Tag: Popularity

The Enduring Popularity Of Fraud (John Hinderaker)

The Enduring Popularity Of Fraud – John Hinderaker

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Steve’s post earlier today is a great reminder of how over the last 200 years, free enterprise has led to an unprecedented explosion of wealth, individual liberty and creativity. Nothing in human history – putting aside for the moment the claims of religion – has enriched the human race to anything like the same degree. If human history has conclusively established any fact, it is that free enterprise is fantastically successful, while socialism is a pitiful failure. Think of North Korea, the USSR, Maoist China, Albania, East Germany, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Venezuela, Cuba, Argentina, India until it wised up. The list goes on and on.

And yet… the siren song of socialism still lures suckers. Currently, Venezuela is learning the age-old lesson the hard way. But we can’t laugh at Venezuelans, when Bernie Sanders is a serious contender for our presidency and is far and away the campus favorite. How is it that socialism (or the urge toward socialism, anyway) can survive? It is the cockroach of ideologies, seemingly impervious to all efforts to kill it.

It may be helpful to think of socialism as a species of fraud. There are many types of fraud, but nothing new under the Sun. The same frauds that Venetian merchants guarded against persist today. The same con games that flourished hundreds of years ago still work. Charles Ponzi’s financial empire collapsed in 1920, and he was arrested and sent to prison. Yet hardly a month goes by without another Ponzi scheme being revealed. There is only one way in which a Ponzi scheme can end: in disaster. This is a mathematical fact. Yet people fall for them, over and over.

People seem to be drawn to fraud like moths to a candle. When I was in law school, I learned about a relatively ingenious fraud. Someone placed an ad in all of the major newspapers on the East Coast. All it said was: “Friday, March 31, is the last day to send in your dollar. P.O. Box 1234, New York, NY.” Many thousands of people sent in their dollars: they didn’t want to miss the deadline. The perpetrators of the scheme were prosecuted, but it was a close-run thing: what was the fraud? The court accepted the idea that the ad made an implicit representation that there was a benefit to be gained or an evil to be avoided by sending in one’s dollar, but it was a pretty skinny case.

In the realm of fraud, the wisdom of the ages is reflected in the adage that a fool and his money are soon parted. The same, I think, is true of socialism. Socialism is fraud writ large. It is a fraud perpetrated by the cynical and greedy on the ignorant and credulous, just like a Ponzi scheme. Only we can add: a fool and his freedom are soon parted.

Only under socialism could Fidel Castro become the richest warlord, relative to his subjects’ wealth, in recorded history. (And that was the least of his sins.) Only under socialism could Maria Gabriela Chavez, daughter of socialist tribune of the people Hugo Chavez, beloved by the American left, waltz off with a $4 billion fortune. But then, she was a piker: Chavez’s Minister of the Treasury stashed $11 billion in Swiss bank accounts.

Charles Ponzi’s mistake was that he should have gone into politics. He could have gone far as a socialist politician, and could have avoided prison.

Socialism is, I think, a species of fraud, but socialism is also much worse than that. A fraudster like Bernie Madoff will only take your money. A socialist will take your money, but that is just the beginning. When you give power to the power-mad, your freedom and human dignity, and perhaps your life, are soon forfeit. So socialism is a uniquely evil variety of fraud.

The bottom line, though, is that, just as the familiar types of fraud have endured for centuries even though they have repeatedly been exposed and are known to the well-informed, so socialism persists, and will continue to endure, as long as men and women fall for the lies and blandishments of the cynical, the greedy and the power-mad.

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As Democrat Party’s Popularity Hits Rock-Bottom, Boehner Seizes Moment To Alienate His Own Party’s Base

Hola: Boehner Prepares To Push Amnesty Bill Through House – Washington Times

House Speaker John A. Boehner announced Tuesday that he has hired a longtime advocate of legalizing illegal immigrants to be an adviser, signaling that the Republican is still intent on trying to pass an immigration bill during this congressional session.

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Immigrant rights advocates cheered the move as a sign of Mr. Boehner’s dedication to action. Those who want a crackdown on illegal immigration said the top Republican in the House has moved closer to embracing amnesty by hiring Rebecca Tallent, a former staffer for Sen. John McCain and fellow Arizona Republican Jim Kolbe.

“Tallent’s hiring suggests he really does still want to push an amnesty through the House, which to me suggests that the immigration hawks still have their work cut out for them,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies. “She is a professional amnesty advocate.”

Ms. Tallent is leaving a job as immigration policy director for the Bipartisan Policy Center and will join Mr. Boehner’s staff Wednesday, putting her in the center of one of the thorniest issues in Congress.

Mr. Boehner has become a key figure in the immigration debate. He faces immense pressure from immigrant rights activists who want legalization and from House Republicans who are warning him not to pursue legalization until the border is more secure.

Mr. Boehner has faced prayer vigils and protests from immigration rights activists at his home. In Congress, some Republicans have suggested that his speakership could be in jeopardy if he tries to pass legislation granting illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship.

The Ohio Republican has said he is committed to acting on the issue but has rejected Senate Democrats’ approach of a broad bill combining security, legalization and a rewrite of the immigration system.

“The speaker remains hopeful that we can enact step-by-step, common-sense immigration reforms – the kind of reforms the American people understand and support,” spokesman Michael Steel said. “Becky Tallent, a well-known expert in this field of public policy, is a great addition to our team and that effort.”

But in a city where personnel moves are watched as key policy signals, both sides saw Ms. Tallent’s hiring as an indication of where Mr. Boehner wants the immigration debate to go.

She has been involved in writing a number of broad legalization bills, including one for Mr. Kolbe and two for Mr. McCain in the past decade. She was also a senior policy adviser during Mr. McCain’s failed 2008 presidential campaign, which included traveling as a domestic policy adviser for vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Mr. Boehner appeared to have nailed the door shut on immigration last month when he said he wouldn’t enter into negotiations on the Senate bill.

But Democratic leaders and President Obama appeared to move in Mr. Boehner’s direction, saying they would be open to the speaker’s approach of dividing immigration reform into separate bills. It’s still unclear whether all of the bills would have to pass at about the same time or whether Republicans would win border security legislation first.

Mr. Krikorian said he still thinks the chances of a final bill reaching Mr. Obama’s desk next year are slim but that Mr. Boehner’s hiring decision is worrisome.

“Basically what that means is that the person who ran John McCain’s amnesty push last time is now running amnesty for Speaker Boehner,” he said.

Immigration rights activists warn Republicans that they must take action or face a political backlash, particularly in the 2016 presidential election.

“If Republicans want to broaden their appeal to diverse voters — really, any American who expects leaders to lead and solve problems — they need to talk less and do more,” said Lynn Tramonte, deputy director of America’s Voice.

House Democrats say passing immigration reform could rescue a year devoid of other major accomplishments.

Ms. Tallent didn’t return a call seeking comment Tuesday.

Ana Navarro, who worked with Ms. Tallent on the 2008 McCain presidential campaign and who has pushed Republicans to tackle immigration reform, said hiring Ms. Tallent was a smart move for Mr. Boehner.

“It tells me that he’s looking to find solutions to some of the complex issues,” she said. “You don’t hire Becky Tallent if you don’t want to get something done. If all you want to do is kick the can down the road and just talk about the issue, you don’t hire Becky Tallent. If you want to solve the issue, you hire Becky Tallent to work with you.”

Ms. Tallent is a native of Tucson, Ariz., and Ms. Navaro said her knowledge of border issues will help House Republicans as they try to craft legislation.

“She brings a particular sensitivity to the border issues, to the immigration issues. She’s pragmatic,” Ms. Navaro said.

Bipartisan Policy Center President Jason Grumet said Ms. Tallent’s experience will help her sift through the issues and find something that will work.

“The House is going to continue to chart its own course on immigration reform. Becky understands the issues — both those that should be on the table and those that have derailed past reform efforts,” Mr. Grumet said in a statement.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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