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Works and Days

Explaining the Inexplicable

February 26th, 2013 - 12:00 am

Almost daily we witness things that make no sense. A few examples, from the profound to the trivial.

Rich Without Being Rich

The president, as is his wont, blasted the “one percent,” the “millionaires and billionaires,” and the “well-connected” in his recent State of the Union speech — and then he flew off to golf and hang out with the one percent of the one percent in South Florida while his wife and kids jetted to Aspen to ski. Then Obama flew back for more class-warfare rhetoric over so-called sequestration, ridiculing the Republicans as again being for the “rich” — and on Al Sharpton’s radio show, no less (of Tawana Brawley fame).

How does this two-step actually work? Obama likes to wear metrosexual golfing clothes, stay in one-percent elite digs, and play with the super rich while damning just that entire cargo? Does he see himself exempt from his own rhetoric  because he demagogues those with whom he feels most comfortable?

Are there good and bad rich — depending on whether some embrace his redistributionist agenda? Mitt Romney is guilty of an elevator and a wife in riding clothes; Beyoncé and Jay-Z are mere Edwin Markham oppressed laborers with hoes in the fields of socialism?

Is Obama just a hypocrite, or perhaps genuinely oblivious to the optics? Or, in contrast, is he quite canny in his appraisal that Americans just want more government stuff and couldn’t care less whether he is a paradox?

Bill Clinton liked a little less the good life, and waged a little less class warfare. Jimmy Carter in blue work shirts and jeans mimicked the life of the common man. JFK joked about the contradictions in his status, and was not a typical class warrior. Never — or at least not since FDR — have we seen such boilerplate rhetoric aimed at the well-off coupled with such indulgence in the spoils of wealth. What is the logic of “downright mean country” and “never been proud” leading to Aspen and Costa del Sol? Why the moth-to-the-flame attraction to the high life coupled with the rhetoric of the class warrior?

Is it as simple as Occam’s Razor — the Obama class warriors always, as most, liked the idea of the privileged lifestyle: when they could not afford it, they were consistent in their boilerplate rhetoric about the injustice of it; when they could afford it, they were merely hypocritical? End of story?

$4-a-Gallon Cheap Gas

I filled up today in a rather poor Selma (per capita income under $20,000; unemployment over 15%). The cheapest regular gas I saw in town was $3.99. I paid $4.06 a gallon. It was under $1.90 when the evil Bush left office.

Any gas station that is now just 10 cents cheaper per gallon is packed with cars that trail out to nearly block traffic. (On this clear day, we could see the eastern face of the Coast Range Mountains in the distance — beneath them is reportedly 20-30 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the Monterey Shale formation that apparently will remain mostly untapped.)

Aren’t gas prices supposed to stay low during hard times (as now), when demand is off? And aren’t Americans proverbially jumpy at the gas pump, supposedly ready to blame-game their politicians for high gas prices in a way that they do not even over escalating housing, food, or clothing costs?

So, all that said, why the general quiet about gas? Do we think our newly found vast reservoirs of gas and oil, at some point recoverable, will ensure that these spikes are only temporary? Do the masses love so the administration that they have forgotten the president’s past talk of “skyrocketing” power rates, breaking the coal companies, and former Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s silly dreaming about the desirability of reaching European levels of gas pricing? Or are cars so efficient at the 30-plus MPG average that we don’t note the pain as much as in the past? Are we all driving Priuses? Or are people so dense that they scream over a one-half-a-cent increase in sales taxes, while keeping mum as they pay far more through a $30 or $40 per week hit in gas prices?

In any case, it is inexplicable that gas has gone so much higher in the last four years, that the public cares so little, and that there is so little connection made (rightly or wrongly) between the decision to go green and to ignore fossil fuels on public lands, and the subsequent skyrocketing price of transportation fuel. Were Bush — or even Clinton — president, would not a $2-a-gallon climb during their first four years earn outrage? Do things change at $5 a gallon? Six?

Non-racist Racism

Almost daily on internet news agencies is some lurid story of a shooting, flash-mobbing, or beating that unfortunately involves a racial motif. The Daily Mail and the Drudge Report (if indirectly) specialize in these racy tabloid tales, as does the New York Post, but also CNN.

Yet such information is usually implicit rather than overt. The paper or news agency that reports the crime either provides no overtly physical description of the suspects, or offers almost every detail of their appearances (sometimes even artists’ renditions!) except for their race. Fine, we understand political correctness and the theory of censorship in service to avoiding racial polarization.

But why, then, do the news agencies post readers’ uncensored comments to their own stories — readers who are often furious over the PC reporting inches above? The tepid commentators note the hypocrisy and self-censorship; but the livid ones end up posting the most abjectly racist slurs: crude, even sick and repulsive.

So what, then, is the point of trying to avoid race in the news story if the publication is willing to publish readers’ overtly racially based reactions? Would not it be wiser to do anything other than what the agencies are now doing, like be honest about the race of the suspected perpetrators, or perhaps censor the worst comments as proverbially “inappropriate,” or maybe not publish any comments at all?

As it is now, we read the most ridiculous postmodern prissy news accounts followed by the most abjectly premodern racist furor. Inexplicable.

Or is it? Are the editors hoping to incite animosities by both reporting lurid crimes without offering common-sense information about the suspects, thereby getting off the hook for fanning divisions, while simultaneously stirring up tabloid interest, as the juxtaposed unfiltered commentary attests? It is almost as if the sick policy is: “Come here to read how sensitive to race we are while experiencing how racist our readers are.”

I Love What I Leave

I understand why millions come to the U.S., given the wretched poverty of Latin America, the proximity of the U.S. border, the ability to work here, and the generosity of the American people and government. I don’t understand at all the ensuing iconography of the open-borders movement.

Why the obsession with the Mexican flag and the racialist identification with La Raza and the reversion to 19th century ethnic chauvinism? Why the ethnic stickers on cars, on mobile kitchens, and on homes?

I am confused, because such overt identification with Mexico and its culture is embedded within a movement demanding American citizenship. But here again is the rub: in the entire debate over illegal immigration, almost nothing is ever spoken about why millions are leaving Mexico and why they prefer the United States. And given that fact, why is the natural impulse of so many of the La Raza leadership to criticize America and to be so gentle toward Mexico? One country creates conditions — corruption, statism, racism, class divisions, lack of transparency, lack of the rule of law, etc. — that drive out millions of its own. Another allows just those millions to cross its borders to enjoy the antithesis of what they left. Given that, why would Mexican nationals boo an American team at the L.A. Coliseum, and scream approbation for a Mexican one? I offer possible explanations for the inexplicable.

1) Mexican nationals and Mexican-Americans involved in the immigration debate feel a sense of public anger unfairly directed at them for the present intolerable situation of illegal immigration, even though employers and ethnic politicians were mutually at fault. It is a natural human reaction to push back. Therefore, while no one in his right mind prefers to return to Oaxaca, or to suggest that the protocols of Tijuana are superior to those in San Diego, it is difficult to admit just that, and to confirm your critics’ position. So we of the host country are to remain mature and to read between the lines: “Yes, I wave the Mexican flag. And, yes I fully agree with the La Raza complaint against America. But I do so more from hurt, not sincerity. And you, of the majority culture, are therefore supposed to fathom that natural human compensation, of one in a sort of humiliation forced to leave his own world to seek the world of others. As I wave my Mexican flag, grant me that small indulgence for a while — that I most certainly do not wish to live under the flag I wave, but prefer living under the flag I cannot wave, for understandable psychological reasons.”

2) There is no overt sense of Mexico or the United States. There is a just a there and a here. Millions go “there” and then end up “here.” Who cares what we call it? Borders are irrelevant, just constructs. The American Southwest looks a lot like Mexico. People just go where work or entitlements are, and don’t worry why or how that is so, at least in the larger existential sense. The attraction of the United States is not “capitalism” or “democracy” or “the law,” but mostly that one can achieve a lot higher standard of living there than in Mexico, while oddly enjoying much of the cultural landscape of Mexico, given the sheer millions involved in illegal immigration. That is, life in an Orange Cover or Parlier is a lot more livable than in a comparable small town in Oaxaca, in the sense of sanitation, security, water, health care, transportation, consumer goods, and education. But it is also not really all that foreign either — signs are in Spanish; most speak Spanish and are of Mexican ancestry. Food, culture, and behavior have as much in common with Mexico as with America, resulting in the best of both worlds: a Mexico without Mexico. Why worry about why or how that is so, much less silly things like flags: just enjoy that it is so, and let others more neurotic sort it all out.

3) The more one hammers American culture — its history of supposed racism, its unfairness to the nation of Mexico, its white male privilege — the more it is likely to grant concessions out of guilt. If the host nation either cannot define its own culture or cannot explain its attractions, why then should the immigrant do so for the inept host? If under the present system, a 17-year-old can young person can cross the border illegally, reside illegally for a brief tenure, and then apply to school without worry of audit, and eventually qualify for affirmative action as a victim of historic prejudices, why would anyone seek to dismantle such an advantageous system? The prevailing mood, then, is that the host or mostly majority culture is played out, devoid of pride or knowledge of its own tenets, and all too eager to offer compensations the more one indicts it. So the more one indicts it, the more benefits will accrue. Why stop?

4) There is a sense in Mexico that the American Southwest still should belong to Mexico or at least to a vague sense of Latin America. So the separatist sense makes sense. What was lost in a long ago war can be regained by demography. Polls taken in Mexico reveal the absurdity: a majority of Mexican citizens believes both that southwestern America properly belongs to Mexico and that they would prefer to live there. One of two things is thus probable: people are nuts and would prefer to extend a failing culture that they are fleeing to a country that they would flee to; or, that the American Southwest was so rich that it was always Mexico’s golden province and that life is best to the north because it just always was: therefore an “Alta California” as a place always better than existing Mexico is not inconsistent with wishing it to resemble, or indeed belong to, Mexico.

I give up — you decide. I just drove past the Selma Sunday swap meet and saw only Mexican flags blowing in the wind and nary an American one. I was perplexed.

When Debt Is No Debt

There are no major programs that the president wishes to cancel, but plenty of new ones he envisions. Given the scale of borrowing, and given the abject denial that there is a spending problem, what gives? Here are some possibilities.

1) The president really does believe that at some mythical date the capitalists and profit mongers have no choice but to get back to work and make tons of money, and that the resulting increased revenue will pay off the debt without cuts or hardship. Therefore, he genuinely thought in 2009 that the stimulus would lead to the summer of recovery. He believed that the first $4 trillion in debt would stimulate the economy, and so is surprised that we are still massively borrowing. Now Obama is in a quandary, in which we can’t cut spending in a recession, and cannot afford to run bigger deficits to jumpstart the economy. The old narcotic jolt no longer has a stimulatory effect on the fading addict. So do we just deny we are addicted to borrowing, shoot up with more printed money, and hope someone picks us out of the gutter of debt?

2) Low interest will continue. So as a percentage of the budget we have the wherewithal to pay the annual interest for years to come. Deficits for the foreseeable future are easily sustainable. What’s the problem? We are in the grip of deficit hysterics. After all, two trillion dollars were wiped out in stock losses and lost home equity during 2008, so why can’t we just print them back into existence? Ever wondered why we have near deflation while printing trillions of new dollars?

3) There is no crisis, at least for the next three years. Obama can still get a recovery from the massive Keynesian kickstarting, while the next president can deal with the disaster when the debt tab comes due. Maybe he too can blame Bush, as did Obama.

4) Deficits are essentially good: a) they guarantee more federal spending and thereby more federal entitlements and constituents; b) they are the best mechanisms for spreading the wealth through redistribution and eventually to demand higher taxes that will fall more heavily on the well-off; c) they will result in inflation, a good thing that erodes the power of accumulated wealth.

5) The president is more interested in golf, photo-ops, or picking the Final Four, and so he shrugs and thinks: “Debts, schmebts. Who cares?”

Also read:

The 5 Biggest Insults to American Manhood by the Rules of Engagement in Afghanistan

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Top Rated Comments   
You know, some of these terms that WE adopt as our own, make me laugh.

"immigration"...how in the world is sneaking into a country and committing theft of services in any way, shape or form..."immigration"? Illegal immigration is like robbing your house and claiming I'm an undocumented furniture and jewelry reseller.

Have we completely lost our minds? How about this trick. Have 13 million Latinos sneak into Russia, North Korea or China, form gangs and sell drugs and guns. Turn THEIR flags upside down. DEMAND to be taught in Spanish. After all, leftist societies are nirvana. For that matter, why didn't they escape into Cuba or Venezuela? If leftism is paradise, then why not go to the source where they already speak the same language?

Why come here and try to change the government when you can go where it already exists? In this country, you are only guaranteed the PURSUIT of happiness. Not to have it tackled and shackled for you to grab it from someone else. At least not before 2008.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Explaining the Inexplicable? I could add another, Dr. Hanson. Perhaps in that keen mind of yours, you could contemplate and pen something about this phenomenon one day.

Michelle Obama having her praises sung as she feasts at $38,500 a plate fundraisers while demonizing the rich, jetting off to Aspen and Hollywood thereafter, sermonizing about how Obama is working so diligently for the middle class; the same middle class where wages have been reduced by 8.2% under the tutelage of Dear Leader Barack.

Barack then wins the $30-100K household vote by 4 percentage points.

What could possibly be the conclusion but that the small majority of middle class America is brazenly inane or unaware of what constitutes abject hypocrisy?

Like someone once said. The real problem is not Barack Obama. It's the people who put Barack Obama in office only to fail miserably while President, then repeated the same mistake.

The only conclusion I can come to besides Romney did a very poor job of striking back against the platitudes and lies, is that Romney made the egregious mistake of offering jobs to a country that did not want to work.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Did Mitt Romney use the huge megaphone given him by the Republican electorate as the Presidential nominee to mock Obama's hypocrisy on wealth? Did Romney attack Obama for his use of the public treasury to spend months on vacation at the most expensive resorts in the world? Did Romney point out that the "rich Wall Street and Hollywood 1%ers all support Obama" and all use vast amounts of the worlds energy supplies? Did Romney educate the electorate on how Obama gives his rich donors huge tax breaks while adding taxes on those who are not "connected"? Why do Republicans elect candidates who seem to be seeking the approval of their opponent? Whatever the answer, I guess the fact that Republicans seem more comfortable complaining about this after an election than basing their campaign on the lying and cheating character of their opponents is why we end up with more lying and cheating? Maybe one day we will actually witness a real campaign fought to win, with the truth not avoided because it is unpleasant. This will no doubt require a different Conservative party.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (73)
All Comments   (73)
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Actually, all the listed inexplicables that baffle you are addressed in two papers available at Scribd.com (search: Chevelon Alliance): "Green" Energy: A Deliberate Quest for Poverty & Obama and the Destruction of America.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There is nothing that sets me off more than the Low information voter responding favorably to Obama's "millionaires and billionaires" speech - used to justify raising taxes on those making over $250k. Here in California no one even questioned Jerry Brown after his stupid statement that his new tax on those making over $250k was a 'Millionaires" tax because "after four years of making $250k . . . you are a millionaire!".

In the meanwhile, hiding in plain sight, are tens of millions of government officials and public service workers who get retirement benefits worth millions that the rest of us have no chance at accumulating due to these onerous taxes. Do the math sometime. Figure out how much you would have to make before taxes during your working years in order to save enough after taxes to retire at age 55 with 80% of your last year's salary and gold plated health benefits paid out for 30 years or more of retirement. You will be astounded at the impossibility of this for all but the very very high end private sector worker. And to boot, that public service worker never has to worry about things like working late without pay, being laid off, getting fired or saving a single dime for the future.

What Obama is really saying is that he wants no more millionaires and billionaires. Just the ones who are grandfathered in and can contribute to his campaigns. The only way to become a achieve a millionaire's life style is to work for the party or the government.

The Obama's are constantly on display like those pyramid scheme business commercials with the rich couple on the big yacht pitching for new suckers to come in.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wow! All over the board with complaints I suppose of the very things that makes the U.S. an exaceptional nation of people and an exceptional form of government. Some of the top 20% of wealth holders are filthy rich, arrogant elitiest's and generally butt*oles. Some are filthy rich, modest and of compasionate heart. The very same types of personalities for all the working middle classes. There are good and bad in every socio-economic class.

Everything about our capitalist economic sysyem is redistributive in nature from the printing presses on down. A minority of the nations population who are able to be business owners large and small, redistribute their earnings 'down' to their employees in return for labor. Their employess then to redistribute that income for goods and services and then....

One of the great things about America is you can act however you wish, spend as you wish, socialize as you wish, dress as you wish, entertain as you wish and on down the line so long as it is legal.

Now, what was the complaint again? :)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

Now, what was the complaint again?

Ask me 3 years from now or when gas hits 7 bucks a gallon, whichever comes first.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Okay, if I should live another three years. :) I've watched gas go from a nickle a gallon in gas wars to over four dollars a gallon in my lifetime and cigarettes go from what would have been a dollar a carton to I'm told now, nearly forty-five dollars or more a carton today.

Gas will come back down when the refineries get done with their maintenance and reformulating and when the interest rates come back up so the bond guys can go back to bond and stock investments and away from 'commodities' and stocks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Everything Obama and his machine do have intended consequences. Him golfing with Tiger was probably just a defiant " in your face" little people. I'll do what I damn well please and get over it. Or get used to it, I am the Messiah. His biggest goal and soon to become accomplishment is dividing the people, slightly in his favor. If the low infos can't see thru this, they are really brainwashed or blind. I fear revolution.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
To use a dated phrase: "He is just not that into you." Or an even older one, "Watch the feet, not the liips." There is no real reason to feel singled out. Obama is a cold fish. All the exceptions will eventually realize they aren't.

Mr. Hansen, I do wish you would make a distinction between citizens of Spanish and Mexican descent and those who are here illegally. The real explanation for the persons who have the resentment against the U.S. is the fact that they have been given false information about history. Forgive them for they know not what they do.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't know. It seems with the use of personal credit, the Feds printing money and our country barrowing from other countries, government entitlement programs and so on, people are happy with the status quo and don't feel the need to question Obamas hypocrisy or lies. I'm thinking a good dose of reality is the only thing that will wake people up out of this stupor.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I would like to add to Stallions comment.

Another reason for fuel price hikes is tax revenue. Politicians have cut their own throats by the implementation of CAFE standards. Cars go further, therefore less fill up at the pump. So all the V-8s that have been removed from the road ways have cost the government 38.9 cents, PER GALLON in tax revenue. Therefore they have to charge more to keep the revenues coming in. Stoopid is as stoopid does.

And for the author. Who says people are not complaining about fuel prices? The people are complaining. No politician or media outlet gives a rats a...

My company fuel bill, since 2009 has gone from $500. a month to $2500. a month, with no changes to routing. Of course we are complaining. We are sick of it all.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You know, some of these terms that WE adopt as our own, make me laugh.

"immigration"...how in the world is sneaking into a country and committing theft of services in any way, shape or form..."immigration"? Illegal immigration is like robbing your house and claiming I'm an undocumented furniture and jewelry reseller.

Have we completely lost our minds? How about this trick. Have 13 million Latinos sneak into Russia, North Korea or China, form gangs and sell drugs and guns. Turn THEIR flags upside down. DEMAND to be taught in Spanish. After all, leftist societies are nirvana. For that matter, why didn't they escape into Cuba or Venezuela? If leftism is paradise, then why not go to the source where they already speak the same language?

Why come here and try to change the government when you can go where it already exists? In this country, you are only guaranteed the PURSUIT of happiness. Not to have it tackled and shackled for you to grab it from someone else. At least not before 2008.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If the media were to report accurately on the problems, the popularity of the clown in chief would no longer be there, because one can read the polls and see that so many disagree with policies but have a disconnect that he is causing them.

so once more the lap dog suck up media are promoting an agenda rather than reporting the truth, and it seems sad that the media seems so far up obozo's anal sphincter, osculating that they don't realize that all they are getting is a stream of manure, which they think is--what a bouquet because that exudate comes from obozo, rather than someone else. How sad.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The only redistribution that Obama is interested in is to take from the bad rich and give to the good rich (including himself, of course). The bad rich being anyone (regardless of wealth) who doesn't worship him. And the good rich being anyone willing to kiss his a**.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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