Monday, August 31, 2009

Amazing! "Psychology Today" has printed a condemnation of the lockstep Leftism among academic psychologists

I know it well from personal experience. An excerpt below reflecting on a one-eyed talk given at a psychology conference:

How can Drew Westen, a remarkably intelligent man, make the kinds of one-sided statements he made, and why did no one in the room question the sheer inanity of what was being presented?

My theory—call it the “Oakley effect”—is that really smart people often don’t know how to accept and react constructively to criticism. (A neuroscientist might say they “have underdeveloped neurocircuitry for integrating negatively valenced stimuli.”) This is because smart people are whizzes at problems that only need one person to figure out. Indeed, people are evaluated from kindergarten through college prep SATs on the basis of such “single solver” problems. If you are often or nearly always right with these kinds of problems, your increased confidence in your own abilities would be accompanied by an inadvertent decrease in your capacity to deal with criticism. After all, your experience would have shown that your critics were usually wrong.

But most large-scale societal issues are not single solver problems. They are so richly complex that no single person can faultlessly teach him or herself all the key concepts, which are often both contradictory and important. Yes, smart people have an advantage in dealing with such problems, because they’ve got natural brain-power that allows them to hold many factors in mind at once, bringing formidable problem-solving skills to bear. But smart people have a natural disadvantage, too: they’re not used to changing their thinking in response to criticism when they get things wrong.

In fact, natural smarties—the intellectual elite—often don’t seem to learn the art of soliciting the criticism necessary to grasp the core issues of a complex problem, and then making vital adaptations as a result. Instead, they fall in naturally with people who admire, rather than are critical, of their thinking. This further strengthens their conviction they are right even as it distances them from people of very different backgrounds who grasp very different, but no less crucial aspects of complex problems. That’s why the intellectual elite is often branded by those from other groups as out of touch.



Obama's Summer of Discontent

The politics of charisma is so Third World. Americans were never going to buy into it for long


So we are to have a French health-care system without a French tradition of political protest. It is odd that American liberalism, in a veritable state of insurrection during the Bush presidency, now seeks political quiescence. These "townhallers" who have come forth to challenge ObamaCare have been labeled "evil-mongers" (Harry Reid), "un-American" (Nancy Pelosi), agitators and rowdies and worse.

A political class, and a media elite, that glamorized the protest against the Iraq war, that branded the Bush presidency as a reign of usurpation, now wishes to be done with the tumult of political debate. President Barack Obama himself, the community organizer par excellence, is full of lament that the "loudest voices" are running away with the national debate. Liberalism in righteous opposition, liberalism in power: The rules have changed.

It was true to script, and to necessity, that Mr. Obama would try to push through his sweeping program—the change in the health-care system, a huge budget deficit, the stimulus package, the takeover of the automotive industry—in record time. He and his handlers must have feared that the spell would soon be broken, that the coalition that carried Mr. Obama to power was destined to come apart, that a country anxious and frightened in the fall of 2008 could recover its poise and self-confidence. Historically, this republic, unlike the Old World and the command economies of the Third World, had trusted the society rather than the state. In a perilous moment, that balance had shifted, and Mr. Obama was the beneficiary of that shift.

So our new president wanted a fundamental overhaul of the health-care system—17% of our GDP—without a serious debate, and without "loud voices." It is akin to government by emergency decrees. How dare those townhallers (the voters) heckle Arlen Specter! Americans eager to rein in this runaway populism were now guilty of lèse-majesté by talking back to the political class.

We were led to this summer of discontent by the very nature of the coalition that brought Mr. Obama, and the political class around him, to power, and by the circumstances of his victory. The man was elected amid economic distress. Faith in the country's institutions, perhaps in the free-enterprise system itself, had given way. Mr. Obama had ridden that distress. His politics of charisma was reminiscent of the Third World. A leader steps forth, better yet someone with no discernible trail, someone hard to pin down to a specific political program, and the crowd could read into him what it wished, what it needed.

The leader would be different things to different people. The Obama coalition was the coming together of disparate groups: the white professional liberals seeking absolution for the country in the election of an African-American man, the opponents of the Iraq war who grew more strident as the project in Iraq was taking root, the African-American community that had been invested in the Clintons and then came around out of an understandable pride in one of its own.

The last segment of the electorate to flock to the Obama banners were the blue-collar workers who delivered him Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. He was not their man. They fully knew that he didn't share their culture. They were, by his portrait, clinging to their guns and religion, but the promise of economic help, and of protectionism, carried the day with them.

The Obama devotees were the victims of their own belief in political magic. The devotees could not make up their minds. In a newly minted U.S. senator from Illinois, they saw the embodiment of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. Like Lincoln, Mr. Obama was tall and thin and from Illinois, and the historic campaign was launched out of Springfield. The oath of office was taken on the Lincoln Bible. Like FDR, he had a huge economic challenge, and he better get it done, repair and streamline the economy in his "first hundred days." Like JFK, he was young and stylish, with a young family.

All this hero-worship before Mr. Obama met his first test of leadership. In reality, he was who he was, a Chicago politician who had done well by his opposition to the Iraq war. He had run a skillful campaign, and had met a Clinton machine that had run out of tricks and a McCain campaign that never understood the nature of the contest of 2008....

Now that realism about Mr. Obama has begun to sink in, these iconic figures of history had best be left alone. They can't rescue the Obama presidency. Their magic can't be his. Mr. Obama isn't Lincoln with a BlackBerry. Those great personages are made by history, in the course of history, and not by the spinners or the smitten talking heads.

In one of the revealing moments of the presidential campaign, Mr. Obama rightly observed that the Reagan presidency was a transformational presidency in a way Clinton's wasn't. And by that Reagan precedent, that Reagan standard, the faults of the Obama presidency are laid bare. Ronald Reagan, it should be recalled, had been swept into office by a wave of dissatisfaction with Jimmy Carter and his failures. At the core of the Reagan mission was the recovery of the nation's esteem and self-regard. Reagan was an optimist. He was Hollywood glamour to be sure, but he was also Peoria, Ill. His faith in the country was boundless, and when he said it was "morning in America" he meant it; he believed in America's miracle and had seen it in his own life, in his rise from a child of the Depression to the summit of political power...

In contrast, there is joylessness in Mr. Obama. He is a scold, the "Yes we can!" mantra is shallow, and at any rate, it is about the coming to power of a man, and a political class, invested in its own sense of smarts and wisdom, and its right to alter the social contract of the land. In this view, the country had lost its way and the new leader and the political class arrayed around him will bring it back to the right path...

Those protesters in those town-hall meetings have served notice that Mr. Obama's charismatic moment has passed. Once again, the belief in that American exception that set this nation apart from other lands is re-emerging. Health care is the tip of the iceberg. Beneath it is an unease with the way the verdict of the 2008 election was read by those who prevailed. It shall be seen whether the man swept into office in the moment of national panic will adjust to the nation's recovery of its self-confidence.

More here


Speaker Of Lies

Public Trust: What did the speaker know, and when did she know it? With CIA documents contradicting Nancy Pelosi's claims on classified briefings, will a death watch begin on her leadership?

The newly declassified CIA report on the interrogation of Islamist terrorists notes "in the fall of 2002, the agency briefed the leadership of the Congressional Intelligence Oversight Committees on the use of both standard techniques and EITs (enhanced interrogation techniques)." The CIA, according to the report, "continued to brief the leadership of the Intelligence Oversight Committees on the use of EITs and detentions in February and March 2003."

And here's the zinger: "The general counsel says that none of the participants expressed any concern about the techniques or the program . . . ." For months, Speaker Pelosi has claimed she and other high-ranking Democrats in Congress who were briefed by the CIA during President Bush's first term "were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation techniques were used."

Others present with her at CIA intelligence briefings, like former House Intelligence Committee Chairman and CIA director Porter Goss, say otherwise. Her credibility was also rattled by the revelation that Rep. Jane Harman, the California Democrat who succeeded Pelosi as ranking Democrat on the House intelligence panel, sent a classified letter to the CIA in February 2003 objecting to EITs.

Speaker Pelosi's behavior reeks of the kind of cynicism and hypocrisy Americans have become used to seeing in Washington. Her liberal instincts were to object to the CIA's tough interrogation of terrorists. But those briefings took place not long after the 9/11 attacks; the war in Afghanistan, home to al-Qaida and shelter for Osama bin Laden, was going well; and the Iraq War had not yet begun. So there was no way for an ambitious politician like Pelosi to know which way the political winds would end up blowing.

At the time, President Bush was basking in popularity, and the nation was in lockstep behind his aggressive approach to waging the global war on terror — including in Iraq. For all Pelosi knew, it might stay that way for many years to come. So she stayed quiet, keeping her options open. Now, with Democrats running the whole show in Washington and a Justice Department poised to criminalize CIA interrogators in a politicized national security witch hunt, she has chosen to revert to those liberal instincts.

That means condemning a successful strategy of harsh interrogation that gleaned valuable information from high-ranking al-Qaida detainees and foiled numerous terrorist attacks. It also means turning hero interrogators, and the architects of the interrogation strategy, into scapegoats. We have long warned that the revelations of this deceit, now fully confirmed by CIA documentation, mean there's a cancer growing on the speakership. The question now is how long it will take other Democratic leaders to get out of denial and do something about it.




A hypocrite writes to the Pope: "The contents of the letter from Senator Ted Kennedy delivered to Pope Benedict XVI by President Barack Obama in July were made public at Kennedy's burial today. Former Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick read excerpts from the letter and a response from the Vatican during the burial service. Despite his advocacy for abortion and homosexual 'marriage', Kennedy told the Pope: ""I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness, and though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings." Kennedy also wrote that he opposed the death penalty and also that he supported conscience rights in the healthcare bill which would permit Catholic doctors to refuse to participate in abortion without sanction. "I believe in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health care field and will continue to advocate for it as my colleagues in the Senate and I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone," he wrote."

Obama admin kills investigation into corrupt NM Democrat: "Gov. Bill Richardson and “former high-ranking members of his administration” won’t be charged following the federal investigation into allegations of pay-to-play in his administration, the Associated Press is reporting today. “It’s over. There’s nothing. It was killed in Washington,” the AP quoted “a person familiar with the investigation, who asked not to be identified because federal officials had not disclosed results of the probe. The decision to kill the case was made by “top Justice Department officials,” that person told the news service. Richardson’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the AP report. The governor, who is in Cuba on a trade mission, has said all along that he and his administration did nothing improper"

Israel surging ahead: "Almost every day during the six weeks that I spent in the country this summer, I experienced the vibrancy of an amazingly successful society that, in Gilder’s estimation, not only towers over all of its neighbors but invites a more ambitious comparison: “Dwarfing Israel’s own wealth is Israel’s contribution to the world economy, stemming from Israeli creativity and entrepreneurial innovation. Israel’s technical and scientific gifts to global progress loom with similar majesty over all contributions outside the United States.” Gilder makes a convincing case that American political and military support for Israel should not be seen merely as a generous gift bestowed on a deserving country that shares our democratic values. Rather, Israel is now one of America’s most indispensable allies, contributing to our own economic growth and providing critical technology breakthroughs for the U.S. military." [See also here]

Why rich kids get higher SAT scores: "The NY Times Economix blog offers us the above graph, showing that kids from higher income families get higher average SAT scores. Of course! But so what? This fact tells us nothing about the causal impact of income on test scores. (Economix does not advance a causal interpretation, but nor does it warn readers against it.) This graph is a good example of omitted variable bias, a statistical issue discussed in Chapter 2 of my favorite textbook. The key omitted variable here is parents' IQ. Smart parents make more money and pass those good genes on to their offspring. Suppose we were to graph average SAT scores by the number of bathrooms a student has in his or her family home. That curve would also likely slope upward. (After all, people with more money buy larger homes with more bathrooms.) But it would be a mistake to conclude that installing an extra toilet raises yours kids' SAT scores."

Bush Volunteered for Vietnam, CBS's Mapes Knowingly Omitted from Story: "On Tuesday, FNC's The O'Reilly Factor hosted FNC analyst Bernard Goldberg as the former CBS News correspondent highlighted a story recently posted on his Web site,, in which he complains of how little mainstream media attention was given to the fact that former President George W. Bush had volunteered to go to Vietnam as part of his service in the Texas Air National Guard, but that he was turned down because other pilots were more experienced, and that CBS News producer Mary Mapes, even though she knew this part of the story before the report aired, did not include this important angle in the infamous piece by Dan Rather that used forged documents to paint Bush as trying to avoid Vietnam War service."


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 or here or here


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)


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Google chaos

Not long after they lost a court case over abusive content hosted on their blogspot subsidiary, Google seem to have decided "never again" and unleashed a "Reign of Terror" on blogspot blogs that they thought might be dubious in some way. Four of my blogs were blocked in one day. The two that were most obviously innocuous were unblocked within 24 hours but POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN were apparently too marginal for immediate unblocking so apparently had to wait evaluation by some sort of Google High Priest. The Oracle has now spoken however and both blogs were unblocked a couple of days ago.

In the meanwhile I had of course transferred operations for both blogs to new sites here and here. And I am going to keep it that way. Once bitten twice shy. As Google has blocked those blogs once they could well do it again.

But some blogs have apparently not yet gone before the Google High Priest. He must be overworked. The following post from Wicked Thoughts suggests that:
Goodbye Google

I still think Google have the best search engine but they are woeful blog hosts. Via their blogspot subsidiary, they hosted this blog from January 2003 to July, 2009 without a single problem. Then one fine day earlier this month, they completely blocked anyone from viewing it. Why? I have no idea. What they can have against a humor blog quite escapes me. But so it was and is.

Moving my blog here seems to have worked well. I now seem to have most of my old readership back. But a niggle has been that Google has made all my past posts (archives) inaccessible too. I am pleased to say, however, that I have just completed the transfer of ALL my past posts elsewhere. So they are all generally accessible again. There are a lot of good jokes and funny stories in them so I hope a few people might browse them occasionally.

As I say in the side-column here: "The archives not stored on this site are mostly available at Wicked Thoughts Archive but the archives for April to July 2009 (incl.) are available via the Mirror Site"


Bill would give Obama "emergency" control of the Internet

This is a disgrace. It is a major step towards a Fascist dictatorship. We have already seen how Obama abused the financial crisis in order to push through every pet project on the Democrat wish-list for the last ten years. There is no doubt that he would misuse this too. The Democrats are so full of hate that a GOP lead during a Presidential election campaign could well be seen by them as an "emergency"

Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.

They're not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.

The new version would allow the president to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "non-governmental" computer networks and do what's necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for "cybersecurity professionals," and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.

"I think the redraft, while improved, remains troubling due to its vagueness," said Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, which counts representatives of Verizon, Verisign, Nortel, and Carnegie Mellon University on its board. "It is unclear what authority Sen. Rockefeller thinks is necessary over the private sector. Unless this is clarified, we cannot properly analyze, let alone support the bill."

Representatives of other large Internet and telecommunications companies expressed concerns about the bill in a teleconference with Rockefeller's aides this week, but were not immediately available for interviews on Thursday.

A spokesman for Rockefeller also declined to comment on the record Thursday, saying that many people were unavailable because of the summer recess. A Senate source familiar with the bill compared the president's power to take control of portions of the Internet to what President Bush did when grounding all aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001. The source said that one primary concern was the electrical grid, and what would happen if it were attacked from a broadband connection.

When Rockefeller, the chairman of the Senate Commerce committee, and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) introduced the original bill in April, they claimed it was vital to protect national cybersecurity. "We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs--from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records," Rockefeller said.

The Rockefeller proposal plays out against a broader concern in Washington, D.C., about the government's role in cybersecurity. In May, President Obama acknowledged that the government is "not as prepared" as it should be to respond to disruptions and announced that a new cybersecurity coordinator position would be created inside the White House staff. Three months later, that post remains empty, one top cybersecurity aide has quit, and some wags have begun to wonder why a government that receives failing marks on cybersecurity should be trusted to instruct the private sector what to do.

Rockefeller's revised legislation seeks to reshuffle the way the federal government addresses the topic. It requires a "cybersecurity workforce plan" from every federal agency, a "dashboard" pilot project, measurements of hiring effectiveness, and the implementation of a "comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy" in six months--even though its mandatory legal review will take a year to complete.

The privacy implications of sweeping changes implemented before the legal review is finished worry Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. "As soon as you're saying that the federal government is going to be exercising this kind of power over private networks, it's going to be a really big issue," he says.

Probably the most controversial language begins in Section 201, which permits the president to "direct the national response to the cyber threat" if necessary for "the national defense and security." The White House is supposed to engage in "periodic mapping" of private networks deemed to be critical, and those companies "shall share" requested information with the federal government. ("Cyber" is defined as anything having to do with the Internet, telecommunications, computers, or computer networks.)

"The language has changed but it doesn't contain any real additional limits," EFF's Tien says. "It simply switches the more direct and obvious language they had originally to the more ambiguous (version)...The designation of what is a critical infrastructure system or network as far as I can tell has no specific process. There's no provision for any administrative process or review. That's where the problems seem to start. And then you have the amorphous powers that go along with it."

Translation: If your company is deemed "critical," a new set of regulations kick in involving who you can hire, what information you must disclose, and when the government would exercise control over your computers or network.

The Internet Security Alliance's Clinton adds that his group is "supportive of increased federal involvement to enhance cyber security, but we believe that the wrong approach, as embodied in this bill as introduced, will be counterproductive both from an national economic and national secuity perspective."

Update at 3:14 p.m. PDT: I just talked to Jena Longo, deputy communications director for the Senate Commerce committee, on the phone. She sent me e-mail with this statement:

"The president of the United States has always had the constitutional authority, and duty, to protect the American people and direct the national response to any emergency that threatens the security and safety of the United States. The Rockefeller-Snowe Cybersecurity bill makes it clear that the president's authority includes securing our national cyber infrastructure from attack. The section of the bill that addresses this issue, applies specifically to the national response to a severe attack or natural disaster. This particular legislative language is based on longstanding statutory authorities for wartime use of communications networks. To be very clear, the Rockefeller-Snowe bill will not empower a "government shutdown or takeover of the Internet" and any suggestion otherwise is misleading and false. The purpose of this language is to clarify how the president directs the public-private response to a crisis, secure our economy and safeguard our financial networks, protect the American people, their privacy and civil liberties, and coordinate the government's response." [Blah, blah, blah!]



Artists pressured into pushing Obama's agenda

The National Endowment for the Arts initiated a "call to action" earlier this month for members of the art community to push President Obama's recovery agency through works that focus on health care, energy and the environment -- a troubling sign, one artist said

A 39-year-old Los Angeles film producer is accusing the National Endowment for the Arts of initiating a "call to action" to artists to support President Obama's domestic agenda. The film producer, Patrick Courrielche, said he was one of roughly 75 artists, musicians, writers, poets and others on an Aug. 10 conference call hosted by the NEA, the White House Office of Public Engagement and United We Serve, a nationwide initiative launched by Obama to increase volunteerism.

Courrielche said officials on the hour-long call -- including NEA Director of Communications Yosi Sergant and Michael Skolnik, political director for hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons -- encouraged the artists on the line to create works of art in their respective fields related to health care, energy and the environment. "What I heard was a well thought-out pitch to encourage artists to create art on these issues," Courrielche told "We were told we were consulted for a reason, and they specifically stated those issues as the issues we should focus on, to plant the seed. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see what they're attempting to do."

The NEA did not respond to several requests for comment, but others familiar with the conference call dispute Courrielche's version of events, saying the purpose was a broad pitch for artworks on the theme of public service. Siobhan Dugan, a spokeswoman for United We Serve, said the call was organized by an "individual interested" in the group and was unable to provide a list of those invited to participate on the call. "The service that we are encouraging through United We Serve is taking place with no direct tie to any policy initiative, but instead focuses on the areas of the greatest need of our nation and our neighborhoods," Dugan said in a statement to

Thomas Bates, vice president of civic engagement for Rock the Vote, confirmed to he was on the call, saying he was invited by officials at United We Serve. He doesn't agree with Courrielche that there was a political undercurrent. "I don't remember it that way," Bates said. "The call I was on was about engaging artists in ongoing service projects, including on Sept. 11." Bates said his participation in the call revolved around a proposed service event in Chicago that his organization had considered. He did not elaborate.

Told of Bates' denial that artists were encouraged to produce art in certain areas, Courrielche said he omitted an "essential, specific aspect" of the conference call. "The word volunteerism was never used," Courrielche said. "Service was the word being used and it was in specific areas, those being health care, energy and the environment." Courrielche said the now ubiquitous Obama "Hope" poster by artist Shepard Fairey and musician's "Yes We Can" song and music video were offered as "shining examples" of the artist group's clear impact on Obama's landslide election.

The "potential propaganda machine," Courrielche said, is concerning on many levels. "The issue that troubles me the most is that the NEA was set up to promote the arts," he said. "If you have a meeting where you're trying to set up a machine that does your bidding, a propaganda machine, that's not what the National Endowment for Arts is for."

Moderators on the conference call did not specify whether any piece of subsequent artwork should be supportive or critical of the president's agenda in key areas like health care and the environment. "For me, it was implied," said Courrielche, adding he felt the NEA "tainted" the artistic process.

Courrielche, who said he took extensive notes during the call, recalled one particular passage he attributed to Skolink, who acted a moderator on the call. "So what I had hoped in bringing this group together," Skolnik said, according to Courrielche, "with the great hosts that again I want to thank for reaching out to their communities, was that we could begin to bring together our community in the same enthusiasm, with the same enthusiasm, and with the same energy that we all saw each other during the campaign, and we continue to work together on issues as important as United We Serve, and service, and begin here and continue to work together on other issues that we feel are important as was mentioned, some of them health care and others." Courrielche also wrote up his experiences for Big Hollywood.

Reached by on Friday, Skolnik declined to comment for this story.

Dugan said the group was not aware of the conference call leading to any new artwork or campaigns. "Organizations and people from all political persuasions and beliefs continue to support community service as one part of the solution to the economic crisis and the recovery efforts," she said. "There are no government funds provided or funding incentives given to organizations or individuals to participate or encourage community service as part of United We Serve."

Courrielche, who said he felt compelled to speak out about the call, said unidentified members of the press were also on the call. "I felt like I needed to say something about it," he said. "Now I think if [a piece of art] comes out, you have to question it, did it come from this meeting? This is the exact argument for why an agency like this shouldn't exist."



BrookesNews Update

The US economy: Getting there from here: More and more Americans are coming to realise that there is no quick fix for the economy. Furthermore, they instinctively feel that the Obama administration's policy of greater spending, borrowing and massive interventionism is not going to put the country on the road to prosperity. They are spot on. But how did we get here?
What is the true state of US savings and how will it affect economic recovery?: Since early 1980s and expanding money supply combined with rising government outlays have severely undermined the process of real capital formation. As a result, real savings could be in serious trouble. If this is correct then it will be very hard for the US economy to grow, for it is a growing pool of real savings that make genuine economic growth possible
More rubbish about unemployment and the recession : It's been about 70 years since the Great Depression ended and yet the lesson that government spending is not the cure for unemployment has still not been learnt. The economic fallacies that made possible the tragedy of mass unemployment are being resurrected by people totally ignorant of economic history, people like James Guest. Although these fallacies are easily stated the refutations are by necessity lengthy
The ACLU helps terrorists finger CIA agents : The leftwing American Civil Liberties Union has been secretly photographing alleged CIA agents near their homes and then passing on the photos of the agents and their addresses to terrorists suspects. This is an open invitation to terrorists to murder the family members of CIA agents. The question now is why the ACLU has not been charged with treason
Health care and the elites' meltdown :Outraged by the American people's spirited resistance to theit attempt to take over the health system the Democrats' responded with lies, libels, abuse and vicious distortions. America's deeply corrupted media joined in the mayhem, demonstrating that it is no more than the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party
Obama, Ayers and the knowledge 'too big' to handle : It is becoming clearer by the day that Obama is firmly in the anti-American camp of the left. From all evidence, even after eight months as president, it is apparent that he has fully accepted the left's relentless, anti-capitalist, anti-American agitprop as true knowledge
Don't be fooled by the co-op option of healthcare : Fanatical Democrats are determined to force private insurance out of existence leaving in its place the single-payer system created and controlled by federal government bureaucrats. As with every government-run health care system ever done throughout history, rationing and 'pulling the plug on grandma' become a vital part as costs spin higher and out of control
Democracy, when I like the outcome : Why is it Democrats who finds it so intolerable when democracy doesn't go their way? Why can only those results that support their own ideological agenda - a term Mr. Obama & Co. like to deploy when they wish to besmirch the opposition - manage to be democratic, while when the vote or the meetings go against them, something must have undermined the democratic process? My guess is that many of these folks really do not want democracy at all
U.K. on ObamaCare: Been there, done that : Why do the Democrats want to impose on the American people a medical system that has been a social disaster wherever it has been tried? The UK's National Health Service provides tragic example after example of what happens when the state takes over the medical system


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 or here or here


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)


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Seven lessons of Cash-for-Clunkers' failure

By: Irwin M. Stelzer

It's over, finished, done. And quiet returns to the auto showrooms of America. Cash-for-Clunkers has outlived its funding. But left us with a host of useful lessons.

First, government forecasters are really bad at their job. The program was originally funded with $1 billion of taxpayer money to cover rebates of $3,500-$4,500 on cars traded in for more fuel-efficient models, and the money was expected to last for about six months. It lasted for one week. The $2 billion added to keep the program alive lasted less than a month. No surprise, then, that the government just discovered that its forecast of the deficit in the coming decade is light by a mere $2 trillion, or almost 30%.

Second, the government's talents, whatever they might be, do not include efficient administration of its programs. The 135 pages of rules setting out what dealers had to do to recapture the refund money they laid out, were constantly changed, the web site they were to use to apply to get their money back frequently crashed, and some had to drop out of the program because they had run out of cash. The Department of Transportation assigned 2,000 workers to process dealer paperwork, but they seemed unable to get the money to dealers who, having laid it out in response to promises of prompt repayment, desperately needed the cash. So if you think the President's plan to "reform" health care will make it easier to cope with the paperwork surrounding hospital and doctor's bills, think again.

Third, Cash-for-Clunkers proved that if you give people $4,500 to buy a durable good, they will be more likely to buy it while the refund is available than later. But it does not show that the increase in spending meets one of White House economist Larry Summers' tests - sustainability. The buyers of the almost 700,000 cars - 41% from Japanese makers and 39% from the (once) Big Three - for which dealers have filed $2.88 billion in refund requests included many who merely accelerated their purchase. Estimates are that 60% of buyers would have bought cars this year without this incentive. So dealers are expecting a very quiet few months. And from the stimulus effect of the program must be deducted the appliances, clothes and other stuff that consumers will not buy in the future, now that they have the burden of lease or loan payments for their new vehicles.

Fourth, if you want to reduce dependence of foreign oil, don't look to Cash-for-Clunkers for help. On the best of assumptions about the fuel saved by replacing inefficient Clunkers with cars that get perhaps 10 mpg more than the Clunkers they replace, the reduction in gasoline consumption will cut our oil consumption by 0.2 percent per year, or less than a single day's gasoline use. Unless, of course, the new car is more frequently driven because lower fuel consumption lowers the cost of driving, and increases the pleasure of taking to the road, in which case the saving will be less, or none.

Fifth, fuel saving was only one goal of the program. The main stated goal was to cut carbon dioxide emissions and thereby postpone the day when the globe will be so warm that the ice caps melt, islands are inundated and we face a gory future. That, the program did, although only inconsequentially, given the pell-mell construction of coal plants in China and India, but at a horrendously uneconomic cost.

Christopher Knittel, associate professor of economics at the University of California, estimates that the cost of reducing emissions was somewhere between $237 per ton and $365 per ton. Since the market price for carbon has fluctuated between around $20 and $40 per ton, "the program is an expensive way to reduce greenhouse gases." But cost is not something this Congress and the administration systematically factor into their policy ruminations.

Sixth, unionization matters. Cash-for-Clunkers added $3 trillion to the billions of taxpayer money expended to save General Motors and Chrysler, i.e., members of the United Auto Workers. What a like sum might have done for furniture makers, or the hotel industry, or small businesses, was never even considered.

Seventh, programs such as Cash-for-Clunkers have no regard for lower-income consumers. By mandating the destruction of trade-ins, Congress removed 700,000 cars from the used-car market, inevitably driving up prices of the cars that lower-income consumers tend to buy. And by ordering that a trade-in's engine be destroyed by replacing its engine oil with a sodium silicate solution (which turns out to be in short supply!), Congress sharply reduced the salvageable used parts that are bought mostly by poorer consumers to keep their cars running.

There's more, but you get the idea. It takes a politician to declare Cash-fo-Clunkers a success.



Some media ridicule of Obama at last

July 15th, 2009 - a day that shall live in comedic infamy. The Obama administration’s first direct hit from reliably friendly allies. Former Saturday Night Live star, now stand up comic Dana Carvey was the guest on the new Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. When O’Brien asked Carvey his opinion of Obama, Carvey trotted out some fresh material. “I’m worried. The economy just had a heart attack, but Barack just wants to work on the knee,” Carvey riffed. ”Should we do CPR? No, we’re gonna fix this knee. We can do CPR when it’s efficient and cost effective, but right now we’re going to work on the meniscus. “Carvey concluded the bit suggesting George W. Bush would have used an economic “crash cart.” “Tax cuts for everybody - CLEAR!” The audience roared. Were they laughing at Carvey’s “dumb guy” Bush impression, or was it the excitement of more money in their pockets as an economic remedy? No matter the audience response. Carvey saw fit to address economic policy in his comedy. That’s telling.

At the same hour, on the same day - The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart opened fire. ”Last night, Obama threw out the first pitch at the All Star game. He even played short-stop for a time,” Stewart said. “There’s nothing he can’t do…except create jobs.” Ouch. The audience laughed tepidly. It was as though they couldn’t believe what they’d heard, and Stewart moved past the line quickly.

During the same show, Stewart went on to skewer the healthcare reform fight in Washington. Initially mocking Republicans for sounding the alarm on Obama’s ultimate desire for a “single payer” system, the joke took an unexpected turn. ”…that’s just a Republican scare tactic. The Democrats are not proposing a government takeover of health insurance. And they’re certainly not trying to “Trojan horse” us into some European or Canadian-style single payer system,” said Stewart. With that, Stewart played some grainy campaign video from 2008 in which Obama told a cheering crowd, “I happen to be a proponent of single-payer health care.” The next shot is a dumbfounded Stewart back at the desk as he coldly confessed, “Wow. That Communist sounded a lot like our President.”

Since this watershed event in comedy, the Daily Show has taken on a new tone. A day after President Obama declared Cambridge cops “acted stupidly” in the arrest of his friend “Skip” Gates, Stewart took it head on. “Now, I wasn’t at the press conference last night, and I don’t have all the facts. But I think it’s fair to say that Obama handled that question…oh, what’s the word I’m looking for? Stupidly?”

In another segment of the same show, Stewart playfully cheered as Nancy Pelosi and President Obama suggested increased taxes on the wealthiest Americans to pay for health care reform. He pretended to be surprised when he was “informed” in his earpiece that he, in fact was wealthy. ”Oh, so they’re coming for me…ok,” Stewart said sheepishly. Remember, Stewarts’s a New York-based millionaire. Theirs is the highest taxation in the country, and President Obama and New York want more from him. Is Stewart sensitive to that? Again, economics and federal budgets as punch lines? You’ve got your answer.

Last week’s Daily Show also featured a montage of the President refuting criticisms of his health care plan. After the string of presidential rebuttals Stewart concluded, “You know a sales pitch is in trouble when it starts with “Look, you’ve got to trust me. We’re not going to kill your grandparents.”

The impression shouldn’t be left that comedy’s liberal leanings are absent. The bias for this president is still deeply entrenched in comedy writers. But writers and performers are also wealthy, privately insured, and often well educated. They have lost much of their own wealth in the markets while beginning to realize the finest doctors and insurers who serve them are growing nervous. Comedians have families and friends in medicine, finance, and industry. Reality is setting in.

The truth of the nation’s growing pessimism and skepticism in Washington is at historic highs and on display every day. Comedians’ choice is clear. Continue to cheer and cover for a president in whom they emotionally invested so much. Or realize the investment just didn’t pay off as they’d hoped and get back to the honesty in their craft. Never have there been so few jokes directed at a President who deserves so many.

Jon Stewart was just voted “America’s most trusted” by the online readers at Time Magazine after Walter Cronkite passed away. He led the likes of Couric, Williams, and Gibson - all network news anchors who “play it straight.” Meanwhile, Gallup polling reports Obama’s job approval among likely voters age 18 to 29 and 30 to 49 has dropped 6 percent in the last month. Obama is losing Jon Stewart. The question is: Can Obama get him back?



A Lesson from Across the Pond

As states like California, Illinois and New Jersey struggle to make up for steep multi-billion dollar budget deficits while they totter on the brink of insolvency, there is one option for reducing those shortfalls that is making real headway across the Atlantic Ocean.

It all revolves around cutting the public sector. It's time to try it here.

Ireland is faced with a €20 billion deficit and borrowing €400 million a week just to keep afloat. Colm McCarthy, the chairman of An Bord Snip Nua—a cost-cutting bureau in Ireland—knows the stakes. And he sees no way around cutting public sector pay by some €5.3 billion. Government officials agree. So far, the left-of-center government refuses to rule anything out in the Bord Snip report.

Writes The Sunday Times on July 19th, "Ireland is like a household that has been living beyond its means and now finds itself deep in hock to the bank. Unless we show a willingness to reduce our spending, [international] lending may dry up, forcing us into the arms of the European Central Bank which will have to mount an IMF-style rescue to prevent a euro currency crisis."

Ireland is not alone. Poland just announced a cut of 12,000 government employees. No silly furloughs or dodgy accounting tricks. A straight reduction in the number of public sector workers. And the government warns that if revenues do not increase, further reductions will be forthcoming. Other nations in Europe are actively considering similar or even deeper cuts.

The basic problems Ireland faces are quite similar to those in California, New York and other states in the U.S.: Public sector workers make far more than their private sector counterpart.

An October 2007 survey from Ireland's Central Statistics Office showed that the average hourly earnings in the public sector were far greater than in the private sector. Average earnings per hour in the public sector were €26.67 compared with €18.07 per hour in the private sector. Public sector wages are 48% higher.

And how do California, Illinois and others match up? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' recently published study for 2007, in California, which is still trying to climb out of its oppressive $26 billion deficit, average annual income for state employees was $56,777 versus $49,935 for the private sector, a 14 percent gap. In Illinois, a similar story emerges: $53,925 for state workers, and $48,006 for the private sector, an 11 percent split. New Jersey: $57,845 average state salary, $53,590 for private sector workers, at an 8 percent difference. And these differences don't take into account the excessive fringe benefits enjoyed by public sector workers. The bottom-line is that we pay the public sector more, in some cases far more, than corresponding workers in private business.

Nationally, the story is even worse. Federal workers made on average $64,871 in 2007, with private sector workers making a meager $44,362, so public sector wages in the federal system are 46% higher.

If California, and other spendthrift state governments ever hope to emerge in the black, they must now implement what some may consider draconian fiscal measures. Cutting public sector pay makes the most sense. In California, for example, if workers received a 12.1 percent pay cut, leveling the playing field with the private sector, the state would save $3.1 billion.




Seniors benefit from zero inflation: "AARP and other self-styled senior lobbies are raising a ruckus over the news that in 2010, for the first time in 35 years, Social Security recipients won't be getting a cost of living increase in their monthly checks. Members of Congress are calling for an investigation into the way COLAs are calculated. But the only real scandal here is the opposite of what Congress, the press and AARP are moaning about. The recent fall in prices has served up a windfall for seniors and a real $600 average increase in their Social Security payments this year. There will be no COLA increase this year because consumer prices have been level or even falling. In the past nine months, the consumer price index—the official measure of the cost of living—has fallen by 2.3%, meaning the real purchasing power of a Social Security check has risen. How is this bad for seniors?"

Remembering the Hebron Massacre: "Yet another wrenching exile and return, now rarely remembered, occurred 80 years ago this week. On Aug. 23-24, 1929, the Jewish community of Hebron was exiled following a horrific pogrom. The tragedy is known as Tarpat, an acronym for its date in the Hebrew calendar. Until 1929, Jews had lived in Hebron for three millennia. There, according to Jewish tradition, Abraham purchased the cave of Machpelah to bury Sarah. It was the first parcel of land owned by the Jewish people in their promised land. Ever since, religious Jews revered Hebron as the burial site of their matriarchs and patriarchs. Conquered, massacred and expelled over the centuries, Jews always returned to this sacred place. In August 1929, that community was suddenly and brutally attacked. Incited by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem—who claimed that Jews were endangering Muslim holy sites on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem—Arab rioters swept through Palestine. In Hebron, the carnage was horrendous. It began on Friday afternoon when Arabs attacked Jews with clubs and murdered a yeshiva student. The next morning, joined by local villagers, Arabs swarmed through Hebron screaming "Kill the Jews." When the slaughter finally subsided, 67 Jews had been murdered. Three days later, British soldiers evacuated 484 survivors, including 153 children, to Jerusalem."

What moves justice Kennedy? "He sits dead center in a court still polarized between four conservative justices and four liberal ones. In the 2006-07 term, for instance, Justice ­Kennedy joined the majority in all its 5-4 decisions. For all its importance, Justice Kennedy's outlook can appear puzzling at times, either maddeningly ­capricious or philosophically incoherent. In "Justice Kennedy's Jurisprudence," Frank J. Colucci manages to define it with admirable precision, debunking along the way the oversimple ways in which Justice Kennedy has been characterized by people who disagree with his ­decisions. Mr. Colucci shows that his ideas are not ­inconsistent or dismissible as mere caprice or opportunism. The key to Justice ­Kennedy's votes, Mr. Colucci says, is his moral ­reading of the Constitution: He sees the document as an unfolding story of ever greater individual liberty. Thus he ­opposes laws that abridge sexual ­freedom, including laws against homosexual conduct. If an originalist reading of the Constitution does not reveal such a liberty—relying on the received meaning of the ­Constitution's words at the time they were ­written—Justice Kennedy's moral ­reading does. But he is skeptical of race-conscious ­programs, too, because they treat applicants as members of a group rather than as individuals who possess the right to be free from group-based policies or rules."

Clunker cash taxable: "People who purchased cars recently under this cash for clunkers program may find out a little something they weren't expecting: that $4,500 rebate from the government taxpayers is taxable. Not only are you taxed once, but this blogger points out that depending on which state you live in, you could be taxed twice on clunker rebates. "Specifically, you pay sales tax on the full vehicle price (effectively paying sales tax on the $4,500!) and what's worse those states that tax income (that would be most of them!) might wind up counting this as income for state income tax purposes too, effectively taxing you twice." Even when the government tries to kiss you, it is just a prelude to a good screwing."


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 or here or here


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)


Friday, August 28, 2009

A U.S. President, Raised on KGB Propaganda

The former chief of Romania's espionage service sees an American president fully invested in the lies he helped disseminate along with the KGB

In the heyday of the Cold War, both knowingly and unknowingly, such radical intellectuals served as a reliable conduit for anti-U.S. propaganda generated in the think tanks of Moscow. The technical details were described by a number of defectors from the Eastern Bloc intelligence agencies, the highest-ranking of whom was Ion Mihai Pacepa, acting chief of Romania’s espionage service.
“The whole foreign policy of the Soviet-bloc states, indeed its whole economic and military might, revolved around the larger Soviet objective of destroying America from within through the use of lies,” Pacepa writes. “The Soviets saw disinformation as a vital tool in the dialectical advance of world Communism. … Many ‘Ban-the-Bomb’ and anti-nuclear movements were KGB-funded operations, too. I can no longer look at a petition for world peace or other supposedly noble cause, particularly of the anti-American variety, without thinking to myself, ‘KGB.’

“As far as I’m concerned, the KGB gave birth to the antiwar movement in America,” Pacepa continues. “KGB chairman Yuri Andropov managed our anti-Vietnam War operation. He often bragged about having damaged the U.S. foreign-policy consensus, poisoned domestic debate in the U.S., and built a credibility gap between America and European public opinion through our disinformation operations. Vietnam was, he once told me, ‘our most significant success.’”

The fraudulent image of America as the “violent imperialist aggressor” was picked up by the Western media, disseminated through activist groups, and found its way into policy making, exemplified by John Kerry’s 1971 “Genghis Khan” testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, where Kerry almost verbatim repeated the KGB fabrications, later recognized by Pacepa as his own subversive product.

“KGB priority number one at that time was to damage American power, judgment, and credibility,” Pacepa recalls. “One of its favorite tools was the fabrication of such evidence as photographs and ‘news reports’ about invented American war atrocities. These tales were purveyed in KGB-operated magazines that would then flack them to reputable news organizations. … All in all, it was amazingly easy for Soviet-bloc spy organizations to fake many such reports and spread them around the free world.”

Our sensory organs may perceive the same reality, but our knowledge of the world depends on how our minds interpret our perceptions and connect the dots. A successful propaganda campaign modifies that process by inserting, in a manner of speaking, a prefabricated optical lens that redirects incoming information and rearranges the existing dots. It may remain unnoticed for a while because the distortion affects limited designated areas — in this case, political ideology. One still is the same person, except that when he thinks of political, economic, or social issues, lies suddenly become perceived as the truth, right as wrong, good as evil, enemies as friends, and so on.

Ultimately, the most successful, moral, and just country in the history of humanity becomes perceived as a violent monster feeding on the bodies of innocent victims.

Caught off guard by such a procedure and lacking intellectual tools to detect it, any decent red-blooded man will naturally be enraged by America’s “injustice,” wish for its defeat, and sometimes even join its enemies. Assuming that in 1971 John Kerry was a decent man and his testimony to the Senate Committee was delivered in good faith, he must have had that lens implanted in his brain for a long time. The Vietnam War was won by Moscow, not on the battlefield, but in the information warfare. And that was only the beginning.

This is how Pacepa remembers it:
During my last meeting with Andropov, he said, wisely, “now all we have to do is to keep the Vietnam-era anti-Americanism alive.” Andropov was a shrewd judge of human nature. He understood that in the end our original involvement would be forgotten, and our insinuations would take on a life of their own. He knew well that it was just the way human nature worked.

Andropov’s strategy must still be working if even today Barack Obama believes in these insinuations strongly enough to apologize before the world for the perceived history of “American arrogance.” During his recent visit to Moscow, President Obama stated:
America supports … the restoration of the democratically-elected president of Honduras, even though he has strongly opposed American policies.

But didn’t Obama himself oppose American policies just as strongly and from the same ideological perspectives? His own history suggests that saying “because he has strongly opposed American policies” would have been a more honest use of conjunctions.

From his communist mentor Frank Marshall Davis to the unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, Barack Obama has always gravitated towards people holding radical leftist views akin to those of Zelaya. He eagerly promoted leftist ideology as an ACORN activist and later when he taught and developed theories that opposed the American system of individual liberties in favor of unsustainable group entitlements at the expense of producers — theories that advocated placing the people under the controlling “care” of the state.

And since such views are part of the ideological template that vilifies America and lionizes its enemies, Obama’s instinctive reaction was to back Zelaya and throw a lifeline to Ahmadinejad.

Like John Kerry at the Senate hearings, President Obama may be acting in good faith, but his processing of reality is just as impaired by the same “metaphorical deformation.” As a result, the leader of the free world strays across the frontlines and joins the Marxist leaders Hugo Chavez, Raul Castro, Evo Morales, and Daniel Ortega, at least two of whom — Castro and Ortega — were committed Soviet clients.

The Soviet Union may have self-destructed in 1991, but the seeds of intellectual deception it had planted gave such a bountiful crop that seventeen years later America has elected a leader who is guided by received notions designed to subdue and destroy this country. Apparently, the rumors about America’s victory in the Cold War appear to have been greatly exaggerated.



Government's Negative Effect on the Labor Market

On the first Friday of every month, the Department of Labor through the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the current number of unemployed workers in America. Often times as with both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, politicians expand federal employment to lower that number and create the false illusion of real job creation.

As, pundits and economists debated on whether government spending would bring us out of the current “Great Recession,” one thing was for sure: the number of federal employees would increase. And even though government jobs were created and some people were no longer unemployed, new studies show that the real result of all this Potemkin Village-building is a long-term negative economic impact.

Economists Matthew Higgins, Andrew Young, and Daniel Levy have found that, when looking at sample data in the United States from 1970 to 1998, there is a negative correlation between creating government jobs and real economic growth. And that includes all federal, state, local government offices.

A large part of the problem, of course, is that public spending crowds out private spending. Or in other words: every dollar the government spends is one more dollar being bid away from private industry. And this goes for employment too. Every employee the government hires is one less person for the private sector to employ in productive jobs. Now, of course, if the government was just as efficient and productive as the private sector then this would not be a problem.

But this study’s result show that productivity decreases, not increases, when more federal employees are put on the taxpayers tab. Due to lack of proper price and profit structure, government misallocates resources, produces an inferior product – and runs up the deficit all at the same time.

Yet, as bad as that is, it gets even worse. Within every single category of government employee (federal, state, and local), government wages grew much faster than non-government wages. For example, in the chart below, the difference is over 30 percent in every case. The worse example is local government employee’s wages. Throughout the U.S., they increased at a rate of 70 percent higher than non-governmental wages.

This type of wage gap makes it hard for the private sector to compete with the government for employees. Not to mention the other benefits that go along with a government job, including job security, more benefits, and the bureaucratic axiom that anything short of taking a nap is “close enough for government work.” In other words, every time a new future employee enters the labor market from college, high school, or anywhere else, there is more of an incentive for them to take a government job than a private sector job. And this, in turn, adds to the country’s burgeoning productivity loss – at astronomical prices.

So finally, the only solution that can be offered here is to eliminate many of the unnecessary government jobs that already create an overwhelming amount of red tape and higher taxes. But sadly it seems that this administration’s policy will do more to expand government jobs than eliminate them. And with that, the Obama White House will cause an enormous amount of productivity losses for generations to come – all the while touting its bogus record for “job creation.”

More here



Japanese and Korean makers gained most from cash for clunkers: "Japanese and South Korean automakers registered the biggest market share gains in the U.S. government's "cash for clunkers" program that ended this week with bankruptcy related inventory shortages hurting General Motors Co and Chrysler. Toyota Motor Corp Honda Motor Co Ltd, Nissan Motor Co Ltd, Hyundai Motor Co capitalized on the program's goal of pushing consumers away from gas guzzling sport utilities and pickups, to more efficient cars and trucks, preliminary sales figures showed on Wednesday. Overseas manufacturers dominate in car sales, while U.S. companies have been stronger in the light truck segment. Cars outsold trucks 2-1 under the "clunker" initiative. Ford Motor Co was the only domestic manufacturer to hold its own in market share compared with its performance so far this year, while GM slipped and Chrysler stumbled noticeably. GM spokesman Greg Martin said the company, which slowed production significantly during the spring and its early summer bankruptcy, recorded brisk sales of Malibu, Cobalt and other car models in the first weeks of the program.

Federal Pay Continues Rapid Ascent: "The Bureau of Economic Analysis has released its annual data on compensation levels by industry. The data show that the pay advantage enjoyed by federal civilian workers over private-sector workers continues to expand. The George W. Bush years were very lucrative for federal workers. In 2000, the average compensation (wages and benefits) of federal workers was 66 percent higher than the average compensation in the U.S. private sector. The new data show that average federal compensation is now more than double the average in the private sector. In 2008, the average wage for 1.9 million federal civilian workers was $79,197, which compared to an average $49,935 for the nation’s 108 million private sector workers (measured in full-time equivalents). The figure shows that the federal pay advantage (the gap between the lines) is steadily increasing.

Budget forecast may doom Obama aims: "President Barack Obama's ambitious domestic policy agenda collided with spiraling deficit figures that project bulked-up federal spending will add more than $9 trillion to the national debt over the next decade -- doubling the nation's obligation to creditors. This year's record $1.6 trillion budget deficit will be the biggest since World War II, according to the White House and nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Last year's budget deficit was $459 billion.... The figures were included in an otherwise routine White House midsession budget review the administration delayed for a month and released after the president and Congress were out of Washington.... Predicting the economy has proven a tough bit of soothsaying for the administration. Obama ran in part on a promise to do away with the questionable accounting practices of prior presidencies, and to cut the deficit in half in four years. But the administration in less than a year has had to retreat from its own rosy forecasts about the economy."

Obama's 09 deficit exceeds all eight years of Bush red ink: "How much is President Obama boosting federal spending? The Heritage Foundation's Brian Riedl puts a little perspective on the numbers made public today: This year, Washington will spend $30,958 per household, tax $17,576 per household, and borrow $13,392 per household. This spending is not just temporary: President Obama would permanently keep annual spending between $5,000 and $8,000 per household higher than it had been under President Bush. The 22 percent spending increase projected for 2009 represents the largest government expansion since the 1952 height of the Korean War (adjusted for inflation). Federal spending is up 57 percent since 2001."

CDC mulls routine genital mutilation of infants to reduce spread of HIV: "In an effort to reduce the spread of the AIDS-causing HIV virus, the Centers for Disease Control are currently mulling routine circumcision for all baby boys born in the United States, the New York Times reports. The controversial recommendations, scheduled for a formal release by the end of the year, come on the heels of research that shows circumcised men in African countries hit hard by AIDS had half the risk of getting infected as those who were uncircumcised.”

90,000 flu deaths: Where did that number come from?: "The warning is dire: Up to 90,000 ‘possible’ deaths from a potential swine flu outbreak. But how did the president’s science advisers, who came up with the number, reach that estimate? It is based on complicated models of how such illnesses are transmitted, how they mutate, how prepared the healthcare system is, and what’s known from the patterns of past flu epidemics, such as the ones in 1918, 1957, and 1968. It even taps the so-called ‘virus detectives,’ a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that tracks, in the best Sherlock Holmes manner, the threats to America’s health — often traveling to remote parts of the world to study outbreaks. The problem with dire warnings, though, is that the complacency scientists are in part trying to break may be caused by the very studies they tout — the crying wolf syndrome. The avian bird flu predictions in 2005 included estimates of millions dead. Worldwide, 282 people died.”

Still “crazy” — and proud of it: “Us right-wing nuts sure is scary! That’s the message from the Washington Post. To put this in language a conservative would understand, the fourth estate has been alarmed once again by the Burkean proclivities of our nation’s citizens. The Post is in a panic about (to use its own descriptive terms) ‘birthers,’ ‘anti-tax tea-partiers,’ and ‘town hall hecklers.’ If, last Sunday, you spent a profitless hour reading the Washington Post (itself not too profitable), you noticed the loud yapping and desperate nipping at those who disagree with liberal orthodoxy. It was as if top management were a toy schnauzer accidentally mistaken for a duster and traumatized by being run back and forth through the venetian blinds. The wise and prestigious broadsheet institution was so barking mad that it sent three (Three! In these times of hardship for the print media! When reporters are being laid off right and left — well, mostly right — and stories are going uncovered from rapidly warming pole to pole! Three!) journalists to do battle with ‘The Return of Right-Wing Rage.’”

Mises, Human Action and economic calculation: "Six decades ago Ludwig von Mises published his masterpiece, Human Action, and it grows in importance. I was unaware of the book’s existence and its timeless truths through my formative years, but one of Mises’ students, William Peterson, introduced it to me in 1980, and I forever will be grateful. Because Human Action covers a vast amount of intellectual territory, I will deal only with economic calculation. If there is a Misesian term to which I return again and again, it is ‘economic calculation,’ for that term explains why socialism is fated to fail — always.”

Nanotechnology: Innovation vs. corporate welfare: "Nanotechnology — the art and science of manipulating matter at the scale of 1 to 100 nanometers — is a field with seemingly limitless potential. But if researchers and politicians are not careful, that potential will vanish. Nanotech firms have a choice between being entrepreneurs, or being corporate welfare recipients. They choices they make today could determine whether the future of nanotech is one of dynamism and innovation, or one of dull, bureaucratic stasis. A nanotech boom is already underway. Just this week, the number of products that scientists have invented or improved passed the 1,000 mark. In two years, there could be 1,600. MIT nanotech researchers announced this month that they have discovered a way to kill ovarian cancer cells in mice. Treatments for other types of cancer may soon follow.”

Remember “no controlling legal authority?”: "It was a dozen years ago when Eric Holder began his first tour of duty at the Justice Department, as deputy attorney general. At the time, DOJ had a major hot potato on its hands: Al Gore, the vice president of the United States, had engaged in a clear, black-and-white felony violation of campaign-finance laws. … But Gore was the heir apparent to Pres. Bill Clinton, and the deputy attorney general was very much hoping to become the attorney general in a Gore administration. So Holder found it within himself to oppose the appointment of a prosecutor. Gore was in the clear. The CIA did not make out so well. Holder, having finally become attorney general eight years later than planned, has just appointed a prosecutor to investigate the agency’s interrogators, which really means to investigate the Bush administration’s interrogation practices. Thus does Holder begin delivering on the ‘reckoning’ he promised the hard Left as an Obama political spokesman during the 2008 campaign. The attorney general has plunged into this crassly partisan adventure even though, this time around, the controlling legal authority says there is no case and, therefore, no ethical basis for conducting an investigation.”

Health care? The government can’t even run a railroad: "Nowhere in the debate regarding health care has anyone asked if the government is able and qualified to run such a system. Before we ask the government to manage universal health care, let’s check them out. How successful has the federal government been in managing agencies, programs and businesses?”


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 or here or here


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)


Thursday, August 27, 2009


I asked for comments about the larger font I have started using on my two new sites: Political Correctness Watch and Eye on Britain. Most people liked the larger font but those who did not seemed to dislike it mainly because it made a narrow column slow to scroll through. I have therefore changed the template on both blogs to the one with the widest main columns available for the site. I think that should go closer to suiting everybody. Sadly, though, in both cases, the wide column templates had no colour whatevever! I am hoping that someone who knows their way around templates a bit better than I do might eventually tell me how to change them into my usual green and yellow pattern.


Study Demonstrates How We Support Our False Beliefs

The study reported below is reasonable on the whole but what it overlooks is that most people take only the most cursory interest in politics and know very little about it. So their picture of politics will inevitably be oversimplified. Sad to say, it is the personality of the candidate that determines most votes that are not already "rusted on" to a particular party. Exit interviews with Obama voters after the 2008 Presidential election showed that most voters had quite mistaken ideas of what the Republican and Democrat policies were. They were just taken in by the con-man personality. So the "motivated cognition" explanation offered below is unparsimonious (needlessly complex). Sheer ignorance is sufficient to explain the results

In a study published in the most recent issue of the journal Sociological Inquiry, sociologists from four major research institutions focus on one of the most curious aspects of the 2004 presidential election: the strength and resilience of the belief among many Americans that Saddam Hussein was linked to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Although this belief influenced the 2004 election, they claim it did not result from pro-Bush propaganda, but from an urgent need by many Americans to seek justification for a war already in progress.

The findings may illuminate reasons why some people form false beliefs about the pros and cons of health-care reform or regarding President Obama's citizenship, for example.

The study, "There Must Be a Reason: Osama, Saddam and Inferred Justification" calls such unsubstantiated beliefs "a serious challenge to democratic theory and practice" and considers how and why it was maintained by so many voters for so long in the absence of supporting evidence.

Co-author Steven Hoffman, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of sociology at the University at Buffalo, says, "Our data shows substantial support for a cognitive theory known as 'motivated reasoning,' which suggests that rather than search rationally for information that either confirms or disconfirms a particular belief, people actually seek out information that confirms what they already believe. "In fact," he says, "for the most part people completely ignore contrary information. "The study demonstrates voters' ability to develop elaborate rationalizations based on faulty information," he explains.

While numerous scholars have blamed a campaign of false information and innuendo from the Bush administration, this study argues that the primary cause of misperception in the 9/11-Saddam Hussein case was not the presence or absence of accurate data but a respondent's desire to believe in particular kinds of information. "The argument here is that people get deeply attached to their beliefs," Hoffman says.

"We form emotional attachments that get wrapped up in our personal identity and sense of morality, irrespective of the facts of the matter. The problem is that this notion of 'motivated reasoning' has only been supported with experimental results in artificial settings. We decided it was time to see if it held up when you talk to actual voters in their homes, workplaces, restaurants, offices and other deliberative settings."

The survey and interview-based study was conducted by Hoffman, Monica Prasad, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology at Northwestern University; Northwestern graduate students Kieren Bezila and Kate Kindleberger; Andrew Perrin, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and UNC graduate students Kim Manturuk, Andrew R. Payton and Ashleigh Smith Powers (now an assistant professor of political science and psychology at Millsaps College).

The study addresses what it refers to as a "serious challenge to democratic theory and practice that results when citizens with incorrect information cannot form appropriate preferences or evaluate the preferences of others."

One of the most curious "false beliefs" of the 2004 presidential election, they say, was a strong and resilient belief among many Americans that Saddam Hussein was linked to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Hoffman says that over the course of the 2004 presidential campaign, several polls showed that majorities of respondents believed that Saddam Hussein was either partly or largely responsible for the 9/11 attacks, a percentage that declined very slowly, dipping below 50 percent only in late 2003. "This misperception that Hussein was responsible for the Twin Tower terrorist attacks was very persistent, despite all the evidence suggesting that no link existed," Hoffman says.

The study team employed a technique called "challenge interviews" on a sample of voters who reported believing in a link between Saddam and 9/11. The researchers presented the available evidence of the link, along with the evidence that there was no link, and then pushed respondents to justify their opinion on the matter. For all but one respondent, the overwhelming evidence that there was no link left no impact on their arguments in support of the link.

One unexpected pattern that emerged from the different justifications that subjects offered for continuing to believe in the validity of the link was that it helped citizens make sense of the Bush Administration's decision to go to war against Iraq. "We refer to this as 'inferred justification,'" says Hoffman "because for these voters, the sheer fact that we were engaged in war led to a post-hoc search for a justification for that war. "People were basically making up justifications for the fact that we were at war," he says.

"One of the things that is really interesting about this, from both the perspective of voting patterns but also for democratic theory more generally, Hoffman says, "is that we did not find that people were being duped by a campaign of innuendo so much as they were actively constructing links and justifications that did not exist.

"They wanted to believe in the link," he says, "because it helped them make sense of a current reality. So voters' ability to develop elaborate rationalizations based on faulty information, whether we think that is good or bad for democratic practice, does at least demonstrate an impressive form of creativity."



A Clunker Q&A

by Jeff Jacoby

Q: CONGRESSMAN, was "Cash for Clunkers" a success?

A: Of course it was! I'm surprised you'd even ask. "It has been successful beyond anybody's imagination," President Obama said last week. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said he was thrilled "to be part of the best economic news story in America." GM executive Mike DiGiovanni raved that "it really is all thumbs up," a rare example of an undertaking "that it's hard to find anything negative about." If that's not success, I don't know what is.

Q: If it has been such a wonderful program, why did it end this week?

A: Well, nothing wonderful lasts forever. All the money available for rebates has been claimed, so the program has come to a close.

Q: But why close down "the best economic news story in America?" You extended it once; why not a second time? Why not keep it going forever?

A: You forget that Congress has other priorities too. Cash for Clunkers has been terrific for automobile dealers, but there is more to the economy than cars.

Q: Oh, you mean you're now going to offer rebates to consumers who buy other things, like new couches or paint jobs or airplane tickets?

A: No, that wasn't exactly what I --

Q: But aren't those purchases as deserving of subsidies as cars? Surely Congress wants to help furniture dealers and housepainters and airline employees too?

A: Yes, of course, but -- I mean -- well, let me think about that.

Q: By the way, if the "clunkers" program were really such a boon for the auto business, why did so many car dealers back out of it early?

A: "So many?" Don't exaggerate!

Q: It's no exaggeration, congressman. Associated Press reported that AutoNation, the largest dealership chain in America, pulled out of Cash for Clunkers last Thursday -- three full days before the deadline. Automotive News ran a story about other dealers who found the government so difficult to deal with that they got out even earlier. "It's just a mess, an absolute mess," one of them said. The News surveyed dealerships, and more than one-eighth of those responding said they had stopped doing "clunker" deals because it was such a bureaucratic nightmare. According to the New York Post, half of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association dropped out early. Does that sound like something the president should be calling "successful beyond anybody's imagination?"

A: OK, maybe there have been snafus with the government's computers and whatnot, but you're missing the forest for the trees: This has been an incredible shot in the arm for the economy. Thousands of jobs have been created or saved, and hundreds of thousands of cars were sold.

Q: Yes, but for every car sold, a car had to be destroyed. I understand why that might make GM happy. But how does the destruction of 750,000 used cars -- all of which had to be in drivable condition to qualify for a rebate -- help your constituents who can't afford a new car? All this program did for them was guarantee that used cars will become more expensive. Poorer drivers will be penalized to subsidize new cars for wealthier drivers. Isn't that immoral?

A: Look, there are tradeoffs to everything. You're overlooking all the benefits that those new car sales will generate.

Q: No, I'm refusing to ignore all the costs that inevitably accompany those benefits. Congress and the administration took $3 billion from taxpayers in order to boost car sales. That's $3 billion taxpayers will not be able to spend on groceries or tuition or a down payment on a new house. Before you can credit Cash for Clunkers with the "multiplier effect" of those new-car sales, you have to charge it with a negative multiplier effect at least as great: all the jobs and growth and stimulus that won't materialize because the government decided to spend $3 billion disabling, crushing, and shredding used cars. Don't you see that everything government does, it does at someone's expense?

A: You can say what you like, but this was a popular program.

Q: According to the polls, 54 percent of Americans opposed it. You call that popular?

A: Look, I have to go. But let me just say this: If Cash for Clunkers were as dubious as you suggest, it wouldn't have had so many takers.

Q: Oh, for heaven's sake, congressman: If you give away money, won't people always line up to take it?




Dead Ted: Good riddance to bad rubbish: "Mr. Kennedy, a one-time presidential hopeful, nine-term senator and last of the major public figures from the American version of Camelot, died at age 77 of brain cancer, his family said early Wednesday. He leaves a controversial personal history, a complicated legacy of defiance and compromise, and a gaping hole in American liberalism." [He wasn't as bad for America as he was for Mary Jo but he tried]

NY: Democrat fundraiser charged with fraud: "A wealthy investment banker and prominent fundraiser for President Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton and other top Democrats was arrested Tuesday on charges that he lied to get a $74 million business loan. Prosecutors accused Hassan Nemazee of giving Citibank ‘fraudulent and forged’ documents showing that he owned millions of dollars in collateral. A criminal complaint also accuses Nemazee of providing false verifying information for financial institutions, including a phone number that actually belonged to him.”

SCOTUS: Priest records should be unsealed: “The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday against a Roman Catholic diocese in Connecticut, saying that thousands of documents generated by lawsuits against six priests for alleged sexual abuse cannot remain sealed. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Tuesday denied the Bridgeport diocese’s request to continue a stay on the release of the papers until the full court decides whether to review the case.”

“Stimulus” checks went to inmates: “The federal government mistakenly sent out stimulus checks to 1,700 inmates, the Social Security Administration said Tuesday — a $425,000 error. Social Security spokesman Dan Moraski told in a written statement that the money went out because official records ‘did not accurately reflect that they were in prison.’ The inspector general’s office for the Social Security Administration is now looking into the problem as part of its broader audit on stimulus spending. The Social Security Administration acknowledged the glitch following a report that nearly two-dozen inmates in Massachusetts had wrongly received the $250 stimulus checks.”

When the rich get poorer, look out below: “The positive effects of market capitalism have been felt around the world. Even in countries such India and Brazil, the number of poor people have declined markedly since 1980. Worldwide the number of extreme poor has fallen by 50%. Trickle-down economics appears to be have more a waterfall than a drizzle. As Andrew Carnegie once said, ‘Capitalism is about turning luxuries into necessities.’ But what about the future? The answer is simple: When times are good, the rich get richer and the poor get richer too. But when times are tough, the rich get poorer … and so do the poor and middle class.”

The high cost of liberalism: "“Which tax increases do the current administration and Congress intend to enact? There are more than a dozen, all of which would negatively affect our economy, says Pete du Pont, the former governor of Delaware and current Board Chairman of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). One has already been signed into law by President Obama: an increase in the tax on tobacco, to $1.01 a pack of cigarettes from 39 cents, and to as much as 40 cents a cigar from a nickel — increases of 159 percent and 700 percent, respectively (this is expected to bring in $8 billion a year).”

Fascism and communism: Two sides of the same coin: “In an article in last week’s Guardian, Jonathan Steele objects to the joint condemnation of communism and fascism. The moral he draws is that ‘History is too complex and sensitive to be left to politicians.’ Quite right, but it is also too complex to be used to defend a failed political ideology by crudely trying to show that another is worse. Mr Steele was upset that the ‘23 August be proclaimed European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism, in order to preserve the memory of the victims of mass deportations and exterminations.’”

Madison checks Obama: “Like most presidents, Obama took office intending to bend history to his liking. This impulse, while understandable, leads to overreach. In the case of Obama, it has been abetted by two significant misjudgments. The first was following the counsel of his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who famously declared, ‘You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.’ The assumption being that the American public in the midst of a deep and prolonged recession yearned for government action — not just on the economy but on the environment and, especially, on health care. The Obama administration views this as a once-in-a-generation moment, plastic and rich with possibilities. It is Obama’s chance to reshape the American political landscape through a series of bold initiatives. It turns out the president reacted in precisely the wrong way to the situation he confronted. Most Americans — whose instinctive conservatism has been reinforced by the fear and uncertainty created by the financial crisis — long for stability.”

Spending ourselves to death: "Government expenditures are running at 185 percent of revenue, which is like the lone family breadwinner earning $50,000 a year, while the family spends $92,500 a year. With families that do that, it is not too long before the credit cards are cut off, the mortgage is called in and the family Chevy is repossessed. According to those same White House figures, this year’s deficit will be closer to $1.6 trillion than the $1.8 trillion previously projected. Now, there are only three basic ways to finance that deficit. The first is by borrowing the savings of one’s own citizens, thus consuming the seed corn of the private economy. The second is by borrowing from abroad. The third is by having the Fed, ‘through a roundabout process,’ writes Buffett, ‘printing money.’”


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 or here or here


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)


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The NYT has no shame -- or principles

Here's a blast from the past. The New York Times, July 9, 2001, reports on George W. Bush's first summer vacation as president:
On Friday, as new unemployment figures painted a newly troubling portrait of the American economy, Mr. Bush placed himself in the same scenes--golfing and fishing in a New England paradise--that once caused his father electoral grief.

Simply amazing. Here's the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, dated July 6, that "painted a newly troubling portrait of the American economy":
The unemployment rate was little changed at 4.5 percent, five-tenths of a percentage point higher than the average for 2000.

As Barack Obama embarked on his first summer vacation as president last week--also in a "New England paradise," Martha's Vineyard--the most recent unemployment rate was 9.4%, more than double the summer 2001 figure. Covering the Obama jaunt, the Times offers no hint that there's anything wrong with a president taking a vacation during a time of genuine crisis. Indeed, it offers this justification:
Mr. Obama, whom aides described as being amused by all of the gloom-and-doom prognosticating over his health care agenda, did not even consider skipping his vacation. Last year, he talked about the importance of taking a break to avoid "making mistakes."

That makes sense--and in any case, it's not as if the president actually escapes his responsibilities when he goes on "vacation." But the Times's coverage of Obama is a useful contrast to the paper's petty partisan sniping against Bush.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


Obama's Brick Wall: The American People

President Barack Obama has run into a brick wall: the American people, who cherish their liberty and revere their nation and do not want it remade in Obama's socialist image.

Obama's free-falling poll numbers are not the result of a misinformation campaign from a small sliver of unruly conservative opponents, as the administration wants you to believe. They are a reflection of the public's reaction to Obama's policies and his own comprehensive misinformation campaign to dupe the people into believing America is unsalvageable without fundamental change.

When Obama promised to bring fundamental change to America, most Americans, fortunately for him, did not take him literally. He offered them "hope" at a time when the economy was going south; political partisanship had reached new levels of acrimony, and people were weary of a protracted, albeit successful, war in Iraq. But most voters had no idea just how much change Obama had in mind.

But Obama was dead serious. If it wasn't obvious to trusting people then, it is abundantly so now. He doesn't share the majority's vision of America as the most wonderful experiment in constitutional governance in history. He sees it as a land of plenty, all right -- plenteous inequities, with maldistribution of resources, oppression and imperialism.

Surely people can now see that it is no accident that he sat at the feet of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright for 20 years, that his mother was a leftist activist and cultural Marxist, that his main early mentor was radical Frank Marshall Davis, that he was a member of the far-left New Party in Chicago, that his main vocation in life has been street organizing and agitation and that he didn't think the revolutionarily, transformative Warren court was liberal enough.

Since assuming office, Obama has been on a mission to fundamentally alter the social compact between the government and a once powerfully sovereign people.

The litany of his shocks to the system is too voluminous to detail in full, but just consider his calculated takeover of GM, his fraudulently marketed trillion-dollar spending schemes, his cap-and-trade boondoggle, his unilateral declaration of an end to the war on terror, his policy to Mirandize terrorists on the battlefield, his cavorting with terrorist dictators, his soft betrayal of Israel, his ceaseless foreign-soil apologies for America, and his crusade to subsume the health care industry.

These are not tweaks to a glorious constitutional republic, but a frantic effort to undo this republic brick by brick. And the American people have finally gotten wise to what's going on and are mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore.

But probably not used to running into much adversity in his adult life, Obama's doubtlessly been thrown for a major psychological loop as he's run into the fierce grass-roots resistance to his radical agenda.

Based on what we can glean from his background, we have to assume he remains in that policy cocoon in which he has been surrounded mostly by radicals who see America through different lenses than most Americans do. He truly believes that America has to change in dramatic ways and that he is the only guy who can make it happen, i.e., "The One."




Obama admin attacks the CIA: "The Obama administration Monday appointed a special prosecutor to pursue criminal charges against CIA employees who interrogated some of al Qaeda's hardest core members, while releasing documents showing individuals subjected to the tactics provided life-saving intelligence that disrupted numerous terror plots ranging from an anthrax attack on Westerners to a massive bombing of U.S. troops in Africa. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. ordered the reopening of criminal investigations against CIA interrogators that the Justice Department had previously declined to prosecute under President Bush. He made the decision over the opposition of CIA Director Leon E. Panetta and despite the often-stated wishes of President Obama to "look forward" and not become entangled in a debate over the past practices of the war on terror. Mr. Holder ordered his special prosecutor to focus on cases in which interrogators used "inhumane" tactics" [This is going to castrate the CIA, which is no doubt the aim. The Left have always hated the CIA]

Netanyahu brings balancing act to Europe: “Benjamin Netanyahu arrives in Britain on Monday as a leader walking a tightrope. On one hand, the Israeli prime minister faces a firm international front demanding a full halt to his country’s four-decade-old settlement enterprise. Netanyahu has heard that demand and will almost certainly hear it again from all three of the key people he is slated to meet in Europe this week: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the representative of Israel’s closest ally, U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell.”

Vets wrongly told they have fatal disease: “Former Air Force reservist Gale Reid received a letter from the Veterans Affairs Department that told her she had Lou Gehrig’s disease, and she immediately put herself through a battery of painful, expensive tests. Five days later, the VA said its ‘diagnosis’ was a mistake. Letters were sent to 1,864 veterans about disability benefits for those with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and a ’small number’ have contacted the VA indicating they received the letters in error, VA spokeswoman Katie Roberts said Monday night.”

It’s the big government, stupid: “It’s been a hilarious August, watching media supporters of President Obama’s health care package puzzle over the obscure motivations of the noncompliant Americans rallying against it. ‘Racial anxiety,’ guessed New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. ‘Nihilism,’ theorized Time’s Joe Klein. ‘The crazy tree blooms in every moment of liberal ascendancy,’ historian Rick Perlstein proclaimed in the Washington Post. While the commentariat’s condescension is almost comical, the whole evil-or-stupid explanation misses the elephant in Obama’s room: Americans of all stripes, it turns out, aren’t very keen about the government barging into their lives.”

Some reasons why U.S. infant mortality is high: "Infant mortality is a function of many factors. The more you look at the problem, the less it seems to be correctable by a big new federal role in medical insurance—and, in fact, the less it seems to be mainly a medical issue at all. No one denies the problem. Our infant mortality rate is double that of Japan or Sweden. But we live different lives, on average, than people in those places. We suffer more obesity (about 10 times as much as the Japanese), and we have more births to teenagers (seven times more than the Swedes). Nearly 40 percent of American babies are born to unwed mothers. Factors like these are linked to low birth weight in babies, which is a dangerous thing. In a 2007 study for the National Bureau of Economic Research, economists June O'Neill and Dave O'Neill noted that "a multitude of behaviors unrelated to the health care system such as substance abuse, smoking and obesity" are connected "to the low birth weight and preterm births that underlie the infant death syndrome." Nicholas Eberstadt, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, also attributes the gap largely to conduct. Comparing white Americans to Norwegians in his 1995 book, The Tyranny of Numbers, Eberstadt concluded that "white America's higher rates of infant mortality are explained not by poverty (as conventionally construed) or by medical care but rather by the habits, actions, and indeed lifestyles of a critical portion of its parents." But underweight babies don't fare worse here than in Canada—quite the contrary. The NBER paper points out that among the smallest infants, survival rates are better on this side of the border. What that suggests is that if we lived under the Canadian health care system, we would not have a lower rate of infant mortality. We would have a higher one."

Canadians confiscate prescription drugs: “A few years ago, stories of Americans going to Canada to buy cheaper drugs were all the rage. Here’s a twist on that: Canadians going to Mexico to get cheaper drugs. The Canadian government has been intercepting shipments and travelers at the border and confiscating the drugs. The drug in question is Thalidomide. You no doubt remember this drug for its horrific side-effects, in babies. But it is still used — by people who won’t get pregnant — to treat a rare form of cancer. It turns out that it’s one of the better drugs on the market, extending the lives of sufferers from myeloma. Trouble is, only one province pays for one version of the drug. Other versions are illegal.” [Thalidomide is also a powerful anti-leprosy drug and is legal in some countries for that reason]

Book review of Jonah: "I owe Jonah Goldberg an apology. When his book “Liberal Fascism” came out last year, I didn’t buy it because for some reason – maybe the smiley face with the Hitler moustache as the cover art, maybe the very provocative title – I assumed, despite knowing that Goldberg is a talented and intellectual writer, that the book was a conservative preaching – semi-hysterically ala Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity – to the converted. I could hardly have been more wrong. “Liberal Fascism” is a remarkable book. Far from rambling hyperbole, it is a highly researched work, suitable for anyone studying political science or 20th century political history. It makes you think. It makes you realize that your gut suspicion is correct: Much of the policy, philosophy, and political tactics and strategy which emanate from America’s “Progressive” movement have striking parallels in of some of the worst dictatorships of modern times."

Labeling won’t make bottled water safer: “The news is depressing these days as people fear losing their homes or jobs and worry about family members deployed in military operations overseas. So what are members of Congress worried about? They fear the ‘grave’ threats posed by — bottled water. Now that’s crazy. Supposedly consumers are at risk from, or are being duped about, bottled water quality. Lawmakers think the solution is more detailed labeling mandates that include listing the traces of chemicals that water might contain.”

A bureaucracy impervious to evidence : "The UK’s Daily Mail wanted to prove that the unforgeable National Identity Cards already being issued to foreign nationals were easily forgeable, so they brought in a pair of cyber-savants, master hacker Adam Laurie and Dutch computer security sage Jeroen van Beek. Within a few minutes, using little more than a cell phone and a laptop, the duo duped all the data from an official ID card’s microchip and created a clone. From there they could change any info they wanted; facial image, name, fingerprints, and even add data such as ‘entitled to benefits’ which gets the unqualified cardholder ‘free’ healthcare from the Brit National Health Service. And just for fun, they added an entry that can be read by any card scanner, ‘I am a terrorist — shoot on sight.’ When confronted with the evidence, a faceless functionary (of a Monty Pythonish Ministry of Priggish Denial?) proclaimed, ‘We are satisfied the personal data on the chip cannot be changed or modified and there is no evidence this has happened.’”

Reality begins to dawn in America: “For the first time since 1975, Social Security recipients will not get a cost of living allowance increase in their Social Security check. Another in a long line of ominous indicators that, to quote President Obama’s favorite disavowed preacher, the fiscal ‘chickens are coming home to roost.’ We seem to have been living in a dream world for the last few decades where the majority of Americans ignored the reality and believed we could continue to increase the size of the welfare state forever with no ill consequences. The small coterie of realists claiming that it was indeed a fantasy world we were living in were declared alarmists who were using scare tactics and dismissed by the politicians.”

Avoid Adobe: "Phantom customer support and selling corrupted software have swiftly turned into a comedy of errors for Adobe, and its customers are not laughing. The latest meltdown, which affects customers globally, comes after last month's call centre problems that resulted in clients being on hold for up to 40minutes. Now customers are claiming to have been in the phone queue for two hours. Adobe yesterday admitted that the mistakes and the poor customer service were unacceptable. "Adobe is currently transitioning to a new global service provider in order to scale up and improve the quality of our technical support and customer service. "While some temporary disruption is inevitable in a global transition of this scale, a cross-functional team is working to improve our services, while resolving specific problems that arise," he said. There is no end in sight, but the spokesman said the company appreciated customers' patience and understanding as it went through its transition." [The people who use pirated copies must be laughing]

Solving the bee death mystery: "A mysterious disease that has reduced honeybee populations in Europe and the United States could be caused in part by a virus, according to research. Scientists have discovered a characteristic pattern of cell damage in bees affected by colony collapse disorder (CCD), which suggests that a virus contributes to a condition that killed off more than a third of American honeybees in 2007-08. CCD, in which worker bees suddenly disappear from their hive, was first reported in the US in 2006, and has since affected at least 24 states and parts of Canada. There have also been cases in continental Europe, and a few cases have been suspected in Britain though not confirmed. The cause of the syndrome remains unknown. Potential triggers that have been advanced have included viruses, mites, fungal infections, pesticides, nutrient deficiencies and even mobile phone signals." [Don't forget global warming!]

Another Airbus systems failure: "The pilots of a holiday jet which suffered a potentially catastrophic electrical fault refused to divert to a nearer landing spot because they feared they would be shot down by military craft. The easyJet Airbus A319 lost all radio contact with the ground when its systems failed, an official report concluded yesterday. The captain was forced to fly manually after the instrument screens in the cockpit went blank. But the crew feared if they deviated from their flight plan without approval from Air Traffic Control the authorities might conclude the jet been hijacked by terrorists. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch stated the pilots thought it 'might be considered a hostile action' which could have led to 'offensive measures being taken against their aircraft'. The plane, which was heading from Alicante in Spain to Bristol in September 2006, also lost its transponder signal, which alerts the pilot if the jet is too close to other craft. However, the captain continued safely to Bristol, where he landed the craft, which was carrying 138 passengers.


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 or here or here


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)


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bypassing Google

Since Google will not let me put up any new posts on my old POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH site, I now have a new Political Correctness Watch site. Please adjust your bookmarks accordingly. It might be advisable, though, to keep a note of the Political Correctness Watch mirror site in case the new blog hosts go strange on me.

And since Google will not let me put up any more posts on my old EYE ON BRITAIN site, I now have a new Eye on Britain site. Please adjust your bookmarks accordingly. A permalink to any day's postings there can be obtained by clicking on "Leave a comment". It might be advisable, though, to keep a note of the Eye on Britain mirror site in case the new blog hosts go strange on me. I have chosen two different blog hosts this time in order to spread my risks.


Google undermines the Internet

“Allowing broadband carriers to control what people see and do online would fundamentally undermine the principles that have made the Internet such a success” – Vint Cerf, Google Chief Internet Evangelist and Co-Developer of the Internet Protocol

Attention leftists: hypocrisy is not a failure to live up to one’s own ideals. Hypocrisy is a willful professing of a belief, that one that does not truly believe. An outspoken Christian who commits adultery is not a hypocrite. An outspoken atheist who prays is a hypocrite. In today’s extended lesson Google must either accept that it is undermining the Internet, or be a hypocrite.

Exhibit A: Google supports ‘net neutrality’, a movement which began as an argument against ISPs selectively filtering traffic, which is a legitimate fear in the face of cable and phone companies trying for a “triple play” of television, phone, and Internet service. The idea is that if a Comcast or an AT&T degrade or prohibit the use of other firms’ phone and video services, then you will be forced to use their own. Google, the firm, professes to believe in opposing this tactic.

Exhibit B: Google is set to argue against Apple’s blocking of Google Voice from iPhones to the FCC. This is the Net Neutrality prediction in action. Apple conspires with AT&T to block the use of a third party’s phone service over AT&T’s Internet connection. Google, again, supports this belief in neutrality.

Exhibit C: Google blocks Skype from Android-based phones. This is anti-Net Neutrality in action. Google conspires with providers to block the use of a third party’s phone service over the provider’s data connection.

On the other hand, it gets worse for Google. In its defense, Google claims that T-Mobile didn’t request the block. That would work, except that it could only mean Google is attempting to fight the market advantage of Skype by blocking that competitor and bundling Google Voice with Android. In its attempt to avoid the Net Neutrality hypocrisy and FCC attention for its actions (which “do not stand up to scrutiny,” which is what Google Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf said of all justifications for anti-Net Neutrality), Google confesses to doing what Microsoft was accused by the FTC of doing with its Internet Explorer and Windows releases against Netscape Navigator.

Steve Ballmer is laughing. So am I, only I’m laughing at all the people who pretend Google is anything friendly to ordinary Americans.

Update: Google has issued a rebuttal of the piece I linked to above, but they do not rebut my key point, which is that Google stands ready and willing to collaborate fully with anti-Net Netural policies of their business partners, even as they run to the State like good little fascists if their competitors try the same policies. The key quote is that “individual operators can request that certain applications be filtered if they violate their terms of service,” and in fact the T-Mobile terms of service are not net neutral, banning any uses not ‘explicitly permitted by your Data Plan,’ instead requiring you to use T-Mobile provided media options. Additionally, T-Mobile Germany has already banned Skype on the iPhone. So, of course T-Mobile USA is going to make the same ban, and according to Google’s own words, they will be complicit in that ban.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


For the Children

Hey kids. I know you're not all that interested in politics, and you don't like to read too much. But, God bless you, you vote. That's understandable. It's hip to vote. P. Diddy urges you to do it. Most of the doors in your college dorm are adorned with Obama posters and news clippings. In 2008, the 18-29 age group voted 2-to-1 for Obama. And your college campus went wild the night he won.

But before you vote again, please consider reading the rest of this article. I'll try to make clear points and keep the paragraphs short. It's OK to listen to your iPod while you read.

Politics is actually kind of important. There are about 200 countries in the world; 200 different governments. In some countries, like North Korea, people have died by the millions due to starvation in just the last few years. In others, like the Congo, Sudan, Rwanda and others, people have died by the millions due to civil war or mass murder - again, in only the last few years, while you've been alive. Yet in other countries, like the US, obesity is considered one of our worst problems. Whether the worst problem you face is being overweight or hacked to death with machetes depends much on your country's politics.

No one has it figured out yet. Humans have been around for thousands of years, yet we still have hunger, poverty, disease, war, racism, hatred and all kinds of things that have made life miserable over thousands of years. So when some politician tells you he can get rid of all of these problems in the next 4 to 8 years, or they would go away if we could just get rid of his political opponents, he is being what is called "less than truthful."

But we're not totally stupid, either. We actually have made great progress in eliminating hunger, poverty, disease, etc. Do you know that from 1900 to 2000, for example, life expectancy went from 47 to 77 in the US? Yet in other countries, like Zimbabwe, the life expectancy today is just 46. You have to believe we did some things better in the US over our history, and we are doing some things better than Zimbabwe today.

Freedom is good. We actually have a good idea of what makes these kinds of differences among countries: freedom. Countries where people can own property and are free to buy and sell what they want, are the countries that are much better off. (Some people call this "capitalism", but it is really just freedom.) Countries where the government has more control over what you can have, buy and sell, do worse. For more reading on this, go here.

Communism is bad. Communism is not just another "ism." In the last 100 years, Communism killed about 100 million people. While I'm sure you heard of Nazism's Jewish Holocaust of 6 million, you probably haven't heard about this 17-times-bigger Communist holocaust. But it's documented in the Black Book of Communism, and the numbers are not really disputed, just ignored. Also, communist countries like North Korea and Cuba kill citizens who simply try to leave the country - today. Communism, along with Nazism and fascism, represent one end of the political spectrum -- the one where government makes most of the decisions, or the opposite of freedom. For more reading on this, go here.

What to fix? Many of us want to make the world a better place. Where would you start: in one of the richest countries on earth where people live fairly long, like the US, or in one of the poorest countries where people die fairly young, like Zimbabwe? It seems kind of dumb to me that the first place we would try to change the most would be the US. It seems to me we should try to change the places that are the most miserable, like North Korea, Zimbabwe and a bunch of other countries on earth. Also, in a place already doing pretty well, like the US, should we try changing everything at once, or try just a few things at a time and see if they work out before we try the next things?

The US is really pretty good. You can convince yourself of this by looking up data like wealth and income statistics, life expectancies, number of patents, etc., not to mention putting man on the moon. Or you could travel. Here are some tips for things to look for when you travel: can you drink the water without getting sick? Do they have toilets, and if so, where does the stuff go when you flush it? The biggest boosts to life expectancy are clean drinking water and a good sewage system. It ain't rocket science, but there are many places on earth where it would be a good idea to bring your own bottled water and TP.




Why the stimulus flopped: “I don’t know why one of the least fiscally debauched states in the Union needs funds from ‘the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’ to repair random stretches of highway, especially stretches that were perfectly fine until someone came along to dig them up in order to access ’stimulus’ funding. I would have asked one of those men with a shovel, as depicted on the sign, but there were none to be found. Usually in New Hampshire, they dig up the road, and re-grade or repave it, while the flagmen stand guard until it’s all done. But here a certain federal torpor seemed to hang in the eerie silence. Still, what do I know? Evidently, it’s stimulated the sign-making industry, putting America back to work by putting up ‘PUTTING AMERICA BACK TO WORK’ signs every 200 yards across the land. And at 300 bucks a pop, the signage alone should be enough to launch an era of unparalleled prosperity, assuming America’s gilded sign magnates don’t spend their newfound wealth on Bahamian vacations and European imports. Perhaps if the president were to have his All-Seeing O logo lovingly hand-painted onto each sign, it would stimulate the economy even more, if only when they were taken down and auctioned on eBay.”

Yahoo wins US court ruling over webcasting fees: “A federal appeals court in New York ruled that a Yahoo Inc Internet radio service is not required to pay fees to copyright holders of songs it plays, a defeat for Sony Corp’s BMG Music. … The three-judge panel said the service is required only to pay licensing fees set by SoundExchange, a nonprofit that collects royalties on sound recordings. It was the first federal appeals court to decide the issue. Friday’s ruling is a setback for record producers that have struggled with slumping sales as customers increasingly obtain music online or through other means.”

KY: Republican pol raises $436k in one day with “money bomb”: “Rand Paul, son of Republican Presidential Candidate and Texas Congressman Ron Paul, has raised $435,000 in one day through a moneybomb The Kentucky Republican Senate Candidate, Rand Paul, raised a substantial amount of $436,450 over a 24-hour period on Thursday, according to Run Rand Run.”

Millions face shrinking Social Security payments: “Millions of older people face shrinking Social Security checks next year, the first time in a generation that payments would not rise. The trustees who oversee Social Security are projecting there won’t be a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for the next two years. That hasn’t happened since automatic increases were adopted in 1975. By law, Social Security benefits cannot go down. Nevertheless, monthly payments would drop for millions of people in the Medicare prescription drug program because the premiums, which often are deducted from Social Security payments, are scheduled to go up slightly.”

Gitmo detainee with bin Laden links to be freed: "A Yemeni man’s family ties to Osama bin Laden and admission that he met with the terrorist mastermind in the weeks before the Sept. 11 attacks are not enough to continue holding him at Guantanamo Bay, a judge wrote in an order released Friday. U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ruled that Muhammed al-Adahi, 47, must be released after seven years at the U.S. detention facility in Cuba.”

Obama faces hard choices on Afghanistan war plans: “As public support for the war in Afghanistan erodes, President Barack Obama soon may face two equally unattractive choices: increase U.S. troops levels to beat back a resilient enemy, or stick with the 68,000 already committed and risk the political fallout if that’s not enough. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is completing an assessment of what he needs to win the fight there. That review, however, won’t specifically address force levels, according to Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

Outed blogger who flamed model angry at Google: “A blogger who called a magazine cover model offensive names on a Web site says Google failed to protect her right to privacy. Rosemary Port tells the New York Daily News in Sunday editions that she’s angry that Google unmasked her after a Manhattan judge forced the company to reveal her identity. Google says users agree to a privacy policy that allows the company to share personal information if required by a legal action.”

Bastiat on the Bay: "Warren Buffet opposes lower taxes on dividends and supports collectivist politicians. George Soros espouses all kinds of statist nonsense. Alan Greenspan, until retirement touted as the most powerful libertarian in government, now seems to think that insufficient regulation was responsible for the current Great Recession. Hasn’t anyone noticed that the industries suffering spectacular collapses because of bad risk management are two of the most heavily regulated industries in the country — banking and insurance? Think that’s a coincidence Today the rich and powerful take communism with their caviar and liberalism (the modern, debased kind) with their limousines. This is depressing. Shouldn’t productive, successful people be natural libertarians, or at least small-government Republicans? I recently witnessed some encouraging evidence that many of them are.”

Why people blame the free market: “Our financial collapse, many claim, was the result of an ‘unregulated free market.’ Facts and common sense tell us it was neither unregulated nor a free market. We can also point to other causes — the malinvestment directly caused by the government-controlled Federal Reserve System, fraudulent fractional-reserve banking that a government which is actually interested in protecting rights would prohibit rather than protect, and runaway government debt. Likewise, many claim the ‘free market’ is to blame for America’s health care woes, even though government already pays for more than half of it and controls much more through regulation. Charity clinics are even outlawed in most states, and hospitals are disallowed from posting the prices of their procedures. Yeah, some ‘free market’ system this is! But I’m afraid such arguments explaining that we have no ‘free market’ at all will fall on many deaf ears.”

Clunker of a policy? Yup: “As I am not a contractor, banker, hedge fund manager, government insider, or political activist, I didn’t expect to benefit personally from the various bailouts and stimulus programs out there. Then came the ‘cash for clunkers’ program. Although not as outrageous as about half the projects in the stimulus package, it doesn’t do much to stimulate the economy or to improve overall gas mileage. Still, the program proved so popular that they’re having to pull the plug on the program on Monday when it runs out of money. Who wins? Middle-class folks like my wife and me who can afford a new car and happen to have an inefficient trade-in receive a $4,500 subsidy to do what we would eventually need to do anyway. This benefits car dealers, also, but the losers are charities that benefit from car donations and less well-off people who rely on a stock of solid older cars for their transportation. When these are crushed and melted, there will be fewer choices and the price of the remaining vehicles will rise.”

The end of privacy: “Privacy advocates who enjoy focusing on issues like browser cookies, behavioral advertising, database privacy and deep packet inspection can just throw in the towel if anything approaching HR 3200, the current draft of the health care bill in the House of Representatives, becomes law. Because HR 3200 contains the most egregious violations of Americans’ privacy imaginable. Indeed, one way to characterize HR 3200 is as ‘The End of Privacy.’ The bill creates a ‘Health Choices Commissioner’ (henceforth sarcastically referred to as the Health Choices Commissar), and, of course, the Commissar needs to be able to pry into your finances.”

A loyal opposition: “It’s not simply that key and noxious elements of Obama’s legislative agenda are in serious trouble. It’s not simply that his approval numbers are down. It’s not simply that the evidence is increasingly conclusive that 2008 didn’t mark a sharp break to the left on the part of public opinion, and that ‘conservative’ remains a term of approbation for much more of the electorate than ‘liberal.’ And it’s not simply that the term ‘Republican’ is less poisonous than many feared (or hoped): The GOP has recently improved its comparative position in most 2010 generic congressional polls. The most heartening development in the Age of Obama so far is this: the impressive behavior of conservatives and Republicans. They have been principled in their major domestic and foreign policy positions, have opposed Obama and advanced their own agenda in a savvy and sensible way, and have begun to find new and fresh spokesmen.”

Big government, big recession: “‘So it seems that we aren’t going to have a second Great Depression after all,’” wrote New York Times columnist Paul Krugman last week. ‘What saved us? The answer, basically, is Big Government … [W]e appear to have averted the worst: utter catastrophe no longer seems likely. And Big Government, run by people who understand its virtues, is the reason why.’ This is certainly a novel theory of the business cycle. To be taken seriously, however, any such explanation of recessions and recoveries must be tested against the facts. It is not enough to assert the U.S. economy would have experienced a ’second Great Depression’ were it not for the Obama stimulus plan. Even those who think government borrowing is a free lunch can’t possibly believe the government has already done enough ’stimulus spending’ to explain the difference between depression and recovery.”


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 or here or here


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)


Monday, August 24, 2009

Google update

I can read the writing on the wall. I know how long Google take to remove the block off an alleged "spam" blog and they are NOT going to take the block off POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN -- and it is easy to see why. My attacks on political correctness must be anathema to the Leftists who run Google -- and my "Eye on Britain" blog does of course concern a country that makes Canada look libertarian. So it too is heavy with attacks on political correctness.

So what am I going to do about it? In the interim there is no great problem. Readers can go to the mirror sites and read the same stuff that I would have put up on those two blogs if Google had not blocked me. But the mirror sites are pretty basic and a proper blog with a comments facility etc. would be preferable. I have been fiddling around with setting up a blog on Wordpress (See here) but I cannot find a template there that gives me my preferred yellow and green colour scheme.

Another option is simply to set up two new blogspot blogs using one of my usual templates. That may seem a bit crazy but the left hand often doesn't seem to know what the right hand is doing at Google and I have in fact done the same thing before without a problem. Google put up a "spam" restriction on my original "Obama Watch" blog which they would not remove so I simply set up a second "Obama Watch" blog at a different address on blogspot and they left that one alone. While I am mulling it over, the links to the mirror sites are as below.

Political Correctness Watch

Eye on Britain


Obama's "Potemkin" Town Hall meeting in Montana

He is afraid of the American public. I received the story below by email from someone I know who claims to know the sender. As the meeting has already been described by many as a Potemkin (false front) setup, I think this just adds some very interesting and rather disturbing detail

By now you have probably heard that President Obama came to Montana last Friday. However, there are many things that the major news has not covered. I feel that since Bill and I live here and we were at the airport on Friday I should share some facts with you. Whatever you decide to do with the information is up to you. If you chose to share this email with others I do ask that you DELETE my email address before you forward this on.

On Wednesday, August 5th it was announced locally that the President would be coming here. There are many groups here that are against his healthcare and huge spending so those groups began talking and deciding on what they were going to do. The White House would not release ANY details other than the date.

On about Tuesday Bill found out that they would be holding the "Town Hall" at the airport. (This is only because Bill knows EVERYONE at the airport) Our airport is actually located outside of Belgrade (tiny town) in a very remote location. Nothing is around there. They chose to use a hangar that is the most remotely located hangar. You could not pick a more remote location, and you can not get to it easily. It is totally secluded from the public.

FYI: We have many areas in Belgrade and Bozeman which could have held a large amount of folks with sufficient parking. (gymnasiums/auditoriums). All of which have chairs and tables, and would not have to be SHIPPED IN!! $$$$$

During the week, cargo by the TONS was being shipped in constantly. Airport employees could not believe how it just kept coming. Though it was our President coming several expressed how excessive it was, especially during a recession. $$$$$

Late Tuesday/early Wednesday the 12th, they said that tickets would be handed out on Thursday 9am at two locations and the President would be arriving around 12:30 Friday.

Thursday morning about 600 tickets were passed out. However, 1500 were printed at a local printing shop per White House request. Hmmmm......900 tickets just DISAPPEARED.

This same morning someone called into the radio from the local UPS branch and said that THOUSANDS of Dollars of Lobster were shipped in for Obama. Montana has some of the best beef in the nation!!! And it would have been really wonderful to help out the local economy. Anyone heard of the Recession?? Just think...with all of the traveling the White House is doing. $$$$$ One can only imagine what else we are paying for.

On Friday Bill and I got out to the airport about 10:45am. The groups that wanted to protest Obama's spending and healthcare had gotten a permit to protest and that area was roped off. But that was not to be. A large bus carrying SEIU (Service Employees International Union) members drove up onto the area (illegal)and unloaded right there. It was quite a commotion and there were specifically 2 SEIU men trying to make trouble and start a fight. Police did get involved and arrested the one man but they said they did not have the manpower to remove the SEIU crowd.

The SEIU crowd was very organized and young. About 99% were under the age of 30 and they were not locals! They had bullhorns and PROFESSIONALLY made signs. Some even wore preprinted T-shirts. Oh, and Planned Parenthood folks were with them.....professing abortion rights with their T-s hirts and preprinted signs. (BTW, all these folks did have a permit to protest in ANOTHER area)

Those against healthcare/spending moved away from the SEIU crowd to avoid confrontation. They were orderly and respectful. Even though SEIU kept coming over and walking through, continuing to be very intimidating and aggressive at the direction of the one SEIU man.

So we had Montana folks from ALL OVER the state with their homemade signs and their DOGS with homemade signs. We had cowboys, nurses, doctors you name it. There was even a guy from Texas who had been driving through. He found out about the occasion, went to the store, made a sign, and came to protest.

If you are wondering about the press.....Well, all of the major networks were over by that remote hangar I mentioned. They were conveniently parked on the other side of the buildings FAR away. None of these crowds were even visible to them. I have my doubts that they knew anything about the crowds.

We did have some local news media around us from this state and Idaho . Speaking of the local media...they were invited. However, all questions were to be turned into the White House in advance of the event. Wouldn't want anyone to have to think off the top of their head.

It was very obvious that it was meant to be totally controlled by the White House. Everything was orchestrated down to the last detail to make it appear that Montana is just crazy for Obama and government healthcare. Even those people that talked about their insurance woes........the White House called our local HRDC (Human Resource and Development Committee) and asked for names. Then the White House asked those folks to come. Smoke and mirrors...EVERYTHING was staged!!!!!!!!!!!

I am very dismayed about what I learned about our current White House. The amount of control and manipulation was unbelievable. I felt I was not living in the United States of America , more like the USSR !! I was physically nauseous. Bill and I have been around when Presidents or Heads of State visit. It has NEVER been like this. I am truly very frightened for our country. America needs your prayers and your voices. If you care about our country please get involved. Know the issues. And let Congress hear your voices again and again!! If they are willing to put forth so much effort to BULLY a small town one can only imagine what is going on in Washington DC . Scary!!


The Democrats now fear the public voice

Americans have found their politicians revolting for decades. Now the tables are turned. Politicians don’t just find citizens revolting. They actually fear their constituents. Liberal congressmen and senators are avoiding their voters out of a sense of impending doom. Fears of angry town hallers were fanned by MSNBC hosts like Rachel Maddow, but are overblown. If you want to find protest, look for conservatives. If you want violence, look for the union label.

Ordinary voters have been angry since the early 1990s and maybe as far back as the 1970s – often at one or even both political parties. Call it a mixture of populism, distrust in government and economic anxiety. All three are present today.

In the post-Vietnam/post-Watergate era, Jimmy Carter’s one-term disaster of a presidency brought Americans a second oil crisis, the Iranian hostage crisis and stratospheric interest rates. That anger subsided a bit during the Reagan presidency even as unemployment hit 10.8 percent before dropping and crack and AIDS terrified ordinary citizens. The first George Bush followed and lost the 1992 election after breaking a promise not to raise taxes. He excelled internationally but was perceived as ignoring economic problems at home. “It’s the economy stupid,” lives in infamy.

The Clinton years weren’t especially free of unrest either. The anti-government tide brought wacky businessman/reformer Ross Perot 20 million votes in 1992 and another 8 million in 1996. Those disaffected millions denied Clinton a majority in either victory. They also swept in Republicans in ’94. More and more voters demanded term limits on their elected officials, but were disappointed.

Ultimately, each of those problems – large and small – died down. None had the power to be self-sustaining. As soon as the media sensed the public was losing interest, those topics disappeared from the news just like Iran did this summer. The issues disappeared; the unrest did not.

The Bush years were something completely different. Out of power and angry over the war, the left latched onto new technology as a way to bash the GOP and rise to power. It worked better than they could have ever envisioned. Bush was unprepared to fight both the mainstream media and the new alternative media at the same time. Crazy conspiracy theories, rumors and protests grew in cyberspace unchecked by the White House and often unremarked by the media. In a few short years, that new technology helped undermine Bush and set in motion the Democratic revival seen in the last two elections.

Only now, Democratic politicians and their supporters have discovered new technology is a double-edged sword. Conservatives copied their opponents, and made serious in-roads into the Internet, social media, online petitions and lots more. In just six months of the Obama presidency, those conservatives have altered the national agenda. After losing on the stimulus vote, they have been much more successful on health care. They know it, too. Hundreds of bloggers, think tankers and activists gathered in Pittsburgh last week for the Right Online Conference to hear one key message: “We’re catching up.”

Even the left would have to acknowledge that’s true. They saw the tea party rebellion dominate the early part of Obama’s presidency. More recently, conservative anger over health care has made once-friendly town hall meetings enemy territory.

Across town, at the liberal Netroots Nation convention, their activists were hearing the Democrats could lose 20 to 50 House seats in the next election. That bleak assessment came from Charlie Cook of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report and pollster Nate Silver.

It’s a world turned upside down. Obama, the man of seven Time magazine covers since his election, is still adored by the mainstream media. Though hard-core lefties think he’s not radical enough, they still back him. The only difference is how conservatives have fought back. If Gallup polls are accurate, the movement is again on the rise – outnumbering liberals in every state.

In just six months, through Twitter, FaceBook and YouTube, conservatives have organized an effective opposition to team Obama. Ordinary bloggers have highlighted administration tax cheats, caught Obama and Biden errors and been a thorn in the president’s side. His once-high-powered tech team has struggled to make sense of it. And they’ve missed the big story.

The new tools enable voters of both sides to speak out and organize more easily. Whichever side is in power will discover that opposition can form even when the media ignore an issue. The Internet revolution is inflaming political activists and politics may never recover. It’s less messy than the guillotine, but the tech rebellion is severing ties with old media just as cleanly.



The Perspective Of A Russian Immigrant

In the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, I was taught to believe individual pursuits are selfish and sacrificing for the collective good is noble.

In kindergarten we sang songs about Lenin, the leader of the Socialist Revolution. In school we learned about the beautiful socialist system, where everybody is equal and everything is fair; about ugly capitalism, where people are exploited and treat each other like wolves in the wilderness.

Life in the USSR modeled the socialist ideal. God-based religion was suppressed and replaced with cultlike adoration for political figures.

The government-assigned salary of the proletariat (blue-collar worker) was 30%-50% higher then any professional. Without incentive to improve their life, professionals drank themselves to oblivion. They — engineers, lawyers, doctors, teachers — earned a government-determined salary that barely covered the necessities, mainly food.

Raising children was a hardship. It took four to six adults (parents and grandparents) to support a child. The usual size of the postwar family was one or two children. Every woman had the right to have an abortion and most of them did, often without anesthesia.

There is a comparative historical reality that plays out the consequences of two competing ideologies: life in the USSR and in America. When the march to the worker's paradise — the Socialist Revolution — began in 1917, many people emigrated from Russia to the U.S.

In the USSR, economic equality was achieved by redistributing wealth, ensuring that everyone remained poor, with the exception of those doing the redistributing. Only the ruling class of communist leaders had access to special stores, medicine and accommodations that could compare to those in the West.

The rest of the citizenry had to deal with permanent shortages of food and other necessities, and had access to free but inferior, unsanitary and low-tech medical care. The egalitarian utopia of equality, achieved by the sacrifice of individual self-interest for the collective good, led to corruption, black markets, anger and envy.

Government-controlled health care destroyed human dignity.

Chairman Nikita Khrushchev released facts about Stalin and his purges. People learned of the horrific purge of more than 20 million citizens, murdered as enemies of the state.

Those who left Russia found a different set of values in America: freedom of religion, speech, individual pursuits, the right to private property and free enterprise. The majority of those immigrants achieved a better life for themselves and their children in this capitalist land.

These opportunities let the average immigrant live a better life than many elites in the Soviet Communist Party. The freedom to pursue personal self-interest led to prosperity. Prosperity generated charity, benefiting the collective good.

The descendants of those immigrants are now supporting policies that move America away from the values that gave so many immigrants the chance of a better life. Policies such as nationalized medicine, high tax rates and government intrusion into free enterprise are being sold to us under the socialistic motto of collective salvation.

Socialism has bankrupted and failed every society, while capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than any other system.

There is no perfect society. There are no perfect people. Critics say that greed is the driving force of capitalism. My answer is that envy is the driving force of socialism. Change to socialism is not an improvement on the imperfections of the current system.

The slogans of "fairness and equality" sound better than the slogans of capitalism. But unlike at the beginning of the 20th century, when these slogans and ideas were yet to be tested, we have accumulated history and reality.

Today we can define the better system not by slogans, but by looking at the accumulated facts. We can compare which ideology leads to the most oppression and which brings the most opportunity.

When I came to America in 1980 and experienced life in this country, I thought it was fortunate that those living in the USSR did not know how unfortunate they were.

Now in 2009, I realize how unfortunate it is that many Americans do not understand how fortunate they are. They vote to give government more and more power without understanding the consequences.



Sugar stupidity

President Obama will need more than sweet talk to smooth his way through this year's trade dilemmas. Last week, food companies sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to warn that a sugar shortage is possible if the department doesn't raise import quotas. How the Administration resolves the dispute will send a message about Mr. Obama's view of protectionist policies amidst a recession.

So far, the prospects don't look good. In early August, Agriculture Undersecretary Jim Miller announced that if the department planned to raise the annual quota on sugar imports, it would do so within two weeks. That date passed without action on Monday, and so sent a friendly wink to the sugar lobby. Noting that he considered the market "adequately supplied" and that changes later in the year would be impractical for deliveries, Mr. Miller told CongressDaily, making such an adjustment was "unlikely."

Mark it as an early retreat by the Obama Administration to a small group of domestic producers who wield an outsized political influence in the fight against trade liberalization. In states from Florida to Minnesota, sugar producers have their profits guaranteed by a price floor created by the import restrictions. Anyone who doubts their influence in Washington need only review the battle over the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which the sugar growers nearly throttled over the prospect of a 1% increase in annual import quotas.

Each year, the amount of foreign sugar that manufacturers may use is limited to protect U.S. sugar farmers who benefit from artificially higher prices on the domestic market. According to the letter to Secretary Vilsack, signed by companies like Kraft, Hershey and Mars, without some easing "consumers will pay higher prices [and] food manufacturing jobs will be at risk." But scarcity is only half the issue. The other half is a protectionist program that distorts trade and has negative economic consequences.

The costs have been a sticky issue for years. According to a 2006 study by the U.S. International Trade Administration, each sugar job saved by propping up domestic producers costs three jobs in manufacturing, with many companies relocating to countries such as Canada and Mexico where the price of sugar can be one-half to two-thirds the rate in the U.S. So instead of importing sugar, the U.S. brings in more sugary finished products, with imports rising to $18.7 billion in 2004 from $6.7 billion in 1990.

The Administration's reluctance to take on the sugar lobby comes in the context of what is beginning to look like a slow roll by the President on free-trade principles. In September, the Administration must also decide whether to allow tariffs or quotas on imported car tires from China. Standing for free trade would require the administration to stand up to some powerful unions. So far, no evidence of that.

In a recent Pittsburgh speech, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk spoke primarily about trade enforcement issues, but the Administration has quietly encouraged protectionist policies. According to U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President John Murphy, the "Buy American" requirements of the stimulus package are stalling projects in some states and municipalities struggling to comply.

Challenging the status quo may be tough for President Obama, but a commitment to embrace standards of free trade early in his Presidency would be a boon to U.S. trade leadership. Big Sugar has long been the recipient of one of Washington's most destructive policies, and the continued price manipulation has no place in a recession. President Obama should increase the quotas and end American sugar's sweet deal.



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 or here or here


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)


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Google update

It is looking as if Google is going to bar me permanently from updating two of my blogspot sites so I may have to shift them to Wordpress. My Immigration Watch blog is on Wordpress so I know my way around there. Meanwhile the following mirror site links will enable you to read the latest posts on the two blogs concerned.

Political Correctness Watch

Eye on Britain


Corporate Shills for Hope and Change

by Michelle Malkin

Money from pharmaceutical firms and health care companies is dirty, evil and corrupting -- except when key members of Team Obama are pocketing it. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs derides grassroots opponents of socialized health care as industry-funded lackeys with questionable motives and conflicts of interest. But what about the corporate shills at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

Two weeks ago, the White House embraced $150 million in drug industry ads supporting Obamacare. This week, Bloomberg News reported that White House senior adviser and chief campaign strategist David Axelrod's former public relations firm, AKPD Message and Media, has raked in some $24 million in ad contracts supporting Obamacare -- along with another PR firm, GMMB, run by other Obama strategists.

The ads are funded by Big Pharma, the AARP, AMA and the powerhouse Service Employees International Union (whose Purple Shirts dumped $80 million in independent expenditures to get Obama and the Democratic majority elected). In trademark Axelrod style, the special interest coalition adopted faux grassroots names -- first under the banner of "Healthy Economy Now" and more recently as "Americans for Stable Quality Care."

Because, well, "Corporate Shills for Hope and Change" doesn't have quite the same ring of authenticity.

Axelrod was president and sole shareholder of AKPD from 1985 until last December, when he resigned to take his White House position. His son, Michael, works there. So does former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.

More here


The myth of America's manufacturing decline

During the past few years, America has grown increasingly averse to trade. This trend is the product of myths perpetuated by campaigning politicians, captured policymakers, TV charlatans, and woefully ill-informed newspaper columnists. Harold Meyerson always comes to mind as emblematic of this last category, so his fallacy-laden diatribe about the decline of U.S. manufacturing in Wednesday’s Washington Post is par for the course.

Meyerson makes a few claims that cannot be allowed to stand. For example, he asserts: “We don’t [make things] any more — at least, not like we used to. Since 1987, manufacturing as a share of our gross domestic product has declined 30 percent.”

First of all, note that Meyerson’s second sentence does nothing to support his first. A decline in the manufacturing sector’s share of the total economy can result from growth in other sectors, rather than from a decline in total manufacturing output, and that’s what’s happening in the U.S.

According to data from the 2009 Economic Report of the President, as gathered and reported recently by George Mason University economics professor Don Boudreaux, since 1987, real U.S. manufacturing output has increased by 81 percent. And as reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, American real manufacturing value-added — the market value of manufactured goods, over and above the costs that went into their production — reached a record-high level in 2007 (the last year for which final data are available), breaking the record set in 2006, which broke the record set in 2005, which broke the record set in 2004. Notwithstanding the recent recession that has affected all sectors of the economy, U.S. manufacturing has been thriving in recent years.

If Meyerson isn’t intentionally misleading Washington Post readers, he is simply unqualified to be rendering conclusions about the state of manufacturing. A basic look at the history of the statistic he used shows its uselessness to the point he wants to make. Manufacturing as a share of gross domestic product peaked in 1953 at about 28 percent of the economy — well before the period of U.S. industrial prowess Meyerson yearns for — and has been trending downward ever since. Today manufacturing accounts for about 12 percent of our services-dominated economy, but manufacturing output and value-added are higher than ever in real terms.

Second, if the United States doesn’t “make things anymore,” nobody does. According to data from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, U.S. factories are the world’s most productive, accounting for 25 percent of global manufacturing value-added. By comparison, Chinese factories account for 10.6 percent.

That may be hard to fathom, given that U.S. factories tend not to produce the sporting goods, toys, tools, and clothing found in Wal-Mart and other retail outlets nowadays. But U.S. factories make pharmaceuticals, chemicals, technical textiles, sophisticated components, airplane parts, and other products. American factories have moved up the value chain.

Contrary to this last point, Meyerson asserts, “The long-term decline of American manufacturing has depleted our high-tech, cutting-edge industries as much as it has our more venerable sectors.” To support his claim, he cites the value of our “high-tech” exports falling behind China’s beginning in 2004. By “high-tech,” Meyerson means computers, iPods, and other consumer electronic gadgets so ubiquitous nowadays. But in reality, the percentage of Chinese value-added in these so-called high-tech exports is quite small. Economists at the U.S. International Trade Commission estimate that only about 50 percent of the value of U.S. imports from China is actually Chinese value-added; the rest is value added in other countries and embedded in the components, design, engineering, and labor.

For iPods, the Chinese value-added is a few dollars on a product that costs $150 to produce and retails for $299. So, as China’s “high-tech” exports leave America’s “in the dust,” their sale in the United States and elsewhere supports high-paying American engineering, marketing, and logistics jobs, while providing Apple with the profits to conduct R&D to employ more engineers and keep the virtuous circle going.

The factory floor has broken through its surrounding walls and now traverses borders and oceans. What we have now is a world in which it is no longer “Us versus Them,” but rather “Us and Them,” a formulation that has been helping U.S. manufacturing to thrive. Without complementary Chinese and other foreign labor, far fewer American manufacturing ideas would come to fruition.

American manufacturing is by no means in decline. What should be is Meyerson’s myopic way of seeing things.



Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are threatening to derail housing recovery

They are making it virtually impossible to buy and sell many properties

According to the Community Associations Institute, nearly 60,000,000 people live in shared ownership communities in the United States -- condominiums, co-ops and planned developments governed by a homeowner's association (HOA). When these "new neighborhoods" are first built, there are often various common construction defects.

In an ideal world, every developer would stand by their product, either repairing the defects or giving homeowners enough money to fix the defects themselves. But when this doesn't happen, community associations are forced to file lawsuits against developers to convince them to repair construction flaws.

It is the legal duty of a board of directors to protect owners' interests in the property, and if negotiations with a developer fail, a lawsuit may be the only available option. Nearly 100 percent of new developments have warranty issues with their developer, and almost a quarter of those are forced to file litigation.

In January of 2008, after the housing crash decimated the market for thousands of recently-constructed homes, Freddie Mac quietly added the following regulation to its lending guidelines: A project is ineligible for financing if "the homeowners' association is a party to current litigation, arbitration, mediation or other dispute resolution process and the reason for the dispute involves the safety, structural soundness or habitability of the project."

Of course, this language is broad. It encompasses almost every lawsuit ever filed against a developer, for almost any construction defect.

Fannie Mae, in an even broader exclusion, declares as ineligible "any project for which the homeowners' association or co-op corporation is named as a party to current litigation." This is a gross restriction of the basic right of any corporation to protect its interests through the legal system. And, because many banks use the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac guidelines as the basis for their own lending policies, loans in newly constructed neighborhoods have become extremely difficult to secure.

If a developer refuses to repair a roof, the board of the association chooses to sue the developer, hoping to recover enough money to make repairs. But under the new guidelines, that lawsuit means that very few banks will lend money to new buyers in the building, bringing unit sales to a halt.

Property values in the condominium crash (if you can't sell your home, it's not worth anything). Owners are then left with a property worth a fraction of its actual value, and have only two options--drop the lawsuit and accept that the developer has sold them damaged goods (and try to collect enough money from assessments to make the repairs), or continue the lawsuit while their development stagnates and shrivels.

The long-term health of shared ownership communities, and by extension all American neighborhoods, depends on a robust market for home sales. Current lending guidelines are stagnating that market.

It is critical that federal legislators press Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to revise their guidelines to allow community association boards, tasked with the legal obligation to protect owners' interests, to file legitimate lawsuits against developers for construction defects without restricting the ability of banks to lend money to new owners. Otherwise our housing recovery, reliant on clearing overstock from these new developments, will falter.



Zogby Interactive Poll: Obama's Job Approval Sinks to Record Low 45%

President Barack Obama's job approval rating has sunk to a record low of just 45%, the latest Zogby Interactive poll shows. Fifty-one percent of likely voters now say they disapprove of the President's job performance.

"None of these numbers looks counter-intuitive to me. Gallup, NBC, and Pew all have Obama at record lows. Rasmussen also shows low approval. Things are volatile out there and news travels fast. There is a lot of anxiety over healthcare," said Zogby International President and CEO John Zogby. "The President let it get away from him and voters are scared right now. They are experiencing sacrifice overload and feel more threatened than empowered. The President is being forced to play defense and he is much better when he is in possession of the ball. But do not underestimate Obama. Last August he was toast."

While this latest poll shows Democrats continue to overwhelmingly approve of Obama's job performance (84%), just 6% of Republicans say the same. Most independents (59%) now disapprove of the job the President is doing.

"He has lost support among political independents, that's the biggest change from our last survey. He is also starting to lose support he had picked up among investors and frequent Wal-Mart shoppers -- who both are on the conservative side but where Obama had been making gains," Zogby said. "Remember, Zogby polling has generally been ahead of the curve during the past three administrations."



BrookesNews Update

The US economy ain't looking too bright : The Keynesian key to unlocking demand is to inflate it by expanding the money supply. And this is where the banks come in. If we were living in normal economic circumstances the banks would be holding about $60 billion in reserves. They are in fact holding about $800 billion and Bernanke and Obama want them to unleash them. If this pair succeed in opening the floodgates Americans will be facing surging inflation
How can the Fed prevent asset bubbles?: All that aggressive Fed policies have actually achieved is weakening of the process of real wealth formation. This, in turn, has only weakened the economy's ability to grow. The only reason why the US economy didn't fall into a depression is because the pool of real savings is still holding its ground. The best way to prevent the emergence of asset bubbles is to stop the Fed from pushing massive amounts of money to the economy
Australia: The economic outlook is not as bright as the Reserve predicts : Despite the Reserves and the Treasury's Pollyanna predictions there are still dark clouds hanging over the future of the economy. IMF predictions for the capital stock suggest a fall in real wages is a distinct possibility
God would not endorse Obamacare: Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is one of the masterminds behind Obama's health care proposals. According to Emanuel those who are unable to become 'participating citizens' should be denied medical care until they die. Apart from the definition of 'participating' - which could be easily expanded to fit just about any circumstances - what is clearly missing from Emanuel's proposal is any sense of humanity or common decency. People are to be disposed of because they cannot 'participate'. What about the fact that they are still human beings. Ezekiel Emanuel should change his name to Josef Mengele
Australia: The Government's insane alternative energy scheme: The government's scheme to impose so-called alternative energy sources on the country would devastate the economy and slash living standards. The idea that "tax swaps" could offset the massive costs to this destructive scheme is a fantasy
Media bigotry: dishonest reporting and the US economy: The only thing Obamanomics has stimulated is the Obama cheerleaders still left in the media who haven't joined his administration Democrats' new slogan:
Protest for Me, But Not for Thee : The Democrats envisioned the middle-class welcoming, with spread-wide-open arms of gratitude, these new power plays that would put more control into the hands of their beneficent bureaucracy. Instead, the Alinskyites are being met with 1776 Redux, and all they can do is yell "Fascist" at the top of their lungs, just as they've been doing for 40 years. But who are the real fascists?
Obama has saved America!: President Obama claims that he valiantly brought America back from the brink of the economic chaos that was caused by his predecessor. But as is often the case with Obama, the devil is in the details
Obama's big brother-care looms large: Obama's proposal to nationalise American health cars consists of nearly 1,100 pages of wonderfully ambiguous little nuggets that grant politicians and bureaucrats unlimited loopholes to do whatever it pleases them with the lives and well-being of Americans


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 or here or here


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)


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Google update

Of the four sites that they originally blocked me from updating, two have now been unblocked. So you will need the following mirror site links to read the latest on the remaining two. That all four have not been unblocked seems rather ominous.

Political Correctness Watch

Eye on Britain


Why America Will Lead the 'Asian Century'

By Dr John Lee

The decline of American influence in Asia is exaggerated. True, power and influence are built on the back of economic success, and the Chinese and India economies have been doubling in size every 10 years since 1978 and 1991 respectively. But America has two important advantages in Asia.

First, even if China continues to grow at double-digit rates, in terms of economic and military power, the United States will remain dominant by any measurement of raw power for several more decades.

Second, Asia has a unique kind of hierarchical security system which will likely entrench America leadership well into this century. Let me explain.

Despite the fact that America spends more on defence than the next 10 powers combined, it actually relies on the cooperation of other states to remain dominant. Without cooperation from allies such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and the Philippines, the United States cannot retain its forward military positions in the West Pacific. Likewise, it needs the cooperation of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to host its critical radar infrastructure.

On top of this, America requires other key states and regional groupings such as ASEAN to acquiesce in its security relationships. Therefore, there is broad-based regional approval of US alliances with Japan, South Korea and Australia as well as with partners such as the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and India.

Importantly, this interdependent relationship means that the United States – as a foreign power – is not so powerful that it can readily ignore the wishes of key states, making America the overwhelmingly choice as leader in Asia now and in the future. If an Asian country like China were to rise to the top, it would not need the same level of regional cooperation and acquiescence to maintain its position and military footholds. If China were to make a bid for regional hegemony, it would find it difficult to resist the structural constraints placed on it by other states within this hierarchy.

Therefore, despite justifiable talk of this century being an Asian Century, US leadership in the region will remain remarkably resilient.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated August 21st. Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590. Telephone ph: +61 2 9438 4377 or fax: +61 2 9439 7310


A New Hampshire Senate hopeful in the mould of Sarah Palin

She’s been labelled folksy, gutsy, pro-gun and anti-abortion. She honed her political philosophy as a bus girl in a small-town restaurant where she learnt that “listening is the most important thing to serving your customers well”. She’s a mom to a fresh faced brood and wife to a real dude who’s back from serving in Iraq and founded his own snowplough business. She’s just announced a premature end to her state office, allowing her to consider a political rocket-launch out of relative obscurity.

Sound familiar? It did to the New Hampshire Democrats. Soon after Kelly Ayote resigned as New Hampshire attorney general to consider running for US Senate, they released the ad above. "Did Kelly "Cut & Run" Ayotte just pull a Sarah Palin" it asks, pointing out that she's "broken her pledge to the public in order to advance her own political career."

Strong words. They, at least, are taking her challenge seriously. But could Republicans really put their money on a repeat formula, given Palin's own disastrous polling? Yes, according to a Washington Times profile. "I think she will be a great candidate, though she is a new candidate, having never run before. But her instincts are very good," they quote Sen. John Coryn of Texas as saying.

And with recent polls showing the Democrats' grip over New Hampshire's top offices weakening, looks like hockey moms are back in the game.



If the Bush Administration Had Done It…

"If the Bush Administration had done it, there would be national outrage." This phrase seems to be thrown about a lot recently with regard to the new administration and its ever-deepening slough of gross misconduct. Whether it's Obama asking people to snitch on their neighbors to "", mocking the Special Olympics on prime time television, or issuing an ill-founded DHS memo targeting "disgruntled veterans" as possible terrorists, the president and his lieutenants have gotten away with record scandal in record time.

In fact, Barack Obama has received a pass from the Mainstream Media "Obamatons" the likes of which George W. Bush and his predecessors never would even have dreamed possible. Well, one can now modify the aforementioned statement and likewise conjecture: "If Karl Rove had done it…"

In brief, David Axelrod, Barack Obama's Senior Advisor, is up to his neck in corruption, which, not surprisingly, has been largely ignored by liberal news outlets—i.e., the Obamatons en masse. As Kenneth P. Vogel of Politico reports, AKPD Message and Media, a firm founded by Mr. Axelrod that currently employs his son, was awarded a significant $24 million advertising contract by Obama Administration allies in the Healthcare Reform debate. Conveniently enough, AKPD also owes Mr. Axelrod $2 million in severance dollars.

AKPD and another firm were contracted by a coalition of liberal groups and other entities—among them PhRMA—to produce and air two separate $12 million ad campaigns designed to bolster support for Barack Obama's government-run healthcare plan. Mr. Axelrod's close ties to both AKPD and the groups pushing Obama-care is raising a lot of eyebrows.

One of those miffed is House Republican Conference spokesman Matt Loyd, who had the following to say regarding the situation: "Let me get this straight: Out of all the firms Pharma could choose to do their media work, they choose David Axelrod's firm, which still maintains Axelrod's son on the payroll and owes Axelrod himself $2 million. How can the public be assured that David Axelrod isn't influenced by any of this in the course of the health care debate? For an administration that promised 'change' and to be above even an appearance of impropriety this does not even come close to passing the smell test."

If Karl Rove had done something like this, at least one head would have rolled —his— and possibly more. And, as Mr. Vogel reports: "On his first day in office, Obama unveiled a strict ethics policy barring officials from working on issues 'directly and substantially related' to their former clients or employers for two years." Apparently, that strict injunction did not apply to the man who put Obama in office and carries his water on a daily basis.

Corruption, ethics —and boldfaced lies— notwithstanding, the hypocrisy regarding the Obama regime's view of America's healthcare system and the "moral imperative" they so proudly proclaim is this Administration's most egregious sin.

On one hand, Mr. Obama and other Democrats in Washington argue passionately that America's health care industry is no place for the greedy pursuit of profits. Morality dictates that people come before profits, they continually intone. Meanwhile, David Axelrod has no qualms about pocketing a few million bucks through his "directly and substantially related" ties to his own advertising firm.

Karl Rove may have been the architect, but David Axelrod is clearly the engineer —engineering corruption and hypocrisy in the nation's highest office while smarmily proclaiming his personal piety. Have these people no shame?

SOURCE. More on Axelrod corruption here



Polls: Opposition to Obamacare on the rise: “Public doubt about health care reform has grown as the debate’s raged this summer, with a rise in views it would do more harm than good, increasing opposition to a public option — and President Obama’s rating on the issue at a new low in ABC News/Washington Post polls. Fewer than half of Americans, 45 percent, support reform as it’s been explained to date, while 50 percent are opposed — with many more ’strongly’ opposed than strongly in favor, 40 percent vs. 27 percent. Support’s at just 36 percent among independents, the crucial political center.”

Dealers stiffed as clunkers pile up: "Some New Mexico auto dealers have backed out of the cash-for-clunkers program and more may do so as the federal government takes its time providing cash reimbursements. Dealers across the state are owed more than $3.6 million, according to a dealers' group which says that so far Uncle Sam has only written three checks totaling about $14,000. Cash for clunkers--officially its the Car Allowance Rebate System--allows consumers to trade their gas guzzlers for a more fuel-efficient rides while earning up to $4,500 toward the purchase price. Dealerships put up the cash for the rebates after being told by the Obama administration they would be paid back within 10 days of the sale."

Official: “Significant” hike in US poverty anticipated: "“The ranks of poor and uninsured Americans are likely increasing — with more than 38.8 million believed to be in poverty. Rebecca Blank, the Commerce Department’s undersecretary of economic affairs, spoke to the Associated Press in advance of next month’s closely watched release of 2008 census data. Noting the figures are not yet final, Blank said the numbers likely will show a ’statistically significant’ increase in the poverty rate, to at least 12.7 percent. That would represent a jump of more than 1.5 million poor people compared with the previous year. ‘There’s no question that 2008 economically was a much worse year than 2007,’ she said Wednesday. ‘The question is how much and how bad.’ The number of uninsured also is expected to increase, due to rising unemployment and the erosion of private coverage paid for by employers and individuals, but Blank declined to say by how much.”

Obama backs off attack on whistleblowers: "White House attorneys have backed away from an effort to weaken legal protections for FBI whistleblowers in a bill now before Congress, according to advocacy groups in negotiations with the Obama administration. Officials from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Government Accountability Project (GAP) and Project on Government Oversight (POGO) said this week that they were given guarantees that protections for FBI whistleblowers - federal employees who uncover fraud and waste - would be restored in a Senate bill when Congress returns in September. The shift follows a report in The Washington Times earlier this month about the uproar among civil liberties groups and past FBI whistleblowers about proposed changes in the bill, which critics said would strip existing rights for FBI whistleblowers who expose fraud or misdeeds."

Lutherans abandon the Bible: "Conservatives at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's churchwide assembly here were still reeling Thursday from losing -- by one vote -- their battle to defeat a new social statement that gives validity to same-sex relationships."

Mexico enacts “personal use” drug law: “Mexico has enacted a controversial law that decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana, cocaine and heroin. The law defines ‘personal use’ amounts for those drugs, as well as LSD and methamphetamines. It says people found with those amounts will not face criminal prosecution, but that if caught a third time they will be required to complete treatment programs, though no punishment is specified to enforce that.”

Why did Obama's Justice Department dismiss a clear case of voter intimidation?: "President Obama's Justice Department continues to stonewall inquiries about why it dropped a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party. The episode—which Bartle Bull, a former civil rights lawyer and publisher of the left-wing Village Voice, calls "the most blatant form of voter intimidation I've ever seen"—began on Election Day 2008. Mr. Bull and others witnessed two Black Panthers in paramilitary garb at a polling place near downtown Philadelphia. One of them, they say, brandished a nightstick at the entrance and pointed it at voters and both made racial threats. Mr. Bull says he heard one yell "You are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker!"

California awash in unlicensed drivers: "Sobriety checkpoints set up in Bakersfield in recent months haven’t nabbed huge numbers of drunken drivers. But they’re netting unlicensed drivers by the dozens — with 92 cited at a checkpoint in east Bakersfield last month. There’s little doubt that the number of unlicensed drivers on Kern County’s roads is way up, and that means more drivers with no insurance — and higher costs and higher risks for the rest of us.... Authorities say many of those who drive without a license are undocumented immigrants who cannot legally obtain a California driver’s license. But drivers can have their license suspended or revoked for a number of reasons, including multiple DUIs, nonpayment of traffic fines and even failure to pay child support. Timothy Lemucchi, a longtime Bakersfield attorney who handles accident and personal injury cases, said the growing problem of unlicensed and uninsured drivers potentially affects all of us. He cited the Insurance Research Council’s findings that estimate one in five California drivers have little or no automobile insurance. And in places with high unemployment rates like Kern, the ratio may be closer to one in four, Lemucchi said. The repercussions are often heartbreaking for motorists who are injured when they collide with an uninsured driver. Loss of income combined with large medical bills can ruin families financially."

How ethics disappear: "Gosh, what a surprise: A committee of their fellow senators has decided that Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad did nothing unethical when they took out loans from Countrywide Financial on the kind of favorable terms not available to us mere mortals without their financial or political standing – or a personal connection to the head of Countrywide. The very Select Committee on Ethics did recognize that the whole deal looked bad, and gave its colleagues a gentle pat on the wrist for creating "the appearance that you were receiving preferential treatment based on your status as a senator." But in the end one hand washed the other, if not very well."

GM's $4,000 Car We Won't Get: "Now, the $4,000 car is a fine idea. It represents a return to economic sanity. It would be simple and affordable. No six year payment plan. No $40,000 "investment" (like the completely insane Volt electric car) that will depreciate to less than half original MSRP sticker price by the time it's finally paid off. No GPS, closed-circuit cameras, power parallel parking systems, multiplexed seat heaters or built-in coffee pots. Just, you know, basic transportation. But, here's the catch: GM won't be able to sell the $4,000 car in the United States. Because in the United States, new cars must be "government approved" before they can be approved by consumers. And to be approved by government, a new car must be fitted with a horn o' plenty of government-mandated safety and emissions control equipment. "Safety" and "low emissions" may be laudable, but they aren't free. The federal requirement that each new car be equipped with multiple air bags is alone worth an estimated $1,000-$1,500 per car -- or one-third to nearly one-half the projected final cost of the GM $4k car. In so-called "developing countries," there are not (yet) such requirements (which explains why they are still developing while we are treading water and about to go under). And it explains why GM will be selling its $4k car in such countries rather than in this country."

Why Nazism Was Socialism and Why Socialism Is Totalitarian: "My purpose today is to make just two main points: (1) To show why Nazi Germany was a socialist state, not a capitalist one. And (2) to show why socialism, understood as an economic system based on government ownership of the means of production, positively requires a totalitarian dictatorship... The basis of the claim that Nazi Germany was capitalist was the fact that most industries in Nazi Germany appeared to be left in private hands. What Mises identified was that private ownership of the means of production existed in name only under the Nazis and that the actual substance of ownership of the means of production resided in the German government. For it was the German government and not the nominal private owners that exercised all of the substantive powers of ownership: it, not the nominal private owners, decided what was to be produced, in what quantity, by what methods, and to whom it was to be distributed, as well as what prices would be charged and what wages would be paid...."


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 or here or here


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)


Friday, August 21, 2009

Google update

At the time of writing, Google is still blocking me from putting up new posts on three of my blogs. So go instead to the mirror sites for the latest posts. As under:

Political Correctness Watch

Food & Health Skeptic.

Eye on Britain


Israeli government Minister: Some of Obama's policies are 'borderline anti-Semitic'

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will reject US President Barack Obama's request for a freeze on natural growth in Judea and Samaria, Habayit Hayehudi head Daniel Herschkowitz said Sunday, based on conversations with Netanyahu. In an interview with the science and technology minister at his Jerusalem office, Herschkowitz told The Jerusalem Post that he did not believe Netanyahu would cross any red lines of Habayit Hayehudi, the most right-wing party in his coalition.

"From my own talks with the prime minister, I can say confidently that I don't think he will freeze natural growth in the settlements," Herschkowitz said. "I am sure he is in favor of allowing natural growth, but he must navigate smartly and walk between the rain drops to ensure that he will get along with the American administration."

Herschkowitz suggested that an arrangement could be found that could allow construction in the settlements to continue without public acknowledgment. He said this would be preferable to the opposite scenario of press reports of settlement construction when in fact there is none.

A former resident of Madison, Wisconsin, where he was a mathematics professor at the University of Wisconsin, Herschkowitz did not hold back criticism for Obama, especially his decision to grant the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former UN human rights commissioner and longtime Israel basher Mary Robinson. "I am disappointed in Obama's policies," Herschkowitz said. "Some of the steps he has taken, like giving a medal to Mary Robinson, are borderline anti-Semitic. Israel is an independent state. Relations with the US are important, but relations must go both ways. I don't know if Obama understands it, but most Americans believe that Israel is their only anchor in the Middle East."

Herschkowitz has been criticized by the Right for praising Netanyahu's June 14 policy address at Bar-Ilan University's Begin-Sadat Center in which he conditionally endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state. He said he himself opposed a Palestinian state, but a prime minister had to speak differently than the average politician. "It was a good speech, because he shifted the ball to the other side by setting important conditions," Herschkowitz said. "If they can't accept recognizing a Jewish state and the end of the conflict, it shows their real face. But if they would have, there would have been something to talk about. A leader must say yes, and not just no, so it's ideal to say yes while shifting the ball back to the other side."

The Habayit Hayehudi leader said there was a consensus that Israel did not want to control the Palestinians. He said a demilitarized Palestinian state as Netanyahu outlined it would not be that different from the autonomy the overwhelming majority of the Palestinians already had.

But Herschkowitz said he did not think a peace agreement could be reached. "It is clear that there is no partner," Herschkowitz said. "Every diplomatic plan, even the most conservative one, is wishful thinking, because there is no plan that both sides would accept."



Where Are The Cost Cuts Going To Come From?

Your Only Options Are Less Care, Less Incentive To Become A Caregiver, Or The Magic Secret Formula For Super-Cost-Efficient Government. Excerpt below

One of the central selling points used by President Obama to push the Democrats’ health care plan is the notion that a comprehensive overhaul of the health care system will reduce costs. But costs to who, and how? Let’s step back a minute and try to figure out how Obama’s cost-cutting argument could possibly be so.

Prologue: Tax That Man Behind The Tree

First, a quick reminder of two reasons why cost-cutting is such an important selling point.

Number one, the core of what the Democratic base, in particular, wants from health care “reform” is universal coverage. You often hear statistics thrown around about there being 30 or 35 or, last I heard, 47 million people without health insurance, and the implication that these people are receiving zero or negligible healthcare. Debunking those statistics and assumptions is itself a cottage industry, but let’s leave that aside for the moment, because the fact of the matter is that in a country of 300 million people, when you strip out the people who

(1) already have health insurance and expect to continue having it,

(2) don’t especially want to buy health insurance,

(3) are only briefly without health insurance and not worried about it, or

(4) don’t or can’t vote,

what you end up with is a very small slice of the electorate that would benefit from getting health insurance they currently lack or fear lacking. Now, voters don’t only vote their own self-interests on any issue - but the fewer people who benefit directly from legislation, the harder it is to drum up public support for a bill that may threaten the self-interest of others. So, it becomes politically necessary, if the bill is to be as sweeping and ambitious as most of the versions circulated have been, to sell it to the public on the basis of some argument above and beyond insuring the uninsured. That’s doubly so because if your goal was solely to insure the uninsured, much of what is in the various bills would be unnecessary.

Second, specific to the issue of saving money for the federal government, the Obama Administration and the Democrats have already severely tried the electorate’s appetite for massive expansions of federal spending, especially deficit spending. The explosion of new spending, most notably the pork-laden “stimulus” bill, makes prior complaints about spending under Bush look like complaints about the deck chairs on the Titanic and flatly contradicts Obama’s read-my-lips pledge during two of last October’s debates that his proposals would result in a net reduction of federal spending. The voters have noticed that they’re not getting anything resembling what they were promised. Thus, Obama has repeatedly pledged, with the same assurance as his campaign pledge on spending, that the health care bill would be “deficit neutral.” The Congressional Budget Office, typically a liberal redoubt, has repeatedly thrown cold water on the claim that any of the proposals on the table would be deficit-neutral. Clearly, to get there, cost savings would need to be found somewhere to completely offset outlays.

How’s that gonna work?

Let’s review the options. The Democrats’ main argument is that restructuring the entire health care sector will reduce the nation’s total (public and private) outlay for health care. When you boil it down, though, there are only three variables you can cut: reduce the amount of medical care provided; reduce what providers of medical care earn for their products and services; and reduce intermediary costs. All are problematic.

I. Less Medical Care

The most obvious way to cut spending on medical care is to buy less of it. That’s at the crux of the public’s worry about “death panels” cutting off care, about rationing; it’s why so many of the people showing up agitated at town halls are senior citizens worried about getting less medical care.

The “death panel” phrase was shorthand, of course, but it neatly captured the core of the problem: government already rations care, albeit not very efficienctly, in programs like Medicare and Medicaid (see, e.g., here - then again, the failure to do more rationing explains those programs’ exploding, budget-busting costs) and the end-of-life consulting procedures criticized by Palin and subsequently dropped by chastened Democrats are not the only way in which government incentives could or would be brought to bear on physicians to push patients from consuming health care to preparing for death or assisted suicide. More here, among many other places. But you don’t have to be looking at the end-stage to see that any plan premised upon cost-cutting by reducing the amount of care provided would, well, reduce the amount of care provided. And if the costs being cut are taxpayer costs, the power to do so would end up being vested in some sort of governmental entity, likely a panel of government-appointed “experts,” as Mickey Kaus notes was alluded to by President Obama himself back in April



Free Speech And Yoo

"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism," those on the left were fond of saying when President Bush was in office. Today, with a Democratic president in power, we're finding out what a cynical pose that is. That can be seen in the sad case of John Yoo, a brilliant law professor from the University of California at Berkeley known for his staunch support of the Constitution.

Yoo, working for the Justice Department from 2001 to 2003, allegedly wrote what the left absurdly calls the "torture memos," which justified the kind of tough, coercive interrogations the military used to break up a number of terrorist plots after 9/11. Yet today, for rendering his honest legal opinion to President Bush, Yoo finds himself vilified and attacked by the left — with loud calls for Berkeley's Boalt Hall Law School to fire him.

The campaign of harassment and intimidation against Yoo is sickening. Yoo and his family have been verbally assaulted, spat upon and threatened. On Monday, returning to school, he was met with shouts of "war criminal" by "war protesters" — those who yelled similar things at President Bush but who now under a Democrat utter nary a peep of protest.

Yoo's case shows how those on the extreme left deal with free speech that isn't their own. As blogger Andrew Breitbart noted, it comes straight out of radical organizer Saul Alinsky's playbook: "Rule 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."

Change the target from right to left, and you'd have a phalanx of ACLU lawyers coming to his defense. Left-leaning think tanks, always keen to support "civil rights," would take up the cudgel. Not this time. Berkeley law school dean Christopher Edley Jr. rejected calls to fire Yoo, but his reason was pathetic. The university, he said, didn't have the resources to investigate Yoo's work fully.

Memo to Edley: Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution explicitly gives the president the right to "require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices . . ." It seems clear that Yoo is covered. Maybe the federal judge who recently ruled Yoo could be sued for his legal opinions by convicted terrorist Jose Padilla should also actually read the Constitution.

Sadly, Yoo isn't the only recent target of hatred and intolerance of any opposition to the left's far-reaching agenda. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey incurred its wrath by suggesting a massive government takeover of health care was a bad idea. Now, for Mackey's apostasy from liberal orthodoxy, the left is organizing a nationwide boycott of his grocery chain. This is how the left works these days. It's a sad state of affairs when those who make the greatest claims of constitutional rights for their own behavior are the least willing to grant them to others.




There's a new conservative blog up with the ambitious title The Truth. It's got some good stuff on Obamacare. There's a BIG coverage of that issue up again today on SOCIALIZED MEDICINE too.

Princess Michele requires more than twenty attendants: “No, Michele Obama does not get paid to serve as the First Lady and she doesn’t perform any official duties. But this hasn’t deterred her from hiring an unprecedented number of staffers to cater to her every whim and to satisfy her every request in the midst of the Great Recession. Just think Mary Lincoln was taken to task for purchasing china for the White House during the Civil War. And Mamie Eisenhower had to shell out the salary for her personal secretary. How things have changed! If you’re one of the tens of millions of Americans facing certain destitution, earning less than subsistence wages stocking the shelves at Wal-Mart or serving up McDonald cheeseburgers, prepare to scream and then come to realize that the benefit package for these servants of Miz Michele are the same as members of the national security and defense departments and the bill for these assorted lackeys is paid by John Q. Public"

"Cash for clunkers" won't be running much longer, government says: "The government will announce a plan as soon as tomorrow for winding down its popular but problem-plagued 'cash for clunkers' program. The announcement by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood came as a New York dealership group said that hundreds of its members had stopped doing clunker transactions because of delays in getting reimbursed by the federal government."

Yale surrenders: "The capitulation of Yale University Press to threats that hadn't even been made yet is the latest and perhaps the worst episode in the steady surrender to religious extremism -- particularly Muslim religious extremism -- that is spreading across our culture. A book called The Cartoons That Shook the World, by Danish-born Jytte Klausen, who is a professor of politics at Brandeis University, tells the story of the lurid and preplanned campaign of 'protest' and boycott that was orchestrated in late 2005 after the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten ran a competition for cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. (The competition was itself a response to the sudden refusal of a Danish publisher to release a book for children about the life of Mohammed, lest it, too, give offense.) By the time the hysteria had been called off by those who incited it, perhaps as many as 200 people around the world had been pointlessly killed. Yale University Press announced last week that it would go ahead with the publication of the book, but it would remove from it the 12 caricatures that originated the controversy."

Hutterites steamrolled by the state: "On July 24, in a case brought by the Hutterian Brethren of Wilson Colony, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Alberta government is entitled to require a photo on the Hutterites' drivers' licenses. 'The negative impact on the freedom of religion of Colony members who wish to obtain licenses,' the decision summary explains, 'does not outweigh the benefits associated with the universal photo requirement.' The Hutterites-a sect or a religious group as one might want to call them-refuse to have their pictures taken for their driver's licenses and for a related digital photo data bank."

Airline deregulation: "Even the partial freeing of the air travel sector has had overwhelmingly positive results. Air travel has dramatically increased and prices have fallen. After deregulation, airlines reconfigured their routes and equipment, making possible improvements in capacity utilization. These efficiency effects democratized air travel, making it more accessible to the general public. Airfares, when adjusted for inflation, have fallen 25 percent since 1991, and, according to Clifford Winston and Steven Morrison of the Brookings Institution, are 22 percent lower than they would have been had regulation continued (Morrison and Winston 2000)."

Another genuine case of a police officer "acting stupidly" (so where's Obama?) "A 38 year-old mother of three, who posed no threat the police or anyone else, was tasered right in front of her children in January of this year. Yet to my knowledge, President Obama has failed to address this genuine case of the police 'acting stupidly.' Maybe it's because Audra Harmon cannot help the president make his case about the 'history' of race relations and the police since Mrs. Harmon appears to be a Caucasian woman. No, Mrs. Harmon doesn't have the ability to claim she was racially profiled for DWB but this does not make the actions of Deputy Sean Andrews any less shameful."

The broken windshield fallacy: "When governments follow criminally stupid policies, criminals can end up improving overall welfare. This may well be the case with Germany's reprehensible cash-for-clunkers program. Germany's police union, the Bund Deutscher Kriminalbeamter, estimates that about 50,000 cars destined for the scrap yard under Berlin's trade-in scheme have been illegally resold to Africa and Eastern Europe. The government had paid around ƒ,ª125 million for these vehicles to be destroyed so that people would buy new, more fuel-efficient cars. German environmental group Deutsche Umwelthilfe predicts a doubling of illicit exports by the end of the year. It's probably only a matter of time before American clunkers will likewise find their illegal way to the streets of Mexico and beyond. And humanity would be better off if they did. Imagine if the Salvation Army were ordered to destroy all the used clothing and furniture it receives instead of distributing it to the poor. No doubt this would be considered an outrage. But it is no less economically foolish and morally repugnant to deny poor people in the developing world access to these old cars."

Promises, promises, promises -- from the British Labour party: "Over the past decade we have all felt New Labour's grip tightening around our lives, but perhaps one of the most adversely impacted demographics from their time in power are the young adults who will have to face the New Labour legacy. Throughout its time in power, New Labour has made a series of empty promises to young people in Britain putting them in an increasingly disadvantaged position. Instead of leaving them free to grow up in a more prosperous society, they are now subject to live with falling standards in youth health, rising youth crime and non-existent community cohesion. Despite Tony Blair's promise of 'education, education, education', young people now find themselves with fewer opportunities than when he came to power."

That efficient British bureaucracy again: "The Ministry of Defence has lost track of equipment worth £6.6 billion, prompting calls for a review of the department’s record-keeping. The National Audit Office (NAO) refused to approve the MoD’s accounts this summer after auditors were unable to find equipment worth £6.6 billion, including about a sixth of the vehicles, weapons and radios used by British troops. In a statement released last night, the MoD said that the figure — which is equivalent to the department’s entire annual equipment budget — was simply an extrapolation made by the Audit Office after the MoD was “unable to satisfy the NAO’s demand for paperwork from stock checking to verify their (assets) presence over the year”. This year the NAO said that the strains of war often meant that frontline units were not able to reply to the annual census of equipment, but added that there was a shortage of staff to run the complex registers that keep track of equipment used by troops."


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 or here or here


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)


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wow! Google are being VERY nasty at the moment!

Google must be in a VERY bad mood over their recent court loss. Perhaps as a result, they seem to have really ramped up their blocking software. I have had THREE of my blog sites blocked from further postings in the last 10 minutes.

A few minutes ago I put up my latest post on POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH and about 5 seconds after it went up I got a message saying that all future postings to it would be blocked on suspicion that it is a "spam blog".

As the blog has been much the same for years it's all very strange. I have requested a review of the block so it should in theory be back in action in the next day or two. Last time they blocked my GREENIE WATCH blog (for the THIRD time), they removed the block after 24 hours approx. so that was not too bad.

They do sometimes fail to act on review requests, however, and my original Obama Watch blog has never had its restrictions lifted despite many requests.

So if you cannot access any further posts on POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, just go to the mirror site instead.

The second blog they have blocked is FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, which is very much a science blog. Strange indeed! Its mirror site is here.

The third site is one I just use for a scratch area so does not matter much. This site that you are now reading could be next so note its mirror site here.

Google loses in court

Vogue cover girl Liskula Cohen has won a precedent-setting court battle to unmask an anonymous blogger who called her a "skank" on the internet. In a case with potentially far-reaching repercussions, Liskula Cohen sought the identity of the blogger who maligned her on the Skanks in NYC blog so that she could sue him or her for defamation. A Manhattan supreme court judge ruled that she was entitled to the information and ordered Google, which ran the offending blog, to turn it over.

Ms Cohen, a tall, Canadian blonde who has modelled for Giorgio Armani and Versace, went to court after reading the wounding anonymous comments on Google's "I would have to say the first-place award for 'Skankiest in NYC' would have to go to Liskula Gentile Cohen," the blogger "Anonymous" wrote in one posting. The blog, since removed, ridiculed the former Australian Vogue cover girl as a "40-something" who "may have been hot 10 years ago", when she was actually 36.

Justice Joan Madden rejected the blogger's claim that the blogs "serve as a modern-day forum for conveying personal opinions, including invective and ranting", and should not be treated as factual assertions.

The model was looking forward last night to discovering the identity of the alleged acquaintance who insulted her. "Everybody is waiting to see who this coward is," Steven Wagner, her lawyer, said.

Andrew Pederson, a Google spokesman, said: "We sympathise with anyone who may be the victim of cyberbullying. We also take great care to respect privacy concerns and will only provide information about a user in response to a subpoena or other court order."




ObamaCare protesters “racist,” including black gun owner: “On Tuesday, MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer fretted over health care reform protesters legally carrying guns: ‘A man at a pro-health care reform rally … wore a semiautomatic assault rifle on his shoulder and a pistol on his hip …. there are questions about whether this has racial overtones …. white people showing up with guns.’ Brewer failed to mention the man she described was black. Following Brewer’s report … Dylan Ratigan and MSNBC pop culture analyst Toure discussed the supposed racism involved in the protests. … Not only did Brewer, Ratigan, and Toure fail to point out the fact that the gun-toting protester that sparked the discussion was black, but the video footage shown of that protester was so edited, that it was impossible to see that he was black.”

Crowley gets ovation from officers in California: "The police sergeant who sparked a national debate on race relations when he arrested a Harvard University professor in his home received a standing ovation Monday from thousands of police officers at a Fraternal Order of Police convention. More than 3,000 officers cheered Cambridge, Mass., police Sgt. James Crowley when he briefly spoke to kick off the five-day meeting. Dozens left their seats to take snapshots of him on the podium at the Long Beach Convention Center. "The past month has been very difficult for my family, my friends and my colleagues back in Cambridge, and it's no exaggeration to say that it wouldn't be as easy for me to handle this without the support from the Fraternal Order of Police ... and the support that the men and women who do this job have given me," Crowley said. "Thank you very much."

Obama Underwrites Offshore Drilling: "You read that headline correctly. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration is financing oil exploration off Brazil. The U.S. is going to lend billions of dollars to Brazil's state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to finance exploration of the huge offshore discovery in Brazil's Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro. Brazil's planning minister confirmed that White House National Security Adviser James Jones met this month with Brazilian officials to talk about the loan. The U.S. Export-Import Bank tells us it has issued a "preliminary commitment" letter to Petrobras in the amount of $2 billion and has discussed with Brazil the possibility of increasing that amount. Ex-Im Bank says it has not decided whether the money will come in the form of a direct loan or loan guarantees. Either way, this corporate foreign aid may strike some readers as odd, given that the U.S. Treasury seems desperate for cash and Petrobras is one of the largest corporations in the Americas. But look on the bright side. If President Obama has embraced offshore drilling in Brazil, why not in the old U.S.A.? The land of the sorta free and the home of the heavily indebted has enormous offshore oil deposits"

You can trust a liberal … to be a liberal: “The liberals are back. For proof, just check out the antics of two noted liberals, MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews and editor in chief Joan Walsh. This week both of them went apoplectic over a libertarian’s having the audacity to exercise two fundamental rights at the same time — free speech and the right to bear arms, both of which are guaranteed by the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution. What caused Matthews’ and Walsh’s apoplexy?”

The right’s rebellion: "The altarpiece of the transformational presidency, universal health insurance, is on life support, as huge crowds pour into town hall meetings to denounce it. Responding to the protests, the Obamaites have dumped the end-of-life counselors (aka ‘Death Panels’) and declared the government option expendable. But what are we to make of these ‘evil-mongers’ of Harry Reid’s depiction, these ‘mobs’ of ‘thugs’ organized by K Street lobbyists and ‘right-wing extremists’ who engage in ‘un-American’ activity at town hall meetings? Surely, all Americans must detest them. To the contrary. According to a Pew poll, by 61 percent to 34 percent, Americans think the protesters are behaving properly.”

History repeats with Obama’s anti-growth policies: “During the economic downturn from roughly 1929 to 1939, Franklin Roosevelt implemented a raft of anti-capitalist, anti-growth policies, from wage controls to higher taxes to simple badgering of businesses (especially utilities). The result was that Europe emerged from the depression sooner while Democratic economic policies turned what could have been just a bad recession into the Great Depression. The Obama Administration suffers the same fatal conceit as all socialists, namely the belief that their policies will work where similar policies have failed because now they have the right people, smarter people, implementing them with the latest scientific methods.”

TSA and its brethren: “To the public, at any rate to the many people with whom I have discussed the matter, the air of federal fear seems almost demented. I have had an (actual) TSA woman solemnly examine a pair of tweezers to determine whether they were blunt-nosed (acceptable) or pointed (posing a threat of hijacking). Do we really believe that a team of Al Quaeda terrorists are going to leap up brandishing tweezers? Equally absurd is that a woman cannot enter the US consulate in Guadalajara with her lipstick. Yes, I know it could contain a cyanide dart or a hidden vial of Tabun. So could anything.”

President Obama now looks more like symptom than cause: “Ironically, if President Obama wants to pass health insurance reform now — even with co-ops replacing the public option — he’s going to have to do something that Bill Clinton pulled off with his Sister Souljah moment. He’s going to have to tell the single-payer folks and the Deaniacs to either sign up for his compromise or get off the train. That’s the only way he wins a consistent, even if floating, 60-vote majority that holds the moderate Senators of both parties as well as the House Blue Dogs to a modified version of his social agenda. If it happens it will not be pretty, because the Dean progressives have done the most dangerous thing you can do in politics: they have started to believe their own narrative that they elected this President, and that he can’t survive or win re-election without them.”

AARP losing massive membership over “politics”: “About 60,000 senior citizens have quit AARP since July 1 due to the group’s support for a health care overhaul, a spokesman for the organization said Monday. The membership loss suggests dissatisfaction on the part of AARP members at a time when many senior citizens are concerned about proposed cuts to Medicare providers to help pay for making healthcare available for all. But spokesman Drew Nannis said it wasn’t unusual for the powerful, 40 million-strong senior citizens’ lobby to shed members in droves when it’s advocating on a controversial issue.”

Alinsky’s Rule 12: Starting to wear thin: “The left apparently thought they had been given a weapon with infinite ammunition. But it doesn’t work that way. If you go into your office today and accuse a particular co-worker of dishonesty, you’ll probably be taken seriously. If you do it with a different co-worker every week for a few months, you won’t. Everyone involved starts to realize that it’s just a tactic. Then they begin to wonder why you’re doing it. Are you trying to cover up something?”

Blacks more likely to succumb to Hep C: “Scientists say they’ve found a big reason why treatment for chronic hepatitis C infection works better for White patients than for Blacks. It’s a tiny variation in a gene. People with a certain gene variant are far more likely to respond to treatment, and that variant is more common in people with European ancestry than African-Americans, researchers report. In fact, that probably explains about half the racial disparity in treatment response, the scientists estimate in a study published online Sunday by the journal Nature. The work involved 1,137 patients who had a chronic infection with the most common type of hepatitis C virus in the U.S. and Europe, one that is less responsive to treatment than other types. They were given standard drug treatment.”

Fundamental ingredient for life discovered in comet: “A fundamental ingredient for life has been discovered in a comet sample, supporting the idea that such icy objects seeded early Earth with the stuff needed to whip up living organisms. New research firms up past suggestions of glycine, the simplest amino acid used to make proteins, inside samples from the comet Wild 2 (pronounced ‘Vilt 2′). ‘This is the first time an amino acid has been found in a comet,’ said lead researcher Jamie Elsila of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. ‘Our discovery supports the theory that some of life’s ingredients formed in space and were delivered to Earth long ago by meteorite and comet impacts.’ How life arose on Earth has long puzzled scientists and philosophers alike, with possible evidence for such building blocks showing up floating about in the cosmos and even inside the mouths of volcanoes. The new finding, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science, also has implications for finding alien life.”

The California Coastal Commission vs. its critics: “Richard Oshen has spent the past four years making a documentary about the California Coastal Commission (CCC), a state agency too obscure to have gathered any previous documentarian’s attention. It is, however, well known enough in the world of land-use policy to have been called, in a 2008 New York Times story, ‘the most formidable player of all’ when it comes to land use decisions in California. As Oshen learned, the CCC’s powers extend far beyond what anyone would reasonably think of as either land use or the protection of California’s coast. Coastal protection was the ostensible reason a four-year ‘Coastal Commission’ was first invented for California after 1972’s Proposition 20. The CCC was given permanent life by the California Coastal Act of 1976. Its current executive director, Peter Douglas, who is now serving his 29th year, helped agitate for and then draft the very statewide proposition that gave him his job. Oshen, meanwhile, finds himself in a legal battle with the very government agency he’s investigating. The CCC is trying to legally seize copies of much of the raw footage Oshen has shot, as well as a version of the finished product, titled Sins of Commission, prior to its official release.”

The battle of the bulb: “You can lead a horse to water, but not make it drink: except for politicians, especially in Brussels. Europe’s Finest, ever busy fixing the world, stop at nothing to force happiness upon their citizens. Who knows better what’s good for the fine citizens from Bulgaria to Portugal than the 26 commissioners sitting at the avenues de Beaulieu and d’Auderghem, and rue Belliard? This ancient complaint finds new life in Brussels’ latest, saving the planet by telling EU citizens how they may and may not illuminate their homes. Banning Edison’s light bulb proclaiming ‘inefficient!’ while ignoring the mercury-hazard of CFLs (compact fluorescents) is an absurd idea on so many grounds. Most disgracefully, it once again shows politicians don’t trust consumers to make choices. Choice, after all, is anathema for politicians, as the people easily make the wrong decisions.”

CO: Best Buy fires students after they tackle shoplifter: “Jared Bergstreser, 20, and Colin Trapp, 23, were fired Sunday, two weeks after they tried to stop two men fleeing the store at the FlatIron Marketplace. When the students saw the men fleeing with armloads of merchandise, Bergstreser tackled one of the men and Trapp came to help, but the man pulled a knife and broke free. A store manager was also involved in the Aug. 1 fracas and was cut by the shoplifting suspect, police said.”

Cash for clunkers gives GM a boost : “General Motors announced today that it will build 60,000 more cars and trucks this year as supplies have dropped and sales have spiked more than expected, in part because of the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program. The announcement will lead to additional shifts and overtime at several factories and the reinstatement of 1,350 workers at two plants. GM said that sales in the month of July and August are between 60,000 and 70,000 units above what the company had predicted as recently as two months ago. In July, the automaker had approximately 300,000 units for sale compared to a peak level of 1.3 million vehicles available at one point in the past four years.”

Lampooning Palin — the sport of progressives: “Palin punching has been the pastime of choice for the Hollywood hordes ever since the former Alaska Governor first burst upon their free-range radars as McCain’s running mate during the last presidential follies. Professional players like Tina Fey and David Letterman have become well known Palin baiters, and William Shatner has shown up on Conan’s Tonight Show reading her resignation speech and subsequent Tweets as beat poetry, accompanied by bass and bongos. So the question that arises is this: is it an absolute ironclad requirement that everyone associated with the American entertainment industry be a political liberal?”


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 or here or here


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)


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Does the rally in the picture below remind you of anything?

Hitler? Obama? It is in fact a 1939 rally in London of the British Union of Fascists (BUF), led by Sir Osward Mosley.

Via Powerline, who also note that Sir Oswald was an early advocate of socialized healthcare. Mosley would no doubt be gratified by the extent to which his party's socialist vision of government control over the healthcare industry has become the policy of the current administration in the U.S.A. Note the following quote from the BUF health policy:
The voluntary hospitals which have done so much in the training of doctors, dentists and nurses, are undoubtedly finding it extremely difficult in carrying on at the highest pitch of efficiency, for financial reasons. The British Union of Fascists views with admiration the work done by the men and women who are responsible for the building up of this system, and it sees no reason for the abolition of the voluntary hospitals. On the assumption of power we envisage the appointment of a National Director of Hospitals, who would co-ordinate the working of all the different hospitals (both Voluntary and State hospitals) and who would be represented by a single nominee on the governing Committees of all the voluntary hospitals. The State would make it its duty to find the necessary additional funds for the management of the voluntary hospitals and would not interfere in their internal management.

Does that remind you of someone who repeatedly assures people that they will all be able to keep their existing healthcare insurance after his socialist plan is implemented?


Did Krupskaya cave?

(Krupskaya was the wife of V.I. Lenin)

We have closely followed the story of Obama administration flack Linda Douglass -- a cross between Nurse Ratched and Mrs. Lenin -- and her invitation to report fishy comments on Obamacare to the official email address. I thought the project was, as the liberals say nowadays, un-American, and rather obviously so. How fitting of the Obama administration to hark back to the ethos of Big Brother while promoting socialized health care.

Appropriately enough, the email address disappeared down the memory hole. The White House has apparently issued no announcement on the disposition of the email account. Many would-be informers have been left in the lurch, sadly including those of us who have taken to turning in Obama for his compulsively fishy comments on his putative program. Politico's Mike Allen reports the story without comment.

Did Krupskaya cave? Maybe, but she may also have beat a tactical retreat. Frustrated informants can still submit their neighbors' fishy thoughts on Obamacare to the White House via the "Reality Check" Web page on, which allows the submission of readers' comments. The Web form stresses, however, that viewers are discouraged from from submitting "any individual's personal information, including their [sic] email address, without their permission."

What can we learn from this episode? The Obama administration is sensitive to ridicule, disinclined frankly to admit error and virtually incapable of seeing itself as others see it. In the service of a radical agenda pursued with deceit and demagoguery, it will grudgingly take one step back while it rewrites its playbook to advance three or four steps forward.



Finding no buyers for snake oil

Master politician that he is, Barack Obama is a lousy calculator. He spectacularly misjudged the American public's appetite for a government nanny. Or maybe he miscalculated the power of his slippery tongue to sell government snake oil. His apparent willingness to abandon the attempt - for now - to nationalize the health-care industry appears to defer the Democratic first step in remaking the home of the brave and the land of the free into Little America, cutting it down to a size incapable of intimidating the likes of Switzerland or Swaziland.

But only if the opposition keeps up unremitting pressure. The president signals a change in tactics, not objectives. His concession that the so-called "government option" is temporarily dead does not mean the dream of "postalizing" health care, of making it as responsive as the Post Office, is dead. It's merely that the tenderizing pain in certain Democratic keesters is so acute that somebody had to find a way to get a little relief. Running up a fake white flag might do it; when the opposition puts down its guns the postalizers will fire at will.

The president never actually said he would defer to public sentiment. The special gift of snake-oil salesmen is their ability to say one thing and make audiences hear something else. "All I'm saying is, though, that the public option, whether we have it or we don't have it, is not the entirety of health care reform," he told an audience on Sunday in Colorado. "This is just one sliver of it."

The leftmost fringe of his party is having none of this apparent concession to reasonableness and moderation. House Democrats recall their ecstasy of waking up on the morning after the 2008 elections, imagining that with their 78-seat margin it's now or never, and they can't wait to get started on the plastic surgery to alter the face of America the Beautiful. They've been sharpening scalpels and carving knives since.

This puts the House leaders, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her liege man, Steny Hoyer, in a particular bind. They owe their 78-seat margin to men and women moderate enough to win in conservative districts; many of these freshmen know they will never be sophomores if they vote for a health care plan that dooms the private insurance coverage that works well enough for the middle class.

One of them, Rep. Eric Massa of New York, is a confirmed nanny-state Democrat who understands what a vote for Obamacare is likely to cost him. "I will vote adamantly against the interests of my district if I actually think what I am doing is going to be helpful. I will vote against their opinion if I actually believe it will help them."

The early Democratic strategy of trying to shout down the opposition, painting critics as Nazis waving swastikas (Nancy Pelosi), as "evil-mongers" (Senate Leader Harry Reid), as "un-American" (Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas), as over-dressed snobs and bounders (Sen. Barbara Boxer of California), clearly failed.

So has the attempt to portray critics as ignorant yahoos too thick to understand how well government health schemes have worked in places like Canada and Great Britain. The more we learn about the Canadian and British schemes the less they look like models for anyone.

The new president of the Canadian Medical Association says Canadian doctors must recognize how sick the Canadian system is and figure out how to fix it. "We all agree that the system is imploding," says Dr. Anne Doig, "and we all agree that things are more precarious than Canadians perhaps realize."

Stephen Glover, a columnist for the London Daily Mail, defends Britain's National Health Service but concedes that Americans wouldn't like it. "Consult any American who has encountered the National Health Service," he writes. "Often [visiting Americans] cannot believe ... the squalor, the looming threat, the long waiting lists and especially the target that patients in 'accident and emergency' should be expected to wait for no more than four - four! - hours, the sense exuded by some medical staff that they are doing you a favor by taking down your personal details. Most Americans, let's face it, are used to much higher standards of health care than we enjoy."

Americans aren't as dumb as the politicians often think they are, and nothing educates politicians like a well-aimed two-by-four square across the noggin. That's the hard lesson of the summer of '09.



Obama loses trust of Israel backers

Majority see president as 'pro-Palestinian'

President Obama's harsh criticism of West Bank settlements during his heavily publicized June speech to the Arab world in Cairo continues to reverberate here, undercutting his popularity and heightening tensions with some pro-Israel advocates in the United States. Navigating the complex relationship with Israel is a delicate task for any administration, but relations are especially delicate now as Mr. Obama is making a major push to build trust with the region's vast Muslim population and coordinate a diplomatic drive to halt Iran's nuclear programs.

During his June speech, Mr. Obama questioned the legitimacy of the settlements, saying they violated previous agreements and undermined the peace process, prompting a hawkish public response from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

A recent poll sponsored by the Jerusalem Post underscored the extent of the rift: Just 6 percent of Jewish Israelis surveyed said they now consider Mr. Obama's administration to be "pro-Israel." Fifty percent said Mr. Obama was "pro-Palestinian, and 36 percent said he was "neutral."

Otniel Schneller, deputy speaker of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, warned that Mr. Obama's approach could stymie the peace process. "He doesn't understand the conflict. He thinks he understands it," Mr. Schneller told The Washington Times. "The formula is very easy. If they will continue to push us to give the Palestinians more than 90 percent of the West Bank, there will not be any peace in the future, ever."

Mr. Schneller, a modern Orthodox Jew, lives in the West Bank settlement of Ma'ale Mikhmas. He is one of an estimated 300,000 Jewish settlers, many of whom have built homes in the region as an expression of religious conviction.

The United States has always maintained close ties with Israel, an alliance strengthened during the Cold War, when Israel provided vital intelligence about Russian military capabilities to U.S. agents. Cultural and religious ties also bind the two countries.

Pro-Israel groups in the United States initially expressed concerns about some of Mr. Obama's views as he began his White House bid. However, after he secured the Democratic nomination, a number of American Jewish leaders began to coalesce behind him.

Now, several leading Republicans said they think rising anti-Obama sentiment here could translate into inroads for Republicans who have been seeking support from American Jews. Virginia Republican Rep. Eric Cantor, No. 2 in the House Republican Party hierarchy and the only Jewish Republican in an elected national position, appealed to Jewish voters in the Israeli press, telling them they have a place in the Republican Party.

Mr. Cantor earlier this month led a delegation of 25 House Republicans, many freshman members, on a one-week tour of Israel sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, an arm of the powerful lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC maintains an annual budget of nearly $60 million and an endowment of $130 million.

Last week, 29 House Democrats were following suit, completing an ambitious schedule that included meetings with Mr. Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. "There is much discussion, I think, within the scene in American politics about the American Jewish vote, about potential gains for the Republican Party among many minorities, as well as the population as a whole," Mr. Cantor said in Jerusalem during a press conference.

The discussion of any true shift in allegiances, though, may be premature just six months into the new administration, many observers said. "I do not think that the relationship has been damaged yet," said George S. Naggiar, chairman of the American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights. However, Mr. Naggiar noted that "because the United States wants to maintain an image of power and credibility among Arabs and Muslims and because Israel's refusal to end settlements will undermine that image, such refusal has the potential to damage the U.S. relationship with Israel."

Mr. Naggiar said American Jews, while strongly linked with the Democratic Party, are not single-issue voters and only a small minority are fiercely devoted to maintaining and expanding Jewish settlements.

But Jeff Daube, director of the Zionist Organization of America's Israel office, said he thinks the president's positions have taken a toll. "There is no doubt that it has damaged the relationship," Mr. Daube said of Mr. Obama's call to halt settlements.



For the Left, war without Bush is no war at all

The soap-bubble "principles" of the Left again

Remember the anti-war movement? Not too long ago, the Democratic party's most loyal voters passionately opposed the war in Iraq. Democratic presidential candidates argued over who would withdraw American troops the quickest. Netroots activists regularly denounced President George W. Bush, and sometimes the U.S. military ("General Betray Us"). Cindy Sheehan, the woman whose soldier son was killed in Iraq, became a heroine when she led protests at Bush's Texas ranch.

That was then. Now, even though the United States still has roughly 130,000 troops in Iraq, and is quickly escalating the war in Afghanistan -- 68,000 troops there by the end of this year, and possibly more in 2010 -- anti-war voices on the Left have fallen silent.

No group was more angrily opposed to the war in Iraq than the netroots activists clustered around the left-wing Web site DailyKos. It's an influential site, one of the biggest on the Web, and in the Bush years many of its devotees took an active role in raising money and campaigning for anti-war candidates.

In 2006, DailyKos held its first annual convention, called YearlyKos, in Las Vegas. Amid the slightly discordant surroundings of the Riviera Hotel casino, the webby activists spent hours discussing and planning strategies not only to defeat Republicans but also to pressure Democrats to oppose the war more forcefully. The gathering attracted lots of mainstream press attention; Internet activism was the hot new thing.

Fast forward to last weekend, when YearlyKos, renamed Netroots Nation, held its convention in Pittsburgh. The meeting didn't draw much coverage, but the views of those who attended are still, as they were in 2006, a pretty good snapshot of the left wing of the Democratic party. The news that emerged is that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have virtually fallen off the liberal radar screen. Kossacks (as fans of DailyKos like to call themselves) who were consumed by the Iraq war when George W. Bush was president are now, with Barack Obama in the White House, not so consumed, either with Iraq or with Obama's escalation of the conflict in Afghanistan. In fact, they barely seem to care.

As part of a straw poll done at the convention, the Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg presented participants with a list of policy priorities like health care and the environment. He asked people to list the two priorities they believed "progressive activists should be focusing their attention and efforts on the most." The winner, by far, was "passing comprehensive health care reform." In second place was enacting "green energy policies that address environmental concerns." And what about "working to end our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan"? It was way down the list, in eighth place.

Perhaps more tellingly, Greenberg asked activists to name the issue that "you, personally, spend the most time advancing currently." The winner, again, was health care reform. Next came "working to elect progressive candidates in the 2010 elections." Then came a bunch of other issues. At the very bottom -- last place, named by just one percent of participants -- came working to end U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It's an extraordinary change in the mindset of the left. I attended the first YearlyKos convention, and have kept up with later ones, and it's safe to say that for many self-styled "progressives," the war in Iraq was the animating cause of their activism. They hated the war, and they hated George W. Bush for starting it. Or maybe they hated the war because George W. Bush started it. Either way, it was war, war, war. Now, not so much.

Cindy Sheehan is learning that. She's still protesting the war, and on Monday she announced plans to demonstrate at Martha's Vineyard, where President Obama will be vacationing. "We as a movement need to continue calling for an immediate end to the occupations [in Iraq and Afghanistan] even when there is a Democrat in the Oval Office," Sheehan said in a statement. "There is still no Noble Cause no matter how we examine the policies." Give her credit for consistency, if nothing else. But her days are over. The people who most fervently supported her have moved on.

Not too long ago, some observers worried that Barack Obama would come under increasing pressure from the Left to leave both Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, it seems those worries were unfounded. For many liberal activists, opposing the war was really about opposing George W. Bush. When Bush disappeared, so did their anti-war passion.



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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)


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Those model Canadians again

Further to my weekend column on how a government health system inevitably means restricted access to treatment, a word from British Columbia: "The Fraser Health Authority confirmed Thursday it intends to cut surgeries, seniors' programs and services for the mentally ill to help deal with a budget shortfall of up to $160 million. However, it said the emergency department at Mission Memorial Hospital will stay open."

That's awfully sporting of them, all things considered: "The board said 10 to 15 per cent of elective surgeries will be cut in the latter part of the 2009-10 fiscal year, with slowdowns already scheduled for the Olympic period."

That's how it works. You can elect to have the surgery but they won't elect to give it to you. And don't ask me why hosting the Winter Olympics should necessitate cuts in health care. Unless they're expecting an epidemic of two-man luge teams with buttocks frozen to the sled or men's ice-dancing teams felled by attempting a double-axle in a too tight bolero jacket, it would seem to be just one of those things that happens when governments of advanced wealthy nations decide they can run every aspect of life more "efficiently" than the citizenry.



Can Republicans Do Any Better Than This?

A strong alternative to Obamacare needs to be offered

The party in charge in Washington is doing a horrible job. But can Republicans do any better? To say that the Democrats are “drunk with power” or “out of touch” is inadequate. Something on the order of “clueless” or “oblivious” or “tone-deaf” would be more accurate.

But simply to have the Democrats tripping over their own kingly and queenly arrogance and their incompetence, is not enough to create success for the Republican Party. Republicans - in Congress, running for Congress, and elsewhere - need a cohesive message that signals a competent, respectful, “American” styled government leadership alternative. Can the Republican Party produce this kind of message?

Let’s start by examining just how bad things are with the Democrats. The President that put together the bi-partisan economic advisory dream-team has a moderate, Clinton-era, reasonable appearing member in Larry Summers. But where is former Reagan economic advisor Paul Volcker? He’s neither seen nor heard. And despite Summers’ occasional media appearances, Obama’s economic policies look nothing like either the Reagan era or the Clinton era.

Instead, we got an $800 billion economic “stimlus” bill that funded, among other things, “free” tatoo removal, cricket control, the promotion of astronomy in the Hawaiian islands, a federal sex education program called “Booty Call,” and other non-economically simulative pet projects. The so-called “shovel ready” infrastructure construction projects that were promised have yet to materialize, consumer spending is declining again, and unemployment benefits claims are rising.

Then there was President Obama’s $3.5 trillion budget (Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is now asking Congress to raise the federal debt ceiling above $12 trillion for fear that there won‘t be money to fund Obama‘s budget after October of this year); the so-called “cap-and-trade” energy tax bill that Congressional Democrats themselves scuttled because of outrage from constituents; President Obama’s “firing” of GM’s C.E.O. and his take-over of GM and Chrysler; and the $3 billion plus “cash for clunkers” program that was supposed to get people out of fuel guzzling old cars and into energy efficient new cars, but now is known to have been used for purchases of luxury sedans and SUV’s.

And then there is the proposed nationalization of healthcare. Congressional Democrats can’t seem to fathom how their stupid, un-enlightened constituents could possibly dare to question a proposal to intervene into some of the most personal and intimate area’s of a person’s life. Those who dare to ask questions, or worse yet disapprove, have been labeled by Congressional Democrats as “un-American,” “evil,” “Astroturf,” and “the mob,” and have been accused of “carrying swastikas,” “trying to bring down the President,” and have been compared to the KKK in the days of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Congressional disdain for the “commoner” hit a crescendo last week when Liberal Democrat Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, at a town hall meeting in her district, was caught on video suddenly stepping away from her podium to take a call on her mobile phone, even as an audience member was on-microphone, in mid sentence, asking the Congresswoman a question about healthcare.

Nothing says “I don’t care about the idiot voters” like a member of Congress taking a mobile phone call, while a constituent is trying to ask a question.

So, yes, those controlling Washington these days are performing horribly. But what can Republican offer as an alternative?

The current healthcare mess provides tremendous opportunity for Republicans. For starters, Republicans could pledge that they will not legislate any healthcare “reforms” that they would not live with themselves. It’s no secret that the healthcare benefits afforded to members of Congress are of superior quality. Yet, Democrats continue to draft legislative provisions that in some cases would restrict people’s access to healthcare, in other cases would tax people’s existing healthcare, and have contemplated the possibility of levying taxes on “plastic surgery” purchases.

The message being sent by the Democrats to America is “we’re better than you, and we’ll decide what you need,” yet that’s an unacceptable message for most Americans. Republicans can’t simply talk about private-sector reforms (although that must be at the epicenter of the message); they must now address America’s outrage towards the Congressional majority‘s arrogance, and convey that, “no, we are not better than you, and we want better choices for everybody.”

Republican leaders would also do well to convene a series of “heatlhcare alternative” town hall meetings across the country. Republican leaders who have sound, free-market heatlhcare reform ideas - some members of Congress would fit this description, like Congressman John Shaddegg of Arizona and Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia, but so would Governor Tim Pawlenty and perhaps other Governors as well - should arrange their own speaking tours across the country. The message here would be “we have an alternative to the President’s plan, we’re in the minority, yet our vision is closer to yours..”

The opportunity for Republicans is at hand. Can they seize the moment? Can they do any better?




Much more about the healthcare debate on SOCIALIZED MEDICINE

Rasmussen Poll: 54% Say Passing No Healthcare Reform Better Than Passing Congressional Plan: "Thirty-five percent (35%) of American voters say passage of the bill currently working its way through Congress would be better than not passing any health care reform legislation this year. However, a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that most voters (54%) say no health care reform passed by Congress this year would be the better option. This does not mean that most voters are opposed to health care reform. But it does highlight the level of concern about the specific proposals that Congressional Democrats have approved in a series of Committees. To this point, there has been no Republican support for the legislative effort although the Senate Finance Committee is still attempting to seek a bi-partisan solution."

Democrats give veterans a pass from ObamaCare: "We're still sorting through the health-care deal Henry Waxman struck with Blue Dog Democrats recently, but one 11th-hour revision stands out. Namely, veterans will now be "exempt from the requirements of the legislation." That's how Mr. Waxman's staff put it in a memo to reporters earlier this month, announcing amendments that the House Energy and Commerce Committee included before passing the bill 31 to 28. These changes were designed to assuage the "grave concerns" of the American Legion, Amvets and others about how their members could be penalized by new taxes and insurance regulations. We're delighted service members will be let off this particular hook, but why doesn't everyone else warrant the same dispensation? Or to put it another way, Mr. Waxman is conceding that his plan will interfere with all insurance arrangements that aren't exempted, including private options that are working well."

LOL! Obama burnt in effigy by Indian Leftists: "Congress workers today staged a demonstration and burnt the effigy of US President Barack Obama here for detention of Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan at an American airport. The party workers, who gathered in front of the historic Anand Bhawan, raised slogans against the US administration and termed as an "insult to one billion Indians" the questioning of Khan at Newark airport. The 43-year-old actor was detained and questioned for two hours at the Newark Airport near New York yesterday." [There is a more reasonable Indian response here].

Russian aircraft good at crashing: "Two Russian air force fighters rehearsing acrobatic manoeuvres have collided near Moscow, killing one pilot and sending the jets crashing into nearby vacation homes. The Su-27 fighters were members of the elite Russian Knights flying group preparing to perform at the MAKS-2009 air show - the largest and most important exhibition for Russia's aerospace industry. Drik said three pilots ejected from the jets after the collision. He said rescuers found two in satisfactory condition but the third was killed. The Kremlin identified the dead pilot as the Russian Knights' commander, Colonel Igor Tkachenko, a decorated air force officer. In recent years, Russian air force jets have suffered a series of mishaps, many blamed on the ageing condition of Soviet-era planes. Earlier this year, officials grounded the air force's entire fleet of Su-24s after two crashes in three days. Two crashes of MiG-29 jets in 2008 let to the grounding of that entire model as well. A subsequent investigation demonstrated that a large number had become unsafe to fly and they were scrapped." [And that's not mentioning the many crashes of Russian civilian aircraft]

What Obama’s Town Hall Charade and Pam Anderson’s Breasts Have in Common: "The only problem with the Portsmouth town hall is that it was more artificially stacked with Obama lap dogs than Pam Anderson’s ta-tas are with boat caulk. Of course the meeting was upbeat and thumping . . . it was contrived. A Cyclops could see that. Look, as a knuckle-dragging heterosexual who lives in a God-blessed testosterone fog, I don’t mind fake when it comes to breasts. But when it comes to being conned by a Boob and his stacked crowd, well . . . I gotta admit . . . that makes me want to spit."

The real astroturfers: "Members of the nation's labor unions have made up a hefty segment of the audiences that flocked to town halls Mr. Obama held in the past week, and they have played an even larger role in a nationwide campaign for an insurance overhaul. Financially, and with boots on the ground, unions have become the backbone of the president's effort... The Obama administration decried the opposition movement as a cynical, fake grass-roots campaign manufactured by the insurance industry to undermine his effort. To respond meant galvanizing a movement of his own. That began to take shape, at least visibly, when AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney sent an Aug. 6 memo to union officers across the country to mobilize."

Dealers get paid for only 2% of “clunkers”: “The federal government has only reimbursed auto dealers for 2 percent of the claims they’ve submitted through the popular ‘cash for clunkers’ program, a Pennsylvania congressman said, calling on the Obama administration to help speed up the process. Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., called for ‘immediate action’ to address the problem in a statement Sunday, after writing a letter to President Obama Saturday expressing his concerns. In the letter, Sestak said only 2 percent of claims have been paid and that four of every five applications have been ‘rejected for minor oversight.’”

The enduring testimony of Communists who lost faith: "Although the Cold War was a "great game" played out on the field of diplomacy, a conflict between military superpowers that sometimes turned hot, it was also the 20th century's war of religion: a clash of beliefs and a battle of the books. This mortal combat ­between Communism and liberal democracy produced a vast literature, some books famous in their day, some ­famous still. Now John V. Fleming has had the excellent idea of telling the story of four of them, and the result is the readable and fascinating "The Anti-Communist ­Manifestos." It may be all the better because Mr. ­Fleming, an emeritus professor at Princeton, isn't a modern historian by trade but an authority on medieval literature who knows how to read a text and its context. His four manifestos are "Darkness at Noon," Arthur Koestler's novel about the Soviet show ­trials, and three memoirs: "Out of the Night," by the pseudonymous "Jan Valtin," a mysterious ­Communist ­agitator; "I Chose ­Freedom," by the ­Soviet defector ­Victor Kravchenko; and "Witness," by Whittaker ­Chambers, best known to history as the man who ­accused Alger Hiss of ­espionage."

NY: No lemonade permit? That’ll cost ya, kid!: "Three sourpuss Parks Department agents put the squeeze on a 10-year-old girl in Riverside Park yesterday, slapping the tyke with a $50 ticket for hawking lemonade without a permit. Clementine Lee, who lives just blocks from the Upper West Side park, had dreamed of opening a lemonade stand since last year and took advantage of yesterday’s beautiful weather to set up shop. ‘It was such a hot day I figured people would want a cold drink,’ the aspiring juvenile juice-mogul told The Post. … But yesterday, after The Post contacted the department, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe announced that the ticket would be nixed.”

Obama wants the government to own your house : "The Obama administration, in a major shift on housing policy, is abandoning George W. Bush’s vision of creating an ‘ownership society’ and instead plans to pump $4.25 billion of economic stimulus money into creating tens of thousands of federally subsidized rental units in American cities. The idea is to pay for the construction of low-rise rental apartment buildings and town houses, as well as the purchase of foreclosed homes that can be refurbished and rented to low- and moderate-income families at affordable rates. Analysts say the approach takes a wrecking ball to Bush’s heavy emphasis on encouraging homeownership as a way to create national wealth and provide upward mobility for low- and working-class families, especially minorities. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan’s recalibration of federal housing policy, they said, shows that the Obama White House has acknowledged that not everyone can or should own a home.”

TN: State law lets thugs pack heat : “Some might question the wisdom of allowing Carlos Antwan Fletcher to carry a loaded handgun in public. He has a lengthy criminal arrest history, including being involved in a violent attack that sent a Metro Police officer to the hospital, a separate aggravated assault charge and various drug and gun arrests. Yet, the state has said it’s OK for the 28-year-old Nashville resident to carry a gun. … Fletcher’s past is not typical of the 237,000 Tennesseans who have obtained gun permits and renew them regularly. … But not touted, and often ignored, is a persistent group of Tennesseans with violent pasts who carry gun permits through loopholes, administrative mistakes and the realities of a court system where charges based on violent incidents can be reduced or eliminated in plea bargains.”

Making a noise about gun rights paid off: “The video of Chris Matthews badgering William Kostric says it all. He was all but foaming at the mouth over the audacity of a CITIZEN bringing a gun to a presidential event. I have to admit to being pretty amused at his outrage, since I figure that there were easily a thousand or more guns carried by citizens at that event the MSNBC cameras DIDN’T see — and I can confirm two from personal knowledge. Let's just think about this, though. The hoplophobes would dearly love to have seen this fellow hauled away. I’ll guarantee you that they tried to get the police to do exactly that. Portsmouth is not exactly one of the more conservative towns in New Hampshire, yet good citizen Kostric was not cuffed and shoved into a squad car. Nor, since he appeared on ‘Hardball’ later, was he ‘neutralized’ by a Secret Service sniper.”

Judges who would be king: "“When a federal judge ordered 17 Chinese Uighurs, detained at Guantanamo Bay, released into the United States last October, he took to its logical conclusion the judiciary’s increasingly bold effort to supervise the president and Congress. Justifying his ruling in the face of Congress’ exclusive constitutional power over when, which, and how foreign nationals may enter the United States, Judge Ricardo Urbina reasoned that ‘our system of checks and balances is designed to preserve the fundamental right of liberty.’ He saw his order as necessary to that end. But if he’s right, then the judiciary itself is the unchecked branch of government. And while judges have expanded their power before in our history, never have the claims to supremacy of some of them been so extreme.”


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 or here or here


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)


Monday, August 17, 2009

Obama: The "misinformation" king

And he accuses his opponents of misinformation! Typical Leftist projection. There's a message for him at Matthew 7:5

President Obama is fond of claiming that the debate over health care has been hijacked by special interest groups and other bad guys who are deluding the public by providing misinformation. It will be interesting, then, to see how (and if) he responds to this statement by the American College of Surgeons, which accuses Obama of "getting his facts completely wrong" when discussing some of the practices of surgeons:
The American College of Surgeons is deeply disturbed over the uninformed public comments President Obama continues to make about the high-quality care provided by surgeons in the United States. When the President makes statements that are incorrect or not based in fact, we think he does a disservice to the American people at a time when they want clear, understandable facts about health care reform. We want to set the record straight.

Yesterday during a town hall meeting, President Obama got his facts completely wrong. He stated that a surgeon gets paid $50,000 for a leg amputation when, in fact, Medicare pays a surgeon between $740 and $1,140 for a leg amputation. This payment also includes the evaluation of the patient on the day of the operation plus patient follow-up care that is provided for 90 days after the operation. Private insurers pay some variation of the Medicare reimbursement for this service.

Three weeks ago, the President suggested that a surgeon's decision to remove a child's tonsils is based on the desire to make a lot of money. That remark was ill-informed and dangerous, and we were dismayed by this characterization of the work surgeons do. Surgeons make decisions about recommending operations based on what's right for the patient.

We agree with the President that the best thing for patients with diabetes is to manage the disease proactively to avoid the bad consequences that can occur, including blindness, stroke, and amputation. But as is the case for a person who has been treated for cancer and still needs to have a tumor removed, or a person who is in a terrible car crash and needs access to a trauma surgeon, there are times when even a perfectly managed diabetic patient needs a surgeon. The President's remarks are truly alarming and run the risk of damaging the all-important trust between surgeons and their patients.

We assume that the President made these mistakes unintentionally, but we would urge him to have his facts correct before making another inflammatory and incorrect statement about surgeons and surgical care.



Unamerican Protests are as American as Apple Pie

Un-American, disruptive, distorters of truth, manufactured outrage, Astroturf, hired guns, and Nazis are all terms used by President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and their liberal allies to disparage those who are speaking out at healthcare town hall meetings. Rather than address the legitimate questions being raised about Obamacare, the power elite have chosen to attack with personal insults. This is a failed strategy and it runs the risk of creating serious, long-term alienation in the aggrieved victims.

What a difference six months can make. In February, according to the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll, Obama enjoyed the approval of 65 percent of Americans. Now after his bruising attacks on these activists, his approval rating has slumped to below 50 percent. Alienation is a two-way street.

Obama has not been helped by his allies. The speaker of the House actually wrote an op-ed in USA Today attacking people who voice their displeasure with Obama’s healthcare reform bill. “These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views — but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American.” What Pelosi fails to realize is that her side is the power elite in control of the process and she is the one “drowning out opposing views.”

The Democrats are rushing Obamacare through without taking time to listen. Americans expect elected officials at every level to give them a voice in the process. When those in power force their agenda down the throats of the people, resistance is natural. Listen to these town-hall speakers; they are frustrated by the arrogance.

No person or organization could pay to create an outpouring like America has experienced. Average American citizens are standing against this healthcare bill. These protests, as the tea party protests before them, are organically organized and coordinated by individuals who want their voices to be heard, community by community.

America is proud of patriots like Mike Sola, the man who wheeled his son with cerebral palsy up to challenge Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. America is proud of the man who got roughed up by thugs from the Pipefitters Union at the town hall of Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla. We are proud of Kenneth Gladney, the black man beaten up by SEIU members in Missouri; and Dr. Brian Hill, the urologist from Georgia who would not be silenced. The examples are too numerous of Americans doing their patriotic duty and participating in the democratic process.

They remind us of other dissenters throughout history — Sam Adams, Thomas Paine, Harriet Tubman, William Lloyd Garrison, Carrie Nation, Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr. To say protests are un-American is to demonstrate limited knowledge of America’s grand history of protest.

The most desperate attempt by those in power is charging that these protestors are an out-of-control mob. Watch the video; grandma and grandpa may be agitated, but they don’t constitute a mob.

The irony in this discussion of grassroots activism and Astroturf is that when the liberals toss this charge around it is the pot calling the kettle black. A simple search of online help-wanted Web sites shows hundreds of jobs available as community organizers or Obamacare campaign activists. These left-wing activist organizations have received billions of dollars from George Soros alone. In stark contrast, the opponents of Obamacare are primarily organic and powered by volunteers who actually have real jobs.

America is indeed a nation of laws, but we as Americans have a moral obligation to speak out when our leaders are pushing costly and unconstitutional legislation. Obama and his allies are setting themselves up for future failure if they ignore the voices of their constituents and the will of the American people.



PETA’s Latest Media Blitz Offends From Coast to Coast

The employees who dream up crazy media stunts at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) must be working overtime. Whether it’s terrorizing children outside restaurants in Albany, N.Y., mocking overweight beachgoers in Jacksonville, Fla., or protesting trauma training for military doctors in San Diego County, PETA is making it hard to ignore their offensive tactics this week.

First, protestors tried to scare Albany children off chicken nuggets with cartoons of a knife-wielding clown. Parents unanimously thought it was inappropriate and asked them to stay away from their kids, but of course, that’s never stopped PETA before.

Then a new billboard in Jacksonville greeted beachgoers with a drawing of an overweight woman next to the tagline “Save the Whales. Lose the Blubber: Go Vegetarian.” Several people complained that the billboard was offensive and should be taken down, but PETA hasn’t listened. (Nor have they accepted that vegetarianism isn’t a weight-loss strategy.)

Finally, in the news today is PETA’s protest in Southern California over the use of pigs in standard trauma training for Marine doctors at Camp Pendleton. As we told reporters in the area:
Many corpsman will face a time when he or she will have to pack a gunshot wound, stop a bleeding artery, or cut into a fellow soldier to restore a breathing airway. It is during the first attempts at such procedures that most mistakes are made. I’d rather see it happen on a pig than on one of our military men or women.

Placing animal lives over human lives is standard practice for the animal rights movement. But it’s especially upsetting to see radical activists apply their twisted priorities to U.S. Marines.

It’s also difficult to take PETA’s outrage seriously, when PETA has a long, sad history of euthanizing the vast majority of the animals in their care. In 2008 PETA killed 95 percent of the dogs and cats it took in, finding adoptive homes for just seven pets.

The common thread connecting these stunts is obvious: People do not matter to PETA. It’s fine to manipulate facts and scare children, mock overweight people, and put military lives at risk if it means being nicer to chickens and cows and pigs. Like schoolyard bullies, PETA thrives when the public responds to their media blitzes. But as hard as they make it, maybe if we ignore them, they will go away.



Getting it wrong with Congress

In the post below, I suggest that by next year at this time, President Obama's audacious domestic agenda will have traumatized every congressional Democrat who depends on non-liberal voters for re-election. But Obama's fearless left-liberalism is not confined to domestic matters. Indeed, his hostility towards Israel is already unsettling congressional Democrats, including some who don't particularly need non-liberal votes.

Thus, 71 Senators, including a majority of Senate Democrats, sent a letter to President Obama calling on him to press Arab states to take major steps toward normalizing ties with Israel. The letter recognizes Israel's numerous unilateral steps towards peace and calls on "Arab leaders to take similar tangible steps to demonstrate their commitment to the peace process". It also lists specific ways in which Arab nations can do so, beginning with recognizing the State of Israel.

The letter does not say anything about Israel stopping natural growth in its settlements, the centerpiece of Obama's policy towards Israel. Left-wing Jewish-American pleaded with liberal Senators to make the inclusion of the settlement a condition of signing the letter, but a majority of Senate Democrats ignored this plea.

On the other hand, a majority of Jewish Senators (7 of 13) declined to sign. The non-signers were Russ Feingold, Dianne Feinstein, Al "Diaper Dandy" Franken, Herb Kohl, Frank Lautenberg, Carl Levin, and Bernie Sanders. The signers were Barbara Boxer, Ben Cardin, Charles Schumer, Arlen Specter, Ron Wyden, and of course Joe Lieberman.

Meanwhile, as David Hazony reports, House majority leader Steny Hoyer gave an interview to the Jerusalem Post praising Prime Minister Netanyahu and declaring that Congress has differentiated between East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank. This, Hazony explains, is "nothing less than a slap in the face to the administration's explicit refusal to make such distinctions."

Obama's relations with Congress seem to be going off the track. On health care (and previously the stimulus legislation), he's a follower, to his detriment. On Israel, he's trying to lead, as is appropriate on foreign policy, but few are following.




Opposition to Obama= Racism: "The more President Obama’s approval ratings have slipped, the more his accomplices in the media have begun muttering about race. With the health care debate becoming full-blown opposition, the accusations are no longer subtle. While many of us figured this was inevitable should liberals start losing the substantive arguments, the pace at which it degenerated to this, and the ferocity of the attacks, are nonetheless startling. Protest, for the last 8 years lauded as the ultimate expression of patriotism, is now suddenly un-American, impolite, Nazi-like, crazy — and above all, racist. It started in earnest with Chris Matthews and Kathleen Parker on Hardball last week, blaming Southern White Males — and Sarah Palin — for dragging the Republican Party down a dark road of racism that was turning the rest of the country off. Matthews invited the “conservative” Parker because of a column she had written saying that racist Southern males were ruining the Republican Party, and that Sarah Palin was their heroine. Another Palin Derangement Syndrome sufferer, left wing moonbat Joan Walsh of was also along for the bumpy ride."

Thousands in Atlanta protest health care reform: "A few thousand people gathered Saturday in downtown Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park to protest a health care overhaul led by the president and other Democratic leaders. The event, sponsored by the conservative Americans for Prosperity Foundation, was hosted by FreedomWorks chairman and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and conservative talk radio hosts Joel Aaron and Herman Cain. "What we have today is an assault on liberty that is larger than anything we have ever seen," Armey said, eliciting loud cheers from the crowd. As a congressman from Texas, Armey opposed health care reform efforts by the Clinton administration. According to news reports, he resigned from the lobbying firm DLA Piper this week because the firm's drug company clients complained about his efforts against the president's health care overhaul."

Obama Snagged in Digital Television Controversy: "More broken promises to report this week related to the Obama White House and the issue of transparency. On August 6, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to obtain documents related to the government's decision to delay the transition to digital television. The FCC refused to respond to Judicial Watch's initial FOIA request until - get this – "we receive instructions from the White House." Instructions from the White House on a routine FOIA request? This response is not only highly unusual, but it is also extremely troubling given that our FOIA request actually involves alleged corruption inside the Obama White House!"

Whining intellectuals: “Shortly after I meet a person with any sort of intellectual, literary, or artistic interest — which is often — there invariably comes a signaling ceremony: ritual words are uttered to the effect that the earth is dying (and polar bears are drowning in Antarctica, where there never were any bears); that President Bush is a retard who nevertheless managed to implement a diabolically clever plot to lead us into a war for oil; or even that the moronic Bush and his retinue of idiots cleverly contrived the internal explosion of the twin towers. At the very least, the other person signals, the world is going to pot because ’society’ is not doing enough to alleviate suffering or mere discomfort, or to save the many from the predictable consequences of their foolishness. The diffuse tenor of the signaling is that things are much worse today than they were yesterday and that tomorrow will be absolute hell. As for the day after tomorrow, there likely won’t be any, but you should worry about it anyway. There are so many reasons to be appalled that it might take the whole afternoon just to recite them — if I took my new acquaintance at his word.”

The tyranny of democracy: “Whenever I hear someone call America a democracy, I inform that person that we are actually living in a republic. I usually get a blank stare in return. Sometimes that person will ask what the difference is between a republic and a democracy. I explain that a republic is an indirect form of democracy where elective representatives vote on certain legislation. Most of the time I get another blank stare, but there are occasions where that person asks ‘why aren’t we a direct democracy, where everybody in the United States gets a vote?” These questions make me feel like I was the only one who paid attention in social studies. For starters, America is too massive to include everybody in the legislative process. There are towns that practice direct democracy, but they usually take place in areas with small populations. We also have to make sure that our rights are never compromised by the majority. To paraphrase Mel Gibson’s character in the Patriot, ‘An elected legislator can trample on a man’s rights just easy as any king.’”

Once upon a time the law did not concern itself with trivialities: "A Gainesville father has been arrested for hitting his daughter with a pizza slice. The 38-year-old man was arrested early Friday on a charge of child abuse without great harm, a third-degree felony. The man's name was being withheld to protect the identity of the victim. Deputy Nick Vickers says the man used racist and sexist terms when he asked his daughter to turn off her computer, and she fired back with some crude language of her own. Vickers says the father "intentionally threw a slice of pizza at the victim, striking her in the back of the neck, against her will." The girl, whose age was not available, called 911 and her father was arrested."

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


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 or here or here


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)


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Orthodox Israeli Jews battle authorities in Sabbath wars

Although I am not of their persuasion at all, I have a sneaking sympathy for these guys. There is no doubt that they take the 10 Commandments seriously. There is a similar Sabbath-observance tradition in my Protestant background too, a tradition still observed in some parts of Scotland

A conflict over municipal car parks has turned into a fight for the soul of the city, writes Jason Koutsoukis in Jerusalem. Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews are expected to clash with riot police again here this evening in the latest protest against the opening of the city's municipal car parks on the Jewish Sabbath. The decision by the secular Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, to open the car parks has enraged the city's ultra-Orthodox population and has turned into an effective battle for the soul of the city.

''If we win this fight, then Jerusalem is ours,'' says Yoelish Krausz, an ultra-Orthodox protest organiser. Known in Hebrew as Haredim, or those who fear God, Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox population numbers about 200,000, or 32 per cent of the city's Jewish population. ''Jewish people who choose to violate Jewish law in private is one thing but for the public authorities, who are Jewish and who are in control of city, to violate the Sabbath, that is a direct challenge to the word of God,'' Mr Krausz says.

Fearful that the opening of the car parks will lead to the widespread opening of shopping malls and other desecration of the Sabbath, Mr Krausz maintains that the protests will continue every Saturday until the municipality reverses its policy. Speaking to the Herald from what he says is the war room of the protest movement, a ramshackle vaulted chamber in the heart of the Mea Shearim neighbourhood, Mr Krausz says his ultimate goal is to bring about a change in the way Jerusalem is governed.

The fight over the car parks is not the only source of tension between the Haredim and the local authorities. Last month the arrest of an ultra-Orthodox mother accused of starving her son sparked riots across the city. ''We want international sovereignty for Jerusalem,'' Mr Krausz said. ''This is a city that belongs to everyone, to Jews, to Christians and to the Arabs. The worst thing is that it be governed by Jews who disobey God.''

Hanging on a coat-hanger from the ceiling is a hessian sack fashioned into a crude tunic, a symbol of mourning that Mr Krausz said he wore every year on Israel's independence day. ''We want the Zionists out,'' said Mr Krausz, whose first language is Yiddish and who speaks in Hebrew only as a means of broadcasting his message.

Mr Krausz, who is a member of the Edah Haredit sect of Haredi Jews, which strongly opposes Zionism and the state of Israel, said he spoke for 9000 families in Jerusalem - or about 90,000 people in total. At 37 and already a father of 11, his family came to Jerusalem from Hungary after the end of World War II. ''I accept nothing from the government, no financial support. I have no health insurance, I have no identification papers. When my children are born I pay the hospital 9000 shekels ($2800) so that I am not in their debt.''

But just as Mr Krausz and his followers seek to exert maximum pressure on the Jerusalem municipality, the mayor, Mr Barkat, is under enormous pressure from secular and mainstream religious Jews not to cave into the Haredim. ''I call them the Jewish Taliban,'' said Tzvi Fisher, 53, a secular protester outside the Jerusalem municipal offices this week....



Palin Wins: If she's dim and Obama is brilliant, how did he lose the argument to her?

An excerpt from TARANTO below:

The first we heard about Sarah Palin's "death panels" comment was in a conversation last Friday with an acquaintance who was appalled by it. Our interlocutor is not a Democratic partisan but a high-minded centrist who deplores extremist rhetoric whatever the source. We don't even know if he has a position on ObamaCare. From his description, it sounded to us as though Palin really had gone too far.

A week later, it is clear that she has won the debate. President Obama himself took the comments of the former governor of the 47th-largest state seriously enough to answer them directly in his so-called town-hall meeting Tuesday in Portsmouth, N.H. As we noted Wednesday, he was callous rather than reassuring, speaking glibly--to audience laughter--about "pulling the plug on grandma."

The Los Angeles Times reports that Palin has won a legislative victory as well: "A Senate panel has decided to scrap the part of its healthcare bill that in recent days has given rise to fears of government "death panels," with one lawmaker suggesting the proposal was just too confusing" ....

One can hardly deny that Palin's reference to "death panels" was inflammatory. But another way of putting that is that it was vivid and attention-getting. Level-headed liberal commentators who favor more government in health care, including Slate's Mickey Kaus and the Washington Post's Charles Lane, have argued that the end-of-life provision in the bill is problematic--acknowledging in effect (and, in Kaus's case, in so many words) that Palin had a point.

If you believe the media, Sarah Palin is a mediocre intellect, if even that, while President Obama is brilliant. So how did she manage to best him in this debate? Part of the explanation is that disdain for Palin reflects intellectual snobbery more than actual intellect. Still, Obama's critics, in contrast with Palin's, do not deny the president's intellectual aptitude. Intelligence, however, does not make one immune from hubris.


Obama's scurrilous amputation nonsense

His invocation of the "prevention" mantra shows once again that he is a shallow thinker who does not know what he is talking about

When we caught President Obama in the act of sliming America's physicians at his dog-and-pony show in Portsmouth, he was touting the superior virtues of preventive care over treatment. Remember, this guy is smart. Why didn't we think of that?

Obama illustrated his insight with an example. If you are borderline diabetic, you need to be told to change your diet and drop a few pounds. Your primary care physician won't tell you this, according to Obama, because he doesn't get paid enough for counseling. Moreover, he seems to be in cahoots with the surgeon who is raking in the big bucks performing amputations at a rate of up to $50,000 per foot. Thus the epidemic of footless citizens all around us. Again, why didn't we think of that?

Charles Krauthammer explains the rationale underlying Obama's invocation of preventive medicine. It is the deus ex machina come down to resolve the internal contradictions of Obamacare. Obamacare will pay for itself by reducing the epidemic of costly amputations. It will save money, and also save lives. So we'll be hearing a lot more about it.

As Krauthammer notes, however, there is at least one problem with this scenario. Krauthammer quotes CBO Director Doug Elmendorf: "Researchers who have examined the effects of preventive care generally find that the added costs of widespread use of preventive services tend to exceed the savings from averted illness." But has the CBO factored in the increased productivity of borderline diabetics whose feet will be saved under the regime of Obamacare?

The more salient question is whether there is anything that can be done to prevent Obama from invoking prevention as the magic solution to the internal contradictions of Obamacare. The guy is like a flim-flam man selling a patent medicine. Unfortunately, modern medicine hasn't yet devised a cure for deceit and demagoguery.



BrookesNews Update

The American economy: Japan redux? : Obama is the most interventionist president since Roosevelt and has already revealed a deep hostility to the free market. He will have been the only one since the 1930s to launch a barrage of taxes and regulations during a recession. His proposal to double the capital gains tax, for instance, amounts to a huge tax increase on investment and technical progress. These policies pose a clear danger to economic recovery
Misreading the Great Depression causes confusion about the jobless and Obama's spending binge : Evidence that government spending is not a cure for unemployment and recessions is overwhelming. Unfortunately this has led some people to believe that such spending prevents unemployment from falling. It does not. What it does is distort the structure of prices and production to the detriment of the economy
Bad monetary policy destabilised exchange rates : "The one thing - money supply - that should have been tightly regulated was not. Naturally the consequences of the central banks' reckless monetary policy was laid at the feet of the free market
Are we in America or Amerika?: Democrats, bloodied over their attempt to force health care 'reform' on Americans, are looking more unreasonable and hysterical by the day. This isn't healthy for the republic. Their increasing anxiety and fear of failure are typified in the words of Obama who wants Republicans to keep their mouths shut while he 'fixes' health care
How a carbon tax would devastate farming : The Government's The ETS (carbon tax) is really an Employment Termination Scheme that will savage living standards
The Democrats astroturf fantasies: Democrats forget that America is still a middle-class conservative country, whose citizens still admire hard work, honesty and truthfulness, ideals not common in the Democrat ranks. Democrats lie to themselves, they lie to each other and they lie to the taxpayer. They make no sense; assume we are fools, stacking one falsehood on top of another
The end of white guilt? : Is Martin Luther King's dream finally becoming a reality - are Americans now be free judge a man according to the content of his character instead of the color of his skin?



France, Germany Fend Off Recession: "Fresh signs of a nascent economic recovery came from hard-hit Europe on Thursday, with Germany and France unexpectedly becoming the first major industrialized nations to officially pull out of the global recession. Though their recoveries were modest by virtually any standard and may yet stall in the months ahead, the surprising bounce back to growth in Europe's largest economies comes on the heels of steadily rising economic optimism across the globe. In Germany, economic activity jumped 0.3 percent from April to June compared with the previous three months after a 3.5 percent quarterly contraction in the beginning of the year. France also reported growth of 0.3 percent in the quarter. With many analysts also predicting a "jobless recovery" in the United States, such as the one following the 2001 recession, a projected global turnaround later this year may be more visible in statistical calculations than in consumer pocketbooks around the world."

GOP thinks the unthinkable: Victory in 2010: "It's a possibility many Republicans speak of only in whispers and Democrats are just now beginning to face. After passionate and contentious fights over health care, the environment, and taxes, could Democrats lose big -- really big -- in next year's elections? Ask them about it, and many Democrats will point to the continued personal popularity of Barack Obama. But that's not the story. "I think what's going to happen is Obama's going to be fine, and the Democrats in Congress are going to get their asses kicked in 2010," says one Democratic strategist who prefers not to be named. "This is following a curve like the Clinton years: take on really controversial things early, fail, or succeed partially, ask Democrats to take really tough votes, and then lose. A lot of guys are going to get beat, but the president has time to recover." Most Republican hope focuses on the House of Representatives, but even there they have a huge job ahead. Democrats control 256 seats, and Republicans 178. Forty seats would have to change hands for Republicans to take charge. On the other hand, 52 seats turned over when the GOP won the House in 1994."

The Airborne Laser scores a hit, even as its budget is being cut: "Never has Ronald Reagan's dream of layered missile defenses—Star Wars, for short—been as politically out of favor as in the Age of Obama. Nor as close, at least technologically, to becoming realized. The latest encouraging news came Thursday courtesy of the Misssile Defense Agency. The Airborne Laser prototype aircraft this week found, tracked, engaged and simulated an intercept with a missile seconds after liftoff. It was the first time the Agency used an "instrumented" missile to confirm the laser works as expected. Next up this fall will be the first live attempt to bring down a ballistic missile, but this test confirms how far along this innovative effort has come. Along with space-based weapons, the Airborne Laser is the next defense frontier. The modified Boeing 747 is supposed to send an intense beam of light over hundreds of miles to destroy missiles in the "boost phase," before they can release decoys and at a point in their trajectory when they would fall back down on enemy territory. It's a pioneering use of directed energy in defense. The laser complements the sea- and ground-based missile defenses that keep proving themselves in tests."

Obama disowning attacks on insurers: "President Obama said at a town-hall meeting here that he does not intend to vilify insurance companies as he tours the West this weekend to persuade Americans to back his proposed overhaul to the nation's health care system. Marc Montgomery, a 52-year-old insurance broker from Helena and one of nine people the president called on for questions, chided Mr. Obama for his recent decision to focus his bid for a health care overhaul on the failings of the insurance industry. Why, Mr. Montgomery asked, was the president "vilifying" insurance brokers? "That's a fair question," Mr. Obama conceded. "My intent is not to vilify insurance companies ... What we do have to make sure of is that certain practices that are very tough on people, that those practices change." The president said that some insurance companies are working with him to shape the legislation, but, he complained, others are standing in the way. And for no good reason, he added, arguing that the only way to make an overhaul work in the best interest of the insurance industry is to put the tens of millions of uninsured Americans under their umbrella".

Hamas as moderates! " Islamic radicals from an al Qaeda-inspired group battled Hamas security in the Gaza Strip on Friday in shootouts that killed at least 13 people. The fighting began when Hamas forces surrounded a mosque in the southern Gaza town of Rafah where about 100 members of Jund Ansar Allah, or the Soldiers of the Companions of God, were holed up, including some armed with suicide belts and rifles, according to residents of the area. Jund Ansar Allah and a number of other small, shadowy radical groups seek to enforce an even stricter version of Islamic law in Gaza and have criticized Hamas for not doing so. They are also upset that the Hamas regime has honored a cease-fire with Israel for the past seven months. Hamas has said it seeks to set an example and does not impose its views on others. It also says its violent struggle is against Israel, not the Western world. The more radical groups' calls for global Jihad undermines Hamas' attempt to appear more moderate to Western eyes."

Is fear of our government irrational? : “Too often now when some people voice fear of the American government, whether it is its policy involving Homeland Security or health care reform, one is accused of being irrational or paranoid. It is that familiar ‘It can’t happen here’ syndrome at work. But there are good reasons not to dismiss such concerns under current circumstances. When society is considered a collective — akin to a team, only not voluntarily established like most sport teams are — those who see themselves as its leaders and charged with selecting the goals everyone must pursue, can quite easily slip into a mode of thinking that construes all opposition a form of betrayal.”

A fork in the road is coming: “Over the past couple of days, we’ve seen arguments about national health care erupt into incidents of local violence. Yes, we yelled at each other bit back in 2005 or so, when Social Security reform was on the table. But now we’re seeing thugs in SEIU T-shirts showing up and throwing punches at people who are gathered to demonstrate against the current version of health care reform. We’ve seen a local Democratic Party apparatchik shove a demonstrator in the face. Billy Beck has often said it, and now he’s saying it again: ‘You have always heard it here first: All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war.’ At this rate, I’m afraid that it’s going to become painfully obvious that a large number of people in this country are not going to politely doff their caps to the local SEIU grandees, once they’ve learned their lessons like good Germans. Quite the reverse, in fact I’ve also said before — and every time I do, people like Oliver Willis call me crazy for saying it — we’re preparing this country to split apart.”


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 or here or here


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)


Saturday, August 15, 2009

An instructive cartoon


RIP, Obamamania

By John Lillpop

Barack Obama’s falling star is NOT entirely his fault. Yes it is true that the man has an ego the size of Mt. Rushmore. He is without question the most narcissistic, egotistical, and arrogant president to have ever occupied the White House. It is also true that he is an unapologetic Marxist, a man who believes that he has been blessed with the only truth that matters. Only by following his way can America survive and grow, or so he thinks.

However, it was an unhealthy alliance between the mainstream media and vengeful liberals that actually allowed the Barack Obama myth to grow completely out of control. That alliance turned an extraordinarily bright and charming man of limited achievement into a combination Messiah and Rock Star who was capable of smiting all of the thorny problems badgering weary Americans.

He would solve the economic crisis quickly and fairly, put desperate Americans back to work, end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, bring the troops home, act to stop global warming from inflicting further harm on Mother Earth, keep people from losing their homes to foreclosure, fix the automobile crisis, and heal the wounds resulting from hundreds of years of racial divide and stress.

When needed, he could even take to the national airwaves to recite bedtime stories full of Hope and more Hope to comfort anguished Americans during difficult times. According to the mythmakers, Barack Obama was all things to all people. A one-stop Nanny solution to all of life’s challenges and setbacks. The only problem is that the myth was lacking in transparency and viability. Like most of the president’s policies and actions, the Obama myth was little more than wishful thinking.

Concerned about 46 million uninsured people? Solution: Cross your fingers, close your eyes and wish for health care reform and PRESTO! you have added 46 million to the ranks of the insured AND reduced costs in the process!

Concerned about terrorism and American homeland security? Solution: Simply delete the terms “global war on terror” and “Jihad” from the vernacular, and PRESTO! the war on terror is no more!

Concerned about the exploding national debt? Solution: Spend another few trillion dollars on unneeded programs and PRESTO! you have bought a way off the debt- begets- debt -begets- debt treadmill and are headed to prosperity and greener grass on the other side, forever!

So it was that the Obama Myth grew and grew, sort of at the same time and pace as the Mexican Swine flu as it were. Unlike the Mexican flu, however, the Obama myth was without substance. As someone famous once said about Oakland, California, “There is no there there!” With Barack Obama, there is no there there, either.

That reality has started to resonate with millions of Americans who finally realize that the promised Messiah is actually a community organizer and Robin Hood wannabe who does not grasp the laws of supply and demand. A Robin Hood who spreads poverty rather than wealth!

Barack Obama, it turns out, is just another privileged malcontent with a chip on his shoulder, but without a clue about how to manage the complex and massive issues confronting a nation of three hundred million people. Again, it is not entirely Obama’s fault. We allowed him to hoodwink both himself and we the people at the same time!



Right-Wing Extremists Descend Upon Town Halls Nationwide

Patriotic Americans nationwide have descended upon town halls and Congressional district offices for the past two weeks to express their displeasure with Barack Obama’s monocratic health care takeover. And for their efforts, they have been condemned and ridiculed by their own elected representatives as “un-American,” “political terrorists,” “uncivilized,” and “Brown Shirts.” Not to mention, “rightwing extremists”.

The fact is, these despicable comments—made by members of Congress referring to passionate constituents who rightly want their representatives to listen to them for a change—are nothing short of an all-out assault on the American people. And they are being orchestrated by Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack “Punch Back” Obama.

Unfortunately, they are not without precedent. Comparisons have even been made by one Congressman to domestic terrorists. Congressman Brian Baird (WA-CD3) said, referring to ObamaCare opponents, “Some of the rhetoric that we’re hearing is… eerily reminiscent of the kind of things that drove Tim McVeigh to bomb the federal building in Oklahoma.” Simply stunning.

But again, not without precedent. In fact, some of the rabid rhetoric to which Americans are being subjected—from members of Congress—is eerily reminiscent of a so-called “threat” assessment issued by the Department of Homeland Security back in April. Remember, this was the same memo that defined “rightwing extremist” as “groups, movements, and adherents… that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority” and “groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.” Hmm, kind of like those “Brown Shirts” (to use Brian Baird’s term) descending upon town halls nationwide.

Of course, this is the same memo that has now been discredited. After filing a Freedom of Information Act Request with the Department of Homeland Security into the methodology used, Americans for Limited Government has learned that no intelligence sources were utilized. No crime data or statistics. In short, no evidence of any planned attacks or active recruitment by groups known to have planned attacks....

As it turns out, the data, studies, and reports used by DHS were largely gathered from hard left groups like the fund-raising front Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and even one crackpot “news service” that once reported that a U.S. scientist had destroyed a “radio to God.”

William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration said it was no coincidence that the SPLC was cited as top sources by DHS. “It’s been very clear to us that the SPLC, ADL, and now unfortunately, DHS are interested in politicizing American law enforcement in a way that hasn’t happened since Germany and the Soviet Union in the 1930’s and ‘40’s,” Gheen said in an exclusive interview with ALG News.

Gheen said that he believed the same individuals who were responsible for drafting the controversial “rightwing extremism” memo were also responsible for a very similar threat assessment issued by the Missouri Information Analysis Center, a so-called federal fusion center, in February entitled “The Modern Militia Movement.”....

Much like the DHS memo, SPLC was cited as a top source of information. And much like the DHS memo, it was withdrawn by the agency that put it forward, followed by public apologies from government officials. Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder (R-MO) even asked that Missouri Public Safety Director John Britt be placed on administrative leave. What is disquieting, however, is that in both cases, two governments—the state of Missouri and the federal government—unleashed police nationwide to go after “rightwing extremists” with an overly broad mandate to view about half of the population as possible “suspects.”

What if members of law enforcement had not leaked and made available to the people of Missouri the February “threat” assessment? What if great scrutiny had not been given to the DHS memo when it surfaced in April? How, then, would law enforcement be treating participants in the town hall meetings of August? Probably the same way Congressman Brian Baird wants to. And Nancy Pelosi. And Barack Obama. Like Timothy McVeigh. Like enemies of the state. Like anything but the patriotic Americans they actually are.



Fact, Fiction, and the Laffer Curve

Obama's Higher Tax Rates May Raise Revenue, but Far Less than Politicians Expect

The Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation (CF&P) today released a new paper analyzing how movements in tax rates lead to behavioral changes that cause significant shifts in the amount of income reported to tax authorities.

The new paper, entitled "The Laffer Curve: Understanding the Relationship Between Tax Rates, Taxable Income, and Tax Revenue," reviews the theory and evidence for "Laffer Curve" effects and discusses how the Joint Committee on Taxation's revenue-estimating process is based on the absurd theory that changes in tax policy - even dramatic reforms such as a flat tax - do not affect economic growth. Because of congressional budget rules, this leads to a bias for tax increases and against tax cuts.

"When you tax something, you get less of it, and that applies to income. When taxable income goes down, this at least somewhat offsets the impact of higher tax rates," explained CF&P President Andrew Quinlan. "As politicians in Washington seek to expand the burden of government, they need to understand that higher tax rates ultimately becomes a self-defeating policy," he continued.

More here



There's a HUGE coverage of the healthcare debate on SOCIALIZED MEDICINE today.

Voters Now Trust Republicans More than Dems with their Health: "In the midst of a tumultuous healthcare debate—including Congressional town hall meetings that end in punching matches—U.S. voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats on the handling of the healthcare issue. For the first time in two years of polling, the Rasmussen Report national telephone survey shows that voters favor the COP on the issue 44 percent to 41 percent. The new numbers come at time of rampant skepticism, particularly among older, white voters, of President Obama's healthcare agenda. This skepticism has manifested in the form of false rumors, intense protests and even vandalism and blatant racism, reports NPR. Experts say the intensity is growing in a shattered economy. "I've never seen as angry an electorate as this one," said Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist, in an interview with NPR. Lehane is a California-based pollster who routinely conducts swing-voter focus groups. "They're as scared as I've ever seen them, and that manifests into anger. There is a general fear that the American dream is not going to be there for them or their children. There is concern about trust broken between government and the people."

Evil Ezekiel downplays the need for rationing but still targets "unnecessary care": "Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, the White House official targeted by Sarah Palin and other conservatives as an advocate for health care rationing and "death panels," said Thursday his "thinking has evolved" on the need to decide who gets treated and who does not. "When I began working in the health policy area about 20 years ago ... I thought we would definitely have to ration care, that there was a need to make a decision and deny people care," said Dr. Emanuel, a health care adviser to President Obama in the Office of Management and Budget, during a phone interview. "I think that over the last five to seven years ... I've come to the conclusion that in our system we are spending way more money than we need to, a lot of it on unnecessary care," he said. "If we got rid of that care we would have absolutely no reason to even consider rationing except in a few cases."

Obama’s Potemkin Village: “President Obama seems to be a congenital liar, and perhaps a little more stupid than his fans thought. A product of a long process of social promotion and congenial B studenthood, perhaps. (If he would release his transcripts we would know.) Faced with dropping poll numbers and nationwide protests by angry voters, President Obama conducted a Potemkin Village town hall in New Hampshire, much like Stalin created fake Russian villages with fake prosperity and villagers ordered to smile and answer correctly to Western journalists. The New Hampshire Potemkin town hall was pathetic.”

Four arguments against socialism, including Medicare: “Senior citizens are frightened over the possibility that President Obama’s health-care plan will adversely affect their Medicare coverage. Their attitude reflects how socialistic programs have converted a once-proud, strong, and independent people into weak, frightened, dependent wards of the state. The first argument against any socialist program, however, is the moral one — that it’s wrong to take what doesn’t belong to you. Moreover, the immorality of an act cannot be converted into something good or moral simply because the state is doing it on your behalf.”

The public option: "The key ingredients of President Obama’s election victory were technocratic competence and a therapeutic populism — his Ivy League intellect would be the key to solving our average-Joe problems. Nevertheless, it’s not at all clear that the technocratic conception of politics is compatible with a robust deliberative democracy. And Obama’s technocratic side is winning out. Obama’s populism is based on the satisfaction of the will of the people — he decries, however insincerely or inconsistently, the undermining of general consent by the overrepresentation of special interests or of the wealthy. However, Obama’s conception of techno-politics is based on the embrace of a kind of techno-aristocracy — hyper-educated elites with specialized political or scientific expertise are singled out to manage the benighted rest of us. The conspicuous contradiction embedded within Obama’s political program is between his populist embrace of consent and his technocratic dismissal of it: The former presumes the prudence of common sense; the latter rejects it as radically untutored.”

More Muslim barbarism: "A man has been charged with shooting dead his pregnant sister for marrying without family permission, after luring her to another brother's wedding in a conspiracy with him, police say. "The 30-year-old suspect shot his 23-year-old pregnant sister, who worked as a nurse, four times in the head and other parts of her body on Wednesday, while she was attending the wedding of another brother," a police spokesman told AFP on Thursday. "The mother of a baby boy got married two years ago without the family's permission after she ran away from home" in Madaba, south of the capital Amman, he said. Police added that the woman's brothers "agreed to kill her in revenge". "The men assured their sister that she would not be hurt and lured her to attend the wedding. The suspect killed her there, while her other two brothers severely beat the husband," the source added."

Pennsylvania earthquake: Toomey more popular than Specter: "I’m not aware that Pennsylvania has ever been struck by a major natural earthquake. But the state has evidently been the scene of a major political earthquake over this past month. Pollster Scott Rasmussen reports that Pennsylvania voters now prefer Republican Pat Toomey over Democrat Arlen Specter for the Senate seat Specter has held for 29 years by a 48%-36% margin. Last month Rasmussen showed Specter leading 50%-39%."

Cash for Clunkers, Moscow Edition: "The numbers seven and eleven are very lucky if you are shooting dice at the craps table in Las Vegas. However, for Russia’s missile industry and strategic nuclear forces these two numbers are at present associated with rather a rather unpleasant string of misfortunes. Last month on July 15 the eleventh test launch of the Bulava (SS-NX-30) advanced submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) failed, the seventh such failure since 2006. Bulava is designed to be the primary SLBM for several decades, which makes it one of the key linchpins in Russia’s nuclear force–the other two elements being the Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers and the fleet of land-based ICBMs. If its design flaws cannot be corrected (which appears increasingly likely) planners for the Russian ballistic missile submarine force, which is the most potent leg of the Russian nuclear triad, will be facing a bit of a sticky wicket.”

After 12 years of Leftist government, Britain has a real modern-day Gestapo: Two people have been successfully prosecuted for refusing to provide authorities with their encryption keys, resulting in landmark convictions that may have carried jail sentences of up to five years. The government said today it does not know their fate. The power to force people to unscramble their data was granted to authorities in October 2007. Between 1 April, 2008 and 31 March this year the first two convictions were obtained. The disclosure was made by Sir Christopher Rose, the government's Chief Surveillance Commissioner, in his recent annual report. [Are Americans looking forward to getting a "Chief Surveillance Commissioner"? It's your turn next if America's Leftists stay in complete control for long. Note that the trial appears to have been held in secret and the names and prison sentences (if any) of the "offenders", plus what they were originally suspected of are all secret. Even the Gestapo could not do better secrecy than that]

Why British parents should oppose vetting: “If we understand and appreciate the vital role played by other adults that makes raising a family something more than a thankless chore, we should be very clear about the destructive consequences of Britain’s national vetting scheme. This scheme subjects all adults whose paid or voluntary work is seen to give them the opportunity to develop a relationship of trust with other people’s children to a criminal record check, and puts their details into a gigantic database that will constantly ‘monitor’ their status.The purported aim of this scheme is to prevent convicted child abusers from gaining access to kids. The consequence is a systematic poisoning of the relationship between generations.”


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 or here or here


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)


Friday, August 14, 2009

The Coming Health Care Titanic

By Justin Williams

Trade offs are a part of every economic decision whether someone is going to the grocery store or deciding on health care treatments. And in a previous article called “The ‘Invisible Hand’… or the Hand of Death?,” we looked at how the lack of a trade-off mechanism in the past caused health care costs to soar. Now it’s time to seriously consider what will happen when the decision is taken away from patient and put in the hands of an already heavily debt-burdened, bankrupt government.

In a market, the private ownership of the medicine, tests, and services is supposed to allow exchange and trade on the basis of supply and demand. Now, with the current Obama Administration to eliminate private ownership as the means of production, the patients will simply have no choice but to be entirely subservient to a rationing or “control” board that places government demands above personal needs.

Economically, there is no other way to organize the system then through rationing when the mechanism of prices is abolished altogether. Even leftist Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post correctly writes “It is not illogical for skeptics to suspect that if millions of people are going to be newly covered by health insurances, either costs are going to skyrocket or services are going to be curtailed.”

In most government programs, the American taxpayer is unlucky enough to get both. Americans have already seen with the lack of a price system that costs have skyrocketed in the medical community, just as they have in the postal service, AMTRAK, the education system and every other arena where the government hegemony has wreaked havoc. Now, instead of allowing a fair price system, the Obama Administration plans on curtailing services.

Barack Obama himself inadvertently revealed the first signs of curtailing services when he said, “Right now, doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that’s out there. … The doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, ‘You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid’s tonsils out.’” The solution to this would be to engage a price system, putting supply and demand in the patients’ hands. Instead, the Obama Administration has chose to let a government bureaucrat decide whether or not you should have your tonsils taken out.

So the government is going to have to make trade offs on limiting critical medical services to the population as a whole. But somehow Mr. Robinson, along with many other liberals does not see how this reform could ever possibly create “death panels.”

It’s simple. The American health care system will be more like the Titanic than an unhampered private system with a healthy price mechanism. American patients will have to line up: women and children first, arranged youngest to oldest; the elderly last – if at all.

This government is already sinking fast into debt and running out of ways to raise funds. Health care reform will only accelerate this further. But, yet, increased government spending with reduced quality is the government’s only “solution” to today’s health care problems.

While the ship sinks and the people line up in a deadly queue, the one thing that truly distinguishes the Titanic from the health care debate will become clear: on the Titanic, the captain went down with the ship. It is doubtful that you will see Barack Obama standing in the back of any line -- because, after all, the politicians in Washington have their own non-government health-care program protecting them from the “public option.” So much for all men being created equal.



Medicare For All Isn't The Answer

My company ran a hospital in London. We don't want to go the government route.... A single-payer system may appear attractive to some. But as someone with more than 30 years of experience running a leading hospital company with international operations, I have firsthand knowledge of the hidden costs.

Medicare reimbursements to hospitals fail to cover the actual cost of providing services. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), an independent congressional advisory agency, says hospitals received only 94.1 cents for every dollar they spent treating Medicare patients in 2007. MedPAC projects that number to decline to 93.1 cents per dollar spent in 2009, for an operating shortfall of 7%. Medicare works because hospitals subsidize the care they provide with revenue received from patients who have commercial insurance. Without that revenue, hospitals could not afford to care for those covered by Medicare. In effect, everyone with insurance is subsidizing the Medicare shortfall, which is growing larger every year.

If hospitals had to rely solely on Medicare reimbursements for operating revenue, as would occur under a single-payer system, many hospitals would be forced to eliminate services, cut investments in advanced medical technology, reduce the number of nurses and other employees, and provide less care for the patients they serve. And with the government in control, Americans eventually will see rationing, the denial of high-priced drugs and sophisticated procedures, and long waits for care.

My company's experience with health care in the United Kingdom illustrates the point. In the 1980s, we opened The London Independent Hospital to serve the private medical market in the U.K. The hospital had not been open long when representatives of a 1,000-bed government-run hospital located a short distance away approached us to borrow high-tech equipment and instruments. Because people were ill and needed procedures the government hospital could not provide, we provided that hospital with the help it needed. But that experience convinced me that under a single-payer system hospitals do not receive the money required to purchase advanced technology or provide quality care.

Advocates of a single-payer system say that hospitals would survive if they learned to operate more efficiently. While we are always looking for ways to improve efficiency, the economic conditions of the past few years have already forced most institutions to reduce expenses and increase efficiency as much as possible.

The reality is that Americans have come to expect the best health care in the world, and to provide that, hospitals must continue to invest in advanced medical technology, salaries for well-trained nurses and technicians, and state-of-the-art facilities. If hospitals were required to operate solely on revenue from a single-payer system, they could no longer afford to provide the care that Americans deserve.



Megan McArdle on government health-care rationing

Robert Wright notes that "we already ration health care; we just let the market do the rationing." This is a true point made by the proponents of health care reform. But I'm not sure why it's supposed to be so interesting. You could make this statement about any good:

"We already ration food; we just let the market do the rationing."

"We already ration gasoline; we just let the market do the rationing."

"We already ration cigarettes; we just let the market do the rationing."

And indeed, this was an argument that was made in favor of socialism. (No, okay, I'm not calling you socialists!) And yet, most of us realize that there are huge differences between price rationing and government rationing, and that the latter is usually much worse for everyone. This is one of the things that most puzzles me about the health care debate: statements that would strike almost anyone as stupid in the context of any other good suddenly become dazzling insights when they're applied to hip replacements and otitis media.

The rationing is, first of all, simply worse on a practical level: goods rationed by fiat rather than price have a tendency to disappear, decline in quality, etc. Government tends to prefer queues to prices. This makes most people worse off, since their time is worth much more than the price they would pay for the good. Providers of fiat-rationed goods have little incentive to innovate, or even produce adequate supplies.

More here

Also, even if you are prepared to go without other things (e.g. sell your house) in order to get the best care, you just cannot under government-controlled medicine. THEY say what you can have, and it is rarely the best -- as we have repeatedly seen in Britain and Canada. See SOCIALIZED MEDICINE for more articles in the debate plus several reports about the ongoing British disaster -- JR



Federal spending tops $3 trillion: "Federal spending surpassed the $3 trillion mark for the first time in history during July, and the record-shattering fiscal year still has two months to go. The U.S. government spent more money last month - $332 billion - than in any other month in history, the Treasury Department reported Wednesday. Outlays were more than double tax receipts in July, generating a monthly deficit of $181 billion. For the first 10 months of fiscal 2009, which ends Sept. 30, the budget deficit totaled $1.27 trillion, nearly three times last year's record annual deficit of $459 billion."

Town hall face-offs erode health support: "Public support for the Obama administration's sweeping government health care reforms is declining as opponents continue to pack congressional town-hall meetings with some analysts suggesting the president may have to settle for more modest legislation. Public-policy analysts say that nearly two weeks of intense and often angry town-hall debate back home during August recess has thrown the White House on the defensive and turned its hopes for a full-blown overhaul of the health care system into a steeper climb. "Publicity attached to town halls has kept the administration from framing the debate to its advantage. They have their work cut out for the rest of the month," said Thomas E. Mann, senior analyst in governance studies at the liberal Brookings Institution"

Maryland health forum draws overflow crowd: "An overflow crowd of about 450 packed a community college auditorium on Wednesday afternoon to hear Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin discuss health care reform, while more than that were turned away at the door. The meeting, the Maryland Democrat's second town-hall event on the contentious subject this week, also drew pockets of protesters that lined the streets of a busy intersection two miles from the Hagerstown Community College campus so as to be visible to approaching vehicle traffic. The groups shouted and held signs, including some that portrayed President Obama alongside Nazi imagery. About 200 people inside the auditorium stood in lines to ask the senator questions from behind two microphones placed in the aisles after Mr. Cardin delivered a brief opening statement. Those opposing Mr. Obama's plans to reform health care clearly outnumbered those in support of changing the system. While the roughly 20 questioners who queried the senator were cordial, the loud -- and at times confrontational -- crowd often interrupted his answers with boos and jeers"

Obama still all hot air: "Political candidates are notorious for promising voters the moon to get elected. But once in office, we expect our elected officials to stop campaigning and start doing the business of the people, governing. This is especially true for the leader of the Free World, who is responsible for a $3.6 trillion budget, commanding the world's most powerful military and promoting the welfare of the American people. The presidential election is over. President Obama, however, never ended his campaign. His administration's domestic and foreign initiatives have not been the detailed and carefully crafted policy proposals needed to govern. We continue to see and hear campaign speeches offering only vague promises, slogans and attacks on his predecessor, but no plans on how to execute his proposals.

'A Recovery Only a Statistician Can Love': "The pile of economic data indicating that the worst of the recession is over just keeps growing. In the past few weeks, the government has reported that businesses last month shed the smallest number of jobs in nearly a year. The savings rate, after rising rapidly, held steady at levels not seen in at least five years. And from April to June, productivity surged to a six-year high. But the same data also explain why any recovery isn't going to feel like one anytime soon for millions of Americans. Its existence will be confirmed by statistics, but, over at least the next year, the benefits are unlikely to materialize in the form of higher wages or tax receipts or more jobs."

Motores del Gubierno: GM's $1.2B investment in Mexico: "General Motors Co. plans to invest $1.2 billion in Mexico this year to 2011, the nation’s Economy Ministry said today in an e-mailed statement." There are no more specifics yet, and I haven't gotten my hands on the emailed statement, but this certainly could be your tax dollars are creating jobs south of the border while GM lays off American workers. This gets us back to the problem of government ownership of companies. GM needs to seek profit, and offshoring U.S. jobs is a good way to cut costs. But this is taxpayer-subsidized offshoring. There are no good answers here, as with GM's lobbying and public relations spending".

Stimulus cash for weatherization still unspent: “Jackie Harpst expected a busy summer at her nonprofit housing agency, as work crews backed by Nebraska’s share of $5 billion in federal stimulus money headed out to seal windows and spread insulation. Months after she thought work would begin, not a single window has been caulked. And she’s still not sure if her team will be able to get to work adding insulation before the summer heat passes — or even before the winter’s chill sets in.”

If Feds add “cookies” will privacy crumble?: “This isn’t a cookie-cutter administration. The Office of Management and Budget is considering reversing a nine-year ban on using ‘cookies’ to track users’ preferences and interests on federal Web sites. The shift in policy is being billed as a way for government to enter the 21st century and for federal agencies to use the same technology utilized on news sites, retail sites and social media networks. … But some privacy advocates say changing the policy for federal Web sites is troubling. If you check out the FBI’s Most Wanted List, they say, the government would know. If you want information from the CDC about pregnancy or AIDS, the government would know. Big Brother could quite literally be watching you.”

It can happen here: "“England’s Daily Express reported on August 4 that ‘thousands of the worst families in England are to be put in ’sin bins’ in a bid to change their bad behavior.’ Ed Balls, the Children’s Secretary, has announced a 400 million pound plan to put Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras in 20,000 homes in Britain, says the Express, ‘to ensure that children attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals.’ This ’sin bin’ program already operates in many parts of the country, and about 2,000 families are presently under observation by their betters in the local bureaucracy. But Balls wants the program to be universal.”

The worst is ahead of us: "“The news that the jobless rate in this country has gone from 9.5 percent in June to 9.4 percent last month has led President Obama to declare that his policies have ’saved the U.S. economy from catastrophe’ and have led to another rally in the stock market. While I wish I could agree with the President — I really do wish that — I cannot do so, and I must say, ‘Not so fast, Mr. Obama.’ In fact, not only have Obama’s policies made this downturn worse, the policies have not yet begun to run their full course, and that means we have further to go before we hit bottom.”


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 or here or here


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)


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why U.S. Diplomacy Will Fail With Iran

The Ayatollah Khameini needs anti-Americanism. He won't let Obama take it away

Long before his inauguration, Barack Obama lucidly explained how he would deal with Iran. During the campaign he said he would "engage" its leaders by offering talks without preconditions—without even asking them to stop chanting "death to America" when concluding their speeches...

There was only one more step before "engagement" could begin: Mr. Obama's June 4 Cairo speech in which he apologized for the August 1953 overthrow of Iran's Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq. "In the middle of the Cold War," he said, "the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government." The CIA was certainly involved, but the cringing was quite unnecessary. By August 1953 Mosaddeq had dismissed Iran's parliament and was ruling undemocratically by personal decree. When angry mobs converged on his residence, he fled to a U.S. aid office next door trusting that the Americans would save his life. They did.

As it happened, Mr. Obama's apology and his offer of unconditional talks backfired. With Iran's presidential selection of June 12 coming up, the all-powerful Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had his opportunity to replace the thoroughly unpresentable, loudly extremist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with a more plausible negotiating partner for Mr. Obama... Evidently, Mr. Khamenei rejected the option of choosing a moderate. Instead he awarded Ahmadinejad a "divine" win with wildly improbable majorities—even in the home towns of his rivals.

Mr. Obama's problem is that Mr. Khamenei could only have chosen Ahmadinejad because he does not want friendly talks with the U.S. He evidently calculates that without the ideology of "anti-Americanism" the regime would collapse. He is right.

Certainly religious support cannot be enough anymore. Too many high-ranking clerics, including Grand Ayatollahs Hosssein Ali Montazeri and Yusef Saanei, now publicly oppose the regime. Nor can Persian nationalism serve as the prop: Its chief target is the despised Arabs, which is problematic, as the regime keeps trying to be more Arab than the Arabs in its hostility to Israel. Yet this hostility is itself a problem internally because the regime's generous funding of Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad is extremely unpopular in Iran. Only anti-Americanism is left, and Mr. Khamenei will not let Mr. Obama take it away.



Israeli Merkava IV tank to be equipped with active protection system

Israel is ahead of America in military technology but U.S. defence chiefs are too proud to just buy it

After a series of successful test, the Israeli Ministry of Defense announced that it will equip their Merkava IV main battle tanks (MBTs) with the Trophy anti-missile system. UPI reported yesterday, that Israeli army chiefs have been pushing for the system since 22 Merkavas were damaged by Russian Kornet anti-tank guided missiles during the war with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon in the summer of 2006.

Designed to supplement the armor of both light and heavy armored fighting vehicles, the active protection system (APS) was collaborative developed by Rafael Armament Development Authority and Israel Aircraft Industries' Elta Group. The system combines a 360 degree radar to detect incoming ATGMs and rocket-propelled grenades with a computer system that directs launchers that fire a cloud of metal projectiles in the manner of a shotgun blast. Israeli defense officials told the Jerusalem Post that Trophy had intercepted all the incoming missiles in last week's tests.

The Pentagon tested Trophy in March 2006. One of the testers told NBC that it "worked in every case. … According to our test criteria the system was 30 for 30." The U.S.-based Institute for Defense Analyses has compared 15 active protection anti-missile systems and ranked Trophy at the top.

The system adds about a ton to a tank's weight and costs about $350,000 per vehicle, UPI reported. It can operate from both a stationary and a moving tank and can engage several threats at the same time.

It is currently installed on several tanks in the 401st Armored Brigade and will equip a full armored battalion by 2010. In addition it will be installed on all new Merkava IVs as part of the production line by the end of the year.

Several foreign military representatives were present at last week's tests, according to the Jerusalem Post. Rafael believes it has good prospects of selling the system to other militaries. The U.S. Department of Defense has a contract with Raytheon to develop an equivalent active protection system, known as Quick Kill. A prototype is supposed to be ready this year for installation on current armored vehicles. The U.S. Army resisted proposals to battle test the Trophy system in Iraq in 2007.



Recycling the contempt

By Wesley Pruden

Recycling is so popular that even our congressmen, unaccustomed as they are to practicing what they preach, do it. They're reaching back into the dark past to recycle contempt. Never waste a crisis, even if you have to manufacture the crisis.

Democrats from the cosseted life in the House and Senate, accustomed to getting the deference at home so often denied in Washington, are suddenly having to deal with inconvenient old folks at home. President Obama insists that the War on Terror is over, ended by his ultimate weapon, the Apology Bomb. But to listen to delicate congressmen whose feelings are hurt, al Qaeda has merely moved terror operations to their congressional districts.

Angry lynch mobs (to hear House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her sidekick Steny Hoyer tell it) of elderly gents on walking sticks and little blue-haired ladies in their 80s have descended on congressmen at town meetings across the country - in California, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Maryland, Ohio, Georgia and other places. They're taking out their anger and frustration at the Obama health care "reform" in the robust American way, but Mrs. Pelosi professes to see "reform" adrift on a turbulent sea of Nazi swastikas. Rep. Brian Baird of Washington sees a blur of Brown Shirts. Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas calls the dissenters "un-American." She later remembered where she was and said she didn't mean to call them that. Her contempt for Arkansas folks just popped out. In Georgia, Rep. David Scott tried to calm a town meeting with a plea to "calm down and take a deep breath," then took a deep breath and scolded everyone with a hysterical screed about the "hijacking" of his meeting.

Rep. Steve Cohen treated his Memphis constituents with similar contempt: "Take two aspirin and come back in the morning." Rep. Russ Carnahan told livid St. Louis constituents, naive yokels in his view, that they had been "mobilized [by] special interests in Washington."

The frightened Democratic reaction to robust debate - "the conversation" that "progressives" are so eager to have with those who disagree with them - recycles the insults and epithets last heard in confrontations over civil rights and the war in Vietnam. The protests are "organized," the work of "outside agitators." Martin Luther King, by Democratic reckoning, was an outside agitator. The marches against the Vietnam war were marvels of organization, true, but ... umm, well ... that was different. Mr. Obama should recognize outside agitation when he sees it, given his career in outside agitation in Chicago. He was taught by Saul Alinsky, "the father of American radicalism," that the left-wing strategy for achieving an unpopular goal is to "pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."

We're almost there. The Democrats are trying to impose rationed government health care (the target) quickly, before the public wakes up from entertaining distractions (the freeze), making villains of all who oppose (personalizing it) and creating a chaotic controversy (polarizing it) that can be effectively exploited. Mr. Obama once taught Saul Alinsky workshops in Chicago, so he was ready when he thought he heard opportunity knocking.

But the president and his congressional accomplices forgot that timing is everything. The public-opinion polls show that bare majorities think there's a health care crisis, but bigger majorities are satisfied with their own coverage. The majority can smell government medicine and the confiscatory taxes on the way. The president further miscalculated when he agreed to the insertion of a scheme, hidden in the thousand pages of the House legislation, to "offer" counseling to the aged about how they want to die. Nothing there about the "how" and "when." That comes later.

When he confronts mortality, a man is suspicious of boodlers with smooth tongues. Roger Fakes, 70, a retired businessman, showed up at the Memphis "town hall" in neither Brown Shirt nor swastika (he's actually a Presbyterian elder). His congressman's insistence that Obamacare would not disturb his private insurance moved him to his feet with polite but pointed questions and observations: "There are some of us old gray-haired folks who don't want the government involved in any of our business." And not just the gray-haired folks. Congressmen are learning the hard way they sometimes have to listen, like it or not.




ALG Finds Details on "Right-Wing" Threat Assessment: "Americans for Limited Government, which is the parent group of NetRight Nation, had it's Research Department do some digging on the right-wing threat assessment released from the Homeland Security Department. What they turned up was very interesting. The sources for the potential threats were actually from websites as well as some blogs. Essentially, this Homeland Security threat assessment was not based on any intelligence but on what someone found in doing some Google searches"

Soaring deficit may defy forecasts: "Stagnant unemployment, shrinking tax revenue and a struggling economy threaten to quadruple the size of last year's federal budget deficit, raising more questions about the timing of costly proposals to overhaul health care. As the White House and Congressional Budget Office (CBO) prepare to release new deficit estimates this month, several economists say the news is likely to be as bad as or worse than forecasts".

GA: Swastika painted outside Congressman’s office: “The debate over health care took an ugly turn Tuesday morning after a swastika was found painted outside of Congressman David Scott’s Smyrna office. The incident follows national coverage of Scott’s encounter with a citizen opposed to heath care reform at a recent town hall in Douglasville. That forum’s topic was not health care, but reconstruction of Ga. 92. Since then the 13th district representative’s two local offices have been flooded with angry phone calls, faxes and e-mails.”

Foreclosure levels unlikely to fall: “Why have efforts of President Barack Obama’s administration to reduce foreclosures had so little impact? In response to this embarrassment, the Obama administration has called the largest mortgage servicers to Washington, and Congress has held at least three hearings over the last few weeks. Undoubtedly, pressure will be applied to the lenders to do more. However, these efforts will largely be fruitless until the administration recognizes the true driving forces behind mortgage foreclosures.”

The truth about town hall meetings: "“Yesterday, the Obama administration distanced itself from some of the more outrageous comments made by congressional Democrats, including one made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) which labeled some critics of a government takeover of health care as ’simply un-American.’ Speaker Pelosi was specifically referring to those opponents who have been attending health care congressional town hall meetings, claiming that ‘disruptive’ actions are perverting our democratic system and preventing a real dialogue between Congress and constituents. … Who goes to town hall meetings for fun? Of course the people crashing the events have an agenda. That’s the point!”

Muslim Teen Who Converted to Christianity Says Family Threatened to Kill Her: "An Ohio teenager says she ran away from home to Florida because her family threatened to kill her for converting from Islam to Christianity, local media reported. Rifqa Bary, 17, testified Monday at a custody hearing in Orlando that she'd recently changed religions and is worried her relatives will do something drastic, according to WFTV in Orlando and Central Florida News 13. "They have to kill me because I'm a Christian. It's an honor (issue)," the girl told WFTV. Such threats are common, even in the United States, her attorney, Rosa Gonzalez, told News 13. "She says her life is in danger and she could be killed in an honor killing," Gonzalez said after the hearing — which was held because the teenager's parents are trying to regain custody of her. Rifqa, a non-citizen whose parents are from Sri Lanka, has for several weeks been staying with an Orlando couple who are pastors of a new Christian church there. She met them on a Facebook prayer group. Her father denied his daughter's allegations to NBC 4 in Orlando, saying he never threatened to kill his daughter because she rejected Islam. He was in Florida for a court hearing, but was reportedly traveling back to Ohio Tuesday. The Florida Department of Children and Families currently has custody of her, but ultimately, Ohio authorities will decide where the teen should live."

Afghanistan: US Marines assault Dahaneh: "U.S. Marines have mounted a helicopter assault to seize the Taliban-held town of Dahaneh in southern Afghanistan and are fighting gain control of the area ahead of next week’s presidential elections. The assault began before dawn Wednesday, with Marines entering the town as others battled militants in the surrounding mountains. Associated Press journalists traveling with the first wave say Marines were met with small arms, mortar and rocket propelled grenade fire. Fighting is still under way hours later, with U.S. Marine Harrier jets streaking over the town and dropping flares in a show of force.”

Expert forges “unforgeable” British ID card in 12 minutes: “Adam Laurie is no ordinary hacker. In the world of computing, he is considered a genius — a man whose talents are used by government departments and blue-chip companies to guard against terrorists and cyber-criminals. … Embedded inside the card for foreigners is a microchip …. the vital security measure that, so the Government believes, will make identity cards ‘unforgeable.’ But as I watch, Laurie picks up a mobile phone and, using just the handset and a laptop computer, electronically copies the ID card microchip and all its information in a matter of minutes. He then creates a cloned card, and with a little help from another technology expert, he changes all the information the card contains — the physical details of the bearer, name, fingerprints and so on. And he doesn’t stop there.”

Britain: Are you being watched?: "The latest report by the Interception of Communications Commissioner reveals that government authorities monitored citizens’ telephone calls and emails more than 500,000 times last year. This ‘Use of Communications Data’ is permitted under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, which has introduced a system of governmental surveillance on a scale unprecedented in Britain, and internationally unrivalled. Of course, the police and the security services need the means to investigate serious crimes and prevent acts of terrorism, but these demands must always be balanced against the protection of privacy; both because our privacy is inherently valuable, and because a system of surveillance inevitably risks abuse by rogue employees or government itself.”

A maximum wage for Britain?: “In Friday’s Guardian, Andrew Simms resurrects the idea of a maximum wage to ‘tackle inequality.’ The actual consequence: employers would no longer be able to attract the best workers by offering them higher salaries, so would instead offer them more perks and less hours. That is, the most productive workers (not just bankers, but doctors, business owners, and Guardian editors) would work less. Many others would move abroad. All it would achieve is a fall in the level of economic activity, and a corresponding fall in tax revenue and trickle-down spending. This is the nonsense of equality by levelling down: dragging down the rich, out of sheer envy, to the detriment of everyone.”


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 or here or here


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)


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Rise of the Obama Police State —An Early Demonstration?

“We don’t want interacting,” said the police officer, to the shock of the conservative activist holding the camera. She was in Baton Rouge, LA, filming a demonstration by ACORN in favor of Barack Obama’s proposed government-run health care. And what she had just witnessed, as the officer led the offending man away who had dared speak to the activist, was nothing short of the disruption of free speech, of the press, and of the right to assemble—by the police.

As reported by the Examiner, “Things took a surprising and dangerous turn when a police officer, clearly sympathetic to the ACORN rally, attempts to shut down the opposition. At one point, during a very civil discussion between an opponent and a supporter of the president’s plan, the police officer returned and actually told the individuals opposing the president’s plan they were not allowed to speak. The man in blue shirt, a supporter of the president’s plan, later returns and attempts to defend the free speech rights of the counter protesters.”

For all intents and purposes, she was reporting on the demonstration. And yet, every time she attempted to converse with opponents of ObamaCare, the police intervened. Not exactly what one would call the protection of unalienable rights. It looks more like a police state—in its infancy.

On Wikipedia, a police state is described, “The inhabitants of a police state experience restrictions on their mobility, and on their freedom to express or communicate political or other views, which are subject to police monitoring or enforcement.” Exactly what was seen in Baton Rouge.

In this case, nobody was arrested. But it is troubling, to say the least, that the police were apparently ordered to disrupt any interaction between supporters and opponents of ObamaCare, even ones that were perfectly willing to debate.

“We disagree. We can have a civil conversation and talk while we walk. We disagree. It’s fine,” said one ObamaCare supporter, who too was disgusted by the police action.

Really, the ones who had obviously expressed a desire to avoid even civil discourse of their views were the ACORN demonstrators. Of course, there is no such thing as freedom from speech, or debate. But if one does not like what is being said, they can simply move to the other side of the street.

But since they were protesting, wasn’t the point to defend their views? When they put themselves out there, as members of a self-described public interest organization, they actually are public figures—a part of the national political debate. That makes the views expressed by the organization subject to public scrutiny by press or citizen journalists alike.

Instead, in Omerica, apparently there is the stunning emergence of a political elite. They are beyond reproach and criticism. And the police will see to that, as can be seen in this appalling display.



Charles Krauthammer on Obama

Krauthammer is a psychiatrist

1. Mr. Obama is a very intellectual, charming individual. He is not to be underestimated. He is a cool customer who doesn’t show his emotions. It’s very hard to know what’s behind the mask. The taking down of the Clinton dynasty from a political neophyte was an amazing accomplishment. The Clintons still do not understand what hit them. Obama was in the perfect place at the perfect time.

2. Obama has political skills comparable to Reagan and Clinton. He has a way of making you think he’s on your side, agreeing with your position, while doing the opposite. Pay no attention to what he SAYS; rather, watch what he DOES!

3. Obama has a ruthless quest for power. He did not come to Washington to make something out of himself, but rather to change everything, including dismantling capitalism. He cannot be straightforward on his ambitions as the public would not go along. He has a heavy hand, and wants to level the playing field with income redistribution and punishment to the achievers in our society. He would like to model the USA to Great Britain or Canada .

4. His three main goals are to control ENERGY, PUBLIC EDUCATION, & NATIONAL HEALTHCARE by the Federal government. He doesn’t care about the auto or financial services industries, but he got them as an early bonus. The cap and trade will add costs to EVERYTHING and stifle growth. Paying for FREE college education is his goal. Most scary is his healthcare program, because if you make it FREE and add 46,000,000 people to a Medicare-type single-payer system, the costs will go through the roof. The only way to control costs is with massive RATIONING of services, like in Canada God forbid.

5. He’s surrounded himself with mostly far-left academic types. No one around him has ever even run a candy store. But they are going to try and run the auto, financial, banking and other industries. This obviously can’t work in the long run. Obama’s not a socialist; rather he’s a far-left secular progressive bent on nothing short of revolution. He ran as a moderate, but is governing from the hard left. WATCH WHAT HE DOES, NOT WHAT HE SAYS.

6. Obama doesn’t really see himself as President of the United States , but more as a ruler over the world. He sees himself above it all, trying to orchestrate &coordinate various countries and their agendas. He sees moral equivalency in all cultures. His apology tour in Germany and England was a prime example of how he sees America , as an imperialist nation that has been arrogant, rather than a great noble nation that has at times made errors. This is the first President ever who has chastised our allies and appeased our enemies.

7. He’s now handing out goodies. He hopes that the bill (and pain) will not come due until after he’s reelected in 2012. He would like to blame all problems on Bush from the past, and hopefully his successor in the future. He has a huge ego, and Mr. Krauthammer believes he is a supreme narcissist.

8. Republicans are in the wilderness for a while, but will emerge strong. We’re pining for another Reagan but there will never be another like him. Krauthammer believes Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty & Bobby Jindahl (except for his terrible speech in February) are the future of the party. Newt Gingrich is brilliant, but has too much baggage.. Sarah Palin is sincere and intelligent, but needs to really be seriously boning up on facts and info if she’s to be a serious candidate in the future. We need to return to the party of lower taxes, smaller government, personal responsibility, strong national defense, and states rights.

9. The current level of spending is irresponsible and outrageous. We’re spending trillions that we don’t have. This could lead to hyperinflation, depression or worse. No country has ever spent themselves into prosperity. The liberal media is giving Obama, Reid and Pelosi a pass because they love their agenda. But eventually the bill will come due and people will realize the huge bailouts didn’t work, nor will the stimulus package. These were trillion-dollar payoffs to Obama’s allies, unions and the Congress to placate the left, so he can get support for #4 above..

10. The election was over in mid-September when Lehman brothers failed, fear and panic swept in. We had an unpopular President and the war was grinding on indefinitely without a clear outcome. The mantra of change caused people to act emotionally. ANY Democrat could have won this election; it was surprising it was as close as it was.

11. In 2012, if the unemployment rate is over 10%, Republicans will be swept back into power. If it’s under 8%, Dems will continue to roll If it’s between 8-10%, it will be a dogfight. It will all be about the economy. Hopefully this gets you really thinking about what’s happening in Washington and Congress. There’s a left-wing revolution going on, according to Krauthammer. He encourages us to keep the faith and join the loyal resistance. The work will be hard, but we’re on the right side of the issues and can reclaim our country, before it’s far too late.




There's a big roundup of healthcare news and views on my SOCIALIZED MEDICINE blog today.

Panel sees race bias in health care bill: "The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says some little-noticed provisions in the House health care bill are racially discriminatory, and it intends to ask President Obama and Congress to rewrite sections that factor in race when awarding billions in contracts, scholarships and grants. The commission also fears the programs, which are designed to improve health care in underserved areas, will not be effective. In a draft of a letter the commission approved Friday, the group raises constitutional questions about giving preferential treatment to minority students for scholarships, and about favoring medical schools and organizations that have a record of sending graduates to areas with inadequate health care services."

Donk Congressmen in hiding: "Stung by howling protesters and losing ground in the public relations battle over health care, members of Congress this summer are ditching traditional town-hall meetings and using less confrontational methods of meeting constituents as they try to persuade a wary public to back the Democrats' overhaul plans. For Rep. Ed Perlmutter, Colorado Democrat, that meant holding court outside the King Soopers grocery store here Saturday behind a 6-foot wall of bottled water, blocked from view of roughly 400 voters in a parking lot. "He's in there hiding," said John Frantum of Denver, who opposes the proposed expansion of government-provided health care. "He should have been out here with a bullhorn once he saw the writing on the wall."

Congress drops plan to spend $550 million on new jets: “U.S. House leaders have dropped plans to spend $550 million in the Air Force budget on passenger jets used by lawmakers and senior government officials, officials said on Monday. The House of Representatives reversed the move to upgrade the executive jet fleet after public criticism, opposition from other lawmakers and the Defense Department had said it did not need more planes that it had requested.”

Senate report: Obama regime’s strategy includes assassination list: “In a dramatic change of policy ordered by the Obama administration, the U.S. military has been given approval to ‘kill or capture’ 50 Taliban-connected drug lords whose names are on a classified ‘kill list’ being circulated to commanders, according to a report prepared for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and obtained by Military officials expressed anger today that the ‘classified program’ had been revealed in the Senate report.”

What goes around …: "It was a Democrat, Hilary Clinton in 2003, who said that Americans have the right to disagree and to debate with any administration. Now, it is another Democrat, Barack Obama who disagrees with that view. No one, it seems, has the right to disagree with him, which may well be why he told his supporters to ‘get in the faces’ of critics during his election campaign. Why is this happening? Why are some people supporting his anti-first amendment stance? Probably because many Democrats believed that they had overwhelming popular support for their agenda. As such, they were unprepared for organized opposition. They also quite probably did not believe that such opposition would materialize. They did not believe that people would organize themselves when provoked. Now, they are panicking and resorting to force, instead of accepting the fact that they don’t have a mandate. What goes around comes around.”

Temper, temper!: " US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton showed a rare flash of public anger on a trip to Africa today as a student asked for her husband's views, putting him in his place by saying she is the United States' top diplomat. At an open forum with young people in Kinshasa, a university student took the microphone and asked about the involvement of China and the World Bank in the Democratic Republic of Congo. "What does Mr Clinton think about it?" he said to the befuddlement of the crowd. Ms Clinton replied in a forceful voice: "You want to know what my husband thinks?" "My husband is not the secretary of state, I am. You ask my opinion, I will tell you my opinion. I'm not going to channel my husband." Bill Clinton has mostly stayed out of the spotlight as his wife represents the United States overseas, although last week he travelled to North Korea to negotiate the release of two detained US journalists. Former president Clinton, who has actively promoted African development since leaving the White House, is not joining his wife for any part of her seven-nation tour of the continent."

Too much is never enough: “I was going to argue that California public employee unions are delusional — given that they keep demanding higher pay and pensions and other perquisites even as the state’s unemployment rate tops 11 percent, as average Californians struggle with fewer jobs, higher taxes and a particularly brutal recession, and as governments at all levels struggle with dramatic decreases in revenue. But these unions really aren’t crazy. In fact, they understand reality better than the rest of us, who still hold to the quaint belief that public employees serve us. The unions know the truth: that the public servants are now the public’s masters.”

What is this “free market” we keep hearing about?: “As President Obama and his pet Congress continue their crusade to expand the reach of government into our lives, ‘conventional wisdom’ continues to tell us that socialized medicine, rampant wealth redistribution, and government control over one industry after another is ‘necessary’ because of the supposed failure of the free market to adequately address the needs of society. The way the ‘free market’ is characterized by politicians and media pundits, it is not surprising that most Americans seem to regard it as some sort of special interest group (Mr. Undersecretary, the gentlemen from the free market are here to see you).”

Us versus them: “We are for freedom, they are for coercion. We are for personal choice when other lives aren’t at stake. They are for choice only when the choice involves other lives being snuffed out. We are for personal responsibility enforced by self-restraint and social norms. They are for responsibility imposed from without by government bureaucrats. We conservatives are for the ideals that make America America. They, the liberals, are for transforming America into an imagined utopia enforced by command and control, based on values alien to the great American tradition.”

The folly of workplace regulations: “In an effort to provide workers with a better environment, the government has instituted numerous workplace regulations, such as requiring ergonomically correct work stations with proper chairs and lighting, which businesses are forced to follow. Since these improvements cannot be made at little or no expense to the employer, they increase costs of production, and reduce the amount of labor that the employer can afford to hire. Such improvements have the same effect as a mandatory increase in wages: The employer has less money available to hire more workers. In fact, in certain marginal cases, he may be forced to lay off some of his workers, or even to go out of businesses if he cannot meet his expenses. This is especially true for small businesses just getting started. But it applies to larger businesses as well.”

Another U.S. airline nightmare: "Passengers have revealed their horror at being confined all night in a small, "smelly" plane in the US after a series of problems. The ExpressJet Airlines flight 2816 from Houston, US, to the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-Saint Paul) on Friday, should have taken approximately three hours. Instead storms caused the flight’s diversion to Rochester, where the 47 passengers then spent around nine hours overnight trapped inside the small plane, with complaints of screaming babies and foul over-used toilets. Passenger Link Christin told the US's Star Tribune that he couldn’t believe the airline was unable to figure out an alternative besides keeping the passengers on the plane for such a long time. “It's not like you're on a (Boeing) 747 and you can walk around,'' Mr Christin said. “This was a sardine can… It was a nightmare.” ExpressJet spokesperson Kristy Nicholas said the flight suffered a series of problems. The crew reached their maximum work hours in the air, forcing another crew to be flown in. Adding to the troubles, passengers were not allowed into the airport as the security screeners had gone home [That was a lie]. Mr Christin said that the passengers received no food, except for an earlier bag of pretzels, and had to put up with a smelly toilet and babies. The passengers were sent back on the same plane, which had no functioning restroom by this time, and arrived in Twin Cities at 11am, roughly 11 hours late." [Let's hope the SoBs get prosecuted over it. In Europe they would be hit with stiff government penalties but Congress is too busy spending money to worry about such things]


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 or here or here


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)


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Wicked Thoughts" has moved house

From the Wicked Thoughts mirror site:

OK. I have had enough of Google/blogspot. They have had my blogspot blog blocked for a week now and still have not told me why. So I am transferring operations to Wordpress. Whether they will be any better remains to be seen of course but this is the new site: Wicked Thoughts. Be sure to keep a bookmark to this mirror site, however, in case Wordpress go strange on me too.

One annoyance is that all my archives (past posts) are blocked at the moment too. I have therefore posted the July archive on this site. See below. All of my posts for this month are up on the new site so go there now and have a look.

The postings for July are here. I keep copies of everything I post so I may post archives for previous months in due course too.


Spontaneous opposition to tyranny still lives in America

In the early 1830s, when Alexis de Tocqueville visited Jacksonian America, he was taken aback by much of what he encountered. Nothing impressed him more, however, than the demonstrated capacity of the Americans to form private associations for public purposes.

This phenomenon - illegal in Tocqueville's France and rare on the continent of Europe, even today - amazed him. He was particularly struck by the political consequences of the Americans' confident practice of what he called "the art of association." For, as he discovered, opposition had sprung up to the so-called Tariff of Abominations outside the existing political parties.

This opposition was especially emphatic in the South. But, in a fashion that seemed spontaneous, organizations had been independently formed in every district of the country, and then they had joined together in a great network to bring pressure upon Congress.

Tocqueville did not express an opinion regarding the justice or wisdom of this movement. What interested and excited him was simply its existence. For it proved that, in a great commercial democracy established in an extended territory, civic agency was a genuine possibility. It proved that the residents of the United States of America were citizens, not subjects, and it demonstrated that the condition that he called "soft despotism" was not the only possibility afforded by liberal democracy.

Tocqueville's ruminations deserve attention for one simple reason. We are today witnessing a reawakening of the American spirit that so strongly impressed him.

In earlier posts on Power Line, I have discussed the tyrannical ambitions of the Obama administration (here), the danger a consolidation of government poses for the people of the United States (here), the psychological disposition that makes democratic peoples vulnerable to servile temptation (here), the institutions that once in some measure shielded Americans from these propensities (here), the gradual disappearance of that shield (here), and some of the reasons why I think it now possible for us to recover the liberty that once was ours (here and here).

Here I simply want to add an appreciative word regarding Barack Obama. Our President has told us that he has a gift, and he is undoubtedly right. But he misconceives the nature of his gift. He thinks that his skills in oratory will enable him to fool all of the people all of the time. In his Presidential campaign, he did wonders - hinting at radical intentions while speaking always in a moderate tone. And thanks to the blunders of George W. Bush in office and to the ineptitude of John McCain, who had made a career of betraying his own side, Obama managed to win.

Soon, however, the Democratic Party will be reminded that, in German, "Gift" is a word for poison. For one cannot fool the American people for long, and the real effect of the effort made by Obama and by figures such as Rahm Emanuel will be to unmask the Democratic Party as a conspiracy on the part of a would-be aristocracy of do-gooders hostile to very idea of self-government in the United States.

This we are witnessing now, for everything is now done in secret and behind closed doors. The so-called "stimulus bill" was passed in both the House and the Senate in a manner suggestive of tyranny. It was written in camera with the help of a legion of lobbyists, and it was presented and shoved through before anyone in Congress even had a chance to read it, much less think about it.

The fact that there was no time allowed for public discussion and debate aroused suspicion nationwide; and when it became evident that the bill was a fraud - that its real purpose was to reward favored party constituencies and that the sum spent will grossly inflate the national deficit in the short run and require massive tax increases down the road - Americans in astonishing numbers took to the streets in every corner of the land.

The passage of the cap-and-trade bill in the House - again without adequate public discussion and debate - only reinforced the wariness of the general public, and the same can be said for the efforts of the Obama administration to push through a scheme aimed at putting us on the road to socialized medicine.

Behind closed doors, in secrecy, a deal was done to reward the United Auto Workers and to defraud the bondholders of Chrysler and General Motors. And behind closed doors, without any species of accountability, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner is reorganizing our financial system.

Now, as citizens flock to town meetings all over the country to confront their Senators and Congressmen, we can see the consequences. And the White House and the Democratic Party have responded to the spontaneous organization of opposition to their endeavors in a manner that is reminiscent of the governments in Tocqueville's France - by insulting their fellow citizens, by charging them with conspiracy, by locking citizens out of putatively public meetings, by bringing in union toughs to intimidate the opposition, and by illegally collecting the names and contact information of those who have exercised their First Amendment rights in a manner unfriendly to the proposals advanced by the current administration - apparently with an eye to future retribution.

We should be grateful to Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Rahm Emanuel. For, in their audacity, they have done what their predecessors feared to do; and, in the process, they have made the tyrannical propensities inherent within the progressive impulse visible to anyone who cares to take notice. What Franklin Delano Roosevelt falsely charged in 1936 is visibly true today. "A small group" is intent on concentrating "into their own hands an almost complete control over other people's property, other people's money, other people's labor - other people's lives."

The only question is whether the Republicans have the wit to take full advantage of the opportunity that Barack Obama has handed them.



Conservative community organizing not allowed

by Jeff Jacoby

DEMOCRATS ARE OUTRAGED that conservatives have been showing up at town-hall meetings with members of Congress to noisily protest the health-care "reform" bills pending on Capitol Hill. In a statement last week, the Democratic National Committee spokesman slammed "Republicans and their allied groups," charging them with "inciting angry mobs of . . . rabid right-wing extremists . . . to disrupt thoughtful discussions about the future of health care in America." A new DNC video, meanwhile, blasts "the right wing extremist Republican base" and says that GOP leaders "called out the mob."

Now, there is no excuse for the ugly rhetoric and behavior of a few of these protesters, like the ones in Maryland who hanged Representative Frank Kratovil in effigy, or the Massachusetts voter who compared Representative James McGovern to the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. It was disgusting when left-wingers spewed such venom during the Bush years. It is disgusting when right-wingers do so today.

Barack Obama, 2008: 'I want you to argue with them and get in their face.'

But surely Democrats don't object to energetic grassroots activism, not after they spent so much of 2008 extolling the virtues of "community organizing." And surely they aren't offended by citizens going toe to toe with those they disagree with politically, not after Barack Obama urged his followers last year to remonstrate with friends and neighbors "whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face," Obama said then.

Democrats may differ with their opponents on health care, but they can hardly fault them for taking a page from the Obama political playbook.

SOURCE (See the original for links)



Michigan crowd vents health care fury: "There were no buses, no swastikas, not a piece of Astroturf in sight. But there was name-calling, jeering, red faces and finger-pointing as Michigan residents shot back with fury at a congressional town-hall meeting geared to explaining President Obama's health care plan. Rep. John D. Dingell, a Democrat and a lead author of health care legislation in the House, did his best to remain composed, even as many constituents and other residents argued that the plan is socialized medicine and rained down fury against a smaller group of supporters for the plan. "You're a fraud, you have not read the bill," screamed Mike Sola, who got directly in the lawmaker's face in furious confrontation, wheeling his 36-year-old son, Scott, who has cerebral palsy, directly to the podium before police stepped in and encouraged the Milan, Mich., man to leave. He asserted that the bill would not help his disabled child. "Fascist America," Mr. Sola screamed on his way out. Mr. Dingell, 83, who has championed universal health care reform since 1957, joined the fray with many of his Democratic congressional colleagues, who are caught in an angry backlash as they attempt, during the August recess, to sell the president's health care reform plans in their home districts."

Drooping polls undercut scripted protest claims: "The White House's claim that large and boisterous protests against health care reform over the past week have been scripted performances, underwritten by industry lobbyists and the Republican Party, continues to run into a stubborn reality check: public polling on the matter. For more than two weeks, polls have consistently shown growing resistance to President Obama's reform proposals, largely because of concerns about the nation's deficit and debt. "There are a number of statistically valid public opinion polls that show that there has been a dramatic increase in public concern about escalating deficits and debt levels and our nation's increased reliance on foreign lenders," said David Walker, the nation's former comptroller general. Mr. Walker, who as president of the nonpartisan Peter G. Peterson Foundation since 2008 has spearheaded an effort to raise public awareness about the country's long-term fiscal problems, said that the American people are "ahead of their elected officials" in understanding the need to rein in spending before expanding health care coverage. "They get it," he said. "Costs are out of control, and they threaten the future of this country. And you cannot reduce cost by expanding coverage. That's an oxymoron."

Abuse is always the Leftist fallback: "Stepping up the rhetoric from mockery to pure hatred, and absent any evidence, Mr. Olbermann has called the president's public protesters "worse than racists." Political activist and comedian Janeane Garofalo colored them "racist rednecks who hate blacks." And at the somewhat higher end of the food chain, liberal economist Paul Krugman in the New York Times wrote last week that they were motivated by "cultural and racial fear." ... Tea Party attendees and health care town-hall protesters share the common belief that the extravagant spending of President Obama and the Democratic Party -- absent any checks and balances -- will eventually lead more people into government dependency, higher taxes and, perhaps, our country's financial ruin. These are legitimate fears felt by millions of Americans. That's why the media and the Democratic Party are scared and are throwing outrageous and hateful accusations at everyday Americans -- hoping that people stay home out of fear.

Democracy, when I like the outcome: “Many moons ago California had a referendum, as only California can have them, promoted by the Democratic operative Bill Press, urging huge taxes on oil company incomes and profits, just about when the massive oil spill occurred in the Santa Barbara Channel. (I think it was immediately following the spill that Press imagined he could get the voters to lay in on Big Oil!) Alas, the voters went against Press’s people and for Big Oil, but, of course, Mr. Press & Co., immediately cried foul. Clearly democracy was only a valid method for reaching public policy decisions when it favored what Mr. Press & Co., the Democrats, in other words, wanted. Anything else had to be corrupt, not bona fide democracy. We are these days witnessing the same thing across the country.”

Democratic Jews Break with Obama on Israel: "Jews who identify themselves as Democrats strongly agree with the Israeli position and disagree with President Obama's on issues such as a Palestinian state, settlement construction, and trading land for peace. A telephone survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center of 500 American Jews who say they are Democrats found broad disagreement with the Obama Middle East foreign policy."

America's unconstitutional census: "Next year’s census will determine the apportionment of House members and Electoral College votes for each state. To accomplish these vital constitutional purposes, the enumeration should count only citizens and persons who are legal, permanent residents. But it won’t. Instead, the U.S. Census Bureau is set to count all persons physically present in the country—including large numbers who are here illegally. The result will unconstitutionally increase the number of representatives in some states and deprive some other states of their rightful political representation. Citizens of “loser” states should be outraged. Yet few are even aware of what’s going on".

Privatized policing in Britain: "“Residents in a leafy suburb of Southampton have clubbed together to purchase security from a private firm. The ‘local’ police force have failed to protect the community and left people feeling unsafe. Thus, with an opening in the market place a private company is now giving the residents peace of mind by protecting them from crime. Atraks offers a ‘first response’ to crime and is independent of the police and local councils, and is cheap at just £3.15 per week. This country has reached the point where the police force has become a centralized, uniformed arm of the state, directed by government not for the people’s benefit but for their own.”

New fears over the rising tide of jobless in Britain: “In a week when ministers are bracing themselves for another steep rise in unemployment and possible downgrades in the Bank of England’s growth forecasts, senior analysts at two organisations warn today that a huge ’second wave’ of public-sector redundancies threatens to extinguish any near-term economic recovery.In their latest Labour Market Outlook, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and accountants KPMG say that the pace of deterioration in UK job prospects is starting to slow this summer, as private-sector demand for staff begins to stabilise following the surge of redundancies that took effect earlier in the year.”

Another faulty Airbus: "A Vietnam Airlines (VNA) Airbus 320 burst two tyres upon landing in southern Vietnam on Friday, the company said, adding all 164 passengers and crew members were safe. Crew discovered abnormal signs in the craft's hydraulic system, forcing the pilot to use the emergency brake on landing at Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat international airport, bursting two rear tyres, VNA said in a statement. The national flag carrier said it was working with relevant agencies to investigate what caused the problem on the flight from coastal Nha Trang city.


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 or here or here


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)


Monday, August 10, 2009

A Shooting Star Dims

Barack Obama was a rock star on the campaign trail and his aura went undimmed in his first few months of office. But then he began taking too many curtain calls. The applause subsided, but he kept coming back to center stage to try harder to wow us. He forgot what every star must learn, that you’ve got to know when to get off that center stage. If you don’t have anything new to say, shut up. This applies even to presidents.

He’s reaching for applause lines with the same ol’ same ol’. So his poll numbers begin to shrink. He pushes, and pushes, a flawed health care scheme without having anything new to add. Then he goes off script to accuse the Cambridge, Mass., cops of behaving “stupidly” in the arrest of professor Henry Louis Gates, and loses the applause of fans in the second balcony.

When Obama replaced George W. Bush as the top banana, his speech if not his politics was dramatically refreshing. We were relieved to listen to someone who wouldn’t muff his lines, miss a cue or garble the English language. Even those who disagreed with what the new president had to say appreciated his speechifying skills. We became a collective version of Moliere’s “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme,” delighted to discover a leader who could speak prose.

But we also discovered that a golden-tongued devil could deceive us with the alchemy of smooth talk at a time when we need straight talk. Great rhetoricians inevitably betray a weakness, small though it may be. That’s why the poet John Milton gave Satan the best lines, sprinkled with vivid similes and sparkling metaphors, in “Paradise Lost.” All the better to deceive. By comparison, God in His heaven is plain to the point of boring, but the smart reader gets the divine meaning.

Nobody likes being deceived. When the Congressional Budget Office said Obama’s health care numbers were wrong and his scheme would cost a lot more than we had been told, some of us grew suspicious. When the accountants at the celebrated Mayo Clinic said the cure was worse than the disease, more of us decided that we didn’t want the president’s medicine.

When the Blue Dog Democrats vowed not to be rushed to such an important decision, a lot more of us began to listen closely to other sides.

The Clinton administration knew Hillarycare would be a tough sell, so they kept it secret while they worked on it. That scheme crashed, anyway, when we discovered that it would make health care worse, not better but more elusive. The Obama administration has gone to the other extreme, turning it over to Congress where everybody wants to get an oar in, and we’re frightened on a daily basis. Meanwhile, the president keeps repeating his defensive rhetoric, defying the drip, drip, drip of hard, cold facts. His health care scheme promises change, but it’s hard to see how both quantity and quality of care will not be compromised. Can the president deliver both? He no longer sounds like a man who thinks he can.

The frightening facts are sometimes subtle and can’t be found in presidential press conferences. Will the new emphasis on bureaucratic control mean that the medical schools will attract mediocre applicants from a diminished pool of bright young men and women, who are willing to enter a profession that will tie them up in a tangle of endless red tape? Does it mean that the scientists who’ve produced miracle drugs through a capitalist system, which rewards accomplishment, will take their inventiveness somewhere else? As old people increasingly outnumber the young, will health care be increasingly perceived as an expensive burden to be avoided?

There’s another wrinkle that’s difficult to straighten out. The push to require giving insurance to people regardless of pre-existing medical conditions may lead young men and women to opt out of paying for health insurance, until they find themselves with a medical condition that requires expensive care. They’ll risk gambling that they can pay for it themselves when they need it.

The president likes golf because the greens provide refuge from the public. Just as he wants to get away from us, more of us feel the urge to get away from him. Too many press conferences and speeches without anything new to say bores us, too. While he works on his backswing and short putts, he might think about the tough questions that so far he can’t answer. He can take his time getting back to us.



Another Amazing Argument!

Day before yesterday I began a discussion of “An Amazing ‘Structural Inequality’ Argument by noting that
I’ve been writing this blog quite a while now, and one of the effects of that is that I’m rarely surprised any more by extreme or even bizarre arguments in favor of racial preferences, special treatment based on race, etc. But I’m about to share with you a justification of criminal behavior, and an official pass given to that behavior, based on an argument of “structural inequality” (as discussed at length here and here) that had even me gasping in disbelief.

Well, what shocked me then was as nothing compared to Paul Krugman’s column in today’s New York Times. According to Krugman, opponents of President Obama’s healthcare health insurance reform are “reacting less to what Mr. Obama is doing, or even to what they’ve heard about what he’s doing, than to who he is.”

Whaaaaat? Did he really say that? In the New York Times? Yes, believe it or not, he did. And wait; there’s more:
That is, the driving force behind the town hall mobs is probably the same cultural and racial anxiety that’s behind the “birther” movement, which denies Mr. Obama’s citizenship. Senator Dick Durbin has suggested that the birthers and the health care protesters are one and the same; we don’t know how many of the protesters are birthers, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it’s a substantial fraction.

And cynical political operators are exploiting that anxiety to further the economic interests of their backers.

Does this sound familiar? It should: it’s a strategy that has played a central role in American politics ever since Richard Nixon realized that he could advance Republican fortunes by appealing to the racial fears of working-class whites.

So, if us geezers are afraid of having to pay more for less care, of having our care rationed, of having needed procedures denied by federal bureaucrats (one I recently had, for example, cortisone injection for back pain, has been severely restricted in Britain), of inviting in more illegals to benefit from our involuntary largesse, we are now swastika-waving members of an angry racist mob?

And if you disagree with Krugman? Well then, you’re no doubt an anti-semite as well as a racist.

Finally, if, like me, you regard Krugman’s race-on-the-brain dementia as more than a little “fishy,” you can always report him to, the Obama office that has been created to monitor purposeful disinformation.



Freedom of Speech

In order to more fully portray the vileness of the assault on democracy being propogated by Nancy Pelosi and the White House communications office, I'm going to discuss it in the context of this great Norman Rockwell painting, Freedom of Speech.

The painting depicts a 1940s version of Everyman: a working man, by his tidy but informal presentation, and the lean strength of his frame. He could well be a farmer - Rockwell frequently portrayed Middle America in his art. Note the wear and tear on his hands - aged well beyond his face. The figure has a bill or program or agenda in his pocket, and is looked up to and apparently admired by the citizens - citizens - surrounding him, young and old alike.

The painting, for those who may not be aware, was one in a touching series of paintings depicting the Four Freedoms as constructed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Freedom from Fear, Freedom from Want, and Freedom of Worship were the others.

Now, when you or I see this painting, we see an admirable figure, a leader, a great American. We see a citizen speaking his mind, an American posessed of the God-given, inalienable right to freedom of expression. We see discourse and debate. We see what America is all about.

The modern Libtard, represented by Nancy Pelosi and the White House Press office, sees a manufactured mob.

This is pure poison. Pelosi and her enablers have simply declared rhetorical war not just on the Republican party, but on the electorate itself.

Their attitude is nothing short of a big 'F***k You' to the American people. I cannot overstate how vile and dangerous modern libtards are. They need to be opposed at every turn. They need to be made to feel the heat until they see the light, or driven from office. They are bigger enemies of America than McCarthy could ever dream of being. For all his faults, at least McCarthy loved his country and the things that made it great.

You and I look at this painting and see America. Pelosi and Obama see a threat. Splash, out



Do you still want a Smart Car?



It's that grey bit between the two trucks -- after a smash in Jefferson Parish, La. (near New Orleans )



'Afghan Obama' aspires to be his country's saviour: "A month ago, none of the 40 candidates running for president against Hamid Karzai seemed to have a chance, and the farmers of Samangan would not have bothered leaving their wheat fields for an election rally. But suddenly, a lacklustre election campaign has sparked into a ferocious battle. The hopes of millions who prayed for a better life after the fall of the Taliban government, and were frustrated, have been pinned on the challenger who promises to unseat Mr Karzai – the urbane former foreign minister, Dr Abdullah Abdullah. With just 11 days to go before a vote that will help decide Afghanistan's future, many believe he has enough momentum to win – thanks not just to his own popularity, but to widespread disillusionment with the incumbent. "Hamid Karzai has broken his promises," snarled farmer Mohammad Yousef, 56, one of 2,000 men who sat beneath the shade of parachutes strung between trees to hear Dr Abdullah speak in Samangan on Wednesday. "He hasn't done anything for us, so we will not support him this time." Instead, Mr Yousef's vote will instead go to Dr Abdullah, a former eye surgeon who went into politics after serving with the anti-Taliban guerrillas of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance in the 1990s. In a contest dominated by ex-warlords, Islamic extremists, and potentates of opium drug trade, he is regarded as of the few decent men of Afghan politics – free from the whiff of corruption, and with no blood on his hands."

Death threat from PETA: "When we told you yesterday about a disturbing animal-rights attack on a pharmaceutical CEO, we closed by noting that the Animal Liberation Front and other violent misanthropes have “mainstream charitable supporters” in the animal rights movement. And “as long as these charities can maintain their save-the-bunnies façade,” we said, “the public may never know the lengths these groups go to in the name of total animal liberation.” Were we talking about People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)? You bet we were. And today PETA has given us another reason to sound the alarm about its band of deluded psychos: a death threat against an Australian fashion designer who refuses to embrace the “animal liberation” philosophy."

Prospects dim for Mexican firearms treaty: "President Obama's call for the Senate to ratify a hemispheric small-firearms treaty dominated his last visit to Mexico, but in the four months since, both the treaty pledge and the drug violence that prompted it have dropped off the radar - a victim of Congress' full schedule and gun politics. That means on Sunday Mr. Obama will go with an empty hand to Mexico, which blames the U.S. for many of the weapons used by drug cartels that have violently thwarted a crackdown by Mexican authorities. And even though Mr. Obama and his administration have accepted that blame, prospects are dim for passage of the treaty, which calls on countries to license gun manufacturers and try to control illicit trafficking in firearms, ammunition and explosives. But the National Rifle Association now claims CIFTA could hurt hunters and says U.S. Second Amendment interests should not be controlled by an international treaty. Key senators such as Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat whose gun-rights credentials may be crucial to his winning re-election next year, was cool to Mr. Obama's call for ratification in April, and a spokesman said nothing has changed since."

Health care Dems brace for recess protests: "As they head home to their congressional districts for the August recess, lawmakers who support health care reform are bracing for protests and demonstrations that threaten to turn violent. In North Carolina, a congressman who backs overhauling the health care system had his life threatened by a caller upset that he was not holding a public forum on the proposal. Democratic Rep. Brad Miller received the call Monday, one of hundreds the congressman's office has fielded demanding town-hall meetings on the health care proposal, said his spokeswoman, LuAnn Canipe. She said the callers were "trying to instigate town halls so they can show up and disrupt." Earlier this week, White House officials counseled Democratic senators on coping with disruptions at public events this summer. In the week since the House began its break, several town-hall meetings have been disrupted by noisy demonstrators. The latest occurrence took place at back-to-back town-hall meetings held by Rep. John D. Dingell, Michigan Democrat, which got so raucous police had to escort people out."

Fractious Palestinians: " The convention convened by Fatah last week was supposed to bolster the founding Palestinian nationalist movement so it could block the Islamist Hamas' ascendancy and cut a peace deal with Israel. But after five stormy days of infighting, the once-in-a-generation conference only highlighted how the U.S.-backed party remains fractured, raising questions about whether it is strong enough to make tough compromises in negotiations while fending off accusations from its Hamas rivals. "They have not been able to resolve one fight since the beginning. I am not optimistic," said Assad Awiwi, a lecturer at Hebron University. "Fatah is deteriorating and needs a long time to rehabilitate itself. Four days cannot erase 20 years of mistakes." Though delegates unanimously endorsed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as the party leader on Saturday, the conference had to be extended several days beyond the scheduled finish on Thursday because of delegates' inability to resolve disputes". [So how do you negotiate with that?]


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 or here or here


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)


Sunday, August 9, 2009

And Obama thinks he can negotiate with this?

The ruling faction of the Palestinian Authority has formally blamed Israel for the "assassination" of Yasser Arafat, one of the founders of the Fatah party. At the party's conference in Bethlehem yesterday, delegates unanimously passed a resolution blaming Israel for Arafat's death and setting up a committee to investigate the death. The committee will be led by Arafat's nephew, Nasser el-Kidweh.

Israelis seized on the resolution saying it suggested Palestinians were not serious about negotiating with Israel for a two-state solution.

Arafat died in Paris in 2004 after having lapsed into a coma. The reason for the death was never made public, with the hospital refusing to release Arafat's medical records -- which has led to speculation ever since about the cause of death. Possible causes have since been reported as flu, gallstones, a blood disorder, a stomach virus and AIDS.

Some delegates at this week's conference claimed Israel was responsible for Arafat's death because it had prevented him leaving his West Bank compound to receive medical treatment, while others claimed Israel had actually poisoned him.

Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported in 2005 that an analysis of the confidential medical report on Arafat's death revealed three main possibilities -- poisoning, AIDS or an infection. In 2007, The New York Times reported that it had obtained the first independent review of Arafat's medical records from the hospital, which showed that despite extensive testing his doctors could not determine the underlying disease that killed him. "But the records dispel one significant and widespread rumour that Arafat died of AIDS," the newspaper reported. "The course of his illness and pattern of his symptoms make AIDS highly unlikely, according to independent experts who have reviewed the records at the request of the Times. "They also suggest that poisoning was highly unlikely, although senior Palestinian officials continue to allege that Arafat, who died on November 11 at age 75 after an illness lasting a month, was indeed poisoned."

Meanwhile, one of the most powerful Arab countries, Saudi Arabia, bluntly told the Palestinian leadership this week that it would never achieve its ambition of an independent Palestine unless it resolved the bitter differences between the rival Fatah and Hamas factions. In an open letter to the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Saudi King Abdullah said: "Even if the whole world agreed to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with all the needed support and backing, it will not be established as long as the Palestinian house is divided."

And referring to Israel as "the criminal enemy", King Abdullah wrote: "I'll be honest, brothers. The criminal enemy could not over long years of continued aggression have inflicted as much damage to the Palestinian cause as did the Palestinians themselves in a matter of a few months."

The division between Fatah, which controls the West Bank, and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, was highlighted by the fact that Hamas would not allow Fatah delegates who live in Gaza to travel to Bethlehem to attend the conference. Both sides have supporters of the other side in prison, and acts of violence between the two sides have occurred in the past year. The BBC earlier this year broadcast pictures of Hamas supporters in Gaza smashing the kneecaps of Fatah supporters.

Fatah is under pressure from both within its own ranks and from Hamas. A new, younger guard in Fatah is opposed to Mr Abbas and his team, claiming they are not the right group to help form a Palestinian state. Fatah this week tried to appeal to Palestinians who want a more hardline response to Israel by reaffirming its option for "armed resistance" against Israel.

This puts the US in an awkward position -- to be backing a political group which continues to have as part of its formal charter armed resistance. Mr Abbas was the first world leader US President Barack Obama telephoned upon taking office, and Washington is investing a great deal of hope in him as the man who can anchor the Palestinian side of negotiations with Israel for a two-state solution.



Obama's economist

Just as Josef Goebbels trumpeted the value of the “Big Lie” for Adolph Hitler, David Axelrod has perfected the art of entrancing people in a “virtual” reality instead of the one we actually inhabit. And there is a method at work here. As made obvious from his healthcare and other policy plans, Obama’s target demo – those whom he seeks to enrapture – are the young as, once entranced, they will likely remain loyal and apply themselves to his cause. The old, however, are not only expendable as Obama’s healthcare “reform” makes clear. They are also targeted to pay for the delivery of the young, the illegals, and the minorities to the public dependency troughs all to solidify Obama’s hold on American power.

Axelrod is keenly aware that virtual reality – like that presented in video games – is, perhaps, the biggest draw for the young today. Given the increasingly intense anxieties that plague most of the young these days, Axelrod and Obama have perfected their craft of offering alternative realities for escape. Much as in the film The Matrix, where the true condition of the world was too threatening to be revealed, many today opt to take their own blue pill in order to submerge into a virtual delusion. Axelrod and Obama are only too happy to supply the coins to operate the virtual video games necessary to gaslight us all. Here are just a few of the many AX-Rods used to keep the many spellbound:

The Scare Tactic Scare Tactic – Many Axelrod minions pepper the media with the charge that those who oppose Obama are using scare tactics. As the country divides into Obamaites and Nobamaites, whenever the Nobamaites suggest there is something serious to fear, (i.e. Islamic terrorism, the uncontrolled influx of illegal aliens, the potential annihilation of our economy from too great a deficit, debt balance and currency printing, Iranian nuclear weapons, the socialization of our capitalistic system, and so forth), the Obamaites charge that anyone disagreeing with Obama is simply utilizing fear to motivate viewers to oppose Obama. Similarly, any challenge to Obama’s policies (such as cap and trade, stimulus bills) on the grounds that these actions will make the current situation severely worse is met with a similar dose of scare tactic charges. And pointing out how Obama’s healthcare reform will destroy the health care to which we have become so accustomed (eventually leading to rationing of care, doctors, medicines etc.) is cast as a devious attempt to improperly scare the vulnerable elderly in particular....

The You Are Us Projection – Projection has been a powerful part of Obamolitics since his emergence upon the national scene. The most recent example of this AX-Rod is seen in Axelrod’s attack upon those who are making noises at Congressional town halls. Obama’s entire career was built on being a community agitator and Axelrod, himself, made his career (and is still as active as ever in his own business) as a community and media manipulator. He essentially created and mastered “Astroturfing,” yet sends out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to accuse Republicans of doing exactly that. Media government “tools” add to the charge that the town halls are filled not by authentic angered constituents, but instead, by fake constructs reminiscent of Islamic crowds assembled in Arab and Iranian lands to play to Western media. Yet Obama constantly had ACORN pad Republican public events during the election and, not unlike the acts that brought fame to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, utilized his community organizers to shakedown politicians throughout his years.....

The No-Plan No-Plan – A frequent AX-Rod these days is that the Republicans have no plans. An objection is made to Obama’s “cap and trade” or “healthcare” policies and the minions and our own “useful idiots” media respond that Republicans have failed to offer anything better. While simply not true (as many counter plans in every category of Obama policies have been and continue to be offered), this AX-Rod has the added benefit of fortifying Obama’s message that sweeping government action is necessary. The notion that what he proposes can truly be a great leap backwards and in the wrong direction never makes its way into consciousness. As Obama has quickly forced through drastically dangerous actions running spending to red alert levels, taking over industries, printing money faster than we can all breathe, the response is essentially “well at least he’s doing something.” ...

The Silent Conversation – Much of Obama’s campaign rhetoric was based on the power of “conversation,” and, particularly, Obama’s conversational powers. Much of Obama’s target demo was raised with “time-outs;” whenever things became tough, they were encouraged to rest, gather themselves, and talk out rather than act out their frustrations. Many also had their parents and teachers talk among themselves as to how best to resolve their own troubles. These instincts have a place within family and sometimes even school systems where it is presumed that violence is to be avoided at all costs.

Axelrod marshaled these instincts by having Obama deploy related words to other contexts, particularly foreign policy. Whereas the “virtual” foreign world may be one in which evil dictators can be read to sleep by the Messianic Obama, the real world does not engage in time-outs and so forth. Yet, as above, the mere reference to “engagement,” “dialogue,” and “bringing people together” gets the young listener comfortable that the faintest perception of conflict can ultimately be smoothed away and restore a sense of control. The target demo subliminally presumes that the rules of the virtual social networks must surely apply to the real world.

Much more HERE


Obama’s Science Czar

Mr. Holdren has long advocated launching a “massive campaign…to de-develop the United States” for environmental reasons. Long a believer in lessening the impact of human beings on the Earth, his three-decade career has focused on doing this in two ways.

First, by limiting the number of people on the earth through recommendation of a litany of eugenicist measures so extreme that they strike most reasonable people as more a part of science fiction than science: “forced abortions, mass sterilization programs conducted via the food and water supply, as well as mandatory bodily implants that would prevent couples from having children.” And his recommendations sound even more like the stuff of science fiction when one considers that he supported establishment of a global police force to enforce these measures worldwide.

More recently, Holdren has directed his efforts toward attacking affluence and technology. In the 1970s, he and his mentor and co-author Paul Ehrlich actually developed a “formula” which allegedly accounts for human Impact (or Influence) on the Earth: I=PAT. Even the mathematically challenged can easily understand it. It says that human Impact on the Earth is equal to the overall Population times its Affluence times its Technology.

Here, it should be noted, Impact is always to be understood as negative. A population with a higher degree of affluence and technology will have a proportionately higher negative Impact on the global environment than an equivalent population not so technologically advanced or affluent.

Thus, technology and affluence become negatives to mitigate, not positives to seek. And Holdren suggests doing just this through de-development by which he means, “lower per-capita energy consumption, fewer gadgets….”

Critics challenge Holdren and Ehrlich’s formula by pointing out that population, by itself, is a neutral element---larger population does not necessarily mean larger negative environmental impact---while, “affluence and technology, far from harming nature, actually promote its flourishing. It is in the rich, developed countries that the air becomes clearer, the streams clearer, the forests more expansive.” But, Holdren will hear none of it.



Democrats' Fear Is Showing on Health Care

by Jonah Goldberg

The Democratic Party is panicking, lashing out like a cornered animal, all because its effort to take over the health care industry is coming apart like so much wet toilet paper.

Nancy Pelosi, who will get her own bound volume in the annals of asininity, has outdone herself. When asked by a reporter whether the protests at various town hall meetings represented legitimate grassroots opposition or were manufactured "Astroturf" stunts, she replied, "I think they're Astroturf. You be the judge. They're carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on health care."

Now this is a pas de trois of dishonesty, slander and idiocy. Not only is Pelosi lying when she says protestors are bringing swastikas to these town halls, not only is she suggesting that American citizens are Nazis for having the effrontery to get in the way of ObamaCare, but she's also saying that the alleged swastikas are obvious proof that these protests are manufactured by slick P.R. gurus.

How does that work? What public relations genius says: "OK, we need these protests to seem like an authentic backlash of real Americans. Make sure everyone has enough Nazi paraphernalia!"

Meanwhile, Sen. Barbara Boxer insists the protests have to be fake because the protestors are too "well-dressed." Likewise, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says this is all "manufactured anger" because the protestors -- he calls them the "Brooks Brothers Brigade" -- are too tastefully appointed to be authentic protestors. Apparently only filthy hippies can petition government.




Obama in bed with lobbyists after all: "The New York Times had an amazing front page story yesterday... The headline of the story was: "White House Affirms Deal on Drug Cost". I want you to read the lead paragraph very slowly: "Pressed by industry lobbyists, White House officials on Wednesday assured drug makers that the administration stood by a behind-the-scenes deal to block any Congressional effort to extract cost savings from them beyond an agreed-upon $80 billion". Whoa! Check Please! How can the words "industry lobbyists" and "White House" be in the same sentence? We have been told - to the point of needing Compazine (an anti-nausea drug) - that this administration was, is, and will always be a lobbyist-free zone. Yet, here it is; in the newspaper of record. The White House had reached a secret deal with the pharmaceutical industry to put a ceiling on the amount of money the government could save by negotiating for lower drug prices. In the words of the NY Times, the White House "had committed to protect drug makers from bearing further costs in the [health care] overhaul" but "had never spelled out the details of the agreement."

Insurance Co. Profits: Good, But Not Breaking Records: "When President Obama said at his July 22 news conference that health insurance companies were making record profits "right now," we thought he might have insider access to corporate earnings data. After all, most of the top publicly traded companies were on the verge of filing their reports, but only one had done so at the time Obama spoke. A day earlier, UnitedHealth Group had reported its earnings for the second quarter of 2009, which beat analysts’ expectations with profit of $859 million. Still, other quarters have been more profitable for the insurer, such as the first quarter of 2008, when profit rang in at $994 million. We wondered if there was any other evidence to support Obama’s statement now that other earnings reports are in. The answer is: not much. Humana Inc. logged a quarterly profit of almost $282 million. But in the third quarter of 2007, it rang up $302 million in profits. Aetna came in at $347 million in profit for the quarter, which lagged behind its $480 million of a year earlier."

Criticizing the President is not Racist: "You know a side is on the run rhetorically when it deals the race card. The race card is divisive, disingenuous and outright dangerous, but its great virtue is that it can slow down the other side’s momentum, and even stop it altogether. So, in a way, those of us who believe President Obama’s health care plans are misguided and hazardous to our national well being can take some comfort in the fact that the President’s supporters are so desperate that they are now crying “racism” in order to stop opposition. Paul Krugman today in the New York Times writes that the motivation of those turning out to town halls across the nation is “racial anxiety.” And yesterday, in the Washington Post, Philip Kennicott wrote that a poster depicting Mr. Obama as the Joker in Batman movies, with the word “socialism” running underneath, “is ultimately a racially charged image.” No, it isn’t. It was a necessary step for a black person to be elected president, one in which all Americans can exult. But we have a black President now, and it is our responsibility to criticize him when we must. There is nothing racist about saying that we should not hand one-sixth of our economy to government control."

Faulty speed sensors found on more Airbuses: "The discovery of faulty airspeed sensors on some Northwest Airlines jets suggests the equipment problems are more widespread than previously believed and could provide clues to the cause of the Air France crash that killed 228 people in June. Federal aviation officials say that on at least a dozen recent flights malfunctioning equipment made it impossible for the pilots to know how fast they were flying. The discovery gives new urgency to airlines already scrambling to replace air sensors and figure out how the errors went undetected despite safety systems. The equipment failures, all involving Northwest Airlines Airbus A330s, were brief and were noticed only after safety officials began investigating the Air France crash — on a Rio de Janeiro to Paris flight — and two other recent in-flight malfunctions. Like the fatal Air France flight, the newly discovered Northwest incidents and the two other malfunctions under investigation all involved planes with sensors made by the European electronics giant Thales Corp. The Air France crash called into question the reliability of the sensors and touched off a rush to replace them. Many companies, however, simply replaced them with another Thales model. As it became clear the problem was more widespread, Airbus and European regulators told companies to replace at least two of the three sensors on each plane with models made by North Carolina-based Goodrich Corp."


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 or here or here


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)


Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Obama date

A report from an Air Force officer

First, let me say that I've moved three presidents up to now and I've seen incredible waste. But, the "new" guy really takes the cake. I don't have an issue with the President promising his wife dinner and a show or that he even takes his wife out. But, when I saw the news say that the date cost $24,000, here's what you DON'T know.

Three days before "dinner" a C-17 flew Marines and the helicopter maintenance equipment to JFK Airport . The day before "dinner" I flew the USSS and the motorcade to JFK Airport. Our crew of 5 spent two days and nights at the Hilton in Times Square. My hotel bill: $621.66 plus $64 a day in per diem. The USSS guys were at a different Hilton in NYC, so figure that cost another $14,000 (or so) plus per diem. The Marines had to have cost as much and were there four days, so figure another $55,000 plus per diem (for 44 Marines).

We were supposed to fly the motorcade back and go home, but the Air Force was so short C-17's that we were re-tasked to take the motorcade back, return to JFK and take the helicopter back to Quantico. When we got back to JFK, while the pilot was turning the plane around to park, he noticed a rotor blade sticking out of the hangar where the helicopter was parked and informed me that either it wasn't ready to transport or it was flying home.

After shutting down I walked over to the hangar and to my surprise I find FIVE helicopters, not ONE. We're obviously not transporting five big helicopters. I went and talked to the Marines guarding the "fleet" and found that they were flying all five helicopters home and we were only transporting the Marines and the maintenance equipment.

After talking to the Marine(s) in charge, I was told that the White House requested FIVE helicopters. The Marines told me that they spent all morning trying to figure out how much it cost them to come and said they figured it cost them $140,000 to stay there (I don't know where they came up with that)and the trip's total had to be about $1,000,000.

We heard that the President didn't use Air Force One (the 747) so I asked if he came in on one of the 757's. I was told that he came in on THREE Air Force Lear jets.

So, date night consisted of: 2 C-17's flying three missions, 3 Lear jets, 5 Helicopters, Presidential Motorcade, 44 Marines, more than 20 USSS personnel on our plane. Who knows what it cost the NYPD and NY Port Authority (at the airport) in overtime.

These are the same people that chastised the automobile CEO's for using their aircraft. It further proves that the media only use the facts that make the President look good and hide any facts that will detract from his persona. Is this the 'change' we expected?

Received via email


Nothing has been learnt

Obama wants more of what has already failed

The Obama administration is considering an overhaul of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that would strip the mortgage finance giants of hundreds of billions of dollars in troubled loans and create a new structure to support the home-loan market, government officials said.

The bad debts the firms own would be placed in new government-backed financial institutions -- so-called bad banks -- that would take responsibility for collecting as much of the outstanding balance as possible. What would be left would be two healthy financial companies with a clean slate.

The moves would represent one of the most dramatic reorderings of the badly shattered housing finance system since District-based Fannie Mae was created by Congress to support mortgage lending during the Great Depression. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, based in McLean, have government charters to buy home loans from banks, which they then repackage and sell to investors. The banks can then use the proceeds to offer more loans to home buyers.

The leviathans became emblematic of the financial crisis when they were effectively nationalized in September amid a market meltdown that revealed much of their holdings to be troubled. The government has since pledged more than $1.5 trillion, including $85 billion in direct aid, to keep the mortgage market working through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.




The DNC, liberal blogs, MSNBC and the Obama administration are attacking anyone that challenges them on their government-run health care scheme. Obama is asking his supporters to “flag” comments that don’t comply with his dogma on health care reform. Liberal blog “Think Progress”, which seems to be a misnomer, published an outright lie about FreedomWorks that was picked up by other leftist blogs and even mainstream media sources like Politico and broadcast news stations.

What explains the lockstep, attack-mode liberal campaign against FreedomWorks and Tea Party Patriots? Well, we have them on the ropes. We are using Saul Alinsky against them and out organizing them. They can’t stand the fact that real Americans are showing up at townhall meetings and demanding that elected officials listen to them for once. When you move the country toward socialism at such a rate, and bail out failed companies, raise taxes, explode the deficits and demonize millions of Americans, what do you expect their response to be?

I am not a fan of shouting anyone down or using the tactics that ACORN and the thuggish unions use. But I am a fan of local activists who are organizing their neighbors and friends to get them to meetings so that they can speak up, speak out and put their elected officials on the spot. Its funny that the community organizer in chief is now afraid of the very thing that got him elected: individuals that convince their friends and family to get involved in the political process. David Axelrod, Rahm Emmanuel and Barack Obama are afraid of what they are seeing in the town hall meetings, and inside district offices across the country. They have awakened a sleeping giant made up of hundreds of thousands of Americans who have been pushed too far by the federal government.

The activism out there is real, organic, passionate, inspiring and as American as it gets. While FreedomWorks has played a role in organizing its members to participate in the protests, we have not faked anything, nor tried to control the movement. We offer the protest movement on the right some guidance, some leadership and some lateral coordination, but the heart and soul of the movement is the grassroots. It’s made up of folks like Diana Reimer in Philadelphia, Mark Meckler in Sacramento, Billie Tucker in Jacksonville, Debbie Dooley in Atlanta and Kellen Giuda in New York City. These are the people that are leading this movement from the ground up, and taking on the political elites like no one else has before. The left can criticize, mock, brush off or hate these people all they want, but they will not stop organizing. They will not stop protesting, calling their congressmen, showing up at townhall meetings and coming to DC on their own dime to meet with their legislators. These folks are new to politics, and they are sick and tired of both parties. These are the people that will kill cap and trade, fight government-run healthcare tooth and nail and hold politicians accountable in the 2010 election.

We are under attack by the left because they fear us. We are on offense. We have pushed back and now we are the radicals and they are the establishment. We are taking on big government and big business, both of which are supporting Obamacare. I have watched this movement develop from the beginning, and I can say that it has the potential to be a historic movement that rivals many others in American history. If we stay focused, keep organizing, keep recruiting and keep up the pressure, we can and will defend liberty and prevent this country from walking blindly down the road to serfdom.

SOURCE. Another comment on this on TONGUE-TIED today. See also here and here and here for the sheer impossibility of what Obama is proposing.



House provides $200 million for government VIP jets: “The House is ordering up three Gulfstream jets to fly Pentagon and other top government officials — including members of Congress — around the globe in conditions far cushier than coach class. The almost $200 million appropriation to buy three C-37 jets, the military version of the Gulfstream 550, is buried in a $636 billion Pentagon budget passed by the House last week. It’s not as fancy as the version sold to private customers, but still is a very nice ride.”

Poll: Obama drops to 50 percent: “President Obama’s approval rating has dropped to 50 percent, according to a poll released Thursday, a new low for the president as he tries to shepherd healthcare reform legislation through Congress in the next few months. A new Quinnipiac University poll shows 50 percent of Americans approve of the job Obama is doing compared to 42 percent who don’t. That’s the lowest number since Obama took office, and down from a 57 percent approval rating at the beginning of July. A FOX News poll released July 23 showed his job performance at 54 percent. The new Quinnipiac numbers suggest the public is losing confidence in the president’s ability to guide domestic policy issues, yet retaining confidence in his ability to guide foreign policy.”

Obama backtracks on pledge to whistleblowers: "Despite its pledge to better protect federal employees who expose wrongdoing, the Obama administration privately sought to weaken protections for national security whistleblowers under legislation making its way through Congress, according to correspondence obtained by The Washington Times. E-mails that documented the White House's intervention show the White House counsel's office provided its own drafts of the proposed legislation in late June and mid-July. While strengthening protections for some whistleblowers, the drafts weakened protections for FBI employees and reduced access to jury trials for those national security workers who sue for protection from retaliation after blowing the whistle."

Somalia is Obama’s new “Afghanistan”: "The Horn of Africa is a hotbed of pirates, Islamic radicals, warlords, refugees, and, lately, foreign armies trying to influence this killing field. The epicenter is Somalia, a Muslim land largely in chaos since 1991 and — this is the big worry — a possible nesting ground for Al Qaeda or its allies. President Obama has taken on this trouble spot directly, as he has Afghanistan. He’s beefing up US military aid and training for Somalia’s besieged government, which can barely hold onto the capital, Mogadishu. And on Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton held a high-profile meeting with the country’s elected president, Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed.”

Obama and the economy: "Now, I’m not saying that Reagan was laissez-faire or that the economic recovery didn’t owe something to a newly fashioned form of military Keynesianism. Rather, my focus here is on the spin: the press hated him, and exaggerated the failings of the economic structure in order to destroy policies it hated. The contrast with the Obama administration can’t be more stark. No one in these ranks said that malinvestments have to be washed out of the system and bankruptcies and unemployment must be tolerated for a time in order to get back on a growth. Nay, nay, they pulled out the old bag of tricks and claim that they only needed to loot the public of hundreds of billions and spend it on building up government, and then, wow, like magic, the entire economy would come back to life. But it hasn’t.”

There Is a Military Option on Iran: "In a policy address at the Council on Foreign Relations last month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said of Iran, “We cannot be afraid or unwilling to engage.” But the Iranian government has yet to accept President Obama’s outstretched hand. Even if Tehran suddenly acceded to talks, U.S. policy makers must prepare for the eventuality that diplomacy fails. While there has been much discussion of economic sanctions, we cannot neglect the military’s role in a Plan B. The military can play an important role in solving this complex problem without firing a single shot. Publicly signaling serious preparation for a military strike might obviate the need for one if deployments force Tehran to recognize the costs of its nuclear defiance. Mr. Obama might consider, for example, the deployment of additional carrier battle groups and minesweepers to the waters off Iran, and the conduct of military exercises with allies. If such pressure fails to impress Iranian leadership, the U.S. Navy could move to blockade Iranian ports. A blockade—which is an act of war—would effectively cut off Iran’s gasoline imports, which constitute about one-third of its consumption. Especially in the aftermath of post-election protests, the Iranian leadership must worry about the economic dislocations and political impact of such action. Should these measures not compel Tehran to reverse course on its nuclear program, and only after all other diplomatic avenues and economic pressures have been exhausted, the U.S. military is capable of launching a devastating attack on Iranian nuclear and military facilities."

I have put a fair bit up on my Paralipomena blog recently, for those who take an interest in my assorted postings there.


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 or here or here


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)


Friday, August 7, 2009

Health Reform and Obama's Tax Pledge

Excerpt from Karl Rove

Public support for his plans shrank when Americans saw the trillion-dollar-plus price tag, recoiled from the intrusive expansion of government into patient-doctor decisions, and came to understand the plan was financed in part by huge cuts in Medicare and large tax increases.

So, after running into heavy opposition among Congressional Democrats and growing public hostility to his plan, Mr. Obama has now recast the debate as an attack on insurance companies, with the president serving as savager-in-chief. This would be more credible if he hadn’t surrounded himself with insurance CEOs and lobbyists when he kicked off his effort in March.

The corrosive effect of basing policy decisions on polls also could be seen in White House handling of the refusals on Sunday of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers to rule out middle-class tax increases. They got disciplined Monday by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who said they’d “allowed themselves to get into a little bit of hypothetical back and forth.”

This dispute pits the economic team against the campaign team. The economic team awakens each day worried about reconciling two irreconcilable realities: The administration’s budget calls for huge, sustained new government spending, which threatens giant budget deficits. Being liberals, the economic team is inclined to raise taxes, not cut spending.

The campaign team is intent upon protecting a pledge driven by its 2008 campaign polls: Mr. Obama promised never to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year to avoid being labeled a tax-and-spend liberal.

Even so, Mr. Obama has already broken his no-new-taxes pledge. On Feb. 4, Mr. Obama signed a $33 billion cigarette tax increase, which fell disproportionately on lower- and middle-income individuals. And the “cap and trade” energy bill, approved by the House on June 26, is a tax on anyone who owns a light switch, uses a car key, or has bought anything manufactured, shipped or sold in the U.S.

The House version of Mr. Obama’s health-care—excuse me, “health-insurance”—reform already has four taxes that will largely be paid by people making less than $250,000 a year. There’s $8.2 billion in taxes for using health savings accounts and other tax-free medical savings vehicles to purchase over-the-counter drugs. There’s an 8% tax on employers who don’t offer insurance: The Congressional Budget Office says workers in those businesses would pay the $163 billion cost via lost wages.

There’s a 2.5% “Tax on Individuals Without Acceptable Health Care Coverage” in the House bill that applies to people who either don’t have insurance or whose policies the government deems inadequate. Finally, there’s a $2 billion “Comparative Effectiveness Research Tax” on all private and “public option” insurance policies.

If some version of ObamaCare is passed, the president will break his tax pledge several more times while adding trillions to the deficit, dismantling the best elements of our health-care system and slashing Medicare by hundreds of billions of dollars.

There are no polling data or focus groups on earth that can help Mr. Obama out of this jam. He has set in motion events he appears unable to control and commitments he cannot keep. Great communicators succeed when the ideas they are communicating are sound. Tax-and-spend liberalism doesn’t work, no matter how pretty its package.

More here


"Clunker" folly

Here's an idea: Let's give $50,000 to anyone looking to upgrade to a brand-spanking-new, environmentally friendly home. All we ask in return is that you burn your previous residence into a heap of smoldering cinder. That's the concept behind the bizarre "cash for clunkers" program so many people are deeming a success. It's so successful, in fact, that Congress will increase funding for it by 200 percent.

Then again, in Washington, a place where elected officials are astonished -- astonished! -- when a program doling out free cash is popular, success often translates into higher costs and fewer results.

Now, some of you radicals may have an ideological dilemma with a government handing out thousands of dollars to citizens making an average of $57,000 a year so they can upgrade their perfectly serviceable vehicles. Turns out, though, that by nearly any criterion, including the ones offered up by President Barack Obama, this populist experiment is an unmitigated fiasco.

To begin with, building a new car consumes energy. It is estimated that 6.7 tons of carbon are emitted in the process. So a driver who participates in the "cash for clunkers" program would need to make up for that wickedness. There are about 250 million registered vehicles in the United States. Only a micro-slither of those cars will be traded in -- and a slither of that number could be deemed "clunkers" outside the Beltway.

A survey of car dealerships found a relatively small differential in fuel efficiency between cars traded in and those replacing them. A Reuters analysis concluded -- even with the extended program in place -- "cash for clunkers" would trim U.S. oil consumption by only a quarter of 1 percent.

As an economic stimulus, the plan is equally impotent. As James Pethokoukis, a columnist at Reuters, succinctly explained, "The program gets much of its juice via stealing car sales from the near future rather than generating additional demand."



Obama hires another crook

Today, the Free Enterprise Project calls on President Obama to dismiss General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt from the president's Economic Recovery Advisory Board because of the findings revealed in a settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and GE. The SEC said, "GE bent the accounting rules beyond the breaking point" and "GE misapplied the accounting rules to cast its financial results in a better light." The SEC complaint cited four separate accounting violations one of which "allowed GE to avoid missing analysts' final consensus EPS expectations." Importantly, all the accounting irregularities occurred while Jeff Immelt served as CEO.

"It's outrageous for President Obama to keep Immelt as an advisor when the SEC charged that GE engaged in a series of efforts to manipulate earnings to mislead investors. The pattern of corruption raised by the SEC is deeply concerning and during a time of economic crisis, the last thing America needs is a Bernie Madoff type CEO giving advice to the president," said Tom Borelli PhD, Director of the Free Enterprise Project.

GE agreed to pay $ 50 million to settle the fraudulent accounting charges without admitting or denying any wrongdoing.

"The deliberate manipulation of financial data to mislead shareholders about earnings, if true, is fraud and Immelt must be held accountable. Not only should Obama dismiss Immelt from his advisory capacity but GE's board of directors should immediately seek his resignation from the company," added Borelli.

"Given the nature of the SEC charges, Obama should question the motivation and truthfulness of everything Immelt says including the company's support of cap-and-trade legislation. Immelt's support of cap-and-trade has nothing to do with a concern for the planet but everything to do with setting government mandates to purchase renewable energy products such as GE wind turbines."

"If Immelt misled shareholders about earnings he could easily mislead the president on everything from climate change to health care."



Captain Unaware

Barack Obama, through his spokesman, claimed that he was unaware of the tax day tea parties. Granted, the MSM has done a good job in suppressing any sort of coverage ahead of time (and the little coverage they did provide was derisive at best) but how out of touch is the Community Organizer in Chief, really This much:

* He was unaware that he was attending a church (for 20 years) with a racist pastor who hates America.
* He was unaware that he was family friends with, and started his political career in the living room of, a domestic terrorist.
* He was unaware that he had invested in two speculative companies backed by some of his top donors right after taking office in 2005.
* He was unaware that his own aunt was living in the US illegally.
* He was unaware that his own brother lives on pennies a day in a hut in Kenya.
* He was unaware of the AIG bonuses that he and his administration approved and signed into a bill.
* He was unaware that the man he nominated to be his Secretary of Commerce was under investigation in a bribery scandal.
* He was unaware that the man he nominated to be his Secretary of Health and Human Services was a tax cheat.
* He was unaware that the man he nominated to be his Secretary of the Treasury was a tax cheat.
* He was unaware that the man he nominated to be the U.S. Trade Representative was a tax cheat.
* He was unaware that the woman he nominated to be his Chief Performance Officer was a tax cheat.
* He was unaware that the man he nominated to be #2 at the Environmental Protection Agency was under investigation for mismanaging $25 million in EPA grants.
* He was unaware that his own private plane (Air Force One) flew over New York "very low" just to take pictures along with the Statue of Liberty, which cost the tax payers $328,000.

There are people in comas that are more aware of world affairs than this guy. Who knows what else Chairman Zero is "unaware" of, that his enablers in the media have been making sure we really are unaware of?

SOURCE (See the original for links)



“Cash for Clunkers:” Success redefined? “‘Cash for Clunkers’ is being called a great success. Politicians are scrambling to fund an expansion of this program. Let’s do a little math and see if we can agree. The reports have been rolling in and we have heard repeatedly that showrooms were filled with people looking for new cars because of the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program. The Senate is working hard to fund this program for a whole month. They desperately need to tie themselves to a successful, popular program. My non-scientific drive by of the dealerships near my home last weekend left me a bit suspicious. I saw no unusual activity. They did not even look busy. I saw few customers walking around the lots. So, let’s look at the numbers.”

Obama Threatens Freedom of the Press: "On July 22, 2009, President Obama held one of the most boring news conferences in the history of televised presidential events. For nearly 50 minutes, he blathered on about private and public health care plans, red pills and blue pills, costs and benefits. In the last five minutes of the conference, he made his controversial comments about Henry Louis Gates and the Cambridge, Mass., police department -- but by that time, everyone watching was either drifting into sleep or totally comatose. So why did ABC, NBC, and CBS broadcast this atrocious, narcolepsy-inducing ode to arrogance in the midst of prime time? It turns out that President Obama and his hatchet man, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, are not averse to using their bully tactics on political allies as well as political enemies. Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post reports that when networks began fussing over broadcasting yet another Obama snoozefest, Emanuel called not the programming chiefs, but the heads of parent companies in an effort to pressure networks to greenlight his boss’s show."

Fraudulent claims on taxpayer dollars finally noticed by Medicare : “Fueled by massive fraud, home healthcare providers in Miami-Dade County are raking in more Medicare money than their colleagues in the rest of the country combined — thanks to bogus billings for patients with diabetes, authorities say. Now, Medicare is taking tough steps to stop agencies from filing hundreds of millions of dollars a year in false claims.”

Obama returns to Indiana with $39 million electric cars grant: “President Obama told a grateful audience of recently-re-employed RV builders that the government will give a $39 million grant to build electric batteries and car components here. It’s part of $2.4 billion in grants for electric batteries and other innovative technologies that Obama and his cabinet are announcing in stops around the country today.” [More of that amazing taxpayer generosity]

Obama sends stimulus aid to foreign firms: "Nearly half of the $2.4 billion in federal grant money awarded Wednesday to stimulate the U.S. economy and boost the production of hybrid and electric vehicles went to six companies with ties to places as far away as Russia, China, South Korea and France. President Obama announced the grants during a visit to Indiana and said the funds would create domestic jobs and instigate more "green" manufacturing in the United States. But because so few American companies have the necessary technology, much of the money will initially go toward manufacturing electric vehicle batteries overseas." [What an ill-informed clown the man is!]

"Cold cash" Jefferson convicted: “Former [Louisiana] Democratic Congressman William Jefferson [above] was found guilty of 11 of 16 corruption charges today by a federal jury. The jury of eight women and four men returned a guilty verdict following five days of deliberation. In the 16-count indictment, Jefferson was charged with soliciting bribes and other crimes for a series of schemes in which he helped American businesses broker deals in West African [sic] in exchange for payments or financial considerations to companies controlled by members of his family, including his brother Mose, his wife, Andrea, their five daughters and a son-in-law.”

You must bow to the King in Florida: "A Deerfield Beach city employee’s two-day suspension without pay has been lifted after Mayor Peggy Noland contacted the Acting Director of Parks and Recreation. Cassandra Moye, a five year maintenance worker with the city’s parks department, was suspended for reportedly not saying hello to the mayor when she passed her while working on the beach Monday. Moye admitted that when she passed her supervisor, acting parks director George Edmunds, and Mayor Nolan engaged in a conversation on the sidewalk, she didn’t address them. The 44-year-old, who earns $12.33 an hour keeping the beach area clean including the public restrooms, said less than an hour later she was called to Edmund’s office and reprimanded for her actions. Moye said Edmunds then presented her with an official memo of suspension and said she could face termination.”

The unintended consequences of rent control: “Suppose that you want to destroy a city. Should you bomb it, or would it be sufficient just to impose rent control? It’s a bracing question at first, but some economists have argued that the two are roughly equivalent. When the price of rent is held below the market-clearing level, shortages emerge and the housing stock rapidly deteriorates. Those who advocate price controls often do so on the basis of their views on distributive justice.”

Don’t bank on it, Prime Minister Brown: “The huge bailouts and government guarantees might have acted as a life-support machine to keep some of the UK’s biggest banks technically alive, but they have not been revived. This week’s figures from the state-owned banks confirmed that if something is shooting up in the finance section, it’s not green. … These results from the state-owned banks were widely described as disastrous. An even bigger disaster, however, is the obsession with banking as the be-all and end-all of the UK economy. If it was rash of Brown to claim that he had rescued the banking system, it is ridiculous now to claim that the banks can somehow magically revive British and Western capitalism.”


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 or here or here


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)


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Google censorship again

This time they have blocked the popular humour blog Wicked Thoughts. All is not lost, however, as the Mirror site is still updating regularly. I have no idea what the blocking is all about or if it will be permanent so do publicize the link to the mirror site.


The Leaderless Revolution

I think the article below is a bit optimistic but there may be something in it. The block vote they get from blacks and Hispanics means that the Donks don't have to persuade many others to remain in power

A revolution is taking place in America. It's as intangible as the whispering wind. Yet as ineluctable as mounting gale. To the politicians, it's still but a passing breeze rustling the hair at the nape of the neck. To the grassroots masses, it's rushing torrent destined to sweep the elite from the Halls of Power.

America is at the very incipience of a Leaderless Revolution. One could see it at the hometown Tea Parties disclaimed by politicians as ragtag assemblies and disdained by Barack Obama who speciously claimed not to have even known they even occurred. One can sense it in the polls, as one after another shows plunging support for this president and his policies.

And one can hear it loud and clear in the angry outpourings at "Town Hall" meetings where sputtering politicians are driven from the podiums and forced to seek shelter behind a phalanx of guards.

In New Hampshire, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter tried to defend the snails’ pace of socialized medicine with the absurd claim, “Many of my constituents would love to stand in line.” Maryland’s Sen. Ben Cardin, when pressed by his constituents on why they should be forced to turn over their health care to government bureaucrats, yammered that Americans simply can’t be trusted. (And he has now made his town meetings “by invitation only.”)

In Syracuse, NY, Rep. Dan Maffei had to call in the police to restore order at his health care town hall after angry protestors shouted him down. And Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY1), experiencing his own problems with outraged attendees decided just to cancel town hall meetings altogether.

Ellen Sauerbrey – the courageous lady who many feel won the governorship of Maryland in 1994, only to have it snatched away by a post-election recount – recently wrote: “I have never seen people so upset and scared. The rebellion today is a true grassroots uprising of citizens that don’t believe either party in Washington represents them, hears them or cares what they think. More and more I hear, ‘A plague on both their houses. Throw all the bums out’.”

What the politicians need to learn is that insulting their constituents’ intelligence, denouncing them as slackers, having them arrested, or trying to act as if they simply don’t exist is not going to solve the problem of a grassroots rebellion on the ascent. Nor will trying to single out some contrived opponent to belittle and besmirch, as Barack Obama did Rush Limbaugh.

The real problem the politicians face is that there is no opposition leader. In fact, there are no leaders at all. The hallmark of the grassroots uprising now befuddling and deflating the Washington political elite (and their mainstream media factotums) is that they are flying in the face of a Leaderless Revolution soundlessly inundating the very air they breathe.

It is amorphous. It is dauntless. It is unyielding. And it needs no person or party to state its case or fight its cause.

Carried in a purse, a brief case, or a backpack; wielded in the palm of the purveyor’s hand; as easy as aps; and summed up in 140 characters or less; this is the Leaderless Revolution that Bill Gates predicted was coming at the “Speed of Thought” on the wireless wings of the wind.

Unfortunately for the Washington establishment, in America today – just as in Iran, Honduras, and Moldavia -- the thought has now become an action. The words have become deeds. They have begun to sow the wind. And the tone-deaf political elitists are about to reap the whirlwind.



How Obama will tax the middle class

By making everything they buy more expensive

Few of President Obama’s 2008 campaign pledges were more definitive than his vow that anyone making less than $250,000 a year “will not see their taxes increase by a single dime” if he was elected. And he was right, very strictly speaking: It’s going to be many, many, many billions of dimes.

Asked about raising taxes on the middle class on Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” White House economist Larry Summers wouldn’t repeat Mr. Obama’s pre-election promise. “It is never a good idea to absolutely rule things out no matter what,” Mr. Summers said—except, apparently, when his boss is running for office. Meanwhile, on ABC’s “This Week,” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner also slid around Mr. Obama’s vow and said, “We have to bring these deficits down very dramatically. And that’s going to require some very hard choices.”

These aren’t even nondenial denials. The Obama advisers are laying the groundwork for taxing the middle class while claiming the deficit made them do it.

The liberal establishment is even further along in finally admitting that Mr. Obama wasn’t, er, telling the truth. A piece in the New York Times over the weekend declared in a headline that “the Rich Can’t Pay for Everything, Analysts Say.” And it quoted Leonard Burman, a veteran of the Clinton Treasury who now runs the Brookings Tax Policy Center, as saying that “This idea that everything new that government provides ought to be paid for by the top 5%, that’s a basically unstable way of governing.” They’re right, but where were they during the campaign?

In an editorial on February 26, “The 2% Illusion,” we wrote that the feds could take 100% of the taxable income of everyone in America earning more than $500,000 and still have raised only $1.3 trillion even in the boom year of 2006. The rich are fewer and less rich now, while the Obama budget is nearly $4 trillion.

Democrats already plan to repeal the Bush tax cuts, but that won’t raise enough money. So they’re proposing an income tax surcharge on “the wealthy,” but that won’t raise enough either. Democrats have no choice but to soak the middle class because only they have enough money to finance the liberal dream of yoking the middle class to cradle-to-grave government entitlements.

Democrats have already taxed the middle class by raising cigarette taxes to pay for the children’s health-care expansion. They’re also teeing up average earners with their cap-and-tax energy bill. Mr. Obama had hoped that cap-and-tax would raise some $646 billion over a decade, but Democrats in the House had to give most of that away in bribes to business to pass their bill. To finance ObamaCare, they’re also proposing another 10-percentage-point increase in the payroll tax on firms and individuals that don’t purchase health insurance. But this won’t raise enough money either.

So waiting in the wings is the biggest middle-class tax increase of them all: a European-style value added tax, or VAT. This tax would apply to every level of production or service, and it is beloved by politicians in Europe because it raises so much money so easily without voters noticing. Ezekiel Emanuel, a White House aide and brother of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, has advocated a 10% VAT to finance national health care. Look for a VAT to be one of the prominent options when Mr. Obama’s tax reform commission issues its report later this year.

The undeniable reality is that you can’t run a European-style welfare-entitlement state without European-style levels of taxation on the middle class (and eventually without low European-style growth and high jobless rates). It’s looking more and more like Mr. Obama’s no-middle-class-tax pledge was one of the greatest confidence tricks in American political history.



Clunker Cash and Me

Let’s face it: After 17 years and 232,522 miles of faithful service, my Jeep’s best days were long past. Time for some new wheels — but money’s a bit tight these days, for me as for so many others.

But, as good fortune would have it, not for the federal government: They’re willing to pay me $4,500 — $4,500! — to turn that clunker in for a new car satisfying the combined demands of political correctitude and the auto-dealer lobby. Alas, the rules specify that the big, powerful, safe truck that I want does not qualify.

And so I asked the question on the minds of millions of my fellow concerned citizens: How can I get my snout into this trough? Easy: I buy a small car qualifying for the $4,500, and keep it for a few months until the cash-for-clunkers boondoggle has run its course. At that point, the supply of used cars will have shrunk and their prices driven up; I will sell the almost-new small car for what I paid for it ($12,629 last Saturday) or more, at worst having driven it for free, and then buy the truck I covet.

I am deeply ashamed of myself, having worked the system while the poor get shafted by higher prices for the used cars they demand and by higher prices for the used parts needed to repair them. (Under the rules, the clunker engines have to be destroyed, the real-life Beltway version of the old joke about the fate of dairy farming under socialism: The government takes the milk and shoots the cows.) This is hardly the first time — nor will it be the last — that modern environmentalism has harmed those less fortunate.

As for me, I remain ashamed, but not sufficiently so to have forgone the $4,500. And, to be blunt, I am hardly the only sinner in this congregation. When the federal government starts writing checks so as to implement half-baked ideas in pursuit of yet another cause for do-gooderism, gaming the system is the system, an eternal truth relevant to the ongoing debates over health care, taxes, and much else.




The recession isn’t over: “There is simply no money to rekindle the orgy of consumer spending that kept the US economy afloat for so long.People can’t even borrow if they want to. Banks are not lending, because they know that the happy talk is nonsense, and they don’t want to loan money to people and businesses that are liable to go belly up as the recession continues. That’s why card companies like American Express and many Visa and MasterCard issuers, instead of just charging a late charge when card-holders miss a monthly payment deadline as in the past, are now just jacking up the interest rate they charge — in American Express’s case to 28% or over 2% a month! That’s not the action of a bank that is expecting to get repaid by a valued customer — it’s the extortionate action of a usurer that wants to extract as much money as possible from a borrower that it expects to have go bust. Banks are canceling personal and business credit lines right and left too, making a joke of the Obama administration’s claim that it bailed out the banks so that they would ’start lending again.’” [And the above is from a Leftist site]

Lack-of-progress report: “Thus, once again, below the president’s honeyed, highfalutin ways of speaking, there is revealed a pretension that is becoming insufferable, a sense of moral and class superiority in office, which he has not yet earned. Moreover, when he is on his own, without speechwriters, Obama is surprisingly unimpressive. He is rambling, fairly boring, error-prone, evasive, and not well-informed. In addition, President Obama seems to be unable to admit error, to apologize, or to voice what all can see to be true.”

More British bungling: "Life-saving vehicles built to withstand Taliban roadside bombs have been stranded in Dubai for the past month because the RAF does not have enough planes to fly them into Afghanistan, it can be disclosed. The problem is set to grow with 50 of the 157 ordered Ridgbacks scheduled to arrive in Dubai by November. During the bloodiest month for British soldiers in Helmand province, where 22 died and an estimated 100 were wounded, nine £300,000 Ridgback vehicles were left on the tarmac at Al Minhad airbase outside Dubai, The Daily Telegraph has learned. The Ridgbacks, which offer protection against mines, are a four-wheeled version of the robust six-wheeled Mastiff that has saved numerous lives in Afghanistan. They were ordered principally to replace the vulnerable Snatch Land Rover, in which 37 soldiers have been killed. During the time that the Ridgbacks have been held up in Dubai a number of soldiers have been killed in less-protected vehicles such as the Jackal, Viking and Spartan. The stranded vehicles were left in the Middle East as the RAF committed its C17 Globemaster aircraft to removing British equipment from Iraq. RAF commanders are also furious over a “ridiculous” ruling that the armour and protection fitted to the vehicles was “UK Eyes Only”, which means they are not allowed to go on allied aircraft shuttling out of the airbase."


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 or here or here


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)


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mideast Peace Now!

By Gene Schwimmer

Is it time for those who clamor for a Middle East peace to "declare victory and go home"? Two recent events in the region signal the answer. And that answer, resoundingly, unequivocally, is "yes."

In 2006, Hezb'allah crossed Israel's northern border and kidnapped two soldiers, triggering a massive Israeli retaliation that caused hundreds of deaths, billions of dollars of damage and came close to destroying Hezb'allah, who were literally saved by the bell when the "international community" combined with a hapless left-wing administration on the Israeli home front pressured the Israelis into halting their advance short of complete victory.

And yet, in the aftermath of that war -- a war that reduced parts of Lebanon to rubble; a war in which Hezb'allah failed to invade, let alone conquer, an inch of Israeli territory; a war in which, a Hezb'allah officer confessed to The Jerusalem Post that, had it continued only ten more days, "we all would have surrendered -- Hezb'allah, astonishingly, declared victory. Apparently, in the topsy-turvy milieu of whatever passes for logic in the Arab Middle East, one can do that (and among the Israel-hating Left, get away with it).

So the Israelis pulled out, a UN "peacekeeping force" came in and, as we who opposed ending the war without a clear victory predicted, Hezb'allah returned and not only replenished their rocket arsenal, but increased it fourfold.

But then, something important happened. Hezb'allah won 57 seats (out of 128) in Lebanon's recent parliamentary elections. And on July 5, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a warning to Lebanon (emphasis mine) "that Israel will hold the Lebanese government responsible for any attack launched from within the country's territory, including Hizbullah operations."

Israel-bashers who waited for the usual Hezb'allah bluster and threats were disappointed for none has been forthcoming. One might even go so far as to say that, after Netanyahu's warning, Nasrallah has become all hat and no camel, to the point that:

"[a] week after a group of 15 people carrying Lebanese and Hizbullah flags crossed into the Shaba Farms, the terror organization called on its followers... not to demonstrate in the area under Israeli control."


"top Hizbullah and Amal officials made a commitment to the UN envoy in Lebanon not to organize rallies along the border with Israel and to block any attempt to demonstrate there".

And at the same time, in the West Bank, according to Ethan Bronner of the New York Times: "Seven months after Israel started a fierce three-week military campaign here to stop rockets from being fired on its southern communities, Hamas has suspended its use of rockets and shifted focus to winning support at home and abroad through cultural initiatives and public relations."

Of course, if Israel attacks Iran, all bets are off regarding Hezb'allah. But for now, all is quiet on the northern front. And the eastern front. And the southern front.

What does this sudden quietude along every inch of Israel's border with every one of her neighbors mean?

It means that now, today, amid all the "international community's" caterwauling about a supposed need for Israel to make substantial unilateral, self-endangering concessions "in the interest of Middle East peace, the chances of Israel being attacked by any of her neighbors right now is virtually nil. Which, in most people's definition, but especially in that of those who dwell in the Middle East and are familiar with the region's long and bloody history, means, there is peace.

Unnoticed, unheralded, not even reported, under their very upturned noses, the international community's professed goal of a peaceful Middle East, at least relative to Israel, has been achieved.

Peace, finally, has come to the Middle East, and it came not through Barack Obama's and the international community's (and Neville Chamberlain's) prescription of "negotiation" and appeasement, but through Ronald Reagan's -- and Franklin Roosevelt's; and Harry Truman's and, yes, Tony Blair's -- prescription of peace through strength and the resolve to stand forthright against one's enemies. (Even the only arguable exceptions, Israel's negotiated peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt, came only after Israel's victory in the 1973 war.)



Acting Without the Facts — A Presidential Pattern Emerges

By Michael Reagan

Last week, President Obama was almost finished with his nationally broadcast press conference when he was asked to comment on the arrest, and subsequent release, of renowned Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. by the now-famous Cambridge, Mass. police Sgt., Jim Crowley.

In his response to the question, the president started off with a legitimate point for discussion — his concern over the alleged practice of profiling across our nation. Had he stopped there, the matter would most likely have been put to rest and the president and national media could have re-focused on more pressing matters facing our nation such as the economy, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, or even the debate on health care. However, the president inexplicably decided to expand his response by saying the Cambridge police acted “stupidly” in their handling of the matter — while admitting that he did not yet have all of the facts at his disposal.

While this certainly turned out to be a significant political blunder, thankfully this particular occasion did not directly impact national policy or international standing. However, the unfortunate truth is that a pattern is emerging — one where President Obama decides to speak in advance of the facts on matters of much greater importance than a mistaken arrest.

First, when it came to the economy and the administration’s prediction that unemployment would stabilize at 8 percent or less, Vice President Biden himself admitted they were in error and that “there was a misreading of just how bad an economy we inherited.”

Despite pumping billions of dollars of “stimulus” money into the economy, unemployment — currently at a 26-year high — continues to rise, and we are left to understand that this administration does not have a solid feel for where the economy is heading and, indeed, never did. Talk about boosting consumer confidence.

The litany continues. Just a few days after assuming office, President Obama again jumped the gun by signing three executive orders relating to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. One order in particular called for the facility’s closure within a year of his signature — by this coming January. Again, after taking full measure of the situation it now appears that this accelerated timeframe is premature and infeasible — causing embarrassment for the administration and casting doubts on our international credibility.

There were plenty of warning and cautions beforehand, but again it seems the president did not take the time to acquire all the facts before making a decision, and now we’re left with prisoners whom no one will accept, and an administration forced — yet again — to admit they’re unsure of how to proceed.

During his campaign, Barack Obama promised all troops would be out of Iraq within 16 months of his assuming office. Barely a month after entering office, the president had already adjusted that plan to end combat missions within 18 months and allow for a complement of 35,000 troops to stay even longer. Yet just this week Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki suggested that the troops may be needed even longer than currently planned.

Most recently, we see the same pattern emerging with his proposed health-care plan, where even Democratic Congressional leaders are trying to rein in President Obama and distance themselves from his timetable, not to mention the details of his plan, as the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office releases report after report regarding the deficit increase and economic danger the President’s plan poses. This, of course, sits on top of the CBO’s analysis that the program is also at least a decade away from any savings and would still leave tens of millions of Americans uninsured. It seems to me like that sort of information would have been helpful to have in advance, and thankfully voters are already seeing through the scheme.

It’s not that we, the American people, don’t appreciate the ability to adjust to the reality of circumstances. Indeed, upholding a foolhardy promise would be reckless insult on top of gross error. But is it too much to ask that next time our president get the full information before he rushes towards judgment?



BrookesNews Update

Obama's big spending fallacy could ruin the US economy: a history lesson : The historical evidence and sound economic reasoning do not support Obama's colossal spending programs — and Americans instinctively no this. Yet he and advisors are hell bent on implementing these programs even though the only result will be a great weakening of the economy, if not something far worse. Only an unreasoning and fanatical belief in the power of state can account for such behavior
Is the US economy close to recovery? : Most experts and commentators are of the view that the worst of the US recession may be over by year's end. However, the so-called recovery is a monetary illusion based on government-constructed economic indicators, nothing more than that
The recession and the right's shoddy economic thinking: It is being argued by luminaries like John Stone that this is 'not a conventional recession, but a much more unusual balance sheet one'. This is complete nonsense. The recession — and the financial crisis — is entirely due to grotesque monetary mismanagement by the central banks
Overvalued currencies and floating exchange rates : For some perverse reason our rightwing economists refuse to accept the indisputable fact that overvalued currencies do exist even though we have floating exchange rates. This refusal to fact facts has degenerated into a personal vendetta
An open letter to the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP on his support for a destructive carbon tax : The despite the evidence that man-made global warming is a myth and that carbon taxes will devastate the economy Malcolm Turnbull arrogantly insists on implementing a thoroughly destructive police
Obama's Kerenskyism, Honduras and the Chavist abyss: Hillary approved the acquittal of the bloody Castro dictatorship. The very secretary of state that, along with president Obama, is open for a dialog with the pro-terrorist Iranian government has opened her arms to the Cuban communists. The same woman who met with smiles with dictator-president Chávez; and who shut the door to the civil Honduran delegation that went to Washington simply to explain their version of the facts. So why are Obama and Clinton supporting Marxist thugs who want to destroy America?
Obama's science czar wants forced abortions and government control of the family: John Holdren is America's new 'science czar'. He is also a dangerous green fanatic who believes in forced sterilizations, forced abortions, that abolition of the right of people to determine the size of their families. He also believes in total state control of the economy. So why did Obama appoint this dangerous fanatic and have the media covered for him? Is because they agree with his fanatical views?
Congress should not rush through something as important as changing our healthcare system: The Obama administration's cost estimates of Obamacare are phony. The real cost will be at least double the estimate. Add the cost of the healthcare program to already-incurred other costs of the no stimulus Stimulus Bill and other spending for the budget deficit, TARP, et al, and you have a total expenditure and deficit which is unimaginable even in modern times
Calibrate this, Mr. President: Why didn't Obama address the fact that the only oppression happening these days is by his buddies Castro, Chavez and all the other third world dictators he seems to think are misunderstood men of good will



Iran’s Stalinist justice further exposes the nature of the regime: "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be sworn in for a second term as Iran’s president tomorrow, following an election described by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as a “vote for the fight against arrogance and brave resistance to the international domination-seekers.” Maybe President Obama will note that his no-meddling stance hasn’t yielded much in the way of humane restraint or political accommodation. All the more reason, then, for Mr. Obama now to denounce the Stalin-style show trial of some 100 leading reformists accused of seeking to overthrow the regime. The detainees were hauled out of prison in their pajamas, brought to court without the aid of defense lawyers, and in some cases forced to deliver publicly televised confessions. “I believe the reformists had prepared for two or three years for this election, in order to limit the power of the Supreme Leader,” confessed former Iranian vice president Mohammad Ali Abtahi. Mr. Abtahi’s wife told the Associated Press her husband had probably been drugged. Lest there be any doubt about the regime’s intentions, its mouthpiece newspaper Kayhan called for the execution of the leading defendants."

White House rejects tax-hike suggestions: "The White House on Monday knocked down the prospect of tax hikes on the middle class to help close the growing federal deficit, walking back comments made by two of President Obama's top economic advisers. "The president's clear commitment is not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000 a year," said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. "He is not raising taxes on those making less than $250,000 a year." Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and National Economic Council Director Lawrence H. Summers ignited the discussion of middle-class taxes during separate appearances on the Sunday talk shows, venues where administration representatives typically carry disciplined and well-planned messages to the public. By broaching the tax issue, the two men raised inevitable questions about the sanctity of one of Mr. Obama's most potent campaign promises: his vow to protect the middle class from any increase in their tax bill. Mr. Obama has defined the middle class as a family making less than $250,000 or an individual making less than $200,000"

Congressmen hit over healthcare bill: "Senator Arlen Specter and the health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, were heckled and booed in Philadelphia on Sunday. In Austin on Saturday, a throng of protesters enveloped Representative Lloyd Doggett, Democrat of Texas, at a supermarket where he was trying to meet constituents. They carried signs that said “No Socialized Health Care” and chanted “Just say no!” And in Morrisville, Pa., Representative Patrick J. Murphy, a Democrat, expected 25 people at a “Congressman on Your Corner” event on Saturday. Instead he was met by a boisterous crowd of about 150 and a barrage of questions on health care."

The health bill is an Edsel: "Congress is getting an earful about Barack Obama's health care "reform," but before August is out, nobody's ears will be big enough to hold it all. Not even the president's... An aide to one Democratic congressman likens his boss' vacation to a hopeless campaign to "sell the Edsel." The Edsel, as only old-timers recall, was a new car introduced by Ford five decades ago. The car arrived with lots of weirdly shaped sheet metal and expensive bells and whistles, only to become the enduring metaphor for humiliating failure. The Republicans hold advantages as the monthlong congressional recess begins. The Democrats' only pitch is that Obamacare will "save" money - nobody believes that. [See more on this at SOCIALIZED MEDICINE]

Republicans closing gap in polls: "Nine months after Republicans suffered their worst political defeat in decades, President Obama and the Democrats are slipping in the polls and the Republican Party is expected to make gubernatorial and congressional gains in the 2009-10 election cycle, according to pollsters and election analysts. Six months into his presidency, Mr. Obama's approval ratings have fallen from the 70s to the low 50s or less and the Democrats' once-muscular lead in the polls also has shrunk. Republicans are leading in this year's two governorship races, in Virginia and New Jersey, and analysts say they likely will capture several more governor's mansions next year."

Panel blasts Panther case dismissal: "The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is demanding that the Justice Department explain why it recently dismissed a civil complaint against members of the New Black Panther Party who disrupted a Philadelphia polling place during last year's election, saying the department has offered only "weak justifications." Commission Chairman Gerald A. Reynolds, a former deputy associate attorney general under President George W. Bush, said he fears the legal precedent set by the department in its May decision to drop the case might encourage "other hate groups" to act similarly at polling locations in the future. Mr. Reynolds also charged that other groups might not have been treated so leniently. "If you swap out the New Black Panther Party in this case for neo-Nazi groups or the Ku Klux Klan, you likely would have had a different outcome," he told The Washington Times in a telephone interview Monday. "A single law, a single rule should be applied across the board. We are communicating with the department in hopes of gaining a better understanding of just what happened."

An optimum size of government?: "A new study by economists with the Institute for Market Economics (IME) in Sofia, Bulgaria, using the latest OECD data, finds that the government sectors in OECD (developed countries) are too large relative to their private sectors to maximize economic growth. Economists have long known that the government sector can be too small or too large to maximize economic growth, job creation, and the social welfare of its citizens. Governments that do not adequately protect the people and their property and the rule of law may be too small, while governments whose size and inefficiencies cause a misallocation of resources are too large. Over the last several decades, economists have tried to determine and quantify the optimum size of government (recognizing that not all governments and societies are the same). Most studies have shown the optimum size of government is between 12% and 30% of GDP. The new IME study, entitled The Optimum Size of Government, finds (using standard methodology) the government sector should be no larger than 25% (and perhaps considerably smaller) to maximize GDP growth. All major governments, including the U.S., Germany, U.K., France, and Italy greatly exceed that level. The average government sector for the OECD countries now exceeds 41% of GDP."

British helicopters 'not fit for use': "BRITISH military helicopters set to be deployed to Afghanistan were not properly equipped to fly combat missions, a newspaper said today, fuelling a row over adequate resources for troops. The helicopters were not fitted with special armour, leaving them vulnerable to attack by Taliban extremists while transporting troops, the Daily Telegraph newspaper said, citing unnamed Royal Air Force sources. The Ministry of Defence rejected the report, saying the six aircraft set to be deployed by the end of the year were "fit for operational use." "Our Merlin Mk3 helicopters have ballistic protection as standard, and are being fitted with a range of modifications to make them fit for operational use," a spokesman said. The newspaper said pilots wanted the helicopters fitted with Kevlar armour, which would cost about £100,000 ($200,944) for each aircraft, to protect them from bullets and rocket-propelled grenades. Claims of a shortage of helicopters have been at the centre of a political row over adequate equipment for the armed forces amid a surge in the British death toll in Afghanistan."


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 or here or here


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)


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

On race, 'No, he can't!'

By Andrew Breitbart

Well, that was pathetic. And it wasn't an accident. The fix was in from the beginning. Last week's lackluster "Beer Summit" featuring Sgt. James Crowley, professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was orchestrated to end a national discussion on race, not begin one. That's why there were no microphones, even though each participant showed himself to be perfectly qualified, astoundingly articulate and camera-ready for an illuminating and much-needed public debate.

The problem for the White House was the more the esteemed professor talked, the more trouble he created for his friend, the president. The clever photo-op sans audio was crafted to yank the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research off the stage, lest anyone begin to question what is being taught at Harvard these days.

Conversely, the more Sgt. Crowley weighed in, and his brave black co-workers spoke out, the more obvious it became that a national discussion featuring this cast of characters may not end with the results the professor and the president wanted. The status quo was at risk, and Mr. Obama used his extraordinary powers to protect it.

Any serious discussion would have put multiculturalism on trial, but the pretrial public hearings showed America opposes this false and corrosive idea, an opposition that our chattering classes can only understand as bigotry and prejudice. In the public eye, being a victim of past injustices does not win the right to propagate current and future ones, and that's intolerable to those in charge of the race industry today, whose power relies on maintaining forever a latent rage that can be turned on and off at the will of the nation's elites.

America is Tiger Woods country for a reason, and she elected Barack Obama to punctuate this new reality. The nation's laws, education system and media attitudes now need to catch up, but such catching up is exactly what Mr. Obama doesn't stand for.

My long-held fear is that Mr. Obama is hiding something about his education. During the endless 2008 campaign, Mr. Obama would not release his college grades. Given that President George W. Bush and Sens. Al Gore and John Kerry all had proved mediocre grades were no impediment to a presidential bid, Mr. Obama likely had other concerns.

While I have no desire to see Mr. Obama's birth certificate, I do want to see his college transcripts. My suspicion, one could even call it a conspiracy theory, is that Mr. Obama committed himself to a radical curriculum, aligned himself with the far-left professoriate, and sought to keep this biographical information from his political enemies, especially then-rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, for fear that they would paint the former community organizer and follower of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright as something other than an advocate of racial reconciliation.

Through his acts over the last few weeks, Mr. Obama has reinforced my fears and my admittedly speculative thesis. He has shown he has neither the desire to provide a fresh angle on race, nor wants to draw attention to the bad ideas that dominate higher education and stifle the mainstream media.

Not only were there no fresh ideas about race and living in multiethnic America, but there were hardly even any stale ones. Perhaps this was because Mr. Obama's and Mr. Gates' initial - and thus probably most authentic - reactions in playing the race card had proved so unpopular, and so they just wanted to have their frosted malt beverages and get outta Dodge.

But for whatever reason - this ballyhooed beer summit proved merely to be a semi-private photo-op that just happened to be held at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. There were rote, banal and opaque statements, with no public discussion, no interaction with reporters, or even with voices as identifiably conservative as Mr. Gates is identifiably liberal. For what Mr. Obama had called a "teachable moment," the teachers were pretty much absent and there wasn't even much of a lesson plan.

Isn't the mainstream media that built up the narrative of the black professor versus the white cop the least bit curious why in a tailor-made scene the wondrous orator and America's first multiracial president failed miserably to fulfill his great promise to usher in an era of better race relations?

The Democratic Party - which is now Mr. Obama's party - now depends on the ability to keep blacks in fear: of cops, of Republicans, of conservatives, of "Uncle Toms," and even of Tiger Woods, who proves that America, while still imperfect, is clearly heading in the right direction.

The beer at the White House tavern was served flat last Thursday because the president is less the living embodiment of America's melting pot than he is an adherent of the toxic ideas that - "thanks" to Mr. Gates among many, many other tenured radicals - dominate the modern university, permeate media thinking, saturate public policy and seek to define us in perpetuity by the color of our skin.

It took black and white blue-collar civil servants to expose that the race game is rigged at the highest levels. The majority in the United States wants to enter a better, more egalitarian and diverse, and even racially mixed future. We still need to have this big national discussion. We'll just have to have it without the president of the United States.




Sweden downsizes government to deal with economic crisis: “Think the answer to America’s problems is bigger government? Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg has seen the result up close and says it’s not pretty for the economy or investors. Anders Borg has a message for those who look to government to take over health care, rescue the financial system and run troubled corporations: I have seen the future — and it doesn’t work. As the finance minister of Sweden, Borg is the chief financial officer of a country long known as a walking billboard for a social welfare state …. Left-leaning politicians pushed government spending, excluding investment outlays, from 22% of gross domestic product in 1970 to 30% in 1980. Real growth fell from an average of 4.4% annually in the 1960s to 2.4% in the 1970s and remained low for the next two decades. ‘Like many societies, we went too far in our welfare-state ambitions,’ say[s] Borg.”

Dismissing your thoughts: “When I entered college, after a four year stint in the US Air Force, I discovered that a great many intelligent people commit what is called the genetic fallacy. As the entry in Wikipedia puts it, this fallacy is committed when ‘a conclusion is suggested based solely on something or someone’s origin rather than its current meaning or context. This overlooks any difference to be found in the present situation, typically transferring the positive or negative esteem from the earlier context.’ Whenever I would voice any of my views about politics, economics, child rearing or whatever, these folks explained it away by my origins, my having been born and raised in Budapest, Hungary, then a Soviet (communist) satellite. Everything I thought and said was deemed to have been caused by my background. This approach to understanding what people think and do has one very serious problem: the person’s views who is doing the explaining would then also be subject to such an explanation; indeed, the explanation would have to be considered caused by that person’s background.”

Wanted: A modest Obama : “By all accounts, Barack Obama’s father, the Kenyan student studying in America, was cocksure and impressed with his own talents. The arrogance gene must be dominant. Obama clearly has it. And that, more than any other factor, is driving his summertime swoon. Hubris made him reach for too much, too soon; brazenly overpromise about the effects of his program; overestimate his control of events; think the golden touch of his brilliant team could solve intractable problems; and believe his words could trump reality. The Obama team is fiddling with his health-care talking points. But the verbiage is beside the point. What Obama needs is a little modesty.”

The stimulus lesson : “Let’s stipulate that Congress may yet pass some sort of health insurance overhaul by the end of the year, that the future in politics is never a straight-line projection from the present, that President Obama is a savvy and charismatic guy, that Democrats control both houses of Congress, and — yadda, yadda, yadda — that the climate for ‘reform’ has never been better. Still: One can’t help noticing that the more Obama talks about his health plan, the less the public supports it. Why? Partly because voters have connected the dots between the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and Obamacare. They have seen the meager results and huge deficits that the stimulus produced, and can’t come up with a good reason to embark on yet another government shopping spree. For the public, the stimulus was bad economic medicine. Now Obama wants it to try another, unapproved experimental drug.”

It’s a new bull market: “Let’s call this what it is: A new bull market in stocks has emerged from the ashes of the financial meltdown and the deep recession that followed. And it’s signaling the onset of economic recovery. Free-market capitalism is more durable, resilient, and self-correcting than its detractors would have us believe. This is not just a summer rally — although a 12 percent market rise since July 10 is absolutely splendid. There’s a lot more going on here. Over the last five months, since March 9, the broad-based S&P 500 is up 46 percent. If I’m not mistaken, a 20 percent rally that is not quickly reversed constitutes a bull market. We are more than double that, and there will be no total reversal. Consequently, I want to change the agenda. This is much grander than what most commentators are describing. This is a new bull.”

For women, not resisting attackers can be a lethal strategy : “The following story challenges the belief that resisting your attacker only escalates the violence. Just give them what they want and they’ll leave you alive, right? Seattle residents Teresa Butz and her partner were in bed sleeping when Isaiah. M.K. Kalebu allegedly broke into their home and stabbed both multiple times. The women escaped the house, while Kalebu ran away. A neighbor heard somebody screaming for help and ran outside. Butz died at the scene from her injuries. A neighbor said Butz told him the attacker said that if they did what he asked, he wouldn’t hurt them. Her last words: ‘He lied, he lied.’”


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 or here or here


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)


Monday, August 3, 2009


You really can't make this stuff up, nor even consider it plausible if it had been made up. This homicidal maniac, this archetypal escapee from a hospital for the criminally insane, a man whose cause was to violently destroy EDUCATION, for God's sake, and who caused the deaths of more than 700 humans and mass kidnapping and arson in a few days...His richly-deserved death in custody, which was understandably greeted by the firing squad literally dancing around his stinking corpse in total glee, is treated as a matter of grave concern by HUMAN RIGHTS groups.

Unbelievable. All I can say is: "WELL DONE, LADS!!" to the police and military of Nigeria, and may their robust and focused response provide a cautionary lesson to other Muslim troubemakers in that vast and struggling country.

NOTE the nasty weaponry and improvised weapons in this vid...Amazing what a jihadi mob armed with just sledgehammers, machetes and jugs of gasoline can "accomplish" in a small peaceful neighborhood...

SOURCE (See the original for links, graphics)


Gender-Segregated Mourning in Rinkeby, Sweden

The Swedish media were almost totally silent about this affront to their famous feminist principles

A week ago a fire broke out in an apartment building in Rinkeby, a suburb of Stockholm. Rinkeby, like Roseng†rd in Malm”, is almost entirely populated by immigrants, and all seven people who died in the fire were Muslims.

As a matter of interest, Rinkeby has also been in the news during the last few days as a major recruiting center in Sweden for ethnic Somalis who have been returning to their homeland to wage jihad against non-radical Muslims and Christians.

I postponed writing about the Rinkeby fire until the cause of the fire was announced. Was this the usual Enricher arson, already so familiar in the immigrant ghettos of Sweden, but taken to a new level? Or was it a tragic accident?

So far there has been no word on the cause of the fire. However, the funeral for the victims became a national media event, with major politicians making an appearance to mourn with the families of the victims.

As the Axess blog points out, since this was a Muslim funeral there was gender segregation, and the mourning women were directed to stand under the trees at the back.

But none of the media all across feminist Sweden remarked upon this gender segregation. Except for Dagens Nyheter (DN), which at least had a comment that - although remarkably slippery - brought up this circumstance. They indicated that one of the women motivated the whole setup, and explained that the women "understand that they cannot be allowed to be any closer to the coffins, since they are so sensitive and don't want to disturb the ceremony with their crying."

The title of the DN article is "Everybody carries the grief together", where "together" is PC-newspeak for "separated".

The article was written by Ulrika By, a woman. As a woman, she was directed to travel in gender separated buses to the funeral, in a bus full of Somali women. She writes about how two cultures meet, but she couldn't have missed how two sexes didn't meet.

More HERE (See the original for links)



We've written repeatedly about President Obama's politicization of the Department of Justice under Eric Holder. In this week's Weekly Standard, Jennifer Rubin does a fine job of recapitulating the case so far. Given that we are barely six months into Obama's term, the picture is a stark one. Signs of overt partisanship are a symptom of what is going on beneath the surface:
While the Bush administration was investigated for seeking out conservative lawyers and staff, the Obama administration has been given a pass for going to the other extreme and stocking Justice with ultra-left leaning partisans. Overt signs of political activity and support now are on full display throughout the department. While it was unheard of to display campaign literature or paraphernalia during the Bush years, in the Holder Justice Department "Yes we did!" signs are fully evident, as are copies of reverential Obama campaign posters.

The bottom line is a degree of politicization that we have not witnessed in modern times:
Any demarcation between the Obama administration's political agenda and the impartial administration of justice is being eradicated. "Holder is the most political, partisan attorney general I can remember," says Frank Wolf. A former Justice Department official says that "the entire equilibrium of the department is out of whack." Lamar Smith, too, is dismayed. He says he has met with Holder several times. "You hear the words but there is a disconnect with the actions. We keep hoping for better."



They can't run a "cash for clunkers" scheme yet America needs them to run healthcare??

An excerpt about how "cash for clunkers" is going:

The White House and Congress may be giving the "cash for clunkers" program a reprieve, but one can't help wondering how many dealers and customers will have the confidence to go forward at this point. Things sound like a total mess in the showrooms.

"There is absolute frustration across the board," Alex Kurkin, a lawyer based in Miami who represents several car dealerships, tells The Lede today. "As of this morning, they're not really confident about any deals, and no one can give them advice about what they should be telling their customers."

One thing still not clear is how many older cars have actually been sold and scrapped with the original $1 billion, and how many more the new $2 billion will be able to cover. Mr. Kurkin tells us that the government Web site where dealers are supposed to register their deals has been crashing, and the dealers haven't been able to plug in their information....

The program requires that the clunkers be put out of service for good, so dealers must destroy the engines on cars that are traded in. We watched this process yesterday at the DCH Paramus Honda in Paramus, N.J. It is quite laborious and potentially dangerous. And it certainly is final.

Nick Clites, who is in charge of used cars for the dealership, was prepping a 1988 BMW 535IS, with 214,000 miles on the odometer, for its death. He drained the oil, then donned a silky blue protective suit, goggles and gloves and poured a sodium silicate solution into the engine. He revved the car, and within a few seconds, the solution hardened into a glass-like substance, the engine seized up and the car was dead.

So here is one question: With the program now on shaky ground, even with a new infusion of money, what consumer and what dealer will risk rendering an engine irretrievably unusable?

Well, as it turns out, a lot of them are doing so, because unless the dealers can prove to the government that they have killed the engines and scrapped the cars, the government will not reimburse them for the $3,500 or $4,500 discount that they have given the customer on a new, more efficient vehicle.

Barry Magnus, the general manager of DCH Paramus Honda, told us he was owed more than $80,000, and he wondered if he would ever see it. The government has said it would take 10 days to reimburse the dealers, but that was before the program apparently ran out of money and devolved into chaos Thursday night.


The scheme was supposed to cost $1 billion but now has cost $3 billion. What does that tell you about likely healthcare costs?


Divided they fall

We all know how Sunni Muslims hate Shiite Muslims (and vice versa) but there other divisions too. Is there any hope for the West in that? The author below thinks so

When eight Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets in London recently began trials of an all-halal menu, a backlash erupted from an unexpected source. Some Muslims are "boycotting the restaurants because they say the meat has not been killed correctly." Adding to the dissonance, two halal monitoring organizations are engaged in a public dispute over the matter.

Besides illustrating the law of unintended consequences, the above episode underscores a vital truth: in contrast to how they often are depicted, Western Muslims do not think with one brain or speak with one voice. Much of this plurality breaks down along moderate-versus-Islamist lines, as seen in events from the past few months:

* In late May, Islamic extremists marching in Luton, England, were confronted by a group of Muslims shouting, "We don't want you here!" Its leader explained that such protesters have been giving Muslims a bad name and fueling hatred. "The community decided to move them on because the police won't," he said. "We hope they get the message that the law-abiding community is sick and tired of them."

* Somalis took to Minneapolis streets in June to accuse the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of "discouraging local Somalis from cooperating with the FBI," which is investigating the trend of youths returning to Somali to take part in jihad. Days later, a CAIR-friendly crowd gathered to rebut the allegations.

* Recent calls by Nicholas Sarkozy and French legislators to outlaw face-covering veils have highlighted divisions among Muslims. While most Islamic advocacy groups quickly slammed leaders for daring to broach the topic, some prominent imams have denounced the niqab and backed a prohibition. Furthermore, Fadela Amara, a government minister and practicing Muslim, boldly described burqa-like clothing as a "coffin for women's basic liberties" and "proof of the presence of Muslim fundamentalists on our soil."

* When some Muslims in the UK started rejecting alcohol-based cleansing lotions that had been recommended to combat swine flu, even the Islamist-leaning Muslim Council of Britain sounded reasonable in comparison: "We would advise people to follow the medical advice so we would, of course, encourage people to use hand gel. People need to find ways to accommodate their beliefs."

For all concerned about the rise of Islamic radicalism, the most promising approach is clear. Rather than painting adherents of Islam with a broad brush, let us recognize the range of viewpoints exhibited by Western Muslims and stand beside moderates in the struggle against a common Islamist foe.




The hatred that may not be mentioned in modern Britain: "Here is a non-story. There were more than 600 attacks on British Jews in the first six months of the year. This is twice as many as the same period in 2008. Most consisted of verbal abuse – frightening enough for elderly Jews or Jewish schoolchildren – but 77 of the attacks were violent, including an attempt to kill a Jew by running him over. So far, no British paper has reported this increase in antisemitic attacks. Why? There are six to seven times as many Muslims as Jews in Britain. If since January there had been – scaled up proportionately – 2,000 attacks on British Muslims, it would make headlines everywhere. Those whose language and discourse created an atmosphere that denied British Muslims their right to a peaceful life under law would be the object of investigation – journalistic and intellectual – and put under pressure. But, in today's Britain, to be anti-antisemitic is to invite scorn, as if no problem existed.

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


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 or here or here


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)


Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Revealing Beer Summit Photo

Who's helping whom? ..... Obama couldn't care less.

"Sergeant Crowley, the sole class act in this trio, helps the handicapped Professor Gates down the stairs, while Barack Obama, heedless of the infirmities of his friend and fellow victim of self-defined racial profiling, strides ahead on his own." So who is showing compassion here for a minority? It's the cop. The cop is helping Skippy Gates down the steps, and Obama is walking two steps ahead ignoring him.

America did previously have a President who was a gentleman:

GWB helps an old political foe, Democrat Senator Robert Byrd. Obama did not even think of helping his friend. Character will out.

Full commentary here


Is Obama A Racist?

By Frances Rice (Frances Rice is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, a lawyer and chairman of the National Black Republican Association)

How do we decide who is a racist? The dictionary tells us a racist harbors feelings of antagonism and superiority based on biological differences, such as skin color. So, what demonstrates that President Barack Obama harbors such feelings toward white people? Glimpses of Obama’s mindset can be obtained from reading his two books, “The Audacity of Hope” and “Dreams from My Father” where Obama describes his animosity toward white people.

In “Dreams from My Father” Obama wrote: “I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother’s race.” This book also contains an explanation of why Obama joined and remained for 20 years in Trinity United Church of Christ, the church of black liberation theologian Rev. Jeremiah Wright who preached hatred against whites. Obama wrote: “It came about as a choice and not an epiphany”. The core of black liberation theology is black separatism, a movement that, for more than a century, has been opposed to racial integration. Equally troubling is Obama’s church giving a lifetime award to one of our nation’s most racist men, Louis Farrakhan.

Obama’s belief system on race was on full display during the 2008 campaign when, on a Philadelphia radio sports program, he described his grandmother as a “typical white person” who fears blacks.

From the roots of Obama’s enmity toward white people sprang his gratuitous attack on Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley. Obama declared that the sergeant “acted stupidly” while doing his duty, when all Obama knew, admittedly, was that the sergeant was white and the person arrested, Obama’s friend Harvard Processor Henry Gates, was black. Without bothering to learn the facts, Obama used the power of his position as President of the United States to demonize an American citizen because of his race. Details of the arrest are in the article “Obama Plays the Race Card” by Ronald Kessler that is on the Internet here

A video featuring the testimonial of two black officers in support of Sergeant Crowley, including the comments of Officer Kelly King who states that she supported and voted for Obama, but would not vote for him again, is posted on YouTube here.

Obama, in his rush to judgment, ignored pertinent facts, such as one of the arresting officers is black, the Cambridge Mayor is black and the Massachusetts Governor is black. From his lofty perch as the leader of the free world, Obama focused like a laser beam on the skin color of one man and engaged in grievance mongering about “racial profiling,” a charge that hampers law enforcement in black communities and was not even a factor in the Cambridge case. In an instant, Obama abandoned any pretense of being “post racial” and, before our very eyes, was transformed into our “race-baiter-in-chief”.

How ironic that the wrongs against blacks that are the genesis of Obama’s racial hostility were committed by the whites who supported the racist agenda of the Democratic Party (not that many years ago), the party Obama now heads. During his research, author Wayne Perryman uncovered documents which reveal that the Democratic Party was once proudly called the “Party of White Supremacy”. According to Perryman, Democratic Party campaign posters issued from 1868 to the early 1900’s declared: “This is a white man’s country - let the white man rule”. Perryman further pointed out that Democratic Senator Ben Tillman in 1909 said: “We reorganized the Democratic Party with one plank and only one plank, namely, that this is a white man’s country and the white men must govern it.”

Today, Obama is changing the Democratic Party into a party with the sinister premise that America is a black man’s country and the black men must govern it. Perhaps this is why Obama refused to prosecute Black Panthers who wielded weapons, hurled racial insults at voters and blocked the entrance at a Philadelphia polling place during the 2008 Election. “Protecting Black Panthers” is an editorial by “The Washington Times” that reveals how Jerry Jackson, one of the Black Panther defendants, is an elected member of Philadelphia’s 14th Ward Democratic Committee and was a credentialed poll watcher for Obama and the Democratic Party. That article can be found on the Internet here.

The intimidation tactics by Black Panthers are a chilling reminder about how the Democrats not long ago used the Ku Klux Klan, the terrorist arm of the Democratic Party, to intimidate and terrorize Republican voters, black and white. Democratic Party racism is precisely what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Republican, was fighting against. In Obama’s world, the civil rights accomplishments of Dr. King have been abandoned, and we are now encouraged to judge people by the color of their skin, not the content of their character. An analysis of Obama’s embracement of racial bigotry is provided in the article “How Our Post-Racial President Uses Race Card As Both Sword And Shield” by Larry Elder and is on the Internet here.

The article “A Post-Racial President?” by Thomas Sowell reveals in stark relief how destructive to our national fiber is Obama’s racial politics and can be found on the Internet here



Obama sagging

On almost every domestic issue, polls show that support for Obama and his agenda is plummeting, and that the Democratic Party's advantages over Republicans on the economy, taxes, the deficit and health care have been erased or severely reduced.

All presidents go through rough patches, and Obama's no exception. Odds are his poll numbers will get better -- and worse -- in the years to come. All of this is typical.

But this misses a crucial point: Obama isn't supposed to be a typical politician. He was supposed to be The One. He was supposed to change Washington. Transcend race. Fix souls. Bake 12-minute brownies in seven minutes.

Oprah promised Obama would help us "evolve to a higher plane." Deepak Chopra said Obama's presidency represented "a quantum leap in American consciousness." Last month, Newsweek editor Evan Thomas proclaimed that Obama stood "above the country, above -- above the world, he's sort of God."

Well, now he's the god who bleeds, and once you're the god who bleeds, it's hard to get the divinity back in the tube, as it were.

Obama undoubtedly has major accomplishments ahead of him, but in a real way the Obama presidency is over. His messianic hopey-changiness has been exposed for what it was, and what it could only be: a rich cocktail of pie-eyed idealism, campaign sloganeering and profound arrogance.

As president, he's tried to apply the postpartisan gloss of his campaign rhetoric to the hyperpartisan dross of his agenda. And he's fooling fewer people every day.



Ending Transparency; A day in the life of the Obama Department of Labor

The Obama Administration has been hard at work since day one to end financial transparency for labor unions. This is essentially payback for the incredibly expensive support the unions gave Obama during his presidential campaign costing incalculable amounts of money.

The Labor Department recently announced that it is considering revoking recent updates to the financial transparency regulations (Form LM-2 and Form T-1) and the conflict of interest regulations (Form LM-30) that are statutorily mandated. One of the required steps in this process is holding a “stakeholder” meeting to solicit comment from the public regarding potential regulatory changes. The Department held this meeting on July 21 and the results were all too revealing.

When the Labor Department under President Bush held such meetings, the lack of substantive comment received from attendees made the meetings awkward. No union reps wanted to go on record regarding anything approaching transparency for fear of losing support among their peers.

But that’s all changed now. With a new sheriff in town who is fully intent on getting rid of all this pesky transparency, the union reps were literally giddy at the prospect of hiding items such as the following: expenditures of union members’ money; substantial gifts to union officers from entities attempting to influence the union; the “offshore accounts” of unions, i.e., their trusts, etc.

After the issues were introduced by Department personnel, the floor was opened to comments. Up first was counsel for the AFL-CIO, who claimed among other things that the Form LM-30 is “overwhelmingly complicated” and that it is “impossible for union lawyers to understand.” If that is the case, they may need better lawyers. What he probably meant is that it is now much harder to structure transactions in such a way as to avoid reporting and hide graft.



The Abrogation of the Social Contract

An argument used in many current business ethics textbooks today to morally justify the intrusion of Big Government into corporate and small business decisions turns on the notion that we now are in the process of re-writing the understood social contract between business and society. So, let’s take a quick look at this convenient fallacy and see if we can figure out why the left contrived it in the first place.

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries what Americans most wanted from business was rapid economic growth and job creation. Back then, we were willing to overlook many negative consequences of business activity on the environment to see business achieve this end. Now, the argument goes, society has concerns other than simple economic growth -- specifically, quality of life and environmental concerns -- that mean that it can no longer absorb costs associated with these side effects.

The argument claims that society, largely through government regulations, is now justified in forcing business (especially large corporations) to internalize these costs, even if doing so will have a negative impact on their bottom line....

First of all, who is saying that our society is modifying its understood social contract with business if not the same liberal academics and politicians who have, for the past 30 years or so, been calling for ever-increasing, anti-productive and burdensome environmental regulations by Big Government on business? Writing on this issue, Jesuit scholar Edward W. Younkins insightfully observes, “It is interesting to note that when corporate critics refer to the public interest or the common good, they are frequently referring to the good of some individual or group of individuals intent on imposing their own views or goals upon others.”

Have ordinary Americans ---who after all are society, with no particular environmental axe to grind and who are most affected by their loss -- really been in favor of seeing hundreds of US factories close and millions of American jobs shipped overseas during the last few decades because ever increasing environmental regulations? Did they really want the contract modified in spite of these consequences?

Those who ardently advocate Big Government corporate regulation view businesses essentially as creations of government---on society’s behalf---which exist solely to serve public needs. Whatever assets they have they possess as a matter of privilege granted by government concession, not as a right. Defenders of liberty, on the other hand, view corporations as created not by government, but by the voluntary actions of private individuals. As such they are private property, not public property. And they exist primarily for the financial benefit of their owners.

So, if and when government abrogates its social contract with business – for whatever reason – it not only destroys jobs and stifles initiative, it violates the most basic precepts of freedom in the process. For, as Thomas Jefferson wrote, "The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen in his person and property and in their management."




Obama gives medal to Israel-hating Mary Robinson: "The White House just announced 16 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. According to the White House release, "America’s highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom is awarded to individuals who make an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors." Two of the recipients are folks that travel in our circles. UN Foundation board member and micro-lending pioneer Muhammad Yunus and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson" [Background here]

Traffic to the Obama's White House Web Site Has Plummeted: "The traffic at President Obama's official White House Web fallen from a post-Inauguration peak to nearly the same level it was during the waning days of the Bush administration. The dramatic drop in traffic has happened despite the Obama Administration's complete redesign of the site. According to the web-traffic tracking site, was almost the 500th most popular Web site in the world in February. Since then, it has fallen to the 3,732 ranked Web site in the world. Traffic to the site has fallen 51.6 percent in the last three months. People are also spending less time on the site than they did before. Time spent on a Web site is often used as a barometer for how interested visitors are in a site’s content. Time spent on declined 15 percent since May to an average of 2.6 minutes per visitor. Visitors are looking at less and less on the site, despite the daily increase in content. Visitors viewed an average of only two pages per day over the past three months, declining 18.5 percent during that time. In fact, the number of different pages viewed by the average visitor has fallen nearly 50 percent since February"


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 or here or here


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)


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Work, Jobs, and Worth

By Bruce Walker

The Left has long confused work, jobs, and worth. The Stimulus Package, the grand catastrophe, was intended to create and preserve jobs that could make America poorer, not richer. A century ago nearly everyone in America had a "job," and most had jobs on farms. Men, women, and children got up before sunrise. Women slaved with iron stoves to make breakfast, while men and boys ate in preparation for a long grueling day of generally boring work. Then the women, after doing all their chores, prepared lunch, and at sundown, they made supper.

Everyone had a job. Everyone engaged in productive labor. And everyone looked toward a hopeful future in which there would be less work that needed to be done. We reached that goal after the Second World War. Our nation had what we call "full employment," but the jobs were engineers, oil field workers, men in factories, clerks in stores and shops. We had people engaged in activities that produced goods and services which people in the free market wanted to consume.

Government can end "unemployment" tomorrow by paying people to sit home and watch television, reporting in every fifteen minutes. Instead, it has done something else. The Left has "invented" whole areas of work that no one really wants, except for those whose livelihood is connected to that industry. Consider, for moment, the civil rights "industry." One reason why this noxious doctrine is defended so fiercely is that hundreds of thousands of white collar Americans work in federal, state, local, corporate, charitable, advocacy, school, and academic bureaucracies supervising this meaningless work. No one wants the dubious "goods" these functionaries provide, but who can tell them that they are no longer needed?

Anytime government steps into our lives, it creates "jobs" which are the equivalent of one company of men digging a hole and the other company filling it in. Why doesn't the media expose this grand fraud? Because all of the major news organizations, all the journalism schools, all the self-important pundits who reside in Washington, along with all the countless armies of lobbyists, need us to believe that every single vital decision in our life is made in Washington. So we have a whole army of such odd creatures as "reporters covering the Supreme Court." Make-work in Washington, which itself makes nothing more than hot air, is seen not as a problem, but rather the way to full employment.

But what do legislative staffers "produce"? Bills which literally no one has read or analyzed or may ever fully understand? What do presidential Czars produce, except an additional layer of confusion regarding who is responsible for what policies in our government. Yet no one in Washington can imagine the farmers, oilmen, chefs, architects, nurses, car dealers, grade school teachers, policemen, drug company reserachers, surgeons, heating and air conditioning businesses or all the other folks who actually produce good and services we want could function without the unproductive employment of Washington and the unproductive employment invented and shipped to us from Washington.

This accounts for some of the weirdest language in the stimulus bill. The money cannot be used, for example, to build swimming pools or golf courses. Why, in Heavens, not? People use those. Not only that, but public swimming pools and golf courses can generate their own revenue and create more actual productive jobs for lifeguards, caddies, and café staff. It would actually make sense to fund parts of the country that lacked adequate swimming polls and golf courses, and fund their construction -- if market studies indicated even a mild chance of success.

Building a nuclear defense shield, if we really threw resources at it, could create a lot of high paying jobs for scientists and engineers. That would produce something we could use. Obama, in his stimulus, does not want that sort of work. America, to him, is rich enough already. He wants jobs that do nothing really but glorify the majesty of his Leftist doctrines. So do not look for Obama to grant each small business a big tax credit for each additional employee hired after the stimulus was passed, although small business is a mighty generator of real jobs. Look, instead, for Obama to have stimulus funds trickle down the well worn lines of federal largesse through its many pointless intermediaries until, at some point, the dregs are used to hire, say, another community organizer in Chicago.

It is hard to say whether the Left has simple contempt for productive genius or simply fear of it, but it is very easy to see that creating nominal "jobs" with no purpose seems noble and logical to those who have never really created a good or a service that consumers would actually buy in their lives.



BrookesNews Update

US economy: What recovery? : Obama's insane energy policy and the Democrats' rising tide of tax increases that will sweep across the economy could send the US economy into another severe downturn. Then there is the tidal wave of money that Bernanke been built up. Unless it is permanently sterilised the US will be confronted with surging inflation, a falling dollar and rising unemployment. It won't be a pretty picture
Share markets, equities and monetary policy : In a progressing economy aggregate profits will always exceed aggregate losses. This means that equity returns must exceed the return on bonds. This explains the equity 'premium puzzle'. Unfortunately, monetary mismanagement can severely distort share markets
Witchfinder General Graeme Samuel declares war on warlocks, covens and cartels : A cartel cannot suppress competition. This is a fact that the likes of Samuel never address. Even if there is an absence of competition among its members this cannot logically be taken as meaning the absence of competition in the market place. To make this assumption Samuel would have to explain why cooperative action that generates profits does not attract competitors. Seeking out cartels is akin to economic witch finding
Democrats: Who's out of touch?: The awful truth about liberalism is its central delusion, the notion that life can be neatly organized into rational bureaucratic programs. It turns everything it touches into soulless clanking monster. The glorious truth about conservatism is its love of life. Before princes, principalities and powers comes life and love, mothers and babies, children and families, struggle and sacrifice, a city on a hill
How Obama is targeting the internet : Obama wants to appoint Cass Sunstein as head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Sunstein is of the stated opinion that Americans have been getting false information from the net, particularly concerning Obama. To that end he hopes to curb what he calls 'falsehoods' and that others call opinions The truth is that Sunstein is a mendacious political bigot and an enemy of liberty who intends to target online critics of the Obama administration
Obama shoots down the raptor : Obama cancelled the world's most advanced combat plane. The man whose reckless spending and borrowing is driving an unsustainable deficit uses his fiscal incompetence as an excuse to cut back on a project that would keep the US far in advance of any opposing air force. So billions for boondoggles are good for the US economy but billions to effectively defend Americans is not
Under the radar: 10th Amendment Movement picks up steam: Millions of Americans watch with horror as the Obama administration continues to implement its own version of 'change.' Change that involves an unprecedented and systematic devolution of power to the federal government, in direct contravention of the Constitution



A racist administration? Black Panthers immune from prosecution over thuggery? "Congressional Republicans on Thursday escalated their criticism of the Justice Department for dismissing a controversial voter-intimidation case, demanding that civil charges against the New Black Panther Party be restored. They also renewed their request to interview career attorneys who disagreed with the administration's decision to dismiss the charges. Rep. Frank R. Wolf of Virginia, a senior Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, obtained an opinion Thursday from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) affirming that charges could legally be refiled without violating the double-jeopardy clause of the U.S. Constitution and said he thought Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was obligated to refile the case. "In all fairness, he has a duty to protect those seeking to vote and I remain deeply troubled by this questionable dismissal of an important voter-intimidation case in Philadelphia," Mr. Wolf told The Washington Times."

US government to stop idiot “cash for clunkers” scheme: "The government plans to suspend its popular ‘cash for clunkers’ program amid concerns it could quickly use up the $1 billion in rebates for new car purchases, congressional officials said Thursday. The Transportation Department called lawmakers’ offices to alert them to the decision to suspend the program at midnight Thursday. The program offers owners of old cars and trucks $3,500 or $4,500 toward a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle. The congressional officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. Rae Tyson, a spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which administers the program, declined comment.”

Why not a public option for automobile insurance?: “Why are the Administration and Congressional leaders so intent on having the federal government compete with private health insurers — but not with State Farm, Allstate, and other companies that write car insurance? Why not a new Fedicrash option? Only the government, we are told, can keep the corporations honest, and prod them to develop innovative products. Why would this apply only to health insurance?”

Stimulus bill funds going to porn houses: "“Talk about a stimulus package. The National Endowment for the Arts may be spending some of the money it received from the Recovery and Reinvestment Act to fund nude simulated-sex dances, Saturday night ‘pervert’ revues and the airing of pornographic horror films at art houses in San Francisco. The NEA was given $80 million of the government’s $787 billion economic stimulus bill to spread around to needy artists nationwide, and most of the money is being spent to help preserve jobs in museums, orchestras, theaters and dance troupes that have been hit hard by the recession. But some of the NEA’s grants are spicing up more than the economy.”

The criminalization of a generation: “Ten years ago I received a t-shirt from the October 22 Coalition. The back of the shirt read ‘Stop the Criminalization of a Generation.’ The Coalition’s focus is on police brutality, but the slogan can, unfortunately, be applied to many other situations. A recent trend, for example, is the crackdown on ’sexting.’ … District attorneys across the country have begun to criminalize teenagers who decide to send nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves to lovers, friends, or others (sometimes by mistake). Minors taking provocative pictures of themselves are no longer experimenting with their sexuality and their bodies, they are now creator-victims of child pornography.”

Hillary out to strong-arm Swiss: “First we attacked Afghanistan. Then we attacked Iraq. Now the U.S. has it sights set on Switzerland. Peaceful, neutral Switzerland? That’s right. What’s the crime? It’s not sponsoring terrorism or harboring weapons of mass destruction. No, in the eyes of the U.S. government, Switzerland has done far worse: it’s kept money out of the hands of the Internal Revenue Service, money to which the IRS may not even be entitled under any law anywhere.”

Defending freedom in the age of Obama: “Back [in 1993] we were facing some of the same assaults to the free market and individual liberty that confront us today. Hillary Clinton was leading the charge for government provided ‘universal health care’ and President Bill Clinton and members of his inner circle, such as economist Robert Reich, had resurrected talk of government guiding the workings of the market through ‘industrial policy’ and advocated the placing additional mandates on employers. The fact that we are arguing many of these same issues now, 16 years later, points to the fact that those of us who believe that protecting individual liberty is the primary role of the government, came out, to a significant degree, victorious in those previous battles. ‘Hillary Care’ went down to defeat, industrial policy did not take off, and though we lost the argument on increasing the minimum wage and other employer mandates, we did win on achieving meaningful welfare reform. On the flip side, however, our renewal of many of these same debates reflects the fact that we did not win the ideological war.” (You can't win it. Ideology is not about facts. It is about hatreds)

21 has lost its buzz: Time to lower drinking age: “Somewhere in America, there may be a college student who is dissuaded from drinking by Legal Age 21. It’s a big country, you know. But exactly 25 years after Washington turned 18-, 19- and 20-year-old drinkers into criminals, the evidence is piling up like a mountain of crushed Budweiser cans: Despite fine intentions by the Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other anti-alcohol groups, the 21-year-old drinking age actually has caused more harm than good. It’s promoted dangerous binge drinking on American campuses. It’s pushed underage drinkers into dorm rooms, frat houses and moving automobiles. It’s led to a wave of alcohol-fueled assaults and other destructive behavior.”

Is a new bubble being formed? : “Again, the bubble is being filled with bad investments. A recession is a time when we should sort out bad investments and transfer capital and labour from failed sectors into more competitive industries. Instead, it seems as if European politicians would like to keep failed investments on life support until economic growth makes it possible for them to survive on their own. The result may be a delayed return to healthy economic growth. Moreover, European leaders appear not to have understood that government failures contributed to the crisis, not just market failures. A failing that the markets and governments shared in was the creation of a monoculture. Banks did so by using the same standards and computer models; governments did so by harmonising regulation.”

Bolivia: First law prohibiting animals in circuses: “Bolivia has enacted what animal rights defenders are calling the world’s first law that prohibits the use of animals in circuses. A handful of other countries have banned the use of wild animals in circuses, but the Bolivian ban includes domestic animals as well. The law, which states that the use of animals in circuses ‘constitutes an act of cruelty,’ took effect on July 1 and operators have a year to comply, according to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ximena Flores. The law was proposed after an undercover investigation by the nonprofit London-based group Animal Defenders International, or ADI, found widespread abuse in circuses operating in Bolivia.”


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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)