Whoops!

The Cult was preparing to re-run the Summer of Love Recovery to boost the Left’s electoral chances this fall. The fourth quarter GDP was not horrible, but better than expected. All of the usual suspects had convinced themselves that the economy was finally getting off the mat. Unemployment claims we slowing and the number of posted jobs was increasing. Happy days were here again!

Maybe not:

The U.S. economy slowed drastically in the first three months of the year as a harsh winter exacted a toll on business activity. The slowdown, while worse than expected, is likely to be temporary as growth rebounds with warmer weather.

Growth slowed to a barely discernible 0.1 percent annual rate in the January-March quarter, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That was the weakest pace since the end of 2012 and was down from a 2.6 percent rate in the previous quarter.

Many economists said the government’s first estimate of growth in the January-March quarter was skewed by weak figures early in the quarter. They noted that several sectors — from retail sales to manufacturing output — rebounded in March. That strength should provide momentum for the rest of the year.

That’s right, the weather. It is usually sunny and warm in winter but for some strange reason it was cold this winter. That’s why everyone stopped doing stuff.

And on Friday, economists expect the government to report a solid 200,000-plus job gain for April.

America adds about 2 million people to the adult population each year, after accounting for deaths and immigration. That means the job market has to grow accordingly. Adding 200,000 jobs a month is treading water. That’s why this graph never gets on TV:

But hey, why not bring in another twenty or thirty million Latino peasants to do the jobs Americans won’t do? That’s fix this stagnant economy!

Conservative Inc.

I saw this post on National Review and could not help but laugh. Through the Bush years, National Review was just a clearing house for the GOP. Whatever crackpot idea the Bushies cooked up, NR would brand it “conservative approved” and peddle it to the masses. In fairness, the caterwauling by the Left made it easy to fall into this trap. Every cult member of my acquaintance was constantly chanting “Bush Lied” at me, making it impossible to think straight.

By 2006 most sensible people threw in the towel on Bush and the GOP. His rating fell into the high 20’s exclusively due to the Right walking away from his administration. It turned out that the paleo-cons were right and Bush was just Bill Clinton with morals and balls. Professional conservatives still struggle with their full-throated support of Bush and the GOP. Even today they struggle to separate themselves from the Republican Party. I guess this post over at NRO should be viewed as a positive development.

Jack Kemp famously called for the GOP to “take off its green eyeshades” in the late 1970s. By this he meant that the GOP needed to stop focusing primarily on balancing budgets and start focusing on how to grow the economy and improve the lives of average Americans. After its brief, unsuccessful detour into modern greeneyeshadism by nominating venture capitalist and business consultant extraordinaire Mitt Romney, most nationally serious Republicans are back to talking less about numbers and more about middle-class people. But if this map is any indication, even this effort still views America through a lens of green eyeshades.

This map shows household income for every county, town, and neighborhood in America. Wealthy and upper-middle-class areas are colored green, while the rest of America is colored in orange. As you can see, most of America is some shade of brown, while most of the eastern seaboard is colored in some shade of green.

This small detail on a map makes a world of difference to conservative and GOP chances to run the country. Virtually every major national consultant, analyst, staffer, and journalist lives in the green areas in and around Washington D.C., America’s Emerald City. This is a land where families making $100,000 a year struggle to buy a decent house, where everyone has a college degree, and the major health-care struggle is finding a doctor who takes your insurance.

This problem is compounded by the rise of super-donor-driven super PACs. Virtually all of the large donors who give to super PACs and GOP campaigns live in local versions of the Emerald City. They see highly educated people who get ahead by working hard, lots of prosperity and wealth, and think this is what America looks like. The major political problem they see is that some of their neighbors and friends vote Democratic, so they naturally think a national majority can be crafted by persuading those people to vote more on their self-interest and less on social and other issues. That view makes sense within the walls of the Emerald City, but outside of that realm America is a horse of a different color.

Pat Buchanan said a long time ago that the problem with the GOP is this. The sensible people elected a sensible conservative for the House or Senate. He starts out fine, but he goes native once he has lived in Washington for a few years. Way back in the olden thymes I saw it first hand. I’d see supposedly far right wing guys partying with their left-wing counterparts. It was the old Road Runner cartoons with Sam the Sheepdog. On the clock, when the cameras were running, they played their parts. Off the clock they were laughing at the rubes back home in Dogpatch.

Contrast that with the vast bulk of the country, especially in the swing states needed to retake the presidency. Ohio has very few green counties; Florida, Wisconsin, and Iowa have virtually none. In those states, making $100,000 is rare and enables you to live a very comfortable life. Most people make between $25,000 and $75,000 a year, with many more on the low end of that range than the high. In most of these counties, more people get by on less than $25,000 a year than earn more than $75,000. In these places, “decent home” means something much more humble, very few people have college degrees, and the major health-care struggle is getting or keeping private health insurance at all.

People with high-school degrees making $40,000 a year face problems very different from those of college-educated folks making $80,000. Their economic future is much more unstable, their job opportunities more limited, and their family finances more precarious. There are many more families in these circumstances among the growing Hispanic populations of the Southwest or the vast plains of the Midwest than one would guess living in the Emerald Cities. Republicans are right to focus on the needs of the middle class, but they must better understand who the middle class is if they are to succeed.

That sounds great, but I wonder if the gap between the typical American and the ruling class is too broad to cross.  Our rulers live lives that are so estranged from what the typical American experiences, they may as well be foreigners. America, the country with people and a culture and shared history, has been colonized by pod-people. They make noises that sound familiar and they sort of look like us, but they are alien to us in all the ways that matter. This story in the Financial Times touches on it.

The UK Independence party does not represent the start of a revolt but the culmination of it. A spirit of anti-politics began permeating the country around the turn of the millennium when Tony Blair, the last politician the British allowed themselves to love, broke their hearts by turning out to be a prime minister and not a miracle worker. The disillusion intensified after the Iraq war, a work of naive over-ambition forever remembered as an act of heinous deceit. Then came the crash, the expenses scandal and much more immigration than voters were told to expect.

Cynicism verging on nihilism is the closest thing modern Britain has to a national ideology. It has become common sense to assume the worst of anyone in public authority. Nigel Farage, Ukip’s leader, profits from this foul zeitgeist, not because he is a manipulative genius but because he is the nearest populist to hand. If it were not him, it would be some other jobbing demagogue with the dumb luck to be here now.

It is not obvious how to take him on. But it is increasingly obvious how not to. Hounded by the mood of anti-politics, Britain’s political class has become self-loathing and scared of its own shadow. Mainstream politicians ape the language and manner of populists. They vie to disown a “metropolitan elite” that they themselves constitute. They hope that nodding along as voters express their scorn for them will somehow spare them from it.

Politicians used to wound each other with accusations of incompetence, immorality or intellectual wrongness – all slurs grounded in substance. Now they try to define each other as “out of touch”. When David Cameron, the Conservative prime minister, attacks Labour for indulging dependency culture or withholding a referendum on EU membership, he points to the party’s estrangement from public opinion. When Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, attacks the Tories for overseeing a fall in living standards, his point is that millionaires cannot care about the plight of the ordinary.

The measure of a politician’s worth is how much he is like “us” and not like “them”. Mr Farage’s real achievement is not electoral – his party has no MPs and runs no councils – but cultural. He has spooked the mainstream into emulating the values and priorities of its own tormentors.

As a ploy to neutralise Mr Farage, this self-abasement gets nowhere because it concedes his basic point – that Britain is run by a conspiracy of malign people – and radiates the most lethal weakness in politics: inauthenticity. Mr Cameron is the highest-born prime minister since Alec Douglas-Home half a century ago. Mr Miliband is a professor’s son whose main detour from north London’s cognoscenti was a year teaching at Harvard. They stand for major parties. When they or their similarly rarefied lieutenants play at being the man in the street, it looks craven and affected.

This is certainly true. When John Kerry was running for president, he tried to pass himself off us a regular guy. They kitted him out in an Elmer Fudd costume and sent him into a gun shop to buy a hunting license. It may very well have cost him the election. Normal men could not stop laughing at this effete over-class pansy trying to act butch. They would have been better off putting him in a sun-dress and having him sing duets with RuPaul.

The political classes believe they are unpopular because of something they have done. Certainly, expense-fiddling compounded their scuzzy reputation. And their sheer narrowness is alienating, too. Parliament has become a job guarantee for apparatchiks and activists who relax by watching television dramas set in other political capitals. In Britain politics is not just showbiz for ugly people but for weirdly obsessive people too.

The rise of populism, however, is not primarily the fault of any person – even Mr Blair – or any event. It is powered by structural trends that have been in train for decades. Prime among these is the fragmentation of class loyalty, which has cut the vote share commanded by the two main parties from 97 per cent in the 1951 election to 65 per cent in 2010. More votes are up for grabs, giving rebel parties a look-in.

People do not like being ruled by foreigners. That’s what it feels like in many Western countries today. In Britain, the major parties are more concerned about the Continentals and their European project than the needs and wants of the native Brits. In the US, our politicians and their toadies make noises that sound like American English, but it is all gibberish. The technical term for it is echolalic babbling. The press serves as the interpreter. We are ruled by pod people.

Responding to Criticism

[subscribe2]Art Deco writes:

Neither the 13th (abolition of slavery) nor the 15th Amendment (suffrage for freedmen) have proved problematic. It’s a few phrases in the 14th Amendment which are the problem, and mostly because of the intellectual and moral fraud abroad in the appellate judiciary and legal professoriate.

It’s fashionable to attribute all sorts of trouble to the 17th Amendment, but that complaint is nonsense. The effect of that amendment in the contemporary context is to alter the balance of skill sets in Congress. Absent the amendment, you would get more people adept at building relationships in state legislatures and fewer at running fund-raising and publicity campaigns. Sen. Dede Scozzafava would have her seat for life. Public policy would be little improved.

As for the 16th Amendment, the trouble is that legislature have discretion to determine the dimensions of the tax base, and that discretion is used to confer bon bons on clientele like the oil and real estate industry.

I will wager the schemes in the 25th Amendment will prove unworkable in a true crisis.

The 26th, 24th, and 23d Amendments consisted of some modest adjustments to the suffrage. Not sure why you’re hostile to that. I am not sure why the 19th Amendment (women’s suffrage) counts as a ‘silly fad’. The 20th Amendment was a housekeeping measure. Not sure why that bothers you either.

You want term limits, but the 22d amendment is a ‘silly fad’. You did not give much clear thought to this before you posted, I take it.

First off, my list of amendments and changes was never intended to be a legal brief. You start with a rounding up and quantifying abuses. A good way to do that is to contemplate the possible solutions to those abuses. The fact is, humans are the result of a long evolutionary process. Upon closer inspection, many of our “defects” have more utility than is obvious. His response, however, are a good opportunity to refine a few points.

First off, I think he misses the mischief contained in the 13th and 14th Amendments. The purpose of a constitution is to do three things. One is it puts hard limits on the resulting government. It does this by clearly listing the proper responsibilities of the state. Everything not listed is prohibited. To reinforce this last bit it clearly lists the areas where government is off-limits. The first two items in the Bill of Rights are good examples. Finally it establishes the organization of the new government. The composition of the parliaments and courts, for example.

The 13th Amendment does something different. It places limits on what citizens of the states can do by prohibiting a specific type of legal arrangement. This is never something we want to see from a national government in a country this size. Much of what ails us these days stems from this belief that the national government has a duty to boss around the people. Enshrining the concept as we do in the 13th Amendments is asking for trouble and I think we got it and are living with it.

As for the 14th, it is an example of not being able to see far enough down stream. The abuses stemming from this amendment are legion. More important, this eats away at the supporting structure of the Constitution. The organizing principle is to balance the power of the states against that of the national government. Once you make the national government superior, that relationship collapses. All of the good in this amendment can be accomplished by incorporating the privileges and immunities clause into the body of the constitution or as a separate amendment.

This leads me to the 17th Amendment. America is a big country with a lot of people. Evolution and simple observation tells us that will result in lots of natural diversity. The people of Alabama will have a different language and culture than the people of Oregon. Therefore, the natural governmental unit is the states. The people of Alabama, within the broad framework of the Constitution, should be free to organize their laws as their distinct culture dictates. The only way we can ensure that is to limit the national government, thus giving the people the freedom to organize their state and local government to their tastes.

A lesson learned the hard way is that ambitious men seek a national platform. By making the Senate the stronghold of the states, the ambitious men of Alabama and Oregon will have a national stage from which they can safeguard the interests of their states. That was the point of having the state legislatures pick the senators. The Senate was designed to be the brake on the people, who are represented in the House. The 17th Amendment turned the Senate into the national government’s bulwark against the states.

As to the amendments on suffrage, I think Aristophanes was right. Giving women the franchise was a terrible mistake. Putting that aside, the states should be in charge of figuring out who can vote. I think an allowance can be made for the House of Representatives. A clause to define the franchise for that office is necessary, but not very complicated. Any citizen over 25 should have the vote. Adulthood has been pushed back and it should be reflected in the law. If you want to make an exception for military people, that’s probably a good idea.

Eating Right

I’m a healthy sort. I don’t go crazy about it, but I try to eat a balanced diet, exercise and so forth. As such, I keep track of my calories. The thing about calories counting is it does not work. Calories counts on food are estimates and no one really knows how accurate they are or even if they are close. McDonalds, for example, claims a Big Mac is 550 calories. I’m sure it is probably pretty close, given the swarm of scumbag lawyers constantly circling major corporations looking for a reason to sue. Still, you have no idea if it is true.

That’s why you should avoid eating junk food. As a treat on occasion, it is fine. Life is for living. The same is true of chains that laughably claim they are better than “junk food.” This story in Vox is a good example.

The ranges on menu items are so vast that, depending on what your order looks like, a burrito could have 350 or 970 calories – nearly a threefold difference. (Never mind that it is nearly impossible to order the lowest-calorie Chipotle burrito, which consists of a flour tortilla with beans.)

This is a problem that lots of fast food chains are confronting now that the health care law requires them to post calorie counts on their menus. At establishments where menu items are highly customizable, places like Chipotle or Dominos, coming up with accurate calorie counts is a vexingly difficult tax.

Chipotle has settled on providing consumers with a calorie range that is, well, quite large. And when consumers see that range, a new study in the Journal of Public Health Nutrition finds, they underestimate the calories in their own burrito by 21 percent.

For starters, Chipotle is just a sit down Taco Bell. Pretty much the same crap. Taco Bell is honest about what their doing, while Chipotle is not. Both sell highly processed food loaded with salt and fat. If you are trying to lose weight or you are on a special diet, STAY OUT OF CHIPOTLE!.

This is better than when eaters don’t have any calorie information at all. In that scenario, researchers found that eaters underestimated the calories in their burrito by a full third.

But there’s a small tweak that can make Chipotle’s calorie labels even more effective: adding examples of how many calories are in the burritos used as the end points of calorie range. This is what that looks like, spelled out (the calorie ranges Chipotle uses appears to have dropped slightly downward since this study was conducted and when I picked up a menu today).

There’s zero evidence that this will make any difference in the real world, other than drive up the price of food and give lawyers a new avenue to suck blood from the economy. It is the fundamental flaw of the totalitarian mind on constant display at places like Vox.

The Obamacare requirement to post calorie labels, however, favors the range approach. In regulations published in 2011, the Food and Drug Administration directed restaurants to publish a range from the lowest calorie version of an item to the highest. But it doesn’t say anything about including examples of what’s included at each end.

“Critics of calorie-count regulations are correct to point out that we cannot justify the costs of such requirements if the mandated information does not improve consumer understanding,” study co-authors Peter Ubel and Peggy Liu write at the Monkey Cage Blog. “The FDA should require restaurants to define the endpoints of calorie ranges. Consumers deserve comprehensible information about their food choices.”

Again, if you care about what you eat, you stay out of fast food joints. If you care about what other people eat, then you harass private business with these insane regulations. The little Eichmans that worship Ezra Klein think this is great, but that’s the nature of the totalitarian.

When Millionaires Cry

Ever wonder what happens when millionaires get sad? Now you know. Well, this is what happens when really tall millionaires get their feelings hurt.

Los Angeles Clippers players staged a silent protest against owner Donald Sterling before Sunday’s playoff game, while coach Doc Rivers said he isn’t sure what he would have to hear from Sterling to make him want to return next season.

“Don’t know yet,” Rivers said when asked if there were things he needed to hear from Sterling after an audio tape surfaced of Sterling purportedly making racist remarks to his girlfriend V. Stiviano. “I’m just going to leave it at that.”

The Clippers gathered at center court before a 118-97 Game 4 loss in their first-round series against the Golden State Warriors and took off their Clippers warm-up shirts and left them there. They then warmed up wearing inside-out red shooting shirts that did not display the Clippers name or logo. During the game, players wore black arm or wrist bands and black socks.

The absurdity of this jumps from the page. This is the same league that jumped on the Zimmerman case in Florida without knowing any of the facts, other than a black guy was the alleged victim. On race alone they had all the players wear hoodies and make a big deal of it at games. Their reaction was purely based on race, thinking it was a black kid getting shot by a white guy. Even when the white turned out to be a NAM, they persisted in calling him white.

The players have a right to be offended. They have a right to speak their mind on the issue. This sort of childish melodrama is another matter. If they had refused to play then I’d have some respect for them. Giving up loads of money for a principle is admirable, even if you think the principle is not a big deal. Turning their jerseys inside out is what teenagers do when they are mad at the gym teacher.

The Next Constitution

John Derbyshire’s latest Taki column is on amendments he would like to make to the Constitution. It’s a take off on the book written by former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Stevens would like to repeal the Second Amendment. John would like to add a bunch of things to address the abuses that bug him the most. I don’t think his list is intended to be taken seriously. It’s just a handy list of grievances to fill in a column. There’s no harm in it. The whole point of a site like Taki is to generate some conversation amongst those interested in topics banned by The Cult.

The “next constitution” is a topic I think about a lot. Not because I am plotting a revolution or expect one. We do seem to be heading for an end of cycle moment, but how that plays out is a mystery to me. Maybe we are headed to World War III. Who knows? Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice.

I don’t know, but what comes next will be a response to what went wrong. That’s always the way it goes. The Constitution was a reflection of the Founders reading of recent history,  a few centuries or so, in Europe. Much of their concern was the abuses they knew first hand and that’s what they tried to address. Whoever is left after the great upheaval will do the same.

With that in mind, here’s my list:

1) Clean Up Past Mistakes: The first change is to eliminate the amendments 13 through 27, except 25, which seems sensible. The Civil War Amendments have resulted in so much abuse they are not repairable. The 16th Amendment is another area of abuse. The 17th has been a disaster, knocking the pins from under the balance of powers. The rest are just reflections of silly fads, for the most part. The basic Constitution is an excellent starting point for a Federal Republic, which has proven to be the form of government resulting in the most liberty and prosperity for the average citizen.

2) You Vote Where You Were Born: One of the great abuses in recent times has been people moving from one state that is dysfunctional to a well run state. Instead of learning from their new neighbors, the emigrants start voting for the same degenerates that destroyed their home state. This amendment is aimed at fixing that problem. If someone from Massachusetts moves to New Hampshire, they still vote in their home state. The children of that person, assuming they were born in the new state, will vote in the new state. This also solves the problem of foreigners moving here and then voting for authoritarians. I would also be amenable to a twenty year waiting period as well.

3) No Federal Debt: The systematic borrowing by the Federal government has led to a mountain of abuses. If taxes had to be raised to pay for government, we would have a lot less government. The laqst half century has seen the massive growth of the government at all levels fueled by debt. Government debt has also fueled the explosion of the financial sector and all of its abuses. Borrowing would only be permitted in times of war – declared wars against real countries. No more wars against concepts. The ban on debt would also extend to things like pensions. Any promise to pay beyond the term of the current Congress would be invalid.

4) All Income Taxed At 12%: The last century has seen Congress auctioning off tax breaks for campaign cash to the point where the tax code is unintelligible. Government needs to be financed and the only source of revenue will be a fixed levy on all income to individuals. No business taxes. No tariffs. Nothing but the 12% tax, which will apply to all income regardless of source. The tax is collected by the source, not the recipient. That way cheating is minimized. The benefit is it limits the size of the state to the size of the economy. More important, it removes a source of corruption that is at the heart of all forms of socialism.

5) Term Limits: All citizens will be limited to ten years of Federal checks. One of the great abuses today is this army of people living off the tax payer. The government needs employees, but it should not be a career. Putting a ten year cap clears out the vast army of loafers, but it also clears out the political class. They have to get jobs in the dreaded private sector. Most likely it shifts them to their state capitals, which is OK. I’d exempt the military and post office. In all likelihood th workaround would be a shift from a civilian workforce to contractors, but that’s OK. The point is to remove the government as an employer of first resort.

The language would be key, as the weasels that seek to live off the state are good at twisting the meaning of words. Inevitably, they would find new ways to abuse the system. No set of arrangements will outlast the endurance of the parasite class. Like the poor, they will always be with us. But, the Founders created a system that served us pretty well for 100 years. Lincoln drove a stake through it and subsequent generations finished it off, but it staggered on for another 75 years after Lincoln.

The Founders addressed what they knew. The French Revolution had yet to reveal the frightening new danger facing civilization. They can be excused for thinking the excesses of the French Revolution were temporary. The republic they created was designed to arrest the abuses of the past. They simply had no way of anticipating the tidal wave of sewage that was about to wash over Western Civilization. This virulent suicide cult we call Liberalism in America was unimaginable in the 18th century. The constitutions of the 21st century will have to deal with it.

National Bigot Association

In post-reality America, this will be the dominant story of 2014. Even the coming election will not get the same level of coverage. In fairness to the press, it probably should be the dominant story. After all, this will be the first time a billionaire member of The Cult will be stripped bare in public and sent off to the cultural equivalent of Siberia. All of our rich and tall black people are upset with him. Magic Johnson, a very rich and tall black person, is angry. LeeBong James, currently the most famous tall black guy in America, wants Sterling banished. The comically illiterate Stephen A. Smith wants the tall wealthy black employees of Sterling to boycott their next game.

If you are not publicly and passionately outraged by the evil Donald Sterling, you are a monster!

All joking aside, it says something about the state of the nation when the ramblings of a cuckolded old weirdo, apparently in some sort of spat with his paramour, make national news. As I’m fond of saying, race is all about piety with The Cult. It is how they get to tell one another how much they hate America and how much they really hate hate white people from the South. Hotbeds of racial piety like New England practically glow in the dark they are so white, while allegedly backward places like Georgia have large and growing black populations. In the Cult, they talk like MLK and live like the KKK.

There’s another piece to this. How in the world did TMZ get a recorded phone call? Obviously, Sterling did not send this to TMZ. California is an all-party consent state. In order to record a telephone conversation all parties must agree. Without consent, the recording is illegally retained and TMZ is aiding and abetting a criminal act. In a sane and rational society, the authorities will have arrested the reporter and his editor at this point. They have confessed to taking possession of an illegally obtained recording.

It seems to me that one of the reforms that will come downstream is tougher laws regarding communications and privacy. Sterling may be an old bigot, but he has a right to privacy. He made these statements with an expectation that they would remain between him and this cunt he apparently pays for sex. In a nation of laws, she and the TMZ people would be cooling their heels in the can right now. They would also be liable for all damages resulting from the public revelations. In my opinion, everyone at TMZ should be drug from their homes, torn to pieces and then fed to the dogs. There’s no place in civil society for these people. But, that’s just my opinion.

The other very strange thing is why in the world would someone with such disdain for blacks buy a basketball team? Basketball has been the game of black people for fifty years now. When Sterling bought the team, he had to know he was going to spend a lot of time around black people. His team president was black for many years. I get the sense that Sterling is a very weird man. Being a billionaire lets him get away with being weird to a point and we may reached that point.

Another entertaining aspect of this is how The Cult immediately moved to show he must be a “Republican” and a “Conservative.” Inside The Cult, there are many words for the undifferentiated other on the other side of the wall. There’s some drift over time. In my youth, “fascist” was the ubiquitous term for the bad guys. Today, “republican” just means people The Cult does not like. Since The Cult does not like racists, all of them must be “right-win Republican conservative of the most extreme right-wing kind.” As I’m fond of saying, they talk like MLK but live like the KKK. The great strongholds of The Cult are whiter than a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert in Reykjavik.

The coming weeks promise to be very entertaining.

Ukrainian is the New Gay

One of the weird aspects of the Cult of Modern Liberalism is the wearing of piety bracelets. I’m speaking figuratively. I don’t think they give out physical bracelets, but I would not entirely rule it out. Cults are big on uniforms. No, I’m speaking figuratively. Members of the Cult have a habit of displaying their piety in the same way women display charms on a bracelet. They make a big deal of letting everyone know they have a gay friend or a black friend. They don’t think of these people as people, of course. They are props, charms to hang on their bracelet that they rattle in public to signal to everyone they are a pious person.

Way back in the Bush years, my liberal friends and acquaintances all claimed to know a moderate Muslim. My friend Jim regularly claimed to work with an army of them, who surprisingly enough all agreed with him and the Cult about George Bush. My friend Jim even claimed to have read the Koran and never found anything in their about “killing infidels and Jews.”

He never read the Koran and most likely had no Muslim acquaintances. It was just a public act of piety. He and his fellow cultists needed that charm on their bracelet. My communist office manager made the same claims, word for word. These two have never met, which means a shared source. Since these people read the same narrow set of website and watch the same news programs, it is no surprise they make the same arguments, sing the same songs and read the same lines from the catechism.

In the homosexual marriage debate, all of my liberal friends suddenly sprouted homosexual friends. The fact that I have never met these new friends or know anyone who has met them never came up. I was too polite. Unsurprisingly, there was no talk about the Muslim friends who just a few years ago were allegedly confirming all of the claims of the Cult. The prominent charms on the piety bracelet were all gay all day.

Now I’m seeing Ukrainians turn up in conversation. My liberal friend Jim now claims to work with a collection of Ukrainians and Russians, all of whom, according to Jim, think Obama is the best and Putin the worst. My communist office manager is making the same claims. Her church is now suddenly the home for a bunch of Ukrainian exiles. Again, they think Obama is the best and Putin the worst. In both cases, they keep bringing up the fact they have Ukrainian friends as if that is definitive.

It appears the Cult has not elevated Ukrainians to the level of homosexuals so every cult member has a Ukrainian charm on their piety bracelet. Ukrainian is the new gay.

The BBC’s Plan For America

Every society has its mythologies. The oldest in America is the foundation myth. That is, the country was founded by people looking for religious freedom. It is certainly true that many of the original settlers were religious fanatics, but the Constitution was written by rich guys who financed the Revolutionary War. It’s why the Constitution is mostly about protecting private property and commerce. The men running America in the 18th century were property holders and a merchants. For them, religious liberty was as much about taking religion off the table as any idealistic notions of liberty. But, we still teach kids in school about the Pilgrims, even making some of them black and Latino to be inclusive.

Another enduring myth in America is the people have a say in the running of the country. There’s little evidence to back this up, but it makes for a nice myth. It keeps the peace.  The proof of this is the last thirty or so years. If you go back to 1980, the Republicans have been the majority party for 16 years and the Democrats for 18 years. If the polls are correct, the GOP will tie the score here with the next election. At the end of Obama’s term, both parties will have split the White House evenly.

Over that period, taxes as a share of GDP have changed very little, a percentage or two one way or the other. What has changed is who pays how much. Middle class tax rates have remained fairly static, while lower income taxes have disappeared and rates at the top declined. The rich have been made subject to new taxes and have seen many of their shelters disappear so the net result is the tax burden on Americans has changed little. The spending has gone up every year, regardless of who is in charge.

The point being that regardless of the party in charge, the polices remain the same. The counter is that the people like this stasis, but that easily shot down. The people have never favored ObamaCare, yet it passed and will never be overturned. It is also why, despite widespread opposition across all demographics, amnesty will be passed this summer.

A bipartisan overhaul of immigration, considered dead in the water just a few weeks ago, is not only alive, according to the House Republican leading efforts to broker a deal — it’s gaining steam.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., told CQ Roll Call that pro-rewrite calls earlier this week from two Illinois Republicans, Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Aaron Schock, recent comments from Speaker John A. Boehner, combined with a rash of immigration rallies and protests across the nation in recent days, are indications that momentum has shifted back to those hoping to implement an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws this year.

Diaz-Balart, a major player in ongoing efforts to produce a bill that could balance Republican demands for border security with Democratic calls for legal status for the undocumented, said a solution is closer than ever.

“I think we finally have the policy right,” he said in a phone interview. “I think we have figured out a way to secure, to have border and interior security, holding the administration accountable for the enforcement … forcing the administration to enforce the law whether they want to or not. And I think we figured out a way to deal with the folks that are here in a way that is fair — fair, by the way, to those in the legal system … who are doing everything legally, and also deals with the folks that are here in a way that is fair and reasonable. And adheres, strictly adheres, to the rule of law.

“So I think we finally have the policy right. And what we’re finding is more and more people out there as they’re seeing it, different aspects of the policy, are starting to say, ‘Hey, that is something that makes sense.’”

Diaz-Balart said he thinks they’re close to a deal that can pass both chambers.

“It is as close as we have ever been. It is still a big, big, heavy lift,” he said. “I think we’re going to get there.”

The Florida lawmaker’s optimism comes as the immigration overhaul, declared dead by pundits and politicians alike earlier this year, is back in the headlines. Boehner, speaking at a Rotary Club luncheon in Ohio, doubled down on his support for an overhaul and openly mocked those in the Republican Conference who have dismissed immigration proposals as “amnesty.”

The reason, of course, is two fold. One is the Cult likes new citizens from authoritarian hell holes like those in South America. These little brown people don’t mind working in the field and living in tin shacks. More important, they never question the big man in the big house on the hill. Those rowdy white people from Northern Europe make bad subjects so the Democrats, the political wing of the CML, favor open borders.

The GOP, on the other hand, just likes being bribed. Boehner is stuffing his pockets with money from the Billionaire Boys Club to push amnesty. This post from Steve Sailer makes clear who is against whom.  When all the rich people are for something, there’s no stopping it. They have no qualms about handing traitors like John Boehner their pieces of silver. To them, it is pocket change. For Boehner, it is an easy way to get rich. The mountain of evidence that it will destroy his political party will never overcome crass greed.