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31 August, 2011

A Conspiracy of Counterfeiters

Pat Buchanan

"Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens."

"Lenin was certainly right," John Maynard Keynes continued in his 1919 classic, "The Economic Consequences of the Peace."

"There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose."

Keynes warned that terrible hatreds would be unleashed against "profiteers" who enriched themselves through inflation as the middle class was wiped out. And he pointed with alarm to Germany, where the mark had lost most of its international value.

By November 1923, the German currency was worthless, hauled about in wheelbarrows to buy groceries. The middle class had been destroyed. German housewives were prostituting themselves to feed their families. That same month, Adolf Hitler attempted his Munich Beer Hall Putsch.

Today a coterie of economists is prodding Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to induce inflation into the American economy.

Fearing falling prices, professor Kenneth Rogoff, former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund, is pushing for an inflation rate of 5 to 6 percent while conceding that his proposal is rife with peril and "we could end up with 200 percent inflation."

Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winner and columnist for The New York Times, is pushing Bernanke in the same direction.

Bernanke, writes Krugman, should take the advice he gave Japan in 2000, when he urged the Bank of Japan to stimulate the economy with "an announcement that the bank was seeking moderate inflation, 'setting a target in the 3-4 percent range for inflation, to be maintained for a number of years.'"

And who inspired Bernanke to urge Tokyo to inflate? Krugman modestly credits himself. "Was Mr. Bernanke on the right track? I think so -- as well I should, since his paper was partly based on my own earlier work."

But Krugman is not optimistic about Bernanke's injecting the U.S. economy with a sufficient dose of inflation. Why is Ben hesitant? Two words, says Krugman: "Rick Perry." Krugman believes Bernanke has been intimidated by Perry's populist threat in Iowa after his first day of campaigning:

"If this guy (Bernanke) prints more money between now and the election, I don't know what y'all would do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treasonous."

Perry was indulging in Texas hyperbole, and the press came down hard on him for language unbefitting a presidential candidate.

Yet Perry has raised a legitimate series of questions. What should be done to high officials of the U.S. government who consciously set out to dilute and destroy the savings and income of working Americans? What should be done to those who have sworn an oath to defend the Constitution and then steal the wealth of citizens by secretly manipulating the value of the currency, the store of wealth upon which those people depend?

Is inducing inflation -- debauching the currency, the systematic and secret theft of the savings of citizens -- a legitimate policy option for the Federal Reserve? Has Congress authorized official thievery? Who do these economists think they are?

Inflation rewards debt -- and erodes savings. It is legalized counterfeiting, the deliberate creation of money with nothing to back it up.

If a citizen printed dollars bills, he would be tracked by the Secret Service, prosecuted and imprisoned. Why, then, is the Fed's clandestine printing of money with nothing to back it up a legitimate exercise and, according to Krugman & Co., a desirable policy for Bernanke and the Fed?

Schooled economists such as Rogoff, Krugman and Bernanke know how to shelter their wealth from the ravages of inflation -- and even to get rich. But what about widows whose husbands leave a nest egg of savings in cash and bonds? What are they supposed to do as the value of their savings is wiped out at 4, 5 or 6 percent a year -- or whatever annual rate of ruin the Rogoffs and the Krugmans decide upon?

This is not only an economic issue but a moral issue. To inflate a currency is to steal the money citizens have earned and saved and entrusted their government to protect. Any government that betrays that trust and steals that wealth is not only unworthy of support. It is worthy of being overthrown. On this one, as Keynes said, Lenin was right.

Perry and Ron Paul deserve the nation's gratitude for putting this issue of the unfettered power and the amorality of our unelected Federal Reserve on the political docket.



David Gregory's Intolerance

On NBC’s Meet the Press, host David Gregory grilled Rep. Michele Bachmann (R., Minn.) on her political and religious views.

Near the end of the segment, Gregory asked Bachmann about her views on gays and lesbians. He played a clip of Bachmann saying that the gay lifestyle was “personal bondage, personal despair, and personal enslavement.”

“I am running for the presidency of the United States, I’m not running to be anyone’s judge,” Bachmann replied.

Video follows

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

By Lloyd Marcus

The liberal media are signaling that their mission to reelect Barack Obama is going to involve declaring Bible-believing Christians to be intolerant bigots, unfit for high office. The trigger issue is one of the liberal media's favorite causes: normalizing homosexuality.

Please, please, please understand, as we said in the '60s, "where I'm coming from." This article is not about bashing homosexuals. I have homosexual family and friends whom I love very much.

However, I found David Gregory's attack on Michele Bachmann for comments she made regarding homosexuality to be extremely disturbing and offensive. Bachmann is a Christian and simply compassionately espoused the biblical point of view. Just as Muslims live by the Quran, Christians strive to live by the Bible.
Here are a few Bible quotes about homosexuality.

Lev. 18:22: "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination."

Lev. 20:13: "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act;..."

Rom. 1:26-27, " ... for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts ... "

Whether you agree with the Bible or not is irrelevant. My point is that Bachmann did not "make up" her take on homosexuality. It came from a holy book considered sacred by mega-millions worldwide.

So, when Gregory beat up on Bachmann, he was really attacking Christians and the Bible. But most disturbing was Gregory's arrogant bullying and implicit threat to all who disagree. In effect, he announced: We, the media, have declared homosexuality normal -- period, end of subject. Any one of you Neanderthals daring to suggest otherwise will suffer the consequences.

Would Gregory have been so aggressive interviewing Muslim presidential candidates about their beliefs? I suspect not.

Most Americans accept homosexuals and are repulsed by anyone abusing them. However, America's acceptance of homosexuals is not good enough for the left. The left wish to bend our arms behind our backs until we cry "uncle," proclaiming homosexuality to be normal.

Even home improvement and cooking TV programs feature a high number of homosexual couples disproportionate to the population. Clearly, many TV producers have an agenda to normalize the homosexual lifestyle.

My dad has been in Christian ministry as a pastor for 50 years. Dad said he is being pressured to embrace the Gospel of Homosexuality. He added, "Those of us who disagree are being pushed into the closet."

Has the left won? Are we afraid to quote the Bible's rebuke of homosexuality?

Think about this, folks. According to the left, if you disapprove of acts forbidden by scripture, not only are you a "hater," but you are deemed mentally ill -- diagnosed as homophobic and in need of treatment.

During his Bachmann interview, Gregory kept referring to homosexuals as "gay Americans" in an attempt to make disapproval of a "sexual behavior" the same as discriminating against an ethnic group such as African-, Hispanic-, and other Americans.

The left reinforces the theme, calling opposition to the homosexual agenda "bigotry."

Black Civil Rights groups are offended by the left comparing their struggle to that of homosexuals.

I state again, "I have homosexual family and friends whom I love very much." However, loving them does not mean I must submit to dictatorial pressure from the media to embrace the homosexual lifestyle as being normal.

To get their way, the left always distort the discord, portraying all opposition to equal the extreme evil. For example, Americans welcome legal immigrants who obey our immigration laws with open arms. We oppose illegal immigration and all the crime and stress on our welfare system that comes with it. The left brands anyone seeking to protect our borders extremist, anti-immigration, and racist.

If you believe that elementary kids should not be forced to celebrate Gay Pride Day and not be encouraged to experiment with homosexuality, the left numbers you among the minority of nutcases seeking to harm homosexuals.

Regardless of the issue, the left, via their liberal media enforcers, slander the opposition, painting them to be haters and extremists. Former Obama supporters turned off by his unfolding socialistic agenda are suddenly redneck racists against a black president.

Patriots, I realize all of you are not Christians and my purpose is not to force my faith on anyone. This article is not about whether homosexuality is right or wrong. It is about the liberal media throwing down the gauntlet, saying, Hey, you Christians had better get with the program regarding the normalcy of homosexuality, or else!

The liberal media usurping ultimate authority to enforce their "ultimate consensus" on an issue, destroying anyone who dares think otherwise, is a serious assault on our freedom.



An Unusual Economy?

Thomas Sowell

Many in the media are saying how unusual it is for our economy to be so sluggish for so long, after we have officially emerged from a recession. In a sense, they are right. But, in another sense, they are profoundly wrong.

The American economy usually rebounds a lot faster than it is doing today. After a recession passes, consumers usually increase their spending. And when businesses see demand picking up, they usually start hiring workers to produce the additional output required to meet that demand.

Some very sharp downturns in the American economy, such as in the early 1920s, were followed quickly by bouncing back to normal levels or beyond. The government did nothing -- and it worked.

In that sense, this is an unusual recovery in how long it is taking and in how slowly the economy is growing -- while the government is doing virtually everything imaginable.

Government intervention may look good to the media but its actual track record -- both today and in the 1930s -- is far worse than the track record of letting the economy recover on its own.

Americans today are alarmed that unemployment has stayed around 9 percent for so long. But such unemployment rates have been common for years in Western European welfare states that have followed policies similar to policies being followed currently by the Obama administration.

Those European welfare states have not only used the taxpayers' money to hand out "free" benefits to particular groups, they have mandated that employers do the same. Faced with higher labor costs, employers have hired less labor.

The vast uncertainties created by ObamaCare create a special problem. If employers knew that ObamaCare would add $1,000 to their costs of hiring an employee, then they could simply reduce the salaries they offer by $1,000 and start hiring.

But, since it will take years to create all the regulations required to carry out ObamaCare, employers today don't know whether the ObamaCare costs that will hit them down the road will be $500 per employee or $5,000 per employee. Even businesses that have record amounts of cash on hand are reluctant to gamble it by expanding their hiring under these conditions.

Many businesses work their existing employees overtime or hire temporary workers, rather than get stuck with unknown and unknowable costs for expanding their permanent work force.

As unusual as 9 percent unemployment rates may seem to the current generation of Americans, unemployment rates stayed in double digits for months and years on end during the 1930s. Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration followed policies very similar to those of the Obama administration today. He also got away with it politically by blaming his predecessor.




House GOP targets “job-destroying” laws: "The House Republican agenda this fall will focus on repealing environmental and labor regulations that GOP lawmakers say are driving up the cost of doing business and discouraging employers from hiring workers. House majority leader Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia, said in a memo to his fellow Republicans that as soon as Congress returns to Washington next week he will start bringing up bills to repeal or restrict federal regulations."

West Bank: IDF training squatters ahead of expected “mass disorder”: "The IDF has conducted detailed work to determine a 'red line' for each settlement in the West Bank, which will determine when soldiers will be ordered to shoot at the feet of Palestinian protesters if the line is crossed. It is also planning to provide settlers with tear gas and stun grenades as part of the defense operation. The IDF is currently in the process of finalizing its preparations for Operation Summer Seeds, whose purpose is to ready the army for September and the possibility of confrontations with Palestinians following the expected vote in favor of Palestinian statehood at the UN General Assembly."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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


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


30 August, 2011

How Canada avoided America's economic and financial problems

A similar story to that below could be told about Australia. Australia too ran budget surpluses right up until the GFC and Australia's banks at no time stopped making good profits. And Australia's unemployment rate is in fact much lower than the Canadian figure: 5.1% versus 7.2%

In a recent Bank of Canada survey, businesses reported the highest hiring expectations on record amid broad optimism about future demand. A quarter of the Canadian businesses that responded are facing labor shortages. Respondents also indicated plans to increase investment spending - a factor critical to economic productivity that is far too often overlooked in the misguided obsession over consumer spending.[10] All of this has contributed to a surging Canadian dollar, which has risen from a low of 0.77 USD/CAD to well above parity and is presently making record highs on a regular basis.[11] By any conventional metric, Canada's economic performance can thus be demonstrated to have surpassed those of its peers during and subsequent to the recession.

While the United States rose to the occasion with their monolithic trillion-dollar stimulus package and the rest of the world followed suit, Canada, as noted by many opponents of the ruling party at the time,[12] all but sat idly by, and what little it did in the way of spending did nothing to contribute to its aversion of disaster, as demonstrated by the Fraser Institute.[13]

When opposition parties finally prodded the Tories into putting forward a stimulus package, the result was quite the anticlimax. As Canada's leading left-leaning policy think tank, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives quite cogently pointed out, the government's stimulus package was "only one quarter the size of the U.S. package and half the amount advocated by the International Monetary Fund."[15] Clearly, Canada's "stimulus package" was about as ambitious as a homeless man. In effect it was little more than a clever display of political gamesmanship whereby the appearance of action was maximized, while the action itself was minimized in order to control the damage the stimulus would cause while absolving itself of any culpability in the event of any externally induced shocks.

That the ideal policy would have been to do completely nothing, rather than merely almost nothing, is a conclusion that would have been laughed to scorn by policymakers and the public at large at the time but is nevertheless a fact that has been made painfully apparent now that the results of massive government deficit spending have become manifest. And so, with reference strictly to the differences in policy following the financial crisis, the question as to how Canada managed to escape the fate of the United States and Europe is answered not by what Canada did but rather by what Canada failed to do. It is precisely in this abstinence that we find Canada's source of relative success.

As far as the immediate policy response following the crisis is capable of explaining the economic results that obtained thereafter, the foregoing provides the answer to the disparity between the Canadian economy and those of its counterparts. However, it should be understood that a debacle like Greece is not simply a product of the policies undertaken over the prior year. Likewise for the current predicament in the United States - it takes more than one political term to drive what was once the world's largest creditor nation into near-default.

The relative strength of Canada's balance sheet is thus not to be ascribed in whole to the Conservative Party and the seven years it has now been in power but rather to the oversight it received at the hands of its ruling authorities throughout the broader period encompassing both the Conservative administration, which took power just before the financial crisis and the administration preceding it. And here we find an unlikely protagonist in the Chretien-era Liberal Party.

Under the joint leadership of Prime Minister Jean Chretien and Finance Minister Paul Martin, Canada underwent one of the most fiscally responsible periods in its history. Debt reduction was a goal that figured prominently throughout the ten years of the Chretien administration and in the subsequent two years of the finance minister's administration. Taking power as Canada's debt levels were hitting record levels, Martin made it clear from the start that the priorities of the government would be fixed squarely on eliminating the deficit and the record of the following decade leaves little doubt that this was a commitment that was delivered upon powerfully.

Martin went to great lengths to bring the public on board, televising the lobbying efforts of interest groups and publishing dire reports on Canada's fiscal situation, and then embarked on what was in all probability the greatest reduction in government spending ever undertaken in Canada from its inception. Following a peak deficit of $42 billion in fiscal 1993-1994, the administration managed to reverse the deficit and produce a surplus by 1997-1998, and sustain the surplus over the following two years before posting a historical record of $17.1 billion in budgetary surplus in fiscal 2000-2001.

From that point, the government was able to produce a surplus every year up to 2007-2008, at times finding itself alone among G7 administrations in doing so. This was a period during which several significant tax cuts were implemented including a $58 billion tax-cut package in 2001[16] alongside the reintroduction of inflation indexing for personal income taxes. This paralleled the experience in the provinces, which themselves were able to achieve budget balance in the aggregate by 2000 while concomitantly applying substantial cuts in personal income and corporate tax rates.[17]

And thus effectively the whole of the fiscal turnaround in Canada, to the extent it was effected through endogenous factors, can be quite unambiguously attributed to cuts in government spending. Altogether, Chretien and Martin presided over more than $80 billion in surpluses[18] and there is no doubt that this is the single most enduring feature of their legacy.

Equally instructive is the counterexample of the preceding administration. Prior to the Chretien regime, the Mulroney-led Conservative Party had led Canada into a protracted period of economic decline due to its inability to shake off the prevailing Keynesian orthodoxy of deficit spending as a means of reducing unemployment.[19] Incidentally, the dramatic spending cuts implemented by Martin were accompanied and followed by a steep decline in the unemployment rate - from a high of 11.4 percent in 1993 to 6 percent in 2007.[20] Having raised Canada's level of debt-to-GDP to an unprecedented high of 67 percent,[21] the Mulroney administration is a typical example of the futility of free-market rhetoric in shaping the course of the economy so long as practice remains bound by the spell of Keynesian doctrine. Together, the two episodes form an addition to the endless wealth of historical instances of economic outcomes occurring in precisely the opposite manner from that predicted by Keynesian theory.

The lesson of the succeeding Harper government is largely the same. Following the example of Paul Martin and the Chretien administration, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and the Conservative Party posted surpluses in their first two years in power, helping to bring down the debt-to-GDP ratio - a measure that had been as high as 68.4 percent in fiscal 1995-1996 - to 28.8 percent in 2009,[22] giving Canada the lowest ratio in the G7[23] and making Canada the only G7 country to post ten consecutive surpluses since 1960.[24] Although this quickly deteriorated into unseemly deficits in fiscal 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 due to the political jockeying of a vulnerable minority government, by that time it was too late to overcome the favorable impact of the policies of the preceding decade.

Thanks to Canada's own debt problems at the expiration of Mulroney's term, deficit spending by the government had acquired a bad taste in the mouths of Canadians and this negative association has persisted up until the present as announcing budget deficits has become almost anathema to the voting public. This goes far in explaining why the political developments in Canada leading up to 2007 were so markedly different from other developed countries and why the country is the fiscal envy of the world today.

No nation is exempt from the laws of economics and, as the United States and Europe are now learning, the ultimate bankruptcy of an unbounded government is just as inexorable in the developed world as it is in third-world countries.

The lesson of Canada can be summarized as follows: the size of a country's problems is directly proportional to the size of its government.



US Government Asset Seizures on the Rise

The Wall Street Journal published a disturbing article earlier this week entitled "Federal Asset Seizures Rise, Netting Innocent With Guilty."

You can already imagine the crux of the article. In the United States, there are hundreds of regulations which authorize dozens federal agencies to confiscate private property - homes, cars, bank accounts, gold, company shares, and even personal effects.

Ironically, most Americans still think that they live in a country where you're innocent until proven guilty. Nothing could be further from the truth, and it's just another clear example of how the US Constitution has become a worthless piece of toilet paper for the federal government.

The Fifth Amendment states that "No person shall be.deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." Tell that James Lieto, a New York businessman who was relieved of $392,000 when the armored car company used by his check-cashing firm was taken down by the FBI.

Lieto was innocent and not implicated in any wrongdoing, but the FBI took his money regardless as it just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Last October, another businessman named Raul Stio was suspected of wrongdoing by the Treasury Department. The government seized over $150,000 from his account, yet in the 10-months that followed, Stio has still not been charged with a crime.

According to Justice Department statistics, the total value of confiscated property exceeded $2.5 billion in 2010, more than double from five years ago. The average take per case? $166,000.and the vast majority of cases were non-criminal.

It's truly staggering to think about how much can be taken away from you in the blink of an eye, all without any judicial oversight or right to a hearing.

The reason could be anything. Maybe you violated some arcane, meaningless regulation among the hundreds of thousands of pages of US Code (ignorance of the law is NOT an excuse!). Maybe you were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Or maybe they had no real reason at all other than mere suspicion.

One minute you have money, the next you're completely locked out of your wealth and livelihood. They force YOU to prove to them that you aren't guilty, but they take away any means you had to defend yourself.

Look, this is the new reality in America. The entire country has become a nation of criminals - there isn't a single man, woman, or child alive who is not in violation of some obscure regulation or cannot be `suspected' of wrongdoing.

This is really just a form of cannibalism - a government feeding on its own citizens in order to keep the party going just a little bit longer. They'll raise taxes, seize assets, take over pension funds, erode freedoms, start wars and send people to die - whatever it takes to maintain the status quo.

I've long advocated for an internationalization strategy: diversifying various assets and interests overseas so that no one single government has total control over your livelihood.

Store your gold in Switzerland. Open a bank account in Hong Kong. Register your company in the BVI. Establish a `backup' residency in Chile. Expand your business in Brazil. Get a better job in Singapore. Obtain a second passport in Malta. Open a brokerage account in the Cayman Islands.

This approach is NOT just for the super rich. In fact, I've helped all kinds of people to internationalize, young and old, rich and poor.

Taking some simple steps to protect yourself will give you extraordinary peace of mind. You'll know that, without doubt, you have some savings socked away that NOBODY can touch. You'll know that you have a solid emergency backup plan. You'll know that everything you've worked for won't vanish in an instant.




Zogby Poll: More Bad Numbers for Obama, as 35% Say He Deserves Re-Election: "Majorities of likely voters continue to disapprove of President Barack Obama's job performance (60%) and say it is "time for someone new" (55%) in the White House. Among those who do approve of Obama's performance, 34% say they are disappointed by the president, but don't want to undermine him by saying they disapprove. The job approval and re-election results in the Aug. 25-29 IBOPE Zogby interactive poll are little changed from the last similar survey conducted Aug. 2-4."

Do we really need a national weather service?: "As Hurricane Irene bears down on the East Coast, news stations bombard our televisions with constant updates from the National Hurricane Center. While Americans ought to prepare for the coming storm, federal dollars need not subsidize their preparations. Although it might sound outrageous, the truth is that the National Hurricane Center and its parent agency, the National Weather Service, are relics from America's past that have actually outlived their usefulness."

Leave the hurricane price-gougers alone: "Well, if it's hurricane season, it must be anti-price-gouging season. It's bad enough for people to be hit by a hurricane. You'd think that statists would show some mercy and spare people some economic idiocy during difficult times. Alas, it is not to be. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced that he would prosecute anybody engaging in price-gouging during Hurricane Irene."

President Obama, the Blamer-in-Chief: "I usually write songs and this is my first attempt at writing an op-ed piece. It always amazes me how most political commentators beat around the bush. Well, that's not how you write a song so let's just cut to the chase and get to the chorus: My song 'Obama Budget Plan' can be seen on YouTube. It indicates that President Obama's budget plan appears to be to spend as much of our money as he wants, on anything he wants and to pay for it by just printing more money. The fact is, President Obama doesn't really seem to have a plan at all."

Another criticism of "animal rights": "Any careful observation of the rest of nature will make it evident that applying moral criteria to how animals live is in error -- what philosophers have called a 'category mistake.' And at the same time and for similar reasons, ascribing rights to animals is also misguided, just as would be to ascribe guilt to them when they carry out their killings and maiming in the wilds"

Whose axe made your axe? You better find out: "For the second time in two years, federal agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have raided two Tennessee factories that make iconic Gibson guitars. The government alleges that Gibson imported woods in violation of the Lacey Act, a century-old law that makes it a federal crime to trade in plants, wildlife, or timber that have been harvested in violation of 'any foreign law.' While this seems simple enough, and the anti-poaching/conservation impulses behind the law are certainly commendable, the Lacey Act has become one of many federal statutes that create invisible minefields of federal regulations into which anyone can stumble unknowingly"

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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


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


29 August, 2011

The end of the 20th century welfare state – and the death of social democracy?

By Greg Lindsay, Executive Director of Australia's "Centre for Independent Studies" (A market-oriented thinktank)

Readers of my occasional posts on e-PréCIS over the years will detect a theme that recent events have only reinforced: the end of one of the most costly social experiments in the history of mankind – the 20th century welfare state – and the death of social democracy. The CIS has been warning about this for the last couple of decades. Looks like a crisis or two is the only way to bring people to their senses, although I’m not especially hopeful on that front either.

The unfolding crisis broadly seems to be in two parts: fiscal crises as exemplified by the unfolding sovereign and banking disasters in Europe and the United States, and the social riots in the United Kingdom – with some other issues tossed into the mix such as failing families and education. They are both two sides of the same coin. This crisis for modern liberal democracy in the West is a serious problem and we’d better get it right.

The inexorable growth in entitlement welfare and its imperialistic intrusion into all facets of daily life is not only unsustainable but enfeebling and enslaving. The idea that a strong market economy could sustain increased social spending forever was a neo-socialist’s dream. It’s now turned into a nightmare fuelled by continued borrowing and wishful thinking.

Like rabbits in the headlights, the so-called leaders in politics and officialdom have proved to be no less mortal and fallible than the rest of us. And yet, an article in today’s Australian Financial Review ran with the headline ‘Politicians told to fix political crisis’. Blinded and unable to move, they have mortgaged the futures of our children. This is a scandalous moral catastrophe and a cause for shame and humiliation, but contrition is not part of their thinking. It may well end badly, but hopefully not.

Much of what we at CIS have argued for provides some solid analysis of the issues and also some signposts as to where we should be heading. Australia is in a better position than almost every other country. Perhaps our leaders have been listening to us.

Received via email


Depraved but not deprived


Unlike many of my comrades in the punditry game, I don't do a lot of TV. But I'm currently promoting my latest doom-mongering bestseller so I'm spending more time than usual on the telly circuit. This week I was on the BBC's current-affairs flagship "Newsnight." My moment in the spotlight followed a report on the recent riots in English cities, in the course of which an undercover reporter interviewed various rioters from Manchester who'd had a grand old time setting their city ablaze and expressed no remorse over it. There then followed a studio discussion, along the usual lines. The host introduced a security guard who'd fought for Queen and country in Afghanistan and Bosnia and asked whether he sympathized with his neighbors. He did. When you live in an "impoverished society," he said, "people do what they have to do to survive."

When we right-wing madmen make our twice-a-decade appearance on mainstream TV, we're invariably struck by how narrow are the bounds of acceptable discourse in polite society. But in this instance I was even more impressed by how liberal pieties triumph even over the supposed advantages of the medium. Television, we're told, favors strong images – Nixon sweaty and unshaven, Kennedy groomed and glamorous, etc. But, in this instance, the security guard's analysis, shared by three-quarters of the panel, was entirely at odds with the visual evidence: There was no "impoverished society." The preceding film had shown a neat subdivision of pleasant red-brick maisonettes set in relatively landscaped grounds. There was grass, and it looked maintained. Granted, it was not as bucolic as my beloved New Hampshire, but, compared to the brutalized concrete bunkers in which the French and the Swedes entomb their seething Muslim populations, it was nothing to riot over. Nonetheless, someone explained that these riotous Mancunian youth were growing up in "deprivation," and the rioters themselves seemed disposed to agree. Like they say in "West Side Story," "I'm depraved on account of I'm deprived." We've so accepted the correlation that we don't even notice that they're no longer deprived, but they are significantly more depraved.



Greed, theft and envy are the hallmarks of socialism

The first virtue of socialism is greed. When most people hear the word “greed,” capitalism is the only economic system that comes to mind. There is no question, in the minds of many, that capitalism and greed are synonymous. However, one needs to step back and ask if greed applies to socialism as well. Greed, according to a dictionary, is the selfish desire for or pursuit of money, wealth, power, food, or other possessions, especially when this denies the same goods to others. So does this apply to socialism? Absolutely. The reason is this: those who want to “share the wealth” are themselves just as guilty as pursuing more money and wealth than they have earned. Though their pursuit of wealth is disguised by an agenda to make America socialist, if they get their wishes the government will automatically grant them wealth without effort. This is still greed, because they are driven by a desire for more money. In other words, you do not have to be rich to be greedy.

The second virtue of socialism is envy. Envy, according to a dictionary, is best defined as an emotion that occurs when a person lacks another’s (perceived) superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it (Italics dictionary). This one goes hand in hand with greed, however, it seems more obvious than that. Wealth is a possession and if wealth is a possession, then envy applies to those who covet money. Socialism is about coveting money, namely the rich person’s money. Other things could also drive this coveting of wealth, like what one would do if they had more money. Of course, if they had more money they could live like the rich.

The third virtue is of socialism is theft. Theft occurs in socialism when the rich person’s money is forcibly taken from him by way of income taxation. First off, no one’s income should be taxed because everyone has a right to keep the money that they have earned. Taxation is legalized theft, but we do not all see it that way. To paraphrase what Ron Paul said in The Revolution: A Manifesto, if someone were to come in to our house and take our money with promises that they will do good with the money they are stealing from us, we would object to this behavior and notify the authorities. What are these taxes used for that are in the name of good intentions? Statist programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. This all seems well and good, and not all of this money comes from the rich, but you get the point of the analogy. Another thing taxation is used for is war. Starve the government of taxation, and wars become much more difficult to fight without bankrupting the country.

The word that is paired with socialism, and perhaps its main principle, is fairness. It is only “fair” that the government makes sure that its people are taken are come by spreading the wealth, according to the socialist. But is it fair to steal from someone else? Is it fair to take the earnings of someone and give it to another person who did not earn it? Where is the motivation for the person to work hard or harder to maintain his standard of living? Where is the motivation of the person receiving the money to improve himself by becoming a hard worker?

Capitalism’s main virtue is one that many people need to understand, namely, that you have the right to keep what you earn. Also another principle of capitalism is that it is in my best interest to act in your best interest and your best interest to act in my best interest. This necessity allows for things like trade to occur. It also reminds us that the rich cannot oppress the poor, because if they do the poor will seek a way out and get find a way to get what they believe is in their best interest (usually better wages).

So when a socialist claims that he or she has a moral system and capitalism does not, there is no excuse for the capitalist not to argue against this point. If anything, socialism is a much more immoral system than capitalism could ever possibly be.



"Temple denial"

Temple Denial is the belief that no Jewish Temple ever existed in Jerusalem. This claim, despite being counter to Islamic tradition, became internalized within Palestinian academic, religious, and political circles following the 1967 Six-Day War. Since the 2000 Camp David Summit, during which Yasir Arafat asserted that the Jewish Temple never existed in Jerusalem, “Temple Denial” has spread with increased virulence in an attempt to deny both Jewish authority and access to the Temple Mount and Western Wall.

On the ninth day of the 2000 Camp David Summit, Yasir Arafat, then Palestinian National Authority President, told President Bill Clinton that “Solomon’s Temple was not in Jerusalem, but Nablus.”[1] Arafat’s remark, known as “Temple Denial,” shook the foundation of the negotiations, as the leading Palestinian figure denied the existence of Judaism’s holiest site. Temple Denial is historical revisionism that runs counter to classical Islamic tradition and archaeological evidence. Since the 1967 Six-Day War, after Muslim control over the Temple Mount was lost to Israel, the belief that no Jewish Temple ever existed in Jerusalem has developed and become internalized within Palestinian academic, religious, and political circles. Since Camp David, Temple Denial has transformed into a virulent delegitimization campaign that attempts to deny both Jewish authority and access to the Temple Mount and Western Wall (or Wailing Wall) in Jerusalem.

For Jews, the Temple Mount is the holiest place in the world. The Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount originates in the biblical narrative, as it is said to be the location of the binding of Isaac.[2] The Talmud, Judaism’s supreme canonical text, says that the foundation stone on the Temple Mount is the location from which the world was created.[3] In Samuel II 24:18-25, King David bought the bedrock for the Temple from Araunah the Jebusite. Subsequently, Solomon, David’s son, used the bedrock to build the First Temple.[4] Solomon’s Temple was eventually destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon in 586 BCE.

Following the destruction of Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple, many Jews were sent into exile. However, under the Persian King Cyrus, the Jews were allowed to return and began to rebuild the Temple. The Second Temple was completed in 516 BCE and expanded by King Herod in 19 BCE. In 70 CE, the Roman Empire, led by Emperor Titus, laid siege to Jerusalem and destroyed the Second Temple. Jews have maintained an unbreakable connection to Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount since that time.

Classic Islamic literature also recognizes the existence of a Jewish Temple and its importance to Judaism. This makes Palestinian Temple Denial all the more puzzling.

In Sura 17:1 of the Koran, the “Farthest Mosque” is called the al-masjid al-Aqsa. The Tafsir al-Jalalayn,[8] a well-respected Sunni exegesis of the Koran from the 15th and 16th centuries, notes that the “Farthest Mosque” is a reference to the Bayt al-Maqdis of Jerusalem.[9] In Hebrew, the Jewish Temple is often referred to as the Beyt Ha-Miqdash, nearly identical to the Arabic term. In the commentary of Abdullah Ibn Omar al-Baydawi, who authored several prominent theological works in the 13th century, the masjid is referred to as the Bayt al-Maqdis because during Muhammad’s time no mosque existed in Jerusalem.[10] Koranic historian and commentator, Abu Jafar Muhammad al-Tabari, who chronicled the seventh century Muslim conquest of Jerusalem, wrote that one day when Umar finished praying, he went to the place where “the Romans buried the Temple [bayt al-maqdis] at the time of the sons of Israel.”[11] In addition, eleventh century historian Muhammad Ibn Ahmad al-Maqdisi and fourteenth century Iranian religious scholar Hamdallah al-Mustawfi acknowledged that the al-Aqsa Mosque was built on top of Solomon’s Temple.[12]

This is a small sample of the Islamic literature attesting to the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount. Innumerable other writings from other faiths attest to this fact, as well.

The modern phenomenon of Temple Denial began during the Palestine Mandate. During this period, the Temple Mount was under the authority of the Supreme Muslim Council, led by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husayni. The Supreme Muslim Council published yearly guide books to the Haram al-Sharif (the Temple Mount). Drawing from those available, the 1924, 1925, 1929, and 1935 guide books all stated that the Haram al-Sharif’s “identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to the universal belief, on which David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.”[13] The recognition of the Temple Mount’s importance to Jews in the guidebooks continued until 1950, two years after Israel’s establishment.[14] However, by 1954, the references to Solomon’s Temple disappeared. At some point between 1950 and 1954, the Muslim waqf (religious authority) that governed the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque inexplicably began to remove the references seen in earlier guide books.




The "fast unto death" still works in India: "A septuagenarian anticorruption activist ended a 13-day hunger strike Sunday with a glass of coconut water after India's Parliament bowed to his demands, agreeing to create a powerful, independent lokpal, or ombudsman, with authority to go after high-level corruption."

Israel: Seven wounded in Arab attack: "A Palestinian [Arab] attacker wounded seven Israelis near a Tel Aviv nightclub early Monday, hitting a police checkpoint with a stolen taxi and then stabbing others, police said. The attacker was a Palestinian in his twenties from the city of Nablus, according to Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri."

Canada: Attack on author may be Islamist hate crime: "Halton police are treating an attack on a first-time author whose self-published book has been branded anti-Muslim as a possible hate crime. Raised Islamic, Paris Dipersico, 24, reported being dragged from his bicycle Aug. 17, tied up among trees, then beaten briefly unconscious by two Muslim men."

The state against the urban poor: "In the hands of those who know how to use it, the state is a weapon. Planning laws are a good example of its subtle use by powerful interest groups. They effectively control the supply of desirable property, so that the owners of those properties can earn monopolistic profits. As with the barrier-to-entry laws that protect established corporations, planning laws protect property owners."

Heavy hand: "It is becoming increasingly difficult to argue that Washington’s intrusive, heavy-handed policies are not stifling economic growth across America, and particularly on Main Street. One might add that this is further evidence that liberty and prosperity (and their opposites) go hand in hand -- a point that Republican presidential candidates would do well to emphasize."

Doubling down in the drug war: "Why can’t the U.S. government ever learn lessons from any of its failed programs? The biggest lesson it fails to learn is the importance of ending programs that are obvious failures, especially ones that are inherently incapable of succeeding. Instead, in its usually bullheaded, headstrong fashion, the government maintains the program and, even worse, actually expands it."

More on Government Motors: "The suit, filed by one Donna Truska, argues that the Impalas -- made between 2007 and 2008 -- had defective rear spindle rods, leading to rapid tire wear. The plaintiff claims that GM has breached its warranty, and demands that GM fix the cars. But the new GM argues that since the cars were made by the Old GM, it is not liable for the repairs, and the 400,000 Impala owners should therefore go to hell."

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

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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


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


28 August, 2011

They Wouldn't Dream of Getting a Job: They'd Lose Their Welfare!"

When I asked our next-door neighbor, a well-known African-American movie actor, why his three healthy, middle-aged brothers didn’t have jobs when, as the actor complained, they were continually “hitting [him] up for money”, he answered—“They wouldn’t dream of getting a job: they’d lose their welfare!” This statement sums up the poisonous deterrent to personal initiative and the subsequent production of personal sloth engendered by the creation of the welfare state more completely than any statement I have ever heard. I should be broadcast around the country, so exactly to the point it is.

When I was a boy in the 1940s I remember that no one would have dreamed of admitting publically that he was on welfare, or even that he was poor. To confess to poverty meant announcing to the world that one had failed to provide for oneself, that one had essentially failed in achieving the national personal goal of self-sufficiency. Today, by contrast, hordes of picketers can be seen in public demanding this or that form of welfare, almost proudly proclaiming their indigence. Electoral politics have even encouraged officials, a preponderance of them Democrats, to be forthcoming with government handouts as a way of buying whole classes of future voters, and let the country be damned. Even the modern euphemistic vocabulary for welfare has served to erase the stigma of government handouts, with words such as “compensation” and “entitlement” making the reality of being on the public dole sound almost honorable.

A particularly egregious form of welfare is Aid to Single Mothers, a subsidy that not only encourages dependency but that actually discourages marriage, destroying any semblance of family life. In the Afro-American community, for example, the percentage of children born out of wedlock just after World War II was eight percent. Today, with decades of the Aid to Single Mothers program behind us, that figure is close to seventy percent (the Left, of course, blames this high figure on slavery!), with fatherless boys especially forced to look for male role models in organized groups—such as gangs.

Is it a lack of intelligence that makes us choose welfare? Hardly! Our intelligence tells us that if anyone offers us free money we should take it! It is rather our integrity and our traditional American values, both diminishing qualities in our society, that tell us not to take it because taking public money is basically taking money from other people against their will, money they badly need for themselves! What we need is leaders who have the intelligence and the integrity to realize that putting people on the dole creates a class—and eventually a nation—of parasites, a catastrophe for any nation that eventually dooms that nation to oblivion.

Even I, who loathe the idea of welfare, have experienced the seductive appeal of free government money. When I was laid off of my job five years ago I discovered that unemployment compensation, which I knew would last for a year, was quite adequate to live on, which I did for almost the whole year before looking for another job. To my great shame I interpreted it as a paid year’s vacation, which I rationalized by saying that I had paid into it, although in reality it was my employer who had paid into it. I can't believe that I am the only recipient to have reacted in this manner. Of course there is a need for welfare, but it should be reserved for the truly incapacitated, that is, exclusively for the tiny percentage of people who are actually physically unable to work.

So when the public cringes at the current unemployment numbers, particularly among minorities, they should avoid the clarion calls to “compassion” and realize that not only will more government doles foster more parasitism, but that a significant percentage of these unemployed are already in a huge and growing sub-class of people who “wouldn’t dream of getting a job—because they’d lose their welfare!”



Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea

It has always been hard to pin down just what “conservatism” stands for, what with people of such widely divergent views as Barry Goldwater, Jerry Falwell, and both George Bushes described by that term. The relatively recent addition to the political lexicon of “neoconservatism” complicates matters further. What do “neocons” believe? Where do their ideas come from? If they obtain political power, what can we expect?

To find answers to those questions, I strongly recommend Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea. In it, authors C. Bradley Thompson of Clemson University and Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute dig through the words of neocon politicians like John McCain, the writings of neocon strategists like Irving Kristol, William Kristol, and David Brooks, and ultimately to the wellspring of the neoconservative movement, University of Chicago professor Leo Strauss. What readers discover is that neoconservatism is a strikingly authoritarian movement with scant regard for individual rights. Neoconservatives aren’t concerned with individuals, the authors contend, but want to build cohesion—even if it requires great Machiavellian deception of the people—in pursuit of “national greatness.” Life, liberty, and property are all at the mercy of whatever politicians the neocon intelligentsia manages to elect.

“The neocons,” the authors write, “might be best described as cautious or pragmatic liberals in that they think reform should be modest, slow, and experimental, and that it should be devised in such a way that it relies more on traditional social values . . . than on bureaucratic authority and ideological dogmas.” But while neocons are thus tactically at odds with the headlong statism that dominates the Democratic Party, they are strategically at odds with Americans who want to downsize the State. In one of the book’s most memorable phrases, we learn that neocons believe that “leave us alone is not a governing philosophy.” That is, they want to use governmental power, not dismantle it. They abhor the idea of people telling government officials, “You have no moral or constitutional right to dictate my life.” Neocons, Thompson and Brook contend, are sharply opposed to the philosophy of the American founding, a fact they obscure behind rhetorical smokescreens.

So if the neocons are against Obama-style statism but also against libertarianism, what are these supposedly pragmatic people for? And why? Much of the book is devoted to teasing out those surprisingly difficult answers. The authors trace the movement back to Strauss, a political philosopher who was captivated by the ancient Greek idea that individuals fulfill their purpose by working and sacrificing for the good of the city-state. Strauss took Plato to heart, arguing that the people should be subservient to the greater collective, and while the connections to Strauss aren’t always perfectly clear, present-day neocons adopt that same belief. Instead of worrying about governmental intrusions against individual liberty, neocons are animated by a desire to grasp power for malleable, big-government Republicans such as McCain, then use the levers of power for what they think are “good” national goals.

What kinds of goals? That is left vague because, lacking true principles, neoconservatism leaves it up to political leaders under the sway of neocon thinkers to decide what our national goals should be. “Nation building” in places like Iraq and Afghanistan certainly qualifies. The neocons realized that the 9/11 attacks provided the ideal excuse to tear Americans away from their petty personal lives and dragoon them into a crusade against international terrorism. In that, the neocons show their allegiance to expansionist presidents of the past, like Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, who gloried in the use of military power abroad.

Since they lack a core philosophy, however, how can the neocons argue with those who wish to use government power for different kinds of “national greatness” projects? They can’t have any principled objection to a party that pledges national greatness through deep environmentalism, for example. (The neocons have so far opposed the wild-eyed environmentalists but it’s not clear why “green” central planning is necessarily inconsistent with their belief system.) They might scheme to keep such a party out of power, but what if they fail? It seems not to worry the neocons that the power they covet and seek to expand will certainly fall into “bad” hands at some point.

All in all, neoconservatism turns out to be another of those foolish movements that seek to commandeer the liberty, property, and even the lives of ordinary people so that “great men” might use them in pursuit of their dreams. Obviously it doesn’t bother the neocons that when they exert their will over the rest of us, millions of individual, peaceful plans and projects are wiped out. When the State sucks in resources for “national greatness,” less is left for business growth, charitable operations, and other voluntary activities. The neocons seem to care about that just as much as, oh, Napoleon did.



The petition process of initiative and referendum

Legitimate government is anchored on the consent of the governed. Yet, ours not only lacks popular approval, the men and women pulling the levers are actively trying to cut “We the People” out of the picture. Except, of course, to shut up and pay our taxes.

From Washington, D.C., to Sacramento, California, to little towns like Boulder City, Nevada, and Monroe, Washington, elected representatives of the people conspire to remove those people’s most effective means of oversight. They block the opportunity for those whom they should serve and to whom they must answer to decide issues at the ballot box.

Why protest Washington, D.C., chapter and verse? Everyone knows that Congress doesn’t represent us, regularly passing laws that a majority of folks oppose. Voters have booted majority parties three times in the last two decades. No change ensued. Today, Congress has set another all-time mark: the lowest public approval. Ever. Twelve percent.

Likewise, President Obama’s approval ratings are drooping. And it’s not simply due to the economy. All rational people now know that the problem with Barack Obama is not that he is “so different,” but that he is so much the same as every other politician. On the biggest new law, ObamaCare, while the candidate understood that “part of what we have to do is enlist the American people in this process,” and passionately promised “the public will be part of the conversation,” the president reneged in full.

Maybe Candidate Obama was pulling our leg. (Not funny.) Or he was recklessly not serious about following through on the promises that so led so many to place in him so much trust. Take your pick.

As the country reels under crisis, no one in the White House or Congress has even stumbled upon an idea that would include the American people more deeply in the conversation, give the voters a small role in decision-making, or, heaven forbid, any sort of check on their representatives’ awesome power.

Sadly, this studied lack of interest in ‘government by the people’ has also found its way to your state capital and even your city, town, village or hamlet.

In Sacramento, California, Governor Brown has already vetoed a bill passed by his own party’s legislators that would “drive up the costs of circulating ballot measures, thereby further favoring the wealthiest interests.” Another bill is now on Brown’s desk that would force people compensated in any way for circulating a petition to wear a sign that reads: “Paid Signature Gatherer.”

A majority of California representatives believe they have a right to slap a sign on a citizen’s chest if that uppity citizen engages in democratic acts legislators frown upon.

“We are trying to take on a giant with one hand tied behind our back,” Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gatto told the Los Angeles Times. The “giant” is the democratic right of Californians to petition issues onto the ballot and counter their out-of-control legislature.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported via headline that “Sen. Loni Hancock acts to thwart Amazon referendum.” Amazon.com is financing a referendum to challenge and place to a public vote legislation that will tax online retailers. Hancock argues, “The initiative and referendum process has increasingly been hijacked by large corporations for measures that would benefit their companies and businesses.”

Wealthy interests can, indeed, leverage the initiative process. But voters ultimately get to decide, and are not tricked like toddlers by TV ads. In 2010, Pacific Gas & Electric outspent its opposition 161 to 1; its ballot measures still went down to defeat. Amazon’s effort, self-interested no doubt, solicits nothing more than a decision from the citizens of California; Sen. Hancock’s goal is to prevent just such a public vote.

You can find the same disdain for citizen input even in small-town America. In this space in January, I told a story of Boulder City, Nevada, where citizens petitioning to place several initiative measures were personally sued by their own city government in an attempt to intimidate them and block a vote. Then, they were sued again after the measures passed.

In Monroe, Washington, citizens are locked in an ongoing battle to gain a simple vote on a measure to stop red-light cameras. Initiative activist Tim Eyman sums up the disrespectful, irresponsible behavior of local officials: “After working tirelessly to obstruct citizens who have attempted to participate in the traffic camera discussion, suing their own citizens, insulting the citizens by offering false choices at the ballot box and finally breaking all ethical boundaries by contaminating the anti-camera committee” by appointing “their pro-camera obstructionist” to it, “the Mayor and City Council's silence in the wake of this broiling battle has been absolutely deafening.”

It’s not just Monroe. Every time citizens anywhere in the country have voted on such traffic-ticketing cameras, they’ve said, “No!” Yet, politicians in city after city attempt to install the cameras to fleece citizens without their consent. When challenged in this unpopular endeavor, in localities in which citizens enjoy initiative and referendum rights, the politicians work to overturn the applecart of democracy.



Disaster isn't a stimulus package

by Jeff Jacoby

COLUMNISTS MAKE PREDICTIONS at their peril, but I'll go out on a limb: If Hurricane Irene turns out to have wrought the havoc some forecasters have predicted, it will be only a matter of days before some expert reassures us that all the destruction will actually be good for the economy. "One of the most reliable results of any natural disaster," remarks economist Russell Roberts, "is the spreading of bad economics." And few economic fallacies are more enduring than the belief that disasters are really a net benefit to society, since the money spent on recovery stimulates new jobs and construction.

Consider the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan earlier this year -- a catastrophe that killed more than 22,000 people, caused the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl, and pitched the already sagging Japanese economy into recession. Three days after disaster struck, the Huffington Post published California intellectual Nathan Gardels's essay celebrating "The Silver Lining of Japan's Quake." Urging his readers to "look past the devastation," he rejoiced that "the need to rebuild a large swath of Japan will create huge opportunities for domestic economic growth" and observed that "Mother Nature has accomplished what fiscal policy and the central bank could not." Now the Japanese would have lots of bridges to build, "entire cities and regions" to reconstruct, and information networks to revamp.

"The result of all the new wealth creation," Gardels concluded, "will be money in the pockets of Japanese."

Japanese who survived, that is. The tens of thousands who died won't be pocketing any new wealth. And all the money in the world won't make whole the countless Japanese whose minds, bodies, or careers were permanently broken by the mayhem. True, trillions of yen will be spent to repair, rebuild, and restore. But equally true is that all those trillions will no longer be available for everything they would have otherwise been spent on. Whatever Japan may gain from the resources committed to reconstruction will never outweigh the value of everything lost through wanton destruction.

Yet the conviction that devastation is really a boon never seems to go out of fashion.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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


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


27 August, 2011

A defeat for the obesity warriors: Heart disease risk inherited through genes, not due to diet

Amazing: They have just shown that lifestyle is irrelevant but still cannot help themseves from preaching the lifestyle gospel. There's a lot of religion in all the "sciences" as far as I can see. These guys are just as much men of faith as any Christian

Parents increase their child's risk of coronary heart disease through their genes and not through the family's diet or lifestyle, a new study shows.

Children born to parents with CHD are 40 to 60 per cent more likely to develop the condition themselves, but growing up in an unhealthy household is of little importance.

Although children of people who suffer from the condition were already known to be at increased risk, it was not previously clear whether this was due to genetics or because children of unhealthy parents adopt similar lifestyles.

But a study of more than 80,000 men and women who were adopted as children showed that susceptibility to the disease is transmitted in the womb and not in the home.

Smoking, eating unhealthy food and avoiding exercise still play a major role in an individual's chance of developing CHD, doctors said, but the risk that is passed down through families is based on DNA rather than behaviour.

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden, where nearly all residents are registered on a national health care database, compared the medical records of adoptees to both their biological and adoptive parents.

They found that adoptees who had at least one biological parent with CHD had up to 60 per cent more chance of suffering the disease themselves, compared with a control group.

In contrast, growing up in a home with adoptive parents who suffered from CHD resulted in no additional risk for the child, even if both parents had the disease.

Prof Kristina Sundquist, who led the study, said it showed that inherited risk of CHD is genetic and parents' lifestyles are not to blame for passing it on to their children.

She said: "Of course it is always important to think about your own lifestyle but this study shows you cannot blame families for passing on poor lifestyles to their children."

Prof Peter Weissberg, medical director of the BHF, said: "This study tells us that genes are very important but no matter what genes you have, you still need to pay attention to your lifestyle."



"Progressive" folly over gun control

I've always been curious how American progressives got on the wrong -- anti-civil liberties -- side of gun control. In my mind this has been a grave strategic error. I have written elsewhere about the extreme difficulty liberals and progressives face in engaging the working class. I have also been highly critical of their tendency to get sucked into "lifestyle" campaigns (anti-smoking, anti-obesity, vegetarianism, etc.) etc., owing to the deep seated class antagonism this engenders in blue collar voters. Contrary to the stereotypes portrayed in the corporate media, class differences -- and class hatred -- are very real in the US. From a working class perspective, the progressive movement is the middle class. They're the teachers, social workers, psychologists, doctors, lawyers and religious leaders who play a fundamental role in setting behavioral standards for the rest of us. Thus when they tell us not to smoke, eat big Macs, or buy guns, we don't see this as political reform. We see it as an extension of their (privileged) class role.

For a progressive to take a stand against gun control is a pretty lonely place. There's a 1979 book edited by Don Kates entitled Restricting Handguns: The Liberal Skeptics Speak Out. There's also an organization called the Liberal Gun Club whose mission is to "provide a voice for gun-owing liberals and moderates in the national conversation on gun rights, gun legalization, firearms safety, and shooting sports."

Then there's Sam Smith's excellent article in the Progressive Review: Why "Progressives Should Stop Pushing for More Gun Control Laws." Among Smith's numerous arguments, three leap out at me: the exacerbation of "cultural conflict" between rural and urban and wealthy and not so well off, the tendency for gun restrictions and prohibition to be interwoven with the drive to restrict other civil liberties, and the need for progressives to stop treating average Americans as though they were "alien creatures." Smith also makes the point that progressives lose elections as much because of their attitudes as their issues.

In January (following Representative Gifford's shooting and renewed calls for gun control), Dan Baum wrote in the Huffington Post that progressives have wasted a generation of progress on health care, women's rights, immigration reform, income fairness and climate change because "we keep messing with people's guns." He feels it's helpful to think of gun control as akin to marijuana prohibition -- all it does is turn otherwise law-abiding people into criminals and create divisiveness and resentment.

More here


Hate drives the Israeli Left too

The point where we reach the limits of civil debate about policy is, like Justice Potter Stewart’s famous description of pornography, hard to define but you generally know it when you see it. That’s the only possible reaction to a blog post by Jerusalem Post columnist Larry Derfner who wrote on Sunday to say the actions of the terrorists who murdered eight Israelis near Eilat last week were justified. Yes, you read that right. Derfner, a veteran journalist who has enjoyed playing the enfant terrible house leftist at the centrist Post for years, wrote on his personal blog to say Palestinian terrorism against Israelis is “justified.”

In doing so, Derfner has exposed the fundamental flaw in the left’s position on terror. His obscene post will, as he predicted, lead some of his fellow countrymen to call him a traitor, and Israel’s enemies will cite it in defense of their policy of murder. But the significant aspect of this piece is it shows how pious liberals who believe the blame for the conflict falls upon the Jews are inevitably led to the justification of murder.

Derfner claims, despite all the evidence of the past 18 years of peace processing, the blame for the continuation of the conflict falls squarely on Israel and no one else. He says the Palestinian terrorists are merely fighting for their “independence” against an evil Israeli “occupation.” But, as even Shimon Peres has said, if the conflict were just about the Palestinian desire for an independent state, it would have been over more than a decade ago when Yasir Arafat chose to reject Ehud Barak’s offer at Camp David in July 2000. Since then, that offer has been repeated and rejected. But that is meaningless to Derfner, because he and those who think like him have never been really been interested in the Palestinians or what they do or want. His focus is hatred of the Israeli right and the settlement movement, and to discuss anything else, even if that means ignoring the truth about Palestinian nationalism and its implacable desire to destroy Israel no matter where its borders are drawn, is a distraction.



Perry offends Leftist snobs

Jonah Goldberg

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination now, at least in the national polls. Undoubtedly that's the main reason so many East Coast pundits and Beltway wags are making fun of him. He likes guns! He's from Texas! He talks funny! He's a -- gird yourself now -- Christian!

New York magazine and others mock his harmless, Bush-like pronunciation of nuclear ("nuke-ular"). They're scandalized that he doesn't go to a golf course to relax, but a shooting range. It's already a cliche among liberals to describe him as the sort of cartoonish, ignorant cowboy they thought George W. Bush was (though to date, nobody feels the need to apologize to Bush for misinterpreting him).

And before we bust out the world's smallest violin -- or, I guess, the world's smallest fiddle -- to play the world's softest sob song for poor Rick Perry, keep in mind that he plays this game too. When asked to explain the difference between himself and Bush, Perry responded that Bush went to Yale, while he went to Texas A&M.

"In other words," joked Conan O'Brien, "Rick Perry's idea of instilling confidence is to say, 'Don't worry, I'm not as smart as George W. Bush.'"

Rick Perry's overt Christianity horrifies many of his liberal critics. Bill Keller, the outgoing editor of the New York Times, agonized recently that "Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum are all affiliated with fervid subsets of evangelical Christianity." Actually, Santorum is a fairly famous Catholic, but that's tomaytoh, tomahto for Keller, apparently.

"Every faith," Keller writes, "has its baggage, and every faith holds beliefs that will seem bizarre to outsiders. I grew up believing that a priest could turn a bread wafer into the actual flesh of Christ."

I hope his current priest doesn't mind when he calls Holy Communion "baggage."

Perry's twang offends liberals who think everyone should talk like Barack Obama, a man of cosmopolitan and learned diction. Of course, Obama pronounces "corpsman," "corpse-man" -- as if our Navy were staffed with heroic zombies. One would think he'd have picked up the right punctuation during his travels to all 57 U.S. states.

Obama's gaffes earn no traction the way, say, the last president's "Bushisms" did. Nor do they cause bowel-stewing panic at MSNBC the way Sarah Palin's flavorful patois does.

And don't even get me started on Joe Biden. He could show up at a Russian state funeral in a Speedo and pith helmet, singing the Alvin and the Chipmunks B-sides, and NBC's Andrea Mitchell would lead with the disturbing reports that Sarah Palin quoted Biden inaccurately on her Twitter account.

Let's cut through the clutter: A lot of people on the East and West coasts are bigots and snobs about "flyover types." They equate funny accents with stupidity, and they automatically assume someone who went to Texas A&M must be dumber than someone who went to Yale. Overt displays of religion trigger their fight-or-flight instincts, causing them to lash out irrationally.

My favorite example? When John McCain picked Palin as his running mate, University of Chicago professor Wendy Doniger wrote that Palin's "greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman."

When I read such idiocy, it's impossible for me not to love Bush, Perry, Palin, et al. for their enemies.



What if Obama isn't so smart?

Eek! Another Republican moron is running for president, and the blogs on the Left are aghast. Another village in Texas is missing its idiot! Another s--t-kicking cowboy has messed with their heads.

The question this time is not just whether Texas Gov. Rick Perry is dumb -- the Left claims the obvious answer is yes -- but also whether he is as dumb as George W. Bush, or even much dumber, moronic where Bush was simply "incurious," and also much less gently bred.

Either way, few on the Left doubt that neither is, as Steve Benen says, "an intellectually curious, creative thinker, capable to examining [sic] complex issues in a sophisticated way."

Fortunately we have such a thinker, "capable to examining" things to perfection, and that is the problem: President Obama is their ideal of a thinker. He is president, and he has been -- how to put it? -- a bomb.

Based on results, Perry has been more successful as governor of Texas than Obama has been as president, or as anything else he has ever tried being, in the entire whole course of his life.

In 2008, Obama was hailed as a genius, a "first rate intellect," the smartest man to ever be president, and we know now the first part is true. He is the political genius who shed 30 points in his first years in office.

He's the political genius who blew up his coalition in his first months in office, who led his party to annihilation in the 2010 midterms (while showing utter indifference to the fate of congressional Democrats), and gave the Republicans -- who were on the floor, in a coma -- more than they needed to come roaring back from the dead.

He is the policy genius who "leads from behind," whose engagement ideas have gone nowhere, whose stimulus stimulated only the deficit, whose health care "success" helped kill off his recovery, and whose efforts to create jobs all fell flat.

Almost 40 percent of the new jobs that were created happened under Perry in Texas. Liberals who fault that state for its low levels of taxes and spending might ask themselves why, if it is a hellhole, so many people go there and stay there.

Many of them are fleeing states ruled by Democrats, which have high taxes, a strong union presence and a rich array of the programs that Democrats love.

If this is idiocy, we may want some more idiots, as Lincoln once asked for more drunks in his army, rather like Gen. Grant.

The bloggers fear that he may win a second term anyhow, as there may be a difference between being "too dumb to govern," (look at Bush, for example), and being "too dumb to win."

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones thinks Perry may be too dim for even the doltish American public, while Paul Waldman thinks otherwise. "The doltish candidates seem mostly on the Republican side," he writes in the American Prospect, while only Democrats have and/or treasure intelligence.

"So while there are many things to dislike about Perry, his tiny brain" might do him no harm. But the real examples of those who campaigned well and bombed afterward are Democrats, such as Obama and Carter, whose careers peaked on the day they took office and went steadily downhill from then on.

And if Obama is brilliant, and Bush is an imbecile, how come the genius kept most of the things the dolt set in motion: the protocols for fighting the war against terror, the surge strategy, the timetables, and even, in Robert Gates and David Petraeus, some of his main appointees? Why couldn't the genius improve on the idiot's handiwork? Maybe he isn't that bright.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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


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


26 August, 2011

What caused the Industrial Revolution?

I am reproducing the whole of an article by Prof. Boudreaux below as it is itself a very condensed treament of a big topic. I follow the article, however, with what I believe is a better argument
Few questions in economic history are discussed and debated as much as this one. Even if you happen to be among the small number of people who regret what historian (and Freeman columnist) Steve Davies calls “the wealth explosion” of the past couple of centuries, you must nevertheless find this question intriguing, for it asks about the causes of what is surely the single greatest change in human history.

For at least 70 millennia the standard of living of the vast majority of us humans was at, or very near, subsistence. Then all of a sudden (in the great sweep of history)—boom! Starting in the eighteenth century living standards shot upward not only for royalty and the landed nobility but for everyone. And to this very day our standard of living—including our life expectancy and measures of healthfulness—continues to rise.

Why? A question so momentous elicits plenty of answers. Among the well-known answers that have been offered over the years are capitalist exploitation of workers; capitalist exploitation of colonies; religious beliefs that promoted savings and risk-taking; and England’s 1688 Glorious Revolution, which is said to have made property rights more secure. And new answers continue to be offered, such as economist Gregory Clark’s thesis, explained in his book A Farewell to Alms, that genes equipping human beings especially well for carrying out enterprise and commerce were passed down from the English nobility into the English middle classes—thus equipping the bourgeoisie finally to do its thing.

Some of these answers are more plausible than others (with Clark’s being among the least plausible). But not a single one is satisfactory. None explains why the Industrial Revolution began where it began (northwestern Europe) or why it began when it began (the eighteenth century). Another explanation is needed.

And another explanation has indeed just been offered: a change in rhetoric. This rhetoric-based thesis comes from the great economist and historian Deirdre McCloskey in her 2010 book Bourgeois Dignity. It’s a book that, like only three or four others I’ve read, caused a major change in my thinking.

McCloskey reviews with awesome thoroughness all the major (and many not-so-major) explanations for the Industrial Revolution. She finds them all wanting.

Some of these explanations are more obviously flawed than others. Capitalist exploitation of workers, for instance, fails spectacularly as an explanation on a variety of fronts, not the least of which is that the very people from whom the newly created wealth is supposedly extracted (the masses) are the same people who have benefitted most from this wealth explosion.

If capitalist wealth was wrenched from the bent backs and sweaty brows of the working class, then surely workers as a group would today be much poorer rather than (depending on how you count) 10 to 100 times wealthier than were their pre-industrial peasant ancestors. As McCloskey emphasizes, “[M]odern economic growth did not and does not and cannot depend on the scraps to be gained by stealing from poor people. It is not a good business plan.”

A more plausible explanation is one associated most familiarly with the Nobel economist Douglass North and his frequent coauthor Barry Weingast. It’s an explanation I once accepted. According to North and Weingast, the replacement of the Stuart monarchs by William and Mary in the late seventeenth century resulted in more secure property rights in England, which in turn sparked the Industrial Revolution.

While everyone with a modicum of sense understands that the Industrial Revolution would not have happened if private property rights in England weren’t secure, McCloskey argues persuasively that the Glorious Revolution—for all of its undoubted benefits—did not bring about much of a change in England’s property laws or in the security of private property rights. Here’s what McCloskey writes on page 318:

England when at peace, which was the usual case throughout its history, was a nation of ordinary property laws, no more or less corrupt than Chicago in 1925 or the American South under segregation, places in which innovation flourished. It was so, for example, even when the Stuart kings were undermining the independence of the judiciary in order to extract the odd pound with which to have a foreign policy in a new age of standing armies and floating navies. And the amounts extracted, contrary to the Northian suggestion that the king owned everything, were by modern standards pathetically small. The figures offered by North and Weingast themselves imply that total government expenditure under James I and Charles I was at most a mere 1.2 to 2.4 percent of national income. . . .

"[T]he Stuart kings, grasping though they were, and emboldened (as were many monarchs at the time) by the newly asserted divine right of kings, were nothing like as efficient in predation as modern governments—or indeed as were the Georgian kings of Great Britain and Ireland who eventually succeeded the Stuarts."

Indeed so. This explanation fails.

The mainstream economist’s long-preferred explanation is capital accumulation. It fares no better than does the capitalist-exploitation thesis and the North-Weingast thesis.

According to the capital-accumulation thesis, people (for any of a variety of different reasons) began to save more. These savings were transformed into capital goods whose use increased the productivity of labor. And so the Industrial Revolution happened.

But as McCloskey points out, history is full of instances in which people saved just as much as in northwestern Europe at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, but without unleashing any revolutionary industrial forces. Moreover—and contrary to a thesis still fondly held by many people from Marxists to Reagan Republicans—economic growth does not require substantial capital accumulation. It can be, and has been, funded largely out of retained earnings.

What does best explain why the Industrial Revolution began in northwestern Europe in the eighteenth century is that for the first time in history people then and in that part of the world began to talk about the bourgeoisie with respect. This new “habit of the lip” (as McCloskey calls it) replaced the older habit of talking about entrepreneurs and merchants as being, at best, contemptible functionaries whose services society might need in some measure but whose importance to society fell far below the services supplied by warriors, royalty, noblemen, and priests.

With merchants and entrepreneurs in eighteenth-century Holland and England finally accorded widespread dignity, society’s best and brightest no longer avoided the world of private business to pursue careers at court or on the battlefield. The power of the bourgeoisie in these countries with tolerably secure private property rights was thus finally unleashed to revolutionize the economy—first in northwestern Europe and, continuing to today, the rest of the world.


The question discussed above is of immense interest to those of us who are interested in history. But I think the explanation in terms of rhetoric favored above by Prof. Boudreaux is at best a very partial explanation. One immediately asks WHY the rhetoric about the bourgeoisie changed. No answer is given.

Prof. Boudreaux seems to be a pretty thoroughgoing libertarian and, as is common in such circles, sees genetics as of only minor importance. That is presumably why he so airily dismisses Gregory Clark’s thesis in terms of genetics and natural selection (i.e. in pre-modern times the rich and powerful had greater reproductive success).

But why he so airily dismissed the Weberian explanation in terms of Calvinism ("religious beliefs that promoted savings and risk-taking") is mysterious. I can however provide my own reasons for dismissing Weber's thesis (at least in its narrowest sense of applying to Calvinists only) so I will not dwell on that.

I, on the other hand can see no reason to doubt the process that Clark describes (briefly outlined here) except in one important respect: The same thing must have happened in Tokugawa Japan but the same result was certainly not observed.

I take it as given that no one factor is alone sufficient to account for the industrial revolution. Prof. Boudreaux mentions above a number of factors that could have had a facilitatory effect (security of property rights, capital accumulation, a long period of peace etc.) and it seems obvious to me that when you have a lot of those factors present at the one time and in the one place you then reach what we know from nuclear physics as a "critical mass": There is a long buildup with nothing obviously changing and then suddenly it all does change in a big way. A "tipping point" is a similar concept, one much relied upon by Warmists but which anybody who has ever seen an oldfashioned set of counterweighted scales in use will readily understand. You keep adding weights to one side of the scale and nothing happens. But add that last weight and the scale suddenly tips up.

And it seems to me that the genetic process described by Clark is an important one of those crucial factors which together gave rise to the industrial revolution.

But surely the favourable factors came together somewhere else at some time? And Tokugawa Japan would seem to be such an instance. It had the longest period of peace of any country in history, the genetic process described by Clark should have occurred and it was a very orderly law-bound society.

So we have to look at factors beyond the Clark thesis. And I think that the responsible factors are easy to see. Mercants were NOT respected, no religious innovation akin to Calvinism was allowed and the laws were very unequally applied. A Samurai had far greater rights than a farmer, for instance.

So Clark's process cannot stand alone but, seen as a tributary joining with others to form a mighty river of change, it surely has an important place.

And those tributaries started flowing much sooner than is popularly believed. The birth of scientific thinking was surely important in sparking things like the invention of the steam engine and scientific thinking goes back a very long way. It started of course with the ancient Greeks but was lost for a time. The Renaissance is often seen as the revival of Greek learning which in turn sparked the beginning of modern science with Galileo and his telescope etc.

On closer examination, however, the Renaissance was not such a sudden change. There was a continuing quiet evolution of thinking even in the "dark" ages and much that is attributed to the Renaissance came in fact from Medieval times. See here.

Which leads me to my final point: That the whole of history led up to the Industrial revolution. Human capabilities continually expanded in fits and starts and even occasionally gave rise to real civilizations such as ancient Athens and Rome. But, to re-use again the "critical mass" concept, none of the advances in capability and understanding were quite enough to ignite a great change. When enough capability and understanding had built up, however, the scales tipped (to change the metaphor). The industrial revolution seemed sudden but it was in fact the accumulation of thousands of years of social evolution. Everything finally came together at last.


The Sage of Omaha speaks, but his actions speak louder

Jeff Jacoby notes below that Buffett's deeds contradict his words but he does not really delve into why the wise Mr. Buffett said what he did about tax. Buffett's words are of course just one more demonstration of how wise he is. As he is a very rich man he risks getting condemned as part of Obama's constant abuse of the rich. So he has at least verbally thrown in his hat as being on the side of the "saints". He has neutered criticism of himself at no cost to himself. Wise indeed. And his BofA deal shows that he is as sharp as ever

WARREN BUFFETT is the billionaire CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, a friend and political supporter of Barack Obama, and a well-known advocate of higher taxes on the rich. He is also a hypocrite, whose actions belie his words.

For several years now, Buffett has been calling for significant tax hikes on extremely wealthy Americans like himself. Last week, in a New York Times column headlined "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich," Buffett lamented that the $6,938,744 he forked over in federal income and payroll taxes in 2010 amounted to just 17.4 percent of his taxable income. "What I paid," the world's most famous investor observed, "was . . . actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent, and averaged 36 percent."

Buffett has not made his employees' tax returns public, but the federal tax burdens he ascribes to them appear to be highly atypical. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the overall federal tax load shouldered by Americans -- comprising income, payroll, corporate, and excise taxes -- is quite progressive. CBO reported last summer that "households in the bottom fifth of the income distribution paid 4.0 percent of their income in federal taxes, the middle quintile paid 14.3 percent, and the highest quintile paid 25.1 percent. Average rates continued to rise within the top quintile: The top 1 percent faced an average rate of 29.5 percent." If Buffett's numbers are right, his employees must be among the highest-taxed workers in America.

Yet Buffett doesn't argue that his workers' federal taxes should be cut. He demands that his own be raised.

As many critics have noted, Buffett can voluntarily send Washington more money than he owes in taxes. Anyone can. Since 1843, the Treasury Department notes on its website, the government has maintained an account "to accept gifts, such as bequests, from individuals wishing to express their patriotism to the United States." Deposits to that account are added to the government's general fund, but the feds also accept contributions -- by credit card, electronic payment, or check -- specifically earmarked for paying down federal debt.

It would be nice to think that those who insist so vehemently that Washington's debt crisis cannot be resolved without higher revenues are taking the lead and freely reaching into their own pockets. Alas, no. Donations to the Bureau of the Public Debt, The New York Times reported last year, only trickle in at an annual rate of about $2 million to $3 million.

What makes Buffett a hypocrite isn't that he champions an immediate tax increase on the wealthy, yet donates nothing extra to Washington himself. Merely favoring a change in the law doesn't oblige anyone to act as if the change has been enacted.

But Buffett doesn't just propose higher taxes on millionaires and billionaires as a matter of abstract policy. He argues that he personally (along with what he calls "my mega-rich friends") has been "spared" any shared sacrifice, that he personally has "been coddled long enough," that he personally shouldn't get "extraordinary tax breaks" when so many Americans are struggling. He frames his call for higher taxes as an avowal of his own moral obligations. Were he to put his money where his mouth is and voluntarily send the Treasury a big check, his call for higher taxes would carry greater moral authority. His failure to do so is not just intellectually inconsistent, but hypocritical.

Buffett isn't greedy. He is an extraordinary philanthropist who has undertaken to give 99 percent of his immense fortune to charity, and who, with Bill Gates, actively encourages other billionaires to spend down half or more of their wealth in charitable donations.

And why is he giving all that money to charity instead of to Uncle Sam? Because, as he has said in interviews, he knows it will do more good that way and be used more effectively. Who would disagree? For all Buffett's talk of being undertaxed, he believes what nearly everyone believes -- that he can allocate his money more wisely than the government. And not just that he can, but that he should.

When the Sage of Omaha calls for higher taxes, his words get plenty of attention. But his actions speak louder, and convey a markedly different message.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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


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


25 August, 2011

Why Government Doesn't Create Jobs

If you want to know why $800 billion in government stimulus spending has created 9 percent unemployment, all you have to do is look at the windmill in Milwaukee.

The project involves a single wind turbine 154 feet tall (small by today's standard) that is supposed to supply some electricity to the Milwaukee Port Authority. The $500,000 project is being built with $400,000 in federal stimulus money and another $100,000 from the Wisconsin Focus on Energy Program. It's been several years in the making but things finally seemed ready to go last month when the city finally put the project out to bid. The winner, Kettle Renewable Enterprises, had small subcontracts of $2,000 for women-and-minority-owned firms in its $500,000 offer. However, city alderman Robert Bauman decided this wasn't enough. He vetoed the project, saying more woman-and-minority firms should have been included. "If that means losing $500,000, then we'll lose $500,000," Bauman told the press.

In a nutshell, that's why government never gets anything done. It's not the women-and-minorities part. The problem is that with government everybody has to have a say in what gets done. In the Milwaukee case, federal stimulus rules didn't require the minority subcontracting. In fact, Mayor Tom Barrett is arguing that federal rules prohibit such a mandate in this case. But what does it matter? The important thing in government is that everybody gets to have a say. The Milwaukee Board of Harbor Commissioners has to sign off on the project and their stake may involve pushing some ideology or making constituents happy.

Anyone who has ever worked in a large, bureaucratic organization knows the pattern. Getting anything approved requires going through layer upon layer of bureaucracy. Pretty soon you're in a territory where people signing off know nothing about the project but only have their own oblique interests. Days and weeks are spent in meeting after meeting, trying to get everybody on board and reach an agreement. It's a wonder anything ever gets done.

Government is just the same thing only worse because there are now more stakeholders. Now everybody gets a say. Projects collect interest groups like barnacles, most of them with no interest in the main task but hanging on to push some irrelevant agenda. That's why we have K Street and why everybody there is pushing to have more decision-making moved to Washington in order to increase their leverage.

A few years ago, New York City was trying to decide what to do with Governors Island, a beautiful mile-square piece of real estate off the southern tip of Manhattan that was dropped in the city's lap when the Coast Guard abandoned it after 200 years of federal ownership. A ten-minute ferry ride from Wall Street and dotted with century-old buildings, it would make a fantastic research park along the lines of Stanford Research Park or North Carolina's Research Triangle. When the relevant City Council committee held hearings on the master plan, however, all 12 members began by making a statement of what the project meant for their district. The first speaker, from Harlem, used his five minutes to opine that he didn't like the term "master plan" because it made him think of "masters and slaves," which had a negative association for African Americans. Things went downhill from there. Every representative reiterated that theirs was the most important district in New York City and that whatever happened on Governors Island, it better do something for their constituents. Trying to please everyone, the city has done nothing with Governors Island except hold sculpture exhibitions and outdoor composting lessons and encourage people to go out for bike rides.

It's the same at any hearing in Congress. No matter what the subject, each member gets to make a five-minute introductory speech. This is for the benefit of the television cameras back home. (The members jokingly refer to these as "talkings" rather than "hearings.") By the time the real testimony begins -- usually about an hour later -- members are taking off for other appointments. All this may work when you're investigating corruption in the food stamp program or trying to cast blame for the subprime meltdown, but for building things and getting something done -- forget about it.

Every time the federal government undertakes some simple task, it becomes an effort to reinvent the world. Last week it was revealed that a $20 million stimulus program in Seattle to weatherize homes had managed to weatherize three homes and create 14 jobs in its first year. Nothing is ever straightforward. Every city has lots of companies in the business of weatherizing homes. But the government can't just go out and hire them. It has to throw in provisions for taking people off the street for job training with special outreach for Spanish language speakers and so by the time all this is thrown into the pot, nothing gets done.

There is only way out of this bureaucratic trap -- entrepreneurship. People working in established companies say to themselves, "The hell with all this bureaucracy. I'm going to go out and do this on my own." Last month the New York Times ran a story about Gautam Adani​, an Indian entrepreneur who is providing the country with significant portions of its electricity simply by working around the government and its restrictions. "He is able to do so well partly because he is very entrepreneurial and has found the right opportunity," lamented an official in the government finance ministry. "[I]t's a symptom of a dysfunctional state. He is able to deliver something more effectively than the state."

It's the same everywhere. In The Spirit of Enterprise, his memorable history of Silicon Valley, George Gilder showed that every major company was created by employees of another company who got tired of dealing with upper management and decided to strike out on their own. The process is on-going today -- although Silicon Valley has become been dangerously enmeshed in the government's pursuit of "alternative energy." Businesses start when individuals decide to go outside the bureaucracy -- and it's those small business that still create half the new jobs in the country every year.

But the bigger the government becomes, the harder it is to go around it. With so much investment being directed out of Washington and the government controlling so much money, things eventually come to a standstill. Just as Francis Parkinson noted that large institutions usually build their monumental headquarters just as they are passing the peak of their development, so President Obama's new "Department of Jobs" will be probably mark the end of job creation in America. It will be the one last, fatal layer of bureaucracy.



The media likes scaring us, and we like it

by John Stossel

I’m embarrassed by my profession. We consumer reporters should warn you about life’s important risks, but instead, we mislead you about dubious risks.

I first started thinking about this when interviewing Ralph Nader years ago, before he stopped speaking to me. Nader worried about almost everything: Food? “It can spoil in your own refrigerator,” Chicken? “[It's] contaminated with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides.” Flying? “Inadequate maintenance.” Carpets? “Rugs are dirt collectors. And dirt collectors mean internal, indoor air pollution.” Coffee? “Caffeine is not very good for you.”

He went on and on. Just interviewing him was exhausting. Nader and interest groups like his fuel the Fear Industrial Complex: the network of activists, government bureaucrats, and trial lawyers who profit by scaring people.

The media should be skeptical of their prophesies of doom, but we rarely are.

My TV program, “20/20,” has done frightening reports on the dangers of paper shredders, soccer goals, lawn chemicals, cell phones, garage-door openers, and more. There’s always some truth behind the scares — someone got hurt, or some study somewhere found a risk. But we rarely put the danger in perspective. We give you a breathless rush of alarm over every possibility, often delivered with a throbbing rock beat.

Sometimes we don’t even get the numbers right. Remember the summer of the shark? It was nonsense. That summer the number of shark attacks was hardly different from two previous years. But in those other years we had an election to cover, or OJ was on trial. Mid-summer 2001 didn’t bring many sexy stories, so Time did a cover story on “the Summer of the Shark.”

It should have embarrassed the media into putting risks in perspective. But it didn’t.

Listening to us, you’d think our growing exposure to pesticides, food additives, and other mysterious chemicals has created America’s “cancer epidemic.” But in truth there is no cancer epidemic — cancer incidence is flat, and death rates have been falling for years. But such good news doesn’t get much play. No interest groups benefit from it.

Remember the breast-implant scare? Some lawyers and activists said silicone from breast implants caused lupus, breast cancer, and more. Connie Chung did a scare story on CBS, the FDA banned silicone implants, and soon many women were certain that their medical problems were caused by their implants.

How could they not think that? The Fear Industrial Complex told them they were being slowly poisoned. Lawyer John O’Quinn helped spread the fear and reaped the reward. He sued implant makers again and again until they paid his clients over $1 billion. Fortune called O’Quinn and his partner “lawyers from hell.” O’Quinn won’t say how much money he made off those lawsuits, but he’s now rich to have a warehouse that holds 900 valuable cars.

After the suits from O’Quinn and others bankrupted implant maker Dow Corning, and after many women were terrorized — some so much they cut their own breasts open to get the implants out — scientists started saying there’s no evidence that silicone causes autoimmune disease and cancer. Study after study failed to find a link. Sherine Gabriel, chair of the department of health sciences research at the Mayo Clinic, announced that there was “no significant difference in the occurrence of connective tissue diseases between the women who had the implants and the women who did not.”

The FDA has now re-approved silicone implants, and thousands of women are having implants inserted, implants that contain the very same silicone that was used before.

So has O’Quinn apologized for scaring women and bankrupting Dow Corning? No. Did he give the money back? Of course not. The lawyers never do. Instead, O’Quinn impugns the authors of the medical studies. “Who bought and paid for that science?” he said to me, indignantly. He told me he’s proud to sue rich businessmen.

Reporters rely on lawyers like O’Quinn, bureaucracies like the FDA, and interest groups like Nader’s to give us safety warnings and “dirt” on evil companies. We should be more skeptical. The Fear Industrial Complex has motives of its own.




Politicization of Justice Department worsens: "If you are a moderate or conservative, don’t expect to get a job with the Justice Department during the Obama administration. All 15 of the attorneys hired by the Justice Department’s Employment Litigation Section were ardent leftists -- no moderate or conservative, let alone libertarian, hires at all. Some of the hires were fresh out of law school with no real world legal experience."

Indiana lawmakers to review police-entering-home ruling: "Indiana lawmakers will take on a recent controversial ruling of the Indiana Supreme Court on Wednesday when a study committee debates whether Hoosiers have the right to physically block police from entering their homes. Richard L. Barnes was convicted of misdemeanor resisting law enforcement for shoving an officer who tried to enter his home without a warrant. The police were responding to a 911 call about a domestic disturbance. He shoved a police officer, who entered anyway, and was shocked with a stun gun and arrested. The court said Barnes had no right to resist police entry. That outraged a number of Hoosiers and lawmakers, who said the state's castle doctrine — which allows people to defend their homes — makes no exception for police."

US government balloons; private sector shrinks: "Government regulatory agencies now employ more agents and workers than McDonald's, Ford, Disney and Boeing combined, and public sector employment is booming; up by 13% since 2008, while private sector jobs are down by well over 5%, and the unemployment rate remains steady at over 9%. Regulatory agency budgets have grown by 16%, or $54 billion, during Obama’s presidency, while the private economy remains stagnant"

Snail mail to get even slower: "The U.S. Postal Service could save about $1.5 billion a year if it relaxed its two-to-three-day delivery schedules for first-class and Priority Mail deliveries by a day, according to a new study. Postal executives are seriously considering the idea and are expected to announce plans regarding delivery schedules after Labor Day, according to USPS officials. Currently the Postal Service advises customers that first-class and Priority Mail deliveries will arrive, on average, in two or three days. But relaxing the schedule by a day would cut about $336 million in premium pay for employees working overnight and Sundays to meet current delivery schedules, according to the study."

Decriminalizing drugs will save lives and money: "Like most Americans, I believe the War on Drugs is a failure and should end. Do I want children to use drugs? Of course not; not my children, not anyone’s children. Nor do I want anyone, especially children, to eat foods that are not good for them, to drive too fast, or to stand out in the cold until they come down with pneumonia. But I am not willing to use force to stop them, or throw them in jail if they persist in such behavior."

Medicare bidding process will hurt doctors, patients: "A poorly designed set of changes to Medicare announced earlier this month could have serious negative consequences as it hits home here in the Washington, D.C., area. The venture, known by the only-a-bureaucrat-could-love-it name of Competitive Bidding Program for Certain Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies, has some decent ideas at its core, but serious design flaws could cause it to waste money, override doctors’ decisions and harm patients here and everywhere else in the country."

Obama’s wars on humanity: "America's a poster child failed state, defined in a recent article as follows: (1) An inability or unwillingness to protect its citizens from violence and other forms of harm. (2) Its abrogation of rule of law standards. (3) Its lawless belligerent pursuits. (4) If nominal democracies, its policy deficiencies, exposing a serious democratic deficit."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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


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


24 August, 2011

It was not the war that cured the Great Depression

As evidenced by the fact that the big rise in output for private consumption occurred AFTER the war

World War II increased GDP, but more than 100% of the increase was devoted to munitions, building the Pentagon, employing teams of bureaucrats to control prices and government activity generally, much of it misguided. Gross Private Product decreased from $921 billion in 2005 dollars in 1940 to $427 billion in 1944, well below 1932’s level, showing that the private economy was badly squeezed. Then in 1946, while GDP decreased by 11%, GPP more than doubled to $1,309 billion. Readjustment was inflationary and disruptive, but it saw an astonishing increase in output and living standards.

The Keynesian thesis can be further demolished by looking at 1946 compared to 1938-40. At the tail end of the Great Depression, in November 1938, there was a massive turnover in the U.S. Congress, similar to the Tea Party revolt of 2010, in which the Republicans gained six Senate seats and an astonishing 72 House seats (9 more than in 2010). Although this did not give them a majority, it stopped dead the New Deal policies of heavy state spending and economic experimentation. GDP increased by 8% per annum between 1938 and 1940 and GPP increased even more rapidly, by 9.2% per annum.

This pulled the U.S. out of the Great Depression, with 1940 GPP 10% above that of 1929, but left the economy far below capacity. If you apply the average 1929-2000 growth rate of 3.43% per annum to 1929’s GPP, you get a 1940 full employment GPP estimate of $1,203 billion in 2005 dollars, 31% above the actual figure. That suggests that without the war the 1938-40 boom would naturally have continued, perhaps slowing somewhat, until it ran up against resource constraints. Apply 1938-40’s actual growth rate to the next six years and you get a 1946 GPP of $1,558 billion, 19% above actual 1946 GPP. Applying the 1929-2000 growth rate to 1929 GPP gives you $1,473 billion in 1946, 13% above the actual level. 1947 and 1948 showed further GPP increases, but reduced actual GPP’s gap below full employment GPP only to 11%.

Bottom line: without the war, GPP would have continued recovering at a rapid rate after 1940, probably giving a higher GPP by 1946. Second bottom line: a combination of the Great Depression and the war, probably mostly the latter, depressed 1946’s GPP by around 10%-12% below the level it would naturally have reached in a free peaceful market.

Intuitively this makes sense. As policy was stabilized after 1938, the U.S. economy began recovering rapidly to its natural full-employment level. World War II depressed the private economy to a low level, but its effect was mostly temporary, with an astonishing bounce-back as peace returned. However, a combination of the Great Depression and the damage caused by the war caused the United States to lose about 10%-12% of its full-employment output by 1946-48 (catching up which long-term may have resulted in the exceptionally good economic performance of 1948-66.) The Keynesian story of World War II’s economic boost makes no sense; this one does.



Perry supports Israel

Over at Commentary, Alana Goodman profiles the lawyers responsible for stopping the second Gaza flotilla by cleverly threatening lawsuits against any entities involved in helping the flotilla. "Led by Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and her husband Avi Leitner, the legal center is pioneering a new strategy of Israeli-self defense: Pro-Israel Lawfare."

One of the means at their disposal was threatening lawsuits against the Americans participating in the flotilla. "[The] lawyers discovered American flotilla activists were potentially in violation of the Neutrality Act, which prohibits U.S. citizens from taking part in a hostile act against an allied country. “So we approached the Attorney General of the United States to fix it. And we also got Gov. Rick Perry to write a letter to Eric Holder,” said Darshan-Leitner."

Why did the Israeli lawyer approach Perry, Goodman asks. Because as Darshan-Leitner explains, she met Perry on one of his trips to Israel and he told her he'd do anything to help her fight. Perry told Darshan-Leitner: "I love what you do. It’s amazing what you do. If you ever need help combating Israel’s enemies, I’m here to assist."

Perry was genuinely enthusiastic about combating Israel's enemies and certainly put his reputation where his mouth is by writing a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder about the matter. Fellow supporters of Israel may just have found the best presidential contender in Gov. Perry.



A far-reaching decision in favor of freedom

The federal appeals court ruling that struck down the centerpiece of Obamacare has dealt a massive, possibly fatal, blow to the government-imposed health care system passed by a Democrat-controlled Congress over bitter public opposition.

The decision earlier this month by a divided, three-member panel in the 11th Circuit Court in Atlanta, with the support of a judge named by President Clinton, condemned a central provision that will force uninsured Americans to buy health insurance or else face financial punishment.

The court said the mandate was an unconstitutional extension of government's excessive regulation of interstate commerce -- in this case, requiring people to purchase a private commercial product they may not need, want, or be able to afford.

The judges called the legislation President Obama proposed and signed into law March 22, 2010, "breathtaking in its expansive scope." And they didn't mean that as a compliment.

The national news media routinely, perhaps grudgingly, reported the court's decision, but in the days that followed seemed to dismiss the ruling as a one-day story with few lasting repercussions.

But the law, after all, was the authoritarian core of the president's social and economic agenda, one that he spent more than a year battling on Capitol Hill against a furious groundswell of grass-roots opposition that gave birth to the tea party revolution and sharply eroded his support among independents and senior citizens who feared the costly reforms would come at the expense of Medicare benefits.

The court didn't mince words, characterizing the new law's sweeping mandate as an unprecedented and dangerous assault on the fundamental rights and liberties of American citizens. That's why its criticisms deserve more attention than they have been given thus far. Like this one:

"This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives," the court ruled in its 2-1 decision.

The court said that if Congress can force Americans to buy, under penalty of law, health insurance plans under the guise of the Constitution's Commerce Clause, then they can compel us to purchase almost anything.

The appellate court said that if we let Congress to get away with this, then "there is no reason why Congress could not similarly compel Americans to insure against any number of unforeseeable but serious risks."

"Individuals subjected to this economic mandate have not made a voluntary choice to enter the stream of commerce, but instead are having that choice imposed upon them by the federal government," the judges said, adding that "we are unable to conceive of any product whose purchase Congress could not mandate under this line of argument."

Further strengthening their argument against the unrestricted reach of the Commerce Clause to sanction any and all regulation of our personal economic decision-making, the court set forth this self-evident constitutional barrier that it said Congress cannot violate:

"... what Congress cannot do under the overused Commerce Clause is mandate that individuals enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die."

A key complaint by the court concerns the government's false claim that the financial charge it would levy on those who refuse to buy health insurance is actually just another tax, not a penalty.

"Not one of the courts which so far has ruled, no matter what the decisions, has agreed with the Obama administration that the penalty for not buying insurance is really a 'tax," said Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, a Washington public-policy think tank that has spearheaded opposition to Obamacare.

"The government thinks calling it a tax is its home-free ticket. It's unlikely to work," she said in a recent analysis of the appeals court ruling.

The case that the appeals court decided against the government was filed in Florida by 26 states, along with the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation's small-business association whose members will be hit hard by $52 billion in new taxes under the health care law.

Douglas Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, testified before the House Budget Committee in February that Obamacare will result in 800,000 fewer jobs at a time when good-paying jobs are in short supply.

But something else is at stake here in a legal battle that will end up being decided by the highest court in the land. "As with so many other issues in this historic debate, it ultimately all comes down to freedom -- and whether it will be lost or preserved pending decisions by the Supreme Court and the voters next year," Turner writes.

The 11th Circuit Court's unflinchingly courageous ruling lays out the deeply disturbing reasons why Obamacare poses the single greatest threat to freedom by an all-powerful federal government.



Obama Is a Robot That Needs Reprogramming

President Obama's legacy is shaping up to be a recurring cycle of rhetorical failures chasing policy failures, an endless, stupefying effort to convince us of the wisdom of pursuing -- again and again -- policies that have already failed.

This point is reinforced as we read reports about Obama's umpteenth luxurious golf outing while our economy and financial condition approach DEFCON 2 and Middle East turmoil continues apace.

From the superficial snippets we get from the liberal media, Obama doesn't seem to be too concerned with either domestic or foreign policy while on the links, but to the extent he allocates thought to either, he's contemplating his next speech more than deliberating over any substantive decisions.

From all appearances, he's not fretting over the grim jobs reports and hints of creeping inflation; he's not meditating or seeking advice about a new direction he could propose to navigate us out of this malaise.

He's thinking about his abysmal approval ratings, wondering how he can fob those off on President Bush, too. And he's thinking about how he can con the nation into permitting him to give us more doses of the same poisonous elixirs he crammed down our throats the first time.

If he really cared what the people think, he might try listening to them instead of just pretending to be on a listening tour. When an Iowan farmer tried to gently school him on the depressing effects of stifling governmental regulations, Obama cavalierly blew him off and launched into one of his canned monologues deriding income disparities and partisanship. He's got to be the closest thing to a robot ever to inhabit the Oval Office.

As an incorrigible and stunningly narrow-minded ideologue, Obama can't process information or ideas that don't conform to his presuppositions and predispositions. When his policies don't work, it must be because conditions were worse than he'd realized or he didn't go far enough. There is utterly no room for consideration of the possibility that his policies don't work.

So it was that last year when Obama returned from Martha's Vineyard, he didn't emerge revealing any hint of humility about the ongoing failure of his economic prescriptions. He didn't announce that economic realities had finally forced him to take a second look at the wisdom of his agenda.

Instead, he strode into Wisconsin and Ohio to unveil a "bold economic program," as if his $800 billion stimulus package hadn't been brassy enough. He called for "quickly" investing some $50 billion in roads, bridges and other public works projects and, of course, for his obligatory tax hikes for the evil "rich," who could always "afford to give back a little more."

I don't know why more people didn't outright ridicule this juvenile idea at the time. If not already, at what point will he have forfeited the privilege of being taken seriously about the economy? At a time when almost every thinking American was becoming increasingly horrified at the national debt, Obama was proposing that we increase it substantially more in pursuit of policies that had already failed. He never provided any glimpse into the bizarre thought process that had led him to believe that $50 billion could jump-start an economy when 16 times that amount had not.

In the past year, since Obama attempted that preposterous Stimulus II, the people have made it even clearer how opposed they are to his reckless Keynesian schemes, but he refuses to hear them. Just as with Obamacare, he has no intention of deviating from his programmed course. His only challenge is to repackage it -- and fool us into buying it in fewer than 54 speeches this time.

That's right. Believe it or not, in between holes, he's crafting a grand September speech, "mapping out a jobs package that he hopes can boost a sluggish economy and win over voters who are coming to doubt his leadership," according to the Los Angeles Times.

He's not about to propose that the government, to stimulate growth, relax its stranglehold on the private sector by loosening onerous regulations, easing the tax burden, and drastically reducing spending. Those do not compute.

He's going to propose -- in a different, perhaps more deceptive, form -- the same blueprint: government spending of borrowed money to "stimulate" growth. And he'll ratchet up his attack on Republicans, blaming them, along with his predecessor, for obstructing his ingenious reforms. To make his case, he will have to revise history to distort the fact that he had supermajorities in Congress long enough to get his way on the omnibus bill, the stimulus package and Obamacare and that they've all greatly exacerbated our financial crisis.

Obama's puerile predictability is pathetic, but even more so, it's tragic. If only there were a way to reprogram this robot.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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


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


23 August, 2011

Huge rate of criminality among illegal immigrants

A generally unnoticed aspect of Obama's new deportation plan for illegals is the assertion by the Obama admin. that the immigration service has the capacity to deport serious criminals only. That's a heck of a lot of serious criminals! Around 400,000 in fact. It is graphic testimony to the high rate of criminality among illegals -- and it's not "racists" who are saying so. This could well be a foot-shot for the Left in the medium term.


Winston Churchill and two famous sayings

"A man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart; A man who is still a socialist at age 30 has no head".

Who said that? Most people attribute it to Winston but as far as I can tell it was first said by Georges Clemenceau, French Premier in WWI -- whose own career approximated the transition concerned. And he in turn was simply updating an earlier saying about monarchy versus Republicanism by Guizot.

More obscurely, I wonder about a saying attributed to Bismarck, the towering 19th century statesman who unified Germany and gave Europe over 40 years of peace thereafter. Bismarck is often quoted as saying that the next European war would arise over "Some damn-fool thing in the Balkans" - which it did of course. But did Bismarck actually say that? I have been able to trace it back only to Churchill as having quoted it.

German sites (e.g. here) have MANY collections of Bismarck quotes and nothing like it appears there. Bismarck did say that the Balkans were not worth the life of of a single German soldier (Der ganze Balkan ist nicht die gesunden Knochen eines einzigen pommerschen Grenadiers wert) so did Churchill embroider on that? I would be interested to hear if anyone knows anything more


Hate on PBS

Gwen Ifill of PBS had a “panel of cultural and academic luminaries” at Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center last Wednesday. Their purpose was to have an “effective racial dialogue” with one another.

As is typically the case when there is a “racial dialogue,” the panel was filled with like-minded liberals endlessly agreeing with each other and solving nothing. The participants included, among others, Gwen Ifill, New York Times columnists Charles Blow, and Anita Hill–who is apparently a “legal commentator.” Absent was a single conservative. Maybe an insightful conversation could have occurred if there were actually diverse thoughts present.

Instead they had Tim Wise, a supposed “anti-racist” author and speaker. Wise is popular among college leftists for his style and bold remarks. Some of those remarks, however, are possibly the most angry, hateful remarks any public figure has recently uttered. For example, Wise recently attacked not only Andrew Breitbart, but his family as well:
“[Andrew Breitbart]…I want that bastard destroyed. Now. [...] when I say I want him destroyed I am not kidding. I want to see him penniless, homeless, begging on the street for money to buy food [...] he can die on the street so far as I’m concerned [...] let you and your rich ass Brentwood family suffer”

Wise also falsely and embarrassingly accused Breitbart of approving of a cross burning, which was in reality directed at Breitbart and his friend. Wise then reiterated:
“this Tulane grad [Tim Wise] is committed to [Andrew Breitbart's] utter destruction …I mean, the kind of destruction that involves the complete evisceration of his entire career. I want him destroyed. Penniless. Starving. I have never detested anyone this much…but for him, I will make an exception.”

Yes, penniless, starving, the evisceration of Breitbart’s career, we get it. Good luck with that, Tim. His recent racial slur of Herman Cain would, in a just world, disqualify him from being a prominent “anti-racist” and being invited to these events. But it doesn’t; instead, he has two new books coming out which will probably become required reading in college campuses across the country, like his previous books.

The question is, will Gwen Ifill, PBS, and CNN give this man a platform like they have in the past to spread his ideas on “effective racial dialogue” and “reconciliation?”

It is a discredit to anyone who invites Tim Wise into a dialogue which is supposed to be about uncovering hatred and bigotry. This is, after all, the same Tim Wise that has said the following:
“Glenn Beck is no better than the Nazis he praises…and deserves the same fate.”

“[I am] annoyed by this obnoxious applause which air travelers are expected to offer military personnel in uniform”

“…that pathetic little racist nation [Israel] couldn’t survive one month without U.S. support…and Israel is the anti-semitic state[...]”

“the evidence is clear by now: the right wing are terrorist enablers, and should be preventatively detained.”

“the conservative right and all of it’s members are, at some level or another, racists, without a single exception…I dare anyone to prove me wrong…find me one such person who doesn’t believe that blacks, for instance, are either inherently or culturally defective relative to whites (both racist beliefs)…”

“Anyone who would vote for this bigoted, ignorant, uneducated fool [Michele Bachmann], is, themselves, a bigoted, ignorant, uneducated fool…NO exceptions…”

“there’s just no nice way to say this: Sarah Palin is a goddamned historically illiterate idiot, and anyone who likes her is too…”

“birthers should be medicated…forcibly. I mean this. It is not hyperbole. I believe in shoving pills down their throats to bring them back to something resembling sanity. I want to start with Donald Trump.”

“the GOP and their Democratic enablers are straight up evil…enemies of women, all women, and a collection of misogynistic rape-empowering jack holes…no exceptions. And if you support them on this, the critique applies to you…”

“Tea Party…why you so stoopid? It makes my head hurt, and makes me support things like preventative detention for morons”

“any conservative who doesn’t openly condemn these tea-bag racists should be considered every bit as vile and racist themselves.”

“The right wing is insane, filled with conspiracy mongering whack-a-doodles, whose penchant for dishonesty and evil lie-mongering has no equivalent. Period.”

“I want white Arizona brought to its knees right about now. Destroyed economically. Wiped out. Completely, except for those allies who are prepared to step up and fight the fascists who are waging war on black and brown folks. Speak now, or you are the enemy and should be treated as such…”

The bottom line is that Tim Wise shouldn’t be taken seriously, let alone asked to appear on PBS or CNN. Gwen Ifill shouldn’t be asking him for his insights, and shouldn’t want to be associated with such a hateful person.



Honda creates new manufacturing jobs —in Mexico

Last week, Japanese automaker, Honda, announced a decision to spend $800 million to open another plant in North America to produce the exact kind of sub-compact vehicle that will help them meet the overly ambitious mileage guidelines laid out by the Obama Administration.

Honda has a long history of building plants in the United States with the first opening in 1979, and has even advertised their commitment to the American worker by featuring their Marysville, Ohio plant. In fact, Honda directly employs 25,000 Americans.

The new plant is scheduled to open in 2014, and would be a coup for any American state to get the jobs and tax revenues it will create.

Unfortunately, the plant is being built in Mexico, where Honda has two other production facilities. Yes, Mexico. The same Mexico where the very survival of the federal government is threatened by the drug cartels. The same Mexico that is notorious for a culture of graft both petty and large. The same Mexico where business executives need armed bodyguards for themselves and their families around the clock due to the threat of kidnapping.

That is where Honda decided to build a new automobile manufacturing plant over any of the 50 states in the United States.

While Honda is not saying why they chose a politically unstable, personally unsafe country over the United States, perhaps some clues can be found by looking at the two countries.

The Tax Foundation reports that Mexico ranks 9th in corporate taxes with an effective rate of 30 percent, and zero state taxes. When state taxes are taken into account, the United States on average is ranked as having the second highest taxes in the world just behind Japan. The U.S. federal corporate tax rate of 35 percent means that for every $1 million in profit generated at a Mexican production facility, Honda makes $50,000 more after taxes.

Honda has also had union troubles in the United States being targeted for organizing by the United Auto Workers in its Indiana facility. In 2007, Honda came under fire in a new manufacturing plant in Indiana, because they restricted hiring to residents from counties without heavy union presence.

Can there be any doubt that the UAW’s partnership with the federal government in both GM and Chrysler, played a role in their site selection.

Additionally, it could not have been lost on the Japanese corporation that the National Labor Relations Board has been bending over backward to direct not only traditional rules for union organizing, but have intervened against a U.S. corporation’s decision on where to locate a manufacturing facility.

Once again, it must be emphasized that I have not found a quote from Honda officials related to the cost basis of this decision, when you add up the significantly higher taxes, and the potentially dramatically higher labor costs due to the Obama Administration’s overt attempt to force unionization onto U.S. manufacturers, Honda’s choice is logical.

Take the risk of kidnappers, government collapse and petty corruption rather than the risk of spending $800 million on a plant that becomes immediately unprofitable due to higher taxes and federal government policies designed to disrupt your shining new shop floor with the thuggish UAW as a compulsory business partner.

When you look at the U.S. manufacturing environment through the mindset of a foreign manufacturer, and ask, why did they choose to not locate here, it becomes clear that if the President truly wants to make the U.S. competitive, he should be beating the drum for an across the board corporate tax rate deduction and put a leash on his organized labor pitbulls at the NLRB.

Ultimately, it is the American worker who is paying the price. Perhaps this explains why Mexico’s unemployment rate is at 4.9 percent, while the rate in the U.S. hovers at 9.1 percent.




Canada: Vancouver fruit stand too successful, forced to close: "City moves in to shut down popular vendor hawking local produce after he sells beyond volume allowed by licence. ... Smith shut his stand down on Sunday as instructed. 'We’re not going to fight with city hall,' he said."

DC: Three arrested on Capitol grounds for lemonade stand: "Selling lemonade is not a crime, but selling it on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol is, which is why, police say, three people were arrested Saturday for running a lemonade stand on Capitol grounds. ... 'Lemonade Freedom Day' earned support from thousands of people across the country, including dozens who wrote in on the Facebook page that they created stands for their kids to sell lemonade. The effort to 'liberate lemons' was intended as a challenge to a recent string of police actions that have shut down the hallmark childhood entrepreneurism."

CA: Data spill shows risk of online health records: "Until recently, medical files belonging to nearly 300,000 Californians sat unsecured on the Internet for the entire world to see. There were insurance forms, Social Security numbers and doctors' notes. Among the files were summaries that spelled out, in painstaking detail, a trucker's crushed fingers, a maintenance worker's broken ribs and one man's bout with sexual dysfunction. At a time of mounting computer hacking threats, the incident offers an alarming glimpse at privacy risks as the nation moves steadily into an era in which every American's sensitive medical information will be digitized."

How to win friends and influence people: "Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is planning to nearly quadruple the size of his $12 million California beachfront mansion. The former Massachusetts governor is planning to bulldoze his 3,009-square-foot home facing the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, Calif., and replace it with an 11,062-square-foot home, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune"

The persistence of fiscal fantasy: "The good news is that the idea of serious spending restraint has more support than ever before. The bad news is that getting people to support the concept is easy. The hard part is getting beyond the concept, and there is no sign so far of doing that."

Blatant media lies: "Most media bias is certainly subtle. However, this article by The Associated Press is seething in liberal bias and intentionally tries to tar tax-cutting Republicans by accusing them of wanting to raise taxes while at the same time praising President Barack Obama for wanting to cut taxes. Reporter Charles Babington is either a liberal partisan hack who can’t seem to see his own bias or someone who truly doesn’t understand what the heck he is writing about"

Deregulate the practice of law to promote justice and create jobs: "Legislatures also need to simplify court procedures that make it impossible for ordinary people to seek redress in cases that aren’t big enough to afford hiring a lawyer, leaving cheated people with little redress when they are ripped off to the tune of $5,000 to $15,000. People can represent themselves in small-claims courts, which have simplified procedures, but in many states, such courts can hear only the tiniest legal claims, like those seeking less than $5,000."

Far-Left Amnesty again: "The Jerusalem-based human rights watchdog organization NGO Monitor sharply criticized Amnesty International’s response to last week’s Palestinian attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers, which resulted in the killing of eight Israelis and scores of wounded. Prof. Gerald Steinberg, NGO Monitor president, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that “instead of issuing a strong condemnation of the August 18 Palestinian terror attacks, Amnesty International’s statement draws a false equivalence between cold-blooded murder and self defense that targeted those responsible.” He added that “from Amnesty’s statement, one has no idea that terrorists walked up to a car and brutally murdered the four passengers."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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


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


22 August, 2011

When 'inconsequential' means 'better'

by Jeff Jacoby

TO MANY LIBERALS, Rick Perry's audacious pledge to make Washington, DC, as "inconsequential in your life as I can" is tantamount to a pledge to bring back the Dark Ages.

Commenting on Twitter as the Texas governor announced his presidential candidacy last weekend, longtime Washington journalist Howard Kurtz wondered: "Perry wants to make DC 'inconsequential in your life.' Does that include Medicare, Soc Sec, vets' programs, air safety, FDA?" Former Bobby Kennedy aide Jeff Greenfield, calling Perry's words "nothing short of astonishing," ran through a litany of Washington's contributions to American life -- from railroads, interstate highways, and the Hoover dam to land-grant colleges, civil rights, and subsidized mortgages -- and marveled at the depth of the right's "disdain for all things Washington."

Libertarians and conservatives believe what the Founders believed: that that government is best which governs least. "Society in every state is a blessing," wrote Thomas Paine, "but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil."

But it isn't highways or veterans' programs or minority voting rights that conservatives find so objectionable about Washington. When Perry speaks of making the nation's capital "inconsequential," he isn't proposing to dismantle the Hoover Dam. Hard as it may be for liberals to accept, the Republican base isn't motivated by blind loathing of the federal government, or by a nihilistic urge to wipe out the good that Washington has accomplished.

What conservatives believe, rather, is what America's Founders believed: that that government is best which governs least, and that human freedom and dignity are likeliest to thrive not when power is centralized and remote, but when it is diffuse, local, and modest.

"It is not by the consolidation or concentration of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected," wrote Thomas Jefferson in 1821. In part that is because central planners and regulators rarely know enough to be sure of the impact their decisions will have on the innumerable individuals, communities, and enterprises affected by them "Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap," Jefferson dryly remarked, "we should soon want bread." The Beltway blunders of our own era -- from the subprime mortgage meltdown to Cash-for-Clunkers to minimum-wage laws that drive up unemployment -- would not have surprised him.

But that isn't the only reason that shrinking Washington and decentralizing power promotes better government. While curbing the federal behemoth is important in its own right, it is indispensable to the moral health of a nation rooted in the conviction that men and women can govern themselves. Our social arrangements tend to work best when they are organized at the lowest possible level, closest to concrete, day-to-day experience. Only as a last resort should we seek to transfer power upward, from individuals and families to city hall, or from city hall to the statehouse, or from the statehouse to Washington, DC. This is the principle of subsidiarity that historically underpinned American federalism.

Once it was commonly understood by Americans that the best way to get things done was usually to do them privately. In his classic study of democracy in the young United States, Alexis de Tocqueville marveled at the American propensity to form voluntary organizations for nearly every purpose.

"Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions, constantly form associations," an impressed Alexis do Tocqueville wrote in 1835. "They have not only commercial and manufacturing companies . . . but associations of a thousand other kinds -- religious, moral, serious, futile, extensive or restricted, enormous or diminutive. The Americans make associations to give entertainments, to found establishments for education, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; and in this manner they found hospitals, prisons, and schools. . . . Wherever, at the head of some new undertaking, you see the government in France, or a man of rank in England, in the United States you will be sure to find an association."

But as government grows larger and more powerful, it crowds out private action. It replaces local, familiar, and organic institutions with remote bureaucratic ones. As state and federal governments swell, taking over functions that used to be left to individuals and voluntary organizations, communities are weakened. Increasingly citizens are taught to rely on government, rather than on themselves or their neighbors. They develop a sense of entitlement, and entitlement in turn fuels selfishness. Other people's needs come to be seen as the government's responsibility. Government gets bigger and bigger -- and citizens get smaller and smaller.

Of course some functions can only be performed at the national level. But Washington does far more than it should, in so many ways treating Americans like children who cannot be trusted to run their own lives. The effect of that infantilization has been an erosion in the virtues without which no free society can thrive: Work, honesty, discipline, gratitude, moderation, thrift, initiative.

The way to undo that erosion? We can start by making Washington more inconsequential.



Progressive Intolerance

Talking to themselves

Television pundits increasingly express an attitude that is at once arrogant and ignorant: The people who oppose Keynesian economics – specifically a massive increase in government deficit spending to create jobs and jumpstart the economy – are the same kind of people who also believe that the earth is only several thousand years old (rather than 4.5 billion), that evolution is bunk, and that science is something to be feared on principle. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews takes the strongest version of this position. To him even skepticism about catastrophic climate change is a sign of hostility to science, although a good number of scientists are skeptical.

It may not seem worth the time to expose the fallacies of cable television’s talking heads, but since they are the source of what so many people “know” about public policy, the time is well spent.

TV hosts like Matthews of course are not authorities on economics (though he did some graduate work in the subject), so when they judge Keynesianism as the only truly scientific economics, they mean two things: That is what a Keynesian taught them in school and that is what all their Keynesian friend-guests assure them is the case. Since they never invite a non-Keynesian economist on their shows (Republican consultants don’t count), they insulate themselves against all informed dissent from their faith. Considering this policy against head-to-head discussion, who’s got the antiscientific attitude?

Simply Ignored

If someone doesn’t fit their mold, he or she is ignored or vilified. I know many people who (like me) reject Keynesian economics (and are skeptical about catastrophic climate change) while embracing science. (Yet we realize that scientists have the same the foibles and temptations we all are prone to, such as confirmation bias and career ambitions.) But Matthews & Co. say there are no such people. The pundits can’t even acknowledge good faith in their opponents.

This explains the intolerance shown those who refuse to agree that in a recession government spending is indispensable to raising aggregate demand and restoring economic growth. (Conservatives are not necessarily better. See my article on conservative Keynesians.)

If you point out that every dollar government spends, whether obtained through taxation or borrowing, is dollar removed from the private sector, the Keynesian pundit might agree but point out that business is not investing and consumers are not spending – so what’s lost? The other night Matthews suggested that business may be sitting on its $2 trillion in cash in order to damage Obama’s presidency. So to Keynes’s animal spirits Matthews adds animosity to Obama in explaining why the economy is at a virtual standstill.

The pundits’ blinders keep them from a broader perspective. Since all they know is the most vulgar rendition of Keynesian economics (Keynes wasn’t quite as bad as the Keynesians, writes Mario Rizzo), they have no idea that two distinct factors now prevent economic growth. First, the boom (without which there’s no bust) was created by monetary, housing, and financial policies that to a great extent still exist. Government officials are trying to resurrect the housing industry, indicating that the ruling elite still does not realize that the industry’s pre-bust condition was the artificial result of misguided interventions. Fed-depressed interest rates and easy-housing programs induced widespread malinvestment – investments unjustified by real underlying conditions – which have to be liquidated before economic growth can resume. Liquidation requires the costly but necessary adaption and transfer of resources and labor to purposes for which there is genuine demand. This correction cannot take place if political responses to the recession get in the way.

“Regime Uncertainty”

Second (as if that weren’t enough), the government has created significant new uncertainties that chill the investment climate. (This is what Robert Higgs calls “regime uncertainty.”) Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank law mandate the writing of hundreds of new rules governing employer-based health insurance and financial transactions. Why would anyone risk money in a new venture with so many yet-to-be-filled gaps in the regulatory environment? A government regulatory regime is bad enough; one that can change at any moment is far worse.

Finally, the pundits are blind to the fact that government can’t create real jobs. Let’s be clear what this means. It’s not that government can’t pay people to do things. It does that all the time! But in economic terms, a job is not merely exertion in return for a pay check. It’s much more: activity that transforms resources from a less-valued form to a more-valued form in the eyes of consumers. For the sake of irony, I’ll quote Karl Marx: “A thing cannot have value, if it is not a useful article. If it is not useful, then the labor it contains is also useless, does not count as labor and hence does not create value” (Capital, volume 1, emphasis added).

Keynesian pundits insist that a stimulus program to pay workers billions of dollars to repair schools, roads, and bridges would qualify as productive because people value those things. What’s missed is that we live in a world of scarcity and tradeoffs, and that we always make choices at the margin. Repairing a school may sound good in a vacuum (Which school? How elaborate a repair?), but not so good when something more valuable must be given up in exchange.

Market Prices

We all make similar tradeoffs in the marketplace all the time, and we can do so intelligently because goods and services have prices. Prices enable each of us to engage in economic calculation, that is, to make rational tradeoffs aimed at obtaining higher values (subjectively appraised) in exchange for lower values.

But government-produced goods and services are not priced and sold in the market. Instead, government collects its revenues by threat of force, and politicians and bureaucrats dispose of them ostensibly in the interest of the people but more likely in the career interest of those same politicians and bureaucrats. (The New Deal is a perfect example.) Without prices and free exchange — without entrepreneurship – we cannot know if what government produces is worth the alternative goods and services never produced. (We can say that the freedom lost is not worth the cost.) Putting the infrastructure into a marketplace void of privilege and subsidy would thus make economic sense. Politicians only notice the deterioration during recessions anyway.

The Keynesian pundits, then, are wrong on all counts. The government need not be the spender of last resort because 1) producers and consumers would spend just fine if it would get out of their way, and 2) the government can’t be relied on to create, rather than destroy, value in its use of scarce resources.




Wall Street aristocracy got $1.2 trillion in bailout loans: "Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s unprecedented effort to keep the economy from plunging into depression included lending banks and other companies as much as $1.2 trillion of public money, about the same amount U.S. homeowners currently owe on 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages. The largest borrower, Morgan Stanley (MS), got as much as $107.3 billion, while Citigroup took $99.5 billion and Bank of America $91.4 billion, according to a Bloomberg News compilation of data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, months of litigation and an act of Congress."

Coast Guard waste: "Nearly a decade into a 25-year, $24.2 billion overhaul intended to add or upgrade more than 250 vessels to its aging fleet, the Coast Guard has two new ships to show after spending $7 billion-plus. Now it's facing an uphill battle persuading a budget-conscious Congress to keep pouring money into a project plagued by management problems and cost overruns"

SSI disability insurance on brink of insolvency: "Laid-off workers and aging baby boomers are flooding Social Security's disability program with benefit claims, pushing the financially strapped system toward the brink of insolvency. Applications are up nearly 50 percent over a decade ago as people with disabilities lose their jobs and can't find new ones in an economy that has shed nearly 7 million jobs."

Forget corporate jets. Government limousines show they’re stealing you blind: "President Obama has made a big deal out of corporate jets. Apparently they are a symbol not of success but of greed. Yet even as the private jet marked has lagged with the ongoing recession, President Obama’s own employees in his administration have significantly increased the number of limousines available for their travel."

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

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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


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


21 August, 2011

The Texas job machine

Texas Gov. Rick Perry electrified liberal and conservative pundits by entering the GOP presidential primary. But both will be disappointed. Liberals because Perry’s economic record — his main selling point — is more defensible than they want to believe, and conservatives because it is less than they do.

Compared with the rest of the country, Texas has been a job-creating machine. After Perry assumed office in 2000, Texas gained more than a million jobs, while the nation lost 1.5 million. Nearly 40 percent of all new jobs since the recession officially ended have been created in Texas. “We are home to one in 10 Americans, but four of 10 jobs are in our state,” boasts Perry.

He attributes the job spurt to his commitment to low taxes, business-friendly regulations, controlling government spending and tort reform. His liberal detractors credit the sun, the moon and the tides.

They claim that Texas’ job growth has little to do with Perry’s policies and more to do with Texas’ vast reserves of oil, the growing demand for which triggered an economic boom. But by that logic, California should be a jobs mecca, as it is the country’s third-largest oil producer after Texas and Alaska. What’s more, California is blessed with fertile soil and other natural resources that Texas lacks. Yet Texas has added 165,000 jobs in the last three years and California has lost 1.2 million.

The inconvenient truth is that the jobs boom in Texas has something to do with its being No. 1 in ease of doing business — and the job bust in California has a great deal to do with it being last. Indeed, in the first four months of this year, 70 businesses shut their doors in the Golden State, with 14 of them making a beeline for Texas.

What’s true for businesses also is true for workers. Liberals sneer that many of Texas’ new jobs pay minimum wage without benefits — jobs that no self-respecting American should have to accept, especially given the pathetic social services Texas provides. This may be true, but the 1,100 or so Americans who move to Texas daily don’t give a fig.

Texas ranks rock-bottom in per capita social spending. But it also has one of the lightest personal tax burdens in the country and a low cost of living, which are hugely attractive to out-of-work Americans. Their flocking to the state has bumped up Texas’ unemployment rate to 8 percent, prompting Rachel Maddow to jeer on the air that Perry’s jobs record is not a whole lot better than many other states. What she refuses to see is that while in those states high unemployment is due to anemic job growth, in Texas it is due to robust population growth. If anything, Texas offers proof that people prefer jobs, even low-paying ones, to lavish social benefits — repudiating the liberal tax-and-spend economic model.

However, if liberals underestimate Perry’s jobs record, conservatives overestimate his fiscal record. Perry boasts that he has plugged the recession-induced hole in the state budget three times without raising taxes. Still, for the 11 years Perry has been in office, overall government spending has gone up by 4.2 percent every two years, compared with 2.3 percent under George W. Bush, after controlling for inflation and population growth. Perry’s supporters dismiss that comparison, noting that nearly half of this spending is tied up in federal programs he can’t control. The general revenue spending that he does control, they claim, has gone down for the first time since World War II.

But if Texas has lost control over its budget, the blame lies with Perry — and his Republican legislature — both of whom have aggressively scavenged for federal grant dollars. Indeed, Perry has habitually touted the great subsidies he has extracted from Uncle Sam for state programs ranging from homeland security to disaster relief. Even as Perry condemned President Obama’s stimulus and bailout package, he actively courted these funds, plugging the $6 billion hole in his previous budget almost entirely with stimulus money.

Perry’s problems extend beyond his mediocre fiscal performance. He also has a crony-capitalism problem. Grants from two funds he created, ostensibly to seed tech startups and lure companies, found their way into the pockets of his campaign contributors. This won’t go down well with voters weary of government waste and abuse, especially since Perry had final authority over the funds, and not an independent agency as is usually the case. Worse, Perry refused to axe these programs even to plug the deficit.

There is something else that ought to miff Perry’s conservative base about these funds: They legitimize an “industrial policy” economic approach that empowers government to pick economic winners and losers. Indeed, Perry defends these programs on grounds that they helped create jobs. But if he can use government money to generate jobs in Texas, can he credibly oppose Obama using stimulus money to generate jobs around the country?

With President Obama out of ideas for an out-of-work nation, Perry’s strong jobs record will appeal to voters. His challenge won’t be convincing them that he has the right ideas — it will be convincing them he has the scruples to make the right calls.

SOURCE. See also here for an answer to Leftist attempts to downplay Texas job growth.


Liberalism's "New" Strategy: The Same Old Lies

Perhaps the most profound quality common to liberals is their ability to keep straight faces (or even look gravely serious) while spewing the most hysterical and laughable lies. In this manner we have heard them in recent years frantically pontificating about how “global warming” would surely end life on this planet as we know it, unless of course they were allowed to grow government, encroach on our time honored freedoms, and raise our taxes.

Similarly, we have been forced to endure their shameless sanctimony as they lectured real America on the topic of “civility,” which ultimately means that conservatives rightly ought to remain silent while they grow government, encroach on our freedoms, and raise taxes. And whenever any real opposition arises, they revert to demands for “bipartisanship,” which means that our side should collaborate with them as they seek to grow government, encroach on freedom, and raise taxes.

In recent months, this campaign has gone into high gear. Clearly, despite all pretense of being confident in the Democrat agenda and its unfailing popularity with the American people, leftists remain shell-shocked in the wake of last November’s conservative electoral landslide. And with each ensuing public opinion poll showing another drop in their standing among the people of the Heartland, and similar numbers indicating that their esteemed leader, Barack Obama is fast losing ground with the electorate, panic is spreading among liberals who, only a few years back, believed that the nation’s future was completely theirs to commandeer and reconstruct.

Of particular alarm and frustration to them has been the grassroots movement popularly dubbed the Tea Party. Reflecting an authentic and devoted groundswell of common citizenry who, previously having remained detached from the distasteful confrontations of the political arena, its members now realize that continued indifference is a luxury they can no longer afford. By continued passivity, the nation they knew and cherished is being wrested from them and must be retaken if the promises of its future are to be restored to their former luster.

Throughout much of 2009 and early 2010, the liberal Democrat/media cabal believed it could dilute and undermine the Tea Party by merely ignoring it. Yet as Election Day 2010 approached, and legitimate polling data increasingly indicated that the Democrats were destined to lose big come November, opposition to the movement became more brazen and vitriolic. Post election, every conceivable “analysis” was presented as cold hard “fact,” depicting the political tsunami as overblown, and citing such anomalies as the California, Nevada, and Delaware Senate races, in which Democrats won, as proof that America still leaned hard-left. The massive Tea Party gatherings in Washington and elsewhere in the nation were ostensibly a flash in the pan, and would soon dissipate.

Yet as the nation enters into the 2012 election cycle, it is increasingly clear that the liberal Democrats are both aware of the continued presence and growing influence of the movement, and petrified by everything that it represents. So, they have predictably returned to their political playbook and resorted to the standard tactics by which they have often neutralized opponents in the past. Not surprisingly, this assault embodies all of the typical and despicable ploys that so characterize liberalism in general. But the latest efforts reveal that as a result of their panic, they are vastly overplaying their hand. And in so doing, the effort will surely backfire.

Consider the transparently frenzied attempts to exploit every potential crisis engulfing the nation, and even the world, as an opportunity to impugn the Tea Party. It is beyond absurd to contend that a groundswell of American patriots objecting to their government’s wanton spending binges and extra-constitutional legislating is somehow culpable for everything from the mayhem of a deranged murderer in Tucson, to the downgrading of America’s bond rating, to the riots in London. Nevertheless, such indictments, and even more, are regularly leveled by liberals with straight faces.

The chronically buffoonish Senator John Kerry (D.-MA) echoed this nonsense, referring to the bond rating fiasco as the “Tea Party Downgrade.” Previously, he asserted, with apparent solemnity, that Tea Party statements and concerns “don’t deserve equal time” in the media since they do not pass his standard for being “legitimate.”

Vice President Joe Biden derided the involvement of Tea Party activists in the recent debt-ceiling battle, accusing them of “acting like terrorists.” Such a characterization is particularly despicable coming from an administration that refuses to apply such a label to Muslim men known for brutal murders of Western non-Muslims.

Increasingly, the venomous leftist hyperbole exceeds any boundaries of reason or believability, and appears on its face to be so shrill and excessive that it no longer inflicts any damage on its intended targets, but instead reflects the psychosis of it authors. Thus, such ferocious invectives as Missouri Democrat Emmanuel Cleaver’s “Satan sandwich” and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s characterization of the debt debate as a “Washington Chainsaw Massacre” now border on the comedic.

In what may at first seem like an extreme contradiction from all of the allegation of Tea Party murder and mayhem, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-NV) on August 14 repeated his “observation” that the Tea Party is in retreat, and that “They will lose a number of [Congressional] seats next year.” In this he echoed an earlier premature obituary from January, in which he enthusiastically proclaimed, “The Tea Party is dying.”

It may appear that such divergent assessments of the Tea Party are at total odds with each other. On the one hand it is dissipating into oblivion, yet it has the power to destroy the U.S. economy. However, the underlying motivation for such radically dissimilar critiques is quite consistent. Though totally incongruous if taken literally, they are in fact separate fronts of a common attack. And the nature of that onslaught can be studied in the pages of Saul Alinsky’s Marxist/Leninist grail “Rules for Radicals.” When seen through the dark prism of Alinsky’s subversive philosophy, the continuity of the anti-Tea Party agenda becomes crystal clear. Marginalize it under any circumstances, employing any lie necessary to achieve the goal.

However, the people of Real America are no longer susceptible to such tactics, but are informed and aware of the methods and motives of those leftists who employ them. And the shrill tenor of liberal caterwauling against the conservative grassroots carries with it an underlying message. The empty promises of liberalism are finally facing a day of reckoning. The gig is up and the left, in abject terror, knows it.




Europe’s woes no excuse for abysmal US growth: "Today, once again, the market is crashing largely due to events in the European Union. President Obama and other policy makers wring their collective hands and say: 'It’s not our fault. Our options are limited in preventing the European contagion.' But Europe’s woes should not be an excuse. If anything, they present an opportunity to for the U.S. to capture the capital that is fleeing there, which would fuel job and business growth on our shores."

FDR’s advisers knew what Rachel Maddow and Paul Krugman don’t: "One persistent myth that libertarians and other free-market types have to unmask is that President Herbert Hoover’s belief in laissez faire was responsible for dramatically worsening what became the Great Depression. The myth that Hoover stood around and did nothing while the economy collapsed gets repeated ad nauseum in the media by pundits including everyone from Nobel Prize winners like Paul Krugman to, most recently, MSNBC talk-show host Rachel Maddow."

Please help Lt. Dan Choi: "I have some troubling news about Don't Ask, Don't Tell activist Lt. Dan Choi. Dan currently faces up to 6 months in prison for protesting DADT in front of the White House. He will be the first person in nearly a century to be put on trial over an arcane law written for and last used to silence important women suffragists. But apparently that wasn't enough for the Obama administration to vent their frustration with him."

The huddled masses leaving en masse: "The US Census data show that over the last decade, about 1.6 million New Yorkers moved out of the state. The biggest chunk of these emigres was from the city itself: 70% of New Yorkers moving out of state were from NYC, and another 10% were from Westchester and Nassau Counties, which are essentially suburbs of NYC. These losses were offset in part by an influx of 900,000 foreign immigrants. But there was still a net loss of nearly 700,000 residents, and the number of foreign immigrants was the lowest in about four decades."

A day that should live in infamy: "Today is the 40th anniversary of President Nixon's announcement of price controls on the American economy. He imposed an immediate freeze on all wages and prices that lasted for 90 days. Then he went through the various phases of control, leading to decontrol by 1974. With one main exception: oil and gasoline. Controls remained on oil and gasoline and these controls led to a lot of damage."

Report: Huge rise in unwed parents: "The number of US parents who live together without marrying has increased twelvefold since 1970, according to a report released yesterday that says children now are more likely to have unmarried parents than divorced parents. The report was published by the National Marriage Project, an initiative at the University of Virginia, and the Institute for American Values, two partisan groups that advocate for strengthening the institution of marriage."

An illiberal liberal: "Brad DeLong writes that 'America’s best hope for sane technocratic governance required the elimination of the Republican Party from our political system as rapidly as possible.' There are two things wrong with that statement. One is that he wants a technocratic government. Top-down. Orderly. Planned. But we live in a bottom-up world. Everything from language to Wikipedia to the economy itself is is a spontaneous order. They grow and evolve despite, not because of, direction from above. The most beautiful designs have no designer."

Housing, the hidden entitlement: "Amid all the clamor about entitlement reform during the struggle to raise the debt ceiling, one enormous cost -- and potential source of future savings -- largely escaped scrutiny: the billions of dollars the United States spends to support the mortgage market. ... Today, the government backs 95 percent of new loans, leaving taxpayers more exposed than ever"

Pentagon: Army poorly tested armor inserts: "The Army improperly tested new bullet-blocking plates for body armor and cannot be certain that 5 million pieces of the critical battlefield equipment meet the standards to protect U.S. troops, the Defense Department's inspector general found. The Pentagon report focused on seven Army contracts for the plates, known as ballistic inserts, awarded between 2004 and 2006 and totaling $2.5 billion."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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


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


20 August, 2011

Media Conceal True Nature of “Flash Mob” Racial Violence

Relying on documents made available exclusively through a Freedom of Information Act request, we can add another face to the growing picture of racial “flash mob” violence in America. It is a face that the media have concealed from public view.

This writer was forced to use the local Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to ascertain the facts about the racial identity of one of the victims of these attacks. The media concealed the identity of the white victim apparently because of misguided racial sensitivity.

What makes this even more startling is that it is just one of many examples of racial mob violence occurring around the country, without any comment from national figures such as President Obama or Attorney General Eric Holder. But if whites were attacking blacks in this manner, you can bet it would have already have become a national story worthy of comment from national political figures.

Consider these incidents:

* At the Wisconsin State fair, groups of black teens numbering anywhere from 25 to 100 “were targeting anyone who was white or appeared to look white,” and beating them, according to the local police chief. At least 18 people were injured, and 30 have been arrested.

* In Denver, couples leaving restaurants were being attacked by a group of black men with baseball bats.

* A young white man named Carter Strange had his skull fractured by a mob in South Carolina. He was attacked at random while jogging.

* A young white man named Dawid Strucinski was beaten into a coma by a mob in Bayonne, NJ.

* Anna Taylor, Emily Guendelsberger, and Thomas Fitzgerald were beaten to the ground and stomped in separate Philadelphia flash mobs.

* “Every weekend in July,” according to local news, “police have battled large, flash-mob beatings and vandalism” in Greensboro, NC.

* In a mostly-white suburb of Cleveland, witnesses reported large groups of young blacks walking through the streets, “shouting profanities and racial epithets,” and one man was viciously beaten while leaving a restaurant with his wife and friends.

* A young white lady named Shaina Perry was taunted and beaten by a black mob in Milwaukee who remarked “Oh, white girl bleeds a lot.”

The similarities among these attacks point to a trend: First of all, these are not run-of-the-mill crimes. They typically involve group attacks against defenseless, random victims who have no means to resist and did nothing to provoke their attackers. These flash mobs often stomp their victims even after they are down, as most of the news reports describe.

Then there are the racial similarities: The attackers are invariably black. Philadelphia’s mayor conceded as much when he condemned flash mobs, addressing the rioters with the charge, “You damaged your own race.” The victims are usually not black.

Several qualifications are in order: It is clear that only a small number of black teens take part in these attacks. Blacks are more likely to be victims of violent crime than any other group due to black-on-black crime. Also, interracial crime is a fraction of all crime, and hate crime is an even smaller fraction of that.

Nonetheless, these flash mobs are a social problem that needs to be addressed. If the races were reversed, we would be witnessing an outpouring of guilt of biblical proportions. Instead, the victims are white and we get an outpouring of ignominious silence. So far, precious few leaders in academia, politics, the legal system, or the media have spoken out directly against this troubling trend.

Far from being isolated incidents, violent flash mobs are part of an emerging social problem that turns the traditional story of American racism on its head. If opinion makers reported accurately about these flash mobs, most Americans would probably alter their views about racism and conclude that these flash mobs are the worst form of racial violence in our nation today. Not all of the flash mobs meet the strict criteria of a hate crime. However, they do represent a growing wave of racial violence.

The national media should acknowledge what a serious and potentially widespread social problem they are, but instead the press has concealed the racial aspect of this problem.

To take one particular example, in Chicago on June 14 of this year, the local media reported on a 15-year-old, without identifying his race, who was attacked and robbed by “a group of seven male teens,” all “black.” In a summer filled with mob violence, this story registered as another small blip in an alarming trend that has emerged across the country. However, the June 14 robbery was more troubling than most of the other flash mob attacks: One of the attackers that day had a gun.

Following their official policy of self-imposed PC censorship, the local media didn’t mention the race of the victim. Thankfully, the Chicago Police Department replied to my Freedom of Information Act request and provided that information in a redacted version of the incident report. It should not surprise anyone that the victim on June 14 was white. (These FOIA documents are attached to this column).

I can hear the chorus of complaints asking, “Why does race matter?” That question is usually asked with a tone of consternation, as if the person asking the question has determined that race must not matter and is refusing to consider race.

‘It’s not about race!’ some will say. People are people, and crime is about bad people doing bad things—or good, poor people whose social conditions drove them to beat people.

But these mob attacks are most certainly about race, and there is only one specific type of person committing these attacks. In Chicago, and around the country, flash mob attacks have been committed by blacks, apparently without exception.

Not every interracial crime has racial significance. Sometimes a fight is just a fight, a robbery is just a robbery, a mob is just a mob. But when there is a trend of racial victimization and a stark racial component in the participants of the attacks, then there is racial significance. We are fully justified to be concerned with the racial aspect of flash mobs, given the larger context of the flash mob phenomenon in Chicago—to take only one example—this year.

The flash mobs in Chicago began with flash mob robberies in January when groups of teens shoplifted at three separate stores along Michigan Avenue. In February, Loyola University warned students and staffers about “flash mob offenders” stealing items from nearby stores. In April 2011, a group of 70 “youths” ransacked a McDonald’s and “created a disturbance” according to a news report.

Then, on Memorial Day weekend, the cultural enrichment turned ugly. A witness told Chicago’s NBC local affiliate that mobs of “animals,” as the witness described them, “were being rude and abusive and throwing trash around and defecating…” Other witnesses reported that “gangbangers” were pushing people off their bikes.

In June, the attackers showed up armed. In robberies on June 5, between eight and 15 teens boarded a bus without paying and “began hitting people,” according to the Chicago Tribune. Three of those teens were charged with armed robbery, one with unlawful use of a weapon.

The most publicized flash mob attacks took place when five non-blacks were attacked in one hour by a pack of 20 teens on the North Side. As of June 13, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that over 30 people had been arrested in the various mob attacks that month. Then, on June 14, the white 15-year-old was robbed at gunpoint by a group of blacks.

Not far away, the flash mobs could have reached an awful crescendo in Peoria. On June 24, a mob of at least 50 blacks teens were stopping traffic in the street, and “running wildly through yards and porches” in a quiet suburban neighborhood in what one witness described as a “show of force.” Another witness says that a black teen yelled out, “We’re gonna kill all the white people. This is our neighborhood.” In this context, a reasonable reporter would be acting appropriately to include the race of victims and attackers in group attacks.

However, when it comes to black-on-white crime, as Chicago Tribune editor Gerald Kern publicly admitted, “We do not reference race unless it is a fact that is central to telling the story.” In other words, the Tribune will not reference race. How will we know if a fact is central to a story unless we have context? We’ll never have context to understand racial violence if the media conceal racial facts. If we’re not told the race of victims and attackers, we can’t observe a pattern of behavior, and we will have no idea whether race is central to a story. The Tribune’s reporting is thus an Orwellian void that leaves us all less informed, and less safe.

But this is not unique. The Washington Post, New York Times, and L.A. Times join the Tribune in admitting that they have, in effect, a policy of not reporting race.

Whether or not a fact is “central to a story” is naturally a value judgment that says as much about the ideology of an editor as it does about the facts of a story. Needless to say, when the race of mob violence victims is white, a liberal editor will usually not find that fact “central” to a story.

White victimization in racial violence is an inconvenient fact for those who are dedicated to social justice, a dogma based on faith in perpetual white guilt. Journalism departments play their part in maintaining the dogma. We’re not going to remain addled with white guilt if we fully acknowledge anti-white crime. So liberals downplay white victims to maintain their traditional belief in monolithic white racism, the one tradition that liberals believe in maintaining.

If we are truly committed to “social justice,” however, we must acknowledge that concealing the facts about racial violence and other social problems leaves us endangered and intellectually impoverished. Refusing to face facts will inhibit finding a solution to the problem, and virtually guarantee that the problem will only get worse.



Obama helped spark the black mob attacks

Lloyd Marcus

Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, said, "The speed of the leader is the speed of the gang." In other words, leadership flows from the top down.

Folks, I believe human beings are responsible for their behavior. However, as America's first black president, fair or unfair, Obama's presidency comes with enormous responsibility in terms of its influence on black youths. This is why it is so unfortunate that American black youths' ultimate role model is a characterless, race-baiting political hack.

While I am not saying president Obama is responsible for the epidemic of black youth flash-mob attacks on whites around our country, his race-baiting has to be a contributing factor.

Obama and his minions have despicably created racial tension for political gain -- accusing all who opposed his hostile takeover of our health care system of racism.

Clearly, the Obama administration's game plan for his presidency is to use race as a bludgeon whenever anyone opposes an Obama agenda item. Obama obviously considers the loss of harmony between black and white Americans to be acceptable collateral damage.

Here are a few examples of race exploitation by Obama and company which could be fueling rage in black youths.

Let's begin with ObamaCare. Several Democrats suggested that race was a factor in opposition to ObamaCare. Former President Jimmy Carter led the charge saying, "[A]n overwhelming portion of those who demonstrate against Obama are doing so because the president is a black man." In essence, President Carter was telling black youths, "Many Americans are racist and against you." Do you think Carter's statement may have inspired black anger?

Then, there was the black professor Gates vs. the Cambridge Police incident. Before knowing the facts, President Obama declared the white decorated arresting officer guilty of racial profiling, saying the police "acted stupidly." Obama continued, "[W]hat I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there's a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That's just a fact."

Good Lord, the black president of the United States parroted the mantra of black gangsta rappers: "if you are black, the white po-po [police] are out to get you." I find it extraordinary that Obama did not anticipate the catastrophic negative impact his proclamation would have on the relationship between black urban youths and white law enforcement.

Would a man who values racial harmony say such a divisive thing, even if he suspected it to be true? Obama is the president of the United States, for crying out load. His words carry tremendous power and influence, particularly among black youths.

Obama's indictment of the nation's police was to cover his butt for assuming the Cambridge police was guilty of racism before knowing the facts of the incident -- thus confirming that Obama cares about only himself.

The Tea Party is a constant extremely annoying thorn in the side of Obama in implementing his fundamental transformation of America. This is why Obama has launched a campaign to bludgeon the Tea Party to death with false accusations of racism.

Obama said, "[R]ace is still a problem." He stated race to be a key component in the rising opposition to his presidency from conservatives, "especially right-wing activists in the anti-incumbent Tea Party movement." Obama added, "[A] subterranean agenda in the anti-Obama movement -- a racially biased one -- that was unfortunate."

Again, imagine how black youths process Obama's I'm-a-victim-of-racist-white-folks rhetoric.

Obama played the race card again in the Arizona immigration law debate. The Arizona immigration law was birthed out of frustration with the Obama administration's refusal to enforce federal immigration law. Arizonians suffer from epidemic levels of drug-trafficking, murders, and violent kidnapping by illegals. To court the Hispanic vote, Obama deemed Arizona's law racist.

Here's another example of Team Obama throwing race into the mix. Several black Democrat pundits andCongressional Black Caucus member Shelia Jackson Lee said that Republicans were rejecting raising the debt ceiling because Obama is black.

So, has the Obama administration's shameful disregard for preserving harmonious race relations inspired racial tension leading to black youths beating up whites? Well, let's just say, unquestionably, that Obama's Chicago thug vibe resonates.

Black conservative Kenneth Gladney was beaten and sent to the emergency room by SEIU thugs shortly after Obama sent a clarion call to his supporters to "[h]it back twice as hard." Obama encouraged Latinos to "punish our enemies."

It is not a stretch to suggest that highly impressionable black youths might retaliate against a white America perceived to be dissing their African-American idol.



Obama economy approval slumps to 26pc

THE number of Americans who approve of President Barack Obama's handling of the sour US economy has slumped to an all-time low for him of 26 per cent, according to a poll released today.

The respected Gallup organisation's findings showed the embattled president down 11 points since mid-May on an issue sure to define his quest for a fresh term in the November 2012 elections.

Mr Obama also won low approval ratings for his handling of the runaway US federal budget deficit, at 24 per cent, while just 29 per cent approved of his record on job creation while unemployment is more than nine per cent.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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


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


19 August, 2011

Nazis were not evil, they were 'social climbers', claims leading German historian

There is some truth in the ideas below but the psychologizing is pure speculation. What is true is that Hitler was personally very popular. He was seen as a fatherly lover of his people -- which is how he presented himself. And his antisemitism was completely normal worldwide in the prewar era.

The politics of envy always has a large following and the extraordinarily prominent position of Jews in prewar public life in Germany made them a natural target for envy.

There is of course much more to it but those two facts alone are just about enough to explain the holocaust without trashy assertions about inferiority complexes etc.

It does grieve me however that Jews have learnt so little since then. Once again many tend to seek out prominent positions in public life. It's like painting a target on their own backs

A peculiar German inferiority complex allied to a lust to 'get on' led to the country’s collective moral collapse which allowed the Holocaust of six million Jews to happen, a new book in Germany claims.

Götz Aly, an esteemed historian and social commentator, says their berserk social climbing led the ordinary people, far removed from the extermination camp system, to partake in the plunder of the Jews without troubling their consciences.

His book Why The Germans? Why The Jews? comes at a time when Germany is once more in the crosshairs of critics across the continent as the euro crisis lurches from bad to worse.

It is portrayed as bullying, domineering and inflexible as it tries to impose rigid, German-style rules on nations which do not share its social, political and economic ethics.

Most important Aly gets away from the 'evil Nazi' comfort zone that so many postwar Germans have wallowed in. The central thesis of his book is that the Holocaust happened “because people like you and me allowed it to.” And he says it can happen again.

It was the middle class fear of coming down in the world following defeat in WWI, the hyper-inflation and joblessness of the Weimar years, that allowed people to blind themselves to the excesses of the Nazis as they pledged to restore Germany to greatness.

Those who would pay the most for that greatness were the Jews; the culprits, said Hitler, behind the war.

Social climbing became an almost impossible thing during the jobless, moneyless days of the Weimar Republic: the Nazis brought it back into vogue with uniforms, work and, ultimately, plunder.

Massive auctions were staged every week throughout the lifespan of the Third Reich in Hamburg and several other cities of stolen Jewish goods. Massive ships docked regularly at the city’s port bringing furniture, silver, furs, tapestries, rugs and glassware that had been taken from Jews in the occupied countries.

'The Social Democrats and the trades unions wanted property too,' said Aly. 'The ‘bad one’ was the Jew in all this.'

Therefore, the common man reasoned, it was no bad thing for his or herself to advance themselves at the cost of this societal bogeyman.

The Nazis ignored the fact that Jews - making up less than one per cent of the population of Germany - had since around 1900 excelled in schools and universities, graduating at a rate eight times that of Christians.

They merely played up the fact that they took all the jobs, thus provoking yet more envy as they secured positions in high paying professions such as medicine and law.

He offers up the example of his own grandfather, Friedrich Schneider, one of the five million unemployed in 1926 who joined Hitler’s fledgling Nazi party because he believed, like so many others, that he would once more be able to “get on” if it was in power. 'He was one small part,' he said, 'of that whole of Germany that went on the way to violence and destructive rule.'

Aly also says coupled with the German envy complex was a deep-seated fear of true freedom; it had not existed under the Kaiser and democracy under the Weimar Republic had brought the country to its knees.

The Nazis, he said, were a catchment basin for socially envious people and people with inferiority complexes. He went on: 'I see in the Germans a substantial self conditioning for the murder of the Jews that developed from these feelings of national inferiority.

'The Holocaust can repeat itself. One should not believe that the anti-Semites of yesterday are completely different human beings to the ones of today.'



Obama throws open the immigration doors to all but serious criminals

This is near-complete amnesty and a coup against Congress

In a surprise announcement, the Obama administration said it will review the deportation cases of 300,000 illegal immigrants and might allow many of them to stay in the U.S., a decision that angered immigration hard-liners and pleased Hispanic advocacy groups.

Under the plan, federal authorities will review individually all cases of immigrants currently in deportation proceedings. Those who haven't committed crimes and who aren't considered a threat to public safety will have a chance to stay in the U.S. and to later apply for a work permit.

The shift could help counter growing discontent among Hispanic voters and immigration advocacy groups about record deportations; audits of businesses that have pushed undocumented workers underground; and the lack of progress toward overhauling the immigration system under President Barack Obama.

The announcement comes as several states seek to pass laws to crack down on illegal immigrants, including millions who flocked to the U.S. before the recession to take blue-collar jobs in construction, agriculture and hospitality.

A senior administration official described the move as an effort to better use limited immigration-enforcement resources and to alleviate pressure on overburdened immigration courts. The idea, this person said, is to "identify low-priority cases…and administratively close the case so they no longer clog the system." The official added that such cases could be reopened by the government at any time.

While the announcement doesn't address illegal immigrants who aren't involved in deportation proceedings, it could benefit them indirectly. "They will be less likely to enter the caseload to begin with, so we can focus on folks in the caseload who are high priority," said the administration official.

Critics described the decision as a step by the administration toward offering amnesty for illegal immigrants. "The Obama administration should enforce immigration laws, not look for ways to ignore them," said Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas), head of the House Judiciary Committee.

Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which lobbies against legalization, said: "In essence, the administration has declared that U.S. immigration is now virtually unlimited to anyone willing to try to enter—subject only to those who commit violent felonies after arrival."

Others welcomed the move. Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, a nonpartisan advocacy organization, described it as a "step forward" and a "sound policy decision that uses valuable law-enforcement resources to remove those who once caused harm but keeps contributing members of the immigrant community here."

The majority of agricultural workers are in the U.S. illegally. "We hope this is a move toward an immigration solution that works for agriculture," said Jason Resnick, general counsel of Western Growers, a California-based association that represents produce growers. "Even in this time of great unemployment, we are not seeing domestic workers apply for jobs."

Ordinarily, illegal immigrants can't get work permits, and most never apply for fear of opening themselves up to deportation. The new plan would enable some to get permits, said the administration official, who didn't elaborate other than to say decisions would be made on a case-by-case basis

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nevada) outlining the plan, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that an interagency working group would execute a "case-by-case review of all individuals currently in removal proceedings to ensure that they constitute our highest priorities."

Administration officials said low-priority cases likely to be shelved include individuals brought to the U.S. as children by their parents, undocumented spouses of U.S. military personnel and immigrants who have no criminal record.

"This process will allow additional federal enforcement resources to be focused on border security and the removal of public safety threats," Ms. Napolitano said in the letter.

Current immigration policy aims to deport illegal immigrants who commit serious crimes, but critics say it is snaring too many immigrants who have committed only minor offenses, like traffic violations, or who have called the police to report a crime. Controversy over a key element of the policy, the Secure Communities program, is threatening the president's relations with the Hispanic community.

This week, there have been protests in several cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta, prompted by the surge in deportations and administration plans to expand the program.

More than 390,000 people were removed from the U.S. in each of the last two years, surpassing previous years. Immigration courts are so jammed it can often take more than a year for a judge to rule on a deportation case.

U.S. immigration policy has eclipsed the economy and jobs as the top issue for Hispanic voters, according to a national poll released in June. To Hispanic voters, Mr. Obama has touted his support for an immigration overhaul that would put illegal immigrants on the path to legalization, and has bemoaned a lack of support from Republicans.

The immigration issue is a critical one for Mr. Obama as he prepares for reelection. He won 67% of the Hispanic vote in 2008. Republicans are unlikely to significantly increase their share of the Hispanic vote, but Mr. Obama needs Latinos to turn out in large numbers.



The past is another more courteous country


Review by Val Hennessy:

Talk about the past being another country. Even the recent past. My nonagenarian mother and her contemporaries will certainly recognise, with regretful shakes of their heads, the England depicted by Victor Canning in these elegiac essays commissioned in the 1930s by the Daily Mail. But, for the rest of us, he could be describing another planet.

His England is a place where weekend cinemas are packed to bursting with enthusiastic film fans all cheerfully whistling, shouting and applauding the action.

The main street of a town in the Fens throngs, on Saturday nights, with a good-natured ‘slow-moving, joking, flirting, healthy mob’, dressed in their best, farm-labourers and their girls congregating ‘to forget the toil of the week ... to seek colour, warmth and laughter’.

From the doorway of every inn comes the plunk and tinkle of pianos and the group chorusings of mawkish ballads. By 11.30pm everyone has hurried home to bed, and the streets are deserted.

Hey ho! No vomiting, fornicating, brawling and scantily-attired, knock-kneed, boozed-up girls baring their bottoms. Those were the days...

Canning finds beauty everywhere, but never sentimentalises, and is consistently honest enough to highlight poverty and social inequality.

In Maryport in Cumbria, where the silent pit heads signal the decline of the mining industry, he discovers unemployed men foraging for small fragments of coal on the snow-covered shingle. A morning’s foraging will fill half a sack, to be hauled back to keep fires going in homes where fires are luxuries. Yet there is laughter too, and ‘the happy clatter of clogs’ from children playing in the streets.

In sooty Halifax, a town ‘which has wrung dignity and beauty from chimney stacks, gasometers, canals and mills’, the doorsteps and windows are spotless, and proud working men tog up at weekends in bowler hats, white collars and navy-blue suits.

In the Cotswolds Canning describes the soft patina of lichen and moss on walls, and senses the pride taken in ‘houses built to last ... reflecting the spirit of the master craftsmen who made them’, and in Norfolk he gets talking to an ancient sea salt who had joined the Navy when ‘sails and bare feet and a penny a week for boys made Britain mistress of the seas’.

In Rutland Canning describes an incident which is unthinkable in modern Britain. Exhausted after a long ramble, he knocks on a cottage door to ask for water.

A jolly, motherly sort invites him inside to freshen up, then sits him on the porch amongst the hollyhocks and roses, offers him tea and, referring to her husband who is out hedging and ditching, explains: ‘The master does the kitchen garden and I look after the flowers’. ‘Master’ indeed! What distant times!

His best anecdote concerns the hilarious men-only bathing rules at Parson’s Pleasure on the river Cherwell. Mixed bathing was forbidden due to the tradition that men bathed naked there.

In this male Arcadia (and I think Canning misses a significant social situation here, in his innocence) Oxford dons and undergraduates would loll about ‘clad only in spectacles and a copy of Plato’s Socratic Discourses’.

Any approaching punt steered solely by women would be halted; the punt would be taken through the bathing enclosure by an attendant, and the women were made to avert their eyes as they walked along a special footpath to rejoin it. Forgetful females were known to disobey the rules, causing a mad scramble as naked dons flattened themselves behind tufts of grass or scuttled for cover amongst the willows.

It is astonishing to remember that Canning’s pilgrimage to ‘understand the intricate pattern and appreciate the colour of the fabric of English life’ was made within living memory.

His gentle adventures will probably seem boring, if not ludicrous, to post-war generations who travel more often to exotic, far-flung foreign hot spots than to the towns and villages of England.

Canning travelled through a law-abiding, slow-paced, courteous country where a stranger in town (Canning) would address a passing resident like this: ‘Good day to you, sir. Would it be a breach of good manners if I was to ask you to oblige me by telling me a little history of this town?...’

Good-manners, and respect, yes. It certainly was another country... No obscene gestures, filthy language, feral yoof on the rampage or lawless, mindless morons burning and looting for the hell of it. And if I’m beginning to sound like my mum, I make no apologies...


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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


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


18 August, 2011

Official: No Israeli apology to Turkey over raid

Israel will not apologize to Turkey over a raid on a Gaza-bound protest aid ship last year in which nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists were killed, Israel's foreign minister said Wednesday.

On May 31 last year, Israeli commandos sent to stop a flotilla of protest ships from reaching Gaza clashed with activists armed with knives, clubs and iron rods aboard a Turkish vessel as the Israelis tried to take over the ship. Israel says soldiers acted in self defense after the activists assaulted them on deck, while the activists say they were defending themselves from an Israeli attack.

The flotilla was trying to break an Israeli blockade of Gaza. Activists charged that Israel was depriving Gaza's Palestinians of vital supplies. Israel said the blockade was necessary to keep weapons away from Gaza's Hamas rulers, calling the flotilla a political provocation.

Ties between Israel and Turkey, once close allies, deteriorated dramatically over the bloody raid. Each side blamed the other. Since then, Turkey has also moved closer to Israel's arch-enemy Iran, further souring relations.

Turkey initially said it would reconcile with Israel only if it apologizes and compensates the families of those killed.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israel's Channel 2 TV Wednesday night that the decision to refuse to apologize sends a strong message to Turkey. "It is a just and wise position. A message of weakness is dangerous to Israel at this time," Lieberman said.

An Israeli official added that Israel had an apology ready as well as a compensation package, but then the Turks added more demands. One was shelving a U.N. investigation into the affair, believed to favor Israel's version of events.



The riots are a warning

Thomas Sowell

The orgies of violent attacks against strangers on the streets -- in both England and the United States -- are not necessarily just passing episodes. They should be wake-up calls, warning of the continuing degeneration of Western society.

As British doctor and author Theodore Dalrymple said, long before these riots broke out, "the good are afraid of the bad and the bad are afraid of nothing."

Not only the trends over the years leading up to these riots but also the squeamish responses to them by officials -- on both sides of the Atlantic -- reveal the moral dry rot that has spread deep into Western societies.

Even when black youth gangs target white strangers on the streets and spew out racial hatred as they batter them and rob them, mayors, police chiefs and the media tiptoe around their racism and many in the media either don't cover these stories or leave out the race and racism involved.

In England, the government did not call out the troops to squash their riots at the outset. The net result was that young hoodlums got to rampage and loot for hours, while the police struggled to try to contain the violence. Hoodlums returned home with loot from stores with impunity, as well as bringing home with them a contempt for the law and for the rights of other people.

With all the damage that was done by these rioters, both to cities and to the whole fabric of British society, it is very unlikely that most of the people who were arrested will be sentenced to jail. Only 7 percent of people convicted of crime in England are actually put behind bars.

"Alternatives to incarceration" are in vogue among the politically correct elites in England, just as in the United States. But in Britain those elites have had much more clout for a much longer time. And they have done much more damage.

Nevertheless, our own politically correct elites are pointing us in the same direction. A headline in the New York Times shows the same politically correct mindset in the United States: "London Riots Put Spotlight on Troubled, Unemployed Youths in Britain." There is not a speck of evidence that the rioters and looters are troubled -- unless you engage in circular reasoning and say that they must have been troubled to do the things they did.

In reality, like other rioters on both sides of the Atlantic they are often exultant in their violence and happy to be returning home with stolen designer clothes and upscale electronic devices.

In both England and in the United States, whole generations have been fed a steady diet of grievances and resentment against society, and especially against others who are more prosperous than they are. They get this in their schools, on television, on campuses and in the movies. Nothing is their own fault. It is all "society's" fault.

One of the young Britons interviewed in the New York Times reported that he had learned to read only three years ago. He is not unique. In Theodore Dalrymple's book, "Life at the Bottom," he referred to many British youths who are unashamedly illiterate. The lyrics of a popular song in Britain said, "We don't need no education" and another song was titled "Poor, White and Stupid."

Dr. Dalrymple says, "I cannot recall meeting a sixteen-year-old white from the public housing estates that are near my hospital who could multiple nine by seven."

In the United States, the color may be different but the attitudes among the hoodlum element are very similar. In both countries, classmates who try to learn can find themselves targeted by bullies.

Here those who want to study in ghetto schools are often accused of "acting white." But whites in Britain show the same pattern. Some conscientious students are beaten up badly enough to end up at Dr. Dalrymple's hospital.

Our elites often advise us to learn from other countries. They usually mean that we should imitate other countries. But it may be far more important to learn from their mistakes -- the biggest of which may be listening to fashionable nonsense from the smug intelligentsia.

These countries show us where that smug nonsense leads. It may be a sneak preview of our own future. "Send not to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee."



The latest fruits of Leftism

Ann Coulter

Like you, I've been horrified by the eruptions of mob violence around the globe this summer. But having spent the last two years researching and writing a book about mobs, I'm also grateful to the ruffians for taking to the streets so soon after my book was released.

Thanks, you dirty animals. I knew you wouldn't let me down.

When I decided to write about mobs, it was a relatively peaceful period. But as long as there is evil in the world, mobs will never be finally defeated. And as long as there are liberals, there will be some people stoking the mobs.

It was only a matter of time, although even I didn't expect it quite this soon.

Mobs are always the same -- destructive, left-wing and without any clear cause. Why were young people in Britain tearing apart their cities, burning down businesses and stealing electronics and designer clothes? Because the cops shot someone? Please.

What has gotten on the last nerve of rioters in Greece, Paris and Vancouver? They're jobless? Their government benefits have been cut? Their hockey team lost? They might as well destroy police cars because they're upset about rainy days. (That's not a suggestion, by the way -- more of a rhetorical flourish.)

Why were public sector union workers in Wisconsin busting up the capitol and physically attacking Republican legislators? MSNBC's Ed Schultz says it was because Republicans were trying to take away the people's "civil rights." (Evidently, research showed the last seven people actually watching MSNBC were Wisconsin public school teachers.)

You have to do some digging to find out the public sector employees were upset that Republicans wanted government unions to engage in collective bargaining only over salary, but not work conditions or benefits -- all funded by the taxpayers.

Why were black and Hispanic gang members looting after the Rodney King verdict? As if you needed to know, a Los Angeles policeman recently told me that the gang members he arrested in the riots said they didn't know or care about Rodney King.

Why were masked hoodlums smashing Starbucks windows in Seattle a decade ago when some bankers came to town? They're against the "global economy"? What does that even mean?

Like Satan, mobs are good only for destruction and chaos. The putative "cause" is always incidental. As Jesus said, "They hated me without a cause."

The French Revolution is the template for all mob uprisings, and the signal event of that lunacy was an attack on a prison housing only half a dozen prisoners.

As best anyone can tell, the storming of the Bastille was instigated by a rumor that the laughably impotent King Louis XVI was about to stage an attack on the National Assembly. Or perhaps they were upset that the inept finance minister, Jacques Necker, had been fired. Or they thought the Bastille was an eyesore.

(The only other possible cause was recently ruled out when it was conclusively determined that France had no teachers unions in the late 18th century.)

No one is sure -- but a good time was had by all! Except the prison administrators murdered in the attack.

Liberals love mobs because rioting and anarchy is their path to power. Making sound proposals based on facts and logic is not their metier. Issuing impossible promises to the easily fooled is their specialty. For more on this, see "The 2012 Democratic Platform."

The entire Democratic Party is currently promising to "save" Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in their present form. According to Obama's own Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, in less than 10 years, spending on those three entitlement programs, plus servicing the national debt, will consume 92 cents of every dollar in the federal budget.

The Democrats are openly lying to voters. It is a mathematical impossibility for these programs to continue without major reform now, or complete bankruptcy later -- and not very much later.

But Democrats' real achievement has been in destroying the family, and thereby creating an endless supply of potential rioters.

When blacks were only four generations out of slavery, their illegitimacy rate was about 23 percent (lower than the white illegitimacy rate is now). Then Democrats decided to help them! Barely two generations since LBJ's Great Society programs began, the black illegitimacy rate has tripled to 72 percent.

Meanwhile, the white illegitimacy rate has septupled, from 4 percent to 29 percent. Instead of a "War on Poverty," it should have been called a "War on the Family."

The vast and permanent underclass created by the welfare state is a great success story for the Democratic Party, which now has a loyal constituency of deadbeats who automatically vote for the Democrats to keep their Trojan horse "benefits" flowing. It's the Democrats' "heroin dealer" model of government.

Apparently, it takes a lot of government workers to minister to the poor, inasmuch as government employment has skyrocketed in tandem with the family's disintegration. As long as Democrats are serving their principal constituency -- recipients of taxpayer money -- they don't care what happens to the rest of society.

They champion any mob that will increase their political power. Liberals promote welfare dependency, class warfare, endless government programs staffed with public sector workers, street protests, coddling criminals and physical attacks on their ideological opponents. This is how they create reliable Democratic voters.

True, government employees are doing jobs we don't want done, can never be fired, are bankrupting the country and periodically break out in mob violence.

True, also, that the children of broken families sometimes burn city blocks to the ground or kill their great-grandmothers with swords. But what a voting bloc!



Making Washington Inconsequential

WHEN TEXAS GOVERNOR RICK PERRY announced his campaign for president last weekend in a speech to the RedState Gathering in Charleston, S.C., he saved his best line until almost the very end. "I'll promise you this," he said to exuberant cheers and applause, "I'll work every day to try to make Washington, DC, as inconsequential in your life as I can."

To a Democrat steeped in the big-government tradition of the New Deal and the Great Society, there could hardly be a greater heresy.

For liberals, perhaps the only thing more absurd and disagreeable than the prospect of a Washington with radically reduced influence in American life is a presidential candidate pledging to make that reduction a priority. MSNBC's Chris Matthews, a former Jimmy Carter speechwriter and aide to Tip O'Neill, characterized Perry's applause line is nothing less than a call for anarchy. The governor is saying "not just that the era of big government is over," Matthews hyperbolically told his "Hardball" viewers on Monday, "he's saying the era of government is over. . . . Let's get rid of the government, basically."

But to countless libertarians and free-market conservatives, it is exhilarating to hear a candidate talk this way. And why wouldn't it be? After all, large majorities of Americans consistently say they don't trust the federal government and have little faith in the ability of Washington's immense bureaucracy to solve the nation's problems. In promising to curb Washington's outsize authority, Perry is responding to an alienation from government that is very much a Main Street phenomenon.

It is also a relatively recent phenomenon, one that has grown in proportion with the federal establishment's self-aggrandizement. As Charles Murray has written, the more Washington has tried to do, the less it has done well -- including the relatively few functions it used to perform competently. It is only natural that there should be such widespread frustration with the intrusive, expensive federal behemoth -- all the more so when efficient and attractive private alternatives (such as e-mail instead of snail mail) make clear just how apathetic and ungainly big government tends to be.

Over the past half-century, Washington has insinuated itself into a thousand-and-one decisions that individuals or local governments are more than capable of making for themselves. Which medicines can you buy? How efficient should your lightbulbs be? Can your children's schoolday begin with a prayer? Who qualifies for a mortgage? When do unemployment benefits run out? Can you pay an employee $5 an hour if that's what his labor is worth? Should abortions be restricted? Is health insurance optional? Do artists or farmers or broadcasters require subsidies? Are you in charge of your retirement income?


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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


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


17 August, 2011

Black racism and socialism

Thomas Sowell

Although much of the media have their antennae out to pick up anything that might be construed as racism against blacks, they resolutely ignore even the most blatant racism by blacks against others.

That includes a pattern of violent attacks on whites in public places in Chicago, Denver, New York, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Kansas City, as well as blacks in schools beating up Asian classmates -- for years -- in New York and Philadelphia.

These attacks have been accompanied by explicitly racist statements by the attackers, so it is not a question of having to figure out what the motivation is. There has also been rioting and looting by these young hoodlums.

Yet blacks have no monopoly on these ugly and malicious episodes. Remarkably similar things are being done by lower-class whites in England. Anybody reading "Life at the Bottom" by Theodore Dalrymple will recognize the same barbaric and self-destructive patterns among people with the same attitudes, even though their skin color is different.

Anyone reading today's headline stories about young hoodlums turning the streets of London into scenes of shattered and burning chaos, complete with violence, will discover the down side of the brotherhood of man.

While the history and the races are different, what is the same in both countries are the social policies and social attitudes long promoted by the intelligentsia and welfare state politicians.

A recent study in England found 352,000 households in which nobody had ever worked. Moreover, two-thirds of the adults in those households said that they didn't want to work. As in America, such people feel both "entitled" and aggrieved.

In both countries, those who have achieved less have been taught by the educational system, by the media and by politicians on the left that they have a grievance against those who have achieved more. As in the United States, they feel a fierce sense of resentment against strangers who have done nothing to them, and lash out violently against those strangers.

During the riots, looting and violence in England, a young woman was quoted as saying that this showed "the rich" and the police that "we can do whatever we want." Among the things done during these riots was forcing apparently prosperous looking people to strip naked in the streets.

The need to bring people down in humiliation that marked the mass violence against the Armenians in Turkey nearly a century ago, and that later marked the Nazi persecutions of the Jews in Germany, is still alive and well in people who resent those who have achieved more than they have.

A milder but revealing episode in England some time back involved burglars who were not content to simply steal things but also vented their hostility by scrawling on the wall: "RICH BASTARDS."

In the United States, young black thugs attacked whites with baseball bats and took their belongings in Denver, while voicing their hatred of whites. But it is all a very similar attitude to what has been found in other countries and other times.

Today's politically correct intelligentsia will tell you that the reason for this alienation and lashing out is that there are great disparities and inequities that need to be addressed.

But such barbarism was not nearly as widespread two generations ago, in the middle of the 20th century. Were there no disparities or inequities then? Actually there were more.

What is different today is that there has been -- for decades -- a steady drumbeat of media and political hype about differences in income, education and other outcomes, blaming these differences on oppression against those with fewer achievements or lesser prosperity.

Moreover, there has been a growing tolerance of lawlessness and a growing intolerance toward the idea that people who are lagging need to take steps to raise themselves up, instead of trying to pull others down.

All this exalts those who talk such lofty talk. But others pay the price -- and ultimately that includes even those who take the road toward barbarism.



Ominous Parallels

Walter E. Williams

People are beginning to compare Barack Obama's administration to the failed administration of Jimmy Carter, but a better comparison is to the Roosevelt administration of the 1930s and '40s. Let's look at it with the help of a publication from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the Foundation for Economic Education titled "Great Myths of the Great Depression," by Dr. Lawrence Reed.

During the first year of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, he called for increasing federal spending to $10 billion while revenues were only $3 billion. Between 1933 and 1936, government expenditures rose by more than 83 percent. Federal debt skyrocketed by 73 percent. Roosevelt signed off on legislation that raised the top income tax rate to 79 percent and then later to 90 percent. Hillsdale College economics historian and professor Burt Folsom, author of "New Deal or Raw Deal?", notes that in 1941, Roosevelt even proposed a 99.5 percent marginal tax rate on all incomes more than $100,000. When a top adviser questioned the idea, Roosevelt replied, "Why not?"

Roosevelt had other ideas for the economy, including the National Recovery Act. Dr. Reed says: "The economic impact of the NRA was immediate and powerful. In the five months leading up to the act's passage, signs of recovery were evident: factory employment and payrolls had increased by 23 and 35 percent, respectively. Then came the NRA, shortening hours of work, raising wages arbitrarily and imposing other new costs on enterprise. In the six months after the law took effect, industrial production dropped 25 percent."

Blacks were especially hard hit by the NRA. Black spokesmen and the black press often referred to the NRA as the "Negro Run Around," Negroes Rarely Allowed," "Negroes Ruined Again," "Negroes Robbed Again," "No Roosevelt Again" and the "Negro Removal Act." Fortunately, the courts ruled the NRA unconstitutional. As a result, unemployment fell to 14 percent in 1936 and lower by 1937.

Roosevelt had more plans for the economy, namely the National Labor Relations Act, better known as the "Wagner Act." This was a payoff to labor unions, and with these new powers, labor unions went on a militant organizing frenzy that included threats, boycotts, strikes, seizures of plants, widespread violence and other acts that pushed productivity down sharply and unemployment up dramatically. In 1938, Roosevelt's New Deal produced the nation's first depression within a depression. The stock market crashed again, losing nearly 50 percent of its value between August 1937 and March 1938, and unemployment climbed back to 20 percent. Columnist Walter Lippmann wrote in March 1938 that "with almost no important exception every measure (Roosevelt) has been interested in for the past five months has been to reduce or discourage the production of wealth."

Roosevelt's agenda was not without its international admirers. The chief Nazi newspaper, Volkischer Beobachter, repeatedly praised "Roosevelt's adoption of National Socialist strains of thought in his economic and social policies" and "the development toward an authoritarian state" based on the "demand that collective good be put before individual self-interest." Roosevelt himself called Benito Mussolini "admirable" and professed that he was "deeply impressed by what he (had) accomplished."

FDR's very own treasury secretary, Henry Morgenthau, saw the folly of the New Deal, writing: "We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. ... We have never made good on our promises. ... I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started ... and an enormous debt to boot!" The bottom line is that Roosevelt's New Deal policies turned what would have been a three- or four-year sharp downturn into a 16-year affair.

The 1930s depression was caused by and aggravated by acts of government, and so was the current financial mess that we're in. Do we want to repeat history by listening to those who created the calamity? That's like calling on an arsonist to help put out a fire.



Fear and Loathing of Bachmann

In the last election cycle, we heard a lot of complaining about the sexist treatment accorded to Hillary Clinton as she campaigned for president. One magazine wrote, "It's her resilience and capacity to survive and thrive against all comers that partly fuels the haters' fury." They even wrote "The anti-Hillary industry has never managed to bring down Hillary herself -- in fact, the more they have attacked, the higher she has risen."

That would be Newsweek magazine, in the June 18, 2007 issue. Four years later, Newsweek mocked Republican candidate Michele Bachmann on its cover, making her look pale and confused and, well, nutty -- with the headline "The Queen of Rage." Physician, heal thyself. Now the term "hater's fury" aptly describes the very same "news" magazine that so pompously lectures us about civility every one time one of their favorites is in political crosshairs.

It's impossible to imagine the "objective" news rags picturing Hillary with crazy eyes and a headline like "Queen of Rage." Newsweek titled their 2007 article "The New War on Hillary." There is a war on Michele developing, and the left-wing press is waging it. They won't stop until they achieve their goal of grinding her presidential hopes -- if not her entire political career -- into a fine powder. They despise this woman.

On MSNBC, Joe Scarborough was typical: "Michele Bachmann is a joke...Her candidacy is a joke." Joe has favored the sleep walking Jon Huntsman because "He can speak in complete sentences. One sentence actually relates to the previous sentence." Huntsman only got beat in the straw poll by Bachmann by, ahem...4,823 to 69, or a ratio of about 70 to 1. So who is the joke?

On NBC, former CNBC host Donny Deutsch defended Newsweek's right to mock Bachmann as a cartoon without care for accuracy and honesty: "Why can't they make a statement? Obviously that was a real picture, and they didn't air touch her. It's not a flattering article. By the way, why can't you write an unflattering, biased article?"

Deutsch wasn't kidding about the nastiness of the article. Newsweek's Lois Romano threw acid at Bachmann about her dangerous "shtick" of "intransigence." Here's a typical, sneering sentence: "For now, Bachmann revels in the Iowa crowds, which don't fuss about the missing fine print behind her ideas, the perceived contradictions among them, or their radicalism."

Newsweek claims to loathe contradictions -- as they write long, nasty editorials and then claim like complete hypocrites that they're publishing a "news" product.

There are at least three reasons for the media's everlasting enmity. The first is Bachmann's staunch and vocal conservatism on TV. She has become the most identifiable member of Congress aligned with the Tea Party, which to the liberal media is a cancer on our politics that like a tumor must be removed. Bachmann's opposition to President Obama and his radical agenda was red-hot before the Tea Party "rage" was born.

The second is Bachmann's deeply-held religious faith. She's an evangelical conservative who doesn't hesitate from a fight on cultural issues like abortion and "gay marriage." Our secular press corps seriously despises people who dare to assert that America is great in part because America has been and is inspired by Judeo-Christian values. Their ideal of a "devout Christian" is Barack Obama, who devoutly spends most Sundays golfing.

Third is Bachmann's gender -- but that's closely associated with the first two. If you're a liberal woman, the media will celebrate your presidential run as shattering a glass ceiling. But as we just learned with Sarah Palin, a conservative woman on a national ticket is going to get nothing but a carpet-bombing from the powers that be in "compassionate" journalism. (The same narrative applies to conservative blacks. Just ask Clarence Thomas.)

There are many Republicans infatuated with the idea of countering Obama in 2012 with female or minority conservatives, be it on the presidential and/or vice presidential ticket. But it's quite obvious that the media -- especially liberal females and minorities in the media -- loathe the very thought, regardless of the person. They don't want to give up their "making history" template for two seconds.

Five months ago, new Newsweek boss Tina Brown's first cover championed Hillary Clinton and "How she's shattering glass ceilings everywhere." Brown doesn't really want conservative women to shatter that metaphorical ceiling first. After a run of victories by conservative female candidates in the 2010 GOP primaries, Brown went on ABC and with a straight face called the wins "a blow to feminism."

And she calls Michele Bachmann the Queen of Rage.



The Authoritarian Temptation

In the weeks during and since the debt-ceiling debate, the media, pushed by the Democratic Party, has peddled the propaganda that our government is broken -- because the Republicans in the House of Representatives negotiated a better deal than the liberals wanted.

While it was President Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner who, during the debate, said they couldn't assure payments of Social Security or interest on the federal debt payments (while Republican leaders guaranteed there would be no lapse in such payments) it was the GOP that the media accused of irresponsible threats.

It is par for the course for the losing side in a congressional fight to bewail the end of democracy in America. But it is rare for the major media to push and the broader public to bite on, such a line.

Yet the surprisingly gullible Wall Street and European opinion leaders bought in to that propaganda. Indeed, Standard and Poor's downgraded U.S. Treasuries expressly on the preposterous proposition that the American governmental process was broken and unreliable. After all, a deficit bill passed without tax increases in it -- the process must be broken. From their point of view, any system that doesn't raise taxes is broken. (For explanations of why our governance is not broken, see Washington Post opinion writer Charles Krauthammer's column last week, "The System Works" and my article " Is Our Government Really Broken?" from February 24, 2010.)

The immediate price of this "broken government" propaganda is several trillion dollars in lost equity value last week on the stock exchanges of the world. But, the enduring danger -- if not intent -- of such propaganda is its potential to undermine public confidence in representative government.

Make no mistake: If our form of government is "broken," democracy's challengers would "fix" it by castration. In our case, these critics would castrate the "representative" bit. We have seen this argument before in our history. Put forward by authoritarians and their supporters, it disdains the messy and disorderly process whereby free people thrash out the nation's decisions.

The current recrudescence of this authoritarian temptation did not start with the debt-ceiling fight. Its been building for a couple of years. It comes -- as it always does -- at a moment when the nation faces serious economic or security dangers. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman in September of 2009 gave early voice to the current authoritarian temptation: "One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century."

More here

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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


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


16 August, 2011

Extreme Christian fanatics?

With the 2012 GOP presidential contenders already pretty clear -- some combination of Bachman, Romney and Perry -- the Donks have got their campaign of lies underway. All three contenders are "extreme Christian fanatics". Even the Mormon Romney presumably qualifies.

Below is an excerpt from one such attack. Notable in it is that NOT ONE WORD from Bachman, Romney or Perry is quoted. Views are attrbuted to them entirely out of thin air. They are accused of beliefs that they have never avowed. The only authority quoted for attributing nutty views to the GOP contenders is previous accusations by other Leftists.

But that's OK. Its a secret conspiracy, you see, just like the Jewish conspiracy to control the world or GWB's conspiracy to blow up the twin towers. Leftists mock Christians for their beliefs but Leftists will believe anything if it suits them. And they mainline on conspiracy theories.

So the fact that a rather nutty but tiny Christian sect exists is enough evidence to prove that any chosen Christian must believe in its tenets -- even if most people in the Christian world have never even heard of the sect concerned. Lies are the lifeblood of Leftism.

With Tim Pawlenty out of the presidential race, it is now fairly clear that the GOP candidate will either be Mitt Romney or someone who makes George W. Bush look like Tom Paine. Of the three most plausible candidates for the Republican nomination, two are deeply associated with a theocratic strain of Christian fundamentalism known as Dominionism. If you want to understand Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, understanding Dominionism isn’t optional.

Put simply, Dominionism means that Christians have a God-given right to rule all earthly institutions. Originating among some of America’s most radical theocrats, it’s long had an influence on religious-right education and political organizing. But because it seems so outré, getting ordinary people to take it seriously can be difficult. Most writers, myself included, who explore it have been called paranoid. In a contemptuous 2006 First Things review of several books, including Kevin Phillips’ American Theocracy, and my own Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, conservative columnist Ross Douthat wrote, “the fear of theocracy has become a defining panic of the Bush era.”

Now, however, we have the most theocratic Republican field in American history, and suddenly, the concept of Dominionism is reaching mainstream audiences. Writing about Bachmann in The New Yorker this month, Ryan Lizza spent several paragraphs explaining how the premise fit into the Minnesota congresswoman’s intellectual and theological development. And a recent Texas Observer cover story on Rick Perry examined his relationship with the New Apostolic Reformation, a Dominionist variant of Pentecostalism that coalesced about a decade ago. “[W]hat makes the New Apostolic Reformation movement so potent is its growing fascination with infiltrating politics and government,” wrote Forrest Wilder. Its members “believe Christians—certain Christians—are destined to not just take ‘dominion’ over government, but stealthily climb to the commanding heights of what they term the ‘Seven Mountains’ of society, including the media and the arts and entertainment world.”

In many ways, Dominionism is more a political phenomenon than a theological one. It cuts across Christian denominations, from stern, austere sects to the signs-and-wonders culture of modern megachurches. Think of it like political Islamism, which shapes the activism of a number of antagonistic fundamentalist movements, from Sunni Wahabis in the Arab world to Shiite fundamentalists in Iran.

Dominionism derives from a small fringe sect called Christian Reconstructionism, founded by a Calvinist theologian named R. J. Rushdoony in the 1960s. Christian Reconstructionism openly advocates replacing American law with the strictures of the Old Testament, replete with the death penalty for homosexuality, abortion, and even apostasy. The appeal of Christian Reconstructionism is, obviously, limited, and mainstream Christian right figures like Ralph Reed have denounced it.



Damn that bad luck

"We had reversed the recession, avoided a depression, gotten the economy moving again," Obama told a crowd in Decorah, Iowa. "But over the last six months we've had a run of bad luck." Obama listed three events overseas -- the Arab Spring uprisings, the tsunami in Japan, and the European debt crises -- which set the economy back.

"All those things have been headwinds for our economy," Obama said. "Now, those are things that we can't completely control. The question is, how do we manage these challenging times and do the right things when it comes to those things that we can control?"

"The problem," Obama continued, "is that we've got the kind of partisan brinksmanship that is willing to put party ahead of country, that is more interested in seeing their political opponents lose than seeing the country win. Nowhere was that more evident than in this recent debt ceiling debacle."

Actually Mr. President, you're the problem. You and your hypocrisy. You and your policies. You and your cohorts in Congress. You and the fools who continue to believe what you say. You and your blindness to your own partisan brinkmanship, your own incompetence, your hatred for capitalism, your embrace of socialist thought.

It is you Mr. President who wants to see this country lose, you and your war against fossil fuels, your embrace of union thuggery, your notions toward bigger government, your obsession with penalizing the productive, your ideology that enslaves the poor.

Mr. President, for once quit pointing your bony finger of blame outward, for once have the integrity to face the man in the mirror not in adoration but in humility, for once see that you Mr. President are the problem.

It's not bad luck Mr. President. It's you. You.



Peddling lies is all Obama is good at

Seeing as President Obama cannot govern, he's had to go back to campaigning -- an activity with which he's quite comfortable but decreasingly successful, as evidenced by his falling poll numbers and his endless, repetitive speeches.

I don't just throw out this governance charge lightly. The Los Angeles Times reports that Obama is no longer receiving daily Oval Office economic briefings. More troubling, he doesn't even appear to have much of an economic team left to advise him. "The economic team lacks a top-caliber economist" and "is noticeably short on big-name players -- potentially hurting his ability to find solutions and sell them to Wall Street, Congress and the American public."

The Times quotes Edward Mills, a financial policy analyst with FBR Capital Markets, as saying, "When you ask about the economic team, it's kind of like, 'What economic team?' They are very thin at a very critical time."

Not to worry. At a time when Obama doesn't even have in place a chairman for his Council of Economic Advisers, he's talking about creating yet another federal department on "Jobs." That's the ticket; he doesn't have real people in real positions, so he just creates new positions. You can't fool all the people all the time, but you hope that you can fool just enough of them to ensure re-election.

Then again, perhaps we should be counting our blessings, because no one Obama would pick, despite that person's Ivy League credentials, would have the faintest clue how jobs are created or the slightest inclination to let the private sector work its magic.

Obama is obviously in way over his head. Don't get me wrong. He knows what he wants and is definitely in charge of big-picture items. He's the one driving the national car into a ditch. But he is not a detail guy. He doesn't want to be bothered with how things get done. "Just plug the damn hole."

Increasingly, people have caught on to the toxic combination of his extreme leftist ideology, his fundamental incompetence, his defiant refusal to accept accountability, and his mean-spirited partisan scapegoating. Gallup shows his approval rating at 39 percent, an all-time low.

So what's he supposed to do now? It's not as if he can just make the country vote for him against its will (Department of Justice voting supervision notwithstanding) as he crammed Obamacare down our throats.

But he can go back to the stump -- hoping to rekindle the messiah myth or the "hope and change" chimera. Voila!, The Associated Press reports that with his "dismal approval polls," Obama is planning on hitting the road and launching a political counteroffensive this week.

A counteroffensive? That word is obviously designed to depict a long-suffering, bipartisan Obama who has kept his nose to the grindstone on behalf of all Americans, only to be subjected to a unilateral Republican assault.

Excuse me? From the beginning, Obama has been on the offensive against everyone who dares oppose any part of his poisonous agenda. To suggest he's countering anything does damage to the language.

And what message does Obama have in store for us in his counteroffensive? Well, we don't have to guess, because he laid it out for us in his weekly radio address Saturday. I'll let you be the judge of whether he has any new ideas to tackle the economy and debt.

He said that putting people back to work "has got to be our top priority" -- as if he hasn't been saying that for a couple of years. He proposed putting construction workers "back to work rebuilding America," implying that he can just snap his federal fingers, spend borrowed money and inaugurate make-work jobs and things will all be well. He didn't specify how new stimulus schemes would be more successful than his previous $800 billion monstrosity.

He said he wants to cut red tape so entrepreneurs can get their ideas to market more quickly. So now our regent of regulation has become a champion of deregulation? Why not? He is, after all, a "fierce advocate of the free market."

Lest you think Obama is frozen in the same old rhetoric and impervious to new ideas, he seasoned his soliloquy with this brand-new assertion: "We didn't get into this mess overnight, and it's going to take time to get out of it."

And he leveled the novel charge that Congress only opposes him because of its partisanship. If it would only follow his example and "put country before party and the interests of our children before our own," we could solve these problems he "inherited."

In closing, Obama exhorted Americans to let their congressmen know how they feel. Finally, a course of action on which we can agree.

Yes, please do pick up your phones, send emails, tweet, text and shout from the rooftops. Good idea, Mr. President. Now you're talkin'.



Social Degeneration

Thomas Sowell

Someone at long last has had the courage to tell the plain, honest truth about race. After mobs of young blacks rampaged through Philadelphia committing violence -- as similar mobs have rampaged through Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee and other places -- Philadelphia's black mayor, Michael A. Nutter, ordered a police crackdown and lashed out at the whole lifestyle of those who did such things.

"Pull up your pants and buy a belt 'cause no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt," he said. "If you walk into somebody's office with your hair uncombed and a pick in the back, and your shoes untied, and your pants half down, tattoos up and down your arms and on your neck, and you wonder why somebody won't hire you? They don't hire you 'cause you look like you're crazy," the mayor said. He added: "You have damaged your own race."

While this might seem like it is just plain common sense, what Mayor Nutter said undermines a whole vision of the world that has brought fame, fortune and power to race hustlers in politics, the media and academia. Any racial disparities in hiring can only be due to racism and discrimination, according to the prevailing vision, which reaches from street corner demagogues to the august chambers of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Just to identify the rioters and looters as black is a radical departure, when mayors, police chiefs and the media in other cities report on these outbreaks of violence without mentioning the race of those who are doing these things. The Chicago Tribune even made excuses for failing to mention race when reporting on violent attacks by blacks on whites in Chicago.

Such excuses might make sense if the same politicians and media talking heads were not constantly mentioning race when denouncing the fact that a disproportionate number of young black men are being sent to prison.

The prevailing social dogma is that disparities in outcomes between races can only be due to disparities in how these races are treated. In other words, there cannot possibly be any differences in behavior.

But if black and white Americans had exactly the same behavior patterns, they would be the only two groups on this planet that are the same.

The Chinese minority in Malaysia has long been more successful and more prosperous than the Malay majority, just as the Indians in Fiji have long been more successful and more prosperous than the indigenous Fijians. At various places and times throughout history, the same could be said of the Armenians in Turkey, the Lebanese in Sierra Leone, the Parsees in India, the Japanese in Brazil, and numerous others.

There are similar disparities within particular racial or ethnic groups. Even this late in history, I have had northern Italians explain to me why they are not like southern Italians. In Australia, Jewish leaders in both Sydney and Melbourne went to great lengths to tell me why and how the Jews are different in these two cities.

In the United States, despite the higher poverty level among blacks than among whites, the poverty rate among black married couples has been in single digits since 1994. The disparities within the black community are huge, both in behavior and in outcomes.

Nevertheless, the dogma persists that differences between groups can only be due to the way others treat them or to differences in the way others perceive them in "stereotypes."

All around the country, people in politics and the media have been tip-toeing around the fact that violent attacks by blacks on whites in public places are racially motivated, even when the attackers themselves use anti-white invective and mock the victims they leave lying on the streets bleeding.

This is not something to ignore or excuse. It is something to be stopped. Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia seems to be the first to openly recognize this.

This needs to be done for the sake of both black and white Americans -- and even for the sake of the hoodlums. They have set out on a path that leads only downward for themselves.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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


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


15 August, 2011

How Four Influential Socialist Anti-Semites Shaped the Left

by Daniel Greenfield

1. Karl Marx (1818 – 1883)

“What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money. Money is the jealous god of Israel, in the face of which no other god may exist… The god of the Jews has become secularized and has become the god of the world.”

Marx’s influence on the socialist movement and its various streams cannot be underestimated, and neither can the extent to which his view of Jews as the embodiment of capitalism became embedded on the left.

In a handful of sentences, Marx depicted Jews as the anti-thesis of Socialism, a theme that he was to repeatedly revisit, and more poisonously in such essays as “The Russian Loan”, where he implicitly suggested that war would continue for as long as the Jews existed.

“Thus we find every tyrant backed by a Jew… In truth, the cravings of oppressors would be hopeless, and the practicability of war out of the question, if there were not an army of Jesuits to smother thought and a handful of Jews to ransack pockets.”

Coded forms of this thinking can still be found among leftists who blame wars on Wall Street and assemble Jewish neo-con war conspiracies. The linkage of capital, war and the Jews made Anti-Semitism a permanent part of Socialist thought. Since the Holocaust its expressions have become more coded, but the essence remains.

While Marx did not invent Socialist Anti-Semitism, he helped grant intellectual legitimacy to left-wing populists who merged worker’s rights rhetoric with bigotry. But Marx’s formulation implicitly set the elimination of the Jews as a necessary step to the end of war and capitalism.

2. H.G. Wells (1866 – 1946)

“And yet between 1940 and 2059, in little more than a century, this antiquated obdurate culture disappeared. It and its Zionist state, its kosher food, the Law and all the rest of its paraphernalia, were completely merged in the human community.”

While H.G. Wells is best remembered today for a handful of futuristic novels, some of his more significant work of the time envisioned the creation of a utopian, yet totalitarian socialist state. And arguably the European left has followed his plan a little too closely.

Wells follows Marx’s linkage between Jews, capital and war. The elimination of the Jews as a separate people is necessary for Wells’ modern world state to come into being. So while in “The Shape of Things To Come”, he disposes of Christianity in a single paragraph, and Islam in another (Wells supposed that Islam would disappear as Arabic fell into disuse), but several paragraphs are devoted to the elimination of the Jews.

The hostility toward Israel is manifestly there. The Jews are described as abandoning the Socialist cause of creating the world state, preoccupied instead with “the dream of a fantastic independent state all of their own”. “Only a psycho-analyst could begin to tell for what they wanted this Zionist state,” Wells sneers.

Wells’ solution to Marx’s Jewish Question was to wipe out the Jews as a distinct people, without engaging in physical extermination. But religion, state and even a distinct ethnic identity had to go.
Even as the Nazi Holocaust had begun, H.G. Wells wrote in The New World Order (1940);

“The hostile reaction to the cult of the Chosen People is spreading about the entire world to-day… there has never been such a world-wide—I will not use the word anti-Semitism because of the Arab—I will say anti-Judaism… it is becoming world-wide and simultaneous… Until they are prepared to assimilate and abandon the Chosen People idea altogether, their troubles are bound to intensify.”

It was a more elegant phrasing of a Julius Streicher quote from that same year, “The time is near when a machine will go into motion which is going to prepare a grave for the world’s criminal – Judah – from which there will be no resurrection.”

Wells had prefigured the left’s fixation on Israel as the cause and justification for the hatred of the Jews. It is very much extant today.

3. Henry Hyndman (1842–1921)

“The condition of the people… favours the spread of Socialist doctrines, whilst the attack upon the Jews is a convenient cover for a more direct attack at an early date upon the great landlords and Christian capitalists.”

Hyndman founded England’s first Socialist political party, the Social Democratic Federation. He also went on to found the National Socialist Party, which eventually became part of the Labor Party.

Hyndman and the SDF’s newspaper “Justice” carried on a relentless campaign of attacks against Jews. What is unique about Hyndman is that he employed those attacks only as a cover for a larger anti-war movement.

The high point of Hyndman and the SDF’s Anti-Semitism came during the Boer War. To oppose the war was to be accused of disloyalty. Instead Hyndman recreated the war as a Jewish conspiracy, and campaigned against “Imperialist Judaism in South Africa”, the “Jew War in the Transvaal” fought on behalf of an “Anglo-Hebraic Empire” in Africa.

Socialists had often legitimized Anti-Capitalism by associating it with Anti-Semitism, but Hyndman legitimized an Anti-War position by treating it as not a campaign against England, but against the Jews.

Hyndman did not appear to be any more bigoted than most of his contemporaries, but he was far more cynical. When Hyndman wanted to attack the press, he called it the “Jew-Jingo Press”. When he wanted to attack the government, it was the “Jew clique”. By employing bigotry, Hyndman transformed himself from a traitor to a patriot battling the ‘alien’ subversion of England.

This is the same tack taken by much of the Anti-war movement today, which dodges accusations of disloyalty by claiming to fight against a Likud or Zionist takeover of foreign policy. And today the Hyndman tradition is still strong in the UK with the likes of George Galloway, shouting, “Show us the shekels, Richard.”

4. Pierre Leroux (1797 - 1871

“When we speak of Jews, we mean the Jewish spirit, the spirit of profit, of lucre, of gain, the spirit of commerce.”

Leroux is credited with coining the term, ‘Socialism’. He also expressed the idea of commerce as an original Jewish sin in the clearest of terms. To Leroux, banking was the original sin of the Jews. And therefore commerce was the Jewish spirit.

Fourier, the co-creator of French Socialism, would take this premise to its more explicit conclusion, writing; “Every government having regard to good morals ought to repress the Jews”.

Unlike Wells or Marx, Fourier and Leroux were not so much aspiring to a new order, as they were to a scientific application of an old order. A return to a pre-commercial civilization based on cooperation, rather than competition. This would be impossible if commerce were a natural human form of resource organization and distribution. So it was necessary to theorize that commerce was something alien. A creation of the Jews.

The appealing idea that commerce is a Jewish entity, or that war is a Jewish entity, or in Hitler’s formulation, conscience is a Jewish entity, means that any part of humanity can be cut out so long as you define it as Jewish.

The error of Leroux, Fourier and so many other Socialists was that they built their entire philosophy on a lie about human nature, and then did their best to plaster over that lie with bigotry. The economics of their program were unworkable, the sociology of it even more so. And so the Jews became the scapegoats of Socialism.

To Wells, Jewish identity was an obstacle to the New World Order, but he was in denial about the fact that every cultural identity was an obstacle. So Wells too repeated the basic Socialist error of taking an unworkable premise, and assuming that it would be workable if only it weren’t for the Jews.

Today, the existence of Israel is treated as an obstacle to world peace. Once again the left is possessed by the idea that if the Jewish question is finally resolved, a modern rational world state can come into being. The flip side of this childish and bigoted belief is genocide. For if the Jews are all that stands in the way of Socialism and World Peace– then the Jews must go.



We Can't All Get Along

Bruce Bialosky

In an attempt to quell the 1992 riots that broke out in Los Angeles after the acquittal of the police officers who beat him senseless, Rodney King uttered these famous words: “Can’t we all get along?” Today, Mr. King could go to Washington D.C. and ask the same question, but the answer, as it was 20 years ago, is breathtakingly simple: No. There was an unmistakable illustration of this in a recent Wall Street Journal column by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Ironically, Mr. Sanders is respected by many Republicans because he clearly, unabashedly admits what he is – a Socialist. He doesn’t try to hide behind wishy-washy terms like “progressive” or “liberal.” Like Popeye, he clearly says “I am what I am.” But really, how different is he from Mr. Obama, Ms. Pelosi, and the rest of their brood in Congress?

Mr. Sanders made his case for how to address the debt ceiling; but more importantly, he put forward his opinion on what is causing our enormous deficit:

1. He claimed that the “Rich,” along with large corporations, have been evading taxes in the United States.

2. He alleged that Republicans have been “fanatically determined to protect the interests of the wealthy and multinational corporations so that they do not contribute a single penny toward deficit reduction.”

3. He further stated that “if the Republicans have their way, the entire burden of deficit reduction will be placed on the elderly, the sick, children, and working families.”

Would someone explain how this rhetoric differs from the likes of Pelosi, Schumer, or Obama?

Sanders went on to state that the American people want the wealthy and large corporations to pay their “fair share” of taxes. Unfortunately, Mr. Sanders clearly doesn’t understand that corporations do not actually pay taxes, but merely pass them on to customers in the form of higher prices. He’s also clearly ignorant of the fact that the lower-earning 50% of the population pay less than 2% of all taxes, and that the upper 5% of earners already pay about 59%. So, exactly how much does he really want them to pay?

This is the impenetrable wall between Socialists like Sanders and we Capitalists. We believe that people who work hard and earn money are not obligated to support the remainder of the population, and that coercing them to do so is not only bad public policy, it is ineffective. We believe, unlike the President, that if someone has extra earnings – whether they need them or not – it is their choice how to dispose of (or invest) them, and that these assets should not be confiscated by the government, which habitually employs the money far less productively, or (worse) hands it over to favored constituencies.

Sanders believes that America is filled with large multitudes of pitifully stupid, “little” people, all of whom need the protection of government elites to make better decisions for them. Capitalists believe that these decisions are best made by individuals and their families who are actually quite capable in their own regard.

Regrettably for the last 80 years, Capitalists have been losing the argument in America. In the relatively peaceful period from 1960 to 2010, the percentage of GDP consumed by government has grown from 27% to 37%. Mr. Sanders and his comrades have the budget on a trajectory toward 50%, and the sad part is that too often, Capitalists have been complicit in the quest to bring Socialism to America.

In November 2010, the American people finally said “Enough!!” They haven’t totally come to their senses because there is still widespread resistance to long-needed reforms of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. But at least they now have a true picture of Mr. Sanders’ ideal government, having seen how Obama, Pelosi, Reid and their acolytes strive to “fundamentally change the nature of America.”

We openly admit that we want smaller government. We also admit that not only is Capitalism the best economic system, it is the primary reason for the vast wealth of Americans. We believe that expansive government, complete with its invasive rules, mindless dictates, and shameless bureaucrats, is principally a vehicle for those who aspire to a truly Socialist society. And we also believe that they want more and more people getting those monthly checks (currently 80 million as stated by Treasury Secretary Geithner).

Like many European leaders, such as Prime Minister Zapatero of Spain, Mr. Sanders openly states that he’s a Socialist. Others like Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC show host, has stated clearly he is a socialist. Yet there’s not an inch of difference between their policies and almost every elected Democrat in this country. You can count on two hands the Democratic members of Congress whose opinions are materially different.

So there you have it: they are Socialists and we are Capitalists. We admit it and they almost totally deny it. They believe that if we’re in charge, there will be Armageddon. We know that they’ve been in charge and they’ve brought us to the brink of Armageddon. That is why there is so little bipartisanship in Washington D.C.

There’s a war going on for the future of America. God forbid the Capitalists don’t win.




Who says liberals want government out of the bedroom?: "Nothing is off limits anymore. Nothing. Not as far as politicians are concerned. Democratic State Senator Kevin De Leon wants California to mandate fitted sheets in the state’s hotels, and forbid flat sheets."

Post office proves government unions are a bad idea: "If you think government unions are not a threat to good government, just take a look at the U.S. Postal Service, which is what eventually could happen to every governmental unit that has union workers who are allowed to collectively bargain. The Postal Service is hemorrhaging money. It is spending $1 million a week paying employees not to work"

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc. He also has a lot to say about the latest British riots.

I have just put up a small Bible study of Jude verse 28 on my Scripture blog


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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


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


14 August, 2011

Leading Democrat deliberately stirs up racial strife

Nancy Pelosi Tells Predominantly Black Audience that the GOP Complicated the Debt Debate Because Obama Is Black‏. As if there weren't enough racial tension in America already, she is prepared to lie in order to create more of it. She is clearly an enemy of America and all Americans.

"Why is this President being treated so disrespectfully?" GWB wasn't treated disrespectfully, of course. "Obama=Nazi" signs are all over the place, aren't they?



Tea Partiers sound an urgent alarm

THE FIRE HALL next to my in-laws' house in northern New York State has a siren that can be heard for miles. "Loud" doesn't begin to describe the sound it makes: a shrill, relentless, piercing wail that is impossible to ignore -- and that can be extremely upsetting for anyone who isn't used to it. There's good reason for that. None of the rural towns in the area has a professional fire department, so when a fire breaks out, the siren is needed to summon volunteers. The urgent blast of that siren (which sounds like this one) used to terrify my younger son, who would hide under a bed when it sounded, and angrily tell us afterward how much he hated it.

In the recent clamor over the federal debt ceiling and the Standard & Poor's downgrade of US Treasury bonds, the Tea Party has been that fire hall siren. Fiscal conservatives, mostly but by no means only Republican, have been sounding an alarm that can come across as strident and uncompromising. And a lot of liberals have been angrily telling us how much they hate it.

But hating the Tea Party for being so insistent and single-minded in its focus on cutting spending is like hating a fire hall siren for calling attention to a potentially devastating blaze. And blaming the S&P downgrade on Tea Party-backed House Republicans makes about as much sense as blaming a raging fire on the 911 dispatcher.

Worse than pointing fingers at the Tea Partiers, however, is when a government official demands that they be frozen out.

Speaking on MSNBC the day S&P lowered its credit rating on US debt from AAA to AA+, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry called on the media to blackball the Tea Party and its message.

"What we had was a group of people who are completely unaware, or didn't care about the consequences of their actions," Kerry claimed. It is typical of him to attribute opposition to Democrats' policies to ignorance or bad faith; shortly before the 2010 tsunami that handed the House GOP its greatest triumph in 60 years, Kerry seethed that voters were yielding to "know-nothingism" and rejecting "truth and science and facts." Now he wants the views he rejected then to be silenced, and the press to do the silencing.

"The media has got to begin to not give equal time or equal balance to an absolutely absurd notion just because somebody asserts it," Kerry said. "It doesn't deserve the same credit as a legitimate idea about what you do. And the problem is everything is put into this tit-for-tat equal battle and America is losing any sense of what's real."

Kerry -- who is one of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's appointees to the debt deal's "super committee" -- has been in the Senate since 1985. He is an entrenched member of the bipartisan Beltway establishment that has overseen the explosion of federal spending and debt that the Tea Party was born to resist. It is perfectly understandable that he would push back against the conservative insurgents' agenda, which he characterizes as "cutting, cutting, cutting."

But he ought to have the intellectual honesty to acknowledge that the Tea Partiers are not "absurd" to focus on budget cuts and entitlement reform -- not when federal outlays have more than doubled (from $1.8 trillion to $3.8 trillion) in a decade. Not when entitlement payments are eating up two-thirds of the US government budget. Not when Washington has to borrow 40 cents for every dollar it spends. And not when (as a result) the US debt burden has ballooned from 40.3 percent of GDP in 2008 to an alarming 72 percent this year -- and growing.

In explaining its downgrade, S&P did not call for the higher taxes that Kerry and many Democrats seek. Instead it said that the debt deal "fell well short" of the deficit reductions needed, that it provided only "modest savings" in discretionary spending, and that Congress was unwilling to curb Medicare and other entitlements, which is the "key to long-term fiscal sustainability." That sounds an awful lot like what the Tea Party has been saying -- except that the tea partiers were raising the alarm well before S&P got involved.

Kerry is under no obligation to like the Tea Party's style. He does have an obligation to contend responsibly with its arguments. A fiscal fire is burning, and reasonable people can differ on how best to quell it. But this much ought to be clear to anyone: Silencing the siren will accomplish nothing.



The false god of tolerance

On June 26th, the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.was the latest church to be used for the promotion of syncretism—the attempted union of different religions. The idea was that “Christian” ministers, Jewish Rabbis, and Muslim Imams would co-lead a service in “Christian” churches around America using a multi-faith liturgy.

Sadly, 70 other churches across America signed on to do the same thing. The event was organized by a group called “Faith Shared.” It comes as no shock that the service was designed to promote “religious tolerance.” This is indeed a major step forward in promoting what I believe to be America’s new god of tolerance.

The major problem with this false god of tolerance is that it is not marked by the true love that genuine Christians believe in and are called upon to exercise. Love of others, regardless of their background, religion, or complexion, should be expressed in offering hospitality, and even service, but not at the expense of the truth. Loving people and selling out on the truth of one’s faith are two different things altogether.

These liberal “apostate” denominations are not only naïve and ignorant of the truth of the Christian faith, they are acting on emotional impulse in a way that ultimately endangers our nation. They are seeking to engender personal acceptance from others, rather than imploring others to accept Christ as the Savior.

You may be wondering how a service that promotes “unity” could be dangerous to our nation. What many Americans do not understand is that Islam is not just a religion. It is a political and social system that is inseparable from the state. Islamic Sharia [law] is to be administered by Muslim caliphates or successors of the prophet, not a secular government. Indeed the founder of Islam was not only their prophet, but also their commander-in-chief, ruler and unifier, something they have been longing for again since the fourth one died and created a division between the Shiites and the Sunnis.

Also, what most of these naïve souls don’t understand is that Taqiah is a religious/political principal in Islam that allows Muslims to go along with this charade of mixing and mingling religions, something that is normally anathema to them. Taqiah says that when you do not have the upper hand, go along with the infidels’ schemes until you get the upper hand, and then subjugate them.

Has anyone noticed that none of these events are ever held in a Mosque? It is an anathema to have a Christian minister speak in a Mosque, but they are happy to occupy the pulpits of hapless Christians in American Christian churches. Indeed, it is considered a triumph of Islam over the infidels when they occupy Christian pulpits without opening their Mosques to Christian preachers.

Be that as it may, Bible-believing Christians should love everyone, including Muslims. That love can be expressed in a variety of ways: acts of kindness, hospitality, and friendship. Above all, there can be no greater act of love by true Christians than to share our most prized treasure with our Muslim friends. Only Jesus Christ can meet their most desperate need by making a personal relationship with God possible. He came to earth from Heaven, took on the form of a servant, died on a cross, and rose again on the third day.

For true, genuine, and Bible-believing Christians, this is the greatest act of kindness that they can express to all people, including Muslims.

During this month of Ramadan, as Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, all Christians need to pray that Muslims come to know the only One who is the way, the truth, and the giver of eternal life.



The Sun Never Sets on the British Welfare System

Ann Coulter

Those of you following the barbaric rioting in Britain will not have failed to notice that a sizable proportion of the thugs are white, something not often seen in this country. Not only that, but in a triumph of feminism, a lot of them are girls. Even the "disabled" (according to the British benefits system) seem to have miraculously overcome their infirmities to dash out and steal a few TVs.

Congratulations, Britain! You've barbarized your citizenry, without regard to race, gender or physical handicap!

With a welfare system far more advanced than the United States, the British have achieved the remarkable result of turning entire communities of ancestral British people into tattooed, drunken brutes.

I guess we now have the proof of what conservatives have been saying since forever: Looting is a result of liberal welfare policies. And Britain is in the end stages of the welfare state.

In 2008, a 9-year-old British girl, Shannon Matthews, disappeared on her way home from a school trip. The media leapt on the case -- only to discover that Shannon was one of seven children her mother, Karen, had produced with five different men. The first of these serial sperm-donors explained: "Karen just goes from one bloke to the next, uses them to have a kid, grabs all the child benefits and moves on."

Poor little Shannon eventually turned up at the home of one of her many step-uncles -- whose ex-wife, by the way, was the mother of six children with three different fathers. (Is Father's Day celebrated in England? If so, how?)

The Daily Mail (London) traced the family's proud Anglo ancestry of stable families back hundreds of years. The Nazi war machine couldn't break the British, but the modern welfare state has.

A year earlier, in 2007, another product of the new order, Fiona MacKeown, took seven of her eight children (by five different fathers) and her then-boyfriend, on a drug-fueled, six-month vacation to the Indian territory of Goa. The trip was paid for -- like everything else in her life -- with government benefits. (When was the last time you had a free, six-month vacation? I'm drawing a blank, too.)

While in Goa, Fiona took her entourage on a side-trip, leaving her 15-year-old daughter, Scarlett Keeling, in the capable hands of a 25-year-old local whom Scarlett had begun sleeping with, perhaps hoping to get a head-start on her own government benefits. A few weeks later, Scarlett turned up dead, full of drugs, raped and murdered.

Scarlett's estranged stepfather later drank himself to death, while her brother Silas announced on his social networking page: "My name is Si, n I spend most my life either out wit mates get drunk or at partys, playing rugby or going to da beach (pretty s**t really)."

It's a wonder that someone like Silas, who has never worked, and belongs to a family in which no one has ever worked, can afford a cellphone for social networking. No, actually, it's not.

Britain has a far more redistributive welfare system than France, which is why France's crime problem is mostly a matter of Muslim immigrants, not French nationals. Meanwhile, England's welfare state is fast returning the native population to its violent 18th-century highwaymen roots.

Needless to say, Britain leads Europe in the proportion of single mothers and, as a consequence, also leads or co-leads the European Union in violent crime, alcohol and drug abuse, obesity and sexually transmitted diseases.

But liberal elites here and in Britain will blame anything but the welfare state they adore. They drone on about the strict British class system or the lack of jobs or the nation's history of racism. None of that explains the sad lives of young Shannon Matthews and Scarlett Keeling, with their long English ancestry and perfect Anglo features.

Democrats would be delighted if violent mobs like those in Britain arose here -- perhaps in Wisconsin! That would allow them to introduce yet more government programs staffed by unionized public employees, as happened after the 1992 L.A. riots and the 1960s race riots, following the recommendations of the Kerner Commission.

MSNBC might even do the unthinkable and offer Al Sharpton his own TV show. (Excuse me -- someone's trying to get my attention ... WHAT?)

Inciting violent mobs is the essence of the left's agenda: Promote class warfare, illegitimate children and an utterly debased citizenry.

Like the British riot girls interviewed by the BBC, the Democrats tell us "all of this happened because of the rich people."

We're beginning to see the final result of that idea in Britain. The welfare state creates a society of beasts. Meanwhile, nonjudgmental elites don't dare condemn the animals their programs have created.

Rioters in England are burning century-old family businesses to the ground, stealing from injured children lying on the sidewalks and forcing Britons to strip to their underwear on the street.

I keep reading that it's because they don't have jobs -- which they're obviously anxious to hold. Or someone called them a "k*****." Or their social services have been reduced. Or their Blackberries made them do it. Or they disapprove of a referee's call in a Manchester United game.

A few well-placed rifle rounds, and the rioting would end in an instant. A more sustained attack on the rampaging mob might save England from itself, finally removing shaved-head, drunken parasites from the benefits rolls that Britain can't find the will to abolish on moral or utilitarian grounds. We can be sure there's no danger of killing off the next Winston Churchill or Edmund Burke in these crowds.

But like Louis XVI, British authorities are paralyzed by their indifference to their own civilization. A half-century of berating themselves for the crime of being British has left them morally defenseless. They see nothing about England worth saving, certainly not worth fighting for -- which is fortunate since most of their cops don't have guns.

This is how civilizations die. It can happen overnight, as it did in Revolutionary France. If Britain of 1939 were composed of the current British population, the entirety of Europe would today be doing the "Heil Hitler" salute and singing the "Horst Wessel Song."


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my Facebook page as I rarely access it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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


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


13 August, 2011

Survivalists are now terrorists, according to Obama's FBI

Since GOP Congressmen are also allegedly terrorists, it's only logical to expand the list, I guess. Excerpt:
An FBI Denver Joint Terrorism Task Force handout being distributed to Colorado military surplus store owners lists the purchase of popular preparedness items and firearms accessories as “suspicious” and “potential indicators of terrorist activities,” instructing store owners to keep records on and report people who:

“Make bulk purchase of items to include: Weatherproofed ammunition or match containers; Meals Ready to Eat; Night Vision Devices; night flashlights; gas masks; High capacity magazines; Bi-pods or tri-pods for rifles”

The FBI handout, entitled “Communities Against Terrorism: Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities Related to Military Surplus Stores” also instructs surplus store owners to:

“Require valid ID from all new customers; Keep records of purchases' Talk to customers, ask questions, and listen to and observe their responses; Watch for people and actions that are out of place; Make note of suspicious statements, people, and /or vehicles; If something seems wrong, notify law enforcement authorities.”

The handout also instructs surplus store owners to consider as “suspicious” anyone who “demands identity ‘privacy’” or anyone who expresses “extreme religious statements” and those who “make suspicious comments regarding anti-US, [or] radical theology.”

The “Communities Against Terrorism” flyer closes by stating:

Preventing terrorism is a community effort. By learning what to look for, you can make a positive contribution in the fight against terrorism. The partnership between the community and law enforcement is essential to the success of anti -terrorism efforts.


Let me give a more realistic set of terrorism indicators: Possession of a Koran; Getting your butt up in the air 5 times a day; saying "inshallah", "Allah Akhbar" or "Peace be upon him"; wearing long white coats; being seen inside a mosque.


Why Profit Is Our Best Friend in healthcare too

Many liberals think of profit as evil. They see it as the product of “corporate greed,” something that needs to be harshly taxed. Yet the desire to earn a profit is what impels innovators to solve some of our most important social problems.

I don’t think that getting rich is the main motivation of entrepreneurs — the possibility of changing the world may be an even stronger desire. However, you can almost guarantee there will be no entrepreneurship if you do two things: (a) eliminate all possibility of getting rich, and (b) make it impossible to change anything without the approval of an intractable bureaucracy.

That in a nutshell is my explanation for why our two most visibly dysfunctional social systems — health care and public education — remain so dysfunctional.

I meet entrepreneurs in health care almost every day. Their novel ideas are invariably focused on helping some entity — a hospital, insurer, employer, etc. — solve a problem. They are rarely focused on how to solve an overall social problem, however. Because our health care system is so dysfunctional, in solving the problem for a client, they may be making our social problems worse than they would have been.

Solving social problems in health care with innovative policy proposals is what I do. It is a lonely field. But it would be a lot less lonely if we allowed people to get rich doing it.

To take one example, it is often asserted that one-third of all health care spending is wasteful. Suppose Bill Gates was able to write a computer program that would find the waste and eliminate it. Society as a whole would save more than $800 billion. So how much should we be willing to pay Bill Gates? A tenth of the overall benefit he creates ($80 billion)? One-half the benefit ($400 billion)?

Perhaps you’re thinking that we shouldn’t pay Bill Gates anything. Maybe you think he should give us the program for free, as an altruistic gesture. Or, maybe you think the most he should get back is a 1% or 2% return — something close to the return paid by government bonds. If this is your viewpoint, welcome to the world of health policy. You will find all kinds of people who think just like you do.

In general, there is no limit to how much people can make in health care by successfully exploiting reimbursement formulas. But the federal government is in the process of limiting what insurance companies can earn, effectively reducing them to the role of public utilities.

Two recent items in the news help illustrate why this approach is so wrong. In one, The New York Times reports:
The brothers, Philip and Joel [Levy], earned close to $1 million a year each as the two top executives running a Medicaid-financed nonprofit organization serving the developmentally disabled.

They each had luxury cars paid for with public money. And when their children went to college, they could pass on the tuition bills to their nonprofit group.

Philip H. Levy went as far as charging the organization $50,400 for his daughter’s living expenses one year when she attended graduate school at New York University.

That money paid not for a dorm room, but rather it helped her buy a co-op apartment in Greenwich Village.

In the other story, The New York Times reports that Blue Shield of California will voluntarily limit its profit to no more than 2% of revenues — no doubt anticipating that government regulators were going to force that result anyway.

Think about those two examples. Almost everybody in health care agrees that many of our biggest problems stem from the way we pay for care. And who is paying? Insurance companies.

The $800 billion is almost all funded by third-party payers. So another way of stating the social problem is: we need to find newer and better types of third-party payment.

Let’s suppose that an insurance company contracts with Bill Gates for the hypothetical software described above. By using it, the insurer will cut its spending by one-third and add that amount to the bottom line. This would be good for numerous reasons: the elimination of wasteful spending would improve the quality of care for patients, reduce the chance of medical errors, free up resources for use by other patients and encourage every other insurer to find ways of achieving the same outcome.

But under ObamaCare, the software will never be invented, never be purchased and never be used. Why? Because under the new health law it will be impossible for an insurer to cash in on that innovation.

Under the new law, large health insurance companies have to pay out as much as 85% of their premium income in the form of benefits. The remaining 15% has to cover all sales and administrative costs plus brokers fees and if anything is left that’s what the insurer gets to keep.

The insurer with Bill Gates’ hypothetical software would have to rebate its profit to enrollees in the form of lower premiums. Thus, no insurer will be able to profit from major cost-reducing discoveries. Nor will any insurer even try. Instead, insurance companies will function like utilities, taking no real risks and making no radical changes in their current business model.

ObamaCare has ensured that our health care problems will not be solved by stifling innovation in the one sector of the market that most needs vigorous entrepreneurial activity.



Obamacare Gets Thumbs Down by court

The hallmark legislation of the Obama administration, Obamacare, took another body blow when the 11th Circuit Court ruled Friday that the individual mandate requiring adult persons in the U.S. to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional. Where have we heard that argument before?

While the court didn’t go so far as to declare the entire act void, it effectively scrapped the legislation by denying it the source of its funding. The administration is expected to appeal the ruling, but a final decision will likely come in the U.S. Supreme Court.

A coalition of 26 states, kind of an ad-hoc death panel for Obamacare, is suing the federal government to stop implementation of Obamacare, arguing that key provisions of the act are illegal.

A key argument by the states was that the power to require Americans to purchase a product gives the government unlimited powers to regulate all aspects of someone’s life and is thus unconstitutional.

The 11th Circuit Court seems to agree by a 2-1 margin: “The government’s position amounts to an argument that the mere fact of an individual’s existence substantially affects interstate commerce, and therefore Congress may regulate them at every point of their life.” In short, it’s the same old argument liberals always make that the mere ability to pass legislation is more than enough reason to do it, 'cuz "Hey, let's see what's in it.".

Forbes quotes the crux of the argument from the 11th Circuit’s Death Panel thusly: “The federal government’s assertion of power, under the Commerce Clause, to issue an economic mandate for Americans to purchase insurance from a private company for the entire duration of their lives is unprecedented, lacks cognizable limits, and imperils our federalist structure.”

While politically the passage of Obamacare was the biggest legislative accomplishment of the Obama administration, more and more Americans are growing uneasy about the wisdom of the legislation as they “find out what’s in it.”

In June, a CNN poll showed that more Americans opposed Obamacare than supported it by a landslide margin of 17 percent. A Rasmussen poll in August showed a margin against by 14 points. And it looks like opposition is coming from both Democrats and Republicans.

The Washington Post quotes Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute as saying “One of the striking things about today’s ruling is that, for the first time in one of these cases, a Democrat-appointed judge, Frank Hull, has ruled against the government,” although Shapiro warns that the fight is far from over.

“Supporters of limited constitutional government need to temper their celebrations — just as they wisely tempered their sorrows after the last ruling — because we must all now realize that this will not end until the Supreme Court rules,” Shapiro concluded.

Progressives ballyhooed the legislation as healthcare reform that would help lower costs and increase coverage. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that while it may increase coverage, costs will skyrocket. As Townhall’s political editor Guy Benson noted in June, 1 of 3 employers will probably cancel employee coverage by 2014 because of Obamacare.

A survey by Mercer finds that 55 percent of employers think that their costs will go up as a result of Obamacare, while premiums already continue to rise.

“Rising health care costs are putting a huge financial burden on employers across the country,” says Robert Zirchelbach, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, which represents insurers who provide health benefits to some 200 million Americans according to the San Antonio Business Journal. “Rather than help control the rising cost of medical care, the new health care reform law instead imposes billions of dollars in new taxes and benefit mandates and will significantly increase the cost of coverage for employers and their employees.”

It’s just another example of the Obama administration passing laws that don’t even attempt to solve actual problems faced by the American people, but rather try to take advantage of problems faced by the American people by passing legislation that increases the reach of the federal government regardless of the consequences to personal liberty.



Huge new costs are another reason scrap Obamacare

A few hundred billion dollars here, a few hundred billion dollars there — sooner or later we’re talking about the real cost of Barack Obama’s new socialized medicine monstrosity.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi once said that “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Apparently, passing the legislation was also a prerequisite to determining its actual price tag — which as it turns out is much higher than anyone fathomed.

The latest cost overrun associated with ObamaCare? A $500 billion “error” associated with insuring the spouses and children of new entitlement recipients. That’s $500 billion in additional deficit spending — although it didn’t stem from an “error” so much as it was the result of a deliberate miscalculation.

As it attempted to calculate ObamaCare’s true fiscal impact, the Congressional Budget Office was explicitly instructed to ignore the cost of covering family members under new eligibility requirements for low-income private sector employees.

“The Congressional Budget Office has never done a cost-estimate of this (because) they were expressly told to do their modeling on single coverage,” researcher Richard Burkhauser told the Daily Caller this month.

Documents obtained from the Democratic-controlled Joint Committee on Taxation confirm Burkhauser’s account — and demonstrate the lengths to which Obama supporters went in an effort to hide these costs from the taxpayers.

Obviously this isn’t the first “oversight” associated with this unconstitutional abomination. In March of 2011, Obama’s heath care czarina Kathleen Sebelius was forced to acknowledge under oath that the government double-counted $529 billion in “savings” associated with the implementation of the legislation.

Numerous other errors and omissions have been uncovered within ObamaCare’s fuzzy math — including a $52 billion raid of Social Security and a $72 billion repayment obligation for a new “long-term care trust fund.”

According to Congressional Budget Office estimates released on the eve of its passage in March 2010, ObamaCare was originally projected to add $109 billion to the federal deficit over 10 years.

We can now add more than $1 trillion to that total (and counting), shredding once and for all Obama’s ridiculous claim that his signature legislation is “one of the biggest deficit-reduction plans in history.”

It’s also critical to remember that all of this deficit spending comes after the imposition of new tax hikes totaling hundreds of billions of dollars — a double whammy for taxpayers.

In addition to its infamous (and unconstitutional) individual mandate, ObamaCare also includes a new employer mandate tax, a new tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans, the creation of a new 3.8% surtax on investment income for households that earn more than $250,000, increases in Medicaid payroll taxes, a new tax on medical device manufacturers, a new tanning tax, a tax hike on drug companies and at least a dozen other new “revenue enhancements.”

Many of these tax hikes have already been implemented — siphoning money away from our economy at the worst possible time. They’re also being collected even after a federal judge struck down ObamaCare in its entirety.


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

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


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


12 August, 2011

New Picture Gallery

I don't put up a lot of pictures on my blogs -- except for Greenie Watch. It has lots of graphs. But I think that some of the pictures I do put up are worth a second look. So when I get time I gather such pictures together in a "gallery". I have just put up the gallery for the first half of this year. You can access it here


Weird Healthcare Regulation of the Day: No Coverage for Men With Breast Cancer

“Disease does not discriminate, but apparently Medicaid coverage does. A 26-year-old South Carolina tile-layer has found himself with breast cancer and out of luck for one reason: He is a man.

While breast cancer affects an estimated 2,000 men annually, Medicaid does not cover treatment of the disease in men,” reports the Daily Caller. “The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said that the discriminatory policy lies with the federal government. ‘We are again urging CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services] to reconsider,’ the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement. ‘It’s a very clear example of how overly rigid federal regulations don’t serve the interests of the people we’re supposed to be helping.’”

The man with cancer, Raymond Johnson, is hardly an anomaly. There have been high-profile cases of men with breast cancer, like former Senator Ed Brooke (R-Mass.), the first popularly-elected black U.S. Senator. But the federal geniuses who are taking over our healthcare system don’t seem to read the paper.

The government justifies its actions by citing a regulation that bars covering men. But the regulation itself is unconstitutional. The government cannot engage in sex discrimination or sex-based classifications unless it has an “exceeding persuasive justification” that goes beyond mere administrative convenience or gender-based generalizations; it must show that any gender classification substantially advances important state interests; and the burden of showing the need for such discrimination is on the government, which must satisfy a “demanding” showing.

See the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Virginia (1995), which struck down VMI’s men-only policy, and cases like Craig v. Boren (1976), and Michigan Road Builders v. Milliken (1987), which applied similar principles to strike down gender classifications that harmed men.



What is "debt forgiveness"

While it is easy to come up with a standard definition, standard definitions seldom apply when a term enters the realm of politics and policy.

A recent article in the Washington Post cited economists who argue that slow economic growth is in our foreseeable future because we have run up so much mortgage debt. It will take years to de-leverage it. But economist Carmen Reinhart argued that there was a policy that could help:

Reinhart focuses on the housing market, where much of the debt is concentrated. “I ultimately think we have to wind up with some form of debt forgiveness,” she says.

Debt forgiveness sure sounds good, doesn’t it? Let’s remember, though, that it was melodious but deceptive rhetoric like “affordable housing” and “community reinvestment” that got us into this mess in the first place. Thus, it’s a good idea to look at what debt forgiveness will really mean.

First, who will be forgiven and who will do the forgiving? Presumably it will be banks that have to forgive those who have taken on a larger mortgage than they could afford. Yet if banks have to take a loss on those mortgages, they may try to make it up with higher interest rates on other mortgages, higher interest rates on credit cards, or more fees on checking accounts. That means that many people who have acted responsibly with their money will also be doing the forgiving.

Next, what if banks decide that they don’t want to forgive debt? Well, it’s generally not in the nature of politicians and other policymakers to let the private sector back out of a “good idea.” Likelier, it will be the type of “forgiving” that Chrysler’s secured bondholders got to do. In that case, “forgiveness” isn’t the right term since it implies an action that is voluntary.

The current mess was caused by people making bad choices because at the end of the day they could expect the government to rescue them. “Debt forgiveness” might only encourage more such behavior.

Nevertheless, it is nice-sounding rhetoric, so expect politicians to use it to gin up votes. Just be sure that when you hear them use that phrase, you know what they really mean is “using government to force banks and responsible borrowers to bail out irresponsible borrowers.”



An old controversy

I am no peacenik but I have always been disturbed and skeptical over the A-bombing of Japan by a Democrat President. Japan was already crushed by that time

According to most high-school history texts, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were terrible but necessary tragedies. They "ended the war," and while they resulted in the deaths of as many as 250,000, they saved many thousands more. Of course a close examination of the facts reveals that none of this is true: Even the estimate for a full-scale invasion of Japan put the American death toll at only 46,000 (all combatant deaths, not civilians). Moreover, the Japanese government had been trying to surrender – balking only at the unconditionality the US side demanded, as they did not want to see their emperor dethroned and executed. Following the Japanese surrender however, the US government happily allowed the emperor to continue serving as a figurehead.

Even the United States Strategic Bombing Survey declared that,"… certainly prior to 31 December, 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November, 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated." Indeed, the devastation the US forces had wreaked upon Japan through conventional warfare (the infamous firebombing campaigns left as many as half a million dead) had already helped seal Japan’s defeat. The most generous interpretation possible of the motives for dropping the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is that they served as a demonstration to the Soviet Union of US military might.



Barbarism Comes from the Left

Barbarism comes from the Left. Socialism always leads to death and destruction – every time it is forced upon a society.

Socialist created barbarism is again rearing its evil head on the streets of Great Britain. The rioters are attacking and destroying symbols of Capitalism -- the products of personal hard work, including small businesses and family homes.

Socialism teaches that what others have earned is rightfully owed to those who do not care to exert the necessary effort to earn it by their own hard labors. The looters are stealing from private business and destroying what they cannot carry. Fire is a favorite destructive tool of those who are attacking and destroying that which is not theirs.

Arson, as recently as 1970, was confirmed to still be a capital offense in Great Britain. Arsonists were eligible for hanging. It seems British law no longer has a stomach for defending private property and innocent people. The discussions have descended to the level of whether or not to even use plastic bullets and water cannons.

Whatever happened to live ammunition? Shooting looters and arsonists on sight is how civilized societies once kept the wanton barbarism of the undisciplined in check.

A depraved and degenerate society gives the benefit of the doubt to criminals and punishes those who would dare to defend themselves. The British people have long since been disarmed by their nanny state government and would probably be jailed if they were to harm a rioting hooligan in self-defense.

The Left creates dependency which leads to anger and despair. The Left establishes an entitlement mentality in society, which leads to the resentment and hatred of those who dare to work hard and to achieve. The nanny government uses legalized theft to take the money and personal property of those who have the gumption to work and to use it to provide goods and services to able-bodied people who are too lazy to provide for themselves.

We see similar eruptions of barbarism in the United States. J. Christian Adams wrote:

"Consider the Wisconsin State Fair last week. The 911 tapes reveal a nightmare. “We’re outside the Wisconsin State Fair and there’s a white guy being beaten up by about 100 black people,” the panicked caller cries. “They’re jumping on our cars. . . . My mom just got attacked by a black mob.” Multiple eyewitnesses describe white fairgoers being pulled from cars and beaten by the Mob, all black. The evidence establishes a strong presumption that race was a motivating factor in the attacks. This is America?"

The Left stokes the fires of greed, hatred, and resentment by forcibly removing societal religious foundations. Without the fixed moral compass of the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule, people descend into barbarism.



In Lieu of Well-Reasoned Arguments, the Left Relies on Intimidation

Because the radical demands of groups like the American Civil Liberties Union run counter to common sense and the tenets of Western Civilization, they and their leftist allies and colleagues use fear, intimidation, and disinformation to accomplish their ends which generally mean a loss of liberty for everyone else. We see this in the way they rely on shame tactics, the court system, and behavior controls, like speech codes and “anti-bullying” regulations, to implement and protect their agenda.

Just think of how many times you’ve heard someone mention they wanted to say something about the blatant lawlessness and immorality in our culture, but they hesitated because they didn’t want to rock the boat—they didn’t want to disturb the status quo. All too often, this is because the totalitarians on the left have successfully levered sufficient shame to intimidate decent people into silence.

In other words, groups like NARAL and their media allies use shame to bring a strong man low enough to allow a weaker man to control him: shame takes the fight out of the dog.

For example, the left’s use of the court system is ubiquitous, and perhaps best exemplified through Roe v. Wade (1973), the case which made most state laws against abortion unenforceable.

Even now, the leftist American Atheists is suing to have a cross – a cross not made by human effort –removed from the National 9/11 Memorial in New York, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State are suing to shut down a proposed school voucher system in D.C.: a system aimed at delivering some of the students from the cycle of poverty and ignorance by allowing them to attend private schools where both the curriculum and environment are better. Because the vouchers could be used to attend private, Christian schools, Americans United for Separation for Church and State complains, “Vouchers…compel taxpayers to subsidize religion.” (As if they don’t know that the other option is to have government compel taxpayers to subsidize the anti-Christian/Jewish curriculum now rampant in government schools.)

The great irony here is that many of the aforementioned groups are among those who claim to do everything in the name of the people, yet it is they who frequently use the court system to bypass the people – and even sue to prevent elections – because they know their ideas lack popular support when put to the test.

And for those who dare brush aside the shame tactics or fight fire with fire in the courtroom, the left has enacted speech and anti-bullying codes that serve as more stringent forms of behavior control. Promoted by those like GLSEN and the ACLU, the speech codes are prevalent on high school and university campuses where even certain student-sponsored statements and phrases are disallowed unless uttered in a designated “free speech” area. And on the same campuses, diversity campaigns, and the “anti-bullying” campaigns that usually accompany them, result in the implementation of policies that actually create a caste system for those whose sensitivities are not protected from insult and discrimination, and that usually means a Christian ministry that wants to spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

One last point: these methods of intimidation are bolstered by the left’s use of cripplingly costly lawsuits, which go above and beyond their “normal” use of the court system to rid our landscape of crosses, references to Scripture, “In God We Trust” inscriptions, etc.

Frivolous lawsuit after lawsuit is filed against things like Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s call to voluntary prayer or any public mention of one’s faith by a political figure with the hope not simply of ending a day of prayer but of scaring small municipalities into scrubbing their speech free of any religious reference—or else. (For example, groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation maintain an Internet link which exists solely for the purpose of reporting any “violators.”)

Reality is thus twisted and turned upon its head in a world where the left ignores the metaphysical while waging war on logic and tradition. In the end, they have to intimidate people into playing along or being silent because they lack arguments sufficient to convince us that their way is better.




The war on lemonade: "America is a country founded on entrepreneurship and free enterprise. That’s why one of its most enduring childhood traditions is the lemonade stand. It teaches children initiative, about the value of money and how to earn it. Recently, however, children have been learning entirely different lessons -- that bureaucrats are in charge and you cross them at your peril. Bureaucrats have the power to pick winners and losers -- a power many are happy to exploit."

The Democratic Party and the language of bankruptcy: "What does a political regime do when its philosophy doesn’t work and is leading to ruin? It can’t scrap the philosophy, which is its raison d'etre and the basis of its power. Were it to chuck the philosophy, its core constituencies would abandon it. So instead it blames those who have most cogently pointed out the defects of the philosophy. It calls them liars and haters."

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

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


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


11 August, 2011

Mr. Green Jobs Boondoggle Rides Again

Michelle Malkin

Van Jones, President Obama's disgraced green jobs czar, is back with a radical progressive plan to rescue America ... from his old boss.

The problem, posits Jones, is that his fellow community organizer in the White House hasn't spent enough, regulated enough or taxed enough to achieve their perverse version of the "American Dream." What the country needs to "get the economy back on track," according to Jones and his league of leftists, is more government-created make-work. Oh, and a hefty side of Big Labor pork.

Jones recently teamed up with George Soros-funded retread MoveOn.org, Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, the AFL-CIO and Service Employees International Union to launch a "Rebuild the Dream" movement. Borrowing a yellowed page from has-been GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Jones and Company this week released their own "contract" to solve the "jobs crisis." The top two agenda items in this not-so-new contract echo Obama's longstanding calls for: 1) multibillion-dollar "investments" in America's infrastructure (see my column last week on the White House's renewed push for a government-supported infrastructure bank) and 2) "21st-century energy jobs" (which Obama claims he is creating this week by forcing tightened fuel efficiency standards down automakers' throats).

The supposedly visionary document is a carbon copy of standard Democratic talking points. It's the same old, same old with a dash of Jones' swagger on top for flavor.

Jones' Contract for the American Dream laments: "Our workers are sitting idle, while the work of rebuilding America goes undone." Obama issued the same lament last September: "It doesn't do anybody any good when so many hardworking Americans have been idled for months, even years, at a time when there is so much of America that needs rebuilding."

But the AFL-CIO and SEIU bigwigs to whom both Jones and Obama are beholden stubbornly oppose putting a vast population of hardworking, nonunion Americans back to work. Keep in mind: Through anti-competitive "project labor agreements" enforced by White House executive order, private contractors bidding on public infrastructure projects are required to hand over exclusive bargaining control; to pay inflated, above-market wages and benefits; and to fork over dues money and pension funding to corrupt, cash-starved labor organizations. These PLAs undermine a fair bidding process on projects that locked-out, nonunion laborers are funding with their own tax dollars. And they benefit the privileged few at the expense of the vast majority: In the construction industry, 85 percent of the workforce is nonunion by choice.

And remember this: While Jones and his union pals talk a lofty game about protecting American workers and creating American jobs, they march in lockstep with the open-borders lobby and promoters of another blanket illegal alien amnesty. The SEIU, one of Jones' most powerful Contract for the American Dream co-sponsors, continues to push for the DREAM Act illegal alien student bailout, opposes enforcement of employer sanctions and brazenly recruits illegal alien workers/voters to its ranks.

As for the green jobs racket, gobs of Obama money has already been spent on them -- and unemployment has continued to hover near double digits. Jones' pipe dream jobs would be better dubbed "brown jobs" to reflect the color of the sewer down which untold millions have been flushed in the name of environmental stimulus salvation. There's also a distinctly blue tint to these supposedly eco-friendly green jobs. Blue, that is, for partisan Democratic agendas and allies. Federal green jobs funds have subsidized, among others, the SEIU's nationalized health care activists in Maryland, the UAW Labor Employment and Training Corporation, the Blue Green Alliance (a union conglomerate), the 1199 SEIU Family of Funds and a United Steelworkers front group, the Institute for Career Development.

The Contract for the American Dream is a contract for continued wealth redistribution from taxpayers to Democratic special interests from a failed prophet of green jobs boondogglery. Sound familiar? Van Jones may have left Washington, but his spirit, alas, is alive and well in his mentor's nightmare policies.



Taxes kill jobs

Walter E. Williams

President Barack Obama has called for a luxury tax on corporate jets as a means to generate revenue to fight federal deficits. The president's economic advisers ought to be fired for not telling him that doing so is unwise and counterproductive. They might have already told him so, only to have the president say, "Look, I know you're right, but I'm exploiting the public's envy of the rich!" Let's look at what happened when Obama's predecessor George H.W. Bush signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 and broke his "read my lips" vow not to agree to new taxes.

When Congress imposed a 10 percent luxury tax on yachts, private airplanes and expensive automobiles, Sen. Ted Kennedy and then-Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell crowed publicly about how the rich would finally be paying their fair share of taxes. What actually happened is laid out in a Heartland Institute blog post by Edmund Contoski titled "Economically illiterate Obama, re: Corporate Jets" (7/12/2011).

Within eight months after the change in the law took effect, Viking Yachts, the largest U.S. yacht manufacturer, laid off 1,140 of its 1,400 employees and closed one of its two manufacturing plants. Before it was all over, Viking Yachts was down to 68 employees. In the first year, one-third of U.S. yacht-building companies stopped production, and according to a report by the congressional Joint Economic Committee, the industry lost 7,600 jobs. When it was over, 25,000 workers had lost their jobs building yachts, and 75,000 more jobs were lost in companies that supplied yacht parts and material. Ocean Yachts trimmed its workforce from 350 to 50. Egg Harbor Yachts went from 200 employees to five and later filed for bankruptcy. The U.S., which had been a net exporter of yachts, became a net importer as U.S. companies closed. Jobs shifted to companies in Europe and the Bahamas. The U.S. Treasury collected zero revenue from the sales driven overseas.

Back then, Congress told us that the luxury tax on boats, aircraft and jewelry would raise $31 million in revenue a year. Instead, the tax destroyed 330 jobs in jewelry manufacturing and 1,470 in the aircraft industry, in addition to the thousands destroyed in the yacht industry. Those job losses cost the government a total of $24.2 million in unemployment benefits and lost income tax revenues. The net effect of the luxury tax was a loss of $7.6 million in fiscal 1991, which means Congress' projection was off by $38.6 million. The Joint Economic Committee concluded that the value of jobs lost in just the first six months of the luxury tax was $159.6 million.

Congress repealed the luxury tax in 1993 after realizing it was a job killer and raised little net revenue. Why did congressional dreams of greater revenues turn into a nightmare? Kennedy, Mitchell and their congressional colleagues simply assumed that the rich would act the same after the imposition of the luxury tax as they did before and that the only difference would be more money in the government's coffers. Like most politicians then and now, they had what economists call a zero-elasticity vision of the world, a fancy way of saying they believed that people do not respond to price changes. People always respond to price changes. The only debatable issue is how much and over what period.

Here's my question for you: Is it likely that in the two decades since 1990, American human nature has changed? If Congress imposes a luxury tax on corporate jets and other luxury items, will Americans behave differently this time? In other words, can we expect federal tax revenues to rise and unemployment to fall as a result of Obama's tax proposal?

I don't believe that Obama is dumb enough to believe that a tax on corporate jets would be a revenue generator. His agenda is to inspire envy and resentment against wealthy Americans as a tool in pursuit of his higher-tax agenda.



Another example of the easy transition from Communism to Fascism

Mussolini did it and Putin's Russia has done it

Thestory of the day comes from Germany. It’s about comrade Horst Mahler, one of the leaders of the West German Baader-Meinhof Gang that terrorized the country in the latter days of the Cold War. Mahler was one of the founders of the Red Army Faction, which was one of the most violent terrorist groups in Europe in the 1970s and 80s. He was arrested shortly after the group’s creation, and spent many years in prison. A lawyer with a passion for defending anti-Government protesters, Mahler emerged from jail with dramatically different political convictions: he had moved from the extreme left to the extreme right, and is now serving time because of his activities as a Holocaust denier.

The German story alleges — based on a claim of having read a Stasi document — that Mahler was working for East German intelligence until the time that he joined Baader-Meinhof. The document in question emerged in connection with a recently reopened investigation into the fatal shooting of a peace demonstrator by a West German policeman in 1967. For extras, the cop was found to be a Stasi agent.

The link above takes you to an article in the Guardian, and the author quite properly raises questions about the reliability of the report. He does not raise a question that should always be introduced when we are talking about internal intelligence service documents: case officers love to claim that they have recruited people who are not actually working for them, but may be sympathetic to their objectives. It is possible, therefore, that Mahler was friendly with the Stasi but not following their instructions.

That said, there can be no doubt that the Red Army Faction was in cahoots with the Stasi. I had several conversations with top German intelligence and military leaders in the mid-1980s, and they were positive about the operational links between West German terrorists and East German intelligence.

But that is not what interests me most; that is old news, whatever is eventually found regarding the document in question and Mahler’s connections to his country’s enemies. The most important aspects of the story are: Mahler’s smooth transition from communism to right-wing anti-Semitism, and his own reflections on that transition.

Those few people who have actually studied fascism know that European communist leaders often recruited loyal comrades from the ranks of fascist movements and parties. Much of the time, especially after the second world war, the communists airbrushed the biographies of these new recruits in order to save them the annoyance of having to answer embarrassing questions about their previous loyalties. This is especially noteworthy and extraordinarily well-documented in the Italian case, where, to the great amazement of their admirers, leading left-wing intellectuals have been found to have been loyal fascists and even enthusiastic anti-Semites during the 20-year fascist era.

Mahler fits that pattern quite nicely, albeit in reverse. But the “direction” of his conversion is much less important than the fact itself. Mahler has been a “true believer” throughout, whether his passions were attached to a utopian vision of a classless society, or to a world in which his own country’s guilt for the Holocaust is rendered moot by denying the crime. Instead, he blames his country for different crimes altogether, either the oppression of the (non-existent) working-class or accepting the myth of Nazi mass murder. In such a tortured soul, it all comes to the same thing. He sees himself fighting in the name of higher ideals, even though they change according to the political and moral requirements of the moment.

Mahler says as much. When asked about the dramatic change in his worldview by a German writer, Mahler insisted that, properly understood, he had remained faithful to himself:

“When I asked him whether he accepted that he had changed his views since the 1960s, he said, ‘You have to see it dialectically. One changes, and at the same time one remains the same.’ “



Biting The Very Hands That Feed Us

Politicians love to extol the virtues of small business and praise the entrepreneurs who take risks to create jobs – when it's politically expedient for them to do so. But when the political winds change, the political establishment is quick to take to the airwaves to vilify small business owners for being profitable, dubbing them "millionaires" and calling for an increase in their taxes.

This political two-step is made possible by the fact that small business owners - from sole proprietorships to companies with hundreds of employees - most often report company earnings as personal income. These companies are most often "subchapter S-Corporations" or LLCs where the business income "passes through" to the individual so as to avoid being double-taxed, hence these are known as "pass-through companies." These entrepreneurs must set aside much of their reported income to support their businesses in bad times and for investing in the future. Even if they have to cut their own salaries to stay afloat, they are still described as "millionaires," making them easy prey for politicians looking for a villain.

In case you missed that, let me say it again, differently: the income a business generates is not primarily for the business owner – it is for the business: operations, payroll and reinvesting in the community. Business owners, particularly those who file their taxes as individuals, look like high-income earners, but only on paper, and this is a critical distinction that government often seems to forget – or ignore.

For some perspective, there are more than 4.5 million S-Corporations in the United States today and, according to Ernst & Young, 54% of all private sector employees – some 69 million people – currently work for these types of "pass-through" businesses. So when politicians talk about putting the squeeze on "millionaires" for more taxes – ostensibly to bring more revenue into government – their proposal may sound good but consider this: Higher taxes means less profit for companies to invest in their business and may mean they have to eliminate existing jobs as a result. Moreover, fewer people working means the government receives less revenue. In the middle of the worst job crisis this country has seen since the Great Depression, raising taxes on businesses is a profoundly bad idea.

Why does this matter? The most powerful engine of job creation is new and small business. The government's own Small Business Administration statistics show that small businesses have created more than two-thirds of net new non-farm jobs over the past decade and a half, accounting for nearly half of the nation's private sector payroll. They also produce 13 times more patents per employee than large firms, many of which are likely to influence the creation of even more job-creating start up businesses.

The Millionaire Next Door, a book by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko, points out that half of the millionaires in this country own their own businesses. That means that for the most part, they took risks, sacrificed personal income so they could grow their businesses, put people to work in their communities and, and by doing so, made significant contributions to the nation's economic success.

The bottom line is the lifeblood of these companies – their profits – is actually the lifeblood of our national economy, and those in the political establishment who cynically see an easy target for short-term political gain put jobs and economic recovery at risk. Put them out of business, and we put the country out of business.

Instead of targeting the actual job creators in our communities, the politicians in Washington should be focused on passing pro-growth policies that will get our economy moving again and will put people back to work. To make sure Washington hears this message loud and clear, I recently became a member of the Job Creators Alliance. We are a growing group of current and former CEOs who have spent our careers in the private economy. We are job creators – large and small – committed to defending the free enterprise system that has made our country’s economy the most prosperous in history.

We know what makes America great because we've seen it first hand. But if Washington continues to demonize success and target small businesses to fund their reckless spending, our children and their children will inherit a very different America than the one we were fortunate enough to start our careers in.


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

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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)


10 August, 2011

How half of your intelligence comes from your parents

Academics have known this for over 100 years on the basis of twin studies. But it's good to see it confirmed by DNA studies and mentioned in the mainstream press. Twin studies indicate around two thirds rather than a half is genetic but why quibble?

If you struggle with sums or can’t finish a crossword, who should you curse – your teachers or your parents? Well according to the latest evidence, you really should blame both. Researchers have found that up to half of our intelligence (or lack of it) is inherited.

They examined the blood of more than 3,500 people from England and Scotland for half a million genetic markers – tiny changes in their DNA.

Analysis of these results and those of intelligence tests completed by the study’s participants revealed that 40 per cent of the differences in ‘crystallised-type intelligence’, the ability to acquire knowledge and skills over the years, were in the genes.

So-called fluid-type intelligence, the ability to reason and think abstractly under pressure, was governed by genetics to an even greater extent. Some 51 per cent of a person’s ability to ‘think outside the box’ is down to DNA, the journal Molecular Psychiatry reports.

The research, made possible by a new type of genetic analysis pioneered by Peter Visscher of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Australia, points to numerous genes being involved.

Lead researcher Professor Ian Deary, of the University of Edinburgh, said: ‘Individual differences in intelligence are strongly associated with many important life outcomes, including educational and occupational attainments, income, health and lifespan.’

However, he added that the study’s results ‘unequivocally confirm that a substantial proportion of individual differences in human intelligence is due to genetic variation’. He hopes to unlock the secrets of those whose brains age well, with a view to helping others stay sharp as they get older.

‘If we can find specific genetic contributions to people’s experience of cognitive ageing, this can suggest the mechanisms by which people differ,’ he said. ‘We are studying genetics to find out how things work.’

Professor Deary added that those dealt a poor hereditary hand should not act as if their fate is sealed, as it is possible for people to overcome their intellectual inheritance.

The research may explain why humans have advanced so much further than chimpanzees, despite their genetic similarity. Simon Underdown, an anthropologist from Oxford Brookes University, said: ‘The devil is clearly in the detail. It is not necessarily that we share the same genes – it is how they interact with other genes that controls intelligence.

‘Human intelligence is a stunning product of our evolution and this brilliantly demonstrates that the genetic basis for our intelligence is not the result of a simple mutation in a single gene. ‘It moves away from the old-fashioned idea that there may be a gene or a couple of genes for intelligence. It looks as if there are lots and lots of genes across the chromosomes.’

SOURCE. Academic journal article here

That last paragraph is if anything a bit understated. I have been pointing out for years that high IQ seems usually to be the outcome of general biological good functioning. "To him that hath, more will be given him", as a very wise man once said


The "Obama Law" Devastates Impoverished People in the World's Second Poorest Country, The Congo

People are going hungry, pulling their children out of school due to poverty, and joining criminal gangs to make ends meet in the poorest region of the Congo, the world’s second-poorest country.

Residents of this African nation attribute this economic devastation to what they call “the Obama Law” — provisions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial “reform” law backed by Obama that have created a virtual embargo on minerals produced in the Congo’s desperately-poor mining towns. As David Aronson notes in The New York Times:
The “Loi Obama” or Obama Law — as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform act of 2010 has become known in the region — includes an obscure provision that requires public companies to indicate what measures they are taking to ensure that minerals in their supply chain don’t benefit warlords in conflict-ravaged Congo. . . the Dodd-Frank law has had unintended and devastating consequences, as I saw firsthand on a trip to eastern Congo this summer. The law has brought about a de facto embargo on the minerals mined in the region, including tin, tungsten and the tantalum that is essential for making cellphones.

The smelting companies that used to buy from eastern Congo have stopped. No one wants to be tarred with financing African warlords — especially the glamorous high-tech firms like Apple and Intel that are often the ultimate buyers of these minerals. It’s easier to sidestep Congo than to sort out the complexities of Congolese politics — especially when minerals are readily available from other, safer countries.

For locals, however, the law has been a catastrophe. In South Kivu Province, I heard from scores of artisanal miners and small-scale purchasers, who used to make a few dollars a day digging ore out of mountainsides with hand tools. Paltry as it may seem, this income was a lifeline for people in a region that was devastated by 32 years of misrule under the kleptocracy of Mobutu Sese Seko . . . and that is now just beginning to emerge from over a decade of brutal war and internal strife.

The pastor at one church told me that women were giving birth at home because they couldn’t afford the $20 or so for the maternity clinic. Children are dropping out of school because parents can’t pay the fees. Remote mining towns are virtually cut off from the outside world because the planes that once provisioned them no longer land. Most worrying, a crop disease periodically decimates the region’s staple, cassava. Villagers who relied on their mining income to buy food when harvests failed are beginning to go hungry.

Meanwhile, the law is benefiting some of the very people it was meant to single out. The chief beneficiary is Gen. Bosco Ntaganda, who is nicknamed The Terminator and is sought by the International Criminal Court. Ostensibly a member of the Congolese Army, he is in fact a freelance killer with his own ethnic Tutsi militia, which provides “security” to traders smuggling minerals across the border to neighboring Rwanda. . .

Most of the militias that wreaked havoc between 2003 and 2008 have since been incorporated into the Congolese Army. The two or three of any significance that remain get their money from kidnapping and extortion, not from controlling mining sites or transport routes. The law has not stopped their depredations. . .

Rarely do local miners, high-level traders, mining companies and civil society leaders agree on an issue. But in eastern Congo, they were unanimous in condemning Dodd-Frank.

Dodd-Frank’s conflict-minerals provisions will also damage U.S. industry to the tune of billions of dollars. It will impose massive compliance costs on automakers and others, as Washington Legal Foundation, Carter Wood, and the National Association of Manufacturers have noted. NAM notes that it will harm the automakers and their suppliers, and estimates that it “will cost U.S. industry between $9-16 billion to implement.”

Its economic harm to the Congo’s poor people was entirely predictable. It was predicted by observers like Laura Seay, a professor of political science at Morehouse College, who recently noted that “because it is almost impossible to verify whether minerals sourced from the [Congo] or its neighbors are truly conflict-free, electronics companies now have a strong incentive to source minerals elsewhere, leaving Congolese miners unemployed.” She pointed out “the near-impossibility of creating a reliable tracing scheme in a place where almost every public official can be bribed” and its inevitable consequence, “a de facto boycott on minerals from” countries like the Congo.

This is just one of countless economically-destructive provisions contained in the Dodd-Frank law, which is a 2315-page laundry-list of special interest giveways that contains little real reform, and instead contains a vast array of payoffs and favors for special interest groups like trial lawyers.

Civil rights commissioners and economists criticized it for containing racially discriminatory provisions. Dodd-Frank did nothing to reform the biggest bailout recipients, the government-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, even though Administration officials like Treasury Secretary Geithner later admitted they were at the “core” of “what went wrong” in the financial crisis. Major provisions of Dodd-Frank have been criticized for violating the constitutional separation of powers, equal protection, and property rights.



Newsweak tries to take down Michelle Bachman and even NOW is pissed

Her eyes don't look crazy to me -- she looks more like she's amused or amazed by the Leftist idiots, as well she might be --JR

The National Organization for Women President Terry O'Neill called the cover 'sexist' and referred to a simple test by the group's founder Gloria Steinem to explain how they got to that conclusion - would the magazine do the same to a man.

'Who has ever called a man "The King of Rage?" Basically what Newsweek magazine - and this is important, what Newsweek magazine, not a blog, Newsweek magazine - what they are saying of a woman who is a serious contender for president of the United States of America…They are basically casting her as a nut job,' O'Neill said.

MailOnline revealed on Monday how conservative commentators believe there is a conspiracy among the liberal media to discredit the Tea Party-aligned congresswoman from Minnesota by making it look like she's nuts.

Fox News Channel contributor and conservative blogger Michelle Malkin wrote on Monday: 'Seriously, Tina Brown? Yes, I’m talking about you, Oxford University-educated Newsweek/Daily Beast editor Tina Brown. 'You’ve resorted to recycling bottom-of-the-barrel moonbat photo cliches about conservative female public figures and their enraged “crazy eyes?” Really?'

Miss Malkin said the liberal media has a fetish for demonising conservative women and their looks which goes back years. She cited USA Today altering a photo in 2005 of then-GOP Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to demonise her eyes.

'Under the editorial control of Tina Brown, the rice paper magazine barely struggles against its bias towards conservative women to view them with anything other than contempt.'



Lying propaganda has turned a small GOP victory into a big defeat

In Don Marquis' classic satirical book, "Archy and Mehitabel," Mehitabel the alley cat asks plaintively, "What have I done to deserve all these kittens?"

That seems to be the pained reaction of the Obama administration to the financial woes that led to the downgrading of America's credit rating, for the first time in history.

There are people who see no connection between what they have done and the consequences that follow. But Barack Obama is not likely to be one of them. He is a savvy politician who will undoubtedly be satisfied if enough voters fail to see a connection between what he has done and the consequences that followed.

To a remarkable extent, he has succeeded, with the help of his friends in the media and the Republicans' failure to articulate their case. Polls find more people blaming the Republicans for the financial crisis than are blaming the President.

Why was there a financial crisis in the first place? Because of runaway spending that sent the national debt up against the legal limit. But when all the big spending bills were being rushed through Congress, the Democrats had such an overwhelming majority in both houses of Congress that nothing the Republicans could do made the slightest difference.

Yet polls show that many people today are blaming the Republicans for the country's financial problems. But, by the time Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives, and thus became involved in negotiations over raising the national debt ceiling, the spending which caused that crisis in the first place had already been done -- and done by Democrats.

Had the Republicans gone along with President Obama's original request for a "clean" bill -- one simply raising the debt ceiling without any provisions about controlling federal spending -- would that have spared the country the embarrassment of having its government bonds downgraded by Standard & Poor's credit-rating agency?

To believe that would be to believe that it was the debt ceiling, rather than the runaway spending, that made Standard & Poor's think that we were no longer as good a credit risk for buyers of U.S. government bonds. In other words, to believe that is to believe that a Congressional blank check for continued record spending would have made Standard & Poor's think that we were a better credit risk.

If that is true, then why is Standard & Poor's still warning that it might have to downgrade America's credit rating yet again? Is that because of the national debt ceiling or because of the likelihood of continued runaway spending?

The national debt ceiling is just one of the many false assurances that the government gives the voting public. The national debt ceiling has never actually stopped the spending that causes the national debt to rise to the point where it is getting near that ceiling. The ceiling simply gets raised when that happens.

Just a week before the budget deal was made at the eleventh hour, it looked like the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives had scored a victory by getting the President and the Congressional Democrats to give up the idea of raising the tax rates -- and to cut spending instead. But now that the details are coming out, that "victory" looks very temporary, if not illusory.

The price of getting that deal has been having the Republicans agree to sitting on a special bipartisan Congressional committee that will either come to an agreement on spending cuts before Thanksgiving or have the budgets of both the Defense Department and Medicare cut drastically.

Since neither side can afford to be blamed for a disaster like that, this virtually guarantees that the Republicans will have to either go along with whatever new spending and taxing that the Democrats demand or risk losing the 2012 election by sharing the blame for another financial disaster.

In short, the Republicans have now been maneuvered into being held responsible for the spending orgy that Democrats alone had the votes to create. Republicans have been had -- and so has the country. The recent, short-lived budget deal turns out to be not even a Pyrrhic victory for the Republicans. It has the earmarks of a Pyrrhic defeat.


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

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


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


9 August, 2011

China outraged by U.S. "funny money" policies

"The alarm has rung," said an English-language commentary yesterday by the state-run and party-directed Xinhua news agency. "It is time for the naughty boys in Washington to stop chicken games before they cause more damages."

China is the biggest single creditor to the US government; it has $US1.2 trillion invested in US government bonds. They're US bonds, but paid for with Chinese money. No one will dispute Beijing's right to be critical on this.

"China," said the Saturday editorial by Xinhua, "has every right now to demand the US to address its structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China's dollar assets." Quite right.

The US ratings agency Standard & Poor's said it was downgrading the creditworthiness of US government bonds in part because America's "policymakers don't have the ability to put the public finances of the US on a sustainable footing".

This would make any investor angry. In this sense, China's leaders are merely joining the chorus of 72 per cent of Americans who, according to Pew Research, are critical of the US political system's handling of its debt ceiling. But there are four features of China's reaction that mark it out.

First, it's the toughest criticism the potential superpower has yet made of the existing superpower.

Second, the criticism goes beyond an expression of concern for China's money. It prescribes what the US should do with its money. In an editorial which China scholars said could only have been published with the consent of the national leadership, Xinhua said the US must cut its "gigantic military expenditure and bloated social welfare costs".

Pressing its advantage in America's moment of vulnerability, China said: "International supervision over the issue of US dollars should be introduced and a new, stable and secured global reserve currency may also be an option to avert a catastrophe caused by any single country."

"What we are seeing here," says Hugh White, a strategic studies expert at the Australian National University, "is a much more strident tone than anything we have seen before".

So far, all of this commentary is published in English. But there is another level of Chinese reaction that has been invisible to English speakers.

"There's a real difference between the Chinese domestic propaganda and the foreign propaganda on this," observes a sinologist from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, Anne-Marie Brady. "The tone it's adopting towards the US in English is, 'We're telling off America.' In Chinese, it is much more crowing and gloating." The heading on the lead article in Xinhua's Mandarin version translates as, "The world will never trust America again," Brady says, "which is fairly heavy stuff."

In the famous strategic guidance he gave his comrades in the Communist Party, the father of China's modernisation, Deng Xiaoping, said: "Hide your strength, bide your time, and do what you can."

Brady says: "In the last 10 years, particularly since the financial crisis hit in 2008, there's been a shift towards the last part, 'do what you can'," in the behaviour of the Chinese leadership. "That's code for standing up for China's interests. But this is looking to be beyond that. It's quite harsh."

It's also pretty brave of China to make the boast that US government debt, which, on its new, lower assessment from Standard & Poor's, is rated AA+, is untrustworthy. Because the same agency rates Chinese government debt as A+, which is three rankings lower. And this leads to the third feature of China's criticism: its potential effect.

"It's probably pretty hard for the Chinese to resist the temptation to gloat," White says, "but from the US point of view, this would confirm US anxieties about China.

"China wants to end up on top," White suggests, "but the secret is to exercise great patience. This tells the US that China is out to get them. Nothing would galvanise the US to get its act together better than the sense that China is out to eat their lunch. Strategically, gloating is unwise."

It is no doubt easier, and much more fun, for Chinese officialdom to rejoice in America's woes than to confront the difficulties in fixing its own.



Obama was once wiser than he is now

"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a Sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. ...Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here'. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and Grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."

The above quote consists of two excerpts from a long speech delivered by Barack Obama during a Senate debate over raising the national debt limit on March 16, 2006. Along with his entire party, Senator Obama voted against the increase, which passed nonetheless with overwhelming Republican support.



What not to do in an economic crisis

In 1971, President Nixon convened his experts only to produce a plan that ruined the economic prospects of the decade

Head for Camp David. Convene meetings. Take advice from economists, your Cabinet, all the experts. Then put forward a giant new economic program, maybe including some dramatic form of shock therapy that will calm financial markets and create jobs.
That's the kind of response Americans are used to seeing in a president when the nation is suddenly confronted with bad news like last week's market turmoil and the U.S. credit downgrade by Standard & Poor's. But the results of such a response to economic alarm 40 Augusts ago suggest this isn't the way to go.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon convened his experts only to produce a protocol that ruined the economic prospects of the decade.

The urgent case that sent Nixon to Camp David that August was the dollar. At the time, the U.S. was on the gold-exchange standard, under which the price of gold was fixed at $35 an ounce and foreign governments could withdraw gold from American banks. The U.S. had long held the position it would maintain $10 billion in gold stock. Foreigners were concerned that U.S. growth was sluggish and began to take gold elsewhere. "Monetary Reserves of the U.S. Declined $505 Million in May," read a June headline.

By July, the reserve was officially below the $10 billion figure, and the price of gold on international markets rose to $42 an ounce. The U.S. needed a strong dollar, partly to pay the costs of the Vietnam War. Joblessness reached 6 percent. Politically, Nixon stood where President Barack Obama stands now: just 15 months away from elections.

Fearing a run on the dollar and accelerating inflation, Nixon summoned to Camp David his Cabinet and the wisest, most eminent people he knew, names many still revere today: Arthur Burns, Herbert Stein, Paul Volcker, George Shultz, Paul McCracken. Nixon closeted his advisers at Camp David, where they scribbled a plan together, emerging euphoric to be photographed by Life magazine.

On Sunday night television, Nixon presented his New Economic Policy, a cynical plan that helped his political prospects at substantial cost to the long-term economy. He immediately closed the gold window, ending the convertibility of dollars to gold. He imposed temporary wage and price controls. He asked Congress for a tax credit that was frontloaded for maximum impact pre-election, even as he slapped a surcharge on imports.

Many of the minds at Camp David, and at other advice sessions, opposed components of the plan. Shultz, then director of the Office of Management and Budget, fought the wage and price controls. But the economists eventually went along, telling themselves that concessions were the price of being policy makers.

The short-term results of the New Economic Policy were as splendid as hoped. The Consumer Price Index, now manacled, dutifully declined to 1.7 percent from 4.1 percent the preceding year. Unemployment didn't rise.

By July 1972, four months before voters would choose between Nixon and Democrat George McGovern, Stein, then chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, held a press conference at which he claimed second-quarter data was "the best combination of economic numbers to be released on one day in all of history, or at least the Christian era." (Reporters politely protected him by editing this down to "the best results in a decade.") Gross domestic product for 1972 grew more than 5 percent. McGovern didn't stand a chance.

But the long-term outcome, as Stein, an admirably honest thinker, later noted, was abominable. In the post-Nixon years, unemployment started rising again. International markets recognized that without the threat of gold withdrawals to keep officials' spending in check, the Federal Reserve, Congress and the Treasury might inflate with impunity.

Inflation therefore also accelerated, as Stein noted regretfully in his memoir, "Presidential Economics." The combination of inflation and unemployment was something so novel that Americans created a new word to describe it: stagflation. The homebuyer paid for the euphoria of Camp David with the worst mortgage interest rates in the history of Christianity, or at least the postwar period: more than 18 percent in 1981.

Only when Volcker, who became Federal Reserve chairman in 1979, started acting as a sort of human gold standard could Nixon's conceit be undone. Volcker forced interest rates up over 20 percent.

There are three takeaway messages from 1971. The first is that economists are arm candy for chief executives: Their appearance beside the president may be reassuring, but it doesn't guarantee strong policy. Economics itself is often mere window-dressing for campaign programs.

The second is that reforms dictated by crisis-intervention teams make for poor long-term policy. Short-term gimmicks, stimuli for employment and automakers -- all are pretty much useless. The best thing the Obama administration can do is to stay clear of the market, avoid election-year panic, and call on Republicans to undertake measures aimed at 2030. If this is unrealistic, then that explains why presidential and congressional approval ratings sank with the market.

Such measures might include commitments to yet smaller budgets and stronger entitlement reforms, or promulgating a new Federal Reserve law that would strip out some of the discretion that Arthur Burns enjoyed, and make the institution more accountable to taxpayers. Something closer to a gold standard would signal to markets that the U.S. is less likely to inflate away its debts in the future. In short, it would show that the debt-ceiling deal earlier this month was only the beginning of a more stable U.S. with a smaller government and a more reliable currency.

Finally: no more shock therapy. The least likely place for real improvements to be written is a self-aggrandizing presidential retreat like Camp David.




The Great Society’s big Medicaid lie: "When Medicaid was first created by President Lyndon B. Johnson, it was characterized as a safety net for the poorest of the poor. In the decades since, the program has expanded dramatically beyond that purpose. Today it claims to offer coverage for 68 million people—nearly one of every four Americans is enrolled in the program. I use the word 'claims' because people under Medicaid are overwhelmingly unable to access quality care, or often any care at all."

Dating site finds conservatives more open-minded: "Match began "weighting" variables differently, according to how users behaved. For example, if conservative users were actually looking at profiles of liberals, the algorithm would learn from that and recommend more liberal users to them. Indeed, says Thombre, "the politics one is quite interesting. Conservatives are far more open to reaching out to someone with a different point of view than a liberal is." That is, when it comes to looking for love, conservatives are more open-minded than liberals."

The destructive evil of price controls: "There is a shortage of cancer drugs, due to the federal government’s price controls. Being a matter of life and death, this is a tragedy of considerable proportions. At the same time, it is completely predictable. There is no reason an intelligent person who has read even the most basic level of economics should not forever grasp the inevitability of such a result. Yet the Obama administration seeks to extend this destructive program to more drugs via Medicare D."

Flights from nowhere: "As a resident of Illinois, I'd never had any particular desire to fly from McCook, Nebraska, to Denver. But lately, I've been looking for an opportunity. Turns out the federal government is willing to pay me a handsome fee to do it. Oh, I wouldn't get the cash directly. But the Department of Transportation provides more than $2 million to subsidize that particular route, which works out to about $1,000 for every passenger. My fare, meanwhile, would be less than $150."

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

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


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


8 August, 2011

Turn around our economy? It's not really that hard

Neal Boortz

Well now! That was quite a ride last week for the American economy, don’t you think? We raised the debt ceiling and within 36 hours America’s debt exceeded our GDP. Then there was the stock market … yeah, that very same stock market that Chairman Obama told us had “come roaring back” in his last State of the Union message. All of those roaring gains for the year were erased in one day.

We then top off the week with a Standard & Poor’s downgrade of America’s credit rating – the first downgrade EVER! Well howdy! Now there’s some change you can believe in. A change for the worse … but then it’s been a constant change for the worse since the dumb masses put this unqualified (but clean looking and eloquent) man into the presidency.

Would you hire someone who hates to cook to be the executive chef at a fine restaurant? Why not? We were mindless enough to hire someone who detests capitalism and free enterprise to oversee our economy, why not hire someone who hates to cook to run our kitchen? And now we profess to be surprised at how things turned out?

OK .. I hear you. “All you ever do is complain, Boortz. What great ideas do YOU have to get our economy going again?” Well, as a matter of fact, I’m glad you asked … I do have some ideas. I’m going to help turn things around right here. And to make things more difficult, I’m going to do this without cutting spending or raising taxes … and I’ll do it backwards and in high heels.

Ready? Here we go; step-by-step.

1. Do you have any idea how much one trillion is? The average human life span is around 2.8 billion seconds. If someone was just now approaching their one trillionth second of life they would have been born in 29,000 BC. NOW do you have a grip on a trillion? Good --- because first we need to address the trillions of dollars of American-owned wealth that are legally resting in overseas accounts where they are safe from American confiscatory taxation. Declare a tax amnesty. Allow that money to come home to work in our economy without taxing it. Can you imagine what a few trillion dollars pumped into the private sector and not into political vote-buying schemes might do for our economy?

2. Thanks to generations of government education most Americans don’t realize that corporations and businesses don’t pay taxes. They collect taxes from customers, employees and shareholders and merely pass them on to the federal government. All wealth in this country is held by individuals, and all taxes are paid by individuals. So let’s get smart and reduce business income taxes immediately --- especially corporate income taxes. To do otherwise is to operate on the belief that the federal government would do a better job of spending this money (shrimp on treadmills?) than would the people who actually did the work and earned it.

3. We’re currently wasting around $100 billion a year on the Department of Education. There has not even been a hint of an improvement in government schools since this useless support system for teacher’s unions was created. Abolish the Education Department and send that $100 billion to the states with the mandate that it be used specifically for education programs to prepare young adults for employment upon graduation from high school and not for college prep. We have far too many English, social studies, LGBT and history majors running around now whose workdays consist of endless repetitions of the phrase “would you like French fries with that?

4. End the hideously expensive war on drugs. At the state and federal level we are spending over $1,700 per second in drug war costs. There’s over $15 billion a year to be saved here. Studies have shown that treatment is a more effective means of reducing drug usage than criminalization and incarceration. Bonus: We reduce crime and make our streets safer.

5. Repeal Davis-Bacon. Allow governments to pay prevailing private sector wages, not inflated union wages, on public works projects. The tax money set aside for these projects would go a lot further, more people would be hired, and the more work could be done.

6. Repeal ObamaCare and the Chris-Dodd consumer finance reform act. Both of these hideous pieces of legislation have been shown to be jobs killers. There is no right to health care, and caveat emptor should still mean something.

7. Immediately halt all regulatory rule-making processes at the federal level. We have enough regulations now to get the job done. More than enough. Businessmen aren’t hiring or expanding because they don’t know what the rules are going to be. Would you obligate yourself for a mortgage if the lender told you they would just fill in the terms later? Yeah … some of you probably would; especially Obama voters.

8. Eliminate capital gains taxes. Too many of us are sitting on investments that have pretty much maxed out, but we won’t cash out because we don’t want to pay the tax. Eliminating these taxes would allow a free flow of investment capital that would enable countless new business startups … and that means new jobs.

9. Make every state a right-to-work state. Completely outlaw compulsory unionism. Nobody should ever have to join a union in order to work. 10. Repeal Sarbanes-Oxley. It’s another jobs killer and inhibits corporate growth and profitability. Google it.

11. Institute loser pays at the federal level and urge states to do the same. This means that if you file a lawsuit against someone and you win, good for you. If you lose, you pay the other side’s legal fees. I used to be a member of the American Trial Lawyer’s Association, (now called The American Association for Justice --- bwahahahahah), and I can tell you that many trial lawyers look at filing a lawsuit as comparable to buying a lottery ticket. Not much to lose, but a lot to gain. Put some risk into this equation.

12. Eliminate most business and professional licensing requirements. Why should you need the state’s permission to braid hair or to match pillows with drapes? And while we’re at it find that loon in Florida who said that ending the licensing of interior designers would cost 80,000 lives a year and put her in a glass cube in the Museum of Idiocy. If there isn’t such a museum, start one. It will have to be a huge facility.

13. Send a balanced budget amendment to the states. Most states have to operate under just such a restriction, and they’ll be more than happy to see to it that the federal government does as well.

14. Last – but certainly not least – set a date certain for the expiration of our current tax code. That will force congress to come up with a better plan. I happen to have some ideas along those lines as well.

More ideas? Of course I have more ideas. But they won’t give me any more room here. Stay tuned.



New Obamacare Violations of Personal Liberty

Star Parker

Who can forget that rare moment of honesty during the campaign to pass Obamacare when Nancy Pelosi said “We have to pass the bill in order for you to find out what’s in it”?

Now we have it and almost daily there are new revelations about the staggering extent to which our private lives and individual freedoms have been stomped on.

We learn now that free birth control in the form of contraceptives, morning after pills, and sterilization is part of the grand Obamacare socialist dream-come-true.

The health insurance that Obamacare mandates that all employers provide and that all citizens acquire must pay 100 percent for these birth control products and services, with no deductible or co-pays. Birth control gets more preferential treatment than cancer or heart disease.

Liberals say government should be kept out of your bedroom. What they mean by this is that it shouldn’t interfere with what you do there, not that it shouldn’t force taxpayers to pay for it.

The provision mandating “preventive services” for women was grafted onto the thousand plus page bill, as it passed through the Senate, by Maryland Democrat Barbara Mikulski.

After Obamacare became law, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius farmed out this general directive to the Institute of Medicine to determine what such “preventive services” should be.

This is cast as an arms length objective procedure. But in Washington, nothing is objective. There are only interests.

The Institute of Medicine’s website says it’s “an independent non-profit organization that works outside of government to provide unbiased and authoritative advice to decision makers and the public.”

But this “independent” organization gets 55 percent of its funding from the federal government. And it also gets hundreds of thousands of dollars from the pharmaceutical industry.

So, after months of lobbying by Planned Parenthood, financed in part by the $300 million dollars it gets each year from us taxpayers, the Institute of Medicine offered its “unbiased” recommendations that “preventive services” for women include birth control pills and morning after pills.

Obamacare is a masterpiece in its achievement of leaving no corner of our personal freedoms unviolated. It hijacks our pocketbook, our autonomy of action, and our conscience. The result is to leave us economically and morally impoverished.

A tiny and narrow exemption is carved out so that non-profits with a defined religious mission, whose employees and target audience shares those same values, are not forced to provide insurance that includes free birth control services.

Liberals are committed to religious freedom as long as those religious values do not conflict with their liberal values. Which, practically, means all religion.

Meanwhile, what we have is another in a vast universe of mandated new health care entitlements that is Obamacare. It is the convoluted logic of the liberal mind to use government power to mandate and subsidize free goodies, to sever all links between individual behavior and its consequences, and then claim this will lead to lower costs and more efficiency.

It is no wonder that the financial markets have been tanking since the passage of the debt ceiling bill. That bill simply slaps a band-aid on a fiscal rupture that will start gushing red ink as soon as Obamacare kicks in full tilt in 2014.

The perverse truth is that Obamacare, sold by our president and congressional Democrats as fiscally responsible, is exactly the opposite.

The Congressional Budget Office forecasts huge deficits and growing debt, double what they are today, driven primarily by health care spending, fueled by Obamacare mandated entitlements.

Michele Bachmann was onto something by demanding repeal of Obamacare as a condition for increasing the debt limit.

Americans need to sober up. The challenges facing us are formidable. Repeal of Obamacare is on a growing and most challenging list of things to do.



America no longer the nation of the Self-Made Man

And Obama is replacing him with socialist man

The idea of the self-made man, the rugged individualist, armed with nothing but a superior work ethic, character, and talent has vanished from Obama’s vision of winning the future. Clearly, the president does not understand that in his bid to bludgeon Republicans into agreeing to additional tax hikes, he was simultaneously signaling his contempt and hostility for the self-made man. Amidst the bloviated debt ceiling talks was a stark reminder of just how badly Team Obama has damaged the nation.

Once upon a time, the image of the rugged individual, a person armed with nothing but a powerful idea, hard work ethic and the determination to persevere, was revered in our country. The notion that success or failure is dependent upon the character, work ethic and industry of each citizen has served as the bedrock American political creed for our nation’s entire history.

No longer. America has been transformed. Last week, Obama reminded us that millions of Americans are now completely dependent upon various government subsidy programs, without which, he says, they could not survive.

48.5 million Americans are dependent upon the government for food stamps to feed themselves. Another 55 million Americans are dependent upon social security. 21 million receive disability assistance subsidies. Still another 50.7 million need the government to provide their healthcare, with 60 million Americans on Medicaid.

Over 5 million Americans need the government to provide direct financial support for housing. Another 19.5 million require tuition assistance from the government to be able to go to college, while yet another 700,000 needed assistance to buy a car through Obama’s Cash for Clunkers. According to Obama’s philosophy, even mundane tasks such as weatherproofing windows and doors was, apparently beyond the ability of Americans to accomplish without direct government assistance.

Obama talked incessantly about these millions of Americans, now grown dependent upon government checks, as a way to increase political pressure on Republicans and force them to agree to a bad deal on the debt ceiling.

Obama wanted to remind Republicans and Tea Party loyalists that millions of Americans were going to be adversely impacted if government checks were not issued on time.

Add up all the millions now grown dependent upon the expanding entitlement system and Americans are left with the sobering fact that nearly 50% of our entire population is now dependent upon the government for some kind of subsidy for their food, housing, education and healthcare.

Instead of the idea of the self-made man, Obama tries to motivate Americans with a disturbing notion that government handouts, which until recently carried a negative stigma, are their right, and that entitlements should be showered upon anyone with almost any need.

Instead of success being earned through hard work and playing by the rules, Obama seems to believe that the government should provide. So, it is not surprising that Obama has already concluded that there is nothing morally wrong with pandering to the 50% of the population now dependent upon Team Obama, while taking money and opportunity away from others.

How far we have fallen! Government dependency and “getting something for nothing” carried with it a sense of shame. Benjamin Franklin advised anyone coming to America to be industrious and prepared to work hard. Franklin’s notions of thrift, self-improvement and industry were an essential part of the early Founders’ Protestant work ethic upon which our nation was founded.

Alexis DeTocqueville recognized that the American work ethic was the cornerstone of our rapid economic rise and success. Americans, observed DeTocqueville, were a perpetually busy and hard working people--“the notion of labor is therefore presented to the mind on every side as the necessary, natural and honest condition of human existence.”

Early settlers and immigrants to the United Sates were once provided stern warnings that “if you wish a calm and cheerful life, better stay home --the good advice pray and work is nowhere more to the point than in the United States.”

In his excellent book, Who Are We?, Samuel Huntington quotes Cuban American Alex Alvarez who, as recently as 1999, warned new Cuban immigrants of what they would confront in America. “Welcome to the capitalist system. Each of you is responsible for the amount of money you have in your pocket. The Government is not responsible for whether you eat, or whether you are poor or rich. The government doesn’t guarantee you a job or a house.”

In a shockingly short period of time, Team Obama has almost destroyed the American creed of hard work, industry, talent, thrift and delayed gratification. As a result of Obama’s policies, nearly 50% of our citizens are now encouraged or seduced into finding some subsidy program that is funded through the forced generosity of others. If no such program exists, Team Obama has promised to create one.

Democrats, led by Obama, are not happy with Republicans these days and they view the Tea Party as a group of jihadists. But Obama’s real war is on the American Dream and the idea of the Self-made man.


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

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

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


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


7 August, 2011

Leftists never learn

The economic crisis that began in 2008 has thrown up several questions. How can we live with banks that are too big to fail? How can we support financial institutions during a liquidity panic without creating incentives that make liquidity panics inevitable?

To these must be added another question: After a financial crisis, how do we short circuit the political imperative to introduce polices that inhibit recovery by hitting business over the head?

FDR's depredations somehow never became much of a focus of the copious literature of the Great Depression. The historiography of the Obama Depression will not be so forgiving. American business is luckier today, in a sense: Its success is more rooted in a global economy. U.S. companies are profitable even as the domestic economy lags.

Thus people like Steve Wynn, whose sharp critique of Obama policy on an earnings call turned heads last month, do not fear to speak up. Las Vegas may be in the dumps, but Mr. Wynn boasts that Wynn Resorts today is "a Chinese company in many respects and [in terms of] revenues and the rest of our financial posture" thanks to its bet on booming Macau.

A great whoosh of buy-in has greeted the idea that post-debt crisis recoveries must always be slow. But unless a lot of CEOs are lying, a policy onslaught designed to fulfill the pent-up wishes of various Democratic constituencies has been the key anti-elixir of growth.

Instead of a "stimulus" to create jobs by financing useful investments that would have paid a growth dividend in the future, we got a debt-fueled permanent expansion of entitlements and the size of government.

In health care, instead of reforms to encourage competent consumers not to treat health care as a free lunch, we got a doubling down on health-care free lunchism.

In banking, instead of new incentives to cause creditors to pull in the reins on risk-taking banks, we got a formalization of too big to fail.

All economic crises begin differently—this one began in housing—but eventually they morph into the same old crisis of forgetting what works. Think about the last big crisis of faith in American capitalism in the early 1980s. The panic was eventually crystallized in dueling Harvard Business Review articles by George Gilder and Charles Ferguson. Mr. Ferguson, an MIT-based consultant, argued the U.S was dooming itself to vassalage unless Washington brushed aside small, poorly-funded entrepreneurs and concentrated regulatory favors and subsidies on giant firms like IBM, AT&T, Digital Equipment and Kodak.

Mr. Gilder championed the then-emerging Silicon Valley paradigm. He quoted technologist Carver Mead: "We depend on the innovations of the citizens of a free economy to keep ahead of the bureaucrats and the people who make a living on control and planning. In the long term, it's the element of surprise that gives us the edge over more controlled economies."

Who won hardly needs to be belabored except that it apparently does need to be belabored. Almost everything Mr. Obama understands as pro-growth consists of bets on "bureaucrats and the people who make a living on control and planning."

Disregarded, meanwhile, is the 1980s' real lesson, embodied in a prescient little book edited by the late Joseph Pechman, dean of tax scholars at the Brookings Institution. Entitled "World Tax Reform: A Progress Report," his 1988 volume showed how country after country was following the U.S. in adopting Reagan-style rate-flattening and tax simplification.

We had plenty of unwise polices in the mix too. Yet, over the next 20 years, policies that allowed private investment and innovation to reap their natural reward paid off. Globalization may be a megatrend, but the United States is still a big economy, and who doubts that if the U.S. were following a sounder course at home that it would matter less what China is doing with its currency or how the Europeans are handling their debt mess?

Mr. Ferguson has since refashioned himself as a maker of leftwing films about the Iraq war and financial meltdown, but his spirit lives on. Mr. Obama now craves a federal infrastructure bank, apparently still unable to see how growth might emerge except by bureaucrats bossing around tax dollars.

And yet the lord smiles on the U.S. Mr. Obama's own fiscal commission—his shamefully ignored Simpson-Bowles Commission—proposed a Reagan-style tax reform. Tax reform is the political fulcrum for addressing the growth shortage, the fiscal crisis and our runaway health-care prices problem. It's the one idea that reaches across the partisan divide. It might be the only thing that could save the Obama presidency.



Obama's Only Policy

Caroline Glick

For the past several months, most observers have been operating under the assumption that Obama will use the US's veto at the UN Security Council to defeat the Palestinians' bid next month to receive UN membership as independent Palestine. But the fact of the matter is that no senior administration official has stated unequivocally, on record that the US will veto a UN Security Council resolution recommending UN membership for Palestine.

Given US congressional and public support for Israel, it is likely that at the end of the day, Obama will veto such a resolution. But the fact that the President has abstained to date from stating openly that he will veto it makes clear that Obama expects Israel to "earn" a US veto by bowing to his demands.

These demands include abandoning Israel's position that it must retain defensible borders in any peace deal with the Palestinians. Since defensible borders require Israel to retain control over the Jordan Valley and the Samarian hills, there is no way to accept the 1949 armistice lines as a basis for negotiations without surrendering defensible borders.

SAY WHAT you will about Obama's policy, at least it's a policy. Obama uses US power and leverage against Israel in order to force Israel to bow to his will.

What makes Obama's Israel policy notable is not simply that it involves betraying the US's most steadfast ally in the Middle East. After all, since taking office Obama has made a habit of betraying US allies.

Obama's Israel policy is notable because it is a policy. Obama has a clear, consistent goal of cutting Israel down to size. Since assuming office, Obama has taken concrete steps to achieve this aim.

And those steps have achieved results. Obama forced Netanyahu to make Palestinian statehood an Israeli policy goal. He coerced Netanyahu into temporarily abrogating Jewish property rights in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. And now he is forcing Netanyahu to pretend the 1949 armistice lines are something Israel can accept.

Obama has not adopted a similarly clear, consistent policy towards any other nation in the region. In Egypt, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Libya, and beyond, Obama has opted for attitude over policy. He has postured, preened, protested and pronounced on all the issues of the day.

But he has not made policy. And as a consequence, for better or for worse, he has transformed the US from a regional leader into a regional follower while empowering actors whose aims are not consonant with US interests.

SYRIA IS case and point. President Bashar Assad is the Iranian mullahs' lap dog. He is also a major sponsor of terrorism. In the decade since he succeeded his father, Assad Jr. has trained terrorists who have killed US forces in Iraq. He has provided a safe haven for al Qaeda terrorists. He has strengthened Syrian ties to Hezbollah. He has hosted Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian terror factions. He has proliferated nuclear weapons. He reputedly ordered the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.

Since March, Assad has been waging war against his fellow Syrians. By the end of this week, with his invasion of Hama, the civilian death toll will certainly top two thousand.

And how has Obama responded? He upgraded his protestations of displeasure with Assad from "unacceptable" to "appalling."

In the face of Assad's invasion of Hama, rather than construct a policy for overthrowing this murderous US enemy, the Obama administration has constructed excuses for doing nothing. Administration officials, including Obama's ambassador to Damascus Robert Ford, are claiming that the US has little leverage over Assad.

But this is ridiculous. Many in Congress and beyond are demanding that Obama withdraw Ford from Damascus. Some are calling for sanctions against Syria's energy sector. These steps may or may not be effective. Openly supporting, financing and arming Assad's political opponents would certainly be effective.

Many claim that the most powerful group opposing Assad is the Muslim Brotherhood. And there is probably some truth to that. At a minimum, the Brotherhood's strength has been tremendously augmented in recent months by Turkey.

Some have applauded the fact that Turkey has filled the leadership vacuum left by the Obama administration. They argue that Turkish Prime Minister Recip Erdogan can be trusted to ensure that Syria doesn't descend into a civil war.

What these observers fail to recognize is that Erdogan's interests in a post-Assad Syria have little in common with US interests. Erdogan will seek to ensure the continued disenfranchisement of Syria's Kurdish minority. And he will work towards the Islamification of Syria through the Muslim Brotherhood.

Today there is a coalition of Syrian opposition figures that include all ethnic groups in Syria. Their representatives have been banging the doors of the corridors of power in Washington and beyond. Yet the same Western leaders who were so eager to recognize the Libyan opposition despite the presence of al Qaeda terrorists in the opposition tent have refused to publicly embrace Syrian regime opponents that seek a democratic, federal Syria that will live at peace with Israel and embrace liberal policies.

This week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held a private meeting with these brave democrats. Why didn't she hold a public meeting? Why hasn't Obama welcomed them to the White House?

By refusing to embrace liberal, multi-ethnic regime opponents, the administration is all but ensuring the success of the Turkish bid to install the Muslim Brotherhood in power if Assad is overthrown.

But then, embracing pro-Western Syrians would involve taking a stand and, in so doing, adopting a policy. And that is something the posturing president will not do. Obama is much happier pretending that empty statements from the UN Security Council amount to US "victories."

If he aims any lower his head will hit the floor.

OBAMA'S PREFERENCE for posture over policy is nothing new. It has been his standard operating procedure throughout the region. When the Iranian people rose up against their regime in June 2009 in the Green Revolution, Obama stood on the sidelines. As is his habit, he acted as though the job of the US president is to opine rather than lead. Then he sniffed that it wasn't nice at all that the regime was mowing down pro-democracy protesters in the streets of Teheran and beyond.

And ever since, Obama has remained on the sidelines as the mullahs took over Lebanon, build operational bases in Latin America, sprint to the nuclear finishing line, and consolidate their power in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On Wednesday the show trial began for longtime US ally former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and his sons. During last winter's popular uprising in Egypt, Obama's foes attacked him for refusing to abandon Mubarak immediately.

The reasons for maintaining US support for Mubarak were obvious: Mubarak had been the foundation of the US alliance structure with the Sunni Arab world for three decades. He had kept the peace with Israel. And his likely successor was the Muslim Brotherhood.

But Obama didn't respond to his critics with a defense of a coherent policy. Because his early refusal to betray Mubarak was not a policy. It was an attitude of cool detachment.

When Obama saw that it was becoming politically costly to maintain his attitude of detachment, he replaced it with a new one of righteous rage. And so he withdrew US support for Mubarak without ever thinking through the consequences of his actions. And now it isn't just Mubarak and his sons humiliated in a cage. It is their legacy of alliance with America.

Recognizing that Obama refuses to adopt or implement any policies on his own, Congress has tried to fill the gap. The House Foreign Affairs Committee recently passed a budget that would make US aid to Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen and the PA contingent on certification that no terrorist or extremist organization holds governmental power in these areas. Clinton issued a rapid rebuke of the House's budget and insisted it was unacceptable.

And this makes sense. Making US assistance to foreign countries contingent on assurances that the money won't fund US enemies would be a policy. And Obama doesn't make policy - except when it comes attacking to Israel.

In an interview with the New York Times on Thursday, Muammar Qaddafi's son Seif al-Islam Qaddafi said he and his father are negotiating a deal that would combine their forces with Islamist forces and reestablish order in the country. To a degree, the US's inability to overthrow Qaddafi - even by supporting an opposition coalition that includes al Qaeda - is the clearest proof that Obama has substituted attitude for policy everywhere except Israel.

Acting under a UN Security Council resolution and armed with a self-righteous doctrine of "Responsibility to Protect" Obama went to war against Qaddafi five months ago. But once the hard reality of war invaded his happy visions of Lone Rangers riding in on white stallions, Obama lost interest in Libya. He kept US forces in the battle, but gave them no clear goals to achieve. And so no goals have been achieved.

Meanwhile, Qaddafi's son feels free to meet the New York Times and mock America just by continuing to breathe in and out before the cameras as he sports a new Islamic beard and worry beads.

If nothing else, the waves of chaos, war and revolution sweeping through Arab lands make clear that the Arab conflict with Israel is but a sideshow in the Arab experience of tyranny, fanaticism, hope and betrayal. So it says a lot about Obama, that eight months after the first rebellion broke in Tunisia, his sole Middle East policy involves attacking Israel.




The bourgeois virtues and consumer ethics: "In an earlier column I talked about Deirdre McCloskey’s work on the 'bourgeois virtues.' McCloskey argues that capitalism both resulted from and helps to encourage a set of virtues beyond mere 'prudence.' In a market economy we act more ethically toward others, particularly strangers, not just because it’s in our self-interest but because when our default engagement with them is via voluntary exchange, we slowly develop the unconscious habit of treating others well."

Democracy’s spending curse: "As long as those receiving government benefits are much smaller in number than those paying for the benefits, politicians are more dependent on the taxpayers than on the beneficiaries. But the United States has reached the point at which there are more people receiving government checks than paying income taxes. As the political balance shifts away from taxpayers to recipients, the pressures to increase government spending accelerate until finally the golden goose is fully plucked and the economy collapses."

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

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


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


6 August, 2011

Is Reuters to Blame for the Terrorism in Norway?

By Cliff May, President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies

The New York Times last week ran an editorial arguing that Anders Behrig Breivik was “influenced by public debate and the extent to which that debate makes ideas acceptable.” The “broader” issue, says the Times, is that “inflammatory political rhetoric is increasingly tolerated.”

Exploiting atrocities to settle political scores through guilt by association is a nasty game but if we are going to play it, I’d look elsewhere. I’d start with Reuters or, more precisely, what we might call the Reuters Doctrine. After the attacks of 9/11/01, there were individuals and groups (emphatically including the policy institute I head) making the case that terrorism should be defined as the use of violence against civilians to further a political cause, and that expressing a grievance by intentionally killing other people’s children is never justified.

We argued that civilized people, of whatever religion or nationality, ought to be able to agree on this principle and, if they did, those who target innocents would be seen only as terrorists, unequivocally condemned by the “international community.”

Reuters disagreed. The global news agency took the position that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” This expression of moral relativism was embraced by many in the media, on the far left and far right, in academia, government and transnational organizations. And that may indeed have paved the way for Breivik -- who unquestionably fancies himself a fighter for European freedom -- to believe he could use terrorism to focus attention on his grievances without de-legitimizing those grievances. If it works for militant Islamists, why not for a militant Norwegian?

In his rambling 1,500 “manifesto,” Breivik lists the names of many individuals whose writing he has read and who are therefore now being accused of membership in the “Islamophobic blogosphere.” Among them: Mark Steyn, Theodore Dalrymple, Melanie Phillips, Bruce Bawer, Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, Bat Ye’or, Andrew Bostom and Pamela Geller. (And he cites FDD reports and congressional testimony on such topics as terrorist financing and Islamist oppression of Christians in the Middle East.) Anyone familiar with these sources knows that the views they hold vary widely – and not one advocates terrorism.

Breivik’s manifesto also includes digressions on George Orwell, John Stuart Mill, John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain and William James. Does that imply that those writers share the blame for Breivik’s murders? Shall we burn their books? (Memo to young readers: Read them while you can.)

Or should we reject as illogical and hypocritical the charge that anyone critical Islamism is beyond the pale and tarred with Breivik’s brush? Consider: Both the Sierra Club and “Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski are concerned are committed to fighting ecological degradation. Does that mean that all environmentalists have blood on their hands? (Breivik plagiarized extensively from Kaczynski’s writings for his manifesto perhaps suggesting he sees militant environmentalists as a model.)

Back to the Times editorial: It states that there is a “disturbing, and growing, intolerance across Europe for Muslims and other immigrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.” Where is the evidence for that? Which European countries have closed their borders to Muslim refugees? Which European countries have passed the equivalent of Jim Crow laws? Which European mass murderers have targeted innocent Muslims? The answer is none but of course innocent Muslims have been slaughtered – and continue to be slaughtered -- by Iran’s rulers, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas and Tehran-backed Shia militias in Iraq. Do the math: Muslims, more often than Christians, Jews or Hindus, are the victims of Islamic militants.

But nowhere in Europe do Muslims suffer oppression and discrimination on the level that religious and ethnic minorities do in most of the 50 or so countries that hold membership in the Organization of the Islamic Conference. (Can you find any editorials on this issue in the Times or other major newspapers?)

To be sure, there may be some Europeans and Americans who suspect that all or most or too many Muslims endorse the crimes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ayman al-Zawahi, Anwar al-Awlaki and other self-proclaimed jihaidis. That’s wrong. But it’s no less wrong to encourage the fiction that Muslims are victims and that Christians, Jews and Hindus are their victimizers.

This construct already has led to a weird sort of affirmative action for Islamix extremists. For example, Naser Asser Abdo was awarded “conscientious objector” status by the U.S. Army not because he was morally opposed to killing but because he was morally opposed to killing fellow Muslims. Imagine if a U.S. soldier had refused deployment to the Balkans saying he couldn’t defend Bosnian Muslims against Serbian Christians. You think he’d have been regarded as a conscientious objector and given an honorable discharge? If there were ever any doubts about the conscientiousness of Abdo’s objections to taking up arms, he cleared those up following his release from the Army when he immediately stocked up on guns and explosives, apparently intending to replicate the massacre carried out by Maj. Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood. Hasan is another instance of what might be called reverse discrimination: Had he been a white supremacist instead of a Muslim supremacist, do you think his views would have been ignored and he would have been able to rise in the American military as he did?

Toward the end of his manifesto, Breivik argues that “democratic change” is an illusion and that the only answer is “armed resistance.” He predicts “more moderate” political efforts will be “persecuted” and that attempts at “peaceful reform will be crushed” leaving violence as the only alternative. By demonizing those concerned by the pathologies afflicting the Muslim world and emanating from it, Times editorial writers and their allies are actually giving credence to Breivik’s worldview.



MSNBC pulls out favorite Soviet/KGB trick: Declare your opponents insane

Psychologists have been misrepresenting conservatives in a similar way since 1950. But nobody listens to them, fortunately

On Wednesday, MSNBC’s Martin Bashir launched the most transparently biased and abusive segments yet against Tea Party activists. Not content to simply repeat the slurs of the usual suspects of the legacy media, Bashir out-did himself by trotting out one of the most favored tactics of the Soviet KGB to hurl at the advocates of limited government and fiscal sanity.

In a series of questions and responses with addiction guru Stanton Peele, MSNBC proceeded to label childish, delusional zealots who are mired in their “psychosis.” And how does the esteemed author and quack come to this conclusion? Simple. Tea Party advocates are adamant that government become smaller, tax less and have a diminished role in people’s lives. That is what MSNBC and their mouthpieces consider mentally ill, suffering from childish psychosis.

It would be funny if it never had been done before. But, of course, it has. In the 1950s, Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev needed to control dissent. But the old Stalin ways of shooting people or packing them off to Siberia wasn’t effective enough. So, he and the KGB secret-police started to use psychiatric hospitals as the new gulags. Khrushchev proudly proclaimed, “there are no political prisoners (in the USSR), only persons of unsound mind.” The practice was so repugnant that even the New York Times ran a front page story condemning it in October, 1987.

So why would the in-house organ of the socialist left in America, MSNBC, revert to using the old tactic of labeling their opponents of being of “unsound mind”? Because, they have nothing else to undercut the forces building in the nation against them. The Left has no arguments. Their policies are destroying America and increasingly people recognize the truth. As more and more citizens gravitate to the Tea Party message of limited government and reduced government spending, the Left is desperate to isolate and denigrate the messengers of American renewal. They long for the days when Republicans were those nice, well-mannered people who gave them whatever they demanded.

A time-honored political debating ploy is to accuse your opponent of your own worst crime. It appears that this is what MSNBC and all the attack-dogs snarling at the Tea Parties are up to. It is they, after all, that are delusional.

It is the Left in America that believes with all their hearts that the way to solve a debt crisis is to take on mountains of new debt. It is the liberal establishment who advocates as hard as they can that the economy will grow if only we radically increase the cost of energy and limit its supply. It is the leftwing pundits who can look upon a $3.7 trillion dollar federal budget and not see a single thing to cut.

Sadly, these people have been suffering from their delusions for decades. Their illness has only gotten worse. These are the same people that denounced the conviction and execution of spies Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. “A travesty,” they screamed. Fundraisers were held with all the celebrities of the day denouncing America. But, when the files of the KGB were opened after the fall of the Soviet Union and it was learned for an absolute fact that the Rosenbergs were Soviet spies that had committed treason against America, the Left fell uncharacteristically silent. I guess putting the American people in jeopardy was “no big deal.”

The list of other examples is very long. The liberal-leftist-socialist elements in America, with their allies and water-boys in academia and the media, simply refuse to see the reality of things. They are delusional to the point of insanity.

So, in the spirit of community and neighborliness, let me help out our brethren on the Left with a reality check.

The Tea Party doesn’t care what you think. You have no credibility. Small government advocates will not be cowed or isolated by your ranting and raving. You have no effect, you are as impotent as your policies. The American people are seeing through your lies, deceits and manipulations. You cannot get them back. The Ponzi scheme you have built is falling apart and there aren’t enough printing presses in the world to prop it up much longer.

Enjoy your taunts and snide remarks now while you can. Snuggle down with others of your ilk in your self-satisfied stupor, assured that you can slander the limited government advocates enough to keep them at bay. Continue, please, in your delusional state, ignoring the reality that is threatening America and the coming tidal wave that next year is likely to wake you up too late to save your rancid agenda.



Obama Administration Added $9.5 Billion in Red Tape in July

Conservatives take aim at job-killing regulations

Many House and Senate conservatives are reviving their battle against federal regulations, claiming that the president hasn't stopped issuing job-killing rules during the debt ceiling fight. "While Washington and Americans have been focused on the debt ceiling, the Obama administration has continued to roll out more crushing red tape," said a spokesperson for Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso, who's been championing the regulation fight.

At Tuesday's GOP Senate caucus lunch, the lawmakers said that they will renew their efforts, supported by business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In a memo Barasso handed out to the lawmakers, he claimed that the administration in July only has put in $9.5 billion in new regulatory costs by proposing 229 new rules and finalizing 379 rules. Among those he cited were EPA, healthcare reform, and financial regulatory reform rules.



Leftists have no ideas

That vacuum between Obama's ears is not unique to him

What happens when people who completely dominate the conversation have nothing to say? What happens when the people who talk the most and are listened to the most about our nation’s most serious problems do not have a plausible solution to any of them? What I think happens is the current state of affairs.

Let me explain. Sometime in the mid-1970s, near the end of the Vietnam War, liberalism in America died an intellectual death. Since that time, virtually every new idea — whether good or bad — about how to solve our most important economic problems has come from the right. Virtually nothing has come from the left.

Do you doubt that? Okay, it’s test time. Tell me what the liberal answer is to the problem of our failing public schools. …..tick, tick, tick ….. I’m waiting …. tick, tick, tick …. Give up? What about the liberal solution to the failed War on Poverty? … pause….. pause ….. pause …. No luck there either?

Okay, let’s take what President Obama says is the biggest domestic problem we face. What is the liberal solution to the huge unfunded liabilities in Social Security and Medicare? ….. Can’t think of one? What about solving the problem of unfunded pensions and post-retirement health care benefits for state and local workers? …. Not even a vague suggestion or two? Wow. We seem to be really striking out.

Well, can you tell me what a liberal income tax code would look like? Zip. How about a liberal international economic system? Nada.

Note: I’m not asking if you have a liberal acquaintance who has an opinion or two on these matters. I’m asking if you can produce a solution that would be generally recognized as the liberal solution.

If I asked what are the conservative solutions, you probably wouldn’t hesitate for very long. For education, there is school choice. For a failed welfare system, tough love. For unfunded entitlements, personal accounts so that individuals can save and invest and pay for their own retirement benefits. Instead of the current income tax code, a flat tax. In international affairs, free trade.

Is there anything that is comparable to these solutions on the left of the political spectrum? I believe not. The reason it’s so easy to rattle off the conservative answers is because for the last 30 years or so those are the proposals the nation has been debating. The nation has not been debating liberal ideas because there haven’t been any liberal ideas.




Consumers have dim view of lighting law: "After years of looming as a distant threat, the federally mandated phaseout of some incandescent bulbs is about to become very real. Many Americans have no idea that most traditional light bulbs are about to disappear, to be replaced by energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights, light-emitting diodes, and halogen incandescents. For some of those in the know, the change means just one thing: It is time to start hoarding old-fashioned bulbs"

Italy advances burqa ban bill: "A parliamentary committee in Italy has approved a bill that would ban the wearing of the burqa and other garments that cover the face. Parliament is expected to vote on the bill in September, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. ... Violators could be fined up to 300 euros ($420) or sentenced to community service 'aimed at encouraging integration.'"

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

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


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


5 August, 2011

Thank you Mr. Obama

In scenes reminiscent of the Great Depression these are the ramshackle homes of the desperate and destitute U.S. families who have set up their own 'Tent City' only an hour from Manhattan. More than 50 homeless people have joined the community within New Jersey's forests as the economic crisis has wrecked their American dream.

And as politicians in Washington trade blows over their country's £8.8 trillion debt, the prospect of more souls joining this rag tag group grows by the day.

Building their own tarpaulin tents, Native American teepees and makeshift balsa wood homes, every one of the Tent City residents has lost their job.

These people have been reduced to living on handouts from the local church and friendly restaurants and the community is a sad look at troubles caused as the world's most powerful country struggles with its finances.

'We have been in and out of the camp for a year,' said ex-hotel worker Burt Haut, 43, who lives with his wife, ex-teacher Barbara, 48 in a tent styled like a teepee from the Old West. 'Our financial difficulties since the credit crisis three years ago have caused us to camp on public ground, at the back of churches and down the backs of closed down stores. 'We have had help from our friends and family, but we have run that well dry.

'We are trying to get back on our feet and with help from the camp leadership we hope to get back onto a social security scheme or help with some assisted housing.'

Ravaged by the loss of their jobs and their homes, the residents of Tent City struggle to get by without day-to-day luxuries that we take for granted such as food on the table and a roof over their heads. Ex-minister Steve Brigham, 50, runs Tent City, which consists of a dirt road running through a two-acre encampment which has flowerpots laid out front of proud tents and homes.

Functioning as near to a normal town as possible, Tent City is governed by democratic rules agreed by all the residents.



Dereliction of Duty

Oliver North

The potentates on the Potomac claim that President Barack Obama's signature on the "debt deal" solves the immediate problems created by Washington's spendthrift fiscal madness while "protecting America's future." Truth be told, it does neither. Here's why.

The arcane legislation cobbled together by House Republicans, Senate Democrats and the Obama White House doesn't increase our taxes, but it does raise the U.S. government's debt limit by a staggering $2 trillion in order to "preserve our AAA credit rating." The agreement says our government will somehow reduce spending by nearly $1 trillion over the next decade. It also creates a special 12-member Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction -- composed of an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, six from each house of Congress -- to propose ways to reduce our federal deficit by $1.5 trillion. This joint committee is to present its deficit reduction plan by Thanksgiving, and Congress must pass it by Christmas. Sound complicated? It is. And worse, the whole agreement is chock-full of dirty little secrets.

The "deal" identifies no automatic cuts in so-called entitlement spending -- Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. But it does require reductions in national defense expenditures, of 6 percent next year and 7.5 percent in 2013. In round numbers, that's about $400 billion less that the U.S. will spend on defending itself over the next decade. Worse, the cuts will begin while we still are fighting 2.5 wars. And that's not all.

Though Republicans claim the legislation will "protect" our military -- now closing on a decade at war -- from "major cuts," that's a hollow promise. The new law mandates that funds for national security and "discretionary domestic programs," not entitlements, be automatically "sequestered" -- meaning "not spent" -- if Congress cannot agree on $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions by Christmas. On Thursday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said this "trigger mechanism" would double cuts in defense and require across-the-board reductions in military spending. He termed this outcome "dangerous" and "completely unacceptable."

The defense secretary's comments echo those of U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey's last week. During confirmation hearings to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Dempsey warned members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that it would be "extraordinarily difficult and very high-risk" to double the Obama administration's commitment to cut $400 billion from our military over the next decade. In a written response to committee questions, he said, "National security didn't cause the debt crisis nor will it solve it."

It's hard to imagine Panetta and Dempsey's hard truth's being welcomed in the West Wing, but it's refreshing to hear nonetheless. For months, administration officials and too many in Congress have been quoting outgoing Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen's claim that "the biggest threat we have to our national security is our debt."

Notably, this "threat assessment" justified major cuts in defense by the Obama administration in the fiscal 2011 budget. Ballistic missile defense, the F-22 fifth-generation fighter, the Marines' Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, the Army's Future Combat Systems, new C-17 cargo aircraft and the Navy's next-generation nuclear submarine all got the ax. It didn't matter what risk these cuts imposed; all that mattered was cutting.

Since then, the Iranians have accelerated their quest to acquire nuclear weapons. China's new assertiveness in the Pacific now alarms our allies in Tokyo, Seoul and Manila. Russia's oil and natural gas-fueled modernization of its nuclear arsenal and intercontinental ballistic missiles has expanded -- even as Vladimir Putin describes us as "parasites."

For the record, the Obama administration's original fiscal 2012 request for our military -- made in February by then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates -- was for $553 billion. The Pentagon now is planning to fight 2.5 wars, replace worn-out equipment and retain the world's brightest, best-educated and most combat-experienced military force on less than $520 billion. Though Congress is now on recess and the president is playing golf, the new fiscal year starts in less than eight weeks -- and there still is no defense budget.

When our elected officials finally get back to work in Washington, it would be nice if they would recall a few of their responsibilities. First, what we spend on defending ourselves should be based on the risks we face if we don't buy what we need. Second, "provide for the common defense" is an essential function of government. Third, the word "entitlement" does not appear in our Constitution. We the People regard failure to heed these admonitions as nothing less than dereliction of duty.



Obama’s hollow claim of commitment to Israel’s security

Is President Barack Obama committed to Israel’s security? Reassuring bromides to that effect in his recent speeches are nullified by specific statements that spell out dangerous Israeli concessions and disregard for Israeli vital interests. Worse, the administration’s wider Middle East policies further denude those commitments of meaning.

Moreover, Obama’s unprecedented call for a Palestinian state to have “permanent Palestinian borders with… Jordan” would require Israel ceding the Jordan Valley, whose retention successive Israeli governments have regarded as vital– another first for a US president.

Obama has also become the first US president to suggest that issues of “territory and security” be agreed upon first, before proceeding to negotiations on all other matters, including Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants.

Upholding Israel’s basic security would also mean repudiating the repatriation of the refugees and their descendants. Bush did so in his May 2004 letter; Obama has not. On the contrary, he has supported the so-called Saudi peace plan, which demands not only a return to the 1967 lines, but also the return of all refugees and their descendants.

In May, Obama reiterated that the US “will hold the Palestinians accountable for their actions and their rhetoric.”

But he never has – nor does he now. When, in August 2009, Fatah held a conference in Bethlehem, reaffirming its refusal to accept Israel’s existence as a Jewish state, glorifying terrorists, insisting on the so-called ‘right of return,’ and rejecting an end of claims in any future peace agreement, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton astonishingly claimed that the conference showed “a broad consensus supporting negotiations with Israel and the two-state solution.”

When in 2010, the PA named a Ramallah square after terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, Clinton falsely claimed that this ceremony was initiated by a “Hamas-run municipality.” Refusing to identify the PA as responsible, Obama has not penalized it.

INDEED, FAR from holding Palestinians accountable, Obama has consistently rewarded them, increasing aid to almost $1 billion per year. A Palestinian Media Watch report just presented to the US Congress documents that, in May 2011 alone, the PA paid $5,207,000 in salaries to Palestinians in Israeli jails, including blood-soaked terrorists. Last year the US provided $225 million to the general Palestinian budget from which these salaries are paid.

If Obama was genuine about holding the PA accountable, he would be demanding the disbanding of Fatah’s own Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades – a US- recognized terrorist group. He would demand the abrogation of the PA’s unity agreement with Hamas (which calls for a genocide of Jews) as a precondition of any future talks. He has done neither.

It is also difficult to imagine what conception of American and Israeli security interests led Obama in January to ditch Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and call for political “transition… now” when protests erupted in Cairo. Still less clear is why his administration spoke immediately of involving “non-secular actors” – a clear allusion to the Muslim Brotherhood – given its virulent hostility to the US and Israel. Now, Obama has legitimized the Brotherhood by initiating contacts with it.

THE NET result is that Egypt is on the road from lukewarm ally and peace-maker to a dependable enemy – one to which Obama has announced the sale of 125 state-of-the-art M1A1 Abrams tanks. It is also disturbing that Obama has not pressured Egypt to close its Gaza border at Rafah, whose recent opening has enabled the flow of weaponry into Hamas-run Gaza.

For a year, Obama prohibited any new US sanctions to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons – a looming existential threat to both Israel and the US. Indeed, further measures which must be taken to stop Iran is precisely what Obama left untouched in his recent speeches.

Thus Obama’s words and deeds not only fail to match his stated commitment to Israel’s security – they negate it.



A Clash of Visions

In a revealing interview this week with The Wall Street Journal, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor addressed the division that will make compromise in the budget fights ahead nearly impossible. In describing the negotiations leading up to the debt-ceiling deal, Cantor said the talks were made difficult because of a major clash of visions between the parties.

"It's almost as if the president and his party really are bent on promoting a welfare state and then thinking about ... our free enterprise system second," Cantor said. "And their emphasis ... has been in trying to promote programs of economic redistribution. And if you hear them speak, it's always about 'everybody should pay their fair share.' And I think the difference is, we believe everyone should have a fair shot."

Indeed, Cantor's remarks succinctly describe the different worldviews of liberals and conservatives.

Liberals, who think of themselves as more compassionate than conservatives, are always trying to come up with programs and policies that even out the differences between individuals. Liberals want to take a bigger chunk of money from those who earn more because they are harder workers, are brighter or more skilled, have invested more in education, or just happen to have been born into a wealthy family. And liberals want to use that money to create programs to help those who are less fortunate. Our federal income tax system is based on this principle.

Conservatives, on the other hand, aren't as concerned about evening out inequalities between individuals and would rather encourage individuals to pursue their own interests, for better or worse. Most conservatives believe that government should not penalize hard work, risk-taking and success by insisting that government take a larger share of the fruits of those efforts.

But with the advent of the modern welfare state, conservatives have been on the losing end of the policy debate when it comes to providing government assistance to a growing portion of the American population. And the money to pay for those programs is coming from a shrinking portion of our population. According to the latest figures available from the Internal Revenue Service, nearly half of all Americans pay no federal income tax, and that proportion has been on a steady rise for decades.

Given these dramatic disparities between worldviews, it's hard to imagine how a divided government is going to achieve the budget cuts promised in the debt-ceiling compromise or rewrite tax laws that nearly everyone agrees need to be reformed. And an election year is probably the environment least likely to produce satisfactory results.

So what can we expect from the new congressional committee set up to tackle these issues? Not much, which means that the mandatory budget cuts agreed to in the compromise are likely to be the best we can hope for -- along with a hefty tax increase when the so-called Bush tax cuts expire. And when that happens, liberals will have won the day once again.

The $1.2 trillion in mandatory cuts required if Congress doesn't accept the recommendations of the new bi-partisan committee come mostly from cuts in military spending and payments to Medicare providers. That's assuming that the committee can even come up with a plan. What these cuts don't do is tackle the entitlement infrastructure, which is what is threatening to bankrupt the country.

In 2008, the American people chose the liberal worldview by electing Barack Obama and large liberal majorities in both houses of Congress. By 2010, Americans were having second thoughts and gave conservatives a large majority in the House of Representatives. In 2012, voters are going to have to decide whether to complete what they started in 2010 and elect a conservative president and Senate or default to the liberal position of 2008.

With so many Americans now on the receiving end of the greatly expanded welfare state, I'm not sanguine about the prospects of the conservatives winning. But if we don't change course soon, liberals may find that there is little American wealth left to redistribute to anyone.


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

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


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


4 August, 2011

Was Breivik inevitable?

Leftists are very keen to identify the "root cause" of various social ills. And the root cause identified in most cases is "poverty". They even sang that song for some time after the events of 9/11/2001. It was allegedly Muslim poverty that caused those events. It took several months of people reminding the Left that Osama bin Laden was actually a billionaire before the Left abandoned that song. About a third of them went on after that to say that George Bush did it anyway -- and the remainder said that GWB was at least to blame in some way.

And we remember recently the Arizona massacre by Jared Loughner. That was allegedly caused by hate speech from Right-wing radio hosts, despite the fact that Loughner was a reader of such "conservative" works as the Communist Manifesto and was clearly mad (psychotic). After many people reminded the Left that plenty of furious hate speech emanated from them also, that one petered out too.

And now of course most of the Left is convinced that conservatives are to blame for Breivik's massacre. The fact that no conservative mentioned by Breivik actually recommended anything like what Breivik did is no problem, apparently. Conservatives created a "climate" (surely one of the Left's favourite words) conducive to Breivik's deeds.

That the "climate" seems to have influenced nobody but Breivik would however be seen as problematical by rational beings. Hundreds of millions of people read the sort of writers that Breivik quotes but no others of them go on murderous rampages. If conservative speech were a drug and I was submitting it to the FDA for approval, the FDA would wave it through -- on the grounds that a drug safely taken by millions with only one bad reaction had to be evaluated for safety by reference to the hundreds of millions of cases rather than the one isolated exception.

So it is clear that even if the frenzied claims of root causes made by Leftists are totally addled, they do set a precedent for others to look at root causes too -- but hopefully in a more rational manner. And if Leftists say that conservatism is the root cause of Breivik's deeds, why should I not make the case that Leftism is the root cause of Breivik's deeds? What's good for the goose is surely good for the gander.

So I contend that the root cause of Breivik's onslaught is not to be found in Breivik's head (though the proximate cause lies there) but rather in the long-term policies of the antisemitic and Muslim-loving Norwegian Left.

And those policies have been destructive indeed. Norway now has Muslim ghettoes where the police rarely go and crimes such as rape have become a Muslim specialty -- with ANY crime by Muslims being rarely prosecuted and punished. The Norwegian Left has inflicted grave harm on Norwegian society. And adding insult to injury, you will usually be abused as a racist if you even mention any of that harm (but calling for Israel to be bombed is perfectly respectable, of course). An excerpt from just one report of what the Norwegian Left has wrought, by way of example:
I live in Oslo, Norway. We have lots of problems with muslim immigrants. Official crime statistics over a three year period shows 49 of 49 assault rapes in Oslo was made by a person from a "non-western background" which is basically government code for muslim immigrants. Just yesterday Aftenposten; on of Norway's most respected newspapers, interviewed the police chief in Oslo where she advised Norwegian women not to walk the streets alone at night, the police have basically given up combating the problem with crime.

The muslims in Norway are just as hatefull as in Sweden, which has the same problem but in a much worse degree. From a young age they openly call Norwegian women for whores, their own sisters are locked inside the home to protect them from the Norwegian society. The young muslim men often date Norwegian girls, but do not marry them because they are perceived as whores; they are ok to have sex with but too filthy to marry, basically.

Muslims in Norway also are not very interested in their kids learning to read or write in Norwegian, making them losers in the educational system from an early age. This is also true for second and third generation immigrants. Across my streets lives the only muslim family in my neighborhood, all the kids (they have like 5 of them with one 1/2 to 2 years between them) talk Arabic and never Norwegian.

While Norwegian kids are more quiet and reserved the muslim kids seem to be more violent, usually carrying sticks and shouting all the time where Norwegian kids are more silent and withdrawn. When growing up in Oslo I experienced the same violent behaviour with my muslim peers, personally I believe that their whole culture is more based around the "power of the strong", where if you are strong you are perceived to have more power; which the muslims look up to as something good.

My impression from dealing with immigrants is that they feel Norway owes them something, even though it is *them* who don't fit in. Many muslims don't like Norwegians or Norwegian rule, but they rarely move back to a muslim country and change citizenship.

The worst thing is when that the socialists, who are the major political force in Norway, hear these arguments they immediately call you racist or Islamophobe. They also have concealed crime statistics for years by refusing to publish crime numbers based on origins. Once when they did it was found that 10% of the population, the immigrants, stood for 90% of the crime and more specifically 100% of assault rapes in Oslo! I personally am against any religion or ideology that spreads separation and hate, be it Islam or Christian fundamentalism.

So am I blaming the victim? Am I blaming the Leftist elite whom Breivik targeted? I certainly am. If someone initiates an assault and gets hurt in the reaction, then they are certainly to blame for the hurt they suffer. And the Norwegian Left has inflicted great harm on ordinary Norwegians. And even before Breivik, Norwegians had begun to wake up to that. Despite their long domination of Norwegian politics, the Labour party lost the last election and had to form a Red/Green coalition with two other parties to stay in government.

And this disillusionment with the pro-Muslim policies of the Norwegian Left has led -- as we are repeatedly told by Norwegian experts themselves (a recent example here) -- to views such as Breivik's becoming widespread among Norwegians. So Breivik was quite normal in his beliefs and different only in doing something about them.

In those circumstances it seems clear to me that if Breivik had not struck then somebody else would eventually have done so. There was a head of steam building up in Norway that would eventually have burst out somewhere. The Viking genes can't entirely have died out there.


America Can Thank the "Terrorists"

You know what they say; one man's terrorist is another man's democratically elected congressman. That's just one of the many lessons of the debt ceiling compromise, a deal that heralds a new era of electrifying political rhetoric. Nazis are out. Jihadists are in.

The tea party "acted like terrorists," Joe Biden reportedly said of negotiations. One reasonable New York Times columnist called the tea party the "Hezbollah faction" of the GOP, and the other advised the radicals to "put aside their suicide vests" -- for now. And in a sweeping assault on the tea party, metaphors, syntax and clarity, MSNBC's Chris Matthews packed everything he'd read on the blogs into a glorious globule of rhetorical confusion.

But fret not. Terrorist analogies are welcome when democracy fails to break to the left. Republicans should never refer to the Congressional Progressive Caucus as a bunch of wealth-destroying jihadists who wear suicide vests packed with prosperity-killing stimulus plans. That kind of overheated hyperbole would be catastrophic, leading to violence and/or another alarmist Diane Sawyer television special. But Bob Beckel is just being cute when he discusses the "tea terrorist party" on Fox News. (He later apologized.)

And it turns out that the extremist freshman wing of the Republican Party (which wing isn't extreme, though -- am I right?) voted 59-28 in favor of the bipartisan "sugar-coated Satan sandwich" debt deal. What kind of namby-pamby hostage takers are these people? (Did you know that 95 House Democrats also voted against raising the ceiling? From what we've learned about staggering dangers of fooling around with this policy, we apparently have another 95 nihilists running around D.C.)

If you're wondering why these elected officials, representing their constituents within the system, are the equivalent of terrorists, a Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania bores to the heart of the matter: "This small group of terrorists," Mike Doyle explained, "have made it impossible to spend any money."

Well, damn near impossible. Washington will have to squeeze by on $43,900,000,000,000 over the next decade while wrestling with real cuts that are likely to rise to zero -- or maybe less. If we can't spend money, who are we as a people?

Perhaps it's because of some psychological ailment such as Stockholm syndrome -- and why else would a person believe in libertarian fiscal policy? -- that I hope the tea party does a better job next time around. It is, after all, silly watching the establishment celebrate a compromise on debt that adds $7 trillion to the nation's liability and uses a base line that assumes some pretty significant tax hikes.

But you needn't sympathize with the American Taliban to understand the significance of the day. No amount of hysterics changes the fact that there has been realignment to the national conversation. The country has been radicalized by reality. A new CNN poll finds that though they rightly disapprove with everyone involved, 65 percent of those polled think that cuts in the debt deal were appropriate. Most polls find that voters believe government is too large and favor spending cuts. Remember that polls showed that most voters were against raising the debt limit at all.

It's not the terrorists who drive this change. It's the evidence. It's the economic suffering that "spreading it around" policy has created. It's institutionalization of a recession. For a while, at least, those who claim that bankruptcy spending and bullet trains create jobs -- no matter how regularly the media offer these myths as fact -- can't be taken seriously.

Fleeting as this shift may be, we were brought a sliver of good news this week. During one glorious day, the United States passed legislation with the sole intention of cutting government rather than "creating" so-called jobs or "investing" in some cockamamie energy boondoggle or "helping" "working families" -- which is, of course, the biggest help Washington can offer us. For that, we can thank the "terrorists."




What Breivik shot up was an antisemitic training ground: "Labour Youth League summer camp at Utøya got the Labour Party’s young hopefuls a visit by Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store. The Palestinians “must have their own state, the occupation must end, the wall must be demolished and it must happen now,” said the Norwegian Foreign Minister to cheers from the audience. The main activity at the Utoya Island Meeting were mock “Break the Israel blockade” games. Utoya camp was not Islamist but it WAS something not much more wholesome (by our standards, at any rate). It was a summer indoctrination camp run by Norway’s ruling Labor Party for up-and-coming children of the ruling elite."

Of straws and camels: "Here’s the problem: borrowing is only right when you can pay back your creditors. US policy is to fund our debt payments with additional debt. Tax revenues, even vastly increased tax revenues, cannot pay back the present debt. Growing that debt more slowly is not a solution; if the federal government can’t pay its bills without perpetual borrowing now, how is it supposed to pay those bills later? At some point, some creditors must be left holding the bag."

Free cell phones are now a civil right: "Recently, a federal government program called the Universal Service Fund came to the Keystone State and some residents are thrilled because it means they can enjoy 250 minutes a month and a handset for free, just because they don't have the money to pay for it. Through Assurance Wireless and SafeLink from Tracfone Wireless these folks get to reach out and touch someone while the cost of their service is paid for by everyone else. You see, the telecommunications companies are funding the Universal Service Fund to the tune of $4 billion a year because the feds said they have to and in order to recoup their money, the companies turn around and hike their fees to paying customers."

UN Security Council issues statement condemning violence in Syria: "The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday issued a statement condemning the Syrian government's crackdown on protesters and calling for an immediate end to violence by all parties. 'The Security Council condemns the widespread violations of human rights and the use of force against civilians by the Syrian authorities,' the eight-paragraph statement says." [A fat lot of good that will do. As Bismarck said: "Not through speeches and majority decisions will the great questions of the day be decided but by iron and blood"]

Poll: Muslims, atheists most likely to reject violence: "New data from polling firm Gallup shows that out of all the religious groups in the U.S., Muslims are most likely to reject violence, followed by the non-religious atheists and agnostics. Through interviews with 2,482 Americans, Gallup found that 78 percent of Muslims believe violence which kills civilians is never justified, whereas just 38 percent of Protestant Christians and 39 percent of Catholics agreed with that sentiment. Fifty-six percent of atheists answered similarly" [The old attitude/behaviour gap again, it would seem]

Lemonade freedom: "August 20 is Lemonade Freedom Day and everyone who can do so is asked to set up a stand; everyone else is urged to imbibe. The reason? Authorities across America are closing down kids’ lemonade stands because, in many states and localities, they violate health codes, licensing laws, and other permit requirements. A recent headline in Reason online declared, 'Lemonade-Stand Crackdown Continues: Cops Make Girls Cry From Georgia to Wisconsin.'"

The case against John Bryson: "President Obama's nominee for secretary of commerce, John Bryson, is a terrible choice for a Cabinet department ostensibly dedicated to promoting economic growth and job creation. In fact, Bryson has made a career out of undermining both. Over the years, he has used his government connections to game the political process and receive billions in bailouts and subsidies. America does not need any more crony capitalists in high places."

Welcome to what recovery?: "Today, August 3, 2011, marks the one year anniversary of Treasure Secretary Tim Geithner’s op-ed in The New York Times, ostentatiously titled 'Welcome to the Recovery.' ... He might as well have printed that on a banner and hung it over a battle ship for how much he has likely grown to regret those words. 'We are on a path back to growth' Geithner declared, as he went to great lengths to justify and praise the stimulus package."

The latest black swan: Caylee’s law: "Black-swan law: a law created in response to a highly unrepresentative situation or legal case, which is typically rushed into effect and then used to regulate everyone's daily life. Never trust a law named after a person. It is most likely a politician's act of self-aggrandizement or the result of public frenzy. Caylee's law is the latter."

Our unsustainable entitlement growth: "As news of Washington’s debt ceiling clash flashed across the wires, a reader sent me a clipping this week from a column written by a Texas radio pastor in 1975. It decries the gargantuan size of President Gerald Ford’s proposed federal budget, which 'constitutes a continuation of the spend, spend, spend philosophy' with enormous deficits passed on to the nation’s children. The arguments are familiar, but the numbers are staggering. The total projected size of the deficit back then? $52 billion. The total size of the proposed budget? $349 billion"

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

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


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


3 August, 2011

An amusing email from a reader

But I understand how he feels:
I read your blog daily. Lately I have found it leaving me feeling depressed and powerless in an asylum run by the inmates.

But now I have found the cure. After reading Greenie Watch, Education Watch, Immigration Watch et al, I finish of with Gun Watch - really the best antidote and sets me up for the rest of the day!!!

Back in the 70's when the world was young, I was a subscriber to "Human Events". I eventually found it so depressing, however, that I cancelled my subscription!

So I hope this blog is not falling into the same hole. I therefore begin today's postings with what I think are two more cheerful articles:


The real story of the US debt deal is not the triumph of the Tea Party but the death of the Socialist Left

Comment from Britain

For British conservatives, the US debt deal is a thing of beauty. Under the terms of the deal, the federal government will cut spending by $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years and there won’t be any corresponding increase in taxation. That is to say, the American Government has agreed to tackle its deficit by spending cuts alone. The British Government, by contrast, is planning to cut its deficit through a combination of spending cuts and tax rises – and it’s cutting it by a smaller amount.

Even if the Tory Party had won an overall majority at the last election, it’s hard to imagine it adopting such a bold fiscal policy. Yet the American Government is on the verge of adopting this plan in spite of the fact that the Democrats control the Senate and the White House. A year ago, American conservatives were showering David Cameron with praise for adopting such a radical approach to reducing Britain’s deficit and contrasting him unfavourably with their own spendthrift President. Now, our Prime Minister looks like a weak-kneed liberal in contrast to the hard-headed Obama. Whatever happened to the stimulus?

Most pundits are crediting this U-turn to the political muscle of the Tea Party and it’s true that President Obama would never have agreed to this deal if the Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives hadn’t engaged in the brinkmanship of the past few weeks. But to focus on the Tea Party is to ignore the tectonic political shift that’s taken place, not just in America but across Europe. The majority of citizens in nearly all the world’s most developed countries simply aren’t prepared to tolerate the degree of borrowing required to sustain generous welfare programmes any longer.

As I pointed out in a blog post last May, tax-and-spend Left-wing parties have fared poorly in election after election over the past two years: "Labour was punished by the British electorate last year, polling its lowest share of the vote since 1983, but not as severely as the Social Democrats were by the Swedes, polling their lowest share of the vote since universal suffrage was introduced in 1921…"

The same picture emerges wherever you look. In the European election in June, 2009, the Left took a hammering. In Germany, the Social Democrats polled just 20 per cent of the vote, their worst result since the Second World War. In France, the Socialist Party only mustered 16.5 per cent, its lowest share of the vote in a European election since 1994. In Italy, the Democrats polled 26.1 per cent, seven percentage points less than they received at the last Italian election. As David Miliband pointed out in a recent lecture: “Left parties are losing elections more comprehensively than ever before. They are fragmenting at just the time the Right is uniting. I don’t believe this is some kind of accident.”

For believers in redistributive taxation and egalitarian social programmes like David Miliband, Obama was the last great hope. Here was a centre left politician capable of building the kind of electoral coalition that underpinned the massive expansions of state power in Britain and America, from Attlee’s post-war Labour Government to Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. That is, a coalition of the white working class, minorities and middle class liberals. Yet in spite of sweeping to power in 2008 and ensuring the Democrats won in both the House and the Senate, Obama has proved unable to sustain that coalition. Last night’s debt deal represents the moment when he acknowledged that trying to maintain the levels of public spending required to fund ambitious welfare programmes is political suicide. Which is why the deal has been greated with cries of impotent rage by the British Left.

In both Britain and America, the Left has been reduced to hoping that cutting public spending on this scale will snuff out economic growth and plunge our respective economies back into recession. Not only will the Coalition be turfed out as a consequence, but if Obama can somehow blame the Tea Party for the “double dip” he might be able to persuade the people to grant him four more years. What the Left hasn’t grasped – and what Obama has – is that for the foreseeable future no political candidate or party will be able to increase public spending and win re-election. Socialist welfare programmes have become politically toxic. A sea change has taken place within the West’s most developed countries and last night’s debt deal is a reflection of that.



The complex and frustrating U.S. system of government is its greatest strength

Comment from Australia

THE world is badly misinterpreting the US debt crisis - it is not a sign of the weakness of US politics, but its strength. This crisis, more than anything, demonstrates why America is not Europe.

European governments have found nothing easier than raising their national debt limits, until their debt gets more, or less, beyond their ability to service it.

If the US was Europe, raising the debt ceiling, rather than threatening government spending, especially entitlement programs, would be as easy as apple pie. It is true that the US is still in a deep fiscal hole. It is also true that this deal has its good and bad points, and is only one episode in a huge, panoramic drama.

And taking the game right down to the last day or two certainly showed a willingness by all sides to flirt with disaster.

But here's one crucial lesson about government debt. It's far better to have a political crisis about getting into it before you have an economic crisis about how you pay it.

This negotiation has been an astonishing victory for congressional Republicans.

They have won the intellectual and political argument. President Barack Obama, the biggest-spending president in a generation of US politics, has abandoned plans for new taxes, effectively abandoned plans for any significant new government programs and accepted - in principle and in practice - that there must be deep, structural cuts to US government spending.

Of course, it will be difficult for Republicans to enforce this and to keep their pledges to avoid new spending or merely leaving existing programs on a business-as-usual basis of endless expansion.

But Republicans have moved debt and the need to reduce spending to the centre of American life, made it a bipartisan consensus and conscripted the President to their cause.

There is plenty to criticise in the Tea Party and it certainly attracts its share of nuts and cranks. But only in the US could a recession produce a popular movement demanding government cut spending. Thus, the Tea Party has played its part in this debate and that has been a constructive part.

Of course, they are always in danger of overplaying their hand.

Most fanaticism begins with a good idea. The problem with the fanatic is the tendency to take the good idea to illogical conclusions, and to see it as the only good idea, and thereby lose the sense of balance which all good social politics requires. But the US political system is not just the Tea Party.

There is a foolish tendency among non-US commentators, and too many Americans as well, to regard the US system, because of its many checks and balances, as incoherent and dysfunctional.

But this episode is one where the US demonstrates the at least occasional superiority of its governing model to that of a parliamentary system.

A Westminster government that enjoyed majority support for the executive in parliament would have just raised its debt level, and kept doing so until it reached the logical end point of Greece: insolvency. That, unfortunately, seems to be the policy instinct of the Obama administration.

But the US system, with its two-yearly congressional cycle, forced debt reduction and the danger of the ballooning deficit to the centre of the debate.

It is perfectly reasonable to blame George W. Bush for a great deal of the public debt, though Obama is an epic government spender.

I would disagree with the Tea Partiers in advocating some action on the revenue side (that is, the abolition of some tax breaks) and some cuts in defence expenditure. Hopefully, eventually, US growth will ease the situation. And there are 1000 other factors. But when all is said and done, the key to the government debt problem is government expenditure.

That US politics is focused on that issue as the centre of the crisis is a sign of political health.



The budget deal doesn’t cut federal spending at all

Republicans and Democrats have come together on a “historic” budget deal that cuts federal spending by more than $2 trillion over 10 years. The Washington Post’s lead story calls the cuts “sharp” and “severe.” However, the budget deal doesn’t cut federal spending at all.

House Speaker John Boehner’s bullet points on the deal say that it cuts discretionary spending by $917 billion over 10 years, as “certified by CBO.” These discretionary “cuts” appear to be the same as those in Boehner’s plan from last week. The chart shows CBO’s scoring of those spending cuts (see here and here).

Wait a minute, those bars are rising! Spending isn’t being cut at all. The “cuts” in the deal are only cuts from the CBO “baseline,” which is a Washington construct of ever-rising spending. And even these “cuts” from the baseline include $156 billion of interest savings, which are imaginary because the underlying cuts are imaginary.

No program or agency terminations are identified in the deal. None of the vast armada of federal subsidies are targeted for elimination. Old folks will continue to gorge themselves on inflated benefits paid for by young families and future generations. None of Senator Tom Coburn’s or Senator Rand Paul’s specific cuts were included.

The federal government will still run a deficit of $1 trillion next year. This deal will “cut” the 2012 budget of $3.6 trillion by just $22 billion, or less than 1 percent.

The legislation does create a “Joint Committee” to design a second round of at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts by November. Presumably, interest savings will be included in those “cuts” as well, reducing the amount of actual program cuts needed to about $1 trillion.

Will these Joint Committee cuts be real? This deal’s immediate cuts aren’t real, nor were many of the cuts in the 2011 budget deal earlier this year. It won’t be hard by the Joint Committee to manufacture $1 trillion in pretend savings in coming months.



Obama Is Fresh Out of Ideas

One of the most striking facts about the course of the Obama presidency so far is that Obama has no constructive solutions for anything, which is one reason he campaigned on vague promises. It's why he established bogus metrics, such as "saved or created jobs."

It's also why he's always pointing the finger of blame on others for his policy failures. Everyone knows by now that Obama's reckless and corrupt stimulus package failed to restrain unemployment as he had promised and that instead of accepting responsibility for it, he blamed Bush.

He also played another familiar liberal card: He insisted his stimulus bill would have worked if he had been allowed to spend more money. So he started pushing for a second stimulus, all while increasing the government's regulatory stranglehold on business and cramming Obamacare down our throats.

All of which is to say -- with added emphasis -- that Obama is fresh out of ideas. Worse, he's the immovable force standing in the way of those who do have constructive proposals.

He didn't even submit a plan during the debt ceiling negotiations, and his party's Senate majority hasn't presented a budget for more than 800 days. We have a spending and entitlement problem, but Obama's ideology precludes him from addressing either. It drives him, instead, to insist on increasing taxes on the rich. But raising rates would further smother the economy and not significantly increase revenues.

The GOP is far from perfect, but it has presented serious proposals to address the debt crisis, which include capping discretionary spending, restructuring entitlements, passing a balanced budget amendment and reforming the tax code. These plans could work, but the Democrats have steadfastly and shamelessly opposed them and ridiculed their proponents, such as Rep. Paul Ryan.



Obama admits to Fascist thinking

And his supporters like the idea

Last week, when President Barack Obama spoke to the National Council of La Raza, he said something that should alarm every American. He confessed that he'd like to "bypass Congress and change the laws" on his own. He added, "Believe me; the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you."
He doesn't need to promise us. We believe him, because we've been watching his rogue behavior since the moment he entered office.

Way back in February 2010, even The New York Times unveiled his modus operandi, in its report "Obama Making Plans to Use Executive Power." It summarized, "With much of his legislative agenda stalled in Congress, President Obama and his team are preparing an array of actions using his executive power to advance energy, environmental, fiscal and other domestic policy priorities."

As The New York Times reported at the beginning of last year, Obama's exploits to bypass Congress are intended to "advance energy, environmental, fiscal and other domestic policy priorities." We now can add America's border problems to those, as Obama also elaborated last week that the temptation to bypass Congress includes "not just immigration reform." No wonder the crowd began to chant "Yes, we can!" (Tragically, it seems that too many citizens want a Fuehrer more than they do a president.)


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

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


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


2 August, 2011

Norway's bigotry

by Alan M. Dershowitz

In a recent interview, Norway's Ambassador to Israel has suggested that Hamas terrorism against Israel is more justified than the recent terrorist attack against Norway. His reasoning is that, "We Norwegians consider the occupation to be the cause of the terror against Israel." In other words terrorism against Israeli citizens is the fault of Israel. The terrorism against Norway, on the other hand, was based on "an ideology that said that Norway, particularly the Labor Party, is foregoing Norwegian culture." It is hard to imagine that he would make such a provocative statement without express approval from the Norwegian government.

I can't remember many other examples of so much nonsense compressed in such short an interview. First of all, terrorism against Israel began well before there was any "occupation". The first major terrorist attack against Jews who had long lived in Jerusalem and Hebron began in 1929, when the leader of the Palestinian people, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, ordered a religiously-motivated terrorist attack that killed hundreds of religious Jews-many old, some quite young. Terrorism against Jews continued through the 1930s.

Once Israel was established as a state, but well before it captured the West Bank, terrorism became the primary means of attacking Israel across the Jordanian, Egyptian and Lebanese borders. If the occupation is the cause of the terror against Israel, what was the cause of all the terror that preceded any occupation?

I was not surprised to hear such ahistorical bigotry from a Norwegian Ambassador. Norway is the most anti-Semitic and anti-Israel country in Europe today. I know, because I experienced both personally during a recent visit and tour of universities. No university would invite me to lecture, unless I promised not to discuss Israel.

Norway forbids Jewish ritual slaughter, but not Islamic ritual slaughter. Its political and academic leaders openly make statements that cross the line from anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism, such as when Norway's former Prime Minister condemned Barak Obama for appointing a Jew as his Chief of Staff. No other European leader would make such a statement and get away with it. In Norway, this bigoted statement was praised, as were similar statements made by a leading academic.

The very camp that was attacked by the lone terrorist was engaged in an orgy of anti-Israel hatred the day before the shooting. Yet I would not ever claim that it was Norway's anti-Semitism that "caused" the horrible act of terrorism against young Norwegians.

The causes of terrorism are multifaceted but at bottom they have a common cause: namely a belief that violence is the proper response to policies that the terrorists disagree with. The other common cause is that terrorism has often been rewarded.

Norway, for example, has repeatedly rewarded Palestinian terrorism against Israel, while punishing Israel for its efforts to protect its civilians. While purporting to condemn all terrorist acts, the Norwegian government has sought to justify Palestinian terrorism as having a legitimate cause. This clearly is an invitation to continued terrorism.

It is important for the world never to reward terrorism by supporting the policies of those who employ it as an alternative to reason discourse, diplomatic resolution or political compromise.

I know of no reasonable person who has tried to justify the terrorist attacks against Norway. Yet there are many Norwegians who not only justify terrorist attacks against Israel, but praise them, support them, help finance them, and legitimate them.

The world must unite in condemning and punishing all terrorist attacks against innocent civilians, regardless of the motive or purported cause of the terrorism.

The world must unite in condemning and punishing all terrorist attacks against innocent civilians, regardless of the motive or purported cause of the terrorism. Norway, as a nation, has failed to do this. It wants us all to condemn the terrorist attack on its civilians, and we should all do that, but it refuses to live by a single standard.

Nothing good ever comes from terrorism, so don't expect the Norwegians to learn any lessons from its own victimization. As the Ambassador made clear in his benighted interview, "those of us who believe [the occupation to be the cause of the terror against Israel] will not change their minds because of the attack in Oslo."

In other words, they will persist in their bigoted view that Israel is the cause of the terrorism directed at it, and that if only Israel were to end the occupation (as it offered to do in 2000-2001 and again in 2007), the terrorism will end. Even Hamas, which Norway supports in many ways, has made clear that it will not end its terrorism as long as Israel continues to exist.

Hamas believes that Israel's very existence is the cause of the terrorism against it. That sounds a lot like the ranting of the man who engaged in the act of terrorism against Norway.

The time is long overdue for Norwegians to do some deep soul searching about their sordid history of complicity with all forms of bigotry ranging from the anti-Semitic Nazis to the anti-Semitic Hamas. There seems to be a common thread.



Norway itself helped give Breivik the idea that terrorism works and is justified


One of the most sensitive aspects of the very sensitive subject of the murderous terrorist attack in Norway by a right-wing gunman is this irony: The youth political camp he attacked was at the time engaged in what was essentially (though the campers didn’t see it that way, no doubt) a pro-terrorist program.

The camp, run by Norway’s left-wing party, was lobbying for breaking the blockade of the terrorist Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip and for immediate recognition of a Palestinian state without that entity needing do anything that would prevent it from being a terrorist base against Israel. They were backing and justifying forces that had committed terrorism against Israelis and killing thousands of people like themselves.

Even to mention this irony is dangerous since it might be taken to imply that the victims “had it coming.” The victims never deserve to be murdered by terrorists, even any victims who think that other victims of terrorists “had it coming.” This is in no way a justification of that horrendous terrorist act. It’s the exact opposite: a vital but forgotten lesson arising from it that can and should save lives in future.

If terrorist murders by Hamas and Islamists did not stop well-intentioned future leaders of Norway from enthusiastically considering them heroic underdogs, a local evil man could think his act of terrorism would gain sympathy and change Europe’s politics. After all, it has already changed the Middle East and even been sanctified by Western media, intellectuals, and governments.

When Norway’s ambassador to Israel distinguishes between “bad” terrorism in Norway and “understandable” terrorism against Israelis that opens the door to a man in Norway who thinks his country is “occupied” by leftists and Muslims?

In this sense, the most important thing about the terrorist in Norway is not that he is right-wing or anti-Islam, The most important thing is that he believed terrorism would work on behalf of his cause. After all, if he had held all of the same beliefs but didn’t think deliberate murder was a good strategy, nobody would be dead from his actions.

Nevertheless, many people gave him the idea that terrorism would change minds, gain support, and bring victory. They weren’t those whose blogs he quoted a few times in a 1500-page manifesto and who explicitly rejected violence. They merely gave him programmatic ideas. It was the successful terrorists and their Western enablers who gave him the strategy he thought would work and implemented.

Oh, and one more thing: A young survivor of the terrorist attack at the camp in Norway explained:

“Some of my friends tried to stop [the gunman] by talking to him. Many people thought that it was a test … comparing it to how it is to live in Gaza. So many people went to him and tried to talk to him, but they were shot immediately.”

He’s right but in a very different manner from what he thought. It is more comparable to how it is to live in Israel being targeted by Palestinian or Lebanese terrorists who won’t be talked into sparing your life. But it is people like the victims in Norway who want Israelis ”to stop” the gunmen “by talking” to them.



Misleading Words

Thomas Sowell

Many years ago, the Saturday Evening Post was one of the best-known magazines in America. But somehow I learned that the Saturday Evening Post was actually published on Wednesday morning. That was a little disconcerting at first. But it was one of the most valuable lessons, that words do not necessarily reflect reality.

Recent statistics on the average wealth or net worth of blacks are a painful reminder that rhetoric favoring blacks does not mean that politicians using such rhetoric are actually helping blacks. The media seized upon the statistics published by the Pew Research Center to show that whites averaged far more net worth than blacks, and that this disparity was now greater than it was in years past. But what is even more revealing is that the net worth of blacks in 2009 was less than half of what it was in 2005.

What happened to cause such a sharp loss in such a few years? After all, the Republicans controlled both the Congress and the White House in 2005, and the Democrats had control by 2009. There was now a black President of the United States, with much of the media celebrating the beginning of a new era in race relations.

What happened was that the political words had no relationship to the economic reality. But few people judge any administration's effect on blacks by what actually happens to blacks under that administration.

A finer breakdown of the data on the net worth of blacks shows that the most drastic loss of net worth was in the value of the homes owned by blacks. This occurred after years of both Democratic and Republican administrations pushing policies designed to enable more blacks to buy homes.

Much of the media rallied behind the idea that there should be more home ownership by blacks. Editorials rang out across the land, denouncing statistical disparities between rates of home ownership by blacks and whites as showing racial discrimination in the private sector that needed to be corrected by the government.

Even when it was shown that blacks, on average, did not meet the same financial standards as whites, both politicians and the media denounced those standards as too stringent.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, for example, called for "fairer mortgage-lending standards" and declared that "lending institutions are being far more conservative than they have to be in determining the creditworthiness of minorities." The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston likewise declared that "unreasonable measures of creditworthiness" were not "appropriate to the economic culture of urban, lower-income, and nontraditional consumers."

The New York Times reported that "even within the same income group whites are nearly twice as likely as blacks to get loans." Many in the media treated that as proof positive that racial discrimination explained differences in mortgage loan approval rates. They were not talking about racial differences in net worth in those days -- much less taking note of the fact that blacks in the same income brackets as whites had far less net worth.

Racial discrimination was where it was at, as far as liberal politicians and most of the media were concerned. And the familiar "solution" was massive government intervention in the market. Government agencies, from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to the Federal Reserve leaned on lenders to lower lending standards, and the Department of Justice threatened prosecutions for discrimination if the racial makeup of people approved for mortgage loans did not match their preconceptions.

It worked. In fact, it worked so well that many blacks got loans that they could not have gotten otherwise. Now the statistics tell us, belatedly, that blacks lost out, big time, from this "favor" done for them by politicians.

These lowered lending standards applied to many others besides blacks. Everybody lost out when the resulting risky mortgages led to a collapse of the housing market, followed by a collapse of the economy. Lofty words led to bitter realities.

The same mindset that led to these disasters is still prevalent in Washington. Indeed, the very people who spearheaded those political crusades -- Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Christopher Dodd -- crafted new legislation offering the same kind of "solution" to our current problems, namely more massive government intervention in the economy. Words triumphed again.




WWII Veteran Vows to Keep Flying American Flag After Vandal Torches It: "An 85-year-old veteran in New York City who says he still has traumatic dreams about World War II is extremely upset over the torching of his American flag. Harold Bernstein says his neighbors on Staten Island first noticed the recent vandalism, which apparently occurred in the middle of the night. Bernstein tells the Staten Island Advance that other flags on his block were untouched. He wonders: "Why did they pick on me?" He said if he'd encountered the culprit, he would have "strung them up there along with the flag." He vows to keep displaying it, even though it's scorched. Says the former Marine: "I fought for that flag."

Obama jacks up the cost of private health insurance again: "Private health insurers must now give birth control and other women's health tests for free, the Obama administration said Monday. ... The administration argues that the requirement, affecting most insurance plans, is aimed at encouraging women who might otherwise not be able to afford them to get critical services which can pre-empt the onset of disease. ... Coverage with no copays for the morning-after pill was likely to become the most controversial part of the change."

Congress out to spy on your ‘puter: "If Congress had to name laws honestly, it would be called the 'Forcing Your Internet Provider to Spy On You Just In Case You're a Criminal Act of 2011' -- a costly, invasive mandate that even the co-author of the Patriot Act, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), says 'runs roughshod over the rights of people who use the Internet.' But because it's disguised as the 'Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act,' the House Judiciary Committee approved it last week by a wide margin -- even though it's got little to do with child porn and won't do much to protect kids."

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

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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)


1 August, 2011

Breivik wins again

In typical Leftist kneejerk fashion, the first appearance in court by Breivik was held in secret, which is contrary to Norwegian custom, as I understand it.

So the government of Norway itself has confirmed Breivik's complaint that Norway and other European countries suppress speech of which they disapprove. They were so afraid of Breivik's "loony" ideas that they forbad Norwegians from hearing anything about them.

So they're not even smart Fascists. It confirms my contention that the ultimate cause of Breivik's appalling rampage was not Breivik's mental limitations but rather the Leftist government of Norway. If words are suppressed, bullets may be the only thing that can replace them.

If only Norway had a First Amendment .....

Another writer looks ahead to Breivik's next court appearance:
"There has been widespread support within Norway for a closed trial, to deny Breivik the platform he appears to be seeking. Given the scale of what has happened there is unquestionably something obscene about the prospect of watching him expound his lunatic worldview to an international audience.

But the fear that such exposure would necessarily boost Breivik’s cause, and encourage likeminded bigots elsewhere, must be resisted. In fact it is precisely on occasions like these that a vibrant public sphere matters most.

The belief that freedom of expression is the fundamental requirement of an open society is based on the idea that grievances like those which animate racist and xenophobic political groups throughout Europe are better aired in the context of civilized debate rather than allowed to fester in private societies.

Distasteful as it may seem to many of us, it is better in the long run for prejudices to be openly debated and defeated by better arguments. Otherwise the hatreds of these groups become self-reinforcing.

Prejudice and paranoia never survive the rigours of open debate, and the horrors of the massacre in Norway should not be allowed to obscure this important truth.



Unbelievable: Obama admin. trying to set up America for a second big bank crisis

The Department of Justice is executing a "Witch Hunt" against banks. Through the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, Attorney General Eric Holder is forcing banks to "relax their mortgage underwriting standards and approve loans for minorities with poor credit as part of a new crackdown on alleged discrimination," according to a published report by Investor's Business Daily after reviewing court documents.

The DOJ has already extorted $20 million for weak and poor credit loans from banks that "settled out of court rather than battle the federal government and risk being branded racist." The DOJ admits another 60 banks are already under "investigation." Holder's demanding the banks sign "non-disclosure" settlement agreements barring them from talking while allowing the DOJ to operate behind a curtain of secrecy.

The settlements already extracted from banks force them to make "prime-rate mortgages to low income blacks and Hispanics" with credit problems, even if they are living on welfare. According to IBD, the DOJ has ordered banks to advertise that minorities cannot be turned down for a loan "because they receive public aid, such as unemployment benefits, welfare payments or food stamps." No job; no problem!

In other words, the DOJ is forcing banks to make loans to people that they know don't qualify for them and likely won't be able to afford to repay them, which is precisely the kind of failed public policy that precipitated the financial collapse and recession in 2008.

The DOJ ordered Midwest BankCentre to provide "special financing" in the predominantly black areas of St. Louis for fixed prime rate conventional home loan financing for borrowers "who would ordinarily not qualify for such rates for reasons including the lack of required credit quality, income or down payment."

Eric Holder and the head of his Civil Rights Division, Tom Perez were both protégés of Janet Reno who launched a similar attack on banks in the early years of the Clinton Administration. That led to an expansion of the Community Reinvestment Act, CRA, and an explosion of forced lending to low-income, poor credit risk borrowers and the sub-prime mortgage industry that collapsed in 2008. Under the weight of massive guarantees of poor quality and defaulted mortgages, the federal government was forced to seize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. To date about $150 billion has been required to bailout the two agencies to keep them solvent.

Like Reno, Holder and Perez are pushing their own social agenda, and ramifications to the financial sector and total economy are meaningless to them. They willingly pervert the law and leverage the full weight of the Justice Department to intimidate banks to accomplish their objectives.

Credit analysis and repayment ability of the borrower matter none to Holder and Perez. To them, if a minority is turned down for a loan, it must surely be evidence of racial discrimination. Perez has gone so far as to compare bankers to the Ku Klux Klan. The only difference between bankers and the KKK, he says, is that bankers discriminate "with a smile" and "fine print," but they are "every bit as destructive as the cross burned in a neighborhood."

Holder and Perez appointed another Janet Reno alumnus, Eric Halperin, as Special Counsel for Fair Lending. Previously, Halperin was a lobbyist for the leftist Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) where he pressed congress and the various agencies for continued relaxing of lending standards. Just how objective do you suppose this "special lending cop" is in applying the law?

CRL's website reveals their leftist perspective and agenda; "lenders have strong incentives to engage in unfair, deceptive practices and to aggressively market loans designed to fail." That's pure hooey, of course. Banks make a profit if loans are paid back. They sustain losses when loans fail. But, this phony theory of "disparate impact" or "red-lining" has been used by the left for decades to convince politicians and bureaucrats to force unsound, unsafe lending practices, the consequences of which have been manifested in the current economic mess.

The forced settlements have gone well beyond lending. The concessions that DOJ has imposed have even required banks to fund inner-city "community organizers." According to IBD, "lenders are being forced to bankroll Acorn clones that often exist just to shake them down for risky loans."

As DOJ strong arms banks to relax lending standards to satisfy the Obama Administration's racialist social agenda, other federal agencies are telling banks to do just the opposite. "Banks are damned if they do, damned if they don't," according to Ernest Istook, a Heritage Foundation fellow and former Member of Congress who is critical of DOJ for forcing "affirmative action lending."

The current economic crisis has stressed even the strongest of banks. Bank safety and soundness examiners from the Federal Reserve, the OCC, FDIC, OTS, and NCUA have put the fear of God into banks all across the nation demanding tightened credit standards. They have forced banks to increase capital, add to reserves for losses, mark down asset value of existing credit assets, and questioned virtually every loan the banks make. The CEO of one historically successful community bank told me a regulator demanded, "You will not make another commercial real estate loan." How that bank was supposed to meet the needs of the small businesses in the community while not making loans on commercial real estate was of no concern to the regulator.

The newspapers are full of reports that the government has seized and closed banks, removed management and boards of directors, placed banks on written agreements so tightly drafted that the government has essentially assumed management of the bank while the shareholders, directors and management are still stuck with full risk and liability.

Banks are selling, consolidating, and closing all across America, and going with them is the access to capital and importantly the personal relationship that historically has been vitally important to the success of our entrepreneurial free-market economy. Over 1400 bank offices have closed in the last two years, and many more are expected in 2011. In the wake are exasperated small businessmen wondering what to do next.

If you're confused by the mixed signals and heavy-handedness of government, how would you like to be a banker? Little wonder that banks are afraid to lend and many are almost in lock down. Politicians can talk all they want about getting capital and the economy moving again, but the uncertainty and mixed signals coming from Washington are big reasons why both lenders and borrowers are hiding out in their bunkers.

Thomas Lifson, writing in American Thinker about the DOJ's witch hunt, notes that bankers tend to be "a cowardly lot when confronted by the power of the State." Who can blame them when the government has the power to lock their doors and seize their assets?

Lipson goes on, "Nobody in a highly regulated business wants the government publicly charging racism. A comparatively small group within the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department has assumed the role of national bank regulators with the intent of favoring groups they support. It's a corruption of the legitimate role of government." Corruption may be an overly polite description.

Added to the bi-polar treatment from the DOJ and other regulators is the fact the very government that controls their every move is now a larger source of consumer credit that all of the private sector banks combined. Recently released Federal Reserve Bank data documents a remarkably rapid and substantial shift to the government as the new credit goliath.

As recently as 2006, the private banking sector provided $2 in outstanding home mortgages and consumer credit for every $1 of government financed loans. The data from the Fed, however indicates that government loans and guarantees now total $6.32 trillion, up from just $4.40 trillion at the end of 2006. For the same period, the private sector market share shrunk to $6.58 trillion from $8.48 trillion.

Curiously, the Fed doesn't count the half-trillion dollars worth of guaranteed student loans as part of the government's total. Historically, local banks originated and financed the Federal Family Education Loan program and the government insured the loans against any loss. But, in 2009 as part of the ObamaCare legislation, the private sector was completely eliminated and beginning in 2010 the government took total control of the entire program. When student loans are added, the government surpasses the entire private sector totals. Even without student loans, with the current trend the government is poised to eclipse the private lenders likely within the current quarter.

The almost overnight collapse of the market for mortgage backed securities as a result of the sub-prime lending debacle – largely precipitated by misguided federal policy forced on lenders – evaporated the private mortgage market, and left Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – that had been seized by the government – as the only game in town for home mortgages.

In the blink of an eye, the federal government went from the small player facilitator to the dominant force in the financial industry dwarfing the combined efforts of the entire private sector competitors. Additionally, the Top Dog in the credit market place is also the all-powerful regulator over the little dogs in the private sector wielding absolute and largely unaccountable authority over their every move. Through the Federal Reserve, that same government controls the price, the access, the circulation, and amount of the currency on which the rest of the market must be dependent. With a national debt of $14.5 trillion and growing, the largest supplier of loans in the world also has the world's greatest demand for credit sucking up massive amounts of available investment capital to finance the growing national debt before the rest of the market gets a chance.

In reality, the federal government during the last two years has essentially seized the banking industry.



Opposing the Health Law, Florida Refuses Millions

When it comes to pursuing federal largess, most of the states that oppose the 2010 health care law have refused to let either principle or politics block their paths to the trough. If Washington is doling out dollars, Republican governors and legislators typically figure they might as well get their share.

Then there is Florida. Despite having the country’s fourth-highest unemployment rate, its second-highest rate of people without insurance and a $3.7 billion budget gap this year, the state has turned away scores of millions of dollars in grants made available under the Affordable Care Act. And it is not pursuing grants worth many millions more.

In recent months, either Gov. Rick Scott’s administration or the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature has rejected grants aimed at moving long-term care patients into their homes, curbing child abuse through in-home counseling and strengthening state regulation of health premiums. They have shunned money to help sign up eligible recipients for Medicare, educate teenagers on preventing pregnancy and plan for the health insurance exchanges that the law requires by 2014.

While 36 states shared $27 million to counsel health insurance consumers, Florida did not apply for the grants. And in drafting this year’s budget, the Legislature failed to authorize an $8.3 million federal grant won by a county health department to expand community health centers.

In interviews, Mr. Scott, a Republican, and state legislative leaders were clear about their rationale. They said they detested everything about the federal health law, which was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge in a case filed by the state. Unless ordered to do otherwise by an appellate court, they said, they had no intention of putting it in place, even if that meant leaving money on the table.

“There are a lot of programs that the federal government would like to give you that don’t fit your state, don’t fit your needs and ultimately create obligations that our taxpayers can’t afford,” said Mr. Scott, a former hospital company executive who rose to political prominence by financing an advertising campaign against the health care legislation.

State Representative Matt Hudson, the chairman of the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee, said his chamber’s leadership felt the same way.

“I do not believe that act is the right thing for the country or the right thing for Florida,” Mr. Hudson said, “and I am not going to start implementing things that I don’t believe in.” Asked whether states had the authority to stymie federal law, Mr. Hudson answered, “We’re not required to accept a grant.”




Felons to Join the Upper Caste in San Francisco: "Under liberalism, America has become a class-based society. Some are born into privilege as a result of their skin color, but you can also enter the favored caste by being in the country illegally, by affirming your homosexuality, or — since 9/11/01 — by being Muslim. If none of those approaches works for you, just commit a felony and then move to San Francisco: San Francisco’s Human Rights Board wants to add ex-cons to the protected classes list that includes a person’s race and sex when it comes to housing and seeking employment. Only the lower castes can be denied jobs and housing, not special people like felons. As always with tyrannical moonbattery, lawyers will benefit from the pernicious law; it sets up endless opportunities for nuisance suits by ex-cons who aren’t given whatever they want."

Poll: Obama approval at new low (40%): "US President Barack Obama's job approval rating slumped to a personal low of 40 percent in a public opinion survey out Friday, a possible reflection of the political war over US debt. The respected Gallup polling organization said Obama had previously slipped to 41 percent several times since taking office in January 2009, but noted his approval rating was 50 percent as recently as June 7."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc. -- though he has quite a bit to say about Breivik, this time

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

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


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


Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

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

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left.

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among people who should know better, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

“Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics.” -- C.J. Keyser

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus


"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state – capitalism frees them.

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Conservatives, on the other hand could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931–2005: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. He pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!

The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

America's uncivil war was caused by trade protectionism. The slavery issue was just camouflage, as Abraham Lincoln himself admitted.

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"

"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"

"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were.

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

My academic background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR"