former president and noted perjurist in the matter of Jones v Clinton.
That may have been the most famous of his lies, but it was hardly the first. Clinton was well known as a liar — an “unusually good” one, according to Bob Kerrey, the former senator — long before he ever reached the White House. As early as 1992, the question posed by his candidacy, as defined by Michael Kinsley, was not is he a liar, “but is he too much of a liar?” By the end the lies and abuses of power had piled up so high that Christopher Hitchens was forced to title his scathing account of the Clinton presidency No One Left To Lie To.
[. . .]
So let us drop the pretense that we’re all so scandalized by Armstrong because he lied. Granted, he lied about cycling, rather than mere financial dealings or affairs of state. But the reason he is in such obloquy, and Clinton and Mulroney are not, is not because his lies were worse, but because he’s not as good at it: because he is not as charming — shall we say manipulative? — as they. Frankly, when it comes to conning the public, he is not in their league.
Anyone can pull a con like Armstrong’s. You just lie and keep on lying until someone catches you. It takes a master to keep the con going even after you’ve been caught.
December 2, 2012
Ron Hart talks about the distant past where congress passed budgets and those budgets were actually in surplus:
Most Americans expect politicians to work out a back-room deal to avoid embarrassing themselves again. The politicians feel these deals are too ugly for us to watch, so they are compelled to spare us the indignity of the “most transparent president” ever. Political deals are like sausage; it is best not to watch the product being made. The difference is, sausage as an end product is actually good.
In the Democratic vernacular, taxes have changed to “revenues.” Long ago they replaced the word “spending” with “investments,” especially when wasting money on Solyndra and the like. They think we are stupid.
When Bill Clinton so famously “balanced the budget” with the Internet boom and all the taxes from those stock sales, the GOP and Newt Gingrich passed a budget (yes, Congress used to do that) of $1.7 trillion in expenditures. Adjusted for inflation, our federal government would be spending $2.3 trillion today and collecting $2.5 trillion in “revenues,” resulting in a $200 billion surplus. But instead of increasing government spending in line with normal inflation, under Bush and Obama we are spending $3.8 trillion today. Democrats, who believe we have a “revenue” problem instead of a “spending” problem, must also think they have a bartender problem, not a drinking problem.
Those Republican neocons who have never seen a country they do not want to bomb because it looked at us wrong, have to give on defense. We spend $1.19 trillion a year on defense — more than the other top 10-countries combined and more than six times what second-place China spends.
July 24, 2012
Brendan O’Neill wonders how gun control — traditionally a racist and xenophobic attempt to disarm blacks and foreigners — became a left-wing policy:
One of the great mysteries of modern politics is how gun control came to be seen as a natural Left-wing cause. Following the horrific shootings in Aurora, Denver, the usual lineup of Left-liberal activists and commentators have pleaded, for the ten thousandth time, for America to get rid of its stupid constitutional guarantee of the right to bear arms and to clamp down on gun ownership. This is the default setting of virtually every observer who considers himself of the Left, particularly those outside of America, who love nothing more than to look down their long noses at the Wild West-style, gun-wielding, blood-spattered mess they believe modern America to be.
Which is all a bit weird, because for years — for two centuries, in fact — gun control was a largely Right-wing, reactionary campaign issue, not a Left-wing one. The fact that it has now been adopted by Leftists is very revealing indeed.
[. . .]
In the modern period, too, there was a hugely reactionary bent to gun-control campaigns. In the early 20th century new laws, such as the 1911 Sullivan Law in New York City, were passed to prevent the huge influx of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe from getting their hands on guns. As Gary Kleck puts it in his book Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America, gun control was anything but a liberal cause: “In the 19th and early 20th century, gun-control laws were often targeted at blacks in the south and the foreign-born in the north.”
The Gun Control Act of 1968 was ostensibly passed in response to assassinations of Robert F Kennedy and Martin Luther King, but its real targets were inner-city black communities where there had been violent riots for three summers running and where some black activists were beginning to arm themselves. In the 1990s, Bill Clinton, recognising that his liberal supporters were converting en masse to the cause of gun control, started to talk about the “evil” of assault rifles. Who tended to own assault rifles? “Drug dealers, street gang members and other violent criminals”, the Clinton adminstration said — long-recognised polite political codewords for blacks and Latinos.
Update: Dan Baum on the reduction in gun crime across the US by nearly half over the last two decades.
Among the many ways America differs from other countries when it comes to guns is that when a mass shooting happens in the United States, it’s a gun story. How an obviously sick man could buy a gun; how terrible it is that guns are abundant; how we must ban particular types of guns that are especially dangerous. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence responded to the news with a gun-control petition. Andrew Rosenthal of the New York Times has weighed in with an online column saying that “Politicians are far too cowardly to address gun violence . . . which keeps us from taking practical measures to avoid senseless shootings.”
Compare that to the coverage and conversation after Anders Behring Breivik murdered sixty-nine people on the island of Utøya in Norway, a year ago next Sunday. Nobody focused on the gun. I had a hard time learning from the news reports what type of gun he used. Nobody asked, “How did he get a gun?” That seemed strange, because it’s much harder to get a gun in Europe than it is here. But everybody, even the American media, seemed to understand that the heart of the Utøya massacre story was a tragically deranged man, not the rifle he fired. Instead of wringing their hands over the gun Breivik used, Norwegians saw the tragedy as the opening to a conversation about the rise of right-wing extremism in their country.
Rosenthal is wrong, by the way, that politicians haven’t addressed gun violence. They have done so brilliantly, in a million different ways, which helps explain why the rate of violent crime is about half what it was twenty years ago. They simply haven’t used gun control to do it. Gun laws are far looser than they were twenty years ago, even while crime is plunging — a galling juxtaposition for those who place their faith in tougher gun laws. The drop in violence is one of our few unalloyed public-policy success stories, though perhaps not for those who bemoan an “epidemic of gun violence” that doesn’t exist anymore in order to make a political point.
April 14, 2012
Conrad Black examines the differences between the Cold War, when America had a clear mission, and the post-Cold War period, when America could be said to have completely lacked a coherent foreign policy:
Indeed, the overwhelming and relatively bloodless victory in the Cold War, the fruition of the brilliant American strategy of containment, left the United States as the only seriously Great Power in the world, a condition unique in the history of the nation-state, starting in the Middle Ages. As a result, there was, 20 years ago, a good deal of frothy (and, as it turns out, grossly premature) intellectual blather about the end of history and the political culmination of the world in democratic capitalism.
The unipolar era has not been a success for America. The great irony of these 20-something post-Cold War years has been that while the United States was the indispensable country in the triumph of capitalist democracy — its preservation from 1917 to 1941, and its outright victory in the following 50 years — it is not now one of the world’s best, or even better, functioning democracies.
Under the Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama administrations, there has been no coherent strategy to replace the previous masterly and bipartisan missions to lead the West to victory in the Second World War and in the Cold War. Bill Clinton, on the world stage, as in America, and before that in the diminutive state of Arkansas, exuded bonhomous goodwill, extended free trade to Mexico, and expanded NATO into the former Soviet Union, suavely calling it “a partnership for peace.” He moved in the Balkans, but only when the Europeans, who started by calling the challenge posed by Bosnian massacres “The hour of Europe,” fell on their faces and started crying like frightened little pigs for America to end ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia. And even then, nothing would have happened if the Republican leader in the Senate, Robert Dole, a bravely wounded veteran of the European theatre in the Second World War, had not legislated military orders (lift and strike) normally in the province of the commander-in-chief. There never really was a Clinton foreign policy: His responses to the early terrorist attacks (Khobar Towers, the African embassies, the USS Cole) were very inadequate.
George W. Bush, forced to deal with the monstrous outrage of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, had a piercing, towel-snapping, locker room vision that since democracies do not engage in aggressive war, ergo, every country that was not already democratic should be propelled by the scruff of the neck and the small of the back toward democratization. Thus did Hamas replace Fatah in Gaza; the Muslim Brotherhood, (whose adherents had proudly murdered Anwar Sadat) is replacing Hosni Mubarak in Egypt; terrorist chaos is replacing Saleh in Yemen; and Hezbollah has more or less taken over from the Syrians in Lebanon. Trillions of dollars have been spent, along with over 6,000 American lives, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and it would be impetuous to forecast comparative stability and enlightenment in the near future of either country.
December 13, 2011
I was against the Kyoto agreement from the start, but the government of the day had to be seen to be more “green” than the Americans. John Ibbitson explains:
The Harper government’s decision to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol tarnishes Canada before the world. Liberal and Conservative incompetence and mendacity are to blame. You and I are to blame. And Lehman Brothers had something to do with it as well.
It isn’t easy for a country to descend, in the space of a single decade, from crusader to pariah, as Canada has done on the environment. But our political leaders were up to the task.
The first, worst mistake occurred at Kyoto itself in 1997, when then prime minister Jean Chrétien told Canadian negotiators to meet or beat the American commitment, whatever it took. The problem was that while the American commitment was ambitious, Bill Clinton never expected the Senate to ratify that commitment, and he was right.
The Liberals found themselves stuck with Draconian targets that, if met, would hobble oil sands production, hammer big industry in Ontario, and send home-heating bills through the roof. Their solution was to study the issue. And study. I remember sitting through an interminable briefing in 2003, in which officials patiently explained how Canada would meet its Kyoto targets. The only problem was that there was this enormous gap, which was to be closed through “future reductions.” It was like having a household budget in which Miscellaneous was bigger than Mortgage.
Given the hammering that British PM David Cameron has been taking in the British press, he should send a bouquet of flowers to Stephen Harper for giving the media a different villain to abuse.
Update: Stephen Gordon says the same thing: inevitable from the beginning.
Notwithstanding economically illiterate attempts to pretend otherwise, higher consumer prices for GHG-emitting goods and services are an essential component of any serious attempt to reduce emissions. Counting on people to reduce GGE emissions out of the goodness of their hearts was the strategy of the Chrétien-Martin Liberal governments, and adopting this policy made Canada’s Kyoto failure inevitable long before Stephen Harper’s Conservatives came to power.
Political parties rarely win when they campaign on a platform that promises to increase the price of fossil fuels — the Progressive Conservative government of Joe Clark lost power in large part because of its proposal to increase the gasoline excise tax by 18 cents a gallon (4 cents a litre).
Update, the second: Oh, it’s okay, apparently we’re not allowed to abandon the “voluntary” agreement:
Remember how this was phrased? “sign it, it’s just voluntary!”
Recall Rio 1992 “Earth Summit” where the meme was “hey, it’s voluntary! … with a negotiating schedule attached”. Apparently, like a Roach Motel, “countries check in but they can’t check out”. This email is from UNFCCC’s list server and note my bolded section below. The arrogance, it burns.
[. . .]
“I regret that Canada has announced it will withdraw and am surprised over its timing. Whether or not Canada is a Party to the Kyoto Protocol, it has a legal obligation under the Convention to reduce its emissions, and a moral obligation to itself and future generations to lead in the global effort. Industrialized countries whose emissions have risen significantly since 1990, as is the case for Canada, remain in a weaker position to call on developing countries to limit their emissions.”
November 14, 2011
Walter Russell Mead has a bit of vitriol to spit at the Baby Boomers:
But at the level of public policy and moral leadership, as a generation we have largely failed. The Boomer Progressive Establishment in particular has been a huge disappointment to itself and to the country. The political class slumbered as the entitlement and pension crisis grew to ominous dimensions. Boomer financial leadership was selfish and shortsighted, by and large. Boomer CEOs accelerated the trend toward unlimited greed among corporate elites, and Boomer members of corporate boards sit by and let it happen. Boomer academics created a profoundly dysfunctional system that systemically shovels resources upward from students and adjuncts to overpaid administrators and professors who by and large have not, to say the least, done an outstanding job of transmitting the cultural heritage of the past to future generations. Boomer Hollywood execs created an amoral morass of sludge — and maybe I’m missing something, but nobody spends a lot of time talking about the towering cultural accomplishments of the world historical art geniuses of the Boomer years. Boomer greens enthusiastically bet their movement on the truly idiotic drive for a global carbon treaty; they are now grieving over their failure to make any measurable progress after decades spent and hundreds of millions of dollars thrown away. On the Boomer watch the American family and the American middle class entered major crises; by the time the Boomers have finished with it the health system will be an unaffordable and dysfunctional tangle — perhaps the most complicated, expensive and poorly designed such system in the history of the world.
All of this was done by a generation that never lost its confidence that it was smarter, better educated and more idealistic than its Depression-surviving, World War-winning, segregation-ending, prosperity-building parents. We didn’t need their stinking faith, their stinking morals, or their pathetically conformist codes of moral behavior. We were better than that; after all, we grokked Jefferson Airplane, achieved nirvana on LSD and had a spiritual wealth and sensitivity that our boorish bourgeois forbears could not grasp. They might be doers, builders and achievers — but we Boomers grooved, man, we had sex in the park, we grew our hair long, and we listened to sexy musical lyrics about drugs that those pathetic old losers could not even understand.
What the Boomers as a generation missed (there were, of course and thankfully, many honorable individual exceptions) was the core set of values that every generation must discover to make a successful transition to real adulthood: maturity. Collectively the Boomers continued to follow ideals they associated with youth and individualism: fulfillment and “creativity” rather than endurance and commitment. Boomer spouses dropped families because relationships with spouses or children or mortgage payments no longer “fulfilled” them; Boomer society tolerated the most selfish and immature behavior in its public and cultural leaders out of the classically youthful and immature belief that intolerance and hypocrisy are greater sins than the dereliction of duty. That the greatest and most effective political leader the Baby Boom produced was William Jefferson Clinton tells you all you need to know.
October 12, 2011
Peter Wallison has the answer:
Beginning in 1992, the government required Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to direct a substantial portion of their mortgage financing to borrowers who were at or below the median income in their communities. The original legislative quota was 30%. But the Department of Housing and Urban Development was given authority to adjust it, and through the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations HUD raised the quota to 50% by 2000 and 55% by 2007.
It is certainly possible to find prime borrowers among people with incomes below the median. But when more than half of the mortgages Fannie and Freddie were required to buy were required to have that characteristic, these two government-sponsored enterprises had to significantly reduce their underwriting standards.
Fannie and Freddie were not the only government-backed or government-controlled organizations that were enlisted in this process. The Federal Housing Administration was competing with Fannie and Freddie for the same mortgages. And thanks to rules adopted in 1995 under the Community Reinvestment Act, regulated banks as well as savings and loan associations had to make a certain number of loans to borrowers who were at or below 80% of the median income in the areas they served.
August 12, 2011
April 8, 2011
A long time ago we had a president who was doing a chubby intern.
And some Americans got uptight about it.
And we were told by Europeans everywhere ‘Relax, it’s just sex. He’s the leader of the country, they have mistresses, it happens get over it you uptight prudes.’
So now with Silvio Berlusconi having sex with underage prostitutes and orgies and I don’t know what-all I guess that makes Europe — and Italy in particular — about eighteen times more sophisticated  than us hicks in the United States and so-on and so-forth.
Y’all must be so proud.
Brian Dunbar, “Sophisticated Europe”, Space for Commerce, by Brian Dunbar, 2011-04-07