Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence..

Why are Leftists always talking about hate? Because it fills their own hearts  

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30 April, 2010

Welcome to Mr. Obama's fascist America

He betrays the influence of a famous Nazi philosopher, Martin Heidegger. And Heidegger is not the only Nazi philosopher now beloved of the Left. Carl Schmitt is another

President Obama is inciting racial division. He rightly fears that the Democrats will suffer huge losses in November's midterm congressional elections. Republicans are within reach of retaking control of the House of Representatives. Even the Senate may be in play. His party's grip on power is threatened - and with it, Mr. Obama's radical socialist agenda.

Fear breeds desperation. Hence, Mr. Obama is resorting to the worst kind of demagoguery: playing the race card. In a video to Democrats, the president embraced identity politics; black, Hispanic and female voters are to be courted at the expense of white middle-class America.

"It will be up to each of you to make sure that the young people, African-Americans, Latinos and women, who powered our victory in 2008, stand together once again," he said.

Mr. Obama conveniently ignored the large chunk of white voters - suburbanites, latte-sipping professionals, environmentalists, labor union members - who voted for him in huge numbers. For Mr. Obama in the 2010 election, whites no longer matter - especially white Christian males.

In recent memory, no president has so deliberately and publicly sought to pit racial and gender groups against each other. The president is not simply the titular head of a party or the leader of government. He is the head of state and embodies the collective will of the American people. He is the president of all Americans - not just certain segments of his electoral coalition. Mr. Obama's rhetoric is reckless. It is fostering civil strife and racial animosity.

Imagine the media uproar had President George W. Bush, for example, in 2006 called for "whites, Southerners, Christians and veterans" to vote for the Republican Party. Mr. Bush would have been excoriated (rightly) for racist and sectarian pandering.

Mr. Obama is fracturing America. He is calling on the primacy of race and gender in order to perpetuate his national socialist revolution. He is championing a revanchist tribalism - the politics of grievance and racial victimology that undermines our common national identity. Just like his old pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Mr. Obama is an anti-American, virulent race-baiter.

Instead of seeing Americans, he classifies people according to their race and gender. Modern liberal identity politics is rooted in fascist doctrine. The most influential philosopher of the 20th century was Martin Heidegger. His 1927 classic work, "Being and Time," is widely acknowledged as profoundly influencing Western thought - especially the academic left and its embrace of postmodernism. It's the very culture from which Mr. Obama - by his own admission - comes.

The German thinker developed the theory of the primacy of race, blood and group identity in a secular, relativistic world. Heidegger rejected eternal Judeo-Christian principles of moral absolutes. Instead, he called for the will to power through racial communities and tribal solidarity. Heidegger adamantly opposed democracy, capitalism and market-oriented growth - denouncing them as unjust and oppressive.

What is conveniently ignored is that Heidegger also was a passionate Nazi. He admired Adolf Hitler. He was a member of the National Socialist Party. Heidegger believed that fascism - with its racialism, neo-paganism, economic corporatism, worship of state power, rabid environmentalism and hatred of Western civilization - represented the true future. Sadly, he may have been right.

Today's Western liberal elites are Heidegger's heirs. For decades, the American left has been obsessed with race, class and gender. It despises America's national heritage and common culture. The Founding Fathers' dream of a republic based on limited government and rugged individualism, the Constitution, the notion of American exceptionalism, our roots as an English-speaking, Christian civilization based on a distinct national identity - these idols must be smashed in the name of progressivism.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, Mr. Obama's presidency is not simply about erecting European-style social democracy. It is more insidious and dangerous than that. It is an attempt at establishing a liberal fascist regime - Heidegger meets Jane Fonda.

The results are similar to what exists in other fascist states: a pliant dominant media, greater government control over all aspects of national life, a bloated public sector, economic sclerosis, a corporatist economy, permanently high unemployment, crushing taxes, a hostility to Jews (Israel), a growing intolerance to dissent, the demonizing of critics and an irrational cult of personality.

The most distinctive characteristic, however, is the incitement of racial conflict. Fascism thrives on fomenting ethnic divisions and hatred, targeting internal race enemies to galvanize supporters behind their leader.

This is what Mr. Obama is doing today. He and his Democratic allies have deliberately fanned the flames of racial tensions over Arizona's immigration law.

The state statute does nothing more than empower local police to enforce existing federal immigration laws. Overrun by Mexican drug cartels, a soaring crime wave and many illegal migrants, Arizona's authorities are taking action to protect the border in the wake of federal government inaction. The state's comprehensive immigration enforcement law is simply patriotic common sense and self-defense. [See here for details of what the Arizona law does and does not do]

Mr. Obama, however, has blasted it as "misguided." The liberal media is comparing the law to Hitlerism, a form of apartheid and white supremacy, supposedly for its racial profiling of Hispanics. The Rev. Al Sharpton is leading an economic boycott of the state. The attack on Arizona's immigration law is an attempt to frighten Hispanics into believing that white Arizonans are seeking to impose a racial caste system. It is deliberately playing the races against one another to help Mr. Obama get higher voter turnout among minorities in November.

The consequences are the gradual Balkanization and breakup of America. The mainstream media refuses to report on one overriding reality: Racial violence has broken out in protest of Arizona's law. Gangs of Hispanic protesters in Arizona have been throwing rocks and bottles at police, spitting at them and denouncing them as "pigs." Massive rallies are planned across the country this weekend to demand amnesty for illegal aliens. Event leaders will use Arizona's law as a rallying point to channel ethnic anger and rage.

Mr. Obama is fueling greater ideological, political and racial polarization. Not since the Civil War have Americans been so divided. He is laying the groundwork for a possible race war. Welcome to Mr. Obama's fascist America.



Obama threatened by heckuva glob

The rapidly expanding environmental catastrophe caused by the oil spill off the coast of Louisiana is presenting a growing political challenge to the Obama White House, with Mr. Obama and his aides at pains to defend the response and forestall comparisons to the Hurricane Katrina crisis.

Nine days after British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew apart and began spewing 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico, a massive oil slick is set to wash ashore on the southern coast Thursday evening and, experts say, could dwarf the damage caused by the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.

Failure to get control of the relief effort and contain the environmental challenge could pose the same kind of political threat to Mr. Obama's popular standing that the much-criticized handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina did for former President George W. Bush. And unlike Katrina, it is likely the federal government will be the clear lead authority in dealing with the BP spill.

But Mr. Obama only Thursday dispatched Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson to help coordinate the federal response to the potential environmental disaster.



Obama Helped Kill Immigration Reform In 2007 - Will Media Remember?

Blacks and Hispanics tend to be hostile to one-another so this figures -- and confirms Obama's race bias

With immigration reform back on the front page thanks to Arizona's new controversial law, it's going to be very interesting to see how the Obama-loving press report what he did concerning this issue when he was a junior senator from Illinois in 2007.

For instance, David Broder's "How Congress Botched Immigration Reform" published in Thursday's Washington Post didn't even mention Barack Obama's name. This seems particularly odd given this paragraph (h/t Jennifer Rubin):
But once the bill hit the floor, it was attacked from both flanks. The most conservative Republicans -- Jim DeMint of South Carolina, David Vitter of Louisiana and Jeff Sessions of Alabama -- led the assault. They were joined by some civil libertarians and allies of organized labor who were dissatisfied with the bill's protections for guest workers. Democrat Byron Dorgan of North Dakota repeatedly tried to gut the guest-worker program before finally succeeding by one vote on his third effort.

Broder curiously chose to ignore the fact that Barack Obama was, for all intents and purposes, the fateful deciding vote as reported by the late Robert Novak in June 2007:
Democrat Byron Dorgan, who seldom has tasted legislative success during 15 years in the Senate, scored a dubious victory last week. He was able to insert a poison pill in the immigration reform bill that aimed at emasculating the essential guest worker program. The 49 to 48 vote that passed Dorgan's amendment included surprising support from two prominent first-term senators: Jim DeMint, a conservative Republican from South Carolina, and Barack Obama. [...]

The Dorgan amendment is a classic poison pill: designed to kill, not improve, the bill. Its passage makes resurrection of immigration reform all the more difficult. Decisive votes by DeMint and Obama were not appreciated by the bipartisan group that had crafted the bargain intended to secure America's borders while permitting an orderly flow of temporary workers. [...]

Obama's vote for the poison pill was unexpected because he had participated, uninvited, one time in the bipartisan negotiating process. He had demanded and won a provision permitting immigrants to stay on the job after being designated "not employable" by the government under the new system until their appeals were exhausted. Obama's support for the Dorgan amendment then infuriated Republicans in the negotiating group who had opposed the concession to the presidential candidate.



Obamacare Officially Exposed as Fraudulent

When signing his health reform bill in March, President Obama promised it would “bring down health care costs for families and businesses and governments”. Now, rigorous analysis by top officials in his own administration exposes the president’s promise as a fraud.

The chief Medicare actuary declares that “overall national health expenditures under the health reform act would increase by a total of $311 billion”. Moreover, within five years of implementation, the plan will cost employers $87 billion in penalties for failing to provide government-approved insurance. Despite crushing costs, and the likelihood of Medicare cuts “jeopardizing access to care,” 23 million Americans will still be uninsured nine years from now. If these numbers from the Department of Health and Human Services had been available before final House votes, it’s doubtful Congress would have approved this ill-conceived initiative.



BrookesNews Update

The US could be facing more of a downturn than a recovery : If the sudden spurt in the money supply turns out to be merely a spike then monetary policy will remain tight. We can therefore expect industrial production to continue to slowdown. On the other hand, if the money supply is indeed rapidly expanding then things will eventually turn very nasty
Will China's demand for resources drive up interest rates? : Glenn Stevens worries that a new conservatism among consumers might counter the growth from the mining boom. He just cannot free himself from the fallacy of consumer spending driving the economy. In reality consumer spending is only about 1/3 of total economic activity
Ken Henry's dangerous fallacy of taxing "imputed rent" : Treasury has floated the idea of taxing the imputed rent that homeowners obtain. Apart from the fact it would amount to a massive rise in income taxes for those who bought their own homes, it is also a fallacy. People why buy their homes do not earn a rent, thought they can most certainly obtain a capital gains. As expected, our free marketeers once again failed to rise to the occasion. They did the same thing with the fallacious resource rental tax, failing to see that there is no such thing as economic rent
Why does George Soros bite hand that feeds him? : George Soros is at it again: do one thing and advise others to do the opposites. This hypocrite can be called many things but never Mr Integrity"
The fight-back begins: An uprising from the moguls of enterprise threatens to disrupt, if not demolish, Obama's fake green plans for the world. The Sierra Club and other socialist despots have been bringing 'vexatious and frivolous' law cases against normal businesses for a long time, with Democratic approval. Al Gore used the same tactic in his run-up to the vice presidential elections. The Democrat rat-pack did the same recently to Sarah Palin, bringing malicious and unfounded accusations against her
Gloria Estefan:‘Our Gloria' Betrays Cuban Fans, Jumps On Obama Bandwagon : Will a flurry of entrepreneurism like the one that propelled the Estefans and so many of their fellow refugees to prosperity be possible under the enterprise-stifling conditions Obama and the Democrats are installing at breakneck speed? Many doubt it. Gloria and Emilio Estefan's fundraiser is helping those who traditionally pull up the ladder after themselves
My liberal friend : That across the nation, friends are being pitted against friends, families dividing along partisan lines and Americans are being encouraged to resent anyone perceived as having more than their (fair) share of the pie is the result of the left's totalitarian impulse to crush any kind of dissent

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


29 April, 2010

British Labour Party meltdown

Leftist hypocrisy exposed

GORDON Brown prostrated himself as a "penitent sinner" yesterday after a brush with a voter triggered a calamitous chain of events that threatened to derail Labour on the eve of tonight's pivotal TV debate.

The Prime Minister spent an unscheduled 45 minutes inside the terraced house of Gillian Duffy apologising to the Labour-supporting widow for insulting her behind her back.

His muttered description of her as a "bigoted woman", picked up by a microphone as he drove off from their combative but apparently friendly encounter, plunged Labour's high command into its most serious crisis of the campaign.

Instead of pressing the party's record on the economy before tonight's final trial by television, the election machine was reduced to desperate firefighting as Lord Mandelson led a series of cabinet ministers on to the airwaves.

The Business Secretary said that Mr Brown had been wrong to criticise the pensioner, whose mistake, on her way to buy a loaf of bread, had been to buttonhole the Prime Minister over the deficit, immigration and student debts.

A mortified Mr Brown issued six apologies over the next six hours, including one by e-mail to Labour supporters for letting them down. Despite saying sorry to Mrs Duffy over the telephone, he ignored aides and insisted on driving back to Rochdale from Manchester, abandoning his preparation for tonight's third and final leaders' debate, to atone in person for his blunder.

He emerged from her house smiling fixedly, saying that he had misunderstood her earlier words. But a more telling image showed him in a Manchester radio studio earlier, head in hands, the full horror of the episode dawning as he listened to a tape of his remarks.

The ghastly unfolding seemed unlikely when the pair parted on apparently good terms after a five-minute conversation in the street. Mr Brown told Mrs Duffy that it had been "very good" to meet her and she told journalists that she had found him "nice" and that he had won her vote.

But within seconds Mr Brown could be heard - courtesy of a Sky News microphone that he had worn for his walkabout - declaring their meeting a "disaster", blaming aides for putting him in such a position, and describing Mrs Duffy as "a sort of bigoted woman". He concluded, days into a new campaigning style in which he meets more real people: "It's just ridiculous."

His reaction was apparently sparked by a comment on immigrants, when she said: "All these Eastern Europeans what are coming in, where are they flocking from?"



Obama's regulatory disaster

Putting the smackdown on banks will further harm the economy

President Obama rails against Wall Street to score populist political points. But when the smoke clears from all the demagoguery, the financial regulations he is pushing will result in fewer loans, more costly credit and individuals facing more risk.

Contrary to the president's talking points, the proposed regulations will not prevent "a second Great Depression." In fact, the problems that created America's recent financial troubles have been ignored in pending legislation. Nothing is being done to reform government-backed lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac despite their history of fraud and responsibility for taxpayers being saddled with $400 billion in bailouts. Mr. Obama won't even discuss changing government regulations that forced banks to make risky mortgages.

Given Mr. Obama's continued bashing of the free market, it's hardly surprising that the Democrats' regulations run counter to how markets operate. A good example is the "Volcker rule" to limit the size of banks, which is one of Mr. Obama's five "key proposals" for new financial regulation. What the president never addresses is why some banks become large. He seems to assume it's because they are just lucky or have been up to no good.

There are more rational explanations that determine bank size. Companies grow because they offer better services than their competitors. Larger banks can provide services at a lower cost. Big loans frequently necessitate the involvement of multiple banks working together, which requires complicated negotiations; large banks can handle larger loans and sometimes avoid such extra costs. Limiting bank size means these efficiencies will be lost. As a result, there will be fewer loans, and their costs will increase.

There is similar danger in Mr. Obama's proposal to "bring derivatives and other complicated financial instruments out of the dark" by forcing them to be traded on registered exchanges and approved by regulatory bureaus. This idea ignores why firms and individuals make deals between themselves rather than doing everything through exchanges. Derivatives often provide insurance to investors. Farmers trade in derivatives when they sell crops harvested in the fall before they are planted. By doing so, they know how much to plant and how much they will get paid, thus avoiding price risk. Many firms do the same thing.

Simple deals between companies often make more sense than having to deal on an exchange. If government forces companies to go through a regulatory process for every transaction, they won't do it as often and they won't be benefiting from the insurance they otherwise would have gotten.

Mr. Obama is trying to put bureaucrats in the corporate driver's seat by regulating every aspect of business. Government has neither the expertise nor the incentive to run companies correctly, and government surely can't keep politics out of its decisions. These general rules apply even more to banks, whose performance can be greatly manipulated through regulatory tinkering. No matter how Democrats spin their power grab in the banking sector, making the financial system less efficient means higher costs for American consumers.



The Left's Favorite Bank

In the ubiquitous echo chambers of the left, the embattled Goldman Sachs is being falsely characterized as both Republican-friendly and a symbol of free-market corruption.

Of course it's pure nonsense that has been eagerly lapped up by those who want to believe the worst about Republicans, capitalism, and America itself. The Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit against Goldman for securities fraud was filed just in time for the bank to bend over for a televised spanking in Congress.

But Goldman, which engages in the ritual of public self-flagellation from time to time on advice of counsel, is the best friend that Democrats and leftists ever had on Wall Street. Its alumni and enablers have pushed faddish, left-wing, pro-Big Government policies for as long as I've been a journalist.

Goldman's business model is simple: the bigger and more stifling government gets, the more profit Goldman makes.

Why would a highly profitable company -- it made a staggering $3.46 billion in the first quarter– --want more regulation unless it stood to benefit from such assaults on the marketplace?

Because laissez-faire is anathema to Goldman. The high-flying bank abhors free markets with a Mussolini-like zeal. Like Il Duce and his less thuggish imitators in the welfare wasteland of modern Europe, Goldman stands for centrally managed markets, provided that it gets to make the rules.

Goldman thrives on complexity and backroom dealing. It reaps huge profits from regulations that place its smaller, less politically nimble competitors at a disadvantage.

So it should surprise no one that Goldman favors increased regulation of the economy as a matter of policy, including President Obama's Wall Street takeover bill which virtually mandates bank bailouts in perpetuity. Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein told reporters yesterday, "The biggest beneficiary of reform is Wall Street itself."

Blankfein echoed one of his colleagues. "We're not against regulation," a Goldman official told the Politico last week. "We're for regulation. We partner with regulators."

As the Washington Examiner's Timothy P. Carney noted, in a teleconference call for reporters last week Goldman officials affirmed no fewer than three times during the call that the company wants more federal control.

Regurgitating pious catch phrases and politically correct slogans, Goldman supports disastrous Big Government policies, including corporate bailouts, economy-killing carbon emission controls, and the financial affirmative action law known as the Community Reinvestment Act.

Through its charitable arms, the bank has lavished money on its liberal friends. Those of Goldman's donations that can be said to have an ideological dimension go almost exclusively to causes on the left.

Here are just a few:

Wildlife Conservation Society ($36,770,562 since 2004 – $35 million of it in real estate); United Nations Association of the USA ($1,000,000 since 2002); Planned Parenthood ($650,200 since 2003); National Urban League ($250,000 since 2000); Brookings Institution ($175,000 since 2003); Urban Institute ($175,000 since 2001); William J. Clinton Foundation ($167,300 since 2007); People for the American Way ($166,667 in 2007); Center for American Progress ($105,000 in 2007); Tides Foundation ($50,000 in 2007); Jesse Jackson's Citizenship Education Fund ($25,000 in 2007); and National Public Radio ($25,000 in 2007).

Despite periodically inviting a few Republicans along for the ride -- fake conservatives such as the tree-hugging Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson -- Goldman is at home on the left side of the political spectrum.




Chris Dodd’s carve-outs for cronies: "The financial-regulatory bill now before the Senate is so filled with special-interest loopholes and exclusions that it makes the health-care ‘reform’ bill, with its ‘Cornhusker Kickback’ and ‘Louisiana Purchase,’ look like a model of rectitude. The Senate bill, sponsored by Democrat Chris Dodd, claims to subject all ‘too big to fail’ institutions to greater federal supervision, but in fact it only mandates such regulation for bank-holding companies. Regulators would have to make a case-by-case decision on whether to apply it to other financial companies. That’s no minor oversight, because insurance companies, like AIG, tend to have thrift charters rather than bank charters. So, as the bill stands now, AIG and other insurers that accepted massive bailout funds, such as The Hartford, would not be automatically covered. That’s a head-scratcher only if you forget that most insurance companies reside in Dodd’s home state, Connecticut.”

Sweet sixteen: "After more than a month’s worth of polling, this much is clear: Americans want Obamacare to be repealed, and they’ll reward the political party that strongly champions that cause. Over the five-week span since the Democrats passed Obamacare, which they did so in clear and open defiance of the American people’s will, Rasmussen’s poll of likely voters has shown that Americans favor repeal by 16 points (56 to 40 percent) — more than twice the margin by which President Obama was elected.”

Abolish municipal unions: "Sooner or later, the Devil always overplays his hand. In the current crisis of public employee unions bullying cash-strapped governments, that is a good thing. Politicians and the public now see the vice-like control of the unions. Government at all levels is in dire financial need as a result of extravagance, mismanagement, and political cowardice. Paradoxically, public employees enjoy pensions, health benefits, sick pay and salary levels that are the envy of their private sector counterparts. The two problems are related. … So what to do? Answer: Level the playing field by outlawing unions for public employees.”

Everyone prospers with free trade: "Trade is win-win. Two people trade only because each values what he gets more than what he gives up. That’s why in a store both customer and clerk say, ‘Thank you.’ But when an international barrier is established, people forget that obvious truth. President Obama started a ‘trade war’ with China over cheap tires they want to trade with us. That is lose-lose. My colleague at Fox, former Gov. Mike Huckabee has said a country can only be free if we can feed ourselves, fuel ourselves and fight for ourselves … when we start outsourcing everything, that’s a road to being enslaved. In fact, as China learned, such self sufficiency is a road to stagnation.”

Parking lots teach a lesson: "I was driving across a parking lot recently and I realized that just about everyone, including me, considers the signs and striping in a parking lot to be a suggestion, rather than an order. Yet, while accidents do happen, they are fairly rare. Nothing at all like the ‘chaos’ that is predicted by people who think there needs to be a cop on every corner.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


28 April, 2010

Collapse of a republic

A constitutional republic that had endured for centuries was now breaking down. The signs were everywhere.

Constitutional limits on political power were dissolving; politicians were increasingly demagogic and unrestrained. Magistrates secured the passage of sweeping laws by evading normal legislative procedures.

Large portions of the citizenry now depended on plunder seized by those politicians and distributed to their supporters. The recipients, in turn, submissively voted for their masters at election time.

Many citizens who didn’t want the plunder were forced to seek it, due to economic distress created by the politicians themselves. Prices rose steeply, the economy was flooded with new currency. Masses of imported foreign workers made it more and more difficult for citizens independently to support their families. Government corruption, mismanagement, and foreign wars all created economic dislocations. The unemployment rate was shockingly high.

Unscrupulous intellectuals promoted the rush to dependency with trendy rationalizations for demagogy and vice. Standards of responsible behavior were replaced by hedonism, and a scramble of all against all.

Towering above the squalor were a few truly great statesmen. They identified the trends. They warned that unless citizens took corrective action at once, liberty would be lost. Those statesmen were much respected, but too-little heeded. In the end, liberty was lost.

Such were the last years of the Roman Republic: the death of limited and balanced government, and the imposition of imperial rule.

Those years comprise one of the most studied eras of the past. And with good reason.

The Roman Republic was the longest-lived major republic in human history. It lasted nearly five hundred years. Despite its many flaws, it had become an astounding success. Under few governments had ordinary citizens enjoyed as much personal and political freedom as in Rome - or living standards as high, or as much opportunity for building a better life. Roman citizens responded with a civic spirit that enabled the republic to survive repeated mortal threats. Eventually, Roman influence and Roman power were felt throughout the known world.

Yet in the end, that republic died.

Our American Founders were fascinated by the story of the Roman Republic. Their education included immersion in the Latin texts of Roman republican writers, such as Cicero and Sallust. They also read the charming histories of the Greek author Polybius, who had attributed Roman success squarely to the excellencies of the Roman constitution.

The records of our American Constitutional Convention and the debates over ratification are replete with references to the Roman experience. During the ratification debates, writers on both sides often published under Roman names. For example, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote the Federalist papers under the name “Publius.” Last year, I visited St. Andrews University in Scotland, where James Wilson, one of our leading Founders, was educated. St. Andrews still possesses the records showing Wilson’s library withdrawals during the 1750s. His favorite topic? Ancient Rome. Wilson, like other Founders, retained that interest all his life.

History never repeats itself exactly, and parallels between America and Rome can be overdrawn. But if there were no parallels in history, then history would be a fruitless study, for we could never learn from it.

Certainly, our Founders thought we could learn from it. Again and again, they asked themselves and each other: What can we deduce from Roman success? How can we avoid Roman failures?

Our Founders embodied their lessons from Roman history (as well as from the history of Europe and America) in their Constitution. They put the document in writing, to make it clear that politicians had no power to change it without a formal amendment, as had been done with the unwritten, “living” constitutions of Britain and Rome. The Founders created a bicameral legislature and a presidential veto to reduce the risk of hasty mob action that sometimes had characterized Roman assemblies. They required that tax revenue be used only for “the general Welfare” rather than for special interests. They required that congressional laws be “proper” - that is constitutional and fair.

While the Roman government has nearly limitless authority, our Founders granted the new federal government enough power to hold the country together, but restricted that power carefully, and balanced it with the powers reserved by the states and the people. Our Founder added a Bill of Rights to further secure individual liberty. Finally, they avoided the Roman system of diffuse responsibility in favor of one concentrating responsibility for government functions among relatively few officials, so the voters would know just who had done what. The Founders would have strongly disapproved of how the modern administrative state hides responsibility from voters–such as by letting anonymous bureaucrats at the Departments of Health and Human Services write regulations which determine whether people will live or die.

The Founders’ basic purpose was to keep Americans free and personally independent, as Romans had been in the days before they lapsed into dependence on government handouts and servile submission to the cult of the Emperor.

The Founders were not omniscient, but on the whole, they were right. So long as Americans honored the rules they gave us, so long as our politicians were bound by the people’s right to liberty, and so long as citizens retained their good character and independence, our constitutional republic and our freedom endured.

When we began to behave otherwise, our own republic began to go the way of Rome.



More Health Care "Suprises" ...

When major companies declared that a provision of the new health care law would hurt earnings, Democrats were skeptical. But after investigating, House Democrats have concluded that the companies were right to tell investors and the government about the expected adverse effects of the law on their financial results.

At issue is a section of the law that eliminates a tax break available to companies that provide drug benefits to retirees as part of their insurance coverage. The tax change, expected to generate $4.5 billion of revenue over the next 10 years, will help offset the cost of providing coverage to the uninsured.

Within days after President Obama signed the law on March 23, companies filed reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission, saying the tax change would have a material adverse effect on their earnings.

The White House suggested that companies were exaggerating the effects of the tax change. The commerce secretary, Gary F. Locke, said the companies were being “premature and irresponsible” in taking such write-downs.

Representative Henry A. Waxman of California and Bart Stupak of Michigan, both Democrats, opened an investigation and demanded that four companies — AT&T, Caterpillar, Deere and Verizon — supply documents analyzing the “impact of health care reform,” together with an explanation of their accounting methods.

The documents — hundreds of pages of e-mail messages and financial worksheets — include large amounts of data that substantiate the companies’ concerns. They have reignited a battle over the law in Congress.

Representative Joe L. Barton of Texas, the senior Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said, “From a financial standpoint, from a purely economic standpoint, many companies would be better off discontinuing health care as a fringe benefit, paying the penalty and pocketing the savings.”

In a memorandum summarizing its investigation, the Democratic staff of the committee said, “The companies acted properly and in accordance with accounting standards in submitting filings to the S.E.C. in March and April.”

Moreover, it said, “these one-time charges were required by applicable accounting rules.” The committee staff said this view was confirmed by independent experts at the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the American Academy of Actuaries...



Government: More Incompetent than Ever

Most intellectuals support big government, and millions of people depend on it. So why, with thousands of laws, millions of employees working to carry out those laws, and trillions of dollars spent, is it in trouble?

The most popular big-government programs–like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid–are going broke. These entitlements account for more than half of annual federal spending. In 2009, spending on all federal entitlements exceeded all federal tax revenue. As Cato Institute economist Richard W. Rahn explained, this means “virtually all of the other government spending programs, including defense and interest payments on the debt, will be funded by more borrowing.”

The escalation of spending for the entitlements is politically unstoppable because they’re defended by powerful interest groups that benefit from them. These and other federal programs–guarantees for home mortgages, commercial bank deposits, credit union deposits, veterans benefits, import/export deals, student loans, and private and government-employee pension benefits–involve financial commitments that currently exceed $70 trillion. In addition, more than $12 trillion in U.S. Treasury debt is outstanding, much of which is held by Chinese and other foreign investors. Incredibly, President Barack Obama’s administration risked a trade war with China by blocking Chinese imports, a political payoff for labor unions that had supported Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign, even though such action could complicate U.S. efforts to continue selling its debt.

For years, the government has spent more money than it has had. It’s constantly going deeper into debt.

In spending all this money, members of Congress commonly don’t read the bills they vote on. They keep passing more laws even though they have limited understanding of the effects of previous laws. Many laws are so complicated–over a thousand pages–that government officials themselves are among the most notorious violators. Government is bigger than anything else in our society and far more complicated than the derivatives and other toxic bank assets nobody knew how to value after the financial meltdown of 2008. Managing the federal government well is beyond the capability of any human being. It’s beyond the capability of the 535 members of Congress. It’s too big to succeed.

You Need a Form for That Form

One thing the federal government does as it gets bigger is require people to fill out more bureaucratic forms. In 1978 Congress passed the Government Paperwork Elimination Act, when it was estimated that people spent almost a billion hours a year filling out federal forms. Not surprisingly, a new federal bureaucracy–the General Services Administration’s Forms Policy and Management Team–was established just to deal with federal forms. Creating, changing, or eliminating a form requires that somebody fill out a two-page SF152 form with 27 questions. For those who might have difficulty filling out the form, the government produced a 23-page booklet explaining how.

Unfortunately, things don’t seem to have been going well with the Forms Policy and Management Team. Now it’s estimated that people spend about ten billion hours a year filling out some 8,000 different federal forms. Both political parties are responsible for the colossal waste of time that could have been used to create more growth and jobs. Republicans reportedly have excelled at multiplying the number of defense-related forms. Democrats have excelled at forms related to social spending. Obama’s so-called stimulus bill authorized bureaucrats to churn out still more forms in an effort to determine where all the money went.

Taxing Forms

Perhaps the most aggravating forms have to do with taxes. The tax code has become hideously complex, a consequence of trying to extract trillions of dollars for social and military spending and trying to do good through thousands of different tax breaks. Lindy L. Paull, who served as chief of staff for the Joint Committee on Taxation, told the Senate Finance Committee: “The Internal Revenue Code consists of nearly 1.4 million words and includes 693 separate sections that impact individual taxpayers.

The Treasury Department has issued some 20,000 pages of regulations containing over 8 million words. Individual taxpayers who file an annual Form 1040 must deal with its 79 lines, 144 pages of instructions and 11 schedules totaling 443 lines plus instructions to go with them. There are 19 separate worksheets embedded in the Form 1040 instructions, and the possibility of filing numerous other forms, depending on the circumstances.”

The U.S. Treasury has estimated that individuals, employers, and nonprofits spend more than six billion hours a year dealing with their taxes. This is the equivalent of full-time work by 2.8 million people–more people than are employed in the auto-manufacturing, petroleum-refining, electric-power generation, computer-hardware, computer-software, pharmaceutical, medical-devices, steel, and chemical industries combined. In addition to the cost of this time is the money spent for tax-planning and tax-accounting services, not counting the taxes themselves. All this is a stupendous waste of resources that would be better spent adding value to the economy.

Bloated Mass of Contradictions

Big government is a bloated mass of contradictions that often have unexpected, harmful consequences. Politicians scold citizens for consuming too much sugar, but the government provides subsidies for producing high-fructose corn syrup that’s widely used in sodas, cookies, and other sweets.

Government subsidizes farmers for growing crops and no crops at all. Government subsidizes homeownership and restricts the number of homes that can be built. Officials criticize business executives who take on too much debt, but government encourages debt by providing tax deductions for interest (but not for equity capital), and of course the government itself is deeper in debt than anybody else.

Officials complain that companies invest so much money overseas, but the government imposes a 35 percent tax on earnings brought back to the United States. Officials bemoan our dependence on foreign oil, while restricting U.S. oil drilling.

Businesses can be prosecuted for “predatory price cutting” if they charge too little, “price gouging” if they charge too much, and “price fixing” if they charge the same as their competitors.

By providing billions of dollars of federal aid for attending college, the government subsidizes demand, which has had the effect of making college more expensive and more difficult to pay for than it otherwise would be.

Officials promote the virtues of small, high-mileage cars, and they enforce laws that make it almost impossible to produce such cars profitably in the United States. There are laws that make it more difficult for employers to hire people and laws that provide income for the unemployed.

Officials encourage more couples to get married, but there are higher taxes on married people than on single people, providing incentives not to get married. Officials say they want more doctors while enforcing laws that limit the number of students who can enter medical schools.

Government probably does more than anyone else to cause health care inflation by channeling about a trillion dollars a year into that sector, enabling people to bid up prices–and then the government tries to limit health care price increases with rationing, such as excluding more treatments from Medicare.

Mismanaging the Economy

Politicians expanded the power of the federal government to watch over the economy, but this has backfired badly. President Woodrow Wilson and Congress established the Federal Reserve System to prevent economic catastrophes. After inflating, misguided Fed officials tried to limit what they viewed as excesses of the Roaring Twenties stock market boom, but they overplayed their hand and triggered the 1929 crash.

Not realizing what they had done, they presided over a severe monetary contraction, a major cause of the Great Depression. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the 1935 Banking Act to centralize power at the Fed, and officials there soon stumbled again, doing much to bring on the depression within a depression of 1938. In 2002 Ben S. Bernanke, a governor of the Federal Reserve Board before becoming chairman, acknowledged the Fed’s role in the Great Depression: “We did it. We’re very sorry. We won’t do it again.”

Unfortunately, in the early years of this decade, Fed officials stumbled yet again. They promoted an easy money policy that had the effect of subsidizing borrowing. The apparent intention was to make sure the economy fully recovered from the dot-com crash of 2000, but in the process they encouraged individuals and businesses to load up on debt, contributing to the bubble that burst in 2008.

Nobody has a crystal ball, certainly not Fed officials. They’re always trying to make sense of conflicting and incomplete data. Naturally they focus on avoiding the mistakes made the last time around. They can’t be sure what the effects of their policies will be in the future because it takes many months for them to play out through a large and complex economy.

By the time Fed officials realize they have accelerated monetary expansion for too long, they’re tempted to hit the brakes too hard, jolting the economy with a more severe recession. Fed officials are human and bound to make errors. Their vast power means that when errors occur they will harm not just a city or state or region. They will harm the entire country and beyond. Disastrous errors are an unavoidable risk of big government, which turns out to be a principal source of instability in our economy.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


27 April, 2010

America's Left/Right divide

The statement of vision defining American values appears in the Declaration of Independence. Understanding that vision is where I think the most fundamental conservative versus liberal divide exists.

Consider how President Obama relates to the Constitution, as he wrote in his book The Audacity of Hope – “Implicit in its structure, in the very idea of ordered liberty, was a rejection of absolute truth….”

Our president is a moral relativist. So we may expect that he doesn’t take very seriously the idea, as state in the Declaration of Independence, that there are absolutes. That we have God given rights that precede government and that the job of government is to secure them.

Rather than seeing government’s job as securing our rights, the liberal sees it to invent them. The politician – or the empathetic judge – defines what is moral and just.

There’s a lot of speculation about what is driving the tea party movement and why, as reflected in the latest survey by the Pew Research Foundation, Americans’ trust in government is at an all time low. I think most fundamentally it’s discomfort with this moral relativism that is driving the pervasive unrest.

The whole unique idea of American government – the idea of human liberty – was that there are absolute truths and that individual citizens can and must be protected from arbitrary rulers – whether it is a king or a political class with arbitrary powers.

President Obama said the other day regarding the kind of court nominee he will seek, “…I want somebody who is going to be interpreting our Constitution in a way that takes into account individual rights…”

What in the world can this possibly mean from our president who has just signed into law a health care bill which will force every single American citizen to buy a government defined health care insurance policy? A health care bill that opens the door to unprecedented government control over how private individuals manage their health care and the most private decisions they make over their own lives.

Or what can it possibly mean coming from our president who opposed the Supreme Court’s decision a few years ago banning partial birth abortion – which is pure and simple torture and murder of a live infant?

The real differences over liberal and conservative judges is most fundamentally about the world in which Americans will live. Whether we live and will live in a nation in which there are absolute truths or one in which we are at the hands of political arbitrariness in which our lives and property are up for grabs.

Our country is being governed today by those with the latter view of the world and, fortunately, more and more Americans are deeply concerned.



Obama plays the race card

Barack Obama wants to join the sordid ranks of the race hustlers, like the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, if not necessarily the race baiters. Maybe there's only a small distinction between hustling and baiting, but once the toxic stuff is let loose, it doesn't matter what you call it.

The Democratic National Committee released a video clip Monday of the president rousing his troops with what Politico, the Capitol Hill political paper, calls with artful euphemism, "unusual demographic frankness." The auguries for November do not look good, the president concedes, and he wants "young people, African-Americans, Latinos and women who powered our victory in 2008 [to] stand together once again." Many of these "surge" voters cast their first ballots in 2008 and then ignored pleas to turn out for gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia (or that famous Senate race in Massachusetts) and the Democrats took a licking.

No candidate, Democrat or Republican, would take the risk — real and even frightening — of drawing the race card unless absolutely necessary, of course, "absolutely necessary" defined as the occasion when his survival is at stake. Mr. Obama's survival is not yet at stake, but if a calamity like the big blowout of '94 falls on the Democrats again this year the president's prospects for re-election in 2012 would dim considerably. Now's the time for unusual demographic frankness of the kind that the Barack Obama of 2008 so eloquently denounced with word if not always in deed.

Mr. Obama spent enormous political capital to ram the health care "reform" down the throats of a public struggling not to swallow, and now he wants to do it again, and then again, and then once more, with his toxic agenda of financial reform, global warming "solutions" and immigration "reform" that he won't call by its rightful name, "amnesty." It's almost as if the president has figured out that he will be a one-term president and is determined to use whatever capital he has to impose as much as he can of that radical stuff from his Chicago activist days.

The attempt to make "solving" global warming a bipartisan effort collapsed over the weekend when Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, who gives the impression of yearning to be a Democrat when he grows up, quit his alliance with Sen. John Kerry and Sen. Joe Lieberman. The collapse may be temporary. The unholy musketeers had decided to ditch something called "a carbon linkage fee" (what everyone but a senator would call a "tax") in favor of allowing polluting companies to buy the right to continue polluting from companies willing to sell their polluting indulgences. This is more of Al Gore's global warming fantasy, and in the end the Obama administration might have to settle for a Senate resolution telling the Icelandic volcano to behave itself.

If he can push the global-warming legislation aside Mr. Obama can move amnesty for the illegals to the top of his agenda, but this, as any number of Democratic congressmen are telling him loud and clear, is merely substituting a noose for the electric chair for a lot of Democratic incumbents. "It's not a tough vote at all for me," Rep. Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania tells Politico. "I'm not going to vote for amnesty. I'm not going to vote for a path to citizenship, or whatever you want to call it. … It's not like health care where everyone has a dog in the fight. If you come from where I come from, there's no support for [immigration reform] at all."

Mr. Obama, who rarely took a recorded stand on anything during his brief career as a senator, keeps demanding that Democrats in Congress fall on their swords for him. There's no scarcity of swords but he's running out of willing Democrats. The race card is all he's got left.



Obamacare lies unravelling already

Last week, reality dealt Obamacare twin blows -- not that Obama will care. An analysis inside his own administration and a report from New York state shed the grim light of reality on this monstrosity before its Draconian provisions have even gone into effect.

Economic experts at the Health and Human Services Department issued a report last week, conveniently after Obamacare was shoved through, finding that though more people will end up with health insurance (many of them against their will, of course), costs are going to increase. Shocker.

How could coverage not increase with the legal mandate forcing unwilling people to buy health insurance coverage? Today millions entitled to assistance don't avail themselves of it, but Obamacare will presumably be different because there will be a penalty for non-coverage -- an idea that Obama expediently mocked during the primary campaign.

But costs will also increase? I thought Obama promised to bend the cost curve down -- that he wouldn't add one dime to the deficit with Obamacare. But two dimes or a quarter are apparently a different matter.

The HHS analysis found Obamacare will raise projected spending by about 1 percent over 10 years -- and this is without even considering the impact of numerous gimmicks and camouflaged items, such as the Medicare "doctor fix." There are presently scheduled 21 percent cuts in Medicare reimbursements to physicians, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised that they won't be implemented. What a sham!

The report also revealed that Obamacare could drive 15 percent of hospitals into the red and possibly jeopardize access to care for seniors.




Potential court pick could face foes on the Left: "Unlike several other possible candidates to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, US Court of Appeals Judge Merrick B. Garland probably will not face conservative opposition. Instead, it could be liberals lining up against him. A small but vocal group of activists is privately saying that Garland is not liberal enough to replace the legendary Stevens, whose opinions defended gay rights and abortion rights and opposed the death penalty. They say Garland is a centrist who will not champion liberal concerns, too often finds middle ground with his conservative colleagues on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and showed great deference to President George W. Bush’s indefinite detentions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”

China: One-child rule may be eased -- too late?: "When asked why she and her husband don’t want a second child, Shi Xiaomei smiles at her pudgy 9-year-old son and does a quick tally of the family budget. Her salary as a cleaning lady and the income from a mahjong parlor in their spare room barely cover their son’s school fees and other expenses. ‘With just one, we can give him nicer things. But if you tried to split what we have between two or three, they would all end up with nothing,’ the 34-year-old says at her home in Dafeng, a prosperous but still-rural county 185 miles (300 kilometers) north of Shanghai. For years, China curbed its once-explosive population growth with a widely hated one-child limit that at its peak led to forced abortions, sterilizations and even infanticide. Now the long-sacrosanct policy may be on its way out, as some demographers warn that China is facing the opposite problem: not enough babies.”

OK: House overrides pre-abortion ultrasound veto: "The Oklahoma House voted overwhelmingly Monday to override vetoes of two restrictive abortion measures Gov. Brad Henry has called unconstitutional intrusions into citizens’ private lives and decisions. The Senate was expected to follow suit Tuesday, after which the bills would become law. One of the measures requires women to undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before getting an abortion. The other prohibits pregnant women from seeking damages if physicians withhold information or provide inaccurate information about their pregnancy. … Keri Parks, director of external affairs for Planned Parenthood of Oklahoma City, urged the Senate to uphold the governor’s vetoes. ‘Doctors, not politicians, should be making these medical decisions,’ Parks said.”

CIA turns to violin-sized missiles in Pakistan: "The CIA is using new, smaller missiles and advanced surveillance techniques to minimize civilian casualties in its targeted killings of suspected insurgents in Pakistan’s tribal areas, according to current and former officials in the United States and Pakistan. The technological improvements have resulted in more accurate operations that have provoked relatively little public outrage, the officials said.”

King accepts resignation of Belgian government: "Belgium King Albert II accepted the government’s resignation Monday after negotiations failed to resolve a long-simmering dispute between Dutch and French-speaking politicians over a bilingual voting district in and around Brussels, the country’s capital. The king had waited since last week to see if last-ditch talks could keep the coalition government of Prime Minister Yves Leterme together. But late Monday, it became clear the differences between the linguistic groups were too deep. Elections could now be called in early June.”

Renouncing American citizenship: "Let’s be clear about something. A person who decides to give up his US citizenship is not guilty of disloyalty to America; quite the opposite. He could very well be more loyal to American principles than the regime is willing to tolerate. It also does not mean that he is giving up hope for liberty; he may have great hope for liberty, in a different way and in a different place. In any case, the rise of emigration, expatriation, and citizenship renunciation is a trend that is not going away. It is rising and will get more significant.”

Space is lost: "Twelve men have landed on the moon and stayed for a few hours, the last more than 40 years ago. They brought back some rock samples. This was important but in terms of advancing science did not even scratch the surface of what could be done. The Chinese, it seems, appreciate the potential scientific and possibly military value of the moon. They have launched four manned rockets, the last carrying two men, and it is reasonable to guess that they are aiming at a permanent moon-base. India, Europe, and of course Russia are all pushing into space, while the U.S. throws away its lead.”

Anti-libertarian point refuted: "The English Marxist political philosopher Ted Honderich asks us to imagine a perfectly just society, constituted according to libertarian principles. Then he asks, rhetorically, whether it is possible that there exist starving people in such a society? (Sure, that might be so but that’s true of any society and much less likely in a free one.) So Honderich then continues: ‘[I]n this perfectly just society they have no claim to food, no moral right to it. No one and nothing does wrong in letting them starve to death. There is no obligation in this society, on the state or anything else, to save them from starving to death. It is not true of anyone that he or she ought to have helped them. This is vicious.’(p.44) Here we have a blatantly misleading assessment of a free society as well as men and women in such a society.”

The evolution of toleration in the west: "At one time, church and state intertwined and tolerance was a minority opinion. Even prior to establishment of a Constitutional Republic in the United States, there was quite a bit of church-state entanglement. The results were often bloody and always nasty. Even when only Protestant Christians had their rights respected, these Protestants frequently and repeatedly turned on one another. I have previously written here about how colonial America routinely attacked minority Christian sects, even to the point of killing people for being the wrong kind of Protestant Christian. There was never a Judeo-Christian heritage, because the colonies routinely excluded Jews and Catholics from having legal rights and some colonies refused to allow either to settle there. Bloody persecution of Christians by Christians in the colonies was mild in comparison to the centuries of bloodshed in Europe over which form of Christianity should be imposed on everyone.”

Goodbye supply side: "Properly understood, there were no Reagan tax cuts. In 1980 federal spending was $590 billion and in 1989 it was $1.14 trillion; you don’t get Reagan tax cuts without Tip O’Neill spending cuts. Looked at from the proper perspective, we haven’t really had any tax cuts to speak of — we’ve had tax deferrals. Reagan and his congressional allies had an excuse in the considerable person of Speaker O’Neill. But George W. Bush and the concurrent Republican majorities in both houses of Congress didn’t manage to cut spending, either. Part of that was circumstances — 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, the subprime meltdown — but part of it was the fact that a poorly applied supply-side analysis has infantilized Republicans when it comes to the budget. They love to cut taxes but cannot bring themselves to cut spending: It’s eat dessert first and leave the spinach on the table.”

The new fat cats: "John Edwards was right. There are two Americas, just not his two (the rich and powerful versus everyone else). The real divide today is, on one side, the 20 million people who work for state and local governments and the additional 3 million who’ve retired with fat pensions. On the other, the rest of us, roughly 280 million Americans. In short, there’s a gulf between the bureaucrats and the people.”

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


26 April, 2010

Did Ayn Rand cause the GFC?

It's a strange day when I excerpt a column by eccentric Leftist Matt Taibbi but I am running the excerpt below because he is nearly right. That Ayn Rand is responsible for trust in markets is of course just attention-getting nonsense. That trust goes back to Adam Smith, centuries ago, and even Left-leaning economics textbooks spell out the advantages of market systems.

But Smith also warned of a tendency of businessmen to collude in undermining markets -- thus disadvantaging the consumer. So Taibbi is doing little more than updating Smith with modern examples below.

What Taibbi fails to mention is the way big business has the Democratic party in its pocket -- thus ensuring that government also often favours big business at the expense of the consumer. The ties between Goldman and the Obama administration are of course now well known. Without government interventions of various sorts, there would be a lot more transactions governed purely by market forces -- to the great advantage of ordinary folk

SO GOLDMAN Sachs, the world's greatest and smuggest investment bank, has been sued for fraud by the American Securities and Exchange Commission. Legally, the case hangs on a technicality.

Morally, however, the case may turn into a final referendum on the greed-is-good ethos that conquered America in the '80s - and in the years since has aped other horrifying American trends in spreading across the Western world like a venereal disease.

When the globe was engulfed in the flood of defaults and derivative losses that emerged from the collapse of the US housing bubble two years ago, few understood that the crash had its roots in the lunatic greed-centred objectivist religion, fostered in the '50s and '60s by ponderous emigre novelist Ayn Rand....

Last year I wrote a brutally negative article about Goldman Sachs for Rolling Stone (I called the bank a "great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity") that sparked a heated debate. On one side were people who believed that Goldman is little better than a criminal enterprise that bilks the market, the government, and even its own clients in a bewildering variety of complex financial scams.

On the other were those who argued Goldman wasn't guilty of anything except being "too smart" and really good at making money. This was based almost entirely on the Randian belief system, under which the leaders of Goldman Sachs appear not as the cheap swindlers they look like to me, but idealised heroes, the saviours of society.

Rand's fingerprints are all over the Goldman story. The case involves a hedge fund financier, John Paulson, who went to Goldman with the idea of a synthetic derivative package pegged to risky US mortgages, for use in betting against the mortgage market. Paulson would short the package and Goldman would then sell the deal to suckers. The SEC's contention is that Goldman committed a crime when they failed to tell the suckers about the vulture betting against them on the other side of the deal.

The instruments in question - collateralised debt obligations and credit default swaps - fall into the category of derivatives, which are virtually unregulated in the US thanks in large part to the effort of former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, a staunch Randian. In the late '90s, Greenspan lobbied hard for a law that deregulated the sort of interest-rate swaps Goldman used in its now-infamous dealings with Greece.

Confronted with public outrage, the leaders of Goldman will often appear genuinely confused. It's not an act. There have been a lot of greedy financiers and banks in history, but what makes Goldman stand out is its truly bizarre cultist/religious belief in the rightness of what it does. This Randian mindset is now ingrained in the American character.

This debate is going to be crystallised in the Goldman case. Much of America is going to reflexively insist that Goldman's only crime was being better at making money than IKB and ABN-Amro, and that the meddling government (in the American narrative, always the bad guy) should get off Goldman's Armani-clad back. Another side is going to argue that Goldman winning this case would be a rebuke to the whole idea of civilisation - which, after all, is really just a collective decision by all of us not to screw each other over even when we can.



Medicare Report: Obamacare Bad for Seniors

The Obama administration’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a new report with dire news for America’s seniors. Obamacare’s smoke and mirrors budgeting gimmickry has real world consequences that will cause more than seven million seniors to lose their current Medicare coverage and could force as many as 15% of hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health agencies out of participation in the Medicare system altogether.

On page 9 of the report, Richard Foster, CMS Chief Actuary, warns that the payment rates for Medicare Part A providers such as hospitals, skilled nursing homes and home health agencies, are linked to increased, “unrealistic” economy-wide productivity standards that will be difficult if not impossible to achieve -- likely reducing payments below overhead costs.

From the report:
It is important to note that the estimated savings shown in this memorandum for one category of Medicare provisions may be unrealistic. The PPACA introduced permanent annual productivity adjustments to price updates for most providers (such as hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health agencies), using a 10-year moving average of economy-wide, non-farm productivity gains. While such payment update reductions will create a strong incentive for providers to maximize efficiency, it is doubtful that many will be able to improve their own productivity to the degree achieved by the economy at large.

Over time, a sustained reduction in payment updates, based on productivity expectations that are difficult to attain, would cause Medicare payment rates to grow more slowly than, and in a way that was unrelated to, the providers' costs of furnishing services to beneficiaries. Thus, providers for whom Medicare constitutes a substantive portion of their business could find it difficult to remain profitable and, absent legislative intervention, might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries). Simulations by the Office of the Actuary suggest that roughly 15 percent of the Part A providers would become unprofitable within the 10-year projection period as a result of the productivity adjustments.
Page 9 of the report also reveals that funds from the new 3.8% Medicare tax (“unearned income Medicare contribution”) are not paid into the Medicare trust funds:
The Reconciliation Act amendments introduced a new 3.8 percent "unearned income Medicare contribution" on income from interest, dividends, annuities, and other non-earnings sources for individual taxpayers with incomes above $200,000 and couples filing joint returns with incomes above $250,000. Despite the title of this tax, this provision is unrelated to Medicare; in particular, the revenues generated by the tax on unearned income are not allocated to the Medicare trust funds.
The Democrats’ primary stated purpose for the passage of Obamacare was to reduce costs. The report also estimates a $311 billion rise in health care costs over the next 10 years.

“This Obama Administration report confirms that Washington Democrats’ government takeover of health care fails to deliver the one thing the American people wanted out of reform: lower costs,” House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said of the new CMS report. “According to his own administration’s analysis, the health care law the President signed one month ago today would violate his pledge to ‘bend the cost curve’ and force millions of seniors off their current Medicare coverage.”

“This is in addition to what we already know about how this new law is squeezing employers with job-killing tax hikes and leaving middle-class families to brace for higher premiums,” Boehner added. “Washington Democrats refused to wait for this critical analysis to be completed before forcing their job-killing health care bill through Congress, and now we know why.”

Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price, M.D. (R-Ga.) points out that Obamacare’s $311 billion increase in national health care expenditures will be much higher in the likely event that Congress would intervene on the Medicare cuts -- and Medicaid patients will suffer more limited access to medical care.

“The real increase in spending is almost certain to be even higher than the reported balance of $311 billion because the new health care law relies on unlikely future cuts to Medicare,” Price stated. “The news on Medicaid is no better. The administration chose to put more than half of all newly insured individuals under their plan into Medicaid. Unfortunately, this report confirms that the influx of new Medicaid enrollees will have serious trouble gaining access to care because the program does not cover the costs associated with its patients.”

“The only way to make quality health care both more affordable and more accessible is to put patients in charge,” Price said. “When Washington controls things that should rightly be handled by patients and their families, you get bureaucratic decisions that ignore cost signals and the individual needs of individual patients. One size does not fit all in health care. This report is yet another indication that ObamaCare must be repealed and replaced with true patient-centered health care reforms.”

Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, also weighed in on the gravity of this new report.

“This report confirms Americans' worst fears about the health care law: it will increase health spending, increase federal control over our health care system, cut benefits for millions of seniors and jeopardize access to care for seniors and the disabled,” Camp said. “This is a bad law and, according to this analysis, seniors have the most to be concerned about when it comes to the future of their health care. I don’t think the Democrats’ health care bill would have passed if Congress and the American people had this analysis before the vote.”




As usual, government regulation as political payoff: "The old adage about those that live in glass houses and stone throwing immediately came to mind. But, the president really believes that the financial crisis we still find ourselves in despite trillions of dollars in Keynesian spending is somebody else’s fault. In fact, he indicated that, ‘the system as it stands is what led to a series of massive, costly, taxpayer bailouts.’ And I thought it was Mr. Obama and his big government colleagues in the Congress who voted unconstitutionally to give away our money to the greedy, misbehaving banks. Now, the president’s bizarre remarks are one thing, but the financial regulation bill before the Senate is even more bizarre. Crafted by Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, the bill will do nothing to fix the real causes of the financial crisis. In actuality, the bill amounts to nothing more than a political payoff for Dodd’s benefactors on Wall Street. And this should come as no surprise since Dodd’s donor list reads like a who’s who of the financial services sector.”

Big business depends heavily on privilege: "Notice that the subtitle of Stossel’s article suggests that ‘capitalism’ is synonymous with ‘American business.’ Genuinely freed markets are not mostly cruel and unfair. But I think it’s a stretch to assume that the same is true of big businesses that operate with all sorts of privileges from the state and that benefit from a long history of injustice and dispossession. Big business in America does not enjoy its power and privilege in virtue of a freed market, and there is no reason to think business leaders desire a freed market. The cruelty and unfairness of big business — at home and abroad — may have little to do with free(d) markets, but they’re systemic features of ‘capitalism’ — if by that term is meant ‘rule by capitalists’ or ‘the economic system we have now.’”

It wasn’t capitalism, stupid: "As Lowenstein put it, ‘government support of the mortgage twins was among the original sins of the financial crisis. It stemmed from the country’s affection for homeownership — a legacy of a frontier nation that subsidized homesteading for pioneers and encouraged later generations to homestead in the suburbs via the mortgage-interest deduction ….’ Now whatever one may think of the sentiments that drove all this, one matter should be crystal clear: laissez-faire capitalism is entirely incompatible with such public policy.”

More forced unionization: "A group of personal care providers who work in homes in Illinois filed a class-action lawsuit this week against Governor Pat Quinn and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). They’re suing because some of the 20,000 of the home-based workers have, against their will, been made dues-paying ‘public employees’ of the state. The National Right to Work Foundation represents some of the thousands of care providers who have turned down union membership, but may still have to fend off union bosses. … I’ve reported on the forced unionization racket in Michigan, where home-based day-care providers, some of whom own their businesses and do not wish to belong to a union, are nevertheless forced to pay union dues. The state deducts the dues from their paychecks when they care for children receiving welfare. The Mackinac Center sued Michigan on behalf of the day-care owners; that case is now before the Michigan Supreme Court.”

Second Navy SEAL found not guilty in Iraq: "A military judge Friday found Petty Officer Jonathan Keefe, one of three Navy SEALs accused in the alleged beating an Iraqi detainee, not guilty, a military spokesman said. Keefe was accused of dereliction of duty for not preventing abuse of a prisoner. The verdict comes a day after another of the other accused sailors, U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Huertas, was found not guilty of dereliction of duty. Huertas was also charged with impeding an investigation by attempting to influence the testimony of another sailor.”

NC: Is Asheville Obama’s vision for America?: "Okay, maybe the Obamas’ Asheville, N.C., trip is just a romantic getaway and a chance to grab some 12 Bones BBQ, as the White House suggests. But you know something is going on when even the local ‘tea party’ affiliate welcomes Obama to their ‘mountain paradise.’ … [C]ould Asheville itself be a clue to what the President is thinking when he talks about ‘transforming’ America? Founded as a health resort, the little city of ‘hillbilly-hippies,’ entrepreneurs, musicians, retirees and community drum circles is, indeed, a progressive’s vision of America. … But it also represents conservative fears about what President’s intentions might wreak: A dearth of high-paying jobs, relatively high taxes, large numbers of homeless and other wards of the state, a high crime rate, and a progressive ruling class perhaps more interested in maintaining quaintness than thickening residents’ wallets.”

Capitalism vs. capitalists: "If by ‘capitalist’ you mean someone who cares more about his own profit than yours; if you mean someone who cares more about providing for his family than providing for yours; if you mean someone who trusts that he is a better caretaker of his own interests and desires than a bureaucrat he’s never met, often in a city he’s never been to: then we are all capitalists. Because, by that standard, capitalism isn’t some far-off theory about the allocation of capital; it is a commonsense description of what motivates pretty much all human beings everywhere.”

How democracy can go bad: "Democracy is not all bad, don’t misunderstand me. It is only bad when it becomes the central political principle. In a free society some democracy is necessary because it amounts to everyone having a say in political matters, which is their right. The real issue about democracy is, what is the scope of politics. If the scope of democracy in politics is minimal, as it should be in a free country, there is no problem. … But once democracy expands its reach beyond minimal politics, it leads to all kinds of corruption and facilitating of larceny and oppression. If the many can vote themselves the belongings of the few, this is corruption. If the many can impose their lifestyle, religion, priorities and other matters on the rest, that is corruption by democracy.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


25 April, 2010


Today is the most solemn day of the year in Australia. It is the day we remember our war dead. Australians have died in many wars and there can be few families not affected to some degree by the deaths resulting. I had a much loved uncle die in WWII.

Wherever British or American forces were fighting, there have generally been Australians fighting alongside them -- in two world wars and many smaller wars both before and after that. I have a family member deployed in Afghanistan at the moment and had news of him today. He is OK but finds it no picnic to be wearing body armour in high Afghan daytime temperatures at the moment.

Our flag above


The Most Enduring Legacy Of Nazi Hate

On February 1, 1944, two unlikely allies in the United States Senate—Robert Wagner (D-New York) and Robert Taft (R-Ohio)—introduced a resolution that caused shockwaves around the globe. Their initiative advocated American support for “free and unlimited entry of Jews into Palestine for the creation of a Jewish commonwealth.” This was a bold move and one that put the Roosevelt administration on the spot.

Nearly five years earlier, the British government had released a White Paper on the issue of Palestine—one that largely abandoned the Jewish people in that region. Since the 1917 Balfour Declaration and during the period of the British Mandate they had been largely supportive of Jewish migration to Palestine and the idea of a Jewish state there. In essence, the White Paper changed all of that. It advocated severe limitations on Jewish immigration to Palestine—this at a time when European anti-Semitism was reaching critical mass.

The gang in Berlin was pleased.

Interestingly, at the time of that 1939 White Paper, two men who would later strongly support the creation of the modern state of Israel saw things differently. Winston Churchill spoke to the House of Commons on May 22, 1939 “as one intimately and responsibly concerned in the earlier states of our Palestine policy,” and insisted that he would not “stand by and see the solemn engagements into which Britain has entered before the world set aside.”

And here at home, Senator Harry S. Truman from Missouri—who had no clue at the time that he’d be a major player on the world stage in a few years--also issued a forthright condemnation that was inserted into the Congressional Record:

“Mr. President, the British Government has used its diplomatic umbrella again,” (this being an unmistakable dig at Neville Chamberlain) “…this time on Palestine. It has made a scrap of paper out of Lord Balfour’s promise to the Jews. It has just added another to the long list of surrenders to the Axis powers.”

But instead of embracing the ideas put forth by Taft and Wagner in 1944, the White House, State Department and other powerful entities in the government pulled out all the stops to make sure that the idea of proposing a homeland in Palestine for Jews went away. They did this even though they knew very well about the ongoing mass extermination of European Jews at the hands of the Nazis.

The standard answer to the obvious question as to why the Holocaust evoked little official response from our government until near the end of the war has been to cite “isolationism,” or “economic Depression,” or “xenophobia” in our nation. Presumably, the idea of doing anything overtly “pro-Jewish” was politically untenable—so goes the argument.

But a closer look reveals something else going on at the time—and ever since.

The most lasting legacy of the toxins that created an epochal global conflict is the fact that elements of Nazism in many ways survive to this day in Islamism. The short-sightedness of FDR’s cronies was corrected in part by his successor, a man of courage who chose to recognize the new State of Israel eleven minutes after its birth in May of 1948. But the question remains: Why did FDR and company not get on the bandwagon, even while millions of Jews were being slaughtered?

Sadly, the real reason has a lot to do with U.S. surrender to Nazi propaganda—its power and content.

Largely overlooked or dismissed in the years since is the fact that the Nazi propaganda machine, the distortion factory that shaped attitudes in Germany throughout the duration of the infamous Third Reich, had its most lasting impact far away from the boroughs and beer halls of Deutschland. In fact, Hitler’s nightmarish vision of ridding Europe of Jews was only the beginning of what he wanted to do—he wanted to extend The Final Solution to Palestine.

And he had been preparing the hearts and minds of the Muslim world for many years.

Jeffrey Herf, a professor of history at the University of Maryland, has written an eye-opening book about the effectiveness of Nazi ideas in the Middle East during the Second World War called, “Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World.” In it, he describes the Nazi campaign for the minds and hearts of the Arab world in great detail—particularly the Axis radio programs that ran in Arabic around the clock from late 1939 until March of 1945.

These broadcasts spewed venomous anti-Semitism and pushed every demagogic button imaginable. They were also highly effective. In fact, long after the last vestige of Nazi rhetoric faded from consciousness in Europe, the poisonous seeds planted back then are still bearing deadly fruit.

The mind-set that gave way to the Third Reich is very much alive and well in the Muslim world of the Middle East.

When those two senatorial strange-bedfellows offered their visionary resolution in 1944 about a Jewish homeland in Palestine, the “Axis Broadcasts in Arabic” were way ahead of the story. Mr. Herf has accessed a significant cache of transcripts and leaflets produced by the Nazis during the war—materials that have not been adequately examined—until now.

So back in 1944, any hopes a couple of well-intentioned voices in Washington might have had to garner widespread national support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine were dashed by forces largely influenced by the hate-speak of Nazi propagandists. Berlin, broadcasting in Arabic, referred to Taft and Wagner as “criminal American senators,” while announcing, “a great tragedy is about to be unfolded, a great massacre, another turbulent war is about to start in the Arab countries.”

And in phraseology that sounds eerily familiar to what we still regularly hear from Islamists, the Nazis described the stakes as kill or be killed:

“Arabs and Moslems, sons of the East, this menace threatens your very lives, endangers your beliefs and aims at your wealth. No trace of you will remain. Your doom is sealed. It were better if the earth opened and engulfed everybody; it were better if the skies fell upon us, bringing havoc and destruction; all this, rather than the sun of Islam should set and the Koran perish...Stir up wars and revolutions, stand fast against the aggressors, let your hearts, afire with faith, burst asunder! Advance your armies and drive out the menace.”

Bear in mind that this is a Nazi broadcast to the Arab/Muslims in Palestine. Of course, the relationship between Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti in Jerusalem, is well known and documented (see my article: “Hitler’s Favorite Jihadist”), but the broadcasts from Berlin to Palestine are just now beginning to be examined. And what is being found is further evidence that to refer to Islamists as Nazi or Fascist-like is no smear—or stretch.

The rhetoric broadcasted to the Middle East 70 years ago is still being noised about—and even more pervasively and effectively. Back then, the attitudes it reinforced, complete with distortion, hate and prejudice, caused U.S. officials, from FDR on down, to “go wobbly”—as Margaret Thatcher would say.

It is sadly clear that the most lasting impact of the Nazi propaganda machine is that murderous ideas espoused back then are alive and well in our day and age and still being used to threaten and kill Jews—while nouveau wobblers turn away.



General Boykin and Major Hasan

This is the double-standard from Hell

The Obama administration recently issued a report from the Defense Department on the Fort Hood shootings of last November. The report has sparked controversy in Washington. On Capitol Hill, Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Sue Collins (R-Maine) are demanding more documents from the Pentagon.

Lieberman chairs the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee where Collins is the ranking member. Both senators sharply criticized the administration for its failure to turn over documents on the handling of Major Nidal Hasan. Lieberman and Collins are now issuing subpoenas to enforce their call for the documents.

The Pentagon report on the Fort Hood shootings was a whitewash. It never mentioned radical Islam or noted the religious motivation of the Army psychiatrist who killed fourteen people at Fort Hood in Texas in a shooting rampage last November.

We now know that Major Hasan had a history of radical jihadist statements and that he was allowed to get away with marginal or even unsatisfactory performance for years. Political correctness, in this case, allowed a Muslim zealot to preach jihad and to threaten “infidels” with retribution.

Sen. Lieberman has called for an “independent, bi-partisan congressional investigation” of the shootings. We need one, since it’s obvious that the Pentagon is not going to investigate itself over this appalling terrorist attack on the homeland.

Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin knows something about political correctness in the military. Gen. Boykin, a highly-decorated combat veteran was dragged through the mill by the liberal media back in 2003 for expressing his Christian beliefs in Christian churches. They charged the general was calling for a Christian crusade against the Muslims.

“I hope he’s not long for this world,” said NPR’s Nina Totenberg on WUSA’s Inside Washington TV talk show. When fellow panelists, mostly liberals, protested, asking whether Totenberg rally wanted to issue a fatwa on the offending general, she quickly backtracked. She said: “in his job, in his job, please, please, in his job.” Well, that’s reassuring. Totenberg only wanted the heroic general fired. She wanted him removed from any role in directing the war on terror. She didn’t want him beheaded.

Major TV networks denounced Gen. Boykin as a “Holy Warrior.” They ridiculed his Evangelical Christian faith on prime-time television.

Compare that treatment with what we see in the treatment of Nidal Hasan. This man yelled “Allahu Akbar” (Arabic for “God is great!”) even as he squeezed the trigger in the worst case of terrorism here since September 11th. Yet, the media is very hesitant to demand accountability of the military brass. Army Chief of Staff General Casey made the rounds of TV talk shows the first Sunday after Hasan’s shootings. He said it would be “a tragedy” if the Army’s diversity was a casualty of the Fort Hood murders.

How could Hasan be allowed to spew anti-American and anti-Christian comments for years? Where was the enforcement of the oath—taken by all members of our all-volunteer military—to defend the Constitution against “all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

We now know that Hasan’s emails to radical American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al Awlaki were intercepted by U.S. intelligence. But for some as yet unexplained reason, Hasan’s contacts with this known terrorist leader did not result in Hasan’s arrest, or at the very least, a serious investigation into his activities. Fourteen dead Americans are victims of this failure to take timely, effective action.

Awlaki has taken to taunting President Obama: “His administration tried to portray the operation of brother Nidal Hasan as an individual act of violence by an individual. The administration practiced the control on the leak of information concerning the operation in order to cushion the reaction of the American public.”

We cannot wait for the media to probe this case. We need a full congressional investigation to get to the bottom of this story—before some jihadist in a “sleeper cell” is activated and we see a repeat of this horror on our own shores. It is literally a matter of life and death.

It appears in this instance that Major Hasan was allowed to get away with disloyal statements and treasonous conduct for years because he fit into someone’s erroneous idea of diversity. All Americans, and especially all members of our all-volunteer military, have a right to expect that treason and terror will be dealt with quickly and strictly. Political correctness in this case, was fatal.



Another Obama shuffle

Grassley: GM Didn't Really Pay U.S. Back

A Republican senator is questioning General Motors’ claim that it has repaid its taxpayer-funded loans in full.

Sen. Chuck Grassley is asking Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to justify those claims. According to the Iowa Republican, GM has repaid its TARP (taxpayer-funded bailout) loans using other TARP funds.

The automaker – which is 61 percent owned by the U.S. and 12 percent owned by Canada -- announced on Wednesday that it has fully repaid the $6.7-billion in loans it received from the U.S. and Canadian governments.

“GM is able to repay the taxpayers in full, with interest, ahead of schedule, because more customers are buying vehicles like the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse we build here in Fairfax,” said GM Chairman Ed Whitacre during a visit to an auto plant in Fairfax, Kansas on Wednesday.

But as the Associated Press reported, GM received a total of $52 billion from the U.S. government and $9.5 billion from the Canadian and Ontario governments as part of its bankruptcy reorganization. The U.S. considered $6.7 billion of the $52 billion as a loan.

In fact, GM still owes $45.3 billion to the U.S. and $8.1 billion to Canada, money it received in exchange for shares in the company. GM said it hopes to repay those amounts with an eventual public stock offering, the AP reported.

“It looks like [GM’s] announcement is really just an elaborate TARP money shuffle,” Grassley said in an April 22 letter to Treasury Secretary Geithner. “The repayment dollars haven’t come from GM selling cars but, instead, from a TARP account at the Treasury Department.”

Grassley pointed to the most recent quarterly report from Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for TARP.

Barofsky testified before the Senate Finance Committee this week that the funds GM used to repay its TARP debt are not coming from GM earnings.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


24 April, 2010

Muslims get only 6 months for hate crime against homosexuals in S.F.

"Three Hayward cousins have pleaded guilty to shooting a man in the face with a BB gun because they thought he was gay, and were sentenced to six months in jail.

Mohammad Habibzada, 24, Shafiq Hashemi, 21, and Sayed Bassam, 21, also will be on probation for three years and must complete as much as 400 hours of community service, including 40 hours of hate-crime sensitivity training, according to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.

Police said the men went to San Francisco on Feb. 26 armed with an air rifle and video camera, targeting people who they thought were gay, including a man who was standing outside a Mission District bar smoking a cigarette. They shot the man in the cheek and were caught soon after when the victim — while giving a report to police — spotted their car still in the area."



President Obama’s Budget Is Killing Jobs

The Obama Administration, the Democratic Congress, and their friends in organized labor are quick to blame unemployment on the trade deficit. Facts don’t support that assessment. The historical record shows a *positive* correlation between aggregate trade deficits and job creation – a trade deficit signifies *more* jobs. That’s because trade deficits go up when prosperity is increasing and job growth is rapid. The dollars Americans spend for foreign goods and services are then recycled into the American economy in the form of foreign investment. When that investment goes into the private sector, it creates even more jobs.

The huge federal deficits threaten to derail this positive feedback loop. Why? Because the deficits are soaking up increasing amounts of foreign investment. If the capital inflows that are always and necessarily associated with the trade deficit are merely paying off the government’s obligations, there is nothing left over to create jobs.

If you want more jobs, stop Washington from gobbling up all the money and let the surplus of incoming capital do its work.



The Left’s Most Wanted: Michelle Malkin

She’s the subject of racist rants from left-wingers; She has been assaulted by some of America’s nastiest political activists; She had her home address published by progressive crazies; She and her family moved from the D.C. area to get away from the threats; She’s been spat on, screamed at and cursed by ever-so-tolerant liberals.

So she must be doing something right.

Its Michelle’s spirit, courage and feistiness that makes us proud to announce that May issue of Townhall features an exclusive profile and interview with this conservative warrior, written by Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey.

Michelle Malkin has been making a killing doing what she does best: exposing the corruption and lunacy of America’s liberals. And the Left can’t stop her.

Most people know her as a conservative firebrand who has written best-selling books, including “Culture of Corruption,” which dealt with the shady characters that have populated the Obama administration, and “Unhinged,” which exposed the lunacy of the Left. She has been a regular analyst and contributor on Fox News for years. Week in and week out, her columns are always among the most read on Townhall.com. And her eponymous blog reaches millions of readers.

Michelle is where she is because she’s smart, brave, intelligent and right. But she didn’t get there overnight or without sacrifice.

She knowingly puts herself in the line of fire from the far-Left day after day; gets up at 4am to make a drive to Denver just to do a morning news hit on Fox News; invested countless hours and lots of money to create one of the most popular conservative websites in the world: HotAir.com; supports American troops and paid for a trip for her and a Hot Air producer to report from Forward Operating Base Justice in Baghdad; and invests hours of research and writing (and re-writing) for her top-selling books

Oh, and she’s a mom and wife who has kept her priorities in tact.

Here’s a taste of Michelle and Ed’s conversation that you can read in the May issue:
She would hardly seem like the type who gets vulgar hate mail on a constant basis. What causes the kind of rage and calumny Michelle regularly receives, both in her in-box and in person? Her 2005 book “Unhinged” described some of the disgusting insults she regularly received during the years preceding its publication. Did her success as a pioneer in New Media soften some of the personal attacks? Not really, Michelle tells me in an exclusive interview for Townhall.

“Death threats, racial epithets and sexually explicit taunts are par for the course,” Michelle explains. “I still post an occasional ‘Hate Mail of the Day’ on my blog, but always more out of amusement than anger.”

Her impassioned opposition to Barack Obama has certainly stoked more outrage on the Left, although Michelle found herself more amused by the increased indignation of the “entitlement liberals” who demanded that she stay on the minority reservation. “If not for pioneers like Barack Obama, you wouldn’t be where you are today,” she hears from people who clearly don’t realize that Michelle has been a national figure far longer than President Obama.

“I never cease to be amazed at the claim of entitlement liberals hold over minorities, women and minority women.” She calls these eruptions of outrage “ululations of the aggrieved.”

Not all of the threats come from the Left. Michelle covered the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver and expected to get challenged, but the most disturbing experience involved an altercation with conspiracy-theory extremist radio host Alex Jones. While attending a demonstration of “anarchist loons trying to levitate the Denver Mint,” Jones charged out of the crowd toward Michelle.

“This bug-eyed hulk came stalking up and screaming at me about how I was a threat to his First Amendment rights,” Michelle recalls. “He was spoiling for a fight with a 5-foot-2-inch, 100-pound mom; his clenched fists, bulging neck veins and spittle-flecked face were, I must say, rather disturbing.”

That and other incidents have been lessons learned for Michelle, who now carefully considers safety when conducting business. “Conservative speakers have long known they are potential targets and magnets for fame-seeking trolls,” Michelle notes. “But I won’t be covering another DNC gathering without a bodyguard, that’s for sure.”
People like Michelle Malkin need to be more than just thanked and admired by those of us on the right--they need to be held up and supported.

Order Townhall magazine today to ensure you don’t miss this exclusive opportunity to see another side of one of the conservative movement’s heroes.



Obamacare: Change Mexico Can Believe In

We've heard stories about Canadians crossing over the U.S. border to get quality health care in the past. But with Obamacare the new law of the land and the demand for quality health care dramatically increasing with millions of new patients entering the already over-taxed market, the result is the possibility of Americans crossing over the border for Mexican health care.

Sad, but true:
Rising medical needs in the United States are creating new opportunities for Mexico’s health care industry to serve a broad range of U.S. patients, from baby boomers to Southern California’s large Latino work force.

But participants in a daylong conference Wednesday at the Institute of the Americas on the UC San Diego campus said that a range of legislative and regulatory changes are needed. The event drew health care experts, tourism officials, nonprofit groups, real estate promoters and others who see the potential for growth in cross-border care...

U.S. health care reform is expected to expand the pool of workers with medical insurance, with 100,000 to 300,000 additional enrollees expected in San Diego and Imperial counties by 2014, said Frank Carrillo, chief executive of SIMNSA Health Plan, which sells group insurance plans to U.S. employers whose workers receive medical care in Mexico.

“The system cannot handle it here, so they need to look at Mexico as a safety net,” Carrillo said, adding that many of the newly insured will be legal immigrants from Mexico who are comfortable with Mexican physicians.
Sigh. The gradual decline of America is not an easy thing to watch. It looks like Obama's Science Czar John Holdren's prediction was true: America' can't be #1 forever. But it's not because we lack the talent or know-how. Instead, our own government--preoccupied with bringing us down to everyone else's level--seems intent on driving us into the ground.



Public-sector unions bankrupting America

Usually it takes a national government to spend itself into a debt measured in the trillions. Yet it comes as little surprise that the same profligacy that pervades the corridors of federal power infects this country's 87,000 state, county and municipal governments and school districts. By 2013, the amount of retirement money promised to employees of these public entities will exceed cash on hand by more than a trillion dollars.

That's according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, which earlier this month released a troubling analysis of 126 state and local pension plans. The center's researchers found in the wake of the stock market collapse that measures of pension program solvency hit a 15-year low with no signs of improvement on the horizon. This means taxpayers will be left picking up the tab.

The reason pension plans are headed toward financial disaster is simple. Ever-expanding public-sector unions have flexed their political muscle and larded up with lavish benefits to be be paid out decades from now. In a properly run,private-sector business, future retirement benefits are paid for using present-day contributions. This is not the case when lawmakers have the power to boost public-employee benefit packages while using accounting gimmicks to conceal and pass on the debt to future generations.

California's public-employee retirement system stands in the most perilous condition, facing a half-trillion in unfunded liabilities. That's not surprising when you consider a California highway patrol officer can retire at age 50 and collect up to 90 percent of his salary for the rest of his life. According to the agency's website, a typical officer's pay will reach $109,147 after just five years on duty - an amount that can rise significantly with overtime benefits. That means a fit and healthy 50-year-old "retiree" who began work at age 20 would receive $98,232 a year from taxpayers for the rest of his life, and nothing prevents him from taking another government job to collect two paychecks. This form of double-dipping is rampant.

While most private-sector firms have trimmed their work force during the recession to achieve more efficient and profitable operations, public agencies have expanded. State and local governments employ about 15 million individuals, a figure that has jumped up 40 percent from 1992. By 2016, the number of state and local bureaucrats is projected to reach 20 million. Too many of these people are being promised far too much money, leaving state and local systems as bankrupt as Social Security, Medicare and other multitrillion-dollar federal entitlements.

To his credit, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger considers addressing his state's "pension bubble" to be one of his top priorities. On Wednesday, he introduced legislation that would raise the full retirement age for new police hires to 57 and reduce the benefit paid in our example to $88,409. It also would reclassify billboard and milk inspectors as "miscellaneous" employees, instead of "safety" workers entitled to bigger handouts.

Despite the modest nature of the proposed changes, it's unclear whether California lawmakers have the backbone needed to pass the measure over the objection of the all-powerful union voting bloc. The rest of voters across the nation, the ones who will be paying for this mess, need to wake up and encourage legislators to reform public pensions before it's too late.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


23 April, 2010

St George's Day

It is late Friday night as I am writing this in Australia, which means that it is sometime around Friday morning in America and around lunchtime in Britain.

And Friday 23rd is of course St. George's day -- England's national day. So as I am mainly of English descent, I thought it appropriate to mark the day -- which I did. I have had the St George cross flying from my flagpole all day and we had a leisurely commemorative dinner for just four family members.

We started the evening by standing and singing "God save the Queen" (the English national anthem) followed by a toast to the Queen and a toast to "St. George and merrie England". Then we sat down to a meal of England's favourite food: curry.

We washed the curry down with some good Australian "champagne" and a very pleasant evening was had by all. The chat over dinner was very wide-ranging and at one stage I even read a couple of choice excerpts from the 39 "Articles of Religion" from the 1662 "Book of Common Prayer" of the Church of England. None of us are religious but we still enjoyed the power of those historic words.


Gangster Government Becomes a Long-Running Series

Almost a year ago, in a Washington Examiner column on the Chrysler bailout, I reflected on the Obama administration's decision to force bondholders to accept 33 cents on the dollar on secured debts while giving United Auto Worker retirees 50 cents on the dollar on unsecured debts.

This was a clear violation of the ordinary bankruptcy rule that secured creditors are fully paid off before unsecured creditors get anything. The politically connected UAW folk got preference over politically unconnected bondholders. "We have just seen an episode of Gangster Government," I wrote. "It is likely to be a continuing series."

Fast forward to last Friday, when the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint against Goldman Sachs, alleging that the firm violated the law when it sold a collateralized debt obligation based on mortgage-backed securities without disclosing that the CDO was assembled with the help of hedge fund investor John Paulson.

On its face, the complaint seems flimsy. Paulson has since become famous because his firm made billions by betting against mortgage-backed securities. But he wasn't a big name then, and the sophisticated firm buying the CDO must have assumed the seller believed its value would go down.

That's not the only fishy thing about the complaint. Yesterday came the news, undisclosed by the SEC Friday, that the commissioners approved the complaint by a 3-2 party-line vote. Ordinarily, the SEC issues such complaints only when the commissioners unanimously approve.

Fishy thing No. 3: Democrats immediately used the complaint to jam Sen. Christopher Dodd's financial regulation through the Senate.

You may want to believe the denials that the Democratic commissioners timed the action in coordination with the administration or congressional leaders. But then you may want to believe there was no political favoritism in the Chrysler deal, too. The SEC complaint looks a lot like Gangster Government to me.

The Dodd bill, however, has it trumped. Its provisions promise to give us one episode of Gangster Government after another.

At the top of the list is the $50 billion fund that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp could use to pay off creditors of firms identified as systemically risky -- i.e., "too big to fail."

"The Dodd bill," writes Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman, "has unlimited executive bailout authority. That's something Wall Street desperately wants but doesn't dare ask for."

Politically connected creditors would have every reason to assume they'd get favorable treatment. The Dodd bill specifically authorizes the FDIC to treat "creditors similarly situated" differently.

Second, as former Bush administration economist Larry Lindsey points out, the Dodd bill gives the Treasury and the FDIC authority to grant an unlimited number of loan guarantees to "too big to fail" firms. CEOs might want to have receipts for their contributions to Sen. Charles Schumer and the Obama campaign in hand when they apply.

Lindsey ticks off other special favors. "Labor gets 'proxy access' to bring its agenda items before shareholders as well as annual 'say on pay' for executives. Consumer activists get a brand new agency funded directly out of the seniorage the Fed earns. No oversight by the Federal Reserve Board or by Congress on how the money is spent."

Then there are carve-out provisions provided for particular interests. "Obtaining a carve-out isn't rocket science," one Republican K Street lobbyist told the Huffington Post. "Just give Chairman Dodd and Chuck Schumer a s---load of money."

The Obama Democrats portray the Dodd bill as a brave attempt to clamp tougher regulation on Wall Street. They know that polls show voters strongly reject just about all their programs to expand the size and scope of government, with the conspicuous exception of financial regulation.

Republicans have been accurately attacking the Dodd bill for authorizing bailouts of big Wall Street firms and giving them unfair advantages over small competitors. They might want to add that it authorizes Gangster Government -- the channeling of vast sums from the politically unprotected to the politically connected.

That can boomerang even against the latter. Goldman Sachs employees gave nearly $1 million to the Obama campaign and $4.5 million to Democrats in 2008. That didn't prevent Goldman from being shoved under the SEC bus.

Gangster Government may look good to those currently in favor, but as some of Al Capone's confederates found out, that status is not permanent, and there is always more room under the bus.



John Stossel and the Media's "Statist Syndrome"

When he first began his career as a crusading consumer journalist in the 1970s, John Stossel believed fervently that higher taxes and greater government involvement in the marketplace were integral checks against corporate greed and malfeasance. With an irreverent, intelligent and skeptical tone that riled corporations – but resonated with viewers – Stossel’s career flourished, leading him to the pinnacle of his profession at ABC News.

But then Stossel experienced a metamorphosis in his thinking. After observing the chronic, costly failure of so many of the numerous big government solutions that he and his media colleagues repeatedly prescribed for society’s ills, Stossel reexamined his fundamental beliefs.

“I started out by viewing the marketplace as a cruel place, where you need intervention by government and lawyers to protect people,” Stossel explained shortly after undergoing his transformation. “But after watching the regulators work, I have come to believe that markets are magical and the best protectors of the consumer.”

In fact, Stossel realized that in most cases regulators and bureaucrats only made matters worse, spending billions of tax dollars on so-called “solutions” that invariably wound up creating larger problems. Needless to say, Stossel’s conversion to free market, libertarian principles – which he trumpeted every bit as loudly as he had previously trumpeted government interventionism – was not warmly received by his colleagues.

“Once I started applying the same skepticism to government, I stopped winning awards,” the 19-time Emmy Award-winner said.

Today, Stossel is at the center of another media debate – only this time he’s not just telling the story, he’s a big part of the story.

In October of 2009 Stossel – who has also published two best-selling books – announced that he was leaving ABC News after 28 years to take a position with FOX News, which is widely regarded as the most “pro-free market” of America’s major TV news networks. Ordinarily a reporter moving from one network to another isn’t considered big news, but in Stossel’s case it’s significant.

While both Stossel and ABC describe their break-up in the most amicable of terms, the fact remains that ABC has been among the most vocal cheerleaders of the Obama administration and, in particular, his recently-passed socialized medicine plan. Stossel, meanwhile, watched as his reports on the perils of “Obamacare” struggled to find airtime. And while /20/20/ (to its credit) permitted Stossel’s voice to be heard, his perspective was increasingly drowned out by a steady barrage of pro-Obama news coverage as well as a glorified “Prescription for America” infomercial from the White House.

In fact, during the first six months of 2009, an analysis by the Business and Media Institute found that ABC’s health care stories featured Obama or supporters of his policies 55 times compared to just 18 times for critics of the administration’s plan – a 3-to-1 advantage.

Speaking of 3-to-1 margins, though, the public clearly isn’t overlooking this ongoing media bias.

In fact, in each year from 2001 through 2009, Gallup polling revealed that three times as many Americans viewed the media as being too liberal compared to those who believed it had a pro-conservative bias.

And more of those Americans than ever before now vote with their television remotes, as network ratings from the first quarter of 2010 were a bloodbath for CNN and MSNBC, arguably the nation’s top two “pro-government” networks. Larry King’s show – CNN’s top-rated program – saw its numbers among the coveted 25-54 year-old demographic decline by 43 percent from last year, while Anderson Cooper’s show experienced a 42 percent decline. At MSNBC, the network’s top two primetime programs, “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” and “The Rachel Maddow Show,” saw their ratings plunge by 43 percent and 38 percent.

Meanwhile, viewers continued flocking to Stossel’s new home at FOX, which saw its top three shows expand their audiences by anywhere from 25-50 percent over the previous year – giving FOX more viewers than CNN, MSNBC and CNBC combined and extending its streak as the nation’s number one network to 100 months. Also, Stossel’s new TV show thrives on FOX Business Network.

Clearly, the free market is still alive and well in America – if only in our marketplace of ideas.



Tea Party is a ‘bowel movement,’ says ACORN boss Bertha Lewis

It is she who looks like the sh*t-headed one to me. Going by her utterances below, she's certainly got sh*t for brains

ACORN chief organizer Bertha Lewis praised socialism and said the Tea Party was a “bowel movement” filled with racists in a speech to a left-wing youth group, a new video shows.

The edited two-minute video surfaced on the Verum Serum blog Wednesday as a federal appeals court reversed a lower court ruling and temporarily upheld a congressional ban on funding the faltering community activist group.

The comments by Lewis came during a March 25 speech to the winter conference of the Young Democratic Socialists, which is the youth arm of the radical Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). DSA is closely tied to the Congressional Progressive Caucus, an 80-plus member group of left-wing Democratic lawmakers.

President Obama worked for ACORN’s Project Vote affiliate, trained ACORN organizers and represented ACORN as a lawyer.

Although ACORN leaders typically refuse to be labeled as socialists because they realize the term carries with it a negative connotation in American culture, Lewis openly embraced socialism.

“First of all let me just say any group that says, ‘I’m young, I’m democratic, and I’m a socialist,’ is alright with me,” Lewis said.

Lewis then seemed to predict that America would soon enter a period of possibly violent upheaval. “Right now we are living in a time which is going to dwarf the McCarthy era,” she said. “It is going to dwarf the internments during World War II. We are right now in a time that is going to dwarf the era of Jim Crow and segregation.”

Lewis told the audience unnamed forces are “coming after you.” They are “going to be brutal and repressive. They’ve already shown it to you,” she said. “Organize. Get out into the street. You really have got to circle the wagons. This is not rhetoric or hyperbole. This is real.”

Lewis said to applause that the Tea Party movement, a grassroots movement against big government, was a “bowel movement in my estimation” that is associated with “racism.”

Meanwhile, ACORN lost a round in court after the Second Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals temporarily reinstated a congressional ban on federal funding of the advocacy group.

A three-judge panel slapped a stay on a ruling by federal judge Nina Gershon of the Eastern District of New York who ruled the funding ban was an unconstitutional bill of attainder that punished ACORN without a trial. The Department of Justice filed the appeal that led to the ruling.

Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican and ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said the ruling reversed Gershon’s “attempt to legislate from the bench.” Congress has “the constitutional right to deny an organization the benefit of taxpayer dollars,” he said.

The appeals panel gave the parties to the lawsuit until May 24 to file briefs on the case. Oral arguments are expected soon after.

Outside the appellate court hearing, Lewis told reporters ACORN was barely alive. “We’re still alive. We’re limping along. We’re on life support,” she said. Although ACORN previously said it planned to dissolve its national structure on April 1, the group continues to operate. As recently as last week, ACORN sent out an e-mail soliciting funds from its supporters.

The ACORN empire of activism remains in flux. At least a dozen state chapters have disaffiliated themselves and incorporated under new names. The largest of the state chapters, California, has morphed into a new entity called Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.




US Navy Seal cleared over beating of Iraqi terrorist suspect: "A US Navy Seal was cleared on Thursday of collusion in an assault on an Iraqi prisoner suspected of masterminding a 2004 attack that killed four American security contractors. Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Huertas, 28, was found not guilty by a six-man military jury of dereliction of duty by failing to stop a colleague from punching the prisoner, Ahmed Hashim Abed. He was also acquitted on charges of trying to cover up the assault by influencing the testimony of another service member. The verdict will be welcomed by veterans groups and other supporters in the United States, where the case has brought calls from congressmen for the department of defence to step in and stop the trial."

US military launches X-37B reusable spaceship: "An unmanned Atlas rocket carrying a miniature space shuttle blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Thursday on a technology test flight that could last as long as nine months. The 20-story rocket, built by United Launch Alliance — a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing — lifted off at 7:52 p.m. ET and soared over the Atlantic Ocean, heading toward orbit.”

Police find Tea Parties more peaceful than anti-war protests: "On Monday, the Christian Science Monitor bucked its mainstream peers by reporting something truthful about the TEA party movement: police officials have begun to relax security requirements at conservative rallies because of the remarkable absence of violence. Yes, you read that right: despite nonstop media warnings about hateful protests, violence from TEA party attendants is so nonexistent that police feel safe allowing them to bring large items and sometimes even guns. … No matter how much prominent liberals talk about rampant violence, the facts on the ground tell a different story, and reporters end up leaving with rather dull footage — no police clashes, no tear gas, no images of people being carted away.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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22 April, 2010

Thanks For What?

Rather than protesting the greatest expansion of government in U.S. history, Tea Party attendees should be thanking Big Government for all it's done. At least, that's what President Obama thinks.

As the Associated Press reported Thursday, the president said he was "amused" by the Tea Party faithful gathering in cities across America to protest soaring government spending, ballooning debt and the explosion in taxes that will be needed to pay for it all. "You would think they'd be saying thank you," he said.

And why should they be thankful? As the president himself said on his weekly radio address a week ago, "one thing we have not done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000; that's another promise we kept."

In fact, that wasn't his promise at all. Here's what candidate Obama really said in September of 2008: "Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes."

Got that? "Not any of your taxes." The claim of no tax hikes on those below $250,000 as a result of the current administration's policies is completely and utterly false.

A report from the House Ways & Means Committee's GOP members notes that, since January 2009, Congress and the president have enacted $670 billion in tax increases. That's $2,100 for each person in America. At least 14 of those tax hikes, the report says, break Obama's pledge not to raise taxes on those earning less than $250,000. Roughly $316 billion of the tax hikes — 14 increases in all — hit middle-class families, the report says.

This comes in addition to recent data from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office showing U.S. spending and indebtedness growing at an alarming rate. Government spending now totals 25% of GDP, a quarter above its long-term average. By 2035, it will hit 34% of GDP at current trends — a 70% increase in the real size of government in just 25 years.

More spending means more debt. In 2008, total federal publicly held debt was about $8.5 trillion — an amount Uncle Sam took 220 years to accumulate. By 2020, that will soar to $20.3 trillion, a 139% jump. No surprise the Government Accountability Office last week said the U.S. is on "an unsustainable long-term fiscal path."



Obama's Goldman hypocrisy

While President Obama assails the culture of greed and recklessness practiced by the men of Goldman Sachs, his administration is infested with them. The White House can no more disown Government Sachs than Obama can disown Chicago politics.

Obama is headed to Wall Street tomorrow to demand "financial regulatory reform" -- just as the US Securities and Exchange Commission has filed civil suit against Goldman Sachs for mortgage-related fraud.

Question the timing? Darn tootin'.

As the New York Post reported Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee immediately bought sponsored Internet ads on Google that direct Web surfers who type in "Goldman Sachs SEC" to Obama's fund-raising site.

"It's time to hold the big banks accountable," the DNC message bellows.

Democrats are silent on the $994,795 in Goldman Sachs campaign cash that Obama bagged in the 2008 presidential race. The class-warfare Dems are also mum on all the president's Goldman men sitting in the catbird's seat:

* Goldman Sachs partner Gary Gensler is Obama's Commodity Futures Trading Commission head. He was confirmed despite heated congressional grilling over his role, as Reuters described it, "as a high-level Treasury official in a 2000 law that exempted the $58 trillion credit default swap market from oversight. The financial instruments have been blamed for amplifying global financial turmoil."

Gensler said he was sorry -- hey, it worked for tax cheat Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner -- and was quickly installed to guard the henhouse.

* Goldman kept White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel on a $3,000 monthly retainer while he worked as presidential candidate Bill Clinton's chief fund-raiser, as first reported by Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney. The financial titans threw in another $50,000 to become the Clinton primary campaign's top funder.

Emanuel received nearly $80,000 in campaign contributions from Goldman during his four terms in Congress -- investments that have reaped untold rewards, as Emanuel assumed a leading role championing the trillion-dollar TARP banking bailout law.

* Former Goldman lobbyist Mark Patterson serves under Geithner as his top deputy and overseer of TARP bailout -- $10 billion of which went to Goldman Sachs.

Paul Blumenthal of the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based think tank devoted to transparency in government, noted that, while Patterson agreed to recuse himself on any Goldman Sachs-related issues or related policy concerns, it "still creates a serious conflict for Geithner, as Treasury is being partly managed by a former Goldman lobbyist. Geithner is also placed in a tough position considering that his chief of staff is limited in the areas in which he can work (supposedly)."

* National Economic Council head Larry Summers reaped nearly $2.8 million in speaking fees from many of the major financial institutions and government bailout recipients he now polices, including JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Lehman Bros. and Goldman. A single speech to Goldman in April 2008 brought in $135,000.

Summers has prior experience negotiating government-sponsored bailouts that benefit private concerns. In 1995, he spearheaded a $40 billion Mexican peso bailout that bypassed Congress.

Summers personally leaned on the International Monetary Fund to provide nearly $18 billion for the package. Summers' boss, then Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin, was former co-chairman of Goldman -- the Mexican government's investment banking firm of choice.

Rubin continues to mentor another of his former employees with regular visits and chats -- Treasury Secretary Geithner, who was head of the New York Federal Reserve in 2008 when it ordered bailed-out AIG not to disclose its sweetheart payments to big banks including, you guessed it, Goldman Sachs.

As Obama harangues Wall Street to clean up its house, all the president's Goldman Sachs men have their feet on the coffee table at his.



Tea Partyers, Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Clinton

by Emmett Tyrrell

Not so long ago, there arose on the American political scene something called the Angry Left. It was an indignant group of ritualistic liberals whose appearance the mainstream media apprised us augured well for Democratic victory in 2008, and so it did. The Angry Left turned out the vote for the Prophet Obama. At the time, do you recall any public figure on the right stepping forward and warning against possible violence from the indignados of the Angry Left? Did, say, the Hon. Newt Gingrich step forward at a conservative forum, say The Heritage Foundation, and remind his fellow Americans of the bombings of government buildings, the burning of university libraries, the robbing of banks by angry leftists in years gone by? I cannot recall any such warnings from any conservative eminence.

It is not as though such lawlessness is unknown in American history. Politically motivated bombings, burnings and bank robberies actually have been committed in America by leftists. Some of those leftists are still with us, for instance, Bill Ayers and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, who were fugitives from justice for such antics and went on to become friends of the present president of the United States. In fact, lawlessness on the left still is being committed, for instance, at universities, where speakers who offend the left -- the Angry Left or simply the Fastidious Left -- are regularly shouted down or barred from scheduled appearances, as Ann Coulter recently was, at least, in Canada. Yet Newt has remained mum about the danger posed by the Angry Left, and it is not easy for Newt to remain mum.

Now just the other day, ex-President Bill Clinton -- some of us still call him The Groper -- rose up at the Center for American Progress and drew parallels between the tea partyers (call them the Caffeinated Right) and the homicidal maniacs who participated in the Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah Federal Building, which killed 168 people and injured hundreds more. Clinton's charge was typically duplicitous. "This tea party movement can be a healthy thing if they're making us justify every penny of taxes we've raised and every dollar of public money we've spent," Clinton opined. "But when you get mad, sometimes you wind up producing exactly the reverse result of what you say you are for," said the president famous for, among other things, his temper tantrums. He also said, "Before the (Oklahoma) bombing occurred, there was a sort of fever in America," which I guess depends on the meaning of the word "fever." I recall no fever, but then I was not impeached for lying and obstruction of justice.

A long-standing conceit of American liberals has been to lecture conservatives on how to conduct themselves. They are famous for telling us what we can and cannot say. They tell us we cannot call them socialists even when they take over industries and transform the federal budget into a simulacrum of European social democracy. Yet they can call us racists and enemies of the poor when we advance alternatives to such failed policies as affirmative action or welfare. In fact, much of the liberals' stance toward conservatives in our ongoing dialogue with them is an insult. The most recent politician to dabble in race-baiting was not a conservative, but Bill Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries.

What Clinton depicts as a precursor to more bombings modeled on the vile Oklahoma City bombing is nothing more than a civic upheaval inspired by American constitutional liberties. The tea partyers are no cause for alarm. For Clinton to suggest that these generally peaceful and good-natured libertarians are opening the door to domestic terror is Clinton at his reckless worst. In doing so, he has given would-be bombers cover for their evil acts. If more bombings of federal buildings follow, we can thank Clinton for his speech of encouragement. Ironically, federal investigators looking for the perpetrators might begin their investigations with Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. No tea partyer I know has their record of violence.



BrookesNews Update

The booms and busts and the economic punditry's terrible grasp of economics : What makes manufacturing an important part of the boom-bust phenomenon is the crucial role that time plays in production. Once an understanding of the relationship of time to production has been grasped the importance of manufacturing as an economic bellwether becomes much clearer
The Australian economy's gloomy outlook : The Australian economy is doing just fine — if you ignore the parlous state of manufacturing. That manufacturing is the key economic indicator is completely lost on our economic commentariat, the sort of people who seriously argue for the existence of a "two-speed economy", which is like an obstetrician telling a women that she is half pregnant
Siemens to use green energy hoax to ripoff taxpayers : Siemens has come up with a wonderful scheme to make billions of dollars. Unfortunately it amounts to conning taxpayers out of their hard earned money by using the government to subsidise the company's renewable energy scam. It the seems the days have gone when Siemens made money by serving the public instead of milking it
Behavioral economics — breakthrough or dead end : Sit is being reported that so-called behavioural economics is playing significant role in shaping President Obama's economic decisions. Unfortunately behavioural economics is a dead end. Moreover, it will actually misdirects and retards economic thinking
The truth about the Bay of Pigs: They Fought Like Tigers : It is 50 years since the Bay of Pigs, Castro stooges are still lying about that tragic event. Humberto Fontova relates what really happened, including the Kennedy administration's treachery and cowardice
Jobs on aisle three: Leftists move to kill Walmart job-creation project : A gang of sensitive, caring and humane leftists have sabotaged a Walmart project that would have created hundreds of jobs in desolated downturn Chicago. These friends of Obama argue that the increased demand for labour would lower real wages! To prevent this outrage they plan to raise wage rates to a job-destroying level
Barack Obama: Enemy within : There's no other way to say it. As goes the war to preserve liberty, national sovereignty, national solvency and American exceptionalism: Intelligence suggests we have an enemy within

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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21 April, 2010

Myths About Capitalism

by John Stossel

I won 19 Emmy Awards by reporting a myth: that business constantly rips us off -- that capitalism is mostly cruel and unfair. I know that's a myth now. So I was glad to see the publication of "The 5 Big Lies About American Business" by Michael Medved. I invite him on tomorrow's Fox Business Network show to talk about that.

"You can only make a profit in this country by giving people a product or a service that they want," he says. "It's the golden rule in action."

Medved used to write about the movies, so he's familiar with the businessman as villain. I'll play a clip from the movie "Syriana," in which an oil tycoon makes this ridiculous speech: "Corruption keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the street."

"What's interesting," Medved commented, "is that in the old days, Hollywood would have businesspeople who were very positive: George Bailey, the Jimmy Stewart character, is a banker in 'It's a Wonderful Life.'"

No longer. Today's movie capitalists are criminals or playboys. Apparently, Hollywood writers think it's plausible that CEOs have lots of time to sip cocktails and chase women.

"In school, we all studied a book called "The Theory of the Leisure Class," which ... indicted the leisure class and these people who were out there exploiting other people and really had nothing to do except sit on their yachts and go to their swimming pools and their vacations."

In real life, that's nonsense. "The higher up on the income scale you go, the less leisure time you have. You make money in this country by working hard."

Medved's second myth is that when the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. This is the old zero-sum fallacy, which ignores that when two people engage in free exchange, both gain -- or they wouldn't have traded. It's what I call the double thank-you phenomenon. I understand why politicians and lawyers believe it: It's true in their world. But it's not true in business.

"If you believe that when the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, then you believe that creating wealth causes poverty, and you're an idiot," said Medved. "One of the things that I hate is this term 'obscene profits.' There are no obscene profits ... . (The current economic downturn shows) "that when the rich get poorer ... everybody gets poorer."

Myth No. 3: Government is more fair and reliable than business. "Remember the last time you went into Starbucks, and then remember the last time you went into the DMV to get your license," Medved said. "Where did you get better treated? And it's not because the barista is some kind of idealist or humanitarian. She wants a tip. She wants you to come back to the Starbucks ... ."

But the left doesn't get it. "This is the suspicion of the profit motive -- the idea that if somebody is selflessly serving me, they're going to treat me better than somebody who wants to make a buck," Medved said. But "(i)f you think about it in your own life, if somebody is benefiting from his interaction with you ... it's a far more reliable kind of interaction than someone who comes and says I'm in this only for you."

Myth No. 4: The current downturn means the death of capitalism. "Capitalism is alive and well," Medved said.

I'm also bugged when people argue that today's problems prove that capitalism "failed." What failed? We had a correction. A bubble popped. But from 1982 to now, the Dow rose from 800 to 11,000. Had it happened without the bubble, we'd say this is one of the great boom periods.

Medved added: "This is one of the biggest lies -- the idea that because of capitalism, we're all suffering. ... Poor people in America today, people who are officially in poverty, have a higher standard of living in terms of medical standards, in terms of the chances of going to college, in terms of the way people live, than middle-class people did 30 years ago. It's an extraordinary achievement of technology and of the profit sector."



Regulations are made to be evaded

Igor Volsky at WonkRoom has just discovered that when you arbitrarily set restrictions on what sorts of expenses companies can take, they will arbitrarily reclassify those expenses as something else. Specifically, government officials think it would be nicer if insurance companies spent a higher percentage of their revenues on medical care rather than administrative overhead.

Without particularly investigating whether this was sound, or even possible, they enacted a rule dictating that the "medical loss ratio" had to be a fairly high percentage of revenues. Predictably, companies are reclassifying administrative expenses as medical in order to make their numbers.

Now, maybe this is an example of evil companies struggling to hold onto their profits. But you certainly couldn't prove it by Volsky's post. He seems to confuse administrative overhead with profits, and further seems unaware that overhead (apart from profits) is usually higher when dealing with a lot of small clients rather than a few big ones. He refers to the MLR rules as "one of the few ways to prevent insurers from earning outrageous profits before most of reform's provisions kick in", even though the health insurance industry isn't particularly profitable.

It is true, of course, that profits are part of the overhead targeted by the medical loss ratio rules. But it does not therefore follow, as night to day, that if you raise the percentage of money that you spend on treatment, you lower profits. It certainly doesn't follow that you lower profits the way you want to--by taking money from greedy executives and giving it to nice folks seeking treatment--rather than, say, by forcing companies with high overhead out of the market entirely.

He seems blind to the other obvious way to meet your MLR requirements: stop searching for fraud on either the customer or provider end, and let costs balloon. If you stop paying attention to controlling costs, your overhead goes down, especially relatively to your costs. Normally, this is a recipe for bankruptcy, as your competitors undercut you. But when your competitors are all subject to the same rule requiring them to let this happen....

Given how much focus reformers put on controlling health care costs, reclassifying administrative costs as medical expenses is probably a positive development.

I'm generally annoyed by conservatives who claim that Washington is full of pointy-headed wonks who have never held a "real job" . . . but I do think that the most dangerous weakness on the pro-reform side is a broad ignorance of how companies actually work.

There seem to be a lot of assumptions that are intuitively satisfying, but blatantly silly to anyone who has ever managed a company (or spent much time talking to those who do). The assumption that lower overhead is invariably better is one of these, but not the only one. Others include a fairly persistent confusion about how companies make investment decisions, and how capital markets work; the belief that price rationing and government rationing are somehow economically equivalent because they both contain the word "rationing"; and the belief that having more the one product in a market is obviously wasteful "me-too" competition which is bad for consumers.

It's a dangerous weakness because it leads them to an extremely simplistic model of how companies work, and I think it makes them believe that they can mandate a lot more than they really can. The pro-reform side has been at its best in describing market processes that look a lot like what happens in government programs--things like adverse selection, and bargaining with providers. But when you have to add in processes that don't look much like what the government does--things like capital costs and investment decisions*, competition, and price discovery--their mental models often seem suspect.

I suspect that's going to be a big problem as we go forward, particularly when it comes to controlling costs.

*Before you rush to tell me that the government does too make capital investment decisions, let me just say that the government capital investment process simply looks virtually nothing like what happens in a company. Just try to imagine calculating an IRR on a highway.



Democrats Hate That Tea Parties Are Peaceful

Former President Clinton reminds us, on the 15th anniversary of the bombing in Oklahoma City, to police our discourse so as not to incite the "delirious" and "unhinged." Timothy McVeigh, he notes, "took to the ultimate extreme an idea advocated … by an increasingly vocal minority: the belief that the greatest threat to American freedom is our government … "

This is only the latest and most high profile installment of a long-running campaign by Democrats to malign their opposition. It worked very well for Mr. Clinton in 1995 -- the baseless insinuation that right-wing radio hosts had ignited murderous rage with their intemperate rhetoric -- and he's reaching into that seedy toolbox again.

By citing "the belief that the greatest threat to American freedom is our government" as the chief motive of murderous terrorists, the former president implies that resistance to government overreach and encroachment is illegitimate; the province of extremists.

There are two problems with this. First, it is perfectly true that government can be a threat to liberty. This is so obvious that it hardly bears rebutting. Two examples: Alien and Sedition Acts, internment of Japanese Americans. No one understood government's capacity to constrain freedom better than the Founders, who designed a system so diffuse and balanced that power would be difficult (though not impossible) to abuse.

The second problem with Mr. Clinton's intimation is that his pious concern about a "vocal minority" protesting government threats to freedom was nowhere in evidence during the Bush administration, when many liberal commentators were caterwauling that President Bush was "shredding" the Constitution. A "vocal minority" certainly believed that the government was the greatest threat to American liberty (they thought Bush a far greater threat than Islamic extremism) -- but their saying so didn't trouble Mr. Clinton.

Nor was Clinton moved to speak out when anti-Bush protestors labeled him the world's "worst terrorist" and carried posters of the president wearing a Hitler moustache.

You can delegitimize all political speech you dislike by suggesting that it may inflame the violence-prone. The press attempts this again and again. Rather than openly debate, they smear. The 1994 election, which unseated the Democratic majority, was described by the press, without any evidence, as the eruption of "angry, white, male" voters. One fan out of 8,000 at a McCain/Palin rally was reported to have shouted "Kill him" in reference to Obama. Rafts of stories dwelt upon this revelation of the "ugly" side of Palinmania. A later investigation found no evidence that it had even happened. And of course the tea party movement, a spontaneous, widespread upwelling of grassroots dismay at the direction of government policy, has been falsely and savagely maligned as racist, violent and primitive. (The best poster spotted at a tea party rally: "It doesn't matter what I put on my sign because you will accuse me of racism anyway.")

Actually, Democrats are reduced to warning that certain attitudes can lead to violence because there hasn't been any actual violence at the tea party rallies. All have been remarkably orderly and even friendly. You can almost feel the Democrats' frustration at this.

By contrast, many, many left-wing protests and demonstrations have sparked violence. Just last year, at the G-20 meeting in Pittsburgh, rampaging protestors broke shop windows and scuffled with police, who used batons and tear gas to subdue them. A 1999 meeting of the World Trade Organization in Seattle was so badly disrupted by anti-globalization fanatics, who smashed windows and shut down the center of the city, that the governor had to declare a state of emergency and call out the National Guard. (President Clinton failed to assail those who criticize corporations as inspiring the violence.)

In 2007, several hundred protesters who descended on Washington, D.C., during the International Monetary Fund meeting turned over trash cans, smashed windows, threw bricks, and pushed a police officer off her motorcycle.

In 2008, as John Hinderaker of Powerlineblog recalls, anti-Republican protesters at the convention in St. Paul: "threw bricks through the windows of buses, sending elderly convention delegates to the hospital. They dropped bags of sand off highway overpasses onto vehicles below." The violence was only fleetingly covered in the press and went unmentioned by leading Democrats.

Republicans have been very quick to condemn violent acts or even intemperate words by right-wing individuals or groups. They've even condemned some that didn't happen -- like false account of racial slurs shouted at members of the Congressional Black Caucus. While it's important to police one's ranks, it's also necessary to expose the Democrats' persistent and malignant libels.




Americans down on federal government: "Already wary of the federal government, Americans have grown even more critical, less trusting and even fearful of Uncle Sam since President Barack Obama took office, according to an exhaustive new study being released Monday. The in-depth poll found Americans not only rejecting the idea of an activist government, but a growing number urging that its power be curtailed. The findings reinforce the anti-big government message of tea party rallies and suggest anew that incumbents, particularly Democrats, face a strong headwind in this fall’s elections for control of Congress."

Value-added tax would be a big disaster: "The idea that the Obama administration wants to make the United States more like France can no longer be considered a black-helicopter conspiracy theory concocted by Tea Partiers and ‘right-wing extremists.’ It is, in fact, a serious possibility. White House adviser Paul Volcker went on the airways recently to resurrect the idea of implementing a value-added tax (VAT). He did this after the president signed a massively expensive health care bill that will soak ‘the rich,’ tax the Jersey Shore’s tans and add other burdensome taxes and regulations.”

Media sensationalism obscures the facts: "It isn’t unusual for a TV reporter to get his facts wrong. It’s rarer for the images that accompany his dispatch to flagrantly contradict what he says. But on January 21, broadcasting in the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated Haiti, CNN correspondent Ivan Watson fretted about ‘chaotic crowds’ as the camera showed people who were calm and patient. When Watson announced that we were watching a ‘chaotic scramble’ onto a rescue ship, this was illustrated by a group of refugees carefully, methodically passing a baby onto the boat. Then, while more men and women peacefully loaded their luggage in the background, the reporter asked the ship’s owner his burning question: ‘Has anybody offered you any help with crowd control of these thousands of desperate people?’ Bizarre as the report was, it was only an especially egregious expression of beliefs that have taken hold in far more places than just CNN.”

Justice and commercial crime: "The very institution of government regulation of people in business is flawed — it involve[s] what in other contexts is considered impermissible prior restraint. Just because a business might do something untoward, it is deemed a valid target of prior punishment or imposition of burdens. In the criminal law this is nearly uniformly resisted and condemned. Just because one might do harm to another–is rumored to be planning such harmful conduct - -it doesn’t mean one may be imposed upon via some kind of criminal sanctions. Due process requires that the suspect be shown to be guilty, not merely feared to be so.”

That terrible “we” again: "Sure many people I know are concerned with their economic situation, especially over the last couple of years. But who wouldn’t be, what with the recent evidence mounting that all the government meddling in the country’s commercial life since the early 1900s has produced little else than irresponsible government plans and, recently, endless purchases of homes, massive deficits and debts, and whatever else can go wrong with a macroeconomic system. None of this is about you and me — any kind of ‘we’ — but about quite specific people, officials in various parts of the federal and state governments, parts where politicians and bureaucrats basically spend other people’s resources and take it upon themselves to rearrange the world guided by their own murky utopian vision.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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20 April, 2010

Comment on Nazism by "Theodore Dalrymple"

Who is Jewish

The worst thing about the passage that I have quoted is its apparent endorsement, or uncritical acceptance, of Freud’s characterization of the Nazis as “right-wing.” This seems to me simplistic to the point of dishonesty, or at least symptomatic of a desire that complex social and political realities should be located on an analogue scale from right to left or left to right. If such a scale must be used, it seems to me that there is as much, if not more, reason to place Nazism on the left of it rather than on the right.

Not that this would be satisfactory, far from it. As Bishop Butler said, every thing is what it is and not another thing; Nazism was what it was and not another thing. If it could not, and cannot, be fitted neatly on to a political analogue scale, so much the worse for the scale. To change the figure of speech, we must not construct Procrustean conceptual beds.

Does it matter, however, if Nazism — being what it was and not another thing — is routinely characterized as being right-wing? I think that it does matter, for the following reason. There is a false syllogism that has a profound psychological effect:

Nazism was right-wing.
Conservatism is right-wing.
Therefore Nazism was conservative and conservatism is Nazi.

But Nazism was not conservative; when the Nazis called their advent revolutionary, they were right. There was nothing conservative about their movement at all. But the “syllogism” above has insinuated deeply into the minds of our intelligentsia, which is why so many of them are afraid of the supposed taint of conservatism.



The Limits of Power

by Thomas Sowell

When I first began to study the history of slavery around the world, many years ago, one of the oddities that puzzled me was the practice of paying certain slaves, which existed in ancient Rome and in America's antebellum South, among other places.

In both places, slave owners or their overseers whipped slaves to force them to work, and in neither place was whipping a slave literally to death likely to bring any serious consequences.

There could hardly be a greater power of one human being over another than the arbitrary power of life and death. Why then was it necessary to pay certain slaves? At the very least, it suggested that there were limits to what could be accomplished by power.

Most slaves performing most tasks were of course not paid, but were simply forced to work by the threat of punishment. That was sufficient for galley slaves or plantation slaves. But there were various kinds of work where that was not sufficient.

Tasks involving judgment or talents were different because no one can know how much judgment or talent someone else has. In short, knowledge is an inherent constraint on power. Payment can bring forth the knowledge or talent by giving those who have it an incentive to reveal it and to develop it.

Payment can vary in amount and in kind. Some slaves, especially eunuchs in the days of the Ottoman Empire, could amass both wealth and power. One reason they could be trusted in positions of power was that they had no incentive to betray the existing rulers and try to establish their own dynasties, which would obviously have been physically impossible for them.

At more mundane levels, such tasks as diving operations in the Carolina swamps required a level of discretion and skill far in excess of that required to pick cotton in the South or cut sugar cane in the tropics. Slaves doing this kind of work had financial incentives and were treated far better. So were slaves working in Virginia's tobacco factories.

The point of all this is that when even slaves had to be paid to get certain kinds of work done, this shows the limits of what can be accomplished by power alone. Yet so much of what is said and done by those who rely on the power of government to direct ever more sweeping areas of our life seem to have no sense of the limits of what can be accomplished that way.

Even the totalitarian governments of the 20th century eventually learned the hard way the limits of what could be accomplished by power alone. China still has a totalitarian government today but, after the death of Mao, the Chinese government began to loosen its controls on some parts of the economy, in order to reap the economic benefits of freer markets.

As those benefits became clear in higher rates of economic growth and rising standards of living, more government controls were loosened. But, just as market principles were applied to only certain kinds of slavery, so freedom in China has been allowed in economic activities to a far greater extent than in other realms of the country's life, where tight control from the top down remains the norm.

Ironically, the United States is moving in the direction of the kind of economy that China has been forced to move away from. China once had complete government control of medical care, but eventually gave it up as the disaster that it was.

The current leadership in Washington operates as if they can just set arbitrary goals, whether "affordable housing" or "universal health care" or anything else -- and not concern themselves with the repercussions -- since they have the power to simply force individuals, businesses, doctors or anyone else to knuckle under and follow their dictates.

Friedrich Hayek called this mindset "the road to serfdom." But, even under serfdom and slavery, experience forced those with power to recognize the limits of their power. What this administration -- and especially the President -- does not have is experience.

Barack Obama had no experience running even the most modest business, and personally paying the consequences of his mistakes, before becoming President of the United States. He can believe that his heady new power is the answer to all things.



One reason why many conservatives support Israel

To the left in America and around the world, this reason is dangerous nonsense. But for a vast number of America's Christians, many Jews and even many non-religious conservatives, it is deeper than any military or political reason. The reason is based on a verse in Genesis in which God, referring to the Jewish people, says to Abraham: "I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you."

One need not be a Jew or Christian or even believe in God to appreciate that this verse is as accurate a prediction of the future as humanity has ever been given by the ancient world. The Jewish people have suffered longer and more horribly than any other living people. But they are still around. Their historic enemies are all gone. Those who cursed the Jews were indeed cursed.

And those who blessed the Jews were indeed blessed. The most blessed country for more than 200 years has been the United States. It has also been the most blessed place Jews have ever lived in. Is this a coincidence? Many of us think not.

Those who curse the Jews today seem to be cursed. The most benighted civilization today is the Arab world. One could make a plausible case that the Arab world's preoccupation with Jew-hatred and destroying Israel is decisive in keeping the Arab world from progressing. The day the Arab world makes peace with the existence of the tiny Jewish state in its midst, the Arab world will begin its ascent.

The converse is what worries tens of millions of Americans: The day America begins to abandon Israel, America will begin its descent.

Israel shares America's values, such as liberty, an independent judiciary, a free press, freedom of religion, free speech and women's equality. The Arab and Muslim worlds have none of these. Those facts -- and America's Judeo-Christian roots -- make support of Israel, no matter what the Arab and Muslim "street" feels about America, a moral lynchpin of American foreign policy.

This administration's desire to have America liked in the Arab and Muslim worlds therefore has to mean altering that lynchpin. You cannot protect Israel and strive to be liked in the Arab and Muslim worlds at the same time. And you cannot weaken that protection without weakening America's moral values, which form the basis of America's greatness.

Even aside from compromising America's moral essence, weakening American support of Israel will only strengthen the America-hating Islamists. The notion that the primitive monsters of the Taliban, Hamas, al-Qaida and the like will become pro-American -- or just stop attacking America -- if America weakens its support of Israel betrays an ignorance of evil that is frightening.

So there is nothing to gain -- and America's soul to lose -- by weakening, or by even seeming to weaken, American support for Israel.

In 1968, Eric Hoffer, the longshoreman turned philosopher and author of the classic work "The True Believer," wrote in The Los Angeles Times:

"The Jews are alone in the world. If Israel survives, it will be solely because of Jewish efforts. And Jewish resources. Yet at this moment Israel is our only reliable and unconditional ally. We can rely more on Israel than Israel can rely on us." Hoffer concluded: "I have a premonition that will not leave me; as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us. Should Israel perish, the holocaust will be upon us."

Genesis was right.




CA: Villaraigosa urges 10% cut in LA government work force: "Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Monday proposed cutting the work force of America’s second-largest city by nearly 10 percent to close a $485 million budget deficit projected for the next fiscal year. The mayor’s plan, conveyed in a letter to the City Council ahead of his formal budget presentation on Tuesday, would permanently eliminate 3,546 municipal jobs in the biggest downsizing by Los Angeles in at least three decades.”

The left’s pension dilemma: "You know the pension tsunami is getting close to shore when the mainstream media are filled with hard-hitting stories about the coming crisis, such as the front-page article April 11 in the Sacramento Bee and Fresno Bee, documenting the manner in which huge pension costs for retired public employees ‘threaten California cities [and] counties.’ Most of the news stories focus, understandably, on the unsustainable costs to government and taxpayers, as the bill for these millionaires’ pensions come due. There’s no escaping the financial problem, borne of elected officials who have bought labor peace by selling out current and future taxpayers to the politically muscular public employee unions. In a down economy, it’s impossible to hide the numbers much longer. But the other real story is that these pension crises are undermining public services.”

Trader Joe’s gets FTC discount: "Portland, Maine, is getting a new Trader Joe’s — courtesy of the Federal Trade Commission. For some reason, Trader Joe’s didn’t see a reason to enter the Portland market until the FTC offered to seize some property from rival grocer Whole Foods and sell it to Trader Joe’s at below-market price. The locals appear ecstatic; the FTC has already received over 340 comments from Portlanders praising federal intervention in their local grocery market.”

Restoring federalism and state sovereignty: A constitutional path to prosperity: "The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution provides: ‘The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.’ Over the first century of our nation’s history the 10th Amendment was an important part of the Constitutional rules constraining the growth of the federal government.”

NYT’s Tea Party coverage: "The piece has the usual tone when The Times discusses those whose views it despises — snooty, derisive, and uninterested in substance, as if what these people believed was some kind of disease, not worth serious consideration. The piece went into the history of Tea Party members, associating them with 60s conservatism. Like those sociological studies that aim to explain away people’s thinking, treating it as an affliction rather than a product of considered judgment, the study put Tea Party members under a microscope. This is fairly typical of those like the writers at The Times. It reminds me of a movie by Woody Allen, in which a boy fell on his head and temporarily became a conservative, subscribing to National Review and such. It took another fall by the boy to get rid of this problem. No argument, no examination of the merits of the ideas. Instead it is like some kind of virus one catches, not a set of ideas one might actually find intellectually compelling."

Thanks, I’ll do it myself: "The Obama Democrats see a society in which ordinary people cannot fend for themselves, one where they need to have their incomes supplemented, their health insurance regulated and guaranteed, their relationships with their employers governed by union leaders. Highly educated mandarins can make better decisions for them than they can make for themselves. That is the culture of dependence. The tea partiers see things differently. They’re not looking for lower taxes — half of tea-party supporters, a New York Times survey found, think their taxes are fair. Nor are they financially secure — half say someone in their household may lose their job in the next year. Two-thirds say the recession has caused some hardship in their lives. But they recognize, correctly, that the Obama Democrats are trying to permanently enlarge government and increase citizens’ dependence on it.”

Laotian stabs Nigerian: "The Chico State University student body president was stabbed several times early Sunday morning in what officials call a hate crime. Joseph Igbineweka, 23, who is of Nigerian descent, today was reported in stable condition at Enloe Medical Center. Chico police said Igbineweka was walking with friends on Warner Street near West Sacramento Avenue just off the north end of the university about 2:20 a.m. Sunday when a young man began yelling racial slurs at him. Police say the alleged assailant, Barry Sayavong, 19, of Chico then pulled a knife and began to slash and stab Igbineweka.” [I mention this event because the ancestry of only one party was mentioned in the original article]

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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19 April, 2010

That idiot, George Bush

If George W. Bush had been the first President to need a teleprompter installed to be able to get through a press conference, would you have laughed and said this is more proof of how inept he is on his own and is really controlled by smarter men behind the scenes?

If George W. Bush had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take Laura Bush to a play in NYC, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had reduced your retirement plan's holdings of GM stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and incorrectly formatted DVDs, when Gordon Brown had given him a thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought this embarrassingly narcissistic and tacky?

If George W. Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the non-existent "Austrian language," would you have brushed it off as a minor slip?

If George W. Bush had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who cannot seem to keep current in their income taxes, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had stated that there were 57 states in the United States, would you have said that he is clueless.

If George W. Bush would have flown all the way toDenmark to make a five minute speech about how the Olympics would benefit him walking out his front door, would you have thought he was a self important, conceited, egotistical prick?

If George W. Bush had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to "Cinco de Cuatro" in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again, would you have winced in embarrassment?

If George W. Bush had mis-spelled the word "advice" would you have hammered him for it for years like Dan Quayle and potatoe as proof of what a dunce he is?

If George W. Bush had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded he's a hypocrite?

If George W. Bush's administration had okayed Air Force One flying low over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in downtown Manhattan causing widespread panic, would you have wondered whether they actually get what happened on 9-11?

If George W. Bush had failed to send relief aid to flood victims throughout the Midwest with more people killed or made homeless than in New Orleans, would you want it made into a major ongoing political issue with claims of racism and incompetence?

If George W. Bush had created the position of 32 Czars who report directly to him, bypassing the House and Senate on much of what is happening in America, would you have approved.

If George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had proposed to double the national debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had then proposed to double the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved?

So, tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive? Can't think of anything? Don't worry. He did all this in the first year of his Presidency -- so you'll have three more years to come up with an answer.


Can the real motives of the Left be any clearer...

... after more than 40 years. More than 40 years of apologizing for fascists despots like Ho, Castro, and Arafat. More than 40 years of suppressing history they don't like. More than 40 years of twisting news reports to damage the forces of freedom and democracy and help the forces of revolutionary totalitarianism. More than 40 years of demonizing productive inventors, employers and investors, and glamorizing sloth, extortion, and mendacious whining. More than 40 years of ridiculing a millenia-proven concept known as "normal marriage," and pathetic experimentation and boosterism of every perverted notion that rejects it.

And now, in the latest and most unbelievable chapter, a solid 20 years of coddling and patronizing of the most regressive force unleashed on the globe in 500 years, jihadism. Apparently feminist women only feel free to roar when oppressive males pay them 15% less per hour, not when they execute them for getting pregnant outside of marriage, or throw acid in their faces for walking in the street without a male escort.

And then there's the strange consistency of so many of Pres. Obama's friends, which has never incurred any complaint a thousandth the magnitude of, sayyyyy, Sen. Lott's birthday comments to Strom Thurmond. Consider such characters as Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, Rashid Khalidi, Noam Chomsky, Ray Hananiah, William Ayres, Samantha Power and Robert Malley --they're all just filthy little peas in the same crowded Jooooooo-hating pod. And all of this is pointing to the grand blood sacrifice that they secretly yearn for: the conquest of Israel, and the return of the Jews to their proper place of dhimmitude.

Is this really where "liberals" and "progressives" intended to end up as they directed their fearsome energies over the past 40 years? Serving as willing accomplices to a pre-medieval despotism in its efforts to mass-murder peaceful Jews? Yet that is where they are. And in their shriveled, perverted heart-of-hearts, they still know it. They ALWAYS know. Conservatives often give them the benefit of the doubt on their "good intentions," when it is never justified. They know.



Tea Partiers keep dissent alive

This morning there were many reports of yesterday’s Tea Party Demonstrations from across the country. These people did not act at all like they are consistently portrayed. The mainstream the media has described them as: Racist, Homophobic, Narrow-minded, Anti-government, Second Amendment fanatics. But, I neither saw nor heard reports of disorderly or rude conduct.

So what is wrong with this picture-perfect participation allowed and encouraged under the First Amendment of our U.S. Constitution? Why are the media and the likes of Bill Clinton so afraid today? To be sure, the Tea Party vision of America does clash with the vision of America that Obama and his followers want. So what? Why all of the establishment fear? The media loved it in 2008 when the voters took out their frustrations on the GOP and elected this man, Obama, who has no past and no resume. The media still loves to trash Sara Palin all day, every day. Where is the true fear and loathing coming from? Does the political process belong exclusively to the Left?

Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media share most values. They fear genuine grass roots movements. The only revolutions that they know are of the kind described by their Left-wing beliefs. Perhaps they are projecting what they know [violent revolution] on the Tea Parties and this creates their fear. Barack Obama takes this same, elitist Left-wing view toward normal Americans. Recall his very own words:
“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them…And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” - Candidate Barack Obama, April 11, 2008
Or had you forgotten those remarks by our President? He and his elitist supporters apparently believe that present-day America is a collection of backward hicks badly in need of re-education. Tea Parties are a vestige of a bad “Old America” that must be destroyed and replaced with Obama’s vision of a European-style, Statist Paradise.

Imagine for a moment what it might be like if Barack Obama and his “Blame-America-First” Coalition of Union Tough Guys, aging SDS Terrorists, former Weathermen, Anarchists, Leftist Revolutionaries, Nihilists, and their “Lumpenproletariat” base were to complete not only their first, but also a second “Four Year Plan” [perish the thought].

Consider: If there were no Tea Party movement, where would we be headed and how fast would we get there? [Hint: Think of Health Care Legislation as the model.] Without the Tea Party Resistance, “Obama’s New America” would look very different indeed from the “Old America. “Obama’s New America” defined: A compressed effort of political re-education in Progressive Group-Think; Psychological bullying by True Believers; Physical intimidation for “hard cases;” Prosecutions of “Enemies of the State;” A total destruction of the Free Enterprise System; and Big Government intrusion into every facet of or lives.

After such a “fundamental transformation of America,” the remaining, outspoken Conservatives would be an endangered species. Think of it: possessing “dangerous literature” such as unapproved versions of the U.S. Constitution, “The Federalist Papers,” or even a copy of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” could be a heresy and might even be a “crime against the state.”

I simply cannot bring myself to believe that the American Public will long suffer Obama and his Propaganda Machine, listen to the fawning, slavish media, and prefer them to the liberty loving people of the Tea Parties!

Progressive Democrats and their wacky coalition have erred, their ambition has outstripped their abilities and their political capital. These are the same loony Leftists, [now transmogrified into Progressive Democrats] that spitefully contributed to Hubert Humphrey’s loss in 1968. Hubert Humphrey, the last true Liberal Democrat to run for President, lost in 1968 precisely because the American Public correctly saw that those radicals represented the crazy Left Wing of that same Democrat Party. After 42 years of mutation, permutation and fermentation in a dark place they are all grown up and making their play to finish what they started in the late 1960s.

Mind you, I am not speaking about the respectable and law abiding traditional Democrats who have yet to figure out that their once proud party of Andrew Jackson is no more. I’m talking about the street brawlers. They are the true face of the Progressive Movement. Blood and violence in the streets is their gig, not ours.

Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and all of the Leftwing “Czars” will be held responsible for the monster they have created, characterized by divisive politics and their blind hatred of traditional American values. The American voters will ultimately come to see Obama, and his Leftist Cabal for what it is. Our rejection must be complete But, we will forever have to guard against a return of their style of politics. Our watchwords must be, “Never again!” Our touchstone must be the U.S. Constitution.

Keep up the good work, Tea Parties. Keep pushing back against this Progressive Democrat Statism. We must never hear any eulogy for America. Long live the Tea Party Resistance!




Even more pointless government work: "I reported recently on a government boondoggle proposed for sleepy Forest City, Maine. To keep the stimulus cash flowing, the Feds wanted to waste millions of your money to expand a customs border station that sees only 5 cars cross the border on an average day. Jane Johnson told us that the government wanted to take half of her property to build residences for customs agents and a parking lot. The parking lot would be within 12 feet of her home. But on Friday came word that Homeland Security had backed down a little. It would not seize Johnson’s land. DHS said Friday that it would limit the size of the port of entry to land already owned by the government, backing away from the previous plan to acquire land owned by local residents. Of course, many millions will still be wasted on the station, but at least Johnson’s property is safe. Johnson credits her senator, Susan Collins for beating back the government’s encroachment. Johnson says media coverage also helped.”

Obama space policy not grounded in reality: "As President Barack Obama has been dancing around the space issue, one thing is certain, science is taking a back seat to politics, jobs and economic development. His plan is nonsensical, a mixing of compromises to supporters and target dates so far away they are useless, such as landing on an asteroid by 2025 and orbiting — not landing on — Mars in the 2030s. The 2030s? Is he for real?”

Taxpayers take another hit from Obama: "Taxpayers will pay billions more due to an executive order signed by President Obama that effectively restricts federal construction contracts to the minority of construction firms whose workers are unionized. That will encourage them to jack up their prices, by shielding them from having to compete with lower bids from non-union construction firms.”

The huge, hidden tax you pay for government: "Taxpayers rushing to fill out and file their form 1040 today may think their obligation to the federal government is complete. But it’s really just beginning. Although Americans paid more than $900 billion in income taxes last year, there’s a far larger tax bill hidden from view. That tax is regulation.”

The United States is the new Europe: "Many of President Obama’s advisers want America to emulate Europe. That is, after all, where health care is free, where taxes are high but no one seems to complain, and where the brightest students go to work for the government because the private sector is simply disappearing. The president’s advisers are seeing their wishes come true. While the government is hiring, the private sector is losing millions of jobs rather than creating them.”

Survey indicates a lack of trust: "Can you trust Washington? Nearly 80 percent of Americans say they can't and they have little faith that the massive federal bureaucracy can solve the nation's ills, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center that shows public confidence in the federal government at one of the lowest points in a half-century. The poll released Sunday illustrates the ominous situation facing President Obama and the Democratic Party as they struggle to maintain their comfortable congressional majorities in this fall's elections. Midterm prospects are typically tough for the party in power. Add a toxic environment like this and lots of incumbent Democrats could be out of work."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


18 April, 2010

Mr. President, is a strong America a problem?

From Sarah Palin's Facebook page:

Asked this week about his faltering efforts to advance the Middle East peace process, President Obama did something remarkable. In front of some 47 foreign leaders and hundreds of reporters from all over the world, President Obama said that “whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower.”

Whether we like it or not? Most Americans do like it. America’s military may be one of the greatest forces for good the world has ever seen, liberating countless millions from tyranny, slavery, and oppression over the last 234 years. As a dominant superpower, the United States has won wars hot and cold; our military has advanced the cause of freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan and kept authoritarian powers like Russia and China in check.

It is in America’s and the world’s interests for our country to remain a dominant military superpower, but under our great country’s new leadership that dominance seems to be slipping away. President Obama has ended production of the F-22, the most advanced fighter jet this country has ever built. He’s gutted our missile defense program by eliminating shield resources in strategic places including Alaska. And he’s ended the program to build a new generation of nuclear weapons that would have ensured the reliability of our nuclear deterrent well into the future. All this is in the context of the country’s unsustainable debt that could further limit defense spending. As one defense expert recently explained:
The president is looking to eliminate the last vestiges of the Reagan-era buildup. Once the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are “ended” (not “won”), the arms control treaties signed, and defense budgets held at historic lows while social entitlements and debt service rise to near-European levels, the era of American superpower will have passed.
The truth is this: by his actions we see a president who seems to be much more comfortable with an American military that isn’t quite so dominant and who feels the need to apologize for America when he travels overseas. Could it be a lack of faith in American exceptionalism? The fact is that America and our allies are safer when we are a dominant military superpower – whether President Obama likes it or not.



The Israeli Left want to undermine their own country too

It's in the nature of Leftism everywhere. Leftism is the ideology of hate -- though always disguised as doing good. The disguises vary but the destructive behaviour reveals that the hate is constant

The Anat Kam affair has sent shockwaves throughout Israel's military and political establishment.

Allegations that the young reporter stole reams of sensitive IDF documents and passed them along to Ha'aretz reporter Uri Blau raise serious questions about basic subjects such as security procedures and information controls in the army.

Sweeping changes will need to be implemented to ensure that such an outflow of documents does not recur, and one assumes that the military brass has already taken steps to plug the leaks in an obviously creaky system.

But of all the secrets that Kam may have revealed about operational and intelligence matters, few are likely to be as explosive as the real bombshell that she has unwittingly uncovered.

For through her actions, Kam has cast the spotlight on a critical question that does not get nearly as much attention as it deserves: why does the Israeli Left seem to produce so much treachery against the state?

Indeed, the sad fact is that if the charges against Kam are true, she is but the latest in a long line of ideologically-driven left-wingers who have betrayed the country and its secrets.

Remember Mordechai Vanunu, the former nuclear technician who disclosed details of Israel's atomic-energy program to the Times of London in October 1986?

Or how about Marcus Klingberg, one of Israel's top military scientists, who passed data to the Soviets out of ideological conviction before his arrest in 1983?

And then there is Tali Fahima, who was convicted in 2005 for her contact with Zakaria Zubeidi, a Palestinian terrorist from Jenin who headed the local branch of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

There are plenty of other such examples, which only leads one to wonder why some on the Left seem to have no compunction about committing duplicitous acts which cause harm to the state.

Obviously, it would be unfair and wrong to tar the entire Left with the brush of disloyalty. But the lifting of the gag order on the Kam affair should prompt some serious introspection on the other side of the political spectrum.

The fact is that leftists need to take a long, hard look at themselves and their ideology. Based on some of what has emerged from their ranks over the past few decades, it is clear that something has gone very, very wrong.

Of course, such an accounting is unlikely to occur, as various leading left-wing commentators have already rushed to Kam's defense. They are trying to paint her as a whistle-blower, portraying the young journalist as an Israeli Erin Brockovich motivated by the highest ideals to pursue truth and justice, rather than a Benedict Arnold who violated the trust that was placed in her.

For example, former Meretz chairman Yossi Sarid, writing in Ha'aretz on Sunday, sought to defend Kam's actions by suggesting that plenty of politicians have leaked documents over the years.

That may be true, but it is beside the point. Just because a lot of people engage in an illegal act does not in any way make it lawful or honorable, and Sarid should know better than to suggest otherwise.

And then there is the irrepressible Gideon Levy, who went so far as to praise Kam and Blau for their actions. "These two youngsters," he wrote, "each in his own way, wanted to contribute to the state. They saw evils and would not keep silent. This should be described and portrayed as patriotism and love of one's country - certainly more than sending soldiers to eliminate fugitives in cold blood."

Just how exactly Kam "saw evil" when she purportedly made copies of documents outlining the deployment and order of battle of IDF forces is hard to fathom. If anything, the reckless disclosure of such information could have endangered the lives of soldiers in the field had it gotten into the wrong hands.

That isn't patriotism – it is subversion, pure and simple.

Needless to say, when a handful of soldiers recently raised a banner at a military ceremony saying they would refuse to evacuate Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, the Left went into a frenzy, blasting the Right over the need to "follow orders" and "maintain discipline" in the army.

Oddly enough, however, those principles seem to fall by the wayside when it comes to the case of Anat Kam, whose actions are inexplicably trumpeted as those of a hero.

Perhaps, as Kam goes to trial, the Left will finally take pause and stop to think. Maybe, just maybe, they will look at the young, naive ideologue and finally see the hazards which their ideology has produced.

In this respect, the Kam affair is a wake-up call, and the alarm bells are ringing.

The only question now is whether the Left will heed the buzzer and finally awaken.

SOURCE (See also Steven Plaut on the matter)


Tinpot Hitlers attacking a low cost airline

SPIRIT AIRLINES put a few noses out of joint when it announced this month that it will begin charging passengers between $20 and $45 for carry-on luggage too big to fit under their seats. One of those dislocated schnozzes was that of Ray LaHood, the US secretary of transportation, who pronounced Spirit's new carry-on fee "outrageous," and growled: "We're gonna hold the airline's feet to the fire on this. Because we have an obligation to do it and we have the ability to do it." Asked to characterize the airline's change of policy, LaHood asserted: "I don't think they care about their customers."

According to his biography at the Transportation Department website, LaHood's entire career has been spent on government payrolls; he has no business experience of any kind. Perhaps that explains his fatuous notion that Spirit, a for-profit company in a fiercely competitive industry, can jack up its fees without regard to customer reaction.

Maybe LaHood imagines that air travelers, like taxpayers, have no choice but to pay whatever they're told to pay. A lifetime in the public sector may have so calcified his ignorance of how markets function that he simply cannot grasp that passengers who don't want to pay Spirit's new carry-on fees can always switch to an airline that doesn't charge them.

But ignorance is no excuse for LaHood's threat to "hold the airline's feet to the fire." Washington does not "have an obligation" to second-guess the fees charged by Spirit or any other private business. Absent evidence of fraud, theft, or coercion, airlines should be able to charge what they think the market will bear, free of governmental meddling.

Spirit's $30 fee for the use of an overhead bin may well strike people as "outrageous." But for Washington to bully the airline into rescinding its fee -- for no better reason than that some passengers don't like it -- would be a greater outrage by far.

LaHood isn't the only public-sector lifer carrying on about Spirit's carry-on policy. New York Senator Charles Schumer squawks that the new fee "is a slap in the face to travelers," and declares that passengers should have the right to bring a carry-on aboard "without having to worry about getting nickeled and dimed by an airline company."

Firm in his conviction that anything he personally dislikes ought to be illegal, Schumer is pushing legislation to ban airlines from charging for carry-ons. "I think it will go through the Senate and House like a hot knife through butter," he predicts.

Maybe it will. But if Schumer grieves so deeply about travelers being "nickeled and dimed" when they fly, why has he never gone after the US ticket tax, which adds 7.5 percent to the price of every domestic flight? Or the $16.50 the federal government charges for each international departure and arrival? Or the $17 in customs and inspection fees paid by passengers flying into US airports from abroad? Or the "passenger facilities charges" (up to $18 per round-trip)? Or the "US Security Service Fee" ($2.50 per departure)? Or the "domestic segment fee" ($3.70 per flight segment)? The government's unremitting "nickeling and diming"of airline passengers doesn't trouble the sleep of New York's senior senator. Only when a private firm acts does he toss and turn in anguish.

Reality check: Every airline charges for its overhead bins, just as every airline charges for bathrooms, oxygen masks, and flight attendants. The cost of those amenities is built into the airfare you pay when you fly, and you pay whether you use them or not.

The same used to be true of the "free" meals, pillows, and baggage handling airlines provided, before they unbundled those services, made them optional, and began charging for them separately. Spirit, an ultra-low cost carrier that describes itself as "the unbundling leader in the industry," has decided to do the same for carry-on luggage, simultaneously reducing its base fares by $40 or more each way.

Ben Baldanza, the president of Spirit Airlines, argues that making every passenger pay for carry-on luggage would be like McDonald's forcing every customer who buys a hamburger to cover the cost of French fries, too. "Not everyone wants fries," Baldanza says. "Why should everyone have to pay for them?"

Is Spirit's strategy a good one? The free market can answer that question faster and more accurately than any one of us can. The less assistance it gets from grandstanding senators or transportation secretaries, the better off all travelers will be.



The return of the blimp aerostat

The U.S. military has begun testing massive high-tech dirigibles — designed to provide battlefield commanders with a bird's-eye view of cruise missiles or other threats — in the skies over the Utah desert.

An unmanned 242-foot-long balloon was launched Wednesday morning about 80 miles west of Salt Lake City. It stayed aloft for about three hours before it was pulled back down as planned, according to Paula Nicholson, a spokeswoman for Dugway Proving Ground.

Vast tracts of military-owned desert were chosen for the testing because of their remoteness and resemblance to the mountainous, arid environment of Afghanistan, the military said in a statement.

Known as aerostats, the dirigibles are outfitted with radar and communications systems to provide long-range surveillance targeting threats from aircraft, ballistic and cruise missiles.

Waltham, Mass.-based Raytheon Co. was awarded a $1.4 billion contract from the Army in 2007 to design, build and test the aerostats.

Several more tests are proposed for Utah later in the year, including over the remote northern portion of the Great Salt Lake and parts of the Snake Valley.

The aerostats were first flight-tested in Elizabeth City, N.C., last summer but were limited to a height of 3,000 feet. In Utah, the dirigibles are expected to fly some 10,000 feet above the U.S. Air Force's Utah Test and Training Range, where air space is restricted up to 58,000 feet, the military said. The dirigibles are tethered to processing stations on the ground, and each is capable of staying aloft for a month.

Officials said the aerostats will be less expensive to maintain and operate than conventional aircraft-based radar while providing battlefield commanders a bird's-eye view of threats in a given area.

"Not only will it expand the view well over the horizon, but do so at the least cost to the taxpayer. This is a critically needed capability as we continue to prosecute the global war on terrorism," Col. William E. King IV, Dugway's commander, said in a statement.




I have been pointing out the Leftist bias of Snopes for years now but a recent article does a pretty good job of pointing out that they cannot be trusted on anything political. Even when given the facts, they ignore whatever does not suit their Leftist agenda

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


17 April, 2010

Crash the crashers!

Pasadena Tea Party Crashes Anti-Tea Party Gathering

For the past few days stories about a group called Crash the Tea Party have dominated the national news media. The group’s plan was simple: attend Tea Parties, carry signs and do interviews that would show Tea Partiers as hateful racists and homophobes. But it seems the Pasadena Tea Party Patriots may have turned the tables.

During an interfaith gathering Thursday morning at Pasadena’s All Saints Church meant to serve as a rebuttal to the Tea Party Movement, a small group of Tea Partiers quietly watched and listened. As speakers compared Tea Partiers to the Ku Klux Klan, and branded them as hatemongers, a single question from one of the speakers led to what could be an embarrassing moment for the Anti-Tea party group. The question was who would come up and stand on the front steps in solidarity with those against the rhetoric of the Tea Party Movement? A handful stepped forward.

But organizers of the event called “A Moral Compass to Justice” didn’t seem to recognize one of the leaders of the Pasadena Tea Party Patriots, Jonathan Wilson, who stood among those answering the priest’s call. Wilson is pictured here in yellow just behind the speaker wearing sunglasses.

“It really wasn’t part of our plan to embarrass All Saints Church and stand out in this way at that terrible rally,” Jonathan Wilson tells CCN – Crown City News. “But when the opportunity presented itself I just couldn’t resist. It’s really my way of saying that we’re not afraid to stand up to people making up lies about the Tea Party movement which includes people from all walks of life, and from all races.”


The compulsive and constant lies about the tea partiers really are disturbing -- yet predictable. Remember: To the Left "There is no such thing as right and wrong" so lies are not wrong and lying about the Tea Partiers is not wrong either. To the Left it's just good politics. Telling the truth is just not among Leftist priorities -- JR


The brownshirts are still with us

On the night of Friday April 9th, a petite female political operative and her boyfriend were attacked and seriously injured in New Orleans by a vicious group of crazed cowards who shrieked political insults while pouncing. After the pummeling, the petite female and her boyfriend were left, collectively, with a compound leg fracture, a concussion, a broken nose and broken jaw. No robbery occurred.

But wait!....Don’t waste your time--if you’re Googling for this item on CNN, New York Times, Wa-Po, MSNBC, Huff-Po, ABC, Salon, CBS, etc. --that is.

What? But don’t attacks (physical and/or verbal) of a political nature outrage the above media outfits to the point of hysteria? Didn’t all the above media outfits wail an indignant chorus to the high-heavens regarding the “anguish” suffered by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver when dribbled with a few drops of (unconfirmed) Tea-Partier spittle, to say nothing of the fit-of -the-vapors suffered by Barney Frank upon hearing some schoolyard taunts by same?

Sure. But the beating victims in New Orleans (left with perhaps permanently disabling injuries) were Republicans, you see. They were emerging from a Republican fundraising dinner at a French Quarter restaurant shortly after attending the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. Their attackers (as appears overwhelmingly probable given all evidence) waved signs saying “Republicans Geaux Home!” and had formed a gauntlet outside the restaurant shrieking anti-Republican insults at all who entered and exited its doors....

Amongst the shriekers and sign-carriers that formed the gauntlet in front of Brennans Restaurant, one waved a sign with Che Guevara’s famous, “Hasta la Victoria Siempre.” Shortly after this sign was waved, a small defenseless woman was wantonly beaten and severely injured. For those familiar with Che Guevara’s handiwork, nothing could be more fitting.



Barack Obama: Enemy Within

We will achieve our destiny to be as a shining city on a hill for all mankind to see. – Ronald Wilson Reagan

Our nation is chosen by God and commissioned by history to be a model to the world. – George Walker Bush

America does not presume to know what is best for everyone. – Barack Hussein Obama (Insert deflating balloon effect here.)

We have a president loath to acknowledge American exceptionalism. Indeed, the weight of the evidence suggests that our chief executive, through both word and deed and with malice aforethought, seeks to undermine – if not dismantle – that exceptionalism. At one time we properly called such activity anti-American, seditious or even – under certain circumstances – treasonous. Today we call it "progressive."

Abraham Lincoln – also from the Prairie State – perhaps forecast his presidential progeny when he observed: "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."

We are destroying ourselves. Of course, by "we" I mean those egalitarian ideologues who presently control the reins of government: liberals in Congress, President Obama and his stable of cracked czars and policy advisers. Their demonstrated antipathy toward America's uniquely grand place among world nations is unambiguous.

Consider comments made recently by John "forced abortion" Holdren, Obama's science czar, to students at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In a rallying cry that could only be mustered by a true patriot, Holdren proclaimed: "[America] can't expect to be number one in everything indefinitely." (Self-fulfilling prophecy, anyone? Go team! That'll sure fire 'em-up before they hit the field.)

But what's most outrageous is the demonstrable reality that Obama's legislative agenda is intentionally designed to do just that – to ensure that America devolves to the lowest common denominator, lining-up as but another "also-ran" in today's neo-Marxist, internationalist horse race.

In addition to his humiliating world apology tour, the president recently gave us a sneak peek into this egalitarian mindset while preaching to the choir at his April 12 Nuclear Security Summit: "Whether we like it or not, we (the United States) remain a dominant military superpower," he said.

"Whether we like it or not"? That Obama would even preface recognition of America's precarious role as the "last remaining superpower" with "like it or not" betrays his fixed membership among the camp of self-loathing "or nots."

I've been reluctant to climb aboard the "Obama wants to destroy America" conspiracy train. I'm no longer reticent to do so. As Newt Gingrich recently observed, we know this administration to be "far and away the most radical administration in American history."

Although he may not seek to destroy America outright, we can only conclude – based upon his grossly irrational and irresponsible governance – that Obama remains determined to destroy America both as we know her and as our Founding Fathers intended her.

It's our own fault, really (by "our" I mean "you" if you voted for him). We should have taken this radical ideologue at his radical word. Remember? During his Inaugural Address, Obama promised to "begin again the work of remaking America." That's "remake" America, not "improve" America or even "reform" America. It has always been this man's "hope" to "change" our nation by wiping clean the slate – "remaking" an America in his own secular-humanist, neo-Marxist self-image.

And that's exactly what he's doing. Obama has embarked upon the most brazen, slash-and-burn socialist restructuring scheme in our nation's history. This president is many things, but he's not stupid. He knows full well that his massive government takeover of health care, coupled with his global warmist "cap-and-trade" tax scheme – and his broader tax-and-spend-during-deep-recession game of economic Russian roulette – are undeniably unsustainable.

Not only will these policies bring down the private insurance industry (part of the plan), they will – if let stand – bring down the whole of private industry, crashing our entire free-market system (again, part of the plan).

It's already happening. AT&T, Verizon, Deere and Caterpillar are but the first among an anticipated cavalcade of major corporations expecting to suffer a multi-billion dollar bloodbath at the hands of Obamacare – merely one of the president's radically sweeping, game-changing initiatives. (Congratulations, Mr. President.) As every good Marxist knows – to include the "man-child president" (as dubbed by Rush Limbaugh) – it's all unsustainable. Scary thing is: It'll work if they're not stopped at the ballot box come November.

As reported by FoxNews.com: "'The future of the economic might of this nation is at stake,' Jim Kessler, vice president for policy at Third Way bluntly observes. "President Obama's budget forecast for the next decade (grossly underestimated) projects an additional $10 trillion in deficit spending, more than doubling the current national debt to a staggering $20 trillion.

"The gloomy forecast leads some analysts like former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin to suggest our economy is headed for a cliff. "'This looks like Thelma and Louise to me. I mean, you know, there's the Grand Canyon and we're going to hit the accelerator. Why? You should hit the brake and then turn the car around."

But Thelma and Louise never intended to turn the car around. Neither does Barack Obama.

There's no other way to say it. As goes the war to preserve liberty, national sovereignty, national solvency and American exceptionalism: Intelligence suggests we have an enemy within.



BrookesNews Update

Is the US economy really recovering from recession? : The US economy is facing severe problems. a rapid monetary expansion started in February and continued into March. This expansion worked out at an annualised rate of 56 per cent. Whether this extraordinary growth is merely a spike in a downward trend or an indication of accelerating monetary growth remains to be seen. If it's the latter then America is heading into an extremely inflationary period with all that that entails
US savings and investment: facts and fallacies : What does the Obama administration and its brilliant economic advisors offer? Vastly more of the same destructive nonsense that brought America to its present sorry economic state: nothing less than a sustained statist assault on economic growth. Only leftist fanatics and those who think increases in GDP and utilisation are the same as increases in capital formation will fall for his leftist garbage
U.S. government, on its way to bankruptcy : If current trends continue — U.S. government spending largesse, foreign creditor restiveness-turn-fear and a U.S government-Federal Reserve tag team with a bent to fill all government borrowing and spending gaps with money printed out of thin air, not only are we looking at a defacto national bankruptcy, but both Peter and Paul are about to get fleeced
Fidel Castro catches Hollywood's useful idiot celebs on candid camera : High-ranking Cuban intelligence defector Delfin Fernandez revealed that Castro's secret police employed 24-hour surveillance and used 'both cameras and listening devices' to compile a complete record of the intimate doings of every single celebrity who visits Castro's island paradise. Does this explain Hollywood celebrities' overwhelming support for this sadistic killer?
Ludwig von Mises: Setting the Record Straight : Mises would be disappointed that the institute named after him would be known as a center of anarchist thought, but what's done is done. If Mises were here today, his energies would be focused on the fight for economic rationality — i.e., free markets — rather than defending his personal reputation
Cuba's true martyrs : Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a mason who was one of the 75 activists and journalists imprisoned by Fidel Castro in what is known as the Black Spring of 2003, died in February after an 80-day hunger strike. It has fallen upon a group of valiant Cuban men and women to not only restore the noble tradition sullied in our day by genocidal terrorists but also the original meaning of the word martyr. As witnesses, they are testifying the truth — indeed a deadly truth
Leftists: The Face of Hate : Whenever Mark Potok, Rachel Maddow, Bill Maher, Keith Olbermann or some lefty Dem hack in Congress attempts to equate conservative Joe to 'terrorists' contemplate who the true bigots are. The palpable irony is that leftists — with their slanderous name-calling, harsh judgments and ad hominem attacks are the real haters. Hypocrisy, intolerance, hate, malice and mendacity are the five defining characteristics of the hardcore left and are to found in abundance in the Democratic Party



Tea party to assist GOP? "They may both loathe the Democratic agenda, but a cool distance has divided the GOP establishment and Tea Partyers, whose scorn for the status quo is not limited to the party in power. But after the April 15 Tax Day Tea Party demonstrations across the country, the two may be pulled much closer, whether they are ready for each other or not. A tide of Tea Party activists, eager to turn Washington's course, may flood into Republican campaign offices. Though not a perfect fit, the GOP's views are much nearer to their own than the alternative. Whether the two camps learn to work together may decide how big a role the movement ultimately plays in November and beyond."

Taxes, greed and prudence: "Never mind the attempt at intimidation by some, like the 2007 Nobel Laureate Woodrow ‘Woody’ Clark, II, Senior Fellow at the Milken Institute, claiming that if you work to reduce or let alone to abolish taxes, you are greedy. You are not. You simply have a common sense understanding that there is something basically amiss with a system that coerces you and millions of others to part with your resources for services that would appear to be either hardly needed or, where needed, capable of being funded without using coercive force. Moreover, not only are you not guilty of the vice of greed. You can take pride in your practice of the virtue of prudence. Because what this moral virtue requires of us all is that we make sure we and those we are responsible for are well taken care of.”

Jerry Brown, Oil Baron: "When Jerry Brown recently held his first fundraiser as an official candidate for governor, he chose as the venue the Sacramento apartment where he lived the last time he held that office, after famously declining to live in the governor’s mansion. Faced with multimillionaire Republican opponents, Mr. Brown wants to be seen as just a regular public employee, trying to hold his own against tycoons at the top of America’s wealth disparity. While politically expedient, the image of Jerry Brown as everyman is patently false. Mr. Brown has a lot of money – how much exactly is not public – and unhappily for his environmentalist and global-warming-alarmist supporters, it’s oil money."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


16 April, 2010

The upcoming British elections (on May 6)

Comments below by Professor Peter Saunders, a British sociologist of libertarian inclinations

‘Let the baby-kissing begin.’ With these words, the BBC announced the start of Britain’s general election campaign, which is already turning out to be the most dishonest in living memory.

Everybody knows the country is bankrupt, but nobody will say what they’re going to do about it. The deficit is on the same scale as Greece; the public debt is bigger than at any time since World War II. But the first week of the campaign was taken up with an absurd argument about 6 billion of National Insurance revenues when the budget deficit is 167 billion! The parties are fiddling as the country burns.

Both parties have promised to maintain ‘front line services,’ and neither is talking about tax rises. Conservative leader David Cameron has promised health spending and foreign aid will be ring-fenced (never mind that Britain is still giving China 170 million per year in aid!).

Cameron is desperate to convince voters that the Tories have changed. They are now the nice party. He says the Thatcher years were divisive and that he will be ‘inclusive.’

But Labour wants to convince us that Cameron is a Thatcherite wolf in sheep’s clothing. This week, it launched a nationwide poster campaign based on the hugely popular BBC drama Ashes to Ashes in which a police officer is shot and wakes up in the 1980s. The poster portrays Cameron as Gene Hunt, the abrasive, politically-incorrect detective at the centre of the program. The tagline warns that the Tories will take us back to the 1980s.

But the campaign has backfired. Viewers like Gene Hunt! Cameron comes across as a rather prissy Eton toff. By portraying him as a no-nonsense tough guy, Labour has done him a huge favour.

But why do both parties think Thatcher is such a toxic brand? When she came to power in 1979, Britain was on its knees. The unions had made the country ungovernable, the Treasury was in hock to the IMF, and all the big industries were owned by the state and didn’t work. When the Tories lost office in 1997, they handed over one of the strongest economies in Europe. At a time when the country’s economy has again collapsed, you would think the Tories would be embracing this record, not trying to distance themselves from it.

The country is bust, but the parties won’t scare the voters with talk of nasty medicine to come. It may be time for the politicians to start kissing babies, but they are all determined not to frighten the children.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated April 16. Enquiries to cis@cis.org.au. Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.


Arizona doctor says Obamacare will force him to close shop

While it may be years before most Americans feel the impact of President Obama’s health-care bill, a few patients in Scottsdale, Ariz., got a small taste of life under Obamacare last week when they arrived at their Dermatologist’s office only to see a sign with the following taped to the front door:

“If you voted for Obamacare, be aware these doors will close before it goes into effect.” The note is signed Joseph M. Scherzer M.D. and includes the following addendum: “****Unless Congress or the Courts repeal the BILL.”

Scherzer, who attended Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, has been a practicing Dermatologist in Scottsdale, Ariz., since 1976. Reached yesterday at his office, Dr. Scherzer, 63, said he plans to stop practicing before 2014 when the bill’s full impact will be felt because he refuses to deal with the headache of increased government involvement in health care.

“I’m absolutely serious [about stopping practicing] and it’s not just because I’ll be nearing 65,” Scherzer said. “The stress is what would push me out the door. From what I’ve gathered hearing from my friends and peers, most physicians I’ve heard from feel the same way.”

Scherzer said the bill’s emphasis on punitive measures for physicians not following government-prescribed treatment methods under Medicare would increase his anxiety level to the point he would no longer be able to practice medicine. The maximum fine was previously $10,000; under the bill it will now be capped at $50,000. Scherzer said the fine system makes seeing a Medicare patients a difficult and stressful exercise.



Tea Parties Vs. Hard-Left Protests

In the mind's eye of the conservative movement, the Tea Party phenomenon right now is maybe the crucial factor in slowing socialism in Washington, on everything from the federal health care takeover to the hidden taxes of cap-and-trade legislation.

It's also a fascinating visual. When was the last time you saw such a spontaneous eruption of conservative grassroots anger, coast to coast? On both counts, the Tea Party movement should be cause for massive television coverage. Except for one thing. It's a conservative uprising, so it gets different treatment.

It's ignored as long as possible, and when it's no longer possible to be ignored, it's savaged.

The movement was launched in February 2009, when CNBC's Rick Santelli suggested throwing a "tea party" to protest government takeovers. A new study by Rich Noyes of the Media Research Center found only 19 news stories on the Tea Party movement for the entire year on ABC, CBS and NBC. The Obama family dog received more attention.

How anemic is this? Compare those 19 stories in all of 2009 with 41 stories the networks gave the "Million Mom March" against gun rights in 2000 -- and all before the math-challenged protest even happened. Consider racist and anti-Semitic Rev. Louis Farrakhan's "Million Man March." On Oct. 16, 1995, ABC, CBS and NBC together aired 21 stories just on one night.

The difference in tone was just as dramatic. Amazingly, the Tea Parties were assumed to be racist, but Farrakhan's event was not. ABC anchor Peter Jennings devoted all but 75 seconds of his newscast to promotional goo for the Nation of Islam.

Jennings sanitized the gathering. "For most of the hundreds of thousands who came here today, the event far overshadowed the man who organized it," Jennings claimed. He concluded the show on Farrakhan's behalf, that "it would be a terrible mistake not to recognize that here today he inspired many people, and in a broader sense, as one participant here after another has reaffirmed, this day, at this time and at this place, really did mean unity over division."

Jennings defied logic, and his own ears. The event meant "unity over division" even as speakers angrily attacked whites for "rolling toxic waste" into black communities, and screamed about the "growing racism and incipient fascism of white America." A young poet called blacks "God's divine race."

Compare that to the Tea Party stories. The victory of Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts spurred heavier network TV attention, another 42 stories in 2010. But now that they had to cover the Tea Party, the tone turned negative: Overall, 27 of 61 stories (44%) openly suggested the movement was fringy or extremist.

Contrast ABC's Peter Jennings then with ABC's Dan Harris now. Farrakhan was somehow a uniter, not a divider. But Harris warned Tea Party protesters "waved signs likening Obama to Hitler and the devil. ... Some prominent Obama supporters are now saying that it paints a picture of an opposition driven, in part, by a refusal to accept a black president."

And with that, everyone associated with the Tea Party movement, and everyone in sympathy with the Tea Party movement, had just been neatly tarred with the racism brush. What dramatic selectivity of "news judgment"! At left-wing rallies, reporters consistently and easily ignored hateful and extremist podium speeches from protest organizers. They paid no attention to objectionable signs. "Bush Lied, Thousands Died!" Big deal!

But at a conservative event, they go searching high and low for the kookiest, fringiest protester in a crowd of tens of thousands, so they can smear the entire crowd as a racist gathering.

The sanitize-the-left pattern happened at antiwar marches before the Iraq war in 2003. Signs at one January protest included "Bush Is a Terrorist," "USA Is #1 Terrorist" and "The NYPD Are Terrorists Too." Hateful? Objectionable? Not on your life!

ABC's Bill Blakemore ignored them, lauding the diversity of the marchers, "Democrats and Republicans, many middle-aged, from all walks of life." As one ABC producer admitted during the George H.W. Bush years, "We were looking for mainstream demonstrators."

The other networks echoed that approach. Take the issue of violence. On Feb. 15, 2003, "peace" demonstrators in New York injured eight police officers, and several protesters were arrested. But CBS reporter Jim Acosta still referred to the event as peaceful: "Despite some arrests and clashes with police, it was, for the most part, a peaceful reminder to the powerful that there is a divide over whether the nation should go to war."

Just weeks ago, when the Tea Party crowd came to Capitol Hill against ObamaCare, no one was arrested. But network anchors like NBC's Brian Williams were still lamenting that the health care debate had "veered into threats of violence." This isn't "news" coverage. It's carpet-bombing.




More pictures of white, racist tea partiers here

Holder charges former NSA official with leaking truth to media: "The Justice Department often launches investigations to ferret out government leakers, most of which end up going nowhere. But today, in a move that is likely to alarm journalists and whistleblowers alike, Attorney General Eric Holder’s prosecutors announced they had at long last found an alleged culprit: they charged a former National Security Agency official with disclosing classified information to a newspaper reporter about multibillion-dollar agency computer programs that were fraught with problems.”

Iceland: Volcano eruption could last months: "The last time Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano blew, the eruption lasted more than a year, from December 1821 until January 1823, reports Sally Sennert, a geologist at the Smithsonian Institution. ‘This seems similar to what’s happening now,’ she says. The volcano is erupting small, jagged pieces of rocks, minerals and volcanic glass the size of sand and silt into the atmosphere, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.” [No transatlantic flights for months? All those Caribbean cruise ships might end up doing something useful!]

Historic preservation vs. private property rights: "The recent battle between a property owner and the Morrison Historic Preservation Commission in Illinois has again reinforced the importance of private-property rights. The battle centers around a property owner in Morrison who purchased four older properties along the main thoroughfare with plans of demolishing some of them, apparently for business-development purposes.”

China — it’s money: "The real motivation behind complaints about the Chinese currency regime is not to promote exports but to blunt imports. What really galls critics is the rapid rise of Chinese imports to the United States. Imposing tariffs on those imports would benefit a small slice of U.S. industry, but at great expense to tens of millions of American families. A blanket tariff on imports from China would act as a regressive tax on shoes and clothing, biting into the budgets of American families that can least afford it. It would also make products created in the U.S. but assembled in China, such as iPhones, laptop computers and other consumer electronics, more expensive and less widely affordable.”

A nanny state assault on internship programs: "Twenty-one years ago, I founded, and still run, a semester-in-Washington effort to teach real world politics (maybe an oxymoron) to college journalists who want to be political reporters. In spring and fall classes of 16 weeks each, I give my dozen students a twice-weekly seminar series featuring top political practitioners and political journalists. The rest of the week, they work in news bureaus as interns, usually unpaid. Few of them receive college credit, and many have already graduated. I guarantee each a $3000 living expense stipend if they aren’t paid, and don’t charge any tuition or fees. Generally, my ‘graduates’ have nothing but praise for the experience, reflected in hundreds of them making personal donations to our 501(c)(3) non-profit, which has a budget of about $250,000 per year. As an educational entrepreneur, what I have built is now threatened by an Obama Labor Department bureaucrat who wants to crack down on employers who don’t pay interns, using rule-making powers that date to a Supreme Court decision from the 1940s that is mostly applicable to blue collar apprenticeships, and hasn’t been updated since.”

Government crackdown on loans for the poor: "People who apply for payday loans usually have a high risk of default, or need money immediately — otherwise, a bank would be willing and able to offer a longer-term loan at a much lower interest rate. When payday loan stores lend out money, they have to take into account the risk of that loan remaining unpaid. Because these loans are made to people who are less likely to pay them back, that higher risk is counterbalanced by a higher interest rate. If rates are lowered by force of law, many higher-risk borrowers will find themselves entirely without access to legitimate forms of credit.” [Leaving crime as the only option?]

A crisis Republicans should not waste: "The points of caution have already been noted by conservative commentators: The public anger over the passage of Obamacare may well subside by November, especially if the economy continues its healing. And so the Democrats, having desperately gone for broke, may be delivered from their danger and find themselves surviving with wreckage vast, yet not terminal. But the tawdriness that attended the ramming through of Obamacare has had a mind-clearing effect for the public. Academics might find their surety in theories ever more inventive, but ordinary people, anchored in the world, trust in common sense: They cannot believe that their medical care will really be better when managed in the style of the Post Office or the IRS. They cannot believe that a new entitlement will lower costs and not raise taxes, that it will not lead to price-controls and rationing. My own reckoning is that the passions of this season will endure: that the Hand of Justice will pass over the house of Democrats and leave very few standing.”

Poll finds opposition to health law up: "Opposition to President Obama's health care law jumped after he signed it - a warning to Democrats running for re-election this fall that his victory could become their liability. A new Associated Press-GfK poll found that Americans now oppose the health care overhaul plan 50 percent to 39 percent. Before a divided Congress finally passed the bill and Mr. Obama signed it at a jubilant White House ceremony last month, public opinion was about evenly split. Another 10 percent of Americans said they are neutral on the plan. Disapproval for Mr. Obama's handling of health care also increased from 46 percent before the bill passed to 52 percent currently - a level not seen since last summer's angry town hall meetings."

Obama’s supreme problem: "One detail was missing from President Obama’s list of qualifications for his nominee to replace John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court: Any mention of the Constitution. He just doesn’t get it. At a time when Americans are furious over Obama’s headlong plunge into socialism, when his Democrat party is losing elections and hemorrhaging incumbents because voters reject their big-government ‘remaking America’ agenda, the chameleon forgot to adapt.”

Cheers, sucker!: "It’s Tax Day, but some people are celebrating. It’s just not you. (T)he U.S. Department of State paid $3,814 to fill an order of Jack Daniel’s whiskey for gratuities at one of its many overseas embassies …. Last year alone, the State Department sent taxpayers tabs totaling nearly $300,000 for alcoholic beverages — about twice as much compared to the previous year …. Our government bureaucrats are quick with a buck … when it’s yours.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


15 April, 2010

Crashing the Tea Party

Typical Leftist dirty tricks

A group named Crashtheparty.org is planning on attending Tea Party rallies around the country tomorrow pretending to be party members. The strategy is to behave outrageously on Tax Day to provide fodder for the media, which likes to portray opponents to the Obama presidency as fringe radicals. The plot is part of the typical liberal playbook to silence opposition to the left-wing agenda.

The party crashers already have dropped into Tea Party meetings and rallies to stake out vulnerabilities. According to Jason Levin, head of Crashtheparty.org, the group has affiliates in 65 cities across the land. He unconvincingly claims that his group's bizarre antics will simply reflect the hidden views of Tea Partiers. "Do I think most of them are homophobes, racists or morons? Absolutely," Mr. Levin told Associated Press.

The saboteurs' Web site leaves no doubt about the methods being employed. "Whenever possible, we will act on behalf of the Tea Party in ways which exaggerate their least appealing qualities (misspelled signs, wild claims in TV interviews, etc.) to further distance them from mainstream America and damage the public's opinion of them," the site informs. "We will also use the inside information that we have gained in order to disrupt and derail their plans. Sounds like fun? It is!! If you'd like to join us, just click on the word 'crash!' below."

For the most part, the liberal media plays along with the Democrats' disinformation campaigns. Take allegations by Rep. John Lewis, Georgia Democrat, that he heard protesters chanting the N-word "15 times" at a March 20 protest at the U.S. Capitol. Despite dozens of video recordings of the event, there is no evidence to back up Mr. Lewis' story. Numerous videos show Tea Party members yelling "kill the bill," but none shows a single protester chanting that awful racial epithet.

The lawmaker's charge is so dubious that Andrew Breitbart has offered a $100,000 reward to anyone with proof that Mr. Lewis is telling the truth. No one has stepped forward to claim the cash. This lack of verification hasn't kept the media from continuously repeating the prejudicial tale.

"They can't actually debate our message, and that's their problem," explains Bob MacGuffie, an organizer for a Tea Party group with members in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. The Democrats' desperation shows that Mr. MacGuffie is right on target. Polls show the American public is angry about the explosion of government power during the Obama presidency and Democratic control of Congress. Liberals in power don't have thoughtful responses to popular criticism, so they are trying to ostracize skeptical thought and intimidate those brave enough to stand against the bureaucratic juggernaut.



Tea Party Crasher Is Under Investigation By Employer

The founder of the CrashTheTeaParty.org, Jason Levin, is under investigation by his employer. Interestingly, this character has been exaggerating his job, among other things. He actually works in the media lab at Conestoga Middle School in Portland, Oregon.

Levin claimed in an interview with Talking Points Memo that he was a technology consultant. Apparently he is a public toad now facing an investigation for abusing the taxpayer dollar to organize his anti-Tea Party efforts.

Levin, who sought to demonize Tea Partiers by placing faux tea party activists at rallies across the nation that would portray the tea partiers as bigots and homophobes, has seemed to land himself in a great deal of trouble. Not only does the Tea Party movement gain more credibility because of this bozo, Levin may now find himself out of work.



DeMint Hold on Legal Contortionist’s Nomination is Right

Estrada opponent gets her comeuppance

Obama D.C. Superior Court nominee Marisa Demeo is one of those uniquely liberal creations — someone with the philosophical flexibility to oppose a Hispanic nominee to the U.S. District Court of Appeals because he didn’t meet an affirmative action litmus test.

Yes, that’s right. Demeo as a regional counsel for the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund actually argued against the placement of a Hispanic onto the federal court that has proved to be a stepping stone to the Supreme Court because she feared that this particular Hispanic, Miguel Estrada, opposed creating forced guidelines for appointing other Hispanics.

It is this exact kind of tortured logic that Senator Jim DeMint is seeking to keep off the bench through placing a hold on her nomination. After all, Demeo supports affirmative action for Hispanics, but opposes extraordinarily qualified Hispanics from advancing on their own merits without the benefit of quotas.

Even more importantly, Demeo clearly wants to drown out the voices of conservative Hispanics, much like liberal black leaders fear the voices of Justice Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell and J.C. Watts, Jr.

Senator DeMint is to be commended for his efforts to prevent this ideologue from a permanent, lifetime spot on the federal bench. After all, if Demeo did not find Estrada suitable, then she should certainly be held to the same standards.



Mass Insanity as the Bay State Institutes Health Insurance Rationing

Massachusetts, with what is essentially it’s own ObamaCare program, has started to ration health insurance. Surely that wasn’t Governor Patrick’s intent when he rejected the insurance companies’ request for premium increases. Like all politicians, he just wanted to get re-elected, and being tough on insurance companies is a very popular stance among Democrats these days.

Nevertheless, rationing is precisely what the outcome has been. The insurance companies did what any business does when faced with a money-losing product: they declined to sell any more of that money-losing product. As a result you can’t buy health insurance in Massachusetts, even though it is against the law not to! Ain’t that a catch-22?

The governor thought that by standing up to the greedy insurance companies he could portray himself as a hero in the fight against the high cost of health insurance. This is an awfully thin argument, considering that three of the four largest insurers in Mass are non-profits, as noted by the Wall Street Journal in a recent article.

Those high costs, I might add, were imposed by the state on its residents when it mandated coverage for all, instituted community rating and eliminated the insurance companies’ ability to refuse coverage to people with preexisting conditions. I’m sure it came as quite a shock to him that his savvy political skills had instead of making insurance more affordable to his constituents made it unobtainable.




Alinsky again: "The radical acolytes of Chicago's late left-wing organizer Saul Alinsky also understand the importance of manufacturing demons. 'Before men can act,' Alinsky preached, 'an issue must be polarized. Men will act when they are convinced their cause is 100 percent on the side of the angels, and that the opposition are 100 percent on the side of the devil.' This explains the left's relentless campaign to sabotage the anti-tax, anti-bailout movement from Day One."

The usual big Leftist ego "What rankles, though, is Obama's habit of putting down America while praising himself. The laughable assertion that Obama has taken 'historic steps to improve our own democracy' shows not humility but an extreme vanity. A truly humble president would occasionally evince some doubt as to whether he is worthy to lead America. Obama seems to doubt whether America is worthy of being led by him."

McCain: “Pull the trigger” with Iran: "Senator John McCain said the United States has been backing away from a brewing fight with Iran, while that country moves ever closer to having nuclear weapons. McCain opened a Senate hearing Wednesday by saying that Iran will get the bomb unless the United States acts more boldly. Speaking figuratively, the Arizona Republican said the U.S. keeps pointing a loaded gun at Iran but failing to ‘pull the trigger.’”

The FCIC: Passing the buck: "Predictably, the [Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission] will avoid calling any witnesses who might unequivocally indict the federal government for its role in the crisis, or suggest solutions which take away government power. Government commissions have a remarkable tendency to recommend granting even more power to the same useless government agencies that so utterly fail to prevent crises in the first place. We saw this with the Pecora Commission, we saw it after 9-11, and we’re seeing it again today with regard to financial regulations. For example, this latest commission almost certainly will suggest granting more power to the SEC, when in fact the SEC should be abolished as an embarrassing farce. Rest assured that this recommendation will be made without apology or sense of irony.”

Get the government out of airport screening: “Following Sept. 11, most other countries increased their standards for airport security by letting each airport implement its own procedures under government supervision. In Europe, that led to nearly all major airports hiring certified private security firms to do their screening. Canada created a new federal agency to implement better screening but outsourced the actual screening. This kind of high-performance contracting permits better training and airport-specific flexibility (e.g., higher pay scales in Canada’s jobs-rich oil patch) and it better matches screener numbers to changing travel patterns and airport passenger levels. In contrast, the system Congress and the George W. Bush administration created came with a massive conflict of interest: TSA serves as both the aviation-security regulator and the provider of key security. Who’s watching the watchmen? When it comes to baggage and passenger screening, TSA is regulating itself. As with any bureaucracy, its natural incentive is to hide errors and make itself look good. In addition to the obvious conflict of interest, this also makes for fragmented airport security.”

OK: Tea parties and lawmakers envision militia: "Frustrated by recent political setbacks, tea party leaders and some conservative members of the Oklahoma Legislature say they would like to create a new volunteer militia to help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty. Tea party movement leaders say they’ve discussed the idea with several supportive lawmakers and hope to get legislation next year to recognize a new volunteer force. They say the unit would not resemble militia groups that have been raided for allegedly plotting attacks on law enforcement officers. ‘Is it scary? It sure is,’ said tea party leader Al Gerhart … ‘But when do the states stop rolling over for the federal government?’”

Feds busy rewriting the history of the collapse: "In recent comments to the Council of Institutional Investors, treasury secretary Neal Wolin’s prepared remarks examined at length the causes of the collapse without mentioning the Federal Reserve system once. Nor did he mention Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. He did blame AIG, Enron, and the ‘opaque, unregulated market we have today[.]’ The suggestion that the financial markets are unregulated will be news to anyone who has worked in the financial sector, but what we are seeing again and again is a public relations machine that has been dispatched to make it clear that the Federal government and its quasi-government monopolies will be relegated to the background as but marginal players in the system, or even as victims.”

Obamacare will make every day feel like April 15th: "New taxes on investments, taxes on medical supplies, taxes on drugs and health insurance, and taxes on you if you are just breathing … the list of taxes Americans will face just got a lot longer thanks to ObamaCare. The health overhaul plan just enacted represents the largest tax hike in U.S. history — $569 billion over 10 years through a dizzying array of taxes and fees that promise to frustrate taxpayers at every turn.”

If the income tax isn’t bad enough …: "The infamous ‘death tax’ now has a new sibling: the $17 billion ‘breath tax.’ The new health overhaul law requires everyone in America who breathes to have health insurance by 2014 … Internal Revenue Commissioner Douglas Shulman said that enforcement of the individual mandate will come by seizing tax refunds and ‘collection, if need be.’”

Georgia Resists Healthcare Mandate: "The insurance commissioner of Georgia has chosen not to comply with a federal request to create a state pool for high-risk insurance plans, opening a new front in the resistance by state Republican officials to the new federal health care law.”

U.S. Could See Doctor Shortage Soon: "Experts warn there won’t be enough doctors to treat the millions of people newly insured under the law. At current graduation and training rates, the nation could face a shortage of as many as 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. That shortfall is predicted despite a push by teaching hospitals and medical schools to boost the number of U.S. doctors, which now totals about 954,000.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


14 April, 2010

Networks snub, malign tea party movement

Report finds news coverage of movement sparse, cynical

The big three television networks virtually ignored the massive, grass-roots "tea party" surge in 2009, and so far this year have maligned the movement as teeming with racists and violent fringe figures, according to a report by the Media Research Center.

"Rather than objectively document the rise and impact of this important grassroots movement, the 'news' networks instead chose to first ignore, and then deplore, the citizen army mobilizing against the unpopular policies of a liberal president and Congress," wrote MRC Research Director Rich Noyes.

As a nation-spanning "Tea Party Express" caravan plans to pull into Washington for a "tax day" rally on Thursday, a Rasmussen poll finds that the number of people who say they're part of the tea party movement nationally has grown to 24 percent, up from 16 percent a month ago.

"The rise in tea party support is perhaps not surprising at a time when more voters than ever (58 percent) favor repeal of the national health care plan just passed by Democrats in Congress and signed into law by President Obama," the pollster wrote.

The Media Research Center, a watchdog organization founded by conservative L. Brent Bozell III, compiled reams of statistics to support its findings about TV network coverage, among them:

• ABC, CBS and NBC aired 61 stories or segments on the anti-spending movement over a 12-month period, and most of that coverage is recent. "The networks virtually refused to recognize the tea party in 2009 (19 stories), with the level of coverage increasing only after Scott Brown's election in Massachusetts" in January, the report said, referring to the Republican's win of the Senate seat long held by Edward M. Kennedy.

• Overall, 44 percent of the networks' reports on the tea party suggested the movement reflected a fringe movement or a dangerous quality. "Signs and images at last weekend's big tea party march in Washington and at other recent events have featured racial and other violent themes," NBC anchorman Brian Williams said in a September report.

• Coverage of the movement pales in comparison with coverage of "protests serving liberal objectives," the report said. For instance, the Nation of Islam's "Million Man March" in 1995 garnered 21 evening news stories on the day of the march — more than the tea party demonstrations received in all of 2009.

No one from any of the three networks returned phone messages or e-mails seeking comment.

Thousands of tea party protesters are expected to turn out Thursday for a "People's Tax Revolt" rally in Washington's Freedom Plaza, a block from the White House. Mr. Obama plans to be out of town that day, traveling to Florida for an event on the future of the U.S. space program.



A new Boston Tea Party

by Jeff Jacoby

SARAH PALIN AND THE TEA PARTY EXPRESS will rally on the Boston Common this morning, and if everything you know about the tea partiers comes from talking heads on your TV screen or big-name pundits in the prestige press, you're probably cringing in expectation of an ugly invasion by hate-filled, out-of-control bigots.

It was only a couple of weeks ago, after all, that the New York Times's Frank Rich was informing his readers that Tea Party protesters opposing the Obama health-care bill were "goons," so inflamed by "homicidal rhetoric" -- Rich cited the protesters' chant "Kill the bill!" as an example -- that they had turned into latter-day SS troops engaged in a "small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht." ....

To anyone who knows real Tea Party members or has attended a Tea Party event, these characterizations are so absurdly scurrilous that it's hard to imagine anyone could possibly believe them, let alone utter them in good faith. Yet some people will believe anything, especially when it suits their political prejudices.... So we shouldn't be surprised when some grow-the-government liberals convince themselves that the tea partiers' real agenda isn't opposition to ObamaCare and exploding federal budgets, but nostalgia for Nazism and Jim Crow.

Like any enthusiastic grassroots movement, the Tea Parties are bound to attract a sliver of disreputable cranks, some of whom may seek attention from credulous or cynical members of the media. And there are reports that Tea Party opponents have been recruiting infiltrators to crash the rallies and discredit them with fabricated hate speech and extremist rhetoric.

Head over to the Boston Common this morning, however, and you will find neither fascists nor Klansmen, but a sea of sincere and energized citizens worried about the direction in which their country is headed and alarmed by the vast aggrandizement of government power.

NPR's Juan Williams, the bestselling civil-rights author and nobody's idea of a conservative, has warned Democrats that they demonize the Tea Parties at their peril. "Tea party outrage over health-care reform, deficit spending, and entitlements run amok is no fringe concern," Williams wrote recently. Contrary to the way they have been maligned on the left, "tea party activists are surprisingly mainstream when it comes to their grievances about politics."

They are mainstream in other ways too. "Tea Party supporters skew right politically," Gallup reported last week, "but demographically, they are generally representative of the public at large." In terms of age, education, employment, and, yes, even race, the tea partiers are a pretty typical slice of America.

Contention over the scope and legitimacy of government authority is quintessentially American. So is the struggle to balance individual liberties with national needs. Today's Tea Party in Boston is only the latest link in a chain reaching back to that first Boston Tea Party in 1773. You don't have to be a fan of Sarah Palin or a foe of President Obama to welcome the tea partiers to town or to admire their civic engagement.

"We are not obligated to support the president's policy because . . . this is the United States of America and dissent is patriotic." So Howard Dean declared in 2003, and so insisted countless liberals and Democrats during the George W. Bush years. If it was patriotism then, it's patriotism now. Stop by the Common today, and you can see it for yourself.



The value of private charity

When “Cheech,” a street hustler, would stand outside my apartment building begging, I’d ask him why he was begging. He’d tell me about his gambling and family problems, and I’d repeatedly tell him, “Someone who speaks as well as you could do much more with his life,” and I’d encourage him to consult New York City’s Social Services agencies. I could have done more for Cheech personally, but I said to myself, “Better leave it to the specialists — my city spends billions on social services — they have specialists to deal with people like Cheech.”

Multiply that thought by 296 million Americans, and you see how public assistance displaces private charity. And that’s only the beginning of the damage.

Twice we’ve brought ABC’s cameras to Delancey Street, a mutual aid charity in San Francisco. It’s a collection of hundreds of former street people and ex-cons (18 felony convictions is the average) who live and work together and help each other out.

Delancey Street has been hugely successful. Thirteen thousand people have been through its programs. The ex-addicts now run a dozen businesses, including a restaurant and a moving company.

But Mimi Silbert, who started Delancey Street, says it almost didn’t happen, because government kept getting in the way. “We have had to fight every bureaucracy that exists.” Silbert doesn’t employ certified teachers and drug counselors, so welfare workers tried to smother her with red tape. “If Jesus Christ walked in today and wanted to start Christianity, he wouldn’t be able to do it because they say to him, ‘You need two psychiatrists, you need one social worker, somebody has to sign the things . . . ‘”

Silbert wanted to help some of the worst-off people in America learn to be productive citizens. The government, which typically doesn’t do anything more productive with those people than lock them up, release them and lock them up again, nearly stopped her with its complicated rules.

Fortunately, Silbert fought the bureaucrats and won, but many others are beaten down by the bureaucracy. Government often makes private charity so difficult, individuals stop trying.

I once thought there was too much poverty for private charity to make much of a difference. Now I realize that private charity would do much more — if government hadn’t crowded it out. In the 1920s — the last decade before the Roosevelt administration launched its campaign to federalize nearly everything — 30 percent of American men belonged to mutual aid societies, groups of people with similar backgrounds who banded together to help members in trouble. They were especially common among minorities.

Mutual aid societies paid for doctors, built orphanages and cooked for the poor. Neighbors knew best what neighbors needed. They were better at making judgments about who needs a handout and who needed a kick in the rear. They helped the helpless, but administered tough love to the rest. They taught self-sufficiency.

Mutual aid didn’t solve every problem, so government stepped in. But government didn’t solve every problem either. Instead, it caused more problems by driving private charity out. Today, there are fewer mutual-aid societies, because people say, “We already pay taxes for HUD, HHS. Let the professionals do it.” Big Government tells both the poor and those who would help them, “Don’t try.”

Private charity develops a sense of personal responsibility for recipients, and it does something similar for donors, too. If I hadn’t thought the government would take care of Cheech, I would’ve had to decide whether I thought he was worth my money — money I could spend on myself and my family, or on promoting freedom, or on any number of charitable causes.

When you rely on the government to help those who need it, you don’t practice benevolence yourself. You don’t take responsibility for deciding whom to help. Just as public assistance discourages the poor from becoming independent by rewarding them with fixed handouts, it discourages the rest of us from being benevolent. This may be the greatest irony of the welfare state: It not only encourages the poor to stay dependent, it kills individuals’ desire to help them.




The end game is near: "The American Left has long derided what it considers the romanticized myths regarding the virtue and wisdom of the group of dead, white males most responsible for the founding of the American Republic. It does not celebrate America as a land founded on the ideals (imperfectly as they may have often been realized) of individual liberty, equality under the law, and opportunity, but rather as a land founded on slavery, economic inequality, and exploitation. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the American Left also disdains the United States Constitution. The United States Constitution, even battered and weakened as it has been by precedents set by various liberal, activist Supreme Courts, still guards the liberty of Americans against the authoritarianism required to impose a fully socialist, or other collectivist, regime. It now appears we are headed towards the ultimate battle in the American Left’s war on individual liberty.”

Army officer won’t accept Obama as chief: "The Army may be forced to court-martial a lieutenant colonel who refused to deploy to Afghanistan because he considers orders from President Barack Obama to be illegal, military officials told NBC News on Tuesday. Army doctor Lt. Col. Terry Lakin believes Obama does not meet the constitutional requirements to be president and commander-in-chief because Lakin believes the president was not born in the United States. A video with statements from Lakin on the subject was released by the right-wing American Patriot Foundation.” [On past precedent, the army will simply discharge him. Anything rather than have a trial where the judge might want to see Obama's original birth certificate]

Dr. Nurse? States consider expanding nurse role: "A nurse may soon be your doctor. With a looming shortage of primary care doctors, 28 states are considering expanding the authority of nurse practitioners. These nurses with advanced degrees want the right to practice without a doctor’s watchful eye and to prescribe narcotics. And if they hold a doctorate, they want to be called ‘Doctor.’ For years, nurse practitioners have been playing a bigger role in the nation’s health care, especially in regions with few doctors. With 32 million more Americans gaining health insurance within a few years, the health care overhaul is putting more money into nurse-managed clinics. Those newly insured patients will be looking for doctors and may find nurses instead. The medical establishment is fighting to protect turf.”

The secular inquisition: "The New Atheist campaign to have Pope Benedict XVI arrested when he visits Britain later this year exposes the deeply disturbing, authoritarian and even Inquisitorial side to today’s campaigning secularism. There is nothing remotely positive in the demand that British cops lock up the pope and then drag him to some international court on charges of ‘crimes against humanity.’ Instead it springs from an increasingly desperate and discombobulated secularism, one which, unable to assert itself positively through Enlightening society and celebrating the achievements of mankind, asserts itself negatively, even repressively, through ridiculing the religious.”

In defense of sedition: "America’s conservative movement, writes Sara Robinson, is engaged in ’sedition in slow motion, a gradual corrosive undermining of the government’s authority and capacity to run the country.’ If only it were so! Alas, even using Robinson’s preferred definition … she’s not even close. … What I really take issue with, though, is not Robinson’s mistaken contention that the specter of sedition haunts North America, hovering over assorted Tea Party gatherings, militia musters and talk radio rants. My problem with Robinson is that she thinks sedition is a bad thing.”

An obstructive and fearful bureaucratic monster: "Over the past half-century, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made it increasingly harder for Americans to get access to innovative new drugs and medical devices. By raising the hurdles medical products manufacturers must clear before they get approval, the agency has increased the cost of new treatments and delayed their availability.”

Former Episcopal churches, diocese spar: "A group of conservative former Episcopal churches tangled with the Episcopal Church and its Diocese of Virginia before the Virginia Supreme Court on Tuesday over a unique state law that awards property to congregations that bolt their parent denomination. The 90-minute session before a packed courtroom of 140 onlookers, plus more outside, appealed a Fairfax Circuit Court verdict that awarded about $30 million worth of historic property to the 11 churches that broke away from the diocese three years ago."

Income falls 3.2% during Obama's term: "Real personal income for Americans - excluding government payouts such as Social Security - has fallen by 3.2 percent since President Obama took office in January 2009, according to the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis. For comparison, real personal income during the first 15 months in office for President George W. Bush, who inherited a milder recession from his predecessor, dropped 0.4 percent. Income excluding government payouts increased 12.7 percent during Mr. Bush's eight years in office."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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13 April, 2010

Progressive Cynicism

Some wise words from philosopher Keith Burgess Jackson

I have noticed a disturbing pattern among progressives, both in and out of academia. Instead of addressing the reasoning of those with whom they disagree, they impute bad motives to the reasoners. This is nothing less than the ad hominem fallacy, which every professor of philosophy warns against in Critical Thinking. Read Ronald Dworkin's reply to Floyd Abrams. He says that the reasoning of the majority in Citizens United is "so poor as to suggest some motive other than a desire to reach the right legal result." He then speculates as to the motive. How convenient!

Does Dworkin not realize that this contempt for reason goes both ways? Those who disagree with Dworkin can impute bad motives to him, such as envy of the prosperous. Isn't philosophy about arguments rather than persons? Why do progressives so readily shift from the former to the latter? Have they lost the ability to analyze, criticize, and argue? Is everything now personal?

I fear for the future of philosophy. It is disintegrating into politics. As for why, look no further than the fact that most philosophers are progressives. They are progressives first and philosophers second. Socrates would roll over in his grave.



The Left Squashes Life's Little Pleasures

Because they are such miseries thermselves

by Dennis Prager

Reading the onslaught of angry denunciations of Burger King by mental health organizations and mainstream media reporters this past week reminded me of a characteristic of the Left not often commented on: a certain joylessness, even an antipathy to the little joys that contribute more than almost anything else to most people's ability to endure the difficulties of life.

These characteristics further reinforce the view that Leftism functions as a (secular) religion. Like medieval Christians who wore hair shirts and Puritans who thought dancing was sacrilegious, the Left, consciously or not, is uncomfortable with many of the joys -- with notable exceptions such as sex and drugs -- that people experience.

Needless to say, the Left always has noble explanations -- usually, the protection of people's emotions and health -- for opposing and even banning many joys of life. But the end result is fewer of these little joys that mean a great deal to people.

Burger King's ad was innocuous and innocent. It featured the company's royal mascot running through a building, knocking a person over and crashing through a glass window to deliver the new Burger King Steakhouse XT burger. Called "crazy" by those present, he was finally tackled by men in white coats. "The king's insane," the ad noted, for "offering so much beef for $3.99."

This has triggered a storm of criticism from activists (a term which, unless otherwise specified, means liberal or left).

Michael Fitzpatrick, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, called the ad "blatantly offensive ... I was stunned. Absolutely stunned and appalled," he said. David Shern, president and chief executive of Mental Health America in Alexandria, Va., echoed this assessment. And reporters from the Associated Press to the Washington Post all agreed.

If this were isolated, it would be worth mentioning only in the context of wondering why people who run mental health -- and most other activist -- organizations seem to have little common sense. They should listen to William Gardner of Los Angeles, who wrote to me:

"I am a father of a 24 year old son with mental health issue. I am particularly tuned to protecting my son's self-image. My son and I have both seen the Burger King Ad that you have referred to. It did not occur to either of us that the Burger King Ad was offensive in any way. Why would I raise my son to be hyper-sensitive about his disability? My objective as a parent is to strengthen him. Making him hyper-sensitive would have the opposite effect."

But the Left has problems with much else as well: smoking (including cigars and pipes); virtually all kids games that can make a kid feel at all bad or get hurt; wood-burning fireplaces; cars; most jokes or any flirting in the workplace; incandescent light bulbs; cool homes in summer; and more.


One of life's great little pleasures is tobacco. Just watch old war reportage to see the serenity and joy a cigarette brought to a wounded soldier. Though I do not smoke cigarettes, I have been smoking cigars and pipes since I was in college (my father still smokes cigars daily at age 91), and it would be difficult to overstate how much I enjoy both.

No one opposes educating the public about the dangers of cigarette smoking. Cigarette smoking shortens the lives of up to a third of smokers, often in terrible ways, and that is what public health organizations should be saying. But the battle against smoking and tobacco has become a religious crusade for anti-smoking zealots, who are almost invariably on the Left. If the Left hated Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro as much as it hates "Big Tobacco," the world would be a better place.

But because the Left hates the fact that people smoke (tobacco, not marijuana, which the Left defends) it uses totalitarian (I use that term with no exaggeration) tactics to eliminate it. Just as the Soviets removed Trotsky from old photos, anti-smoking zealots have forced the removal of cigarettes from old photos -- from photos of FDR, from the famous Beatles photo -- and from movies whenever possible. Torture and murder are ubiquitous in films, but smoking is all but banned -- even cigars are now banned from James Bond films.

Smoking has been banned in entire cities, outdoors as well as in. In Pasadena, Calif., one cannot even smoke in a cigar store. That the Left has contempt for Prohibition reveals a lack of self-awareness that is quite remarkable.

Kids Games such as Tag, Dodgeball, Soccer, Touch Football, Monkey Bars

Virtually every game I played as a child during school recess is now banned because organizations such as the National Program for Playground Safety deem games in which kids are "running into each other" as too dangerous. Someone might get hurt.

Until a few years ago, just about every American boy, and many girls, played dodgeball. No more. This joy, too, has been eliminated from American life. "We consider it inappropriate to use children as human targets," said Mary Marks, physical education supervisor for Fairfax County, Va. And it may hurt the feelings of kids who are eliminated. For the same reason -- potential hurt feelings of those eliminated -- musical chairs is no longer played in some schools.

Some might argue that these bans are not because of Leftism but because of fear of lawsuits. But in light of how leftwing the trial bar is, that only reinforces my argument.


For men working in, let us say, a car repair shop, there is not much by way of excitement or visual beauty. So the typical repair shop or factory had its pinup calendar -- a calendar featuring a photo of a beautiful woman in a sexy pose, usually clad in no more than a bikini, sometimes less. The Left, in another totalitarian move, has banned pinups. The reasons: Sexism and possible Hostile Environment. How can a woman possibly work or bring her car into a repair shop where there is a picture of a scantily clad woman? The same people who clamor for a woman's right to walk in public with no top on (because men are allowed to) have banned photos of women with no top on.

Flirting at Work

A joy in life since the advent of men and women has been men flirting with or "chatting up" women. No more. Virtually anything related to a male reaction to a fellow employee who is female can be grounds for his losing his job and worse. What began as a campaign against bosses trading professional advances for sexual favors has degenerated into the elimination of essentially all the fun -- and, yes, potential emotional hurt -- of man-woman dialogue. At work, a man never knows what comment to what woman will trigger his being sent, a la Communist regimes, to a "re-education" program, being fined, having charges leveled against him, being humiliated, having a permanent mark on his employment record, and, of course, losing his job.

There is no question that some men went too far in their sexually charged comments to women. But as a rule, we have wildly overreacted. Women are not wimps. But the Left has inculcated a sense of victimhood into large numbers of women and thereby rendered them weak -- just as it has, in ways too numerous to mention, emasculated men. I deplore crude comments. But in the America I grew up, it was legal to speak crudely, and either decent men would shut the crude man up or women would give the man a well-earned smack across the face.

Today, any hint at the sexual tension that naturally and joyfully exists between the two sexes has been banned. In the attempt to eliminate all pain caused by potentially inappropriate comments, the Left has done what it tries to do about all pain -- ban actions that may lead to it. As a result, gone are the joys of the man-woman repartee in the workplace.


For most Americans, the car is not only a source of much pleasure, it is also rightly identified with individual liberty. But here, too, to the extent the Left is able to, it will tell you what kind of car you can drive and, if possible, get you out of your car and into mass transit.

The Home

To the Left, your home is not your castle; it is another place of too many joys that the Left would like to ban.

One joy I particularly identify with is the wood-burning fireplace. In California, activists on the Left, aka environmentalists, have banned them from being built in all new homes. Too many harmful emissions. Meanwhile, at the other end of the temperature spectrum, activists wish to determine how low you can set your air conditioner, lest you use more energy than the Left believes you should.

Do you like your present light bulbs? The Left has banned them in favor of CFLs that contain mercury. These new bulbs give a fair number of people headaches, emit less pleasant light, are initially much more expensive and, if broken, necessitate opening windows even in winter, and people and pets must leave the area. The EPA has issued a 16-point procedure to follow if a CFL bulbs breaks.

Indeed, if the Left had its way, the house would eventually become an anachronism as everyone gradually moves into space-saving, less polluting, less energy-wasting apartments.

Every poll has concluded that liberals are less happy than conservatives. There are many reasons for this, and given the importance of little joys to happiness, the Left's religious-like opposition to many of them is surely one of those reasons. The problem for the rest of us, however, is that, like most unhappy people, many folks on the Left don't like seeing anyone happier than they are.



Good Riddance!

by Thomas Sowell

When Supreme Court Justices retire, there is usually some pious talk about their "service," especially when it has been a long "service." But the careers of all too many of these retiring jurists, including currently retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, have been an enormous disservice to this country.

Justice Stevens was on the High Court for 35 years-- more's the pity, or the disgrace. Justice Stevens voted to sustain racial quotas, created "rights" out of thin air for terrorists, and took away American citizens' rights to their own homes in the infamous "Kelo" decision of 2005.

The Constitution of the United States says that the government must pay "just compensation" for seizing a citizen's private property for "public use." In other words, if the government has to build a reservoir or bridge, and your property is in the way, they can take that property, provided that they pay you its value.

What has happened over the years, however, is that judges have eroded this protection and expanded the government's power-- as they have in other issues. This trend reached its logical extreme in the Supreme Court case of Kelo v. City of New London. This case involved local government officials seizing homes and businesses-- not for "public use" as the Constitution specified, but to turn this private property over to other private parties, to build more upscale facilities that would bring in more tax revenues.

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the Supreme Court opinion that expanded the Constitution's authorization of seizing private property for "public use" to seizing private property for a "public purpose." And who would define what a "public purpose" is? Basically, those who were doing the seizing. As Justice Stevens put it, the government authorities' assessment of a proper "public purpose" was entitled to "great respect" by the courts.

Let's go back to square one. Just who was this provision of the Constitution supposed to restrict? Answer: government officials. And to whom would Justice Stevens defer: government officials. Why would those who wrote the Constitution waste good ink putting that protection in there, if not to protect citizens from the very government officials to whom Justice Stevens deferred?

John Paul Stevens is a classic example of what has been wrong with too many Republicans' appointments to the Supreme Court. The biggest argument in favor of nominating him was that he could be confirmed by the Senate without a fight.

Democratic presidents appoint judges who will push their political agenda from the federal bench, even if that requires stretching and twisting the Constitution to reach their goals.

Republicans too often appoint judges whose confirmation will not require a big fight with the Democrats. You can always avoid a fight by surrendering, and a whole wing of the Republican party has long ago mastered the art of preemptive surrender.

The net result has been a whole string of Republican Justices of the Supreme Court carrying out the Democrats' agenda, in disregard of the Constitution. John Paul Stevens has been just one.

There may have been some excuse for President Ford's picking such a man, in order to avoid a fight, at a time when he was an unelected President who came into office in the wake of Richard Nixon's resignation in disgrace after Watergate, creating lasting damage to the public's support of the Republicans.

But there was no such excuse for the elder President Bush to appoint David Souter, much less for President Eisenhower, with back-to-back landslide victories at the polls, to inflict William J. Brennan on the country.

In light of these justices' records, and in view of how long justices remain on the court, nominating such people was close to criminal negligence.

If and when the Republicans return to power in Washington, we can only hope that they remember what got them suddenly and unceremoniously dumped out of power the last time. Basically, it was running as Republicans and then governing as if they were Democrats, running up big deficits, with lots of earmarks and interfering with the market.

But their most lasting damage to the country has been putting people like John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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12 April, 2010

Western Man and Liberalism

Liberals know that they are worms and hate others because of it. They reject standards and ideals because then they will have no standards and ideals to live up to

Over the years, political scientists and sociologists have attempted to figure out what causes a person to adhere to liberal beliefs. James Burnham, a communist theoretician who eventually became a right-winger, argued that “liberalism is the ideology of Western suicide” and observed that “once this initial and final sentence is understood, everything about liberalism—the beliefs, emotions and values associated with it, the nature of its enchantment, its practical record, its future—falls into place.”

Dr. Michael Savage has suggested that liberalism is a mental disorder, whereas others have opined that liberalism is nothing more than a secular religious movement that naturally occurs at the twilight of the life of a civilization.

I believe all these descriptions are accurate of liberalism, but there is a reason why a person is a liberal: they are pathetic and are unable to come to terms with their pathetic nature other than to join a political movement that includes other pathetic individuals in order to shove their pathetic ideals down the throats of normal people. When one looks at the tenets of liberalism—craving egalitarianism, adherence to moral relativism, acceptance of perversion, promotion of wealth redistribution, opposition to the natural law right of self defense, and hatred of nationalism—one can only conclude that this assessment is correct.

When discussing gun rights, liberals—who have a peculiar phobia of weapons—ridiculously think that guns are the cause of problems in society and that they should be banned. Liberals love the weapon bans that have existed in places such as Washington, D.C. and Chicago, and even though women are raped and older people are robbed because they cannot defend themselves from thugs, liberals applaud their sick and twisted accomplishment of depriving people of their natural law right to defend themselves from harm.

The idea of a person shooting dead their aggressor sickens the liberal; the liberal would much rather have a normal person be made a victim than to permit a guttersnipe from being killed. The liberal love for villains and hatred for law-abiding citizens is irrational and can only be explained as an attempt by liberals to force their cowardice upon the rest of the population.

The promotion by liberals of moral relativism—a rejection of truth and order in the Cosmos—is used to justify their pathetic, deviant behavior. There is not a pervert that walks on two legs that liberals do not adore, just as there is no degenerate activity liberals will condemn. Homosexuals without clothing marching down the street in a “gay pride” parade? “Go for it!” they say. A doctor performing a partial-birth abortion in which the baby is butchered before it comes out? “Sounds good to me!” the liberal says.

Hard drugs? “Definitely!” they proclaim. Make prostitution legal? “Most certainly!” the liberals rejoice. Normal people are revolted—as they should be—by the behavior and beliefs of liberals, whereas liberals embrace the pathetic behavior of others because it is central to their identity: pathetic, worthless beings.

The promotion of egalitarianism—the belief that people are inherently “equal”—and wealth redistribution are the biggest frauds liberals promote, for people are not equal: some are smart, some are stupid, some are strong, some are weak, and so on.

Whereas normal people believe in freedom and think that one should reap what one sows in life, liberals believe that the weak, poor, lazy, and stupid are entitled to a higher standard of living than they have earned through their labor. Liberals believe those who are inferior deserve better, because liberals can relate to the pathetic existence of these people.

Liberals believe that people are too stupid to control their own finances and plan for the long-term, so liberals have created various socialistic scams in which wealth is redistributed from the hard-working individuals to the parasites of society. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Nancy Pelosi’s socialistic health care plan, and food stamps are but a few examples of wealth redistribution in our country.

If a person chooses not to work, then they should be permitted to starve. Why should we feed the mouths of people who have no more intrinsic value to society than tapeworms have to cattle?

Political correctness, which is central to the liberal worldview, is a psychological tool used by liberals to defend backwardness, and it is time normal people call them out for it.

A liberal would consider it “racist” to point out that the Dinka people in Sudan are subhuman for performing oral sex on cows to make them lactate and taking showers in their urine to turn their hair orange (See here), just as they would say that it is “xenophobic” to suggest that Muslims are degenerate for their tendency to marry their first cousins and for worshipping a man-deity who married a six-year-old girl named Aisha.

Liberals believe that no pathetic culture is fair game to disparage, because to do so would make their very own existence a target for criticism.

Liberals are pathetic to the core, and since the West embodies all that which is an affront to their pathetic existence, they hate it. While liberals embrace cowardice and degeneracy, the Men of the West have traditionally opposed it.

Throughout Western history, hordes of foreign invaders have been repelled, tyrants have been overthrown, and Western Man loved freedom and enjoyed the fruits of his labor. In literature and folklore, the Western Hero is epitomized by a sword in his hand and a shield on his arm as he charges forward for victory. There is no room in Western culture for pathetic liberal trolls, and the liberals know it.

A study was recently conducted at Tufts University in which test subjects viewed pictures of College Republicans and College Democrats with whom they were not acquainted, and sixty percent of the time—which is a number too high for mere chance—the test subjects were able to accurately label the models as conservative or liberal.

The researcher then had other test subjects rate the models for qualities of power or warmth, and when the results were corroborated, the people who were viewed as not liberal were viewed as looking “powerful.” We all knew liberals acted like sissies; now we know they look the part, too. (See here)

Personally, I think that it is a miracle that liberalism even took root in Western countries, because historically, Western cultures killed off the offspring of their people who were deemed pathetic. Do you think for one moment that the Spartans permitted pathetic people to exist in their society? The Norse? The Germanic tribes? Where the white liberals come from, I have no idea—there is no evolutionary basis for it whatsoever.

Liberals have outright declared war on our people, our heritage, our culture, and everything that is good in the Cosmos, and it is long past due for normal people to fight back. While I was a student at Michigan State University, I confronted liberalism at every opportunity that presented itself through organized debates, panel discussions, and the hosting of conservative speakers, and as the pathetic liberals rallied for diversity, multiculturalism, degeneracy, or socialism, I could be found in close proximity to them with a megaphone—which the campus police often threatened to take from me—and a placard in my hands that read “Smash Left-Wing Scum!”

If we want to save our civilization, we must fight their ideology, we must combat their counter-cultural crusade, and we must expose them for who they are: pathetic worms who have no place in Western civilization.



Liberal Wrongheadness on Greece

In his column yesterday, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman demonstrates how wrong-headed liberal thinking on economics can be.

Pointing to the fiscal problems being experienced by Greece, Krugman correctly points to the core of the problem: excessive spending and borrowing by the Greek government. Although he doesn’t point out that all that spending and debt is to pay for the ever-growing expenditures of Greece’s welfare state, at least he recognizes that a government can spend and borrow too much. Indeed, he even recognizes that the situation can become so dire that investors don’t want to invest anymore in a government’s bonds because they fear a default, which is precisely what is now happening in Greece.

But then Krugman goes awry, finding another culprit to blame for Greece’s debacle: deflation or even “excessively low inflation.”

What he’s alluding to is that because Greece doesn’t have control over its money supply, the Greek government cannot do what the U.S. government and other governments do to pay off excessive debt — simply print the money and paying off creditors in debased dollars.

Krugman says that one possible solution to Greece’s problems is to slash spending and raise taxes. But of course slashing spending would involve major reductions in welfare benefits for the Greek citizenry, who are, by the way, protesting against any reductions in their dole. They take the same position as American dole-recipients: that they have a right to their dole, come hell or high water, even if the government doesn’t have the money to continue paying them their dole. As Krugman observes, raising taxes will put more businesses out of business, raising unemployment and thereby aggravating the overall problem.

Krugman suggests that another possible solution is to have other European countries guarantee Greece’s bonds. But as he suggests, German taxpayers are not excited about having their money taken from them so that Greek taxpayers can continue receiving their “free” welfare-state dole.

So, the obvious solution to his quandary, one that the U.S. government’s Federal Reserve has long used, is simply to crank up the printing presses and pay off all that debt in depreciated, debased currency.

But there’s one big problem, one that Krugman deeply laments: Since Greece is part of the Euro zone, it doesn’t have the power to crank up the printing presses without the approval of the other EU countries, which are not likely to want to debase the Euro for the sake of saving the welfare-state dole for Greek citizens.

That leaves Greece with the option of withdrawing from the Euro zone and resorting to its own monetary system. But as Krugman points out, that might not be successful given that would likely be a rush of people to get their money out of the banks, along with a refusal by investors to buy bonds issued in the new currency.

Needless to say, Krugman deeply laments the inability of the Greek government to inflate itself out of the crisis. Never mind that paying off creditors in debased currency constitutes an intentional default. That doesn’t seem to bother Krugman one whit. All that matters, obviously, is that the Greek welfare state be saved from collapse.

Unfortunately, by not surprisingly, Krugman draws the wrong lesson for America from this Greek tragedy. He says that while the U.S. government needs to be “fiscally responsible,” it should also “steer clear of deflation, or even excessively low inflation.”

In the final analysis, Krugman gets it wrong. What has collapsed in Greece is the welfare state, and hanging onto this anchor is what is sending Greece to the bottom of the ocean.

Americans need to take what has happened in Greece as a warning: Get off the dole-road before it’s too late.



The tax system is dangerously unbalanced

According to the Tax Policy Center, for the year 2009, 47 percent of U.S. households will pay no federal income tax. Obviously, many of them pay other kinds of taxes.

State tax, property tax, cigarette tax. But at a time of massive increases in federal spending, half the country is effectively making no contribution to it, whether it's national defense or vital stimulus funding to pump monkeys in North Carolina full of cocaine (true, seriously, but don't ask me why). Half a decade back, slightly fewer than 40 percent paid no federal income tax; now it's slightly fewer than 50 percent. By 2012, America could be holding the first federal election in which a majority of the population will be able to vote themselves more government lollipops paid for by the ever-shrinking minority of the population still dumb enough to be net contributors to the federal Treasury. In less than a quarter-millennium, the American Revolution will have evolved from "No taxation without representation" to representation without taxation. We have bigger government, bigger bureaucracy, bigger spending, bigger deficits, bigger debt and yet an ever-smaller proportion of citizens paying for it all.

The top 5 percent of taxpayers contribute 60 percent of revenue. The top 10 percent provide 75 percent. Another two-fifths make up the rest. And half are exempt. This isn't redistribution - a "leveling" to address the "maldistribution" of income, as Sen. Max Baucus, Kleptocristan Democrat, put it the other day. It isn't even "spreading the wealth around," as then-Sen. Barack Obama put it in an unfortunate off-the-prompter moment during the 2008 campaign. Rather, it's an assault on the moral legitimacy of the system. If you accept the principle of a tax on income, it might seem reasonable to exclude the very poor from having to contribute to it. But in no meaningful sense of the term can half the country be considered "poor." ....

And what's to stop this trend? Democracy decays easily into the tyranny of the majority, in which 51 percent of voters can empty the pockets of the other 49 percent. That's why a country on the fast track to a $20 trillion national debt exempts half the population from making even a modest contribution to reducing it. It's also why the remorseless shriveling of the tax rolls is a cancer at the heart of republican citizenship....

We are now not merely disincentivizing economic energy but actively waging war on it. If 51 percent can vote themselves government lollipops from the other 49 percent, soon 60 percent will be shaking down the remaining 40 percent, and then 70 percent will be sticking it to the remaining 30 percent. How low can it go?

More here



Back to the trees: "Socialism, whether it’s the ’soft tyranny’ of the EuroAmerican management state or the murderously repressive forms taken by Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot, is all about disindividuation, a steady, relentless erasure of the individual differences among us, everything that makes us who we are. ‘Everybody in, nobody out!’ is the marching mantra of militant collectivized medicine, but it accurately describes all other aspects of collectivism, as well. No alternatives allowed, no choices, no individualism, no individuality, and ultimately, no individuation.”

Up from serfdom: "It is true that the principles of liberty on which our ancestors founded the U.S. government were not applied to everyone, especially slaves; and there were, of course, other exceptions and infringements on freedom, such as tariffs and denying women the right to vote. But should those exceptions and infringements prevent us from appreciating and honoring the fact that our ancestors brought into existence the freest, most prosperous, and most charitable society in history? I don’t think so. I believe that it is impossible to overstate the significance of what our American ancestors accomplished in terms of a free society.”

Decrying the union pension bailout bill: "Some members of Congress seem to like putting taxpayers on the hook for practically unlimited liabilities. The latest Congressional Budget Office forecasts 2020 public debt climbing to 90% of GDP under President Obama’s 2011 Budget. This is not enough for Senator Robert Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat and habitual ally of labor, who now wants Americans to bail out union pension plans underfunded by hundreds of billions of dollars. Following on the healthcare model, it’s all part of a political calculus in which Washington politicians try to buy votes today for the next election with money that Uncle Sam won’t have to spend until afterwards."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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11 April, 2010

Academics join the tea-party=racism claim

You have to read academic writing carefully. Most people probably would conclude that the following survey is of tea-party members. It is not. It is about attitude to the tea partiers among a rough "sample" of the general public, including 494 whites and 380 blacks -- which shows it was not a random sample. Blacks are only about 12% of the overall population.

What that tells you is anybody's guess. It is more likely to reflect what the media have said about the tea partiers than be the fruit of any actual contact with tea-partiers.

The whole thing is clearly just a feeble attempt to give some patina of academic respectibility to current Democrat propaganda. Being a very experienced survey researcher, I have no doubt that if I looked at the detailed survey protocols I would find much more to laugh at -- but why keep shooting a dead horse?

The tea party movement has gotten much attention in recent months, but aside from decrying big government and excessive spending, who are the supporters and what else do they appear to believe?

A new University of Washington survey found that among whites, southerners are 12 percent more likely to support the tea party than whites in other parts of the U.S., and that conservatives are 28 percent more likely than liberals to support the group.

"The tea party is not just about politics and size of government. The data suggests it may also be about race,"said Christopher Parker, a UW assistant professor of political science who directed the survey. It found that those who are racially resentful, who believe the U.S. government has done too much to support blacks, are 36 percent more likely to support the tea party than those who are not.

Indeed, strong support for the tea party movement results in a 45 percent decline in support for health care reform compared with those who oppose the tea party. "While it's clear that the tea party in one sense is about limited government, it's also clear from the data that people who want limited government don't want certain services for certain kinds of people. Those services include health care,"Parker said.



The Scientific Socialism of Today

A certain kind of mind believes that human beings exist as objects to be experimented upon as society is perfected by the privileged class -- a utopia engineered by elites. There's a reason why Engels called it Scientific Socialism. Thomas Sowell alluded to it when he wrote: "The grand delusion of contemporary liberals is that they have both the right and the ability to move their fellow creatures around like blocks of wood -- and that the end results will be no different than if people had voluntarily chosen the same action."

But Sowell's insight tells only half the story. Allow me to furnish the other half with a little posthumous help from Thomas Edison.

Conventional wisdom credits Edison with inventing the electric light bulb, but conventional wisdom is wrong. It was actually an English physicist, Sir Joseph William Swan, who invented the first working light bulb. But sadly for Sir Joseph, his "working light bulb" did not work very well, burning itself out after only 13.5 hours -- far too short an operating life to be commercially viable. What Edison did was improve Sir Joseph's invention, extending its operating life first to forty hours, then to a hundred, and eventually to fifteen hundred.

This did not happen overnight. It took three years and the testing of "at least three thousand different theories" to develop the first practical incandescent light bulb. When Edison famously described genius as "one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration," he knew what he was talking about.

Three years passed, during which time the public did...what? They continued to use the existing technology -- candles, kerosene lamps, and (for public lighting) arc lamps. And if Edison had failed, if developing a practical incandescent light bulb had proved impossible, surely people would have continued using the old technology until someone came up with something better.

Now imagine a different scenario. Imagine that 21st-century liberals had governed 19th-century America. Would anything have been different? In the words of a certain hot biker chick, "You betcha!" For one thing, candles and kerosene lamps cause pollution (soot), and to liberals, even the most miniscule amount of pollution is intolerable. So it's a safe bet that a liberal in 1878, as today, would already have been on the lookout for an alternate, less polluting source of illumination -- a "green" light, as it were. But then, as now, that would be just step one. Step two would be to force people to use the new stuff by banning the old stuff. This, in fact, is precisely what a Democratic Congress did in 2008, when it banned the incandescent light bulb in favor of the "CFL" (compact fluorescent light bulb).

To be fair, Congress didn't actually ban incandescent light bulbs; they merely set new, higher, and more energy-efficiency standards -- standards so high that no incandescent bulb could possibly meet them.

Perhaps a liberal Congress circa 1878 would have decreed that all candles and kerosene lamps produced after 1891 would be required to emit a flameless light. A bolder Congress might ban candles and kerosene lamps outright. But one way or another, candles and kerosene lamps would be banned.

Needless to say, complaints that the new light bulbs cost much more than candles and kerosene and needed to be replaced after only 13.5 hours of operation would be ignored, as would arguments that the new bulbs' "pollution-preventing" effects might be more than outweighed by the pollution-creating effects of the new power plants needed to generate the electricity to light the bulbs. And anyway, improvements in cost and efficiency would come. In time.

But how to get that time? Edison, of course, had all the time in the world because Edison conducted his experiments with inanimate matter in the world of the physically tangible. But how does one guarantee oneself sufficient time to conduct an unlimited number of experiments on an entire society?

For liberals, the solution is a simple as it is obvious: Eliminate all the alternatives. Entice, if possible, and force, if necessary, the American people to cross the bridge, and then burn it behind them. Cut off all paths of retreat and leave no alternative to the old ways of doing things, even if the old ways were better, and, liberals reason, society will have no choice but to go in one direction: theirs. And they -- we -- will thank liberals for having forced us against our will to go there.

For liberals, it's not enough merely to promote their policy preferences, insufficient to argue the merits of their ideas in the marketplace of ideas, intolerable to allow people to test these ideas against competing ideas. And there is no room to allow people to decide for themselves which ideas have the most merit; to communicate their preferences to their elected representatives in letters, phone calls, town hall meetings, and, ultimately, at the ballot box; to choose, each of us, what we want and allow that same freedom of choice to others. All of this is intolerable. Liberals' ideas are just too important, too "incandescently" brilliant, the need to implement them too urgent.

So if one is a liberal, one must ban drilling for oil now, in as many places as possible (ideally everywhere) before an efficient, economical and practical alternative energy source can be developed. Private companies must be forced, both by law and through the creation of artificial shortages, to produce whatever products and services liberals deem best for us. And finally, Americans must be forced to buy and use them, whether they want them or not, cost and efficiency be damned.

As it is with light bulbs and oil, so it is with health care. Anyone who thinks that ObamaCare won't put a lot of private insurance companies out of business, or perhaps even eliminate private insurance in America entirely -- anyone who doesn't think that the bill the Democrats rammed through both Houses without a single Republican vote was purposely designed to do precisely that -- is either nave or a liberal, and probably both.

Some call it socialism, some call it fascism, and some call it Chicago politics. I call it what Marx and Engels called it: Scientific Socialism. And our system of government? No, it's not a tyranny: The American people who voted these pols into office retain the power to vote them out. But it's not a democracy, either, when elected representatives ignore and govern diametrically against the will of the people who elected them.

What we have in America today is a new system of government for which a new term must be coined: Scientific Oligarchy, wherein a self-styled enlightened elite arrogate to themselves the right to decide the kind of society in which they would like us to live someday and then experiment on human beings until they can get it right -- however long it takes, however much their unwilling subjects suffer in the process. In this system, this scientific oligarchy, we are neither citizens nor subjects. We are guinea pigs.

Edison never gave up. Liberals won't, either. If we vote them out in November, they'll wait patiently for the day when a future generation foolishly votes them back in. Then they'll pick up where they left off.

Maybe it's time we conservatives did a little bridge-burning of our own.



The Ongoing Melodrama of Victims and Oppressors

President Obama, in the tradition of progressive Democratic leaders, believes government should ask the more economically fortunate citizens to be responsible for helping the less well off.

But the president seems to fail to acknowledge that there are plenty of actions an individual can take to avoid becoming part of that growing crowd of "less fortunate." Instead, in Obama's world, there exists a simple zero-sum melodrama of victims and oppressors.

If recent poll numbers are correct, many Americans find that life in the real world is a lot more complicated than the near-constant us vs. them rhetoric about bad-guy insurers, surgery-hungry doctors, reckless financiers, greedy bankers, heartless corporations and tight-fisted employers who con and hurt the blameless good guys now in need of Mr. Obama's all-knowing benevolent government help.

Surely life is too complex to be such a fairy-book morality tale.

Take finance. Of course, we are all still furious at the speculators on Wall Street for the September 2008 meltdown. But not all Americans took out sub-prime mortgages for homes at inflated prices. So why must some continue to pay their underwater mortgages to keep their homes, while others, as victims, may not have to?

Everyone should pay some income tax. So, why does the administration talk about raising rates sharply and adding even more taxes on the 5 percent who already pay 60 percent of all federal income-tax revenue?

Health care also is also poorly defined by Obama's simplistic view of a noble public victimized by a few greedy insurers. Some Americans budget $100 to $200 each month for high-deductible, private catastrophic health plans. That means they pass on some consumer purchases to ensure they won't get stuck without coverage for an unexpected operation or accident. In other words, people make choices on how they allot their resources, and are not always just victims who are cruelly denied, or cannot afford, some sort of basic health insurance.

One reason so many Americans were against federalizing their health care is that those who do avoid some medical risks - alcohol and drug use, poor diet, obesity, or lack of exercise - are, in some cases, asked to pay for the health problems of those who don't.

Obama now may take on immigration reform in the same sort of bipolar fashion. He decries the present policy toward illegal immigration and cites heartbreaking stories about workers forced to toil in the shadows by profit-hungry employers and an indifferent public. But again, we hear no mention by Obama of the role of human choice and individual responsibility.

When one breaks the law by entering the United States without proper authority, and then continues to live as an illegal alien, choices are made that have many unfortunate consequences, both for self and society at large. A failure to learn English or a decision to send back thousands of hard-earned dollars to Mexico or Latin America can only compound the dilemma of living without legal certification.

In all these cases, Obama commendably wants to help the less fortunate. But he seems to care far less for those who act responsibly - except to demonize them if they question whether it is either fair or even sometimes wise to subsidize those who at times don't.

The president would surely improve his standing if he urged Americans to buy fewer DVDs and instead more insurance plans - or to avoid drugs and drink, or not to borrow money that they have no desire or ability to pay back, or not to enter the United States in the first place without a proper visa.

Here I do not mean just offering the usual presidential generic good advice and platitudes, but tougher talk -- backed up by decisions on policy -- about the inability of any government always to make right the freely incurred bad choices of its citizens.

Then when things unexpectedly get rough, my bet is the American people would be more than happy to help the unfortunate.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and author, most recently, of "A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War." You can reach him by e-mailing author@victorhanson.com.



Shocker: Massive aid does not mean improvement

Even the Left-leaning "Lancet" says so

Do massive donations of cash as aid to poor nations allow them to focus on structural improvements and increased spending on health? Or does that money allow corrupt governments to divert resources that they would have spent on those issues to other priorities? A new study by Lancet strongly suggests the latter — even when the donors believe they have secured the distribution of the funds:
After getting millions of dollars to fight AIDS, some African countries responded by slashing their health budgets, new research says.

For years, the international community has forked over billions in health aid, believing the donations supplemented health budgets in poor countries. It now turns out development money prompted some governments to spend on entirely different things, which cannot be tracked. The research was published Friday in the medical journal Lancet. …

The research raises questions about whether international aid is sometimes detrimental. Previous studies have found pricey United Nations health initiatives haven’t paid off and occasionally hurt health systems. Experts estimate about half of international health aid can’t be traced in the budgets of receiving countries.

Murray’s paper also found debt relief had no effect on health spending. Activists like Bob Geldof and Bono have long argued canceling African debts would allow countries to spend more on their health problems, but there was no evidence of that.

“When an aid official thinks he is helping a low-income African patient avoid charges at a health clinic, in reality, he is paying for a shopping trip to Paris for a government minister and his wife,” said Philip Stevens, of the London-based think tank International Policy Network. He was not linked to the study.
What can we learn from this study that we really should have already known?

1. Money is fungible – Giving block grants to a state for one purpose doesn’t mean that the purpose gets more money. It allows the state to divert its already-committed resources to other purposes. We’ve learned that here in the US with Porkulus block grants to states. Without accountability, that money can go anywhere and either directly or indirectly feed the corruption at the heart of Africa’s problems.

2. Corruption is the root cause of nationwide poverty – We have sent monetary aid to Africa for decades in attempts to fix the problems of poverty and disease. That should tell us that money isn’t really the root problem in these countries. The governments, mostly corrupt dictatorships, create the problems through outright theft or the imposition of incompetent central economic planning. In Zimbabwe, for just one example, it’s both. That nation’s land used to provide for much of Africa’s food, and now it can’t even feed itself.

3. We need to change direction in Africa – None of us want to see an entire continent fail, but we apparently have two choices. Either we drop billions on Africa every year in aid that extends the status quo, or we cut off the aid and force African nations to change from within. The US had moved toward the latter in the last few years, but guilt-trip initiatives (however well meaning) keep putting political pressure on nations to maintain the status quo.

If we really want to solve the problem of poverty and illness in Africa, we need to demand political reform. Everything else is a band-aid, and not the kind of Band Aid that means aging rockers taking to the stage on G-20 conferences.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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10 April, 2010

ObamaCare System Kills Health Insurance in Massachusetts

If you want to buy health insurance in Massachusetts–thanks to the Democrat Governor, an ideological twin to Barack Obama, you can’t.

“The Massachusetts small-group market that serves about 800,000 residents shut down after Patrick kicked off his re-election campaign by presumptively rejecting about 90 percent of the premium increases the state’s insurers had asked regulators to approve. Health costs have run off the rails since former GOP Gov. Mitt Romney passed universal coverage in 2006, and Patrick now claims price controls are the sensible response to this ostensibly industry greed.”

The insurance companies will lose $100 million–this year.

Obama would blame the insurance companies profits–but here are the facts, “One irony, says the Journal, is that Patrick’s own Attorney General and his insurance regulators have concluded — to their apparent surprise — that the reason Massachusetts premiums are the highest in the nation is the underlying cost of health care, not the supposed industry abuses that Patrick and his political mentor President Obama like to cite.”

Looking at Massachusetts we now know that ObamaCare IS single payer. Once implemented, private health insurance companies will fold, due to mandated losses. Then the Feds will take over, and without another legislative vote, politicians, not doctors will control whether you live or die.

Republicans do not have to scare anybody about ObamaCare–all they have to do is look at Massachusetts and see the future of Third World health care hitting the United States.



Palin gets good response at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference

Palin didn't hint at her 2012 plans in her keynote address to SRLC, but she did provide some meaty thoughts on energy policy, possibly her most important campaign issue if she does decide to run.

"Republicans need to hit the road in 2010, and show America what an all-of-the-above energy policy looks like," she said.

Alaska is a leading producer of crude oil, and Palin has been an outspoken opponent of Obama's cap-and-trade proposals, which have been a stalled agenda item for his administration. But Republicans have the opportunity to steal that issue away from him, said Palin.

"It's an issue that really touches every challenge that we face. There is an inherent link between energy and security, and energy and prosperity, and energy and freedom," she said.

In her SLRC speech, there were more harsh words for Obama's two-faced energy policy; the President has claimed to support nuclear energy and wind turbines, but has stalled the development of those resources at every turn. While preaching support for nuclear energy, Obama has opposed the development of a nuclear disposal site at Yucca Mountain and has gummed up regulations for those trying to open production sites.

"You can't claim to support nuclear energy and then gut our supply at both ends of the fuel cycle," she said.

She was especially critical of Obama's announcement that he wanted to open up large swaths of the Gulf of Mexico and the eastern seaboard for energy production. She said such plans amounted to nothing more than "more studying" — a common complaint from many conservative critics. She also said Obama's desire to open up wind turbines in the U.S. was baseless.

Every time someone tries to begin wind production, she said — probably referring to T. Boone Pickens failed wind energy plan — Obama drags his feet with inane excuses. According to Palin, Obama is afraid that "Someone may see [a turbine], or a gecko may bump into one." Palin then reiterated her call to "drill, baby, drill," and not, "stall, baby, stall."

Also on her agenda was foreign policy, with more criticism for Obama's dealings with Israel, and his acquiescence to foreign dictators. "The President, with all the vast nuclear experience he acquired as a community organizer... still can't deal with North Korea and Iran," she said.

Obama's recent treatment of Israel is shameful, she said, Jerusalem is not a settlement, and Israel is our friend. His overall foreign policy approach "defies common sense," such as with the recent Russian nuclear weapons treaty.

She was also quick to play off of the recent criticism of her campaign to "target" Democratic districts in the November elections. Liberals said such rhetoric amounted to declarations of violence. "Common sense conservatives can rely on some slogans... like, repeal and replace," she said. "Or my favorite: don't retreat, reload."



Shariah ... the next totalitarian threat after Nazism and Communism

For the first time in its history, the United States is trying to wage and win a war without accurately identifying the enemy or its motivations for seeking to destroy us. That oversight defies both common sense and past military experience, and it disarms us in what may be the most decisive theater of this conflict: the battle of ideas.

Such a breakdown may seem incredible to veterans of past military conflicts. Imagine fighting World War II without clarity about Nazism and fascism, or the Cold War without an appreciation of Soviet communism and the threat it posed.

Yet today, the civilian leaders of this country and their senior subordinates - responsible for the U.S. military, the intelligence community, homeland security and federal law enforcement - have systematically failed to fully realize that we once again face a totalitarian ideology bent on our destruction.

That failure is the more worrisome since the current ideological menace is arguably more dangerous than any we have faced in the past, for two reasons. First, its adherents believe their mission of global conquest is divinely inspired. Second, they are here in the United States in significant numbers, not just a threat elsewhere around the world.

What, then, is this ideology? It has been given many names in recent years, including political Islam, radical Islam, fundamentalist Islam, extremist Islam and Islamofascism. There is, however, a more accurate descriptor - the one its adherents use. They call it "Shariah."

Perhaps the most important thing to understand about Shariah is that it is authoritative Islam, which presents itself as a complete way of life - cultural, political, military, social and religious, all governed by the same doctrine. In other words, this comprehensive program is not simply the agenda of extremists hunkered down in caves in Afghanistan or Pakistan. Neither can its directives be attributed to deviants hijacking Islam.

Rather, Shariah - which translates from Arabic as "path to God" - is actually binding law. It is taught as such by the most revered sacred texts, traditions, institutions, top academic centers, scholars and leaders of the Islamic faith. Fortunately, hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world do not wish to live under a brutally repressive, woman-demeaning, barbaric and totalitarian program. Such Muslims are potentially our allies, just as those who do adhere to Shariah are our unalterable foes.

The immutability of Shariah-adherent Muslim hostility toward the rest of us derives directly from the central tenet of Shariah: Muslims are explicitly required to seek the triumph of Islam over all other faiths, peoples and governments.

The ultimate objective of Shariah is the establishment of a global Islamic state - Sunni Muslims call it "the caliphate" - governed by Shariah. The means by which this political outcome is to be achieved is called "jihad."

Since 9/11, many Americans have become unhappily acquainted with the terrifying, violent strain of jihad. Under Shariah, violence - often described by non-Muslims as "terrorism" - is the preferred means of securing the spread and dominion of Islam, as it is the most efficient.

While Shariah deems jihad to be the personal obligation of every faithful Muslim capable of performing it - man or woman, young or old - they can forgo the violent form when it is deemed impracticable. In such circumstances, the struggle can be pursued through means that are, at least temporarily, non-violent. Taken together, the latter constitute what renowned author and expert Robert Spencer calls "stealth jihad." Adherents to Shariah call it "dawah."

Examples of stealth jihadism abound in Western societies, notably Europe and increasingly in the United States. They include the demand for symbolic and substantive accommodations in political, economic and legal areas (for example, special treatment or rights for Muslims in the workplace, in public spaces and by government); the opportunity to penetrate and influence operations against government at every level; and the insinuation of the Trojan horse of "Shariah-compliant finance" into the West's capital markets.

If stealth jihad seems less threatening than terrorism, the objective is exactly the same as that of violent jihad: the subjugation to the Dar al-Islam (House of Islam) of all non-Islamic states that, like the United States, make up the Dar al-harb (House of War). It follows that those who seek ostensibly to impose Shariah through non-violent techniques - notably in the West, the organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood - are our enemies every bit as much as those who overtly strive to defeat us by murderous terrorism.

Many Western elites, including the Obama administration, have been seduced by the seemingly benign quality of the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, we know from the 2008 prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation - the largest terrorism-financing trial in U.S. history - that the Muslim Brothers' mission in the United States is "a kind of grand jihad to destroy Western civilization from within ... by their own miserable hands." ...

Adherents to Shariah insist that their law prohibits any slander against Islam or Muhammad. Under such a catch-all restriction, virtually any kind of conversation about - or critique of - Islam can be considered impermissible if Muslims find it offensive. Particularly in Europe, the ever-present prospect of violence, like that which followed the September 2005 publication of Danish cartoons poking fun at Muhammad, is generally sufficient to induce self-censorship...

To a stunning degree, U.S. leaders have been effectively conforming to Shariah slander laws for some time now. For instance, presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have both repeatedly described Islam as a "religion of peace," without acknowledging the requirement for jihad its authorities demand, pursuant to Shariah.

At the Muslim Brotherhood's insistence, the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department have barred the use of perfectly accurate terms like "Islamic terrorism." The U.S. government has also embraced the Muslim Brothers' disinformation by translating jihad as nothing more than "striving in the path of God."

Under the Bush and Obama administrations, the favored name for the enemy has been "violent extremism" - a formulation that neither offers clarity about the true nature of our foe nor lends itself to a prescription for a successful countervailing strategy. Even when al-Qaeda is identified as the enemy, it is almost always accompanied by an assurance that its operatives and allies have "corrupted" Islam. Ignored, or at least earnestly obscured, are two unhappy realities: such enemies are implementing Shariah's dictates to the letter of the law, and they have millions of fellow adherents around the world who view Islam's requirements the same way.

One of the most egregious examples of this practice of unilateral disarmament in the battle of ideas is the January report of the independent review of the Fort Hood massacre, co-chaired by former Army Secretary Togo West and former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vernon Clark. Their 86-page unclassified analysis purported to dissect an event allegedly perpetrated by Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan - a medical officer whose business card described him as "Soldier of Allah," whose briefings justified murder of his comrades in the name of jihad, and who shouted the Islamic martyr's cry "Allahu Akbar!" ("God is great!") as he opened fire, killing 13. Incredibly, the words "Islam," "Islamic terror," "Shariah," "jihad," and "Muslim Brotherhood" were not used even once in the West-Clark report.

Such political correctness, or willful blindness up the chain of command, doubtless caused Hasan's colleagues to keep silent about his alarming beliefs, lest they be punished for expressing concerns about them. Now, reportedly, six of them have been designated as the scapegoats for what is manifestly an institutional failure.

The painful truth is that however we rationalize this sort of behavior, our Shariah-adherent enemies correctly perceive it as evidence of submission, which is the literal meaning of the word "Islam," and what Shariah demands of everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.

Indeed, Shariah offers non-believers only three choices: conversion to Islam, submission (known as dhimmitude) or death. Historically, dhimmitude was imposed through successful Muslim conquests. In more recent years, tolerant Western nations have increasingly succumbed to stealthy jihadism, backed by more or less direct threats of violence.

That trend, worrying as it is, may be giving way in this country to a new campaign: jihad of the sword. The past year saw a fourfold increase in the number of actual or attempted terrorist attacks in the United States. Sadly, that statistic will likely be surpassed in the year ahead. Four of the nation's top intelligence officials have testified before Congress that it is certain new acts of violence will be undertaken in the next three to six months. Worse yet, a blue-ribbon commission has calculated that the probability of the use of weapons of mass destruction somewhere in the world by 2013 is now over 50 percent.

Is this dramatic upsurge in violent jihad directed at the United States unrelated to our behavior? Or does it reflect a growing calculation on the part of our Shariah-adherent enemies that violence against the United States is now, once again, practicable?

Either way, the time has clearly come to make a far more serious effort to defeat both the violent and stealthy forms of jihad being waged against this country. If we are to do so, however, we have to start by telling the truth.

Our enemy is not "violent extremism," or even al-Qaeda alone. Rather, it is the millions of Muslims who - like the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda and their allies - adhere to Shariah and who, therefore, believe they must impose it on the rest of us.

We are at war with such individuals and organizations. Not because we want to be. Not because of policies toward Israel or the Middle East or anything else we have pursued in recent years. Rather, we are at war with them because they must wage jihad against us, pursuant to the dictates of Shariah, the same law that has guided many in Islam for some 1,200 years. ...

The extraordinary reality is that none of this - the authoritative and malevolent nature of Shariah, its utter incompatibility with our civilization, and its adherents' determination to force us to convert, submit or die - is concealed from those willing to learn the truth. To the contrary, the facts are widely available via books, the Internet, DVDs and mosques, both here and overseas.




Another Obama nomineee bites the dust: "President Barack Obama's nominee to head the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel has withdrawn her bid for confirmation, after several Republicans objected to her criticism of the Bush administration's terrorist interrogation policies. Dawn Johnsen's withdrawal -- a setback for the Obama administration -- was announced late Friday by the White House ... The decision about who should lead the little-known office became a political flashpoint because of the controversies surrounding Bush-era interrogations of terror suspects. During the Bush administration, lawyers at the OLC wrote memos approving interrogation techniques that human rights advocates call torture"

Abortion traitor bows out: "Rep. Bart Stupak, the Michigan Democrat who led a months-long battle with President Obama and his party's leaders over abortion language before ultimately supporting their health care bill, said Friday he won't seek re-election this year. He became a chief Republican target after he ended up voting for the health care bill even though it still contains the abortion coverage language he objected to for months"

Obama: Gas Us Without Fear of Nukes: "If any nation wants to attack the United States with chemical, biological or electromagnetic pulse weapons, it need not fear nuclear retaliation as long as it has no nuclear weapons and abides by the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Obama has announced. So, as New Yorkers are coughing their lungs out from mustard gas or dying in the streets of biological weapons, they will know that their government will not use nuclear weapons to retaliate against their murderers. His incredible announcement amounts to a green light for anti-American nations to hit our cities with gas or poisons, resting secure in the knowledge that we will not use our nuclear arsenal to reply."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


9 April, 2010

Obama Off the Deep End

Floyd and Mary Beth Brown brand Obama below as a narcissist -- but narcissism is a leading symptom of psychopathy. That Obama seems cool, calm and confident even when he knows virtually nothing of what he is talking about is another symptom of psychopathy. For the pervasive influence of psychopathy among Leftists, see here -- JR

A recent analysis by Roger Simon of PJTV Media maintains that Obama is showing signs of mental illness. A wide variety of commentators have observed that Obama displays severe narcissism. Obama is conceited, and he is demonstrating a serious disassociation from reality.

A recent case in point was Obama's bizarre and meandering 17-minute, 2,500-word answer to the simple question about how he could justify raising taxes for ObamaCare during a recession when citizens are already overtaxed.

Obama's wildly inappropriate answer left the audience stunned and led commentator Charles Krauthammer to mockingly say, "I don't know why you are so surprised. It's only nine times the length of the Gettysburg address, and after all Lincoln was answering an easier question, the higher purpose of the union and the soldiers who fell in battle." This lapse of delusion occurred in front of a friendly audience. Overall, Barack Obama seems to be slipping into a slightly more delusional state these days.

On Monday, following his embarrassing answer on Saturday, Obama stopped by the Washington Nationals home opener to loft an effeminate toss toward home plate constituting the ceremonial first pitch. After this display, Obama was mucking it up in the press booth talking about his love of the Chicago White Sox.

The announcers asked Obama which players he supported growing up a White Sox fan. After hemming and hawing for about 30 seconds, Obama responded that he grew up in Hawaii and was actually an A's fan. Again, he avoided mentioning any players by name. Obama seems to believe that he can say whatever he wants, and not reap the consequences or be forced to defend his empty assertions. Obama behaves in a manner so disconnected from reality that he is shocked when someone has the audacity to question him. Obama acts like his word is infallible.

In March of last year Obama was on "60 Minutes" with Steve Kroft. Throughout the interview as Kroft questioned about the economic downturn and people losing their life savings, Obama just kept laughing. A one point CBS's Kroft stopped him and asked, "Are you punch drunk?" How will the American people react to seeing their president laugh off their predicament? Obama's inappropriate laughter clearly demonstrated he has lost touch with the pain that people are feeling.

Obama portrays himself as the larger-than-life figure towering above the political fray. At the summit when Obama was pushing his healthcare package through Congress, he attempted to act as if he were the chief arbiter of truth. With petty insults, he slapped down what the Republicans proposed and audaciously claimed his was a "bipartisan bill." Obama distorts the truth with such frequency that one must start to question if Obama even realizes he is lying or is so disassociated from the truth that he believes what he says. [Typical psychopathy]

A further example of Obama's delusions of grandeur occurred when he gave himself a "good solid B plus." Believing that his presidency was an above average success when America is hurting is absurd. Obama went so far as to claim that he would give himself an "A" once healthcare was passed. Obama is not living in the same reality as the rest of us.

As Charles Krauthammer wrote, "Not that Obama considers himself divine. (He sees himself as merely messianic, or, at worst, apostolic.) But he does position himself as hovering above mere mortals, mere country, to gaze benignly upon the darkling plain beneath him where ignorant armies clash by night, blind to the common humanity that only he can see."

Obama sees himself as the greatest man to be president in all time. He truly believes it when he said "we are the ones we have been waiting for," and "this is the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and the planet began to heal." He believes that he can do anything he pleases and the people will love him for it. Obama plans to radically transform this country and go down in history as, in his mind, the greatest ever. Obama is clearly disconnected from reality.

Obama is, according to Newt Gingrich, "potentially the most dangerous (president), because he so completely misunderstands reality." Gingrich was referring to Obama's inept and weak stance on missile defense amongst other things. Even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that Obama is an amateur; so much for wowing the world.

Obama lives in an alternate universe where he treats our friends poorly and expects our enemies to change and become our friends. Here's hoping that the voters help to connect this president back to reality in November.



Obama's elitism will damage him most

President Obama is a man of the Left. He’s is a fairly pragmatic center-Left social democrat, a Fabian who infuriates the hard Left as much as he does the Right. The more he’s attacked as a kind of Stalin-lite, the more justified he must feel in thinking we “don’t get it” and … the louder he snickers. The Right keeps attacking Obama in ways that only reinforce his worst instincts.

There is a better way. A blogger, “Repulicae” writes on nolanchart.com: “The Fabian Society began in England in 1887 by a very small group of elitist socialist[s].” Key word? Elitist.

Obama, politically and psychically, is vulnerable not as a progressive but as, demonstrably, an overbearing elitist. America was founded on the self-evident truth that all are created equal.

Elitism is abhorrent to Americans. Elitist politicians flinch when called out. Obama is proudly progressive. He appears ashamed of his elitism, which he carefully and continually veils. Exposing him as elitist will be Obama’s apocalypse ( “apocalypse” meaning “to lift the veil”). This will trigger a series of immediate reactions.

First, it will rally, and focus, the voters. Obama’s elitism is an insult. “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge,” begins Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado.”

Americans are bearing up under the thousand injuries of Obama. It erodes his popularity but doesn’t trigger a focused reaction. (And as the business cycle begins to restore jobs, as it is, the sense of injury will fade.) But when people realize that he has ventured upon insult, they, politically, will immure him.

This will alienate Obama’s key allies from him. Democratic congressmen may swallow hard and vote with him in piling trillions in debt upon our children. That can be rationalized in the name of a crisis or of jobs.

But elitism can’t be rationalized. There is no way to rationalize insulting your voters. Obama is shielded by the massive apparatus of the White House and by guaranteed post-presidency fame and fortune. Members of Congress are not so shielded and sooner or later will distance themselves from insultingly naked elitism.

This will call out to Obama’s own conscience. Baring his elitism may force Obama into some overdue soul-searching. Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson, in “The Battle for America 2008,” report that in preparing Obama to run, advisor David Axelrod wrote to him:

"It goes to your willingness and ability to put up with something you have never experienced on a sustained basis: criticism. At the risk of triggering the very reaction that concerns me, I don't know if you are Muhammad Ali or Floyd Patterson when it comes to taking a punch. You care far too much what is written and said about you.”

Obama presents himself as fundamentally decent, albeit infuriatingly smug and not nearly as smart as he thinks (nor as smart as what The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki calls “the wisdom of crowds”).

Baring Obama's elitism will put him on the defensive. Obama is likely to begin to second-guess himself and even may begin to check his own worst excesses and begin a return toward embracing the common sense wisdom of the people.

Attacking Obama as a Leftist attacks him on his own turf. Attacking him as elitist attacks him on ours. Alinsky teaches us (Rule 3, Rules for Radicals), “Whenever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear and retreat.”

The simple truth? Obama is an elitist. The winning strategy? Rip away the veil and reveal the hidden truth. Naked elitism is Obama’s apocalypse.



"Give Me 'Niceness' or Give Me Death"

I believe that one of the greatest obstacles facing opponents of the socialist agenda of Obama Democrats is this misguided insistence that we always have to give them the benefit of the doubt -- as if it were virtuous not to be vigilant in safeguarding our sacred liberties. Only if we first recognize and then clearly speak out against what they're truly about will we have any chance of stopping their suicidal blueprint for America.

Willful blindness has destroyed many nations from within (and without) and is well on the way to destroying us. Those who would pat themselves on the back for being too kind to call it as they see it -- or for sanctimoniously condemning those who are calling it as they see it -- should reconsider. In the words of the great Edmund Burke, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." He might have added, "Or say nothing."

That's why Sen. Tom Coburn's statement that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is nice was disappointing.

In the first place, it is irrelevant to the future of this nation whether Pelosi or President Barack Obama is nice. That said, I respectfully disagree with Dr. Coburn's assertion.

Let's look at what prompted Coburn -- an admirably fierce opponent of Obamacare -- to make the statement. At a town hall meeting, a woman asked him whether, under Obamacare, "they can put us in prison" for not purchasing health insurance.

Coburn responded: "The intention is not to put anybody in jail. That makes for good TV news on Fox, but that isn't the intention." That wasn't a very "nice" thing for Coburn to say about Fox News, which has finally provided balance to television network news -- representing a sea change from decades of left-wing mainstream media uber-domination.

Coburn added, "I'm 180 degrees in opposition to the speaker; she's a nice lady." When the crowd showed its displeasure, he persisted: "Come on now, she is nice. How many of you all have met her?"

Coburn was obviously trying to assure the audience that nice people wouldn't put people in jail for not purchasing health care at the government's order. That's the only possible relevance of his statement.

Well, Doctor, the Pelosi version of Obamacare (H.R. 3962, as amended) contained jail penalty provisions (up to five years in prison) for those failing to purchase health insurance. When Pelosi was asked about the provision, she wouldn't answer the question directly but implied imprisonment is fair. "The point is we want to make sure everyone has health care," she said. "We all have to do our part. ... The legislation is very fair."

So if Coburn believes Pelosi is too nice to support imprisonment for those not buying health insurance, he's wrong. She would (and did). And with all due respect to Sen. Coburn, it wasn't very "nice" of him to suggest that there is something wrong with people's outrage at what's going on. He is wrong to attempt to shame people for their justified indignation at "nice" politicians for systematically dismantling and bankrupting the America they love, let alone putting them in jail.

But for the record, I don't believe nice people would constantly lie about their intentions for the nation, as liberal politicians often do to get elected to national office in this center-right nation. Nice people wouldn't force people to buy health insurance in the false name of compassion, especially when to do so violates the Constitution.

Nice people wouldn't lie about what's in a piece of legislation that involves government control over one-sixth of the U.S. economy, such as whether the federal government would fund abortion. Nice people wouldn't condemn those who condemn them for lying about what's in this bill. But that's what Obama, Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic leadership did. Nice people wouldn't suggest that patriotic, freedom-loving Americans are swastika-wearing rubes just a hair trigger away from "Clockwork Orange" ultra-violence.

Nice people don't accuse capitalist and constitutionalist opponents of Obama's socialist agenda of racism, yet that's going on daily from the Democratic leadership and the liberal commentariat. Obama himself came close when he condemned a wide swath of Americans with his warped notion that they cling, among other things, to "antipathy to people who aren't like them." Is he projecting?

The best interest of this nation does not depend on our elected leaders' being nice to one another. It does depend on their reversing the masochistic path of bankrupting spending, retreating in the war on terror and surrendering to the culture of death being forcibly imposed by moral relativists. It depends on rekindling the fire of liberty in our hearts.

Can you imagine Patrick Henry saying, "Give me nice legislators or give me death"?



BrookesNews Update

Deficits, interest rates and the US economy : Given the America's horrible fiscal condition I cannot see how higher interest rates can be avoided. The demands now being made on the economy by government must result in a significant reduction if not an actual end to the rate of capital accumulation exceeding population growth. This can only mean a general fall in real wages. furthermore, the government — or a government — will be driven to use inflation to engineer a very large partial default
Obama's Yellen appointment signals very bad news for the US economy : Janet Yellen is an inflationist first and foremost. She has made it abundantly clear that all of her policy suggestions will be geared to promoting an inflationary policy. Like all Keynesians she seems congenitally incapable of grasping the dangerous microeconomic consequences of inflation for investment, jobs and the standard of living. She is in fact a very dangerous woman
U.S. government, on its way to bankruptcy, Part 3 : When it becomes clear that the U.S. government can not make good on its mounting debt obligations by taxing its citizens, its creditors, fearing the debasement of the dollar and therefore the value of their investments, will go from friends to foes, from eager buyers of those treasury bills, notes and bonds to eager sellers. It won't be pretty
Why a "cheap dollar" would not save the US economy : Do the advocates of a depreciating dollar think that by merely increasing exports the US would enjoy rise in per capita investment, especially in view of Obama's crippling fiscal policies? Have these people ever given any serious thought to the actual nature of economic growth?
The Left's ludicrous accusations against Tea Partiers : It's Democrats, not conservatives, who use ad hominem attacks, steal elections, make outrageous accusations and conjure up violent imagery. The accusations of racism and threats of violence put forth by race-baiting congressional Democrats since are straight out of the Alinsky playbook. The Dems are well and truly the Party of Hate
Andy Garcia's The Lost City — when film critics turn historians : Andy Garcia's film the Lost City showed that in1958 Cuba was undergoing a rebellion, not a revolution. Cubans expected political change, not Fidel Castro's Stalinist cataclysm. It is no surprise that such distinctions are far too 'complex' for the typical leftwing film critic to grasp
My destructive generation : Under the leadership of my fellow baby boomers, there is a very good chance that the America that we all know and love could end up on the ash heap of history

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


8 April, 2010

The NYT is already preparing Americans for bureaucratic rationing of medical care

America will now be getting its version of Britain's much-loathed NICE -- which repeatedly denies drugs to patients who need them -- if the drugs are expensive. Too bad if you die or are disabled: NICE doesn't care. NYT excerpt below:

From an economic perspective, health reform will fail if we can’t sometimes push back against the try-anything instinct. The new agencies will be hounded by accusations of rationing, and Medicare’s long-term budget deficit will grow.

So figuring out how we can say no may be the single toughest and most important task facing the people who will be in charge of carrying out reform. “Being able to say no,” Dr. Alan Garber of Stanford says, “is the heart of the issue.”

It’s easy to come up with arguments for why we need to do so. Above all, we don’t have a choice. Giving hospitals and drug makers a blank check will bankrupt Medicare. Slowing the cost growth, on the other hand, will free up resources for other uses, like education. Lower costs will also lift workers’ take-home pay.

But I suspect that these arguments won’t be persuasive. They have the faint ring of an insurer’s rationale for denying a claim. Compared with an anecdote about a cancer patient looking for hope, the economic arguments are soulless.

The better bet for the new reformers — starting with Donald Berwick, the physician who will run Medicare — is to channel American culture, not fight it. We want the best possible care, no matter what. Yet we often do not get it because the current system tends to deliver more care even when it means worse care.

It’s not just CT scans. Caesarean births have become more common, with little benefit to babies and significant burden to mothers. Men who would never have died from prostate cancer have been treated for it and left incontinent or impotent. Cardiac stenting and bypasses, with all their side effects, have become popular partly because people believe they reduce heart attacks. For many patients, the evidence suggests, that’s not true.

Advocates for less intensive medicine have been too timid about all this. They often come across as bean counters, while the try-anything crowd occupies the moral high ground. The reality, though, is that unnecessary care causes a lot of pain and even death. Dr. Berwick, who made his reputation campaigning against medical errors, is a promising (if much belated) selection for precisely this reason.

Can we solve the entire problem of rising health costs by getting rid of needless care? Probably not. But the money involved is not trivial, and it’s the obvious place to start.

The final step is the bluntest. It involves changing the economics of medicine, to reward better care rather than simply more care. Health reform doesn’t go nearly far enough on this score, but it is a start.

The tax subsidies for health insurance will shrink, which should help people realize medical care is not free. And doctors who provide good, less expensive care won’t be financially punished as often as they now are.

None of these steps will allow us to avoid the wrenching debates that are an inevitable part of health policy. Eventually, we may well have to decide against paying for expensive treatments with only modest benefits. But given how difficult that would be for this country, it makes sense to start with the easier situations — the ones in which “no” really is the best answer for patients.



Health care overhaul spawns mass confusion for public

Two weeks after President Barack Obama signed the big health care overhaul into law, Americans are struggling to understand how — and when — the sweeping measure will affect them.

Questions reflecting confusion have flooded insurance companies, doctors' offices, human resources departments and business groups.

"They're saying, 'Where do we get the free Obama care, and how do I sign up for that?' " said Carrie McLean, a licensed agent for eHealthInsurance.com. The California-based company sells coverage from 185 health insurance carriers in 50 states.

McLean said the call center had been inundated by uninsured consumers who were hoping that the overhaul would translate into instant, affordable coverage. That widespread misconception may have originated in part from distorted rhetoric about the legislation bubbling up from the hyper-partisan debate about it in Washington and some media outlets, such as when opponents denounced it as socialism.

"We tell them it's not free, that there are going to be things in place that help people who are low-income, but that ultimately most of that is not going to be taking place until 2014," McLean said.

Adults with pre-existing conditions are frustrated to learn that insurers won't have to cover them until 2014 (though those under 18 will be protected in late September); then they become both hopeful and confused upon learning that a federal high-risk pool for them will be established in the next few months. "Health insurance is so confusing. You add this on top of it and it makes it even more confusing," McLean said.

More here


Federal Sales tax (VAT) coming to America

We all know it’s coming, but I’m reasonably sure Volcker missed a memo instructing advisors not, repeat not, to mention this publicly until, oh, say, the day after Election Day 2012. As it is, look for Gibbsy’s spin tomorrow to be, “B-b-but he was Reagan’s Fed chairman!”

"Volcker, answering a question from the audience at a New York Historical Society event, said the value-added tax “was not as toxic an idea” as it has been in the past and also said a carbon or other energy-related tax may become necessary."

Though he acknowledged that both were still unpopular ideas, he said getting entitlement costs and the U.S. budget deficit under control may require such moves. “If at the end of the day we need to raise taxes, we should raise taxes,” he said.

Krauthammer’s column on the VAT came out a few weeks ago, but if you missed it at the time, now’s your chance to catch up. Perfection:

"Obama set out to be a consequential president, on the order of Ronald Reagan. With the VAT, Obama’s triumph will be complete. He will have succeeded in reversing Reaganism. Liberals have long complained that Reagan’s strategy was to starve the (governmental) beast in order to shrink it: First, cut taxes — then ultimately you have to reduce government spending.

"Obama’s strategy is exactly the opposite: Expand the beast, and then feed it. Spend first — which then forces taxation. Now that, with the institution of universal health care, we are becoming the full entitlement state, the beast will have to be fed."

Precisely. The One’s perverse insight was that a giant federal expansion of health-care benefits had to be passed before any major entitlement reform could happen. Had he tackled the latter problem first, declaring that America had reached a moment of fiscal emergency and demanding that both parties address the crisis, he would have done his country a world of good but in the process created two problems for himself.

First, the political fallout to his party from cutting entitlements likely would have been devastating, which would have wrecked any chance at passing health-care reform aside from a modest GOP bill.

And second, even if the Democrats survived the electoral backlash, they’d have a hard time trying to sell the idea of a brand new entitlement after the country had sacrificed so much to get its fiscal house in order. No, the only way to get O-Care done was to add it to the entitlement basket first and then wait for dependency to work its magic so that, when the crisis finally hits full force, it’s already a fact of life. That was a fantastically reckless thing to do but he wanted his agenda passed at all costs. And I do mean “all costs.”

I’ll leave you with James Pethokoukis’s piece this morning gaming out a way that the Democrats might try to sell the VAT to the public. Essentially, it’d have to be the fiscal equivalent of comprehensive immigration reform: If the public’s going to be asked to accept the bitter in the form of amnesty or new taxes, it had better get the sweet of border enforcement or fiscal responsibility in the same deal.



Apples and ObamaCare

Let's do a quick thought experiment. The price of apples keeps going up. The government decides that every American must buy apples. But some can't afford them.

Government starts controlling how much apple farmers are paid, it mandates that every single American buys apples and subsidizes those under a certain income level so they can.

Will the price of apples go down, stay the same or go up? Or, in economists' language, if you limit the supply of a commodity and increase demand, will the price of that commodity go up or down?

Did you say "up"? You get an A. But if you did say "up," you surely are not a Democrat.

Democrats have just committed multitrillions of our money, and, as a bonus, sold a big chunk of American freedom down the road, betting that everything a college freshman learns in basic economics is not true. Or, that health care doesn't follow the rules of economics. Because our new health-care system is pretty much the apple scenario described above.

Or, maybe they don't care? Maybe it's not about economics, but about ideology and political power. And that the real issue is freedom. They think we've got too much and that politicians should decide what is fair and who should have what.

A revealing moment during the presidential campaign occurred when, during one debate, ABC's Charles Gibson pushed then-Sen. Barack Obama about his stated intent to increase capital gains taxes. Gibson brandished data showing that when you cut this tax, government tax revenues increase, and when you raise it, revenue drops (punishing investment surely produces less).

"So, why raise it?" Gibson asked. Obama responded that maybe it won't happen that way this time. And besides, he said, his motive was "fairness."

After voters in Massachusetts elected a Republican to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, killing the Democrats' filibuster-proof Senate majority, many pundits wrote that President Obama had to move to the political center.

I wrote then that this wouldn't happen because, unlike President Bill Clinton, who did moderate, Obama is a left-wing ideologue. He didn't run for president to be somebody. He did it to do something. He did it to change America.

As polls showed waning public support for what Democrats were pushing on health care, many assumed they would back off. It was still conceivable that they could stand rules on their head and ram the thing through using the so-called reconciliation procedure. But why would they do it when polls suggested they would be punished in November elections?

But Obama understood that when you are selling dreams, numbers don't matter.

So, as in the housing and financial debacle we just went through, you commit taxpayer money to subsidize a product to make it look cheaper than it is, you get people to buy it, and when it all comes crashing down, it doesn't matter. By then you're long gone.

And, another bonus, as more Americans get herded onto the government plantation -- 30 million more with this new bill -- it's easy to keep them there. So the most likely political outcome going forward is higher taxes and income redistribution to pay for it all, entrenching socialism more.

As I have written before, if you want to know where it all leads, look at our inner cities that were long ago taken over by government compassion. This is our future, my fellow Americans.

Oh, back to the apples. Their prices were rocketing up to begin with because government was already controlling and regulating them.

Republicans are mad. But will they be able to entice Americans off the ever-growing government plantation? Will they propose and succeed in selling the bold ideas necessary to turn the basket case we're becoming around? We'll see.




Overtaxed homeowners start to fight back: "Now that the housing bubble has burst, up to 60 percent of the nation’s taxable property may be overassessed, meaning owners are paying thousands of dollars more in taxes than they need to, experts say. That is leading to a flood of appeals in many markets from homeowners eager to cut their taxes and speed the process of aligning tax valuations with reality.”

Health care’s history of fiscal folly: "The Affordable Care Act — otherwise known as ObamaCare — isn’t the first attempt to expand health insurance coverage in America. Before Washington passed its law, a number of states took smaller-scale cracks at the job — each of which proved far more expensive than planned. As the nation dives further into debt, the destabilizing fiscal effects of those programs don’t bode well for how ObamaCare will shape the U.S. budget.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


7 April, 2010

Obama administration authorises Targeted Killings?

Has Obama got tired of "dialogue" or hasn't he heard about this yet?

The Obama administration has taken the extraordinary step of authorizing the targeted killing of an American citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is believed to have shifted from encouraging attacks on the United States to directly participating in them, intelligence and counterterrorism officials said Tuesday.

Mr. Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico and spent years in the United States as an imam, is in hiding in Yemen. He has been the focus of intense scrutiny since he was linked to Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex., in November, and then to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man charged with trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Dec. 25.

American counterterrorism officials say Mr. Awlaki is an operative of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the affiliate of the terror network in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. They say they believe that he has become a recruiter for the terrorist network, feeding prospects into plots aimed at the United States and at Americans abroad, the officials said.

It is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, for an American to be approved for targeted killing, officials said. A former senior legal official in the administration of George W. Bush said he did not know of any American who was approved for targeted killing under the former president.

But the director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair, told a House hearing in February that such a step was possible. “We take direct actions against terrorists in the intelligence community,” he said. “If we think that direct action will involve killing an American, we get specific permission to do that.” He did not name Mr. Awlaki as a target.

The step taken against Mr. Awlaki, which occurred earlier this year, is a vivid illustration of his rise to prominence in the constellation of terrorist leaders. But his popularity as a cleric, whose lectures on Islamic scripture have a large following among English-speaking Muslims, means any action against him could rebound against the United States in the larger ideological campaign against Al Qaeda.

The possibility that Mr. Awlaki might be added to the target list was reported by The Los Angeles Times in January, and Reuters reported on Tuesday that he was approved for capture or killing.



"A Very Dangerous Political Plaything"

A sardonic comment by Keith Burgess Jackson, a philosophy and law professor:

I leave you this fine evening with a column by Thomas Sowell. Unless you have spent time in academia, as I have, you probably don't know that white people are necessarily racist. It's not as though there is a mere correlation between being white and being racist, for a correlation, being imperfect, would allow for some whites not to be racist and for some nonwhites to be racist. The relationship is necessary rather than contingent: Merely being white, in a white-supremacist culture such as ours, makes one a racist.

Paul Krugman, for example, is white, and therefore (note the deduction) a racist. He doesn't deny it; he would admit it. His racism causes him to be self-loathing. His very support for Barack Obama is a manifestation of racism. What better way could there be to alleviate white guilt than to support the black man? Progressives such as Krugman are obsessed with race. Everything is racialized. If you're white, you cannot escape your racism. All you can do is (1) loathe yourself, (2) attack your fellow whites (a form of psychological projection), and (3) do everything within your power to promote the interests of blacks (thereby alleviating your guilt).

Welcome to the United States of America in 2010. Ain't it great?



Radicals to rule us all

See the truth about the Obama administration in its appointees

What do Craig Becker, Chai R. Feldblum and Jacqueline A. Berrien have in common? They're the latest left-wing activists to gain public office in President Obama's gallery of radical rulers, courtesy of recess appointments on March 27.

Mr. Becker is a labor lawyer who has pledged to force "card check" on the nation's workplaces, which would end the right to work without being a union member. Instead of secret-ballot elections determining whether a workplace would be unionized, which preserves the employees' freedom to disagree, card check would automatically unionize a workplace if a majority of employees signed a form or card. That would be done under the watchful eye of union goons, of course. No pressure there.

Mr. Becker, who was counsel for Andy Stern's radical, ACORN-linked Service Employees International Union (SEIU) as well as the AFL-CIO, is now on the five-member National Labor Relations Board. That's the federal agency that serves as a neutral arbiter between employers and labor. Putting Mr. Becker on the board makes about as much sense as naming Yogi Berra as the plate umpire in a Yankees-Red Sox game - no offense to Yogi, a great American.

Ms. Feldblum, a lesbian activist at Georgetown Law Center who has said she cannot think of a single instance in which religious freedom would trump "gay rights," is the newest commissioner on the five-member Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). That's the agency that enforces federal civil rights laws in the workplace. Ms. Feldblum once said the culture war could be resolved in a simple manner: "Gays win, Christians lose." She is an author of the proposed federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), another of Massachusetts Democrat Rep. Barney Frank's nuclear gifts to the radical left.

ENDA would affect every employer in America with 15 or more employees. By elevating "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" into federally advantaged "rights" categories, ENDA would put a gun to the head of any employer failing to promote the gay rights agenda in the workplace. This means devout Christians, Jews (and even Muslims if the Obama administration is serious) would see their beliefs defined as a form of bigotry punishable by law.

Joining Ms. Feldblum as chairman of the EEOC is Ms. Berrien, most recently of the NAACP's Legal Defense and Education Fund. Her resume is a litany of racial and feminist entitlement claims, and she filed a brief arguing that Virginia Military Institute (VMI) should be forced to admit women. Did I mention that she was a staff attorney for the ACLU?

These latest appointees fit right in with the 40 or so "czars" Mr. Obama has appointed to high places in federal agencies. Since "green jobs czar" Van Jones resigned on Sept. 6 after being outed as a self-described communist, Mr. Obama has been a bit more careful to appoint people who are merely radical leftists, not necessarily communists.

Still, he has an outright socialist as "energy czarina" in Carol M. Browner, who is charged with making the case for the "cap-and-trade" bill, which would cripple industry, impose the biggest energy tax in history and turn Al Gore into a multibillionaire. Ms. Browner, who was at the far-left Center for American Progress, was on the Commission for a Sustainable World Society, an elite arm of Socialist International. She also is a former board director of APX Inc., which facilitates - surprise! - trading in carbon offsets.

As long as we're talking radical, here are a couple more snapshots of Obama appointees.

* John Holdren, director of the White House's Office on Science and Technology Policy (the "science czar"). Mr. Holdren has the president's ear about how to spend our money on science. During the 1970s, he co-wrote a book with the overpopulation panic couple Paul R. and Anne Ehrlich in which they floated the idea of putting birth-control agents in public drinking water and made the case that mandatory abortions could be justified under the U.S. Constitution. More recently, Mr. Holdren has been a major backer of global-warming treaties. During his confirmation hearing on Feb. 12, 2009, he told an incredulous Sen. David Vitter, Louisiana Republican, that he stood by his 1986 prediction that man-made global warming could kill as many as 1 billion people by 2020.

* Harold Koh, State Department legal adviser ("foreign law czar"). Mr. Koh, a self-described "transnationalist," thinks the days of the United States as an exceptional nation are over and that our laws and court decisions should reflect international legal opinion. He once referred to President George W. Bush as the "torturer in chief" and has tried to have former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo drawn and quartered for drafting a legal opinion about the limits of interrogation techniques. He has testified in support of crackpot U.N. power grabs, including the United Nations' Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Among its activities, the CEDAW committee has attacked conscientious objections against abortion by doctors in Italy and the observance of Mother's Day in Belarus and has promoted legalization of prostitution.

These folks are just the tip of the iceberg. Mr. Obama's recess appointments make it clear that we're probably in for even more loons at the top.




Menachem Begin, a hero of modern Israel's founding and later Prime Minister, was never short of words. Some rather amusing history here suggests that Israel could again use talents like his. I might add that I personally agree entirely with Begin's remarks at the time

Attempt to regulate the internet defeated: "A federal court threw the future of Internet regulations and U.S. broadband expansion plans into doubt Tuesday with a far-reaching decision that went against the Federal Communications Commission. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the FCC lacks authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks.”

Comment on Comcast v. FCC Decision: "This decision firmly slaps the hand of a federal agency that has been trying to grab new regulatory powers in the name of net neutrality that are well beyond its congressional mandate. In doing so, the court struck a blow on behalf of advocates of limited government and the idea that specific legislation, not arbitrary regulation, should be the law of the land.”

Why the Donks want Stevens to retire from SCOTUS NOW: "Even though Obama will be in office for three more years, there is one particularly pressing reason Democrats would like to see Stevens go now rather than later. That reason is coming up this November. Democratic leaders know their 59-vote majority in the Senate will likely shrink after the midterm elections. It's a long shot, but Republicans might even win control of the Senate altogether. That scenario would be a nightmare for the White House, but even continued Democratic rule with a smaller majority would give the president less flexibility in choosing a successor to Stevens. And the narrower the Democratic majority, the greater the possibility Republicans might filibuster a particularly objectionable Obama nominee.

CA: LA mayor calls for temporary shutdowns of some agencies: "Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called for shutting down non-essential agencies two days a week Tuesday as he and City Council members remained locked in a standoff over the intertwined issues of electricity rates and the city’s worsening budget shortfall. … The latest escalation of the financial crisis began Monday when the Department of Water and Power took steps to withhold a promised $73.5-million payment to the city’s depleted treasury. Villaraigosa blamed the action on the council’s rejection of an electricity rate increase, which DWP officials said was necessary to cover the DWP’s fluctuating fossil fuel costs and the mayor’s renewable energy agenda. City Controller Wendy Greuel has warned that, without the DWP payment, Los Angeles could run out of money to pay its bills and employees within weeks.”

Israel: Lieberman warns Palestinian Arabs not to declare state: "Israel’s hard-line foreign minister warned Palestinians against plans to unilaterally declare independence next year, saying in an interview Tuesday that such a move could prompt Israel to annex parts of the West Bank and annul past peace agreements. Avigdor Lieberman also made harsh comments about Turkey, Israel’s increasingly alienated ally, saying the Turkish prime minister was coming to resemble Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi.”

Dutch sidestep EU red tape to rescue German ship: "Gaining fast on the pirates who had seized a German freighter, Dutch naval captain Col. Hans Lodder had no time to waste on bureaucracy. Sidestepping the command of the European Union’s anti-piracy task force, he went instead to his own government for authorization to recapture the ship by force. Lodder first ascertained that the freighter’s crew had locked themselves in a bulletproof room. Then he launched his ship’s Lynx helicopter with a team of six special forces marines. With troops providing cover fire from the helicopter, the marines rappelled onto the ship's deck of the MV Taipan to shoot it out, if need be, with the pirates. But they met no resistance. The 15-man crew was rescued, and 10 Somali pirates were captured."

"Anarchy" leads to order in the streets: "The thought that city streets — upon which we depend for daily functioning — could ever become disorderly, leads most people to accept a governmental policing function of such avenues without much question. We imagine that without speed limits, traffic lights at busy intersections, and all of the varied warnings plastered on tens of thousands of signs that encumber streets in our cities, driving would become a turbulent and destructive undertaking. For a number of years now, a number of cities in Europe have been experimenting with the removal of all traffic signs — including traffic lights, stop signs, speed limit directives — and with surprising results. Various towns in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, New Zealand — even the UK! — have joined in the experiment. Contrary to the expectations of those who might expect multi-car pileups throughout the cities, traffic accidents have been dramatically reduced (in one town, dropping from about eight per year to fewer than two). Part of the reason for the increased safety relates to the fact that, without the worry of offending traffic sign mandates, or watching for police speed-traps, or checking the rear-view mirror for police motorcycles, drivers have more time to pay attention to other cars and pedestrians.”

The war on internships: "Since at least the 12th century until very recently, entry into a profession has come via an apprenticeship, or, in the American terminology, a formal internship. A young person comes to work with people experienced in a trade, usually in exchange for office space, housing, tools to use, but little or no monetary compensation. Everyone wins: the employer gets to scope out a potential hire, and the intern gains priceless experience and a later job offer, new contacts, or a letter of recommendation.”

Army: Gays Can Be Booted if They Speak Up: "Reversing course, Army Secretary John McHugh warned Soldiers that they still can be discharged for admitting they are gay, saying he misspoke earlier when he suggested the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy had been temporarily suspended"

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


6 April, 2010

More slime from the Left: Abuse is their only argument

Rep. Cohen: Tea Partiers Show 'Hardcore' Anger Without 'Robes and Hoods'?

Rep. Steve Cohen is the latest public official to suggest Tea Party supporters have a racist agenda, telling an Internet radio show last week that the activists have shown a "hardcore angry side" of the country, only "without robes and hoods."

On a program called "The Young Turks" on Thursday, the Democratic Tennessee congressman said Tea Party groups show "opposition to African Americans, hostility toward gays, hostility to anybody who wasn't just a clone of George Wallace's fan club." Wallace is the late former Alabama governor, and presidential candidate, well-known for opposing desegregation.

Cohen's comments came after other lawmakers accused Tea Party activists of hurling racial slurs at black representatives on Capitol Hill during an anti-health care reform bill protest last month.

Cohen, in his interview, went on to say that some Republicans are "afraid" to stand up to Tea Party backers. He said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., seemed uncomfortable when his former running mate, Sarah Palin, was campaigning for him last month.

"He looked more like a captured soldier in North Vietnam than he did a United States senator," Cohen said, in reference to the time McCain spent as a prisoner of war. "It was very sad and, I tell you, his wife Cindy, she was about ready to just drop dead."



The real racist is in the White House

Few combinations are more poisonous than race and politics. That combination has torn whole nations apart and led to the slaughters of millions in countries around the world.

You might think we would have learned a lesson from that and stay away from injecting race into political issues. Yet playing the race card has become an increasingly common response to growing public anger at the policies of the Obama administration and the way those policies have been imposed.

When the triumphant Democrats made their widely televised walk up Capitol Hill after passing the health care bill, led by a smirking and strutting Nancy Pelosi, holding her oversized gavel, some of the crowd of citizens expressed their anger. According to some Democrats, these expressions of anger included racial slurs directed at black members of Congress.

This is a serious charge-- and one deserving of some serious evidence. But, despite all the media recording devices on the scene, not to mention recording devices among the crowd gathered there, nobody can come up with a single recorded sound to back up that incendiary charge. Worse yet, some people have claimed that even doubting the charge suggests that you are a racist.

Among the people who are likely to be most disappointed with the Obama administration are those who thought it would usher in a post-racial society. That they wished for such a society is a credit to their values. But that they actually expected a move in that direction suggests that they ignored both Barack Obama's history and the heavy vested interest that too many people have in race hustling.

This is just one of many areas in which this country is likely to pay a very high price for the fact that too many voters paid attention to Obama's rhetoric while ignoring his actual track record.

However soothing the Obama rhetoric, and however lofty his statements about being a uniter rather than a divider-- both racially and in terms of bipartisanship-- everything in his past fairly shouts the opposite, but only to those who follow facts.

Has he been allied with uniters or dividers in the past? Do Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers and Father Pfleger sound like uniters?

What has his administration done-- as distinguished from what the president has said-- since taking office?

It has dropped the prosecution of black thugs caught on camera stationed outside a polling place intimidating voters.

Obama has promoted to the Supreme Court a circuit judge who dismissed a discrimination lawsuit by white firefighters, whose case the Supreme Court later accepted and ruled in their favor.

He preceded this appointment by talking about needing people on the court with "empathy." That is a pretty word but the ugly reality is that it is just another euphemism for bias. For generations, white Southern judges had all kinds of empathy for other white Southerners, which is to say, bias against blacks.

The question is whether you want equal treatment or you want payback. Cycles of revenge and counter-revenge have been at the heart of racial and ethnic strife throughout history, in countries around the world. It is a history written in blood. It is history we don't need to repeat in the United States of America.

Political demagoguery and political favoritism have turned groups violently against each other, even in countries where they have lived peacefully side by side for generations. Ceylon was one of those countries in the first half of the 20th century, before the politics of group favoritism so polarized the country-- now called Sri Lanka-- that it produced a decades-long civil war with mass slaughters and unspeakable atrocities.

The world has been shocked by the mass slaughters of the Tutsis by the Hutus in Rwanda but, half a century ago, there had been no such systematic slaughters there. Political demagoguery whipped up ethnic polarization, among people who had co-existed, who spoke the same language and had even intermarried.

We know-- or should know-- what lies at the end of the road of racial polarization. A "race card" is not something to play, because race is a very dangerous political plaything.



The Left play on human weaknesses

Opposition to creeping statism usually hones in on its impracticalities: higher prices, less competition, socialism, etc. The give-and-take of daily discourse seldom considers how the Obama agenda, specifically and liberalism, in general, diminishes the human spirit.

For starters, one need only listen to liberals themselves. Not the self-satisfied spinmeisters on TV gab-shows but rather the water-cooler and break-room perspectives of everyday, working Americans. Their sad consensus is that it’s time greedy insurance companies got what’s coming to ‘em. Some complain that doctors make more than they’re worth, while others name pharmaceutical companies the guilty parties for pricing health care out of reach.

Even in victory, these liberals are sustained by knee-jerk resentments of America’s productive classes. Even those well-off economically see themselves on the outside of mainstream society looking in — groups and institutions they sense will never accept them, they seek to destroy. It’s not merely that liberalism plays on class resentments, it openly encourages them. It deliberately progresses by pitting citizen against citizen, sublimating individual autonomy to the prevailing orthodoxies of the day.

Conservatism, by contrast, seeks to empower individuals, stressing that a just society is shaped by families, communities and businesses free of the constraints of an over-reaching government. But liberals invest little faith in their fellow citizens, and their upcoming agenda promises, in part, Cap & Trade and still greater control of our financial institutions.

Exerting near hegemonic control of our government and our culture, liberals don’t convert masses of Americans as much as wear them down. Most individuals lack the time or the means to fight them, asking only for increasingly narrower sanctuaries free of the creeping hand of the Nanny State: ‘I don’t mind smoking outdoors’ (which is coming to mean further and further from the entrances to buildings); ‘Just let me eat out once a week with the family’ (while some cities, such as New York, regulate the content, or at least the disclosure of, such ingredients and additives as salt and trans-fats). Even in your home, government regulates the amount of water allowed in your toilet.

Thus, Americans see themselves not as autonomous citizens but as wards of a Social Worker state being protected from themselves. The heartbreaking toll of liberalism is not just onerous taxes and regulations but the lobotomizing of America’s rugged, independent spirit. The boundless optimism that built this country has given way to dread, pessimism and the guarded hope that there will be ’some Social Security left when I retire.’ While culture has always harbored negative stereotypes of business leaders, the traditional Horatio Alger notions of success through grit and determination have succumbed to get-even-with-the rich social policies and tax codes.

Not surprisingly, a cheesy, low-budget commercial ran the other morning promising a free month of government-provided telephone service. Available only to those currently under specific assistance programs, USA Free Phone offers service thereafter for only $19.99 a month. “This is yours, so don’t waste it,” the ad beckons. Never mind that cell and home phone options are as plentiful as breakfast cereal (and about as cheap), we’re talking FREE here! Don’t bore me with liberty!

Like offering candy to five-year olds, the federal government robs many of opportunities to prove themselves independent adults and breadwinners. In fourteen short months, the Obama administration has stifled initiative and embedded in our national psyche the idea that America is no more significant on the world stage than, say, Sweden, and our greatness is measured merely by the election of him.

Liberalism doesn’t diminish America, it diminishes Americans, and our defining characteristics are forfeited not all at once but in tiny increments, such as on March 21, 2010. What is at risk for at least the next three years is an inheritance from our forefathers so vital as to be incalculable: liberty itself. In the words of President Calvin Coolidge, it is not collective, it is personal. “All liberty,” he said in 1924, “is individual,” and the stakes remain not only alarmingly high but deeply personal.




MA: Insurers sue state over rate denial: "A half dozen state health insurers, warning they faced collective losses of hundreds of millions of dollars this year, today filed a lawsuit seeking to reverse last week’s decision by the Massachusetts insurance commissioner to block double-digit premium increases. The hikes would have taken effect April 1 for plans covering thousands of small businesses and individuals across the state. Insurers had proposed base rate increases averaging 8 to 32 percent.”

MA: Health tax may wallop towns: "Massachusetts municipalities that offer employees, retirees, and elected officials the most generous and costly health insurance plans will feel the squeeze of the new national healthcare law’s tax on ‘Cadillac’ insurance plans. A family health plan that costs more than $27,500 would be subject to a 40 percent tax on every dollar spent above that threshold. The tax, set to take effect in 2018, would be levied on insurers, who would probably pass it on to municipalities and other employers. A few cities and towns already have family plans that exceed $27,500, and many others are on track to surpass that level before the tax kicks in.”

TN: Abortion anti-coercion bill headed to governor: "Legislation that would require abortion clinics in Tennessee to post anti-coercion signs is headed to the governor for his consideration. Both chambers worked out differences in the legislation and sent it to Gov. Phil Bredesen Monday evening. He’s expected to review the measure once it reaches his desk. Under current law, any type of coercion to have an abortion is prohibited. But sponsors say some women may not know that and the sign spells out what’s in the law. The legislation would require clinics to post signs that read in part: ‘It is against the law for anyone, regardless of the person’s relationship to you, to coerce you into having or to force you to have an abortion.’ Facilities that don’t comply could be fined as much as $2,500.” [How many people read signs?]

The Golden Age for crony capitalism: "Today’s Wall Street Journal points out that this is the ‘Golden Age’ for lobbyists: [The National Journal] looked at 514 tax forms between 2007 and 2009 and found that no fewer than 89 executives for trade groups earned more than $1 million. That’s a 30% increase from the 2008 survey. Perhaps you recall the now-distant promise of a Presidential candidate who said he would reduce the influence of lobbyists. Who was that guy? That guy made all sorts of promises. But when politicians’ policies expand the scope of government, that of course further empowers those evil lobbyists. When government dishes out money and favors, businesses and unions will lobby for a cut. That’s what I call ‘crony capitalism.’”

ObamaCare will make employees and employers worse off: "The arrival of ObamaCare means that many businesses no longer will be free to tailor compensation packages optimally. Any company employing 50 or more workers must from now on provide a group health insurance policy whose coverage is not too generous, but that also meet minimum standards to be dictated from Washington. (Depending on the relative lobbying strengths of various healthcare-related special-interest groups, the federal standards may require reimbursement for bariatric surgery, fertility treatments, restless-leg syndrome as well as other exotic — and expensive — health problems.) ObamaCare’s health-insurance mandate forces employers who do not currently offer that benefit to do so, but it does nothing to make employees worth more to them.”

Obamacare vs. jobs: "Now that Obamacare has been enacted, we definitely won’t be knocking any new archways through the wall at our restaurant and expanding into the empty storefront next door. With a waiting line on weekends, we could use the additional seats. The adjacent space could also be turned into a party room with seating for 50, perfect for communions, business meetings, and showers. But there will be no sawing and hammering or reducing the neighborhood’s unemployment rate because we already have 42 employees and it’s at 50 workers that the hefty new fines, mandates and penalties kick in under Obamacare.”

The H1N1 Vaccine: An Example of Government Health Care: "Last October I went to my doctor for a routine physical and he asked me if I wanted to get a flu shot. I have never gotten a flu shot and told him I didn’t want one this time, but with all the publicity about the H1N1 epidemic, because I am a classroom teacher who is exposed to lots of people, and because I had planned to attend several conferences in the Fall, I told him I’d like to get the H1N1 vaccine. Sorry, he told me, I wasn’t eligible. So, I went without. Now I read in this article that less than half the doses of the vaccine that were bought by the government have been administered, and that health officials anticipate that many of the unused doses will have to be discarded because they are approaching their expiration dates.... Government planning has never been a good way to allocate resources."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


5 April, 2010

Obama was never a real professor and his past is invisible

I made most of these points on my Obama blog during the 2008 campaign but it seems worthwhile to refresh them. Pamela Gellar notes how the media have ignored all this and describes the coverup of Obama's history as "The biggest hustle in human history"

The smartest genius President evah is nothing more than a carboard cutout. A fraud. Doesn't exist. We don't even know how he did in school because to this day his transcripts are sealed. Turns out now that when he was an instructor at the Chicago, his colleagues who were actual Professors didn't like him and didn't want him. Obama's position was obtained through political channels. From Doug Ross: To be (a lawyer) or not to be...

Is the President's resume accurate when it comes to his career and qualifications? I can corroborate that Obama's "teaching career" at Chicago was, to put it kindly, a sham.

I spent some time with the highest tenured faculty member at Chicago Law a few months back, and he did not have many nice things to say about "Barry." Obama applied for a position as an adjunct and wasn't even considered. A few weeks later the law school got a phone call from the Board of Trustees telling them to find him an office, put him on the payroll, and give him a class to teach. The Board told him he didn't have to be a member of the faculty, but they needed to give him a temporary position. He was never a professor and was hardly an adjunct.

The other professors hated him because he was lazy, unqualified, never attended any of the faculty meetings, and it was clear that the position was nothing more than a political stepping stool. According to my professor friend, he had the lowest intellectual capacity in the building. He also doubted whether he was legitimately an editor on the Harvard Law Review, because if he was, he would be the first and only editor of an Ivy League law review to never be published while in school (publication is or was a requirement). Consider this:

1. President Barack Obama, former editor of the Harvard Law Review, is no longer a "lawyer". He surrendered his license back in 2008 possibly to escape charges that he "fibbed" on his bar application. ...

4. A senior lecturer is one thing. A fully ranked law professor is another. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, "Obama did NOT 'hold the title' of a University of Chicago law school professor". Barack Obama was NOT a Constitutional Law professor at the University of Chicago.

5. The University of Chicago released a statement in March, 2008 saying Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) "served as a professor" in the law school, but that is a title Obama, who taught courses there part-time, never held, a spokesman for the school confirmed in 2008.

6. "He did not hold the title of professor of law," said Marsha Ferziger Nagorsky, an Assistant Dean for Communications and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago School of Law.

7. The former Constitutional senior lecturer cited the U.S. Constitution recently during his State of the Union Address. Unfortunately, the quote he cited was from the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution.

8. By the way, the promises are not a notion, our founders named them unalienable rights. The document is our Declaration of Independence and it reads: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

9. And this is the same guy who lectured the Supreme Court moments later in the same speech? When you are a phony it's hard to keep facts straight.

For a constitutional senior lecturer, it's also noteworthy that Obama doesn't know what car insurance covers

UPDATE: Doug Ross updates with this: Most Transparent President Ever Has Bar Records Redacted This Week, Leaving Only Traces of His Existence Some Betamax Videos and a Fraternity Pin

President Obama's Occidental College transcripts have never been released. His Columbia transcripts are, likewise, AWOL. And his Harvard Law transcripts also haven't been made public. Finally, it's reported, he never published any articles while at Harvard, yet somehow served as Editor of Law Review. That would make him unique among editors, according to insiders.

Even John "D Student" Kerry was guilt-tripped into releasing his transcripts.

Curiously, since I relayed a report of Obama's "teaching career" at Chicago (he was apparently never a law professor, as some have claimed), the Illinois Bar has decided to partially redact what little public information it had available on its website related to the President's legal status.

UPDATE #2: Another from Doug Ross: Rub a dub dub, how many IDs does one profile need?

An anonymous tipster points out that the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of Illinois has gone through some amazing contortions maintaining a single database record for a retired attorney named Barack Obama.

Obama is only transparent in the sense that his past is invisible.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


Israel Will Attack Iran by Nov.

Israel will be compelled to attack Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities by this November unless the U.S. and its allies enact “crippling sanctions that will undermine the regime in Tehran,” former deputy defense minister Brig. Gen. Ephraim Sneh said on Wednesday in Tel Aviv.

The sanctions currently being discussed with Russia, China, and other major powers at the United Nations are likely to be a slightly-enhanced version of the U.N. sanctions already in place, which have had no impact on the Iranian regime.

And despite unanimous passage of the Iran Petroleum Sanctions Act in January, the Obama administration continues to resist efforts by Congress to impose mandatory sanctions on companies selling refined petroleum products to Iran.

In an Op-Ed in the Israeli left-wing daily, Haaretz, Sneh argues that Iran will probably have “a nuclear bomb or two” by 2011.

“An Israeli military campaign against Iran’s nuclear installations is likely to cripple that country’s nuclear project for a number of years. The retaliation against Israel would be painful, but bearable.”

Sneh believes that the “acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran during Obama’s term would do him a great deal of political damage,” but that the damage to Obama resulting from an Israeli strike on Iran “would be devastating.”

Nevertheless, he writes, “for practical reasons, in the absence of genuine sanctions, Israel will not be able to wait until the end of next winter, which means it would have to act around the congressional elections in November, thereby sealing Obama’s fate as president.”

Sneh does not foresee any U.S. military strikes on Iran, an analysis that is shared by most observers in Washington, who see the Obama administration moving toward containment as opposed to confrontation with Iran.

In a recent report for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), military analyst Anthony Cordesman concluded that Israel will have to use low-yield earth-penetrating nuclear weapons if it wants to take out deeply-buried nuclear sites in Iran.

“Israel is reported to possess a 200 kilogram nuclear warhead containing 6 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium that could be mounted on the sea launched cruise missiles and producing a Yield of 20 kilo tons,” Cordesman writes in the CSIS study he co-authored by Abdullah Toukan.

Israel would be most likely to launch these missiles from its Dolphin-class submarines, he added.

While Sneh is no longer in the Israeli government, his revelation of a drop-dead date for an Israeli military strike on Iran must be taken seriously, Israel-watchers in the U.S. tell Newsmax.

“Ephraim Sneh is a serious guy,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “He was deputy minister of defense and has long been focused on the issue of Iran.”

Shoshana Bryen, Senior Director for Security Policy at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), said that what struck her most about Sneh’s comments was the shift of emphasis from resolving the Palestinian problem to Iran.

“For 30 years, he’s been saying that solving the Palestinian problem is Israel’s biggest priority. Now he’s saying, forget about the Palestinians. Iran is the problem.”

Sneh “is extremely well regarded on the left and the right,” she added. “People respect him enormously.”

In his Op-Ed, Sneh argues that the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needs to mend its bridges with the United States, and the only way to do so is by enacting an immediate and total ban on any settlement activity, including in Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

“Without international legitimacy, and with its friend mad at it, Israel would find it very difficult to act on its own” against Iran, he argued.




MA: Short-term customers boosting health costs: "Thousands of consumers are gaming Massachusetts’ 2006 health insurance law by buying insurance when they need to cover pricey medical care, such as fertility treatments and knee surgery, and then swiftly dropping coverage, a practice that insurance executives say is driving up costs for other people and small businesses. In 2009 alone, 936 people signed up for coverage with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts for three months or less and ran up claims of more than $1,000 per month while in the plan. Their medical spending while insured was more than four times the average for consumers who buy coverage on their own and retain it in a normal fashion, according to data the state’s largest private insurer provided the Globe. The typical monthly premium for these short-term members was $400, but their average claims exceeded $2,200 per month.”

Obamacare's doctorless world: "In rural areas of the country, obtaining a doctor's appointment is practically mission impossible. Even in cities such as Boston and Manhattan, it can be very difficult for patients to attain the medical care they badly need, particularly for Medicare and Medicaid patients. From New York's Upper East Side to the heartland to San Francisco's Haight Ashbury, a striking physician shortage exists in this country. The reasons for the dearth of doctors are complex, but one thing is certain: The "health care reform" that President Obama ardently pushed down the public's throat and recently signed into law will not increase the scant supply of doctors. In fact, it will make the problem worse."

Expanded health insurance may not lead to generally better health: "How does health insurance affect health? After reviewing the evidence on this question, we reach three conclusions. First, many of the studies claiming to show a causal effect of health insurance on health do not do so convincingly because the observed correlation between insurance and good health may be driven by other, unobservable factors. Second, convincing evidence demonstrates that health insurance can improve health measures of some population subgroups, some of which, although not all, are the same subgroups that would be the likely targets of coverage expansion policies. Third, for policy purposes we need to know whether the results of these studies generalize. Solid answers to the multitude of important questions about how specific health insurance policy options may affect health seem likely to be forthcoming only with investment of substantial resources in social experiments."

Justice Dept. stonewalling on refusal to prosecute Black Panthers: "President Obama or Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. should declare publicly whether executive privilege has been invoked in the Justice Department's refusal to release documents showing why voter-intimidation charges against the New Black Panther Party were dismissed, says the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Declaring an impasse in negotiations between the commission and the department, Commission Chairman Gerald A. Reynolds said the Justice Department has "repeatedly refused" to provide any basic information regarding the case, instead asserting "vague and generalized privileges" that do not apply."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


4 April, 2010

Obama is allowing Iran to go nuclear

US President Barack Obama has decided to abandon any serious effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He is determined instead to live with a nuclear Iran, by containment and, if possible, negotiation.

This is the shifting tectonic plate in the Middle East.

This is the giant story of the past few weeks which the world has largely missed, distracted by the theatre of the absurd of Obama's contrived and mock confrontation with Israel over 1600 apartments to be built in three years' time in a Jewish suburb in East Jerusalem.

Iran is the only semi-intelligible explanation for Obama's bizarre over-reaction against the Israelis.

In the Middle East, today, Iran is the story. It is the consideration behind all other considerations.

Obama has not explicitly announced his new position and he and his cabinet secretaries still make speeches saying they will try to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. But if you look at the statements closely you see a steady weakening of resolve, a steady removal of any threat of any consequence for Iran. Similarly, if you look at the actions of the administration, the sombre conclusion is inescapable.

Given Iran's missile program, which has no conceivable military use except to carry nuclear weapons, and which can now reach Europe and in due course will have a longer range, the fundamental change in US policy has global security consequences.

It has global security consequences in other ways, as well. It profoundly undermines American strategic credibility, which is the bedrock of whatever global order this troubled planet enjoys.

The troubling realisation that the Americans have given up, or are in the process of giving up, the fight to prevent Iran going nuclear is backed by the best informed security sources in Washington, London, Jerusalem and Canberra.

The bust-up between Washington and Israel only makes sense in this context. Last week, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Obama in the White House, and also met Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the State Department. On both occasions, all photographers and all TV cameras were banned. This was a studied humiliation of Netanyahu and all, ostensibly, because Israel announced that in three years' time 1600 apartments would be built in a Jewish neighbourhood in East Jerusalem. Yet the 10-month moratorium on new residential building in the West Bank which Netanyahu had announced in October to effusive US praise had specifically exempted East Jerusalem.

It is inconceivable that Obama would have treated any Arab or Muslim leader with the same considered contempt that he showed to Netanyahu. I speculated last week that Obama engaged in his furious over-reaction in order to pursue personal popularity in the Muslim world, and perhaps to force Israel to make so many concessions that the Palestinians would come back to negotiations. Although these negotiations would not produce a comprehensive peace deal, at least Obama could claim the talks themselves as a victory of sorts.

I still think these were important considerations but there was a much bigger strategic purpose, as well. In 2008, Israel told Washington it was planning to strike Iran's nuclear facilities. Washington talked Jerusalem out of the move, not least by showing its own determination to stop the Iranians.

In those days, senior Americans from then-president George W. Bush down, often said that "all options are on the table" in their determination to stop Iran acquiring nukes. All options explicitly included an American military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. When Obama spoke to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 2008, he said he would use "all elements of American power to pressure Iran".

He won a tumultuous standing ovation by using a repetition of a key word to emphasise his determination. He said: "I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon - everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon - everything." That was Obama's equivalent to Bush's "all options".

Obama doesn't talk anything like that any more. In his message to Iran on the Iranian new year a few weeks ago, he reiterated his determination not to meddle in Iran's internal affairs and said the nuclear matter should still be negotiated.

Clinton, in her address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee last week, spoke only briefly about Iran, repeating a pro-forma US determination to stop it going nuclear. But there was no mention of all options, everything the US could do, or all aspects of US power. Instead, she said that while sanctions were taking a long time to work out at the UN, it was time well spent, and they would show Iran that its actions had consequences.

But the bulk of her speech was all about the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

Presidential and Secretary of State speeches on subjects like this are given a level of attention that wouldn't be out of place in the preparation of a papal encyclical. The sub-text of Obama and Clinton's recent speeches can only be that they have decided that the battle against a nuclear-armed Iran is over.

One thing they are determined to do is to stop Israel from taking its own unilateral military action to stop or retard Iran's nuclear program. Israel has taken this type of action twice before. In 1981, it destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor at Osirak. And in 2007, it bombed into obliteration a North Korean-supplied secret nuclear reactor in Syria.

It is impossible to know with absolute certainty what Israel's intentions were, or are, for the Iranian nuclear program. But for several years the most senior US officials would agree that a nuclear-armed Iran represented an existential threat to Israel. Iran's rulers, after all, not only deny the Holocaust but have made militant anti-Americanism, confrontation with Israel and even anti-Semitism, defining ideologies of the Iranian state. Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has threatened to wipe Israel off the map. Most analysts believe that for all their extremism, the Iranian rulers are rational actors and would not actually use nuclear weapons. But this is a slender analytical thread to ask Israelis to hang their very lives on. And the danger of Iran proliferating some element of nuclear material or technology to terrorists is much more plausible.

This is where the Obama-Israel dust-up comes in. By so isolating Israel, by irresponsibly unleashing a global wave of anti-Israel sentiment, especially in nations which normally support Israel, Obama has made the possibility of Israel considering unilateral action against Iran much more unlikely. The Israelis would weigh such action very carefully. There are many pluses and minuses. By creating the impression of Israel as a besieged, isolated and reckless nation, which the wildly disproportionate reaction to the East Jerusalem apartments accomplished, Obama has made the potential cost to Israel of action against Iran much greater.

Is it fair to conclude definitively that Obama has decided to give up, except for symbolic and meaningless actions, the fight against a nuclear-armed Iran?

Obama might still change his mind - he is nothing, after all, if not flexible - but that is the inescapable conclusion of his actions so far.

He has set so many deadlines for Iran. Each of them has passed and nothing ever happens. There are never bad consequences for the US's enemies in Obama world, it seems, only for its friends.

Remember, initially, that the Obama administration wanted to wait for the Iranian election in the middle of last year before it exhausted dialogue or went down the sanctions road? Remember then the deadline was September? Remember the proposal for Iran's uranium to go to Russia for enrichment? Remember the revelation of Iran's secret nuclear facility at Qom? Remember Iran's announcement that it intended to enrich uranium up to 20 per cent, a vast leap on the technological road to weapons? Did you notice a couple of weeks ago Iran's announcement that it would build new nuclear facilities?

And where are we today? Now it is April and Obama is still talking in his feckless way about possible UN sanctions. Anything that is passed by China and Russia at the UN Security Council will be weak and ineffective. A serious US administration would have built a critical mass of like-minded countries to impose crippling sanctions on Iran outside the Security Council.

The only explanation that fits with all the facts is that the US administration is no longer serious about stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons. James Lindsay and Ray Takeyh, writing in this month's Foreign Affairs, declare that: "If Iran's nuclear program continues to progress at its current rate, Tehran could have the nuclear material needed to build a bomb before US President Barack Obama's current term in office expires." The Foreign Affairs article, After Iran Gets the Bomb, is important in another way. It demonstrates the drift in the serious discussion in the US. It is no longer a discussion of how to stop Iran getting the bomb, but how to cope with a nuclear-armed Iran.

Here's something else you should know about Iran. US General David Petraeus, in written testimony to congress, has revealed that Iran is co-operating with al-Qa'ida in Afghanistan and Pakistan, facilitating the movement of its leaders. The Sunday Times of London recently carried interviews with Taliban leaders who were trained in Iran.

There is no chance Obama will produce a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace deal in his first term in office, which is how he would like to be remembered by history. There is every chance history will remember him for something altogether different, as the American president on whose watch Iran became a nuclear-weapons state.



Obama only likes America's enemies

Which is exactly what one would expect of the far-Leftist he is

The contretemps between President Obama and Israel needs to be seen in a broader global context. The president who ran against "unilateralism" in the 2008 campaign has worse relations overall with American allies than George W. Bush did in his second term.

Israelis shouldn't feel that they have been singled out. In Britain, people are talking about the end of the "special relationship" with America and worrying that Obama has no great regard for the British, despite their ongoing sacrifices in Afghanistan. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy has openly criticized Obama for months (and is finally being rewarded with a private dinner, presumably to mend fences). In Eastern and Central Europe, there has been fear since the administration canceled long-planned missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic that the United States may no longer be a reliable guarantor of security. Among top E.U. officials there is consternation that neither the president nor even his Cabinet seems to have time for the European Union's new president, Herman Van Rompuy, who, while less than scintillating, is nevertheless the chosen representative of the post-Lisbon Treaty continent. Europeans in general, while still fond of Obama, have concluded that he is not so fond of them -- despite his six trips to Europe -- and is more of an Asian president.

The Asians, however, are not so sure. Relations with Japan are rocky, mostly because of the actions of the new government in Tokyo but partly because of a perception that the United States can't be counted on for the long term. In India, there are worries that the burgeoning strategic partnership forged in the Bush years has been demoted in the interest of better relations with China. Although the Obama administration promised to demonstrate that the United States "is back" in Asia after the alleged neglect of the Bush years, it has not yet convinced allies that they are the focus of American attention.

U.S. officials have any number of explanations for these concerns: that they are based on misunderstandings, the product of minor errors in execution, simply Bush's fault. By now, however, a moderately self-reflective administration might be asking why so many allies, everywhere, are worried.

Yet it isn't that surprising. Who has attracted attention in the Obama administration? The answer, so far, seems to be not America's allies but its competitors, and in some cases its adversaries. If there were a way to measure administration exertion in foreign policy, the meter would show the greatest concentration of energy, beyond the war in Afghanistan, has been devoted to four endeavors: the failed first-year attempt to improve relations with Iran; the ongoing attempt to improve relations with Russia; the stalled effort to improve cooperation with China; and the effort -- fruitless so far -- to prove to the Arab states that the United States is willing to pressure Israel to further the peace process. Add to these the efforts to improve relations with Syria, engage Burma and everything with Af-Pak, and not much has been left for the concerns of our allies.

This is bad enough, but compounding the problem has been the administration's evident impatience with allies who don't do as they are told. Europeans get spanked for a pallid commitment to NATO defense spending even as they contribute 30,000 troops to a distant war that European publics mostly don't believe in. Japan gets spanked when its new government insists on rethinking some recent agreements. In both cases, the administration has a point, but it's always easier to hammer allies when they misbehave than to hammer tough competitors such as Russia or China.

The president has shown seemingly limitless patience with the Russians as they stall an arms-control deal that could have been done in December. He accepted a year of Iranian insults and refusal to negotiate before hesitantly moving toward sanctions. The administration continues to woo Syria and Burma without much sign of reciprocation in Damascus or Rangoon. Yet Obama angrily orders a near-rupture of relations with Israel for a minor infraction like the recent settlement dispute -- and after the Israeli prime minister publicly apologized.

This may be the one great innovation of Obama foreign policy. While displaying more continuity than discontinuity in his policies toward Afghanistan, Iraq and the war against terrorism, and garnering as a result considerable bipartisan support for those policies, Obama appears to be departing from a 60-year-old American grand strategy when it comes to allies. The old strategy rested on a global network of formal military and political alliances, mostly though not exclusively with fellow democracies. The idea, Averell Harriman explained in 1947, was to create "a balance of power preponderantly in favor of the free countries." Under Bill Clinton, and the two Bushes, relations with Europe and Japan, and later India, were deepened and strengthened.

This administration pays lip-service to "multilateralism," but it is a multilateralism of accommodating autocratic rivals, not of solidifying relations with longtime democratic allies. Rather than strengthening the democratic foundation of the new "international architecture" -- the G-20 world -- the administration's posture is increasingly one of neutrality, at best, between allies and adversaries, and between democrats and autocrats. Israel is not the only unhappy ally, therefore; it's just the most vulnerable.



The elitists vs. the rest of us

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards twice ran unsuccessfully for president on a platform based on his contention that there are "two Americas: the America of the privileged and the wealthy, and the America of those who live from paycheck to paycheck." Edwards was right that there are two Americas, but he missed it completely on who resides where and why. One America is that of the liberal political elite that currently controls the White House and solid majorities in Congress, and dominates the traditional media, academia, and public intellectual ranks. The other America is the rest of us who are expected to shut up and do as we are told by the first America.

What is most worrisome here are the elitists' blatantly anti-democratic attitudes and authoritarian impulses. Three examples have been on raw display this week -- by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, and James Lovelock, the British scientist who is revered by global warming crusaders.

Waxman threw a fit when a half dozen major corporations announced the first of a coming flood of downward revisions to projected profits because of Obamacare, the exceedingly unpopular health care measure that the California congressman co-sponsored in the House of Representatives. So he angrily scheduled a public grilling of the guilty executives and demanded that they provide in advance copies of all internal documents, including e-mails, that explain and justify their decisions. It was exactly the kind of unrestricted "fishing expedition' demand for documents -- many containing privileged commercial information -- that Waxman routinely condemned as an abuse of power when Republicans controlled Congress. Lesson: Elitists hate limits on their power.

Jackson is the agency head who told Congress last year that if it didn't pass a cap-and-trade bill to regulate greenhouse gases, her agency would regulate them unilaterally. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said Monday that when she submitted a list of detailed questions to Jackson last month about how that would be done, the EPA head "refused to answer even the most basic questions about how many stationary sources will be regulated, when those sources will be regulated, what technologies will be mandated for compliance, and how much the regulations will cost." Lesson: Elitists disdain explaining their actions.

Then there is Lovelock, who told the Guardian newspaper in Britain that growing public skepticism here about anti-global warming measures like cap and trade makes him doubt that we humans are "clever enough to handle a situation as complex as climate change." Lovelock's solution? "Put democracy on hold for a while." Lesson: Elitists believe important decisions should be left to bright people like Waxman, Jackson, and Lovelock.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


3 April, 2010

The Leftist hate never stops

Forgive the obscene photo of "Politically Incorrect" show host Bill Maher, but it serves as a stark visual testimonial to the Left's true nature. Every day, the Left shows us with their own actions that they are exactly what they accuse conservatives and tea partiers of being.

It is astonishing that they have the gall to accuse anyone of anything. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. But then we remember that the smear and the lie are all they have. As a post at Powerline relates, "It is liberals, not conservatives, who rely on ad hominem attacks, outrageous allegations and violent imagery." The accusations of racism and threats of violence put forth by congressional Democrats since Saturday are straight out of the Alinsky playbook. They probably made the calls themselves.

Thank God for talk radio and the internet. Thanks to the New Media, Democrats can no longer do these things with impunity. As Andrew Breitbart says, "The emperor has no clothes." The Left is being exposed for the empty fraud of a movement it is, and as that happens, they are getting increasingly desperate. Yes, we do have to worry about violence. From them. But this is nothing new, either.

Powerline describes the 2008 Republican convention in Minneapolis, where Leftist protesters "... threw bricks through the windows of buses, sending elderly convention delegates to the hospital. They dropped bags of sand off highway overpasses onto vehicles below. Fortunately, no one was killed."

As Noel Sheppard relates, the media were AWOL.

Here is a list of representative Leftist misbehavior:

* Air America exhorts listeners to assassinate Bush.

* Five campaign workers for Kerry arrested for slashing tires on 25 cars rented by GOP campaign workers. One of the five was the Milwaukee Mayor's son, the other the son of a Democrat U.S. congresswoman.

* Republican combat wounded Vietnam vet's house spray-painted with the words BUSHNAZIS, American flags shredded, truck keyed.

* Leftist lawyer caught keying Marine Iraq War vet's BMW just prior to his second deployment. (This one is priceless. You should read the outcome.)

* Senator Mary Landrieu threatens to punch President Bush (a felony). Where was the press on that one?

* Astroturfers threaten Andrew Breitbart and throw eggs at patriot rally buses.

* Alan Grayson says that we need to "get rid of Republicans entirely."

* Many cases of conservative newspaper production runs stolen or vandalized.

* On "Conan O'Brien Show," unglued Alec Baldwin screams that Rep. Henry Hyde and family, including children, should be stoned to death.

Mere days ago, a Leftist Astroturf group of union activists threw eggs at a tea party bus entering Searchlight, Nevada -- hometown of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. They also cornered Andrew Breitbart, physically threatened him, and then called police, accusing Breitbart of throwing the eggs. He related the event to two San Francisco Chronicle reporters who hitched a ride with him. Here's the video.

Recall the SEIU thug who beat up a black reporter at a town hall rally in Missouri last summer. Recall that he was called "nigger," and that the thug was arrested. Somehow the AP missed all that.

Recall the Arizona town hall meeting where MS-NBC reported that some white racist was carrying an "assault weapon," except that that white racist happened to be black. Somehow they missed that, too.

Following is a rundown of anti-GOP incidents from the 2004 presidential election. We gratefully acknowledge the late Clifton T. Sharp of Clifto.com for compiling the list. It came from a post titled "Identifying the Good Guys, Notes for Election Fence-Sitters." I will preface the list with Cliff's insightful counsel:
More often than not, if you see a pattern of violence from one side, they're the bad guys. They're the ones who can't make their side rise above the other through merit, so they try to make the other side fall by violence and intimidation. It is nearly always true that the side that resorts to violence has no other method for achieving its goal. They cannot make good things happen for their side, so they make bad things happen to the other side.

Whenever there is a difference of beliefs, reasonable men can agree to reasonably disagree. It follows that those who resort to violence in an attempt to force their beliefs on others, or to stop others from expressing their beliefs, are not reasonable men. They do not believe in free speech; they want you to know that they will hurt you to stop you from exercising your rights to free speech.

When there are a few incidents among a very large group, such as a political party, it's hard to blame the entire group. But when violence is frequent and widespread, it becomes a policy rather than an aberration. It becomes an indication that the violent side believes it cannot reasonably persuade others to their beliefs, but instead must use force and intimidation to deter others from exercising their rights as citizens of the United States of America.

Thousands of years ago, ancient philosophers taught that one can distinguish the good guys from the bad guys by their actions. That advice still holds true. The bad guys are running organized attempts to disrupt and to harm their opponents, to frighten people like you so that you won't vote for the good guys. When you make your choice, try not to give them what they want.


Paul Ryan on Progressivism

Earlier this week, Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) traveled to the Sooner State to address the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. Much of his speech focused on progressivism:
The Democratic leaders of Congress and in the White House hold a view they call “Progressivism.” Progressivism began in Wisconsin, where I come from. It came into our schools from European universities under the spell of intellectuals such as Hegel and Weber, and the German leader Bismarck. The best known Wisconsin Progressive was actually a Republican, Robert LaFollette.

Progressivism was a powerful strain in both political parties for many years. Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican, and Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, both brought the Progressive movement to Washington.

Early Progressives wanted to empower and engage the people. They fought for populist reforms like initiative and referendum, recalls, judicial elections, the breakup of monopoly corporations, and the elimination of vote buying and urban patronage. But Progressivism turned away from popular control toward central government planning. It lost most Americans and consumed itself in paternalism, arrogance, and snobbish condescension. “Fighting Bob” LaFollette, Teddy Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson would have scorned the self-proclaimed “Progressives” of our day for handing out bailout checks to giant corporations, corrupting the Congress to purchase votes for government controlled health care, and funneling billions in Jobs Stimulus money to local politicians to pay for make-work patronage. That’s not “Progressivism,” that’s what real Progressives fought against!

Since America began, the timid have feared the Founding Fathers’ ideas of individual freedom, so they yearn for Old World class models. Our Progressivists are the latest iteration of that same fear of the people. In unprecedented numbers, Americans are speaking out against the intolerable Health Care bill and irresponsible debt-ridden spending.

Does anyone recall Norman Rockwell’s famous “Freedom of Speech” painting of an average working Joe standing and speaking his mind at a town hall meeting? Today’s Progressivists ridicule average Americans speaking out at tea parties across the nation and denounce their criticisms as “un-American.” Millions of average Americans reject their big government solutions, and that scares them.

Last January President Obama said: “There are simply philosophical differences that will always cause us to part ways. These disagreements, about the role of government in our lives, about our national priorities and our national security, have been taking place for over two hundred years.”

He was right. So let’s examine these “philosophical differences” of government. Progressivists say there are no enduring ideas of right or wrong. Everything is “relative” to history, so our ideas need to change. Progressivists say the Founders’ Constitution including its amendments, with its principles of equal natural rights, limited government, and popular consent is outdated. We should have a “living constitution” that keeps up with the times. Progressivists invent new rights and enforce them with a more powerful central government and more federal agencies to direct society through the changes of history. And don’t worry, they say. Bureaucrats can be controlled by Congressional oversight.
Ryan continues:
The Progressivist ideology embraced by today’s leaders is very different from everything rank-and-file Democrats, independents, and Republicans stand for. America stands for nothing if not for the fixed truth that unalienable rights were granted to every human being not by government but by “nature and nature’s God.” The truths of the American founding can’t become obsolete because they are not timebound. They are eternal. The practical consequence of these truths is free market democracy, the American idea of free labor and free enterprise under government by popular consent. The deepest case for free market democracy is moral, rooted in human equality and the natural right to be free.

A government that expands beyond its high but limited mission of securing our natural rights is not progressive, it’s regressive. It privileges the powerful at the expense of the people. It establishes the rule of class over class. The American Revolution and the Constitution replaced class rule with a better idea: equal opportunity for all. The promise of keeping the earnings of your work is central to justice, freedom, and the hope to improve your life.
And his parting thought:
A political realignment is on the way. Democratic leaders are staking their party’s future on their ideological agenda. Financial Services Committee Chairman Frank candidly admits that his party “are trying on every front to increase the role of government.” Former President Clinton told a Netroots convention last year that “We have entered a new era of progressive politics, which if we do it right could last 30 or 40 years.”

The question is, do we realign with the vision of a European-style social welfare state, or do we realign with the American idea?

My party challenges the whole basis of the Progressivist vision of this country’s future. We challenge their attack on American exceptionalism. We challenge their claim that bureaucratic centralization is the only way the US can meet the economic and social challenges of our time.

Those leaders have underestimated the good sense of the American people. They broke faith with independents, Republicans, and their own rank-and-file. They walked away from the foundational truths that made America the wonder and the envy of the world. The price of their infidelity will be high.
Read it all



Obama opens up to drilling, or does he?

President Obama this week offered the "Drill, Baby, Drill" crowd an olive twig when he announced that he would "consider potential areas for development [of oil and gas resources] in the mid-Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico." Confine yourself to one cheer. Large swathes of potentially productive lands remain off-limits.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., doesn't want any drilling off the West Coast, and the environmentalists are adamant that large parts of Alaska remain the preserve of caribou. So oil and gas companies will have to be content with access to the Atlantic coastline from New Jersey south, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska.

Since there has been very little exploration in these areas, no one really knows how much oil and gas they might contain. Actual drilling will not take place for four years, some of the areas cannot be opened without congressional approval, and we won't know which areas will be offered for lease until the 2012-2017 lease plan, still a work in progress, is announced....

It is no smooth path from presidential reconsideration to drilling. Outraged environmental groups will fight the issuance of drilling permits in Congress, in the rule-making proceedings, and in the courthouses. These groups have developed a can't-lose strategy when opposing the permitting of new coal plants: Their legal teams delay decisions for so long that companies, which have to get on with planning their capital expenditures, simply give up, and walk away from their projects.

No matter that they might eventually have won in the courts; time is money, and delay too costly. Unless the president is as willing to cajole, threaten and bribe these groups as he was the Democratic congressman who were reluctant to support his health care bill, there won't be much new offshore drilling.....

But let's not be churlish. The president has moved a bit in the direction of nuclear power and offshore drilling. Give thanks for small favors.

More here



New mileage rules will deliver eggshell cars: "Drivers will have to pay more for cars and trucks, but they’ll save at the pump under tough new federal rules aimed at boosting mileage, cutting emissions and hastening the next generation of fuel-stingy hybrids and electric cars. The new standards, announced Thursday, call for a 35.5 miles-per-gallon average within six years, up nearly 10 mpg from now.” [The new goals can only be achieved by making smaller, lighter and flimsier cars]]

State debt woes grow too big to camouflage: "California, New York and other states are showing many of the same signs of debt overload that recently took Greece to the brink — budgets that will not balance, accounting that masks debt, the use of derivatives to plug holes, and armies of retired public workers who are counting on benefits that are proving harder and harder to pay. And states are responding in sometimes desperate ways, raising concerns that they, too, could face a debt crisis. … Some economists fear the states have a potentially bigger problem than their recession-induced budget woes. If investors become reluctant to buy the states’ debt, the result could be a credit squeeze, not entirely different from the financial strains in Europe, where markets were reluctant to refinance billions in Greek debt.”

Tea partiers embrace liberty, not big government: "The conservative rebellions of the late 1970s and middle 1990s were focused on taxes. The tea partiers are focusing on the expansion of government — and its threat to the independence of citizens. … Progressives have always assumed that people need safety nets and welcome dependence on government. The public’s clear rejection of the Democratic health-care bills has shown that this assumption is unwarranted. Americans today prefer independence to dependence on government, just as they did 200 years ago.”

NOTE: Reduced postings on some of my blogs today as I am ill with the 'flu

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


2 April, 2010

How Should Conservatives Deal with the Left’s Disrespect and Lack of Empathy?

Helen Smith makes some generally reasonable points below but fails to see that hate is what motivates the Left -- so their behaviour is entirely to be explained by that. They hate people who find anything worthwhile in the status quo -- and you don't expect respect or empathy from haters. Revolution is what the Left basically wants but if they cannot have that, they will at least do their best to white-ant the society they live in and which they hate -- all under the cloak of good intentions, of course.

Branding the Left as the haters they are is the only thing that might slow them down. They know that, which is why they do their best to get in first and find something in conservatives that they can brand as hate

I often feel bad for those on the right such as Jeff Goldstein who try to make sense of someone on the left who treats them with disdain and disgust. Goldstein received an email from an old creative writing professor recently saying that he was disturbed by Goldstein’s writings and wanted Goldstein to remove his name from his “about page.” When Goldstein called Brian Kiteley, the professor, up on the phone for clarification, Kiteley called him names:

So I dialed him up and he answered. When I told him who was calling, he let out a forced “laugh” — I presume to show his bemused exasperation with my gall at having contacted him — and, when pressed, he called me a “jerk”.

Initially, Goldstein says he was hurt by his professor’s intolerant attitude, but then, his hurt rightly turned to anger. This professor tolerated free speech only for liberal ideas. But shouldn’t we all have the right to free speech? Apparently, only if it’s left-leaning. And one would think a creative writing professor might be above this. But the problem is, he may have a blind spot when it comes to those on the right.

Jonathan Haidt, a professor at the University of Virginia and author of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, found that conservatives could more readily put themselves in the shoes of liberals and understand morally where they were coming from. The reverse was not true of liberals. They have little understanding of those with opposing views to their own. As Haidt states:

“I think of liberals as colorblind,” he says in a hushed tone that conveys the quiet intensity of a low-key crusader. “We have finely tuned sensors for harm and injustice but are blind to other moral dimensions. Look at the way the word ‘wall’ is used in liberal discourse. It’s almost always related to the idea that we have to knock them down.”

Why are liberals unable to sympathize with conservatives? I offer three possibilities. First, I often wonder if this “blind spot” for conservatives is similar to the psychopath who cannot comprehend the morality of those who are “normal.” At the present time, there is no known cure for treating the psychopath. Trying to get someone on the left to see where a conservative is coming from may be as difficult as trying to change the mind of a psychopath. Perhaps that will happen one day.

I am not saying here that liberals are psychopaths, for this would be incorrect for the most part. What I am saying is that their inability to understand the morality of conservatives makes them unable to understand their point of view, just as a psychopath does not understand the morality of normal people.

So just remember that next time a liberal treats you poorly, it may not be his or her fault. Like the psychopath who has no empathy for his fellow human being, liberals may have a blind spot when it comes to having any empathy or understanding for their conservative brethren. It often makes a psychopath worse to show empathy for him, as he will take advantage of it.

The second possibility is that liberals do have the capacity to empathize with conservatives, but they do not have to do so because of the liberal bubble they mostly live in. Schools, the media, and many of the cities they live in lean left. This means that there is no incentive to understand other ideas and there are no consequences for showing disgust and ugly feelings towards conservatives. Thus, Goldstein’s ex-professor feels free to vent at him — knowing that few will care.

For example, if a Republican vents at a Democrat, he or she will be seen as a “hate-monger.” For an example of this, notice how Eric Cantor can have his office shot at and it is played down with all kinds of excuses, while if the tea partiers are said to have shouted at Democrats without any proof, it is taken as the gospel truth, with no video needed. The left are just “innocent victims.”

So what is the prescription here for those of us who are conservative or libertarian? There may be no way to get the “other side” to understand our views, for they may not have the capacity to do so. Until the lack of empathy for conservatives miraculously changes, we might do better to grow our own ranks, getting more of us involved, rather than trying to rationalize our own views to the other side. Giving in only wastes valuable time that could be put to better use and makes liberals more likely to treat us poorly.

At the same time, we should consider that it could be a lack of consequences that allows liberals to lack empathy or understanding for their fellow right-leaning citizens. Expanding right-leaning media and exposing liberals to ridicule and consequences (e.g., Andrew Breitbart) might then be the correct path to take, for the ease with which they attack may decrease once they realize that they will not get off scott-free as they once did.

Finally, and my third possibility, is it could be lack of education that allows the left to lack empathy. They are not exposed to right-leaning and libertarian ideas. For example, how many classes at school are teaching about the ideas of Hayek, Friedman, and Rand? If kids grow up without this information, they may turn into adults who lack the ability to understand other points of view.

Perhaps a combination of all three is needed: expanding right-leaning media, getting more people involved, and making sure consequences are dealt out to those liberals who lie and treat conservatives with disrespect. Yes, this means all of us speaking up wherever we are when we hear false, inflammatory, or just plain mean remarks made about conservatives. And finally, clamoring for more diverse educational topics and literature in the schools and media would be helpful.

Conservatives shouldn’t back down on any of this, ever. For it is persistence and consistency that will eventually win the day. The left did it for decades and it clearly works. The left’s advantage has been that the right caves and is so worried about appearing moral that they back down, conceding any power. The right’s advantage is that we understand how the other side thinks, while they do not. Keep this in mind when you think about strategies to keep our liberties and freedoms intact.



Introducing the Progressives' Transformation of the 10 Commandments

President Barack Obama promised during his campaign and inaugural speeches that we would witness a fundamental transformation of America. To be sure, his idea of a transformation is more akin to Karl Marx or Hugo Chavez than to Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity.

Perhaps we should be grateful that, so far, President Obama and his progressive cabal are fixated on health care, cap & trade, climate change and other big government projects. With so much on his plate, Obama hasn't had time to fundamentally charge the very basis of our legal system -- the 10 Commandments, as given to the prophet Moses by Yahweh on Mount Sinai.

But rest assured, there will be many -- gay activists, atheists, hard-core leftists, etc. -- who will eventually get around to fundamentally transforming God's 10 Commandments.

I. I am your leader, Obama. When I and my minions are around, who needs God?

II. Obama, Pelosi and Reid must be exalted with carved images throughout the nation.

III. Prayer will be banned in public, but praise, song and poetry honoring Obama will be constant.

IV. Remember the Sabbath Day. Don't observe it, simply remember it.

V. Honor thy mother and thy father if they love Obama; otherwise, call child protection services and claim they’ve abused you.

VI. Thou shall not kill or abuse terrorists or criminals, but unborn babies may be killed right up to the moment of their birth.

VII. Thou shall marry anyone or any creature you wish with the full protection of Obama.

VIII. Thou shall steal from those who work and save and give such bounty to those who are slothful, irresponsible and non-productive.

IX. Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor, unless they refuse to accept Obama as their god and their leader.

X. You shall covet your neighbor's house. When Obama is done transforming America you will have it.



Sick Thinking From 'Mainstream' Leftists

The Obama left, realizing it has really stepped in it with the American people by cramming Obamacare down our throats, has decided to blunt the backlash against it by tarring, yet again, mainstream conservatives as racists, bigots, homophobes and violent. Its tactics are objectively despicable.

You know the drill. We conservatives, who happen to understand ourselves better than liberals do, know that we are largely a civil, respectable, peaceable bunch. Attendees to the Rush Limbaugh-inspired Dan's Bake Sale years ago can attest to the mature, wholesome behavior of Rush fans. Ditto Sean Hannity's Freedom Concert attendees and tea party protest attendees.

The leftists who actually believe the fraudulent bile they are spewing about conservatives as being violent are merely projecting. They know their own side often disrupts and shuts down debate and engages in hate speech and even anarchy. Witness the unruly leftist disruptions of Ann Coulter appearances or the sabotaging of Karl Rove's appearance by Code Pink co-founder Jodie Evans, one of Obama's radical buddies. Look at the tea party violence from the SEIU left.

But the majority of leftists making these bogus claims about conservatives are either deeply warped or outright lying. There are some isolated acts of fringe violence from the right, but they are just that -- isolated and rare. With the many tea parties that have occurred, how much conservative-spawned violence have you heard about -- even with a liberal media champing at the bit to slander the entire movement? Hardly any -- beyond the fabrications.

The left wants to shut us up. Liberals say they want universal voter registration so all voices can be heard. What? They don't even want dissenting voices among already existing voters heard. After the way they cheated and gamed the system to impose socialized medicine on an unwilling public, they've forfeited their credibility about promoting the people's will -- which we always knew was a ruse anyway.

The Obama left has tried to muzzle us through intimidation -- as in its declaration of a false consensus on global warming, its issuing summonses to corporate executives to justify announcements that Obamacare is going to cost them dearly, Obama's telling those of us who "created this mess" that he doesn't want us to "do a lot of talking," his declaring a communications war on Fox News, and on and on. Failing that, the left intends to paint us all as racists who are just a hair trigger away from committing violent acts.

With the groundwork rationale established -- that conservative "hate speech" incites violence -- liberals will be a step closer to using laws and regulations to emasculate or silence conservative talk radio. But their claim is a vicious, destructive, divisive lie -- just like their depiction of conservatives, by virtue of their conservatism, as racists.

A caller to Rush Limbaugh's guest host Mark Davis said conservatives might not consciously be racists, but the results of their policies harm African-Americans, so it's fair to infer they are racists. Well, under that standard, Obama is racist because he recently reversed welfare reform, which everyone agrees reduced black poverty and the black illegitimacy rate. The same thing holds for his liberal education policies that result in trapping minorities in inferior inner-city schools. The list goes on.

Yet I don't believe leftists are racists because the effect of their policies often works to the detriment of blacks; I just think they are misguided and, after all these years of failed policies, have no moral authority to claim otherwise. Good intentions cannot trump decades of bad results.

But the more Obama forces through his unpopular agenda to dismantle America's founding principles the more outraged the public will become and the more protests and blowback we'll see (sans violence). These protests, in turn, will result in Obama leftists' ratcheting up their wild accusations aimed at demonizing their conservative opponents -- ordinary Americans, who at this point can be considered victims.

So we should expect more disgraceful columns from liberals, such as Frank Rich, who wrote that conservatives' "over-the-top rage" over Obama's policy agenda is caused by "the conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House -- topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman" -- not his agenda. Or Chris Matthews, who asked, "What are the tea partiers really angry about, health care reform or the fact that it was an African-American president and a woman speaker of the House who pushed through major change?"

This is just sick stuff, folks, but not uncommon for leftist thinkers. We conservatives simply don't think this way. It doesn't compute. Yet there are scores of examples of other leftist commentators making the same claims.




Health plan may hobble economy recovery: "While President Obama's health insurance mandate on businesses is being slowly phased in to prevent any immediate damage to the economic recovery, it nevertheless poses an obstacle to his overarching goal of creating jobs and could end up adding to spiraling medical costs rather than controlling them. Economists not connected with either political party expect the new law to intensify the boom in health care spending - it already is the only major business sector that managed to grow during the recession - while adding to the reluctance of millions of businesses outside of health care to take on new workers because in the future they must provide costly and comprehensive medical benefits that previously were optional.

Seniors fear hit to Medicare: "Seniors aren't breaking out the champagne for President Obama's health care law, and for good reason. While Democrats hail the overhaul as their greatest health care achievement since Medicare, seniors fear it's a raid on that same giant health care program - a bedrock of retirement security - in order to pay for covering younger, uninsured workers and their families. There's no doubt that broad cuts in projected Medicare payments to insurance plans, hospitals, nursing homes and other service providers will sting."

Robbing Peter to pay Paul's health care: "Obamacare is a socialist law designed to take money from some Americans and use it to benefit others. The health care bill signed into law by President Obama is full of hidden time bombs. One costly provision buried in the lengthy reconciliation bill at the last minute has taxpayers covering long-term at-home care for the elderly. Through the so-called Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act (CLASS Act), Americans will find between $150 and $250 taken out of their paychecks each month to cover this program nobody knew about."

Poll: Vast Majority See No Improvement in Economy: "President Barack Obama and his band of hopey-changers are not going to appreciate the findings of a recent nationwide poll of nearly 800 main household grocery shoppers which reveals, by a very sizeable margin, that American consumers appear to be at odds with recent reports that the economy has improved. Eight out of ten supermarket shoppers see no improvement in the economy, and forty percent actually believe things have gotten worse. As consumers continue to cope, the study affirms, the appeal of store brand products is stronger than ever and may even be intensifying."

Lobbyists get windfall from new health care bill: "Healthcare reform made the public mad, and it made lobbyists rich. Though President Obama promised during the 2008 campaign to curb the influence of special interests, slap a leash on lobbyists and ‘put the interests of Main Street in front of K Street and Wall Street,’ the past year hasn’t exactly live up to that standard. Special interest spending on Capitol Hill broke records in 2009, topping $3.47 billion. And almost half of the president’s recess appointments last weekend were tied to or work for so-called special interests. Finance figures show those interests are giving huge sums to Democrats and Republicans alike.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


1 April, 2010

Democrats making up stuff to sow fear among ignorant people...

Charles Johnson over at Little Green Footballs looked at the following picture…

And said… “I am fairly sure this is a Neo-Nazi flag, but haven’t found the exact logo yet”

Now note that yesterday, on another news show, an African American commenter stated that the Gadsden flag was a Timothy McVeigh militia flag…

This is what happens when people learn Zinn's communist history of America (Zinn commented and stated that he was revising history to that view!). And how poorly liberal teachers (because there are almost no conservative ones) have taught the people.

Do any of these flags look like the new Neo-Nazi flag that Johnson saw?

Of course!!! They are the state flag of Tennessee!!!!

I guess those Bible belt middle country bourgeois are all neo nazis -- but just remember that the Left projects onto others what they are themselves

And as to the Gadsden flag… Juan Williams: 'Don't Tread on Me' Flags are 'Timothy McVeigh' imagery

So here he is trying to tie the Gadsden flag to the lunatic McVeigh. This is the sort of thing that the German Nazis and the Russian Communists did in their fight for control of the people.

The Gadsden flag was flown during the American revolution. It has a VERY dignified history, which includes the Marine Corps who have used the flag. So to the Left, American patriots of the revolution and Marine corps Americans are enemies of the people.


Dems play the terror card

Claims of intimidation meant to distract from falling polls

Democrats last week began a well-orchestrated campaign to change the subject from Obamacare by declaring Republicans the newest terrorist threat.

House Majority leader Steny H. Hoyer claimed that Democrats faced threats of violence in their home districts. He demanded that Republicans take a stand against it. "Silence gives consent," added Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, who accused Republicans of "aiding and abetting this kind of terrorism." Democrats promptly exploited their own fear-mongering by rushing out a fundraising letter.

Meanwhile, a shot was fired through the window of Republican House Minority Whip Eric Cantor's Richmond office. Instead of attempting to fill his campaign coffers over the incident, Mr. Cantor denounced Democratic recklessness in creating "media vehicles for political gain."

To hear Mr. Clyburn talk, you'd think the Capitol had been bombed - like President Obama's spiritual mentor Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground did in 1971 or the communist Revolutionary Fighting Group did in 1983. We don't recall Republicans placing the blame on Democrats for those bona fide terror attacks committed by the Democrats' ideological cousins. For the party's leaders to make such insinuations now rings hollow.

The Democrats and their supporters have consistently demeaned and mischaracterized the broad, nationwide, nonviolent grass-roots movement that arose in opposition to their radical agenda. A willing press establishment relays baseless claims that these protesters are violent uncritically and without investigation.

This was demonstrated last weekend, when visibly delighted Rep. Andre Carson, Indiana Democrat, told reporters that anti-health-bill demonstrators had slung racial epithets at members of the Congressional Black Caucus. A Washington Times reporter witnessed other members of the press establishment scurrying back to the press gallery to go live with the charges without bothering to verify them. The story has yet to be substantiated.

Mr. Clyburn now wants to tie any potential future violence directly to the Republican leadership. Demonstrators "get their signals" from the Republicans, he said, leaving the implication that anything that might happen is at best condoned by, and at worst ordered by, the GOP.

But Mr. Clyburn is the one sending the signal, whether he knows it or not. Any leftist thug is now free to toss a brick through a Democratic congressional district office window secure in the knowledge that the act of vandalism will be blamed automatically on Tea Partiers or Republicans.

Such hoaxes are tickets to instant press coverage. In October 2008, Elmhurst College student Safia Jilani claimed to be the victim of anti-Muslim violence, sparking an outpouring of concern on campus. Chicago police later determined that the attack was faked and arrested Ms. Jilani.

In February, a noose was found hanging in the library at the University of California at San Diego, spurring demonstrations, speeches and rallies. A minority female student later confessed to hanging to noose, calling it "a mindless and stupid mistake."

Not all such occurrences are hoaxes or misunderstandings, but the immediate presumption is that any such incident is genuine, and self-righteous blame is doled out much more quickly and in greater quantities than contrition once the hoax is exposed.

This victimization sideshow is meant to hide the fact that Democrats are pursuing policies that the American people oppose, and they are beginning to face a political price. A CBS News poll released Wednesday showed that 62 percent of Americans want Republicans to continue to challenge Obamacare. Other polls show congressional approval ratings at record lows. We suppose the people who were polled are aiding and abetting terrorism too, by Democrats' standards.

We did not see either Mr. Hoyer or Mr. Clyburn hold a press conference last summer when thugs from the Service Employees International Union were beating demonstrators at town meetings or when they used physical intimidation tactics and made threats of violence against demonstrators on the Mall on March 21. Silence gives consent, indeed.



Haters in glass houses

Differences of opinion and ideology, passionately held, drive the opposition against ObamaCare. Yet to shut down the effort to overturn ObamaCare's unpopular assault on freedom and prosperity, the left resorts to a frequently employed tactic. They and their media co-conspirators find whack jobs holding stupid signs -- or saying or doing stupid things -- and say, "See! Right-wing intolerance, hatred and racism fuel this movement."

Idiots, wing nuts and haters exist -- on both sides of the political spectrum -- in a country of 300 million people. Those who threaten and engage in violence should be arrested and prosecuted. Those who use incendiary language should be denounced. But which "hater" said the following, and where was the condemnation?

"The (George W.) Bush administration and the Nazi and Communist regimes all engaged in the politics of fear. ... Indeed, the Bush administration has been able to improve on the techniques used by the Nazi and Communist propaganda machines." Was it a) Miss Piggy, b) Lady Gaga, c) the Dog Whisperer, or d) George Soros, billionaire Democratic supporter?

"(George W. Bush's) executive branch has made it a practice to try and control and intimidate news organizations, from PBS to CBS to Newsweek. ... And every day, they unleash squadrons of digital brownshirts to harass and hector any journalist who is critical of the President." a) Dan Rather, b) Katie Couric, c) Helen Thomas, d) Al Gore, Nobel laureate.

"(Republicans are) coming for our children. They're coming for the poor. They're coming for the sick, the elderly and the disabled." a) Mother Teresa, b) the Grim Reaper, c) Jack Bauer, d) Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.

The contest between Democrats and Republicans is "a struggle of good and evil. And we're the good." a) Wolverine, b) Spider-Man, c) RoboCop, d) Howard Dean, then-Democratic national chairman.

When asked whether the number and prominence of blacks in the Bush administration suggested a lack of racism, he said, "Hitler had a lot of Jews high up in the hierarchy of the Third Reich." a) Adolf Eichmann, b) Joseph Goebbels, c) Heinrich Himmler, d) Harry Belafonte, entertainer and liberal activist.

He called President Bush's perceived lack of help for Katrina victims "ethnic cleansing by inaction" and called it a "calculated ... policy." He added, "So by simply not doing anything to alleviate this ... crisis that was so greatly exaggerated by Katrina, they let the hurricane do the ethnic cleansing, and their hands are clean." a) David Duke, b) Jack the Ripper, c) Jeffrey Dahmer, d) Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.

"When you look at the way the (then-Republican-controlled) House of Representatives has been run, it has been run like a plantation. And you know what I'm talking about." a) Kunta Kinte, b) Harriet Tubman, c) Booker T. Washington, d) then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, former first lady and current secretary of State.

"George Bush let people die on rooftops in New Orleans because they were poor and because they were black." a) Ming the Merciless, b) Ivan the Terrible, c) Vlad the Impaler, d) Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

"It's not 'spic' or 'nigger' anymore. (Instead, Republicans) say, 'Let's cut taxes.'" a) Bernie Madoff, b) Bonnie and Clyde, c) Bennie and the Jets, d) Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y.

"You're damn right; Dick Cheney's heart's a political football. We ought to rip it out and kick it around and stuff it back in him." a) Dr. Seuss, b) Dr. Oz, c) Dr. J, d) Ed Schultz, MSNBC and radio host.

"We are in danger. The extreme right wing has seized the government. Tonight (John) Ashcroft and the CIA and the FBI and Homeland Security and the IRS can work together. So look out, because without a definition of who is a terrorist, anyone can be. ... Martin Luther King could have been. ... The right-wing media, the FBI -- they are targeting our leadership." a) Mr. T, b) Flavor Flav, c) Gary Coleman, d) the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

"And what we are dealing with right now in this country is whether we are having a kind of bloodless, silent coup or not. ... (George W. Bush) is trying to bring to himself all the power to become an emperor -- to create Empire America," a) Darth Vader, b) Satan, c) the Rev. Pat Robertson, d) Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash.

Lanny Davis, former special counsel to President Bill Clinton, campaigned for Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. Lieberman, despite his reliably left-wing voting record, infuriated the left for supporting the Iraq War. Davis found himself on the receiving end of "hate and vitriol of bloggers on the liberal side of the aisle" and "their extremism, bigotry and intolerance." A friend and fellow Lieberman supporter, said Davis, became "fearful for his physical safety."

"I held on to the view," Davis admitted, "that the left was inherently more tolerant and less hateful than the right. ... I have reluctantly concluded that I was wrong. The far right does not have a monopoly on bigotry and hatred and sanctimony."

The majority of Americans oppose ObamaCare. Their opposition is not racist, fascist or intolerant. Let us work to prevail.




Obama is talking about lifting a nonexistent ban: "President Obama announces today that he will "allow" oil drilling off the coast of Virginia. AFP Vice President for Policy Phil Kerpen issued the following statement: "Obama is talking about lifting a nonexistent ban! Bush lifted the executive ban in July 2008, and Congress lifted the legislative ban in October 2008. There is no legal impediment to drilling now, except that the Obama administration refuses to offer leases. I'll believe they are really allowing drilling when they actually offer leases. Also, the 50-mile restriction means he is actually ADDING a NEW moratorium on waters inside of 50 miles."

Waiting for Sananda: "On Dec. 20, 20 or so people crowded into Dorothy’s home to await Sananda. The clock struck midnight. No visitor. One Seeker noticed a second clock showed only 11:55 p.m. The Seekers reached a consensus that it was not yet midnight. When even the slow clock showed 12:10 a.m., one guy put on his hat and went home. Perhaps he thought he could get his job and wife back. The rest stayed, in stunned silence. A little after 4 a.m., Dorothy got another message. The disaster had been called off. The little group, sitting all night long, had spread so much light that God saved the world from destruction. The next afternoon, the group called newspapers, friends, anybody who will listen, to spread their message. Their single, most important prediction had proven blindingly obviously false, but their reaction was renewed vigor and belief. Sound familiar?”

Land of the free?: "During the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key wrote a song about a star-spangled banner waving over the land of the free. Is this land still free? Are you free to earn a living as you see fit? More and more jobs now require a license to practice. The licensing board, made up of your would-be competitors, can block your entry because they're better connected politically than you are.”

More on the new paternalism: "The basic idea is of course exactly like school. Then it was yes, Double Maths isn’t fun now but we’re adults and you’re children and yes, we know that it will do you good in the future. The new paternalism is making the same logical argument, just applying it to smoking, drinking, pensions savings and whatever else the self-proclaimed adults insist we children should be doing. As Glen points out though, there’s a horrible logical problem at the heart of such thinking. Those paternalists know what we should be doing by their standards: that’s not the new part of it all. The new is that they claim to know what we should be doing by our standards. That is, that their prescriptions help us to achieve our goals by imposing methods which we’re simply too dim to think up for ourselves.”

Obamacare is just the beginning of a downhill run: "This increase in the size of government will only serve to hasten the destruction of our currency. It will only serve to help establish a one world government as the entire planet sinks deeper into depression. It will put more people out of work. It will force more small businesses into bankruptcy. It will make more people dependent on a cold hearted, faceless government that cares nothing about humanity. It will serve up the economy to the few corporations that will be left after the slaughter. Those companies will then pay off the corrupt politicians to make sure they maintain control.”

The perverse incentives of Obamacare: "In normal insurance markets your incentive is to buy insurance before you are ill because pre-existing conditions are not covered. You pay $X per month for protection against conditions that may develop in the future. There is a very strong incentive to purchase insurance prior to such a condition developing. Obama ends that incentive. Insurance companies will no longer be allowed to exclude pre-existing conditions. So why buy insurance? Obamacare puts in penalties if you don’t have insurance. But the penalties will be lower than the cost of the insurance itself. The money you will save on insurance will not be eaten by the penalties so you win. And, if you do get sick, no insurance company can turn you down for a policy and you’re covered again.”

The mass transit delusion: "There is no truth to the belief that light rail improves traffic congestion. A look at the failure of light rail in Portland, Oregon and elsewhere shows how wise Denver-area voters were to reject light rail in a landslide.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

Why are Leftists always talking about hate? Because it fills their own hearts

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left.

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among well-informed people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists hate success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state - capitalism frees them.

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn't lived that life.

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Conservatives, on the other hand could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely the overwhelming Leftism of the Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931-2005: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average black adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. He pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsea ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsea but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

Although I have been an atheist for all my adult life, I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

My academic background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here