The Death of Kim Jong-Il

My first reaction was "so what?" and "who cares?"  But then I read some of the things said about him in the "mainstream" American press: 

"Smart and ruthless."

"Diplomats who dealt with him describe Kim as shrewd and calculating."

"In a demented sort of way, brilliant."

"Tactically brilliant."

"A very cunning person and very smart person."

"Was profoundly important around the world."

They say ludicrous things like this, and then they wonder why fewer and fewer people of intelligence take them seriously.

Let's get the record clear.  Kim Jong-Il was nothing but a mass-murdering thug.  We don't know exactly how many of his own people he starved to death (there were famines in North Korea in both in 1990s and 2000s and the number dead may be in excess of 2 million), but there is nothing good to say about him.  He was only in power because his father was a sycophantic puppet that Joseph Stalin put in power when the Soviet Union established a communist government in the country.  Other than that, he had no more qualifications for office than Barack Obama had.

Don't expect anything to change in North Korea.  Kim Jong-un is probably as vapid and empty-headed as his father was.  He'll make a little noise every once in awhile, because babies like to cry and be noticed.  China isn't going to let North Korea do anything stupid. 

Enough time wasted on that.

I Hate Thomas Sowell

In an article he published two days ago, Sowell wrote: 

"Not only does gridlock allow the president to blame Republicans for not solving the financial crisis that his own runaway spending created, the inability to carry out as much government intervention in the economy as when the Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress means that the market can now recover on its own to some visible extent before the next election."  (Thomas Sowell, "Gridlock To The Rescue?")

He is exactly right.  If there HAS been any economic recovery this year, it's because Congress hasn't done anything to interfere in the economy!!  And if that continues to happen--gridlock--investors will become more emboldened to spend their money.  They certainly don't want to sit on it forever.  The "do-nothing Congress" that Obama berates is the very thing that might be his salvation in next year's election. 

Sowell goes on to make that very point.  If the economy does improve, the Obama propaganda machine--AKA the "mainstream media"--will fall all over itself giving Obama credit.  There are enough economic ignoramuses in the USA (about 99% of the population) to believe it.  And thus, he might get re-elected.

I don't really hate Thomas Sowell, of course.  He's one of the most brilliant, inciteful writers alive.  I'm just angry because I've been wanting, for weeks, to make the point he made, but (note my earlier post today), I've just been too busy to write about it.  So, since he published first, people are going to think I borrowed from him when actually it was he who was reading my mind....More to the point, great minds think alike....

I knew, when I saw the title of his article, before I even read it, what he was going to say.

Current Event Ramblings, December 15

It's been a while since I've posted so I thought I'd check in and let everyone know I'm doing fine.  It's been a very busy semester, much busier than I thought it would be here, but having a 6th class (the normal is 5 and that's what I'll have in the spring) has been taxing.  Since we didn't start classes until the middle of September, the semester won't end until January 12.  We have no days off for Christmas or New Year's.  The Chinese don't do Christmas, of course, at least as a holiday, but I was at Wal-Mart a couple of weeks ago, and there were Christmas decorations everywhere.  The only place on campus that's decorated is our building, and the Chinese are politically incorrect.  It's "Merry Christmas," not "Happy Holidays."  I don't imagine the Chinese care what Americans think, but I'm glad that they know what the holiday is.

There really hasn't been a whole lot I've wanted to comment on anyway.  In sports, the Astros new GM made his first move--he traded the team's best reliever for a shortstop who can't stay off the disabled list and a young, unproven pitcher who apparently doesn't have a lot of upside.  Jed Lowrie, the shortstop, has some potential, but he has to stay healthy.  We'll just have to wait and see if it's a good deal or not.  The Cowboys, after a few good weeks, have lapsed back into the mediocrity that best describes their team.  The losses the last two weeks were inexcusable.  I wish they would get Bill Cowher as head coach.  He'd light a fire under them, if anybody could.

On the political front, Newt Gingrich keeps hanging in against attacks from everywhere.  Even the "conservative" media is bashing him, trying to destroy him (does National Review really prefer Mitt Romney?).  Newt's a loose cannon, there's no doubt about that, but he's better than Romney, and he's light years ahead of Obama.  I wish Rick Santorum would bust out of the pack.  He's the best of the bunch; well, he and Michelle Bachmann.  But, for some reason, neither of them are getting much attention from voters.  I still think Romney will be the nominee, but Newt might steal it.  "Conventional wisdom" is that Newt can't beat Obama, but "conventional wisdom"--i.e., Washington establishment politcs--is not always right.  At the moment, anything could happen.  Obama is certainly vulnerable, but as the Democrats make more and more people dependent on government, it's going to be harder and harder for a decent candidate to win.  And don't forget that there are many people who will vote for Obama because of their hatred of Christianity.  Don't ever underestimate that feeling among many people. 

The Tim Tebow story is worth commenting on.  I haven't seen him play, and from what I can gather, he's not really a very good quarterback.  Of course, this is his first year as a starter, so he needs some time to develop.  All he does is win.  He's getting attention, of course, because he's a decent kid who makes no bones about his faith in Jesus.  Because of that the media hates his guts, and have been tearing him down incessantly, hoping he loses, or better yet, that they'll find him in bed with another man.  Jesus, naturally, had it exactly right:  "Everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed" (John 3:19).  Again, Tebow is not a great quarterback--at least not statistically--but he's not the worst in the league, either.  But you never hear about any other lousy quarterbacks.  Tim Tebow makes liberalism look bad, because he is living proof that people can be decent, respectful, and live by a high moral standard.  And if people do that...they don't need liberalism.  Liberalism needs scum to survive, so it exalts it, supports it, and perpetuates it.  And tries to destroy anything, and anybody, who is decent.  Hang in there, Tim.

More Brilliance From Walter Williams

Here's Dr. Williams' latest article.  I simply must share it with you, and it needs to be spread as far and wide as possible.

Ending Income Inequality?

Benefiting from a hint from an article titled “Is Harry Potter Making You Poorer?”, written by my colleague Dr. John Goodman, president of the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis, I’ve come up with an explanation and a way to end income inequality in America, possibly around the world. Joanne Rowling was a welfare mother in Edinburgh, Scotland. All that has changed. As the writer of the "Harry Potter" novels, having a net worth of $1 billion, she is the world’s wealthiest author. More importantly, she’s one of those dastardly 1-percenters condemned by the Occupy Wall Streeters and other leftists.

How did Rowling become so wealthy and unequal to the rest of us? The entire blame for this social injustice lies at the feet of the world’s children and their enabling parents. Rowling’s wealth is a direct result of more than 500 million "Harry Potter" book sales and movie receipts grossing more than $5 billion. In other words, the millions of “99-percenters” who individually plunk down $8 or $9 to attend a "Harry Potter" movie, $15 to buy a "Harry Potter" novel or $30 to buy a "Harry Potter" Blu-ray Disc are directly responsible for contributing to income inequality and wealth concentration that economist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman says “is incompatible with real democracy.” In other words, Rowling is not responsible for income inequality; it’s the people who purchase her works.

We just can’t blame the children for the unfairness of income inequality. Look at how Wal-Mart Stores generated wealth for the Walton family of Christy ($25 billion), Jim ($21 billion), Alice ($21 billion) and Robson ($21 billion). The Walton family’s wealth is not a result of ill-gotten gains, but the result of Wal-Mart’s revenue, $422 billion in 2010. The blame for this unjust concentration of wealth rests with those hundreds of millions of shoppers worldwide who voluntarily enter Wal-Mart premises and leave dollars, pounds and pesos [and yuan, I would add, MKL].

Basketball great LeBron James plays forward for the Miami Heat and earns $43 million for doing so. That puts him with those 1-percenters denounced by Wall Street occupiers. But who made LeBron a 1-percenter? It’s those children again, enabled by their fathers or some other significant male. Instead of children doing their homework and their fathers helping their wives with housework, they get into their cars, drive to a downtown arena and voluntarily plunk down $100 for tickets. The millions of people who watch LeBron play are the direct cause of LeBron's earning $43 million and are thereby responsible for “undermining the foundations of our democracy.”

Krugman laments in his Nov. 3 New York Times column “Oligarchy, American Style," “We have a society in which money is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few people, and in which that concentration of income and wealth threatens to make us a democracy in name only.” I’d ask Krugman this question: Who’s putting all the money in the hands of the few, and what do you think ought to be done to stop millions, perhaps billions, of people from using their money in ways that lead to high income and wealth concentration? In other words, I’d like Krugman to tell us what should be done to stop the millions of children who make Joanne Rowling rich, the millions who fork over their money to the benefit of LeBron James, and the hundreds of millions of people who shop at Wal-Mart.

I’d like to end this discussion with a bit of a personal note. The readers of this column know that I never make charges of racism. Rowling is an author, and so am I. In my opinion, my recently published book “Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?” is far more important to society than any "Harry Potter" novel. I’d like to know what it is about me that explains why millions upon millions have not purchased my book and made me a billionaire author. Maybe Krugman and the Wall Street occupiers have the answer.