The Miracle of iCapitalism – Michelle Malkin – Townhall Conservative

The Miracle of iCapitalism – Michelle Malkin – Townhall Conservative.

Here is your high-resolution teachable moment of the week: anti-capitalist, anti-corporate extremists of “Occupy Wall Street” mourning Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs without a trace of irony.

While the Kamp Alinsky Kids ditch school to moan about their massive student debt, parade around in zombie costumes and whine about evil corporations over poached Wi-Fi connections, it’s the doers and producers and wealth creators like Jobs who change the world. They are the gifted 1 percent whom the “99 percenters” mob seeks to demonize, marginalize and tax out of existence.

Inherent in the American success story of the iMac/iPhone/iPad is a powerful lesson about the fundamentals of capitalism. The “Occupiers” chant “people over profit.” They call for “caring” over “corporations.”

But the pursuit of profits empowers people beyond the bounds of imagination.

I blog on an iMac. When I travel, I bring my MacBook Pro. I Tweet news links from my iPhone. My kids are learning Photoshop and GarageBand on our Macs; they use metronome, dictation, video and camera apps daily. I use the technology for business, pleasure, social networking, raising awareness of the missing, finding recipes and even tuning a ukulele.

None of the countless people involved in conceiving these products and bringing them to market “care” about me. They pursued their own self-interests. Through the spontaneous order of capitalism, they enriched themselves — and the world.

One of my favorite economics essays from which I’ve drawn bottomless inspiration is Leonard Read’s “I, Pencil.” He turned a mundane writing instrument into an elementary study of free-market capitalism. What goes for the pencil goes for any of the products Jobs introduced.

“I have a profound lesson to teach,” Read wrote in the voice of a metaphorical lead pencil. “I can teach this lesson better than can an automobile or an airplane or a mechanical dishwasher because — well, because I am seemingly so simple. Simple? Yet, not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me.”

Read traces the family tree of the pencil from the Oregon loggers who harvest its cedar wood, to the California millworkers who cut the wood into thin slats, to Mississippi refinery workers, to the Dutch East Indies farmers who produce an oil used to make erasers. All of these people, and many more at the periphery of the process, have special knowledge about their life’s work in their separate corners of the earth. But none by himself has the singular knowledge or ability to give birth to a pencil. Few will ever come in contact with the others who make the production of that pencil possible.

It’s not because they “care about each other” that they cooperate to deliver any one good. It’s the result of self-interest, multiplied millions of times over.

Read illuminates: “There is a fact still more astounding: The absence of a master mind, of anyone dictating or forcibly directing these countless actions which bring me into being. No trace of such a person can be found. Instead, we find the Invisible Hand at work.” This spontaneous “configuration of human energies” is repeated endlessly in our daily lives. Think of the countless and diverse people involved in producing a Slinky, jump rope or baseball, a diaper, refrigerator or Boeing 747.

And, of course, an iMac, iPhone or iPad.

Appreciating this voluntary configuration of human energies, Read argued, is key to possessing “an absolutely essential ingredient for freedom: a faith in free people. Freedom is impossible without this faith.” Indeed. Without that faith, we are susceptible to the force of class-warfare mobs and the arrogance of command-and-control bureaucrats in Washington who believe the role of private American entrepreneurs, producers and wealth generators is to “grow the economy” and who “think at some point you have made enough money.”

The progressives who want to bring down “Wall Street” will snipe that Jobs was one of “theirs,” not “ours.”

He belonged to no one. He was transcendently committed to excellence and beauty and innovation. And yes, he made gobs of money pursuing it all while benefiting hundreds of millions of people around the world whom he never met, but who shed a deep river of tears upon learning of his death this week.

From “I, Pencil” to iPhone, such is the profound, everlasting miracle of iCapitalism — a triumph of individualism over collectivism, freedom over force and markets over master planning. To borrow an old Apple slogan: It just works.

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Obama Campaign’s ‘Attack Watch’ Becomes Victim Of Conservative Mockery | Fox News

Obama Campaign’s ‘Attack Watch’ Becomes Victim Of Conservative Mockery | Fox News.

Attack Watch, website started by President Obama’s campaign organization, was intended to be a repository for supporters to report “attacks” on Obama’s record and get the facts. But its rollout has been met with scathing mockery by conservatives, who call it a second-rate version of previous Big Brother sites created by Team Obama.

The onslaught of hilarity was fed first by a brutal parody created by an outfit called Misfit Politics. The mock ad repeats the name “Attack Watch” in a voice mimicking the Budweiser “Whassup” ad of Super Bowl yore and then goes on to offer examples of the types of misinformation readers can report.

Conservative critic Mark Steyn, a native of the U.K., then cheered that he was the only foreigner with a designation on AttackWatch.com.

Both were met with comment after comment from readers offering the type of “attacks” they were going to report to the Obama re-election site. The #attackwatch Twitter page was immediately spammed with tweet after tweet heavy on sarcasm regarding the president’s stimulus and jobs creation plans.

“hey #AttackWatch I heard the only good ‘Cash For Clunkers’ did was get all the obama stickers off the roads, thank you,” tweeted @speedyjerry.

“Hey #attackwatch, I saw 6 ATM’s in an alley, killing a Job. It looked like a hate crime!” wrote @thorninaz.

Obama campaign spokeswoman Katie Hogan told the Washington Post that 100,000 people had signed up for the site in the first 24 hours.

“This site is a tool providing our supporters with the facts they need to fight back against lies and distortions about the president’s record,” she told the newspaper. 

But syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin said this site, the fourth one launched in three years attempting to respond to political attacks, has backfired on the Obama team.

“What this is really about is some sort of campaign against their opponents, and it’s not working anymore,” she said.

“Back in 2008, the Obama campaign had claimed this mantle as the tech savvy geniuses, and what’s happened is that conservatives on Twitter and on YouTube and all the social networks have been able to strike back, and humor is always the best revenge,” she said.

In an opinion article published in the International Business Times, Nadine DeNinno argues the site is pointless, saying it is counterproductive and has become a laughingstock.

“The website has become simply an instrument used by opponents to rail the president by conservatives, using it as their personal punching bag,” she wrote. “The people who monitor the site will be quite busy, as Attack Watch only warrants more attacking.”

She also wondered how many jobs the site created, “or how long it took to conceive, in which case jobs could have been created instead?” She then quoted @BradThor who tweeted, “If only the #Obama administration could create an atmosphere where jobs materialized as quickly as #attackwatch jokes!”

Joey Vento: An Assimilation Warrior – Michelle Malkin – Townhall Conservative

Geno's Steaks

Image by cliff1066™ via Flickr

Joey Vento: An Assimilation Warrior – Michelle Malkin – Townhall Conservative.

Blunt. Brash. Bold. Politically incorrect. Unapologetically patriotic. Philadelphia cheese-steak king Joey Vento was all that and a side of freedom fries. The 71-year-old owner of Geno’s Steaks died of a heart attack this week, but he reignited a national debate over radical multiculturalism that will burn for years to come.

Five years ago, Vento garnered national headlines when a local newspaper profiled his outspoken views on customers who couldn’t speak English. He hung a sign in his order window that read: “This is America. When ordering, speak English.” Though he never turned anyone away, the grandson of Italian immigrants informed hungry patrons that he reserved the “right to refuse service” to those he couldn’t understand.

No menus in 10 different languages. No dumbed-down pictographs for the idiocracy. The choice at Geno’s is simple: Sink or swim. Learn English or eat somewhere else. “If you can’t tell me what you want, I can’t serve you,” Vento told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s up to you. If you can’t read, if you can’t say the word ‘cheese,’ how can I communicate with you — and why should I have to bend? I got a business to run.”

Vento’s refusal to coddle triggered a tsunami of complaints from self-appointed civil rights leaders. The ululations of the aggrieved resounded from sea to whining sea.

For exercising his constitutionally protected free speech, both the Philadelphia City Council and Philadelphia Human Relations Commission launched political inquisitions against Vento. Yes, it really happened in the home of Independence Hall. Members of the government bodies demanded that Vento remove his bald eagle-adorned sign and threatened to revoke his business license. After 21 months of investigation, a marathon seven-hour hearing and hysterical testimony likening his innocuous 4-inch-by-9-inch sign to “Jim Crow laws,” he was cleared of discrimination charges.

Plainspoken as ever, Vento understood full well why the multi-culti mob wanted to gag him: “I say what everybody’s thinking but is afraid to say.”

As a fellow Philly-born loudmouth, I cheered Vento on for years during his battles with the anti-assimilationists. He weathered the same old slings, arrows and accusations of being a “racist,” “xenophobe,” “nativist” and immigrant-basher — despite the fact that generations of assimilated immigrants and naturalized Americans agree with him. The vast majority of Americans support English as the official language of the United States. Latino parents in California revolted against “bilingual education” mandates that stuck their kids in Spanish-only classes.

Generations of successful immigrant families in America know English is the language of success, not the language of oppression. Yet, politicians in both parties have pandered ceaselessly to the language-Balkanizers.

The Clinton administration gave us Executive Order 13166, effectively requiring all government agencies to provide translations into any language on demand. Rather than rescind the order, the Bush administration went after localities and forced them to provide foreign language materials. In 2004, the Bush administration ordered Harris County, Texas, to provide all voter registration and election information and supplies, including the voting machine ballot, in Vietnamese, as well as English and Spanish.

Under the Obama administration, the Department of Justice threatened to cut off federal funding to the state of Oklahoma over a state constitutional amendment proposal to designate English as its official language. The Obama DOJ also has ordered my home state of Colorado to protect the interests of “language minority populations” by funding free translators for any foreigners — legal or illegal — who sue in civil cases here. In the same vein, the Philadelphia Human Rights Commission that tried to silence Vento distributes pamphlets asking “Are you a victim of discrimination?” in seven languages.

“Progressive” politicians pandering for votes treat non-English speakers as hopeless victims of white hegemony, instead of beneficiaries of the American dream. By contrast, small-business man Joey Vento promoted a common culture, a common tongue and common sense. We need more assimilation warriors like him to challenge the infantilizing Babel Lobby.

Schooling Matt Damon – Michelle Malkin – Townhall Conservative

Schooling Matt Damon – Michelle Malkin – Townhall Conservative.

Actor Matt Damon is a walking, talking public service reminder to immunize your children early and often against La-La-Land disease.

In Damon’s world, all public school teachers are selfless angels. Government workers and Hollywood entertainers are impervious to economic incentives. And anyone who disagrees is a know-nothing, “corporate reformer” ingrate who hates education.

Last week, the liberal box-office star addressed a “Save Our Schools” march in Washington at the behest of his mother, a professor of early childhood education. He attacked standardized tests. He praised all the public school teachers who “empowered” him and unlocked his creative potential by rejecting “silly drill and kill nonsense.” Speaking on behalf of “an army of regular people,” Damon decried the demoralization of teachers by ruthless, results-oriented free marketeers whom he mocked as “simple-minded.”

What Damon’s superficial tirade lacked, however, was any real-world understanding of the deterioration of core curricular learning in America. Students can’t master simple division or fractions because today’s teachers — churned out through lowest common denominator grad schools and shielded from competition — have barely mastered those skills themselves. Un-educators have abandoned “drill and kill” computation for multicultural claptrap and fuzzy math, traded in grammar fundamentals for “creative spelling,” and dropped standard civics for save-the-earth propaganda.

Consequence: bottom-basement U.S. student scores on global assessments over the past two decades. Blaming the tests is blaming the messenger. The liberal education establishment’s response to its abject academic failures? Run away. This is why the Save Our Schools agenda championed by Damon calls for less curricular emphasis on math and reading — and more focus on social justice, funding and “equity” issues.

Out: Reading is fundamental.

In: Feeling is fundamental.

After his drippy pep talk absolving teachers of any responsibility for America’s educational morass, Damon then lashed out at a young libertarian reporter who had the audacity to ask him about the negative impact of lifetime teacher tenure. “In acting there isn’t job security, right?” Reason.tv’s Michelle Fields asked Damon. “There is an incentive to work hard and be a better actor because you want to have a job. So why isn’t it like that for teachers?”

It’s elementary that people will work longer and harder if they know they will be rewarded. There’s nothing anti-teacher about the question. (And before teachers-unions goons go on the attack, I am the child of a public school teacher and the mother of two children in an excellent public charter school by choice.) But Damon’s hinges came undone when confronted with the mild question.

“You think job insecurity makes me work hard?” he retorted. “That’s like saying a teacher is going to get lazy when she has tenure.” Gathering all the creative potential he could muster, Damon unleashed crude profanities on Fields. “A teacher wants to teach,” Damon fumed with his mother next to him. “Why else would you take a sh**ty” salary and really long hours and do that job unless you really loved to do it?”

Never mind that most out-of-work Americans would find nothing “sh**ty” about earning an average $53,000 annual salary plus health and retirement benefits for a 180-day work year.

Damon went on to deride standard, mainstream behavioral economic principles as “intrinsically paternalistic” and “MBA-style thinking.” And when the young reporter’s cameraman pointed out that there are bad apples in the teaching profession as in any profession, Damon called him “sh**ty,” too.

Tinseltown stars can afford to put emotion over logic, progressive fantasy over practical reality. The rest of us are stuck with the bill. And those whom bleeding-heart celebrities purport to care most about — the children — suffer the consequences of bad ideas.

Interminable teacher tenure in America’s largest school districts, from New York to Chicago to Los Angeles, has produced a rotten corps of incompetent (at best) and dangerous (at worst) educators coddled by Big Labor. As the D.C.-based Center for Union Facts reports, “In many major cities, only one out of 1,000 teachers is fired for performance-related reasons. … In 10 years, only about 47 out of 100,000 teachers were actually terminated from New Jersey’s schools.”

By contrast, as the educational documentary “Waiting for Superman” (produced by avowed liberal turned reformer Davis Guggenheim) pointed out, one out of every 57 doctors loses his or her license to practice medicine, and one out of every 97 lawyers loses their license to practice law.

In Los Angeles, it’s not just meanie tea party terrorists making the case for abolishing teacher tenure. When the Los Angeles Times exposed how the city’s tenure evaluation system rubber-stamped approvals and ignored actual performance, the district superintendent admitted: “Too many ineffective teachers are falling into tenured positions — the equivalent of jobs for life.” USC education professor Julie Slayton acknowledged: “It’s ridiculous and should be changed.”

Pop quiz: Would multimillionaire Matt Damon apply the same warped employment practices and dumbed-down curricular standards to his own accountants that he champions for America’s public school teachers? Film at 11.