Monday, August 25, 2014


One characteristic of the radical left is that it doesn't learn from its mistakes. (This is hardly an original observation.) Invariably, the explanation for a failure is that the Republicans or the fascists or the reactionaries wouldn't allow the left's plans to be fully implemented. Obama's $900 billion stimulus plan failed to pull us out of the 2008 crash, we are told, because it wasn't big enough. Roosevelt was unable to end the Great Depression even after a dozen years of trying because he just wasn't permitted to expand the federal government as much as he wanted to, and as much as it needed to be. We are already hearing that the various nightmares of Obamacare are occurring because what we really need is a single-payer system, but those darn insurance companies and doctors and hospitals and pharmaceutical companies are just so greedy and rapacious that the Democrats are not allowed to institute what is necessary.

The left's ideas, in other words, never fail. They cannot fail, because they are never judged empirically. They are the product of an ideology and since that ideology must be correct, the problem always resides in the incomplete or faulty implementation of whatever was tried. No matter how many times left-wing ideas are implemented, they fail, but that can never be because the ideas themselves are incorrect. Rent control ALWAYS results in housing shortages and higher rents, but to the left, the problem is that the rental market has never been regulated enough. Socialism impoverishes people wherever it is tried, but that's only because we've never really done it right.

I mention this now because Philadelphia's public schools are in the paper again, as they are every August. The amount of money spent on schools across Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, never goes down. It goes up every year. And yet, every year, there is a “funding crisis.” We need more money. Our children are being “short-changed.” Those Republicans in Harrisburg don't care about our children, probably because many of those Republicans are white and many of our children are black.

Philadelphia has been run by leftist Democrats for more than sixty years, and the annual “funding crisis” is a perfect example of the ideologically-driven politics I'm talking about. The Philly schools get worse every year, in terms of safety, in terms of educating children, in terms of the deterioration of the buildings and assets. By virtually every objective measure, Philly schools are worse this year than last year, and much worse than thirty years ago. And yet, nothing ever changes. THE PEOPLE WHO RUN OUR SCHOOLS WILL DO NOTHING DIFFERENTLY. Parents groups, politicians, bureaucrats, community activists, teachers and their unions---all of them are in lockstep on this point. Nothing must change.

This is the reason for the “funding crisis.” If you fail every year, and your results are worse every year, and you won't change anything you are doing, then the only defense you have is the claim that you don't have enough money to do the job right. And this is the argument, every year. Those bastards won't fund our schools! We need more money!

Over the past forty years, the money spent on public education in America (in real, inflation-adjusted dollars) has quadrupled; class sizes have been cut in half. I don't know the exact numbers for Philly in particular but I would be shocked if they were substantially different from the national picture. After all this, public education continues to deteriorate, steadily, largely because the money is not being spent on actual education. It is spent on increased salaries (especially benefits), for teachers and administrators, on counselors and social workers and various types of education Ph.D.s, on free transportation, on baby-sitting functions, on “free” lunches and breakfasts and dinners, on anti-bullying programs, health fairs and other liberal indoctrination schemes, on sports, and on a myriad of other boondoggles.

(I cannot resist mentioning the pitifully incompetent Arlene Ackerman, who served less than three years [2009 – 2011] as Superintendent of Schools at $350,000 per year, received a million dollar buyout to get rid of her, and then filed for unemployment compensation. This is typical of how money is spent on “education” in a city like Philly.)

The problem with public education in Philadelphia, and in many other big Democratic cities around the country, is that the people who run these towns do not really care much about education. They care about a lot of other things, and in order to get money for those other things, they say the other things are “education.” They care a lot about those other things. As for the actual teaching of children, well, not so much.


Sunday, August 24, 2014


With the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, there has been much discussion of the militarization of local police forces, which now get federal grants for surplus tanks, armored cars, gun boats and advanced weaponry, and get dressed up like Rambo for special occasions (like serving a warrant in the middle of the night). There are also dozens of federal agencies with their own SWAT teams. When the Bureau of Land Management raided Cliven Bundy's ranch a few months ago, for example, we learned there are actually BLM employees whose job title is “sniper.” Other SWAT-team-equipped federal agencies that might surprise you include the Tennessee Valley Authority, The Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board and the FDA. The Department of Education raided the home of a man named Kenneth Wright at 6am one morning in 2011, looking for his wife who they suspected of student loan fraud.  It frightened the kids, apparently.

You see these guys every now and then, buying coffee in a convenience store or standing on a street corner in camo, jackboots and mirrored sunglasses, carrying an assault rifle. They usually are cops for the Township of Whatever (population 3.000), which just got $200,000 of free stuff that used to be in Iraq.

It's a disturbing development. I don't want people like this on the streets. I don't want the Township of Whatever to have ninjas, and I don't want the Railroad Retirement Board to have them either.  But we can put a stop to it, and the way we can do it is to make fun of them. These cops or cop substitutes need to be mocked. They need to be made fun of. It's our patriotic duty to do so. And if we do, they will stop wearing this military-style crap. They will have to. They want to be scary-looking---that's the whole point---and if we tell them, repeatedly, that they look ridiculous, they will stop. They will go back to wearing police outfits.

We, you and me, all of us American citizens and patriots can do this, and we can do it because of the camo. The camoflage clothing is the key here, the fatal flaw, since in an urban environment, it basically invites ridicule. I mean, they're not blending into a forest background, are they? They're not blending into anything. They're standing in a 7-11. They may want to look like Rambo, but the camo makes them look like the Village People. And that's what these men need to be told.

Wow. Cool outfit, man! Are you, like, in a band?”

Pardon me, sir?”

The outfit. The camo and the shiny boots and stuff. You look totally fierce, dude. Are you going to a party or something?”

I'm a police officer.”

Really? Wow! I mean, you don't look like a policeman. You sure this isn't just some kind of butchy, leather thing? Because it's a great look for you. I want one myself.”

The scene will write itself, based on the particular uniform and gear you encounter, as well as your own fashion sense. Be polite, of course, and absolutely non-confrontational. You're just being friendly. You're just striking up a conversation with a guy who, you are convinced, is about to break into a chorus of “Y-M-C-A.”

It's a community project to get our policemen back into their police uniforms, and we all need to do it for a while because it's only when a robo-cop lookalike hears the same refrain from two or three of us that he will start to believe it. And it is only when he starts to believe it that he will go back to the barracks and complain about the costume he is forced to wear.

Sarge, listen. I don't want to wear this stuff anymore. It's not really working. The people see me in this and---well, they think I'm a DJ, or gay, or something.  Can I just have my uniform back?  You know---the blue one, with the badge and the hat?”

Copyright2014Michael Kubacki

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Whatever happened to psychiatry? There are still psychiatrists who dispense pills, but what happened to psychoanalysis and other talking therapies? Is Freud dead? You rarely even seen cartoons in the New Yorker with a neurotic on a psychiatrist's couch anymore. Oh, it was always very expensive and elitist, and easily lampooned, but why is it that traditional psychiatry/psychoanalysis seems to have crawled under a rock?

As a “science,” of course, it left much to be desired but that's because it never really was a science. Psychology grew out of philosophy rather than empirical medicine, though attempts to graft on some sort of scientific patina (e.g., catalogs of mental disorders), were there from the beginning.

In other words, there's a lot to mock about psychoanalysis and talking therapies, and I mocked them, but I never thought they were worthless. Some of the explanations for human behavior that arose from theory made sense to me. They still do.

I suspect the field is largely the victim of political correctness since some of the accepted conclusions of these scientist/philosophers forty years ago are now not merely viewed as “incorrect,” but as offensive, hateful or racist.

I offer two examples.

First, leftist politics today is suspicious of the idea that individuals have a unique psychology based on their early experiences. Identity politics, based on skin color and sex and ethnicity, is the foundation of today's left, which believes (and insists) that women care about certain things because they are women and black people have black issues and gay people have gay issues, and so on. To the left, group identity trumps all. It's why a special font of leftist abuse is reserved for pro-life women or black conservatives or gay people who believe in traditional marriage. The problem with Clarence Thomas is not that his thinking is incorrect; the problem is that, as far as the left is concerned, a black man who thinks that way should not exist. Individual differences (founded in one's early upbringing), are what psychology and psychoanalysis are all about, but the left doesn't really approve of individual differences that conflict with their ethnic/race/gender expectations.

An even sharper example involves the question of homosexuality (especially male homosexuality). Several generations of Freudians had developed a quite sophisticated theory on this, involving the earliest infant and child reactions to sexual cues from their parents, the domineering mother, the weak or ineffective father, etc. And it always made sense to me. Virtually every gay guy I've ever known has had an odd or troubled relationship with an odd or troubled mother, and a father who, if he were even present, was something of a loser.

This line of analysis, however, is now forbidden. There is only one acceptable explanation for why a gay guy is a gay guy---he was born that way. Any other view is viewed as hateful and homophobic and unevolved and nasty.

And that is what happened to psychiatry. After 150 years of study, and a vast literature, it's just not cool anymore. It conflicts with those ideas of human development and behavior that are considered settled by our leftist elites, and from which no dissent is permitted. Therefore, it must be suppressed.


Saturday, August 9, 2014


In 2011, after both President Obama and Vice President Biden repeatedly claimed credit for winning the war in Iraq, Obama removed the last of our troops there. As he put it, “[W]e're leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people.... And we are ending a war not with a final battle, but with a final march toward home. This is an extraordinary achievement....” The abrupt withdrawal of all American forces was roundly criticized at the time, especially since Obama himself had earlier acknowledged that “There's no doubt there are risks of increased bloodshed in Iraq without a continuing US presence there.”

Welcome to 2014.

It is twenty years since 1994, and Bill Clinton is generally regarded as a lovable old rogue and America's potential “First Laddie,” once Hillary is swept into power. We no longer mention the rape, the perjury, the “bimbo eruptions,” the disbarment, the impeachment, stealing the White House silverware---it's all so very last millennium, you see.

But some of us remember. And eventually, history books will be written, and Bill's little peccadilloes will have to be mentioned. And the one thing for which he will never be forgiven is the Rwandan genocide. The number the commentators have settled upon is 800,000. That's how many Rwandan Tutsis were murdered in a four month period in 1994, and they were killed not with bombs and machine guns but one by one, with machetes, with knives, with clubs, with sharpened sticks, until the Kagera River was choked with corpses. Clinton saw it all coming (I did too---it was on CNN), and did nothing. He could have stopped it, in Christopher Hitchens' famous formulation, “with a telephone call,” but he didn't bother. He (and Madeline Albright) allowed UN peacekeepers to be ordered to stand down so the Tutsis would be helpless. Later, French forces were permitted to aid the killers, again with no objection from America. Clinton's indifference to the slaughter in Rwanda will follow him forever.

There have been Christians in Northern Iraq as long as there have been Christians. There have been Yazidis for even longer. Now, however, ISIL (The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) has been exterminating the members of these religious minorities. They have been doing it for months. Men have been summarily executed, children have been beheaded, women have been raped and taken for sale into slavery. Obama has done nothing. Yesterday, he finally decided to drop some food and water on a mountaintop where Yazidis are trapped and starving. He also took out an ISIL artillery unit with an airstrike. Way to go, Barack.

Northern Iraq is Obama's Rwanda. In moral terms, it is far worse. Bill Clinton, though he could easily have stopped the Rwandan killing, was not responsible for it. America had nothing to do with the tribal hatred there that boiled over into genocide. Obama, however, with his precipitous withdrawal of troops from Iraq, created the conditions that have led to the current horror. He was warned of the danger when he did it. He even admitted the possibility of this happening. And now he does virtually nothing.