Friday, November 16, 2018

Follow-up on “The Full Alexandria”

We happened to visit Leo’s Organic Barber Shop on a recent rainy day.  His reading selections are pretty sparse, other than the Press Herald, and previous editions of the Wall Street Journal.  We enjoy the latter since they priced themselves out of our range for regular delivery. 


For a number of years, we got the Weekend Edition for $1 a week.  We loved it, and usually found enough wide-ranging material to last us for several reading sessions.  Before you knew it, they jacked the price up to $200 a year for that one edition per week, and we just couldn’t justify that expense. 

No matter; we keep getting mailings marked “Welcome Back.”  Which in itself is a commentary on how modern marketing approaches dive off the deep end of common sense.


Enough with the mindless distraction.  Looking for something different, we happened upon “The Week,” a publication we hadn’t seen before.  And we came across an item that caught our interest:

It dovetails ever so nicely with out recent piece on The Full Anastasia.  That would be this one:

If you’re the type who follows up on links, you’ll find that “Democratic Socialism” is a formalized and organized movement among us. 

Democratic Socialist v. Social Democrat; it’s a difference without distinction in our mind.  Eddie Beem, the lead opinion writer in The Forecaster, clings to the latter term because in his mind it portrays him as something other than a pure and committed socialist.  It gives him a clear conscience about his socialist inclinations.

If you read the item I linked to along with its referenced sources, you’ll find that the inevitable outcome for the policies espoused is socialism.  Unless you believe that entities like auto manufacturers can survive as “cooperatives” or “worker run” enterprises.  Go ahead if that’s your desire, but don’t expect any support from us.

We don’t know if you know the difference between “static analysis” and “dynamic analysis.”  The former is what utopians and dreamers use when they propose some sweeping economic change like doubling taxes or Medicare for all.  They assume that when their idea is implemented, nothing else outside that realm will change; people and companies will not change their behavior to compensate and preserve their interests as best they can. 

Hence, everything that follows becomes an “unexpected” or “unintended” consequence.  Failure was not foreseen, because they didn’t look beyond their idealism.

Dynamic analysis is what realists use to weigh policy proposals.  It requires that you consider the consequences; will higher taxes drive people out of state?  Will more generous welfare attract people from elsewhere and disincentivize work?

Along these very lines, these citations in The Week article jumped out at us, and in our minds, clearly demonstrated the utter lack of critical thought on the part of socialist thinkers.

One of Sanders' supporters, 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, stunned the political world last month by winning her New York City district's Democratic primary on a platform of "Medicare for All," free public college, the abolition of ICE, and guaranteed work and housing. "In a modern, moral, and wealthy society, no person should be too poor to live," Ocasio-Cortez says. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has called Ocasio-Cortez and other democratic socialist candidates "the future of our party."

To pay for a similar safety net in the U.S., including free medical care and college education for all, Sanders would raise more than $1 trillion a year through higher taxes on most individuals and corporations. But the new guard of democratic socialists, organized under the banner of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), would go much further. Ocasio-Cortez, for example, has said she believes capitalism "will not always exist in the world."

Sanders, it seems obvious, doesn’t think that levying a trillion or more in new taxes will change the economic behavior of individuals and corporations.  And Ocasio-Cortez, drinking the Kool-Aid shooters he passes around, doesn’t see capitalism as the source of our economic wealth:

"In a modern, moral, and wealthy society, no person should be too poor to live," Ocasio-Cortez says.

The critical point here, which she fails to see through her rose-colored glasses, is that without capitalism and the economic vitality we currently enjoy, we will no longer be A WEALTHY SOCIETY, and hence the means to provide for all the free things like health care and college educations will cease to exist. 


As most of us realize, government can only provide that which it first takes from others.  And when there is nothing left to take, there will be nothing it can provide.  But many of us don’t know.


Reality can be such a bummer.  Like snow before Thanksgiving.

If you haven’t yet accepted that there is a real and organized thrust to completely undo the underpinnings of our society and its economic engine, you better study up, pilgrim.

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Saturday, November 10, 2018

Maine Wire: The Full Alexandria


The current widespread fascination with all things socialist was too much for us to ignore, so we couldn’t resist submitting this sardonic riff on the subject.  The Maine Wire was kind enough to publish it on their web site:

We worry that too many in this day may not take it in the manner intended, but will instead see it as an argument for their beloved social justice revolution.

Here’s an excerpt to tempt you:

For a hardcore, lifelong conservative like myself, the mere mention of socialism, or it’s drag persona—social democracy—is enough to send me to the bunker with a small batch bourbon. The celebration in recent years of Bernie Sanders, followed more recently by Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Kirsten Gillibrand, Andrew Gillum, and innumerable others is a movie made in hell. Add hordes of gullible, supposedly well-educated millennials, and the nation seems on a collision course of voluntary self-destruction.

Yet as the winds of change continue blowing in my face, ably reported and abetted by the usual suspects, the widespread fascination of pre-senility adults and our newest generations with certifiably destructive ideology gave me pause. Could millions of newly minted voters be so wrong, and so easily led astray by those who’ve been around long enough to know better?

Enjoy; and we mean that in a troubled way.  There are all too many signs of the majority looking to repeat the doomed social failures of history.  Largely because no one tells them about it.  Postmodernism demands nothing less because of its core principle that there is no such thing as objective truth.

That pretty much trashes history and anything else that gets in the way of nirvana.  And reality.

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Friday, November 2, 2018

Where would we be without local journalism?


“Journalism” is one of those charged words employed by any number of sources either in support or opposition.  Most often in our experience is the case where those working in various forms of media use the term in an attempt to elevate themselves above the little people who populate their audience.  They call themselves journalists to lend a certainty and loftiness to their efforts.

A perfect example in the local media mix is Edgar Allen Beem, the featured opinion journalist for The Forecaster.  Eddie has labeled himself a “journalist” innumerable times in his columns, which are in most cases nothing but personal screeds about the politics of the day, and in most cases, shrill and harshly partisan opinions at that. 

Recently he’s been drawn to weepy mourning over the incivility and partisan divides of our times, all while using language that only adds to the problem.  Calling “99% of Trump voters white trash Americans” is a classic example of how he reaches out to us all to calm the waters of political discord.

Which may explain why reader evaluations of his column have been increasingly negative in recent months.  Not only that, the comments posted by readers have lately been almost totally in opposition to his columns, as compared to past years where he drew upon a loyal cadre of adoring groupies to defend and praise anything he wrote, no matter how divisive, snotty, and condescending it was.

Which suits us just fine; we’ve jousted with him regularly, and driven him to fits of distraction and flights of incoherence in a number of cases.  In the process, we’ve amused ourselves no end.

Eddie often uses dictionary definitions of a term of interest to build his arguments on a given subject.  We thought we’d try the same by looking up the word journalism….and we found this:

journalism  (noun)

  1. the occupation of reporting, writing, editing, photographing, or broadcasting news or of conducting any news organization as a business.
  2. press1(def 31).
  3. a course of study preparing students for careers in reporting, writing, and editing for newspapers and magazines.
  4. writing that reflects superficial thought and research, a popular slant, and hurried composition, conceived of as exemplifying topical newspaper or popular magazine writing as distinguished from scholarly writing: He calls himself a historian, but his books are mere journalism.

We find definitions 1 and 4 the most interesting.  Note the words news and superficial, and the absence of the word “opinion.”

Which brings us to another recent instance of “journalism” that caught our attention.  Our friends at The Ostrich use this graphic at the top of their web page and print editions.


Based on our years of following them, we could and would take issue with all three terms in their self-aggrandizing self-labeling.  Calling yourself legitimate is revealing; it’s like a politician saying “you can trust me on this, because I’m not like all the others.”  When you come right down to it, just exactly what does the term “legitimate” mean in this context?  For that matter, what do the words local and journalism mean in the same context?

We cannot think of an instance in recent memory where TR reporting (journalism) goes beyond the level of parroting press releases and perhaps talking to a local source or two.  The concept of investigative reporting is completely foreign to them.  Their coverage is 3 inches deep and 2 feet wide.  They carry the party line of whoever and whatever they are covering.  And for those who pay attention, they clearly make their coverage choices based on the overall editorial slant of whomever controls the content.  Increasingly, of course, that is shared content with other media outlets in Maine, almost all of which are owned by a single individual.

Under the circumstances, expecting a broad and balanced view of the events that occur on a daily basis is a fool’s errand.  And given the skimpiness of the staffs at these outlets, expecting a look below the first level or two of the onion skin is similarly ill advised.

But couldn’t we at least expect a fairly high degree of language skills from those who claim to be “legitimate” in informing us with their “journalism” efforts?  One of the challenges of running a media operation, especially a print operation, is that you put yourself out there for examination, and in the process you expose yourself and the skill sets inherent in your leadership.

Let’s take a recent example.  Jon Crimmins, a local resident with an every other week slot on the opinion page of The Ostrich, had this column run:

It ran with this appendage from the editors:

Editor’s note:

We agree with Mr. Crimmins’ ascertation that “a diversity of thought is important.” We would further argue that since the paper’s acquisition by Reade Brower, we have been able to provide a greater diversity of local and state coverage, thanks to partnerships with not only the Portland Press Herald, but with the Kennebec Journal, The Forecaster, Coastal Journal and others. Our Local and Maine pages are more robust and carry far more indepth stories that, prior to the acquisition, were out of our reach. Rather than supplant our own stories, this sharing agreement supplements our coverage, while allowing our own, admittedly small staff to take deeper dives into the stories that matter most. Local journalism matters at The Times Record. It always will.

Aside from the “deeper dives” comment, we learned two things in this add on note.  First, we gained a new word for our vocabulary; we didn't realize Jon had ascertated anything in particular in this column.  On the other hand, maybe one of these days The Ostrich will acquire a spell checker....or a copy reader with a vocabulary.

Secondly, no one is in a position to ascertate the sentiment in the last two sentences.

In a nutshell, this brief little editorial note tells us more about the supposed professionals who manage the Times Record than they could ever have imagined.

And it pretty much blows the claims of “local. legitimate. journalism” right out of the shallow water they were doggy paddling in.

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